About Me

I ramble about a number of things - but travel experiences, movies and music feature prominently. See my label cloud for a better idea. All comnments and opinions on this blog are my own, and do not in any way reflect the opinions/position of my employer (past/current/future).

26 January 2013

Movie: Les Misérables

I have not seen the stage production, but there are a number of well known songs from Les Misérables. Just the production elements in this movie are amazing - from the very begining where slaves are pulling a ