Posts tagged ‘Andy Whitfield’

SEASON FINALE AND A TEST SCREENING

The finale of season two of television series SPARTACUS ends with a rip-roaring conclusion with promise of more blood and carnage in season three. I mean, would the senate of Rome keep quiet after what Spartacus and his warriors did to Glaber and his legion? Spartacus even killed Varinius, another decorated praetor? Spartacus’ final words of the last episode were, ‘Let Rome sends their legions. We will face them. And see all follow Glaber in death.’

Liam McIntyre shines as Spartacus, the strategic leader who leads his ill-fated warriors to victory when all hope is lost as they find themselves trapped on top of the Vesuvius volcano, to where they fled when they were outnumbered by Glaber and his legion. Spartacus’ final speech to his disheartened warriors was stirring. He delivered it with aplomb, just as a true leader would.

‘The Romans hold numbers far outweighing our own. Yet they have revealed time and again fatal flaw. That they believe the Roman way is the only one. Just as they believe that there is only one way to leave this mountain. We shall teach them that we forge our own paths. And nothing in this world is impossible, when heart and mind are put towards it. Brace rope, let us begin a lesson forever remembered. The sound will mask descent. The gods bless us with good fortune. Free men create their own. We are all gods this night. And the Romans shall feel our wrath.’

Andy Whitfield would be smiling as Liam bravely took over the reins of the series after his untimely death.

Though the season ended on a triumphant note, it was sad to see Mira die as she was one of the bravest female characters I have seen on both TV and screen. If Lieutenant Ellen L. Ripley was for Aliens or Sarah Connors was for Terminator, Mira was for Spartacus. Though not realized by Spartacus, Mira played a huge role in shaping his destiny. I still believe that Mira was the reason Spartacus became a true leader. In the final battle he probably found strength when Mira was killed. He sure is a man who fought for the women in his life.

Mira may have died, but to see Naevia fought so bravely against Ashur was an elation even though the final beheading was a little bit overly graphic. But I was rooting for her. Naevia was another strong female character who would not succumb to the evil that men have done to her or the tragic circumstances that occurred in her life. To see her stand up on her feet even that symbolically in a sword fight with the man who undid her is something to be treasured. With her powerful reply to Ashur when he degrades her infront of Crixus and her fellow warriors, I wanted to finish him off too. I may have liked his evilness but at that point I really cursed him.

‘My death will not heal the scars you bear. Nor erase of my **bleep** inside of her, or all those that followed,’ Ashur attacks Naevia with ill words.

‘No. It will not. But it is a **bleep** start,’ cries Naevia. Rest is Ashur’s history.

The series has left me like someone possessed. I’m a true fan now. The series has toppled FRIENDS from my favorite TV series list after staying on top since 1994. I can’t wait to see the third season of Spartacus which starts next month.

To fill the void left by Spartacus, my wife and I started watching GAME OF THRONES last night. Many of our kin and friends recommended it. My wife did watch the first two episodes of the first season. I don’t really know what happened after couple of minutes into the first episode.

Ravee and I met at L’Aquila this evening. Ravee will be getting the final audio files of INGILI (Finger) from Mohamed Ikram, composer and sound designer of the film tonight. We are planning to have a test screening next week with limited invitees. Ravee has already booked a place. I’m excited to hear the comments on our first experimental movie.

Cheers!

COME OF AGE

Finally, Liam McIntyre as Spartacus comes of age in episode seven of season two as he slices vertically the complete face of Sedullus, a powerful and a gigantic warrior from the Germanic clan who recently joined his ill-fated freedom fighters. The fight proved his riotous unsettled fighters mostly comprised of clans different and hostile of each other that Spartacus freed himself and the slaves from the house of Batiatus at the end of season one was for a greater good. And the short and strong monologue that followed recognized him as a true leader. It’s such a pivotal moment of the entire season.

‘Is this what you are? Animals, demanding slaughter? We give you freedom. And you repay it with blood and dishonor. If you cannot stand among us as trusted brother, if you cannot follow my orders, take leave now. Or join Sedullus in death.’

