Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Mary Poppins

Movie: Mary poppins
Genre: Classics/ Musical
Directed by: Robert Stevenson
Produced by: Walt Disney
Based on: Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers
Music by: Richard M. Sherman, Robert B. Sherman
Cast: Julie Andrews(Mary Poppins), Dick van Dyke(Bert), David Tomlinson(George Banks), Glynis Johns(Winifred Banks), Karen Dotrice(Jane), Matthew Garber(Michael), Hermione Baddeley(Ellen)

Katie Nanna, the nanny of Jane and Michael, withdraws from her post not being able to tolerate the kids’ tricks on her. Mr. and Mrs. Banks are on the look out for able nannies when Mary Poppins comes to them. Mary Poppins, a fairy answering the children’s call for a kind and sweet nanny, who has rosy cheeks and looks pretty good, gets the vacant post immediately. The kids start loving her from the start. Mary Poppins takes them on adventurous journeys, she being a fairy. Mary, Bert, Jane and Michael have lots of fun.

The father, Mr. Banks, starts getting irritated when the children tell about their adventures with Mary and Bert. He summons Mary Poppins for an “explanation”. But all that Mary says is,” I would like to make something very clear. I never explain things.”

Mary understands that the children want their father to show them his love. So she makes him take them out to the bank he works in. There, Michael wants to feed the birds there by getting them some food from the bird lady for tuppence. But the managers of the bank force the boy and take the tuppence to tell him that he can save it in the bank. But immediately, he and Jane start shouting, “Give me my money.” People in the bank think that the bank is not giving their money back and so, all of them start demanding their money. There is chaos, and the two children run off, grabbing their tuppence. On the streets, when they get lost, they meet their old friend- Bert. He takes them back home.

George Banks is fired from his job. And he realises at that moment how much he loves his children, and the good Mary Poppins has done to his home. He goes back singing, and cheerful, and takes his children out to fly a kite. When nobody notices, and when everything is well, Mary Poppins leaves silently. Bert wishes her goodbye!

I loved the part when the kids go around singing to everybody- "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious." I also loved the dance of the chimney Sweeps. My favourite character is Bert followed by George Banks, and Winifred Banks. I also love the Admiral, and of course- Mary Poppins!

I simply loved the movie. It was fantastic! I feel it is under the must-watch-without-fail category...

Monday, December 29, 2014

ET- The Extra-Terrestrial

Movie: ET- The Extra-Terrestrial
Genre: Sci-fi
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Produced by: Steven Spielberg, Kathleen Kennedy
Story by: Melissa Mathison
Music by: John Williams
Cast: Henry Thomas(Elliott), Robert MacNaughton(Michael), Drew Barrymore(Gertie), Dee Wallace(Mary), Peter Coyote(the man with the keys), K. C. Martel, Sean Frye and C. Thomas Howell(Michael's friends Greg, Steve and Tyler)

Some aliens land on the Earth to collect plants, and while doing so, they encounter humans. Terrified, they all get back to their spaceship and take off, leaving one of its kind behind. The lonely alien hides in the storage room of a house near the garden. Meanwhile, Elliott, a small boy along with his brother Michael and his friends- Greg, Steve and Tyler, party in Elliott’s house. While coming back to the house from the storage room, Elliott meets the alien and gets terribly scared. But no one believes him when he reports this to his brother and friends. He decides to take on the alien himself, and lures the alien inside the house using food. Elliott becomes good friends with the alien. He calls it ET. He shows the alien to his brother Michael, and his five year old sister, Gertie. They protect ET and do all kinds of playing with it. The ET even learns to speak English when Gertie tries to teach it.

Meanwhile, some government agents try to capture this alien because of its abnormal powers. Therefore, Elliott , Michael and Gertie try to save the ET. They develop a communication device so that ET can ‘phone home’. During a ride in the forest with Elliott, ET successfully calls his fellow-aliens for help.

When people try to capture ET, Michael, Elliott and his friends transport the alien to its spaceship safely. ET bids goodbye to Michael, Elliott, Gertie, Mary(the mother of Elliott) and goes back home.

I liked the climax very much. I also liked the part when Gertie dresses the ET like a girl and teaches it to speak English.

