Monday, February 28, 2005

24 days to go...

Our TAPMI Intranet Portal page today was updated with a nifty little "Countdown to Convocation" — it now says that there are a little more than 24 days and 12 hours to go for our Convocation on 26th March 2005.

I watched the Oscars yesterday in the morning (from around 6:45 AM till around 10:30 AM).  And then from about 2 PM till 9 PM I was working on that "secret" Interface work.  It is coming along really well.  And then I read something for the IT Strategy exam today.

I seem to have done pretty well in the previous (5th) term of my TAPMI course.  The Rank list was out yesterday and my rank is 13 (out of 131).

While at Little Chef yesterday, the guy from the VCD library nearby came and told me that he had got the CD of Constantine — it seems six copies had already been given out, and only one was remaining.  So I rented that copy.  I am yet to watch it, but I look forward to seeing this movie (though Mansi was saying yesterday that it was "VERY bad").

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Blog changes, Oscars

I spent some time now making a few changes to the template of this blog.  Apart from the font change (Trebuchet MS as opposed to Arial), there are other minor changes like the use of small caps text for headings.  I've also changed the title of the blog to Nasty Little Thing Productions.  The name comes from a drawing I did in 2003, and I use the name for my drawings, and other creations nowadays.

In a few hours from now, the 77th Annual Academy Awards will be shown on TV and I am going to get up to watch it.  I say "get up", because it's going to be shown live at around 6:30 AM India time, and I will be able to get only a little more than three hours of sleep.  Anyway I don't have any classes tomorrow — there was an Employee Relations class scheduled in the afternoon, but that class already happened a couple of days back.  However I will be very busy tomorrow with some important (and secret!) assistance work on Interface.  There is also the End Term exam for IT Strategy Planning and Implementation on March 1st so perhaps I will also study for that!

Friday, February 25, 2005

Exorcist: The Beginning (Paul Schrader Cut) Trailer reported that the trailer for the Paul Schrader version of Exorcist: The Beginning was available online.  And seeing as how I've recently been downloading a number of trailers, I got this one as well.

For a little bit of background on this: it seems director Paul Schrader actually made a whole film out of Exorcist: The Beginning, after which the studio decided it wasn't scary enough.  So then director Renny Harlin came on board and reshot most of the film — and that was the final version that was released in theatres.

Now apparently the studio might release the Paul Schrader version as well.  The trailer contains footage from the original The Exorcist, and then a few (scary!!) clips from The Beginning.  I hope I will get to see this version of the film.  I watched the Renny Harlin version and I thought it was very good (I know many people thought it was bad, but I liked it), and I'm curious to see what this version will be like.

TAPMI Batch of 2003-05 Sweatshirt

We got our personalised TAPMI Batch of 2003-05 Sweatshirts yesterday.  They are very good sweatshirts indeed.  Here is a picture that was taken this morning:

Left to right: Kuldeep Gaur (Kuldi), myself and my roommate Rupak Ranjan Das (RRD).

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Sarah Michelle Gellar drawing

Recently, for Advertising Management class, Prof. Malavika Harita told us to get a set of colours to use in creating some advertisement ideas.  I bought a set of colour pencils because I wanted to try drawing with them.

I have practically never drawn with colour pencils before, so this was pretty interesting to try out.  I decided to draw a picture of Sarah Michelle Gellar that I had on my computer.  I did the drawing in my notebook as usual, though now I think it would have been better to do it on white paper, as the lines interfere with the drawing.

Anyway, this drawing came out quite well, though as with my earlier attempts at drawing Sarah Michelle Gellar, it doesn't exactly resemble her.  Don't know why this is.  The drawing also was a bit too wide, so after scanning I squished it a bit so that it looks better.  This is the final image:

I should also note that I had a tough time scanning this drawing — due to the pressure of the colour pencils, the paper wasn't even, so in the scan imperfections in brightness show up.  Those imperfections are still there in the final image, and so are the notebook lines that make their appearance.

Of course, I have also made a 1024x768 wallpaper out of this to use on my desktop.  One of the advantages of doing these drawings is that you can have a very customised desktop background!

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Oldboy and H2G2 Trailers

It's not often that you see a movie trailer that's truly powerful.  I happened to see one today and I must have watched it about fifteen times by now.  I am talking about the trailer of Oldboy, which is available from from this page.

Oldboy, directed by Chan-Wook Park is a Korean revenge drama that recently made waves at Cannes.  It is about a man who is imprisoned in a hotel room for fifteen years, and then let out.  He finds his wife and child murdered, and himself as the prime suspect, and has five days to find who did it to him and take his revenge.  Apparently, the guy behind the imprisonment also has bigger things in mind — the fifteen-year imprisonment is only the beginning of the torture planned for him.

Ever since I found out these plot details I have been very eager to see the film.  It is getting released in the US in March, so hopefully it will make its way here also.  Today, I downloaded and watched the trailer and I thought it was simply superb.

The trailer is powerful, emotional and beautifully put together.  It shows glimpses of what seems to be a stylish, ultraviolent and very dramatic film.  There is one particular shot in the trailer where you see a brick wall, with one brick missing — you see the imprisoned man's hand put outside through it to feel the rain outside.  Pretty amazing stuff, really, and I thought the music in the trailer was fantastic as well.  Like I mentioned I already watched it several times, and now I am downloading a larger resolution version to watch it even more times.

Oh I also downloaded the trailer of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the one I watched streamed earlier.  This was great as well.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

The Photos

As promised, I am posting photos of the changes that happened to my face in the recent past!  By now people have gotten used to the clean shaven look, and I should have my original beard back within a few days.

This is what I looked like on February 14:

And then, on February 17, the handlebar mustache:

And finally here is the clean shaven look:

Rupak (my roommate) was the first person to see my face like this, and he asked me "Is it you or a clone?"  Some people told me they like my original look better, and others have said that the clean shaven look is actually better.  Everyone agrees, though, that I look younger now.  Anyway, I am going to go back to the original look as soon as the beard grows back.

I watched Macross Plus (Movie Edition) today and liked it.  It was a very beautfiully made anime, and I really like "Myung's Song (Voices)" from the movie.  The story as such involved elements of science fiction, drama, romance, and even action — it is set in the year 2040 on the Planet Eden.  Isamu and Guld, are both fighter pilots, competing for their fighter crafts to be chosen for a defense project.  The virtual singer, Sharon Apple is visiting Planet Eden, and with her comes her producer, Myung.  Myung loved (and still loves) both Isamu and Guld, but their relationships broke up after an incident that happened seven years ago.  There are further developments in the story but it is probably not a good idea to reveal everything here.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Some changes...

Those who know me well have got very used to seeing me with a goatee... but now after six (?) years I decided that I would try something different!  Of course I don't intend it to be permanent, and since now all the photographs I am supposed to take (Interface photo, etc.) have been taken, I have some time to experiment.  So here are the changes that have taken place...

  • February 14 - I shaved off the bottom part of the beard, so there was a handlebar mustache plus a bit of hair in the centre.

  • February 16 - Handlebar mustache only.

  • February 17 - Clean shaven!

I love the astonished looks that people are giving me when they look at my face!

My roommate Rupak got a digital camera recently, and we've been making good use of it (650+ MB of photos and videos within a few days accumulated on my computer...).  I will put up some of these photos soon.

Don't Panic!!

The very first trailer (showing actual footage from the movie) for The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy debuted on the Internet Movie Database and Amazon recently, and I watched it yesterday.  It is absolutely awesome and looks even better than I thought it would be!  There is a brief glimpse of the Vogon ships destroying Earth that looks absolutely stunning, not to mention the actors seem to perfectly suit the roles they are playing.  There are even some extra bits in the trailer that are not in the book!  Can't wait for the movie to be released (April 29, 2005).

I looked at the Sin City Official Site yesterday and it looks great as well.  I just love the black and white/colour combination as well as the comic book like look of the whole thing.

I also finally watched Elektra — rather, I finished watching it last night.  It wasn't a bad movie, but it wasn't a great one either.  Maybe I need to watch it again (I watched one CD of it some days back and the second CD last night) to appreciate it properly.

There is also another movie that I am eager to see now, and that is Constantine, starring Keanu Reeves.  I'd downloaded and seen the trailer a long time back, but I couldn't make sense of it at that time.  I later read about the comic book it is based on (Hellblazer) and got interested in the storyline, and some of the reviews I've read for the movie indicate that it is good (and a proper R-rated movie instead of a toned down PG-13 film).

STAR Movies is showing Infernal Affairs tomorrow night and Infernal Affairs 2 the day after.  It has been a very long time since I watched a movie on TV and I plan to watch both these.

I got the CDs of Gen-Y Cops and Macross Plus: Movie Edition today also.  I have seen the former movie already (and the CD is entirely in Chinese, with no English subtitles... in fact, whatever English dialogue is actually present in the movie is also dubbed over!!) and the latter one I have heard of, as it has Shinichiro Watanabe as one of the directors, and he did a couple of episodes of The Animatrix.  It would be the first well-known anime I'm seeing!

Friday, February 11, 2005

My Interface Photo

Here is a small version of the photo of myself, Ramakrishna and Jayesh that will appear in Interface.  I edited this one to remove the colour in the entire image except for us, and added the cool "dream sequence" effect to it.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Kaante and other movies

I watched Kaante for the second time yesterday on CD (the first time was a couple of years ago).  As is known, this movie is a liberal lift from The Usual Suspects and Reservoir Dogs, but it is stylishly done and is entertaining.

It is directed by Sanjay Gupta, who recently made Musafir.  Comparing the two movies, I think the stylistic photographic tricks in Musafir were a bit more polished, whereas in Kaante they were a bit overused to the point that they became distracting.  Being a bit critical, I would say that the entire movie seemed a bit "rough around the edges", and I have strong complaints about two aspects of the movie in particular:

  • Practising firing guns on a rooftop especially when you've just been released from prison seems like a foolish thing to do.

  • After robbing a bank, walking out of the door with guns in hand, and then REMOVING your ski masks, to smile at each other seems odd.  Wouldn't it make more sense to do all that after having escaped in a getaway vehicle?

On the other hand, the movie did have some aspects that I appreciated, like the general slick look, and the emotional ending.  I am not comparing it with the end of Reservoir Dogs, but taken independently, it did have an impact on me.

I recently saw an interesting fact about this movie quoted on the Internet Movie Database forums.  One of the characters in the movie is named Detective McQuarrie, after Christopher McQuarrie, the writer of The Usual Suspects.

A couple of days before, I watched Blade Runner (the 1991 Director's Cut edition) for the third time.  I love this movie and use a quote from it as my email signature (Roy Batty's emotional dialogue at the end).  Speaking of Director's Cut editions of movies, I managed to watch the altered ending of The Butterfly Effect as well as an extra scene in the Director's Cut edition of that movie.

MIP Finished, Other Work

Today I finished the formalities of my MIP as I submitted the Phase 2 and 3 reports with all the relevant forms.

I have been doing quite a bit of photo editing recently.  Soon, the Corporate Communication Group at TAPMI will be putting out their magazine called Interface, which is a souvenir for us seniors, who will be passing out of the institute soon.  CCG is currently in the process of compiling all the content for the magazine, which includes write-ups about the seniors, and photographs.

Guru, Rupak, Rex, Rama, Jayesh and myself went to a place (I don't actually know the name of the place!) about fifteen kilometres from Manipal to take our photos.  We found a couple of great locations to take these snaps, and then I edited them in Photoshop.  The photo with Guru, Rupak and Rex, has Rupak in colour, whereas the other two people are in black and white.  The second photo (Rama, JD and myself) is entirely in black and white except for the people in it!  I also added to both photos a glow that makes them look like something right out of a flashback or dream sequence scene in a soap opera.  It's a nice effect that I have been calling the "dream sequence effect".

I have also been given an additional, shall we say, "assignment", for Interface.  I cannot say what it is right now, but it involves drawing.  Quite a lot of drawing I might add!  That has kept me busy for a while now and there is still work to do.  It is fun though and I am enjoying it.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Elektra Drawing

Elektra, starring Jennifer Garner is one movie I want to see.  I did this drawing on 24 January morning — started at around 2 AM I think, and finished it at 3:40 AM.

Now, the original drawing was done in my notebook, using a Cello Papersoft ballpoint pen.  I'd seen the advertisements for this pen earlier on TV, and it turned out to be a good pen indeed!  I bought the pen on 23rd night and decided to give it a "test drive", and this drawing was the result.

I spent about two hours now editing the scanned image in Adobe Photoshop.  I first removed the notebook lines, then slightly colourised different portions of the image, mainly to highlight Elektra's red costume.  You'll notice I also added a duplicate layer of the image to the left, and faded it, because that area was looking too empty.

As usual, the font used in the image was created by Nate Piekos of Blambot Fonts.

Enough rambling, here is the image:

You may consider this drawing an endorsement for Cello Papersoft pens.  Of course, their gel ink pens are especially good for drawing!

As for the movie itself, I think the CD is currently available in Manipal.  However, the movie has been getting some not-so-good reviews, and I read somewhere that Ms. Garner herself wasn't too happy with it.  Anyway, I still want to see it.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Most Anxiously Awaited Movies of 2005

The following are movies that I am really waiting to see:

Sin City (releasing April 2005)

This is director Robert Rodriguez's film version of Frank Miller's dark and ultraviolent graphic novel.  The movie is being filmed using a "digital backlot" technique, which means that the actors are filmed against a blue or green screen and all the backgrounds are inserted digitally.  I've seen some preliminary footage and the trailer of the movie and it looks awesome.  Panels from the book have literally been translated to film!  The movie has an impressive star cast as well, including Mickey Rourke, Bruce Willis, Benicio Del Toro, Jessica Alba and Elijah Wood.

A Scanner Darkly (releasing September 2005)

Yet another film adaptation of a Philip K. Dick story (others include Blade Runner, Total Recall, Minority Report, Scanners and Paycheck).  This one stars Keanu Reeves, Winona Ryder, Woody Harrelson and Robert Downey Jr., and is directed by Richard Linklater.  This again is a unique film, because the actors are being filmed in real life, and then the whole thing is being converted to animation, due to which it looks like a comic book come to life.  I've seen some preliminary images from the movie and they look fantastic.  Oh of course, the story is amazing as well — in the future, a drug called Substance D causes people to develop split personalities.  Keanu Reeves plays a cop who is also addicted to the drug, and is trying to shut down the operations of a notorious drug dealer, which is an alternate personality of his!

The Devil's Rejects (releasing August 2005)

Rob Zombie's House of 1000 Corpses was a disturbing movie, and this sequel looks great as well, as I could make out from the trailer.  The movie seems to be bigger and more stylish than the original film.  The trailer's music is simply terrifying.  The official site is here.

Saw 2: Hacksaw (releasing October 2005)

Seeing as how I loved the tense, clever and disturbing horror-thriller Saw, I can't wait for the sequel.  Of course work hasn't even been started on it yet, though it is apparently going to be written by Alex Garland, who wrote 28 Days Later.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (releasing May 2005)

Without a doubt the movie I am most anxiously awaiting!  I am a huge fan of Douglas Adams' books and this movie looks like it will be awesome.  Adams himself contributed to the screenplay of the movie before his demise (and introduced a new character, Humma Kavula), and Karey Kirkpatrick is the screenwriter who is bringing the book to the screen now.  The movie is directed by Garth Jennings.  I love the trailer, and I think the poster is simply superb as well.  The pictures officially released so far also look great.

And today, I read a review of the rough cut of the movie here, at Freeze Dried Movies.

Recently released movies that I want to see include Assault on Precinct 13 (which I hear is really good), Seed of Chucky and Elektra.