Well done Liam. Andy will be so proud.

Once Sedullus’ face is vertically sliced, the interior of his head get exposed and to see his brain slowly sliding out and falling is a moment of extreme gross. Who said having six packs means a stronger abdomen? I have done with one whole pack. Thank you, tummy! You shine brightly even though you have wrapped yourself around a thick layer of flabs.

Last night we, meaning my wife and I finished watching the eighth episode. We are left with only two episodes to conclude season two. Anyway, that episode also has another momentous scene for Spartacus when he goes to kill Ilithya which takes an unexpected turn. For reasons not to spoil the narrative, I have deliberately removed myself from revealing the twist. So I’m not going to linger too much on that scene. But it did reveal besides Liam’s well-toned muscles, some of his acting muscles too. Well done again, Liam. I fear that you’re beginning to make Andy jealous.

It seems that I can’t leave the subject of Spartacus without a notable mention of, yes, Lucretia. I must confess that she really elevates my viewing pleasure to, lets say, considerable heights. But she hasn’t a clue that she’s a far worse serpent than she really thinks she is. The way she manipulates everyone around is delightful. It’s so very obvious that she has an ulterior motive and moreover it’s also obvious that her motive is going to be shocking even though I’m well prepared for the shock. She’s good. She’s real good. And my prayers are with her even her actions are painted in evil. I love you, evil.

Cheers!

SADNESS

My wife and I are already sad that the second season of television series, Spartacus titled Spartacus Vengeance is drawing to what looks to be an epic conclusion. We’re left with only four more episodes to watch. But we seek consolation from knowing that the third season is just around the corner that kick starts next year around late January, that’s next month. And also next month starts my favourite reality show, American Idol season 12. Amongst the judging panel for the new season has Mariah Carey. I don’t think I can ever stop my eyes from getting glued… on the screen, I mean.

Just as I expected, with each episode of the second season of SPARTACUS, Liam McIntyre who now plays the title character is beginning to sink his teeth into his character as he slices, dices and cuts Romans into bits and pieces as he fights for the freedom of slaves and his vendetta to kill Glaber. And Liam also gets to make out with Mira, every time in slo-mo with warm lighting. In my opinion it’s Mira who is transforming Liam into a man to fill the shoes left by Andy Whitfield as Spartacus.

The fifth episode is an edge-of-your-seat thriller as Spartacus, and his fighters ravage the coliseum to free Crixus, Oenomaus and Rhaskos from execution. We were literally on the edge of our seat. At one point, I had to stop my wife from jumping into the screen to aide Spartacus.

Also, one thing I noticed from season two is that in almost every episode I have seen so far, Spartacus gives a repetitious speech to inspire his few in numbers ill-fated freedom fighters. If only there’s a little build-up to these speeches. But his speeches on slavery and freedom would give The Great Emancipator a smile.

The episodes I have watched so far continues to explore more on other characters and their plight that are becoming more interesting and important. Crixus’ character at times seems to take over the role of the protagonist as his cause to find Naevia moves the narrative forward in every direction and even after reuniting with her confronts unexpected hurdles as he keeps fighting them. Doesn’t that sound more like a protagonist?

And then there’s my Lucretia whose evil planning made the Romans and people of Capua believe that she is divine. Jupiter will be laughing. But to see her and Ashur part ways have made me worrisome. They were such a great evil pairing. But I have a feeling Lucretia will have more surprises for Ashur under her sleeve. Look what she did to Quintus’ father, Titus in the six-part prequel.

Leaving blood and gore aside, the producers of INGILI (Finger) which includes Ravee, Munavvaru and I have set our focus on releasing the film as soon as possible. The completion of colour grading has been fast-tracked. We have even thought of releasing the film in the island of K. Gulhi first. The film was shot entirely in that island. We have also thought of either donating the ticket sales of the shows in K. Gulhi to its people or give them shows for free of charge. But we’re just brooding over these options presently.

I leave for now. I got to support Arsenal as they play this very moment against West Brom. Luckily Arsenal is leading by a goal scored by Arteta from the spot.

Cheers!

OF LILY AND VENGEANCE

Since first of this month, I have been out of town and on vacation with my family, thus my short absence from posting anything at all. It was a well spent three nights at Lily Beach Resort and Spa, thanks to my sister for taking us with her. Her job at the mentioned resort’s main office comes with such rewarding benefits. A career change did cross my mind fleetingly. But I’m sure I’d be fired the very next day for spending too much time away from my job, most probably typing out my next screenplay under the shades of the coconut palms at the fringe of the long stretch of white sandy pristine beach that gets caressed slowly by the soothing waves generated from the crystal clear blue sea, with the help of the wind that is. And then there’s my pina colada by my side, which of course is non-alcoholic. Brownie points I do seek.

During the entire trip when my son was walking on anything but the sand which was like the whole resort had a full infrastructure of sandy roads and beach all around except for the wooden deck of the open air restaurants and the room we stayed in, I was busy shooting with my Nokia N8. And at times I shot while carrying my son who I knew wanted to give me some tips on handling the camera but then decided it was best to do it when he grows up and when I’m too old and unable to refute him. He had that look, you know? Anyway, I will be compiling a music video of this trip just like the one I did when my family including my sister’s took a trip to Island Hideaway in August this year. All in all I always do a music video of all my family trips.

Soon after we returned home on Tuesday, I met with Ravee at L’Aquila that evening. But before we sat down for a coffee, we met actor and editor, Abdulla Muaz and reconfirmed his commitment to do the color grading of INGILI (Finger). He asked us to drop the film’s project at his studio at our earliest.

Mohamed Ikram, music composer and sound designer of INGILI joined us while Ravee and I were having coffee. Ikram didn’t order a coffee though. He went for some kind of newly promoted fruit juice in a can.

Last night, my wife and I started watching the second season of SPARTACUS titled SPARTACUS: VENGEANCE. We didn’t mind filling our eyes with blood, gore and sex straightaway. Without those elements, there’s no SPARTACUS. Speaking of whom, we felt that Liam McIntyre as the replacement of Andy Whitfield looked too young like in the very first episode Mira tries to put some sense into his thick skull by telling him that they needed a leader not some angry boy who can barely piss without splashing everyone. That sums up our new Spartacus. But I have faith in Liam and I’m sure he’d make Andy proud as he will set his feet firmly on the character as the season progresses.

I guess for the very reason, the first two episodes of the second season which I have seen so far were crafted wisely, as the narrative of both episodes delves deeply into other characters especially Glaber and Oenomaus respectively.

And then there’s Lucretia. I almost sprung out of my seat to see her returned and give enough reasons for my wife to frown. Her appearance really was a joyous surprise. She’s like a phoenix to be reborn from the ashes. And to see Ashur reappear as well at the end of the second episode felt that the much needed evil is once again restored. And to realize that he and Lucretia are scheming together mean that everyone around them are in for a real treat. Can’t wait to find out what they are up to.

Cheers!

71 BC

How come I was unaware of SPARTACUS, the boldest TV series I’m watching at present which was aired 2 years ago? It’s shameful not to know anything about it for someone who boasts on having considerable knowledge in films, and more shameful at a time when internet is readily available and for someone who everyday updates himself with Hollywood news instead of having a morning coffee. Twenty something years ago, when internet was inter-what, I kept myself updated by subscribing to US magazine, PREMIERE and Australian magazine, MOVIE. I had a huge stack of both these magazines which kept piling with each month. Many years later I was on crossroads. I was left with no choice but to throw them all when storage space was desperately required for storing, well, more important things. I was in tears that day. And getting over the depression that followed was unbearable.

Okay back to SPARTACUS. To think about it, now I know why I never really heard about it. Firstly, it happened to be a TV series and secondly, like I mentioned in one of my recent post that I’m not much of a TV series fan. All these added up to absence of my knowledge on it. The only two series I completed watching was TWIN PEAKS and FRIENDS. Hopefully soon, SPARTACUS will be listed as the third which is also my best. Sorry FRIENDS.

Umar, a popular local DJ who is also my brother-in-law was repeatedly asking my wife and I to watch SPARTACUS for quite some time. But I never really cared because it so happened to be, yes, a TV series. But he didn’t give up. He kept asking us to watch just one episode and then we can decide on watching the rest of the seasons. I know there was no harm in watching just one episode but I still never cared. When I’m not in the mood to watch anything, usually mood of my wife follows suit. Dozing off is a different matter as long as I’m beside her.

Anyway, a month back, Umar came with his external HDD and saved both seasons and the six-part prequel of SPARTACUS in to my laptop. But I still never gave a thought on watching. Then one night while I was deleting old files to make space for the HDD, I came across the folder that Umar saved the series. I right clicked on the folder and checked how much space it was using. I thought 14.7 GB was just too much for a series I wasn’t going to watch, ever. I deleted it immediately.

Later that night, for no reason I just happened to check SPARTACUS from IMDB. Went through the storyline and some of the reviews and yet remained unconvinced. Then I played the trailer of the second season and my pupils dilated frantically. Then my jaw dropped. By the time the trailer was over, I was about to drool. Suddenly I came to senses. Quickly, I double clicked the recycle bin, right clicked on the folder and restored what was going to entertain my wife and me completely.

We have completed first season of SPARTACUS and last night finished the six-part prequel which was supposedly made to give time for Andy Whitfield who plays the titular character in season one to recover when he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. But sadly Andy passed away on September 11, 2011.

Of course, Andy Whitfield will remain the heart and soul of the series. My wife would nod her head countless times though I can do with just one on the same fact. But John Hannah as Quintus Lentulus Batiatus almost steals the show as the main antagonist of  season one but surprisingly plays the protagonist of the six-part prequel.

Then there’s Lucretia, wife of Quintus, played to perfection by Lucy Lawless. I must confess that she’s my most favorite character of the first season and the six-part prequel. And in the fifth part of the prequel when Titus, dying father of Quintus asks Lucretia if she’s not the serpent he had thought her to be, her reply would even give shivers to Jupiter. For me it’s the defining moment of her character. From there it was understandable who she really is. Then again who wouldn’t be like her to elevate someone she loves more than life itself. I’m going to sorely miss her in the second season.

From 71 BC to 21st century, last night the three producers of INGILI (Finger), that’s Hussain Munavvaru, Ravee Farooq and I met at L’Aquila. Now that the music score and sound design are almost done, the only remaining post production work is color grading. We have decided to give that task including mastering to Abdulla Muaz who also happened to be one of the only two characters of the film. Yes, he is a brilliant editor who has won best editor at the last Maldives Film Awards held in July this year. And his post production work is remarkable too. He has already agreed verbally.

The releasing of DHILAKANI (Fire Sparks) teaser trailer was delayed to complete the musical installment of its director Hussain Munavvaru’s beloved franchise, KUDAFOOLHU. Ravee who was assigned to produce all the promotional videos of DHILAKANI had to take over the editing of KUDAFOOLHU which has been officially announced for a next week release.

Though Ravee is busy with several works, he’s started storyboarding of EMME MANZAREH (Just One Scene). Hopefully I can sit with him to discuss the storyboard at the end of December.

Well, that’s all for now. I decapitate this post with my rudis until another update. I-am-Spartacus!

Cheers!

I AM SPARTACUS

I am Spartacus! Not really. But those were the powerful words yelled by, yes, Spartacus, the man himself after stylishly and not to mention bloodily disposing six Thracians at the end of episode seven of season one. If I were to deliver the same line, to start with, I wouldn’t have survived a second stepping into the sand and sandal period he was in. The blood and the violence are just too much my single packed belly can take.

Even if the violence was removed, still my existence there would be futile. With all the sex Spartacus gets to perform and watch, no way I’m going to sleep on the couch and sign divorce papers the very next day. Like Spartacus feels about his long lost love and reuniting with her, I couldn’t imagine my life without my family. I’m not going to do anything to hurt them. In short quick cuts with muffled laughter and really emotional music, I am seeing moments I spend with my beloved wife and my son. They are all that I hold dear in my life. So unlike Spartacus making a mistake of going to war even when his wife begged him to stay in the pilot episode, I’m going to stay as myself with my family. End credits roll with sweeping music.

Now, what was that all about? Looks like I’ve been pretty hooked into this series. Addicted would be a better word to describe my new few found love in Spartacus. With each episode, the plot twists and turns unexpectedly and the layers of all the characters keeps peeling off. But this thought of Andy Whitfield’s demise still haunts me. I’m going to miss him once season one ends. But somehow I will continue watching and finish what he started.

Moving from reel life to real life, the teaser trailer of DHILAKANI (Fire Sparks) is shaping up very coolly. I have no right to speak more on this. Director Hussain Munavvaru is also working on animating the title. To do this, he commissioned visual effects expert, Ahmed Shinan. Last night, I saw a rough preview and I must say Shinan has really brought life and meaning to what the title suggests with fire sparks surging out from the enflamed letters, DHILAKANI. Simply awesome!

In the meantime director Ravee Farooq is busy finalizing the score and sound design of INGILI (Finger) with music composer Mohamed Ikram. Hopefully in no time, they will wrap up everything.  A new trailer is on the way.

That’s all I have for now. Can’t wait for tonight to watch the eighth episode of Spartacus. I may not be him but in my imagination I am him. So hear me scream, I-AM-SPARTACUS. Cough! Cough!

Cheers!

ROUGH CUT AND SPARTACUS

Before Editor Ali Shifau Chippe left to India today, I thought director Hussain Munavvaru did sit with him and finalized the rough cut of DHILAKANI (Fire Sparks). But I thought wrong. Munavvaru couldn’t find time because he was too busy with post production of the musical installment of his franchise KUDAFOOLHU scheduled to be released before the end of next week. This means, I only get to see a preview of DHILAKANI once Munavvaru finalizes the editing. Good thing is that I wouldn’t have to wait for two long weeks like I was first told. Chippe is gone only for a week.

Ravee Farooq, who was commissioned to make all the promotional videos including trailers for DHILAKANI, has resumed working on the teaser trailer which he started few weeks back. I’m guessing by next week this trailer will be released. A little while ago, I watched a rough version of it. I wish I could give a description of what I saw but unfortunately, I’m not allowed to leak anything before the releasing. However, I can say this much. It looks cool. There, I’ve said it and I don’t think I’m allowed to say even that much. I’ve breached the contract. I’m guilty and I will be sued, soon or later.

Finally, my prayer for a speedy recovery for INGILI (Finger) composer Mohamed Ikram was answered last night. Director Ravee met with him to finalize the score and sound design of the film. Ravee was completely mesmerized after watching a preview of the film with all the sound and music. This morning he called me and said the score was out of this world, it was this and that. I said, the feeling was all mutual as I felt the same when I watched the same preview. Ravee was out of town at that time shooting the musical of KUDAFOOLHU. Ravee will sit with Ikram tonight as well.

I made few changes to two scenes of EMME MANZAREH (Just One Scene). Ahmed Nadeem, Ravee and Ahmed Zareer praised those amended scenes.

Now that EMME MANZAREH is wrapped up, I have started clearing the remnant of its screenplay from my brain cache. As this process will take few more days, I’m indulging myself with my beloved wife watching SPARTACUS, the television serial. We’re on season one and so far completed three episodes. Not that bad in two nights I guess. Though I’m not that crazy watching TV serials, I kind of fell in love with the stylized violence shown in SPARTACUS. However, I felt each episode contained graphic scenes of violence and sex in slo-mo padded deliberately into the storyline. My wife even wondered if effing was abundantly used during Roman times.

Speaking of TV serials, for the record, the only two serials I completed watching were TWIN PEAKS and FRIENDS. Other than those, I never followed any other serials. I hope to complete SPARTACUS but today I hit an emotional block when I learned that Andy Whitfield who plays the titular character and shares the same birthday as me, died on September 11, 2011. I was so rooting for him in the three episodes I have watched. Now I just don’t feel like watching it. Maybe if I get over this emotional block soon, I will probably resume.

On that sad note, I leave this post for now.

Cheers!