The movie is very nice. I liked it very much.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

UP

Movie: UP
Genre: Animation, Adventure
Directed by: Pete Docter
Co-Directed by: Bob Peterson
Produced by: Jonas Rivera
Story by: Pete Docter, Bob Peterson and Tom McCarthy
Music by: Michael Giacchino

Carl Fredricksen was fascinated by Charles Muntz, a wilderness explorer, as a young boy. Now, as an old retired balloon salesman, after his wife’s sorrowful death, he seeks for the adventure that he had always wanted to have- a trip to South America. He ties hundreds of balloons to his house and sets it afloat. He creates sails and wings to navigate the flight.
At this time, to his utmost surprise, he hears a knock on his door when he is afloat. When he opens, he is even more surprised to see a small boy named Russell, who is keen on becoming a ‘Senior Wilderness Explorer’ in his porch. Together, Russell and Fredricksen, who is a little discouraged at having Russell with him, steer themselves on the vast sky and land in South America(by accident). Russell becomes friends with a 13-foot giant bird and calls it Kevin, and also a talking Dog named Dug. They meet Charles Muntz in his lab in the wild, and realize his wicked aim of wanting the bird- Kevin- as a part of his collection. Old Fredricksen, young Russell, and Dug the Dog do away with the villain and save Kevin from the treacherous villain- Muntz. They restore Kevin back with its kids and set off on a journey back home. Russell is declared a ‘Senior Wilderness Explorer’. Carl Fredricksen achieves his lifelong dream of travelling to South America. And Dug the Dog finally gets a master! All is well.

The movie is fantastic, and I feel it is a must-watch film. The part I enjoyed the most is when Fredricksen finds Russell standing in his porch while the house is afloat. The shock, the surprise, the irritation and amazement- it’s all there then.

Please do watch the movie. It surely is amazing...

Friday, December 26, 2014

Science? Commerce?

Class 10 is the year when every single person you meet has something to say about your studies or career. Ranging from all unknown relatives, familiar ones, school friends, friends’ moms and their relatives, some ‘Aunty’ whom we just happened to get acquainted with- everyone starts off with the same question: “Ohhh… So, you are in Class 10! What are you going to choose next year? Science? Commerce?” Yes, that is the question that I dread when I talk to someone. I pray so that they don’t ask that damned question. Why? Because I don’t know the answer, and will not be able to provide them with one. At least, if it is my dad, I can ask him straight on the face what his problem is. If I do the same to the others, I will have to be ready to take that gorgon stare from my mom(who believes that answering in such a way points to bad bringing-up), which I am not ready to.

But here is something very amusing- most others of my class seem to have identified answers for such questions. Or at least they have an answer even if they are not very sure about it, because of the constant bombardment of these standard questions. Out of thirty-five in my class, half of them want to become doctors(one has even specified that she wants to be a gynaecologist!), some of them want to ‘crack IIT’ or want to get into NIT, one wants to become an IAS officer, a few want to become fashion designers(I don’t see any boys in my class wanting that), and there are a few who want to go and work in NASA as an aero-physicist! Well? What do you infer? I might seem to be the only one who really isn't very clear. But thank God! There are some others to give me company...

Many people start advising about how to go about choosing, and all that. They say, “One, identify what your interests are.” As a fact, I am stuck at that very first step. How do you really identify your interest? Forget about those who are exceptionally- exceptionally- good at something like music, art, dance, or even physics, math or any other subject. Their interest would probably be that. But for someone like me, who is not exactly very interested in one particular thing but likes everything without even disliking any- what should we choose- Science? Commerce?

Of the people who talk often, about this, to me, my father tops the list. For one thing, he can convince me either way- to take commerce or science- through how he argues on each side- that is something I don’t like much. It’s very confusing, and irritating. But he says it’s good, and that he is only playing the devil’s advocate.

As far as I understood them all- If I choose Science, then I will have to drop other things. I will have to study real hard to score marks if I am not able to manage both studies and the extra-curriculars(which is bad because all the “Cultural Events” start only from Class 11). Also I can still choose to become a CA or any other professional. All options will be open. But if I choose Commerce I can never come back to the Science stream. That is very clear.

