Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Since the first King Kong movie in 1933, many ape movies have made their mark on the silver screen. But with each and every movie, they have advanced in terms of technology and the magical experience they can provide. From monkey masks to actors playing in a motion-capture monkey, ape movies have come a long way. So, for the movie’s astounding visual effects and the applaudable story, Rise of the Planet of the Apes is definitely one of the best movies of the year.

The movie is set in San Francisco in the near future. The film opens at Gen Sys; a genetic therapy phamaceutical company, where a geneticist Will Rodman (James Franco) has been using apes for tests in developing a drug which could cure Alzheimer’s. He is desparate for the drug because his father Charles (John Lithgow) suffers from it. Will also has adopted a chimp named Caesar, who gets orphaned when his genetically enhanced mother gets killed after running wild at his lab.

But the story is less about Will or his father as much as it is about Caesar who emerges as the hero. He is not a mere chimp, he is a child; a very bright one indeed. He isn’t just doing acrobatic jumps in his attic playroom or hanging on to cords and swinging on the ceiling lamp of the kitchen, he is actually reaching for destiny higher than a cookie jar.

Andy Serkis playing the monkey in motion capture, gives life to the creature. The time travel from youth to maturity is presented in a beautiful sequence, where he climbs the tops of the highest tree in Muir Woods as a young chimp and then is shown staring across the San Francisco bay, fully grown.

As a matured ape, he is agressive, but his first act of violence is in defense to his ‘grandfather’. That is when the real action that we oh-so waited for begins. Caesar attacks the neighbour after he sees him threatening Charles for accidentally wrecking his car. For that, he gets sent to an animal shelter, where he is ill-treated by the warden and a sadistic guard. Among all the other brawn chimps, Caesar knows better, so he makes an escape and filches a supply of the wonder drug and gives it the chimps, an orangutan and a gorilla. He liberates the others, playing the Alpha, leading them to revolt against the human opressors.

Will’s ambition to improve life through science is questionable. Frieda Pinto, playing his girlfriend is the one who raises the most questions. While revolting, there are times when the apes stop short of harming their opressors, making us feel as if the chimps are more humane than human themselves. The story is about revolt, a question mark on science and so much more. Everyone can have his or her own interpretation to how the story runs but if  that isn’t what you’re looking for, it is still a joy ride.

The performances by the actors are fine. Pinto stays in her role as the vet and Will’s girlfriend, but there is nothing more special than that. Director Rupert Wyatt has taken a big leap with this movie after his 2008 debut ‘The Escapist’. The movie is a technical landmark and Serkis as Caesar has a huge part in making it happen. In fact, he might even put on a challenge for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to give him an Oscar, even though he is never seen on screen.

The movie is fantastic and every scene grabs your attention. It can put you in your seats, and without a muscle moving make every inch of you twist and turn. The movie is a triumph of spectacle; a must watch.

Cinnamon Grill Lounge – Try It. You’ll Like It

When Cinnamon opened for service two years ago, it was capable of grabbing my attention immediately. However, for one reason or another I never stepped in, until last month.

The name itself is enough to alert all your senses for good food. And it serves nothing less than that. Moreover, the place has a fabulous ambience, inside and out. When I say ‘out’, I mean it. It is the hidden side of the restaurant at the back with a small garden, which many may not be aware of. The interior is done in dusky orange, copper brown and a golden yellow; Cinnamon being the entire theme. Just like cinnamon, the restaurant gives a sweet and savoury feel. It is warm and welcoming. The lounge is spacious and yet gives a cozy comfort feel, many wish for. It is superb to catch-up with your pals and rock to some live music.

But the best part of being in Cinnamon is the food. There is nothing better than a plate full of hot, delicious, aromatic food to dig in to. We had the kitchen’s special, Pork chops and Buffalo Chicken Wings. The generous pork chops were tossed in spicy barbecue sauce and served with a big dollop of mashed potato and buttered vegetables. The meat was tender, juicy and the sauce over it made it picture perfect. The mashed potato was pretty good. It wasn’t buttery smooth but had even seasoning.

The Buffalo Chicken Wings are fried chicken wings tossed with fried garlic, hot sauce and rice wine vinegar. The serving of wings was a humble amount, crackling on the outside but soft and juicy on the inside. Here, the sauce is undoubtedly the hero of the dish. For drinks, we were served a mocktail named Pussyfoot. It is a lady’s drink, meant to be real smooth, refreshing and ofcourse lady-like. Well, it wasn’t the best drink I ever had, there was nothing really exceptional about it.

Dessert was definitely my favourite part of the entire meal. The Banana Split looked beautiful and it was worth the price. Overall, it was a satisfying experience. When there is music in the air, a cool drink to sip on and delicious food, what more can one ask for, for less than Rs.1000? It is one of the coolest hangouts in Patan and you wouldn’t want to miss it.

Being a Leo WE SERVE!

When I entered a restaurant at New Road to conduct an interview with the president of Leo Club, Leo Pramod Shrestha, I was expecting him to be in formal attire and with a serious face. But he was very different. Wearing the bright yellow and dark blue T-shirt of the Leo Club and with the signature friendly Leo smile, he looked very casual, approachable and just plain nice.

Leo Pramod was the president of Leo club of Kathmandu Samakhusi for 2010/2011. Kathmandu Samakhusi is one of the Leo Clubs of District 325B. His role as the president of the club has come to an end but he has greater responsibilities now. He has been elected the coordinator of District 325B. Honestly I had no idea about District 325B. When asked he told us that, 325 is the code provided to Nepal by the international Leo Club. All the Leo Clubs of Nepal have been divided into two districts; Dis 325A and Dis 325B. There are a total of 25 clubs in 325A and a total of 52 clubs in 325B. The Leo Club of Kathmandu Samakhusi is one of those 52 clubs.

Kathmandu Samakhusi has never been a standout club. Yes, good things were achieved, but it had never won the limelight or even shared it with the other clubs before Leo Pramod Shrestha came along. Joining Leo in 2007, Leo Pramod admits ‘it’s been a pretty long journey since then till now’. One of his biggest achievements was being honoured with Membership Growth Award by the International Leo Club. Wanting to learn more about the organisation and Leo Pramod’s role in it, Verse spent an inspirational afternoon with the Leo man of the hour.

What motivated you to join Leo all those years ago?

I have been interested in social work since a very early age. That is what attracted me in the first place. Other than that, Leo is one of the best places to meet people from different areas of life. It is a great platform to learn about other people’s experience. Many people actually join in for the key purpose of social networking. Ever since I have joined Leo I have come across so many different people and learned so much from them.

What are the aims of the organization?

‘We serve’, it is the motto of Leo and that is what we do.

During the time you served as the president of Leo club of Kathmandu Samakhusi, what are the services you have done?

As long as I have been involved in the club, I had a wish to organise a health camp. I got my wish fulfilled during my service period as the president. We organised the free health check-up camp in Nuwakot. It focused on women’s health and eye-sight check-ups. Along with that we also organized a free health camp for the old age home. There was a cultural preservation programs at Mhyapi. Then we also organized an interactive program with children the Nawakiran Ashram at Hattiban and supplied stationeries and sports equipments for them. On 30th December 2010 we conducted a charity program for blind students of Sanjeevani School at Dhulikhel. In the program we distributed tape recorders and musical instruments for classes VIII, IX, and X for their study.

What is one thing you did during your service that you are really proud of?

There are so many, it is hard to pick one. But one thing that I am really pleased with is the health camp that we organized. It was self satisfying- a long time dream that came true. Other than that, we broke a cliché in our club too which I am really happy about. We moved from doing regular programs and initiated fundraising programs. We raised Rs. 80,000 which is a record for the club. Out of the total amount we donated equipments worth Rs. 35,000 to Sanjeevani School.

Are you satisfied with the services you have provided? Is there anything that you feel that you still missed to do?

No, not really. I did everything that I possibly could do as the president of the club. Moreover, I accomplished my life-long dream of conducting a health camp which is my biggest achievement. We did not organise more than nine programs that year but it was a successful year. Aantepachi safal bhaincha.

Any advice for the youths of Nepal?

The best thing you can do is explore yourself. So, utilise your time and get to know the creative, athletic side of yourself. Find your identity. Leo helped me find mine, may be it will help you to. Else, there are other mediums as well. You can join a club or get into sports. The alternatives are plenty.

Leo is more than just a club. It is an opportunity for self-development. The word ‘Leo’ itself stands for Leadership, Experience and Opportunity. Becoming a Leo is just a step away. All you have to do is find the nearest Leo Club and ask. For more information you can visit the Leo office located at Mustang Holiday Inn, Thamel, Kathmandu. Or search online at www.leoclubnepal.org.np

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II

When the best is left for last.

It is sad for a Harry Potter fan like me that it all ends with the Deathly Hallows II. There goes the anxiety and the excitement which arrives with the release of the each movie of the series. But it is probably for the best. It is always better when we know the right time to let go off things we love. So there I was in the houseful theatre eagerly waiting for the beginning of the end.

The finale of J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows had been split into two parts. While the first part was slow, with Harry, Ron and Hermione grasping at the straws, struggling with their friendship and their lack of direction, the second part is fast paced and has shown the trio’s bond stronger than ever. The finale is a treat for all the committed Harry Potter fans and it can also put the new comers in their seat.

The movie is just over two hours in length, making it the shortest of all the Harry Potter series but still the best so far. The story picks up just where the first half ends. The three sorcerers are on their quest for the remaining horcruxes, objects that contain pieces of Lord Voldemort’s dark soul. During the search, the trio find themselves in dangerous situations, managing escapes and donning disguises. All the action is set at a tremendous pace which succeeds in giving one an adrenaline rush, but it also comes with the ever-so-prized special moments of the beloved characters. There are the classic punch lines which we are accustomed to in a Potter film, in addition to those magical moments like the kiss between Ron and Hermione. Director David Yates has not failed to give us those shining instances that we so adore. The escape from Gringotts on a dragon is simply breathtaking and the final battle at Hogwarts is totally epic. Every actor has played his/her part marvelously, as they always have. Ron and Hermione are at their best and so are the rest of the Hogwarts members. We have seen the trio literally grow up on screen and they have matured not only as wizards but also as individual actors in their own right.

As the last film of seven, The Deathly Hallows Part II reveals all the secrets we have been waiting to hear. The pieces of the puzzle finally come together and give us the whole picture. Severus Snape’s character comes in a whole new light and he emerges as one of the heroic figures rather than an evil one. There are many surprises in store, the greatest being one particular memory of Snape’s which not only reveals a lot about his character but also serves as the crucial fact during the battle. Alan Rickman has given a heart-wrenching performance which is one of the most memorable of all time. There is Dumbledore’s as well. Since the sixth film, we were presented with a more allusive side of the Hogwarts headmaster wherein more questions were raised than those answered. The Deathly Hallows Part II again elucidates those secrets from Dumbledore’s past. This part shows Neville Longbottom’s character to be more than just a background comic slapstick. While Harry has been destined to greatness, Neville had to work of it. The unsung hero, who almost became the chosen one, is instrumental in supporting Harry and finally gets his moment of glory, and what a moment indeed (the entire theatre was filled with applauses, so you should get the idea).

But then again it all comes to the epic battle between Harry and Lord Voldemort. This isn’t just a fight between these two, but between good and evil. Hogwarts is immersed in battle where teachers, students, ghosts even the armours play their role. During the darkest time, there is no separation of houses, students from all the houses (excluding Slytherin house, obviously) unite together to save their school as well as their world. There is a lot of death and destruction during this historic battle. Hogwarts falls and crumbles, only to rise back up of course. Technically, I don’t think the 3D effect was necessary. The movie was magnificent in itself and the 3D didn’t serve much. And, well if you know the book by heart and want to see every detail as it was described, you might be a bit let down during the battle. But, then again, the whole book can’t be shown in a movie and the modified parts have only made it a more exciting watch. One of the prevailing themes of all the Potter films is that love- real, strong, genuine love- can overcome adversity and ultimately protect you from evil. No one will be disappointed in the scene between Harry and his parents where we are at once confronted with a great sense of emptiness but also a resounding comfort knowing that Harry has never been alone.

Overall the movie is a roller coaster ride. It has its high and its lows, there are twists and turns. It is thrilling and scary but when the ride is over you want to go through it all over again. A great movie and one of the best finales of all time. Harry Potter has indeed ended but it has left with a BANG!