We discussed courses such as Humanities(IIT-M has a course for that) and Law. We weren’t sure whether I had to take Science or Commerce to pursue those. I didn’t actually want to do B.Pharm, which we did discuss about, because I will have to take Biology for that.

At this point, I actually try to understand why my dad took science group when he was in Class 11. His reply is simple. He says: “Back then it wasn't prestigious if you didn't take Science. It was seen as if you couldn't.” Well! That didn't help me solve my little(or big) problem of deciding on what to choose.

Of course, my dear grandma and grandpa believe that I have to take Commerce and become a Chartered Accountant. My mother has already made it very clear that she would love it if I take up Science with Biology and become a doctor. At this point, I have to stop with the story to tell you that I am clear I won’t become a doctor.

But finally, they all tell me one thing that all of them agree upon: Choose anything you want. But whatever you choose, do it sincerely and be in the top.

Now, we come back to the first question: What should I choose? Science or Commerce?

Let us see. Class 11 is not really far off!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

A Prefect's Uncle

Title: A Prefect's Uncle
Author: P G Wodehouse
Main Characters: Gethryn(the Bishop), Marriot, Wilson, Norris, Franie, Pringle, Lorimer, Reece, Monk, Danvers, Mr. Lawrie, the Headmaster, Mr. Wells

'A Prefect's Uncle' is one of the best books that I have ever read! It's a perfect P G Wodehouse book- absolutely hilarious! This is one of the series of school stories that Wodehouse wrote in his young days. 

It starts off with the boys coming back to Beckford College, after the summer holidays. Marriot, a senior, is trusted with the job of taking care of his Aunt's boy Wilson. Gethryn(called by everyone as the Bishop) gets a strange letter telling him that he is supposed to meet some Uncle of his at the station. When Gethryn goes to the station expecting to meet a lunatic of a uncle(who wants to meet him just when the term has started!), to his utmost shock, he finds his Uncle to be a top-hatted small boy younger than himself. Here is how the conversation goes between the boy and Gethryn:

A top-hatted small boy , who had been hovering around the group, addressed winged words at him. "I say, are you looking for somebody?" The Bishop stared at him as a naturalist stares at a novel species of insect."Yes," he said. "Why?" This affair, thought the Bishop, was beginning to assume an uncanny aspect."How the dickens did you know that?" he said."Oh, then you are Gethryn? That's all right. I was told you were going to be here to meet this train. Glad to make your acquaintance. My name's Farnie. I'm your Uncle, you know.""My what?" gurgled the Bishop."Your Uncle. U-n, un; c-l-e, kul. Uncle. Fact, I assure you."
Gethryn is put down by the thought of having his footsteps 'perpetually dogged' by an Uncle four years younger than himself! The feeling becomes worse when he finds out that his Uncle belongs to the same house that he is a prefect in- Leicester's. Therefore, he goes on back with his Uncle. Before he could warn his Uncle not to publicize their relationship, Farnie goes about telling people about them. The Bishop is completely disgusted about the whole scenario, and the only thing that cheers him is the upcoming MCC Cricket Match. 

Meanwhile, Farnie gets into bad friendship with the senior bad boys- Monk and Danvers. He borrows four pounds from Monk on one of the occasions. On the day of the MCC match, Monk demands the return of the four pounds immetiately and blackmails Farnie. So, Farnie steals the money from the Bishop's purse and gives it to Monk. Without daring to meet Gethryn's fury, he leaves a note to Gethryn and runs away. 

Gethryn during the tea break of the match against MCC, comes to fetch his hat, and thus finds the letter. Afraid of the consequence that might take over if Farnie is found missing, he abandons the MCC match to go in search of Farnie. Due to the absence of the Bishop, Leicester's lose the match. Gethryn brings back Farnie, but has to face serious situation back in the house, since he doesn't open up with the reason of his disappearance(for Farnie's sake).

Everyone, especially Norris- the team captain- is furious with Gethryn for loosing them the match. He takes off Gethryn's name in the school's eleven. When things didn't seem to settle at all, Farnie moves away to another school in France. So, now, Gethryn tells all his friends the truth. Everything ends happily.

There is an aside story that also goes on about Pringle and Lorimer, which is completely hilarious. Read the book to enjoy!

'A Prefect's Uncle' is a must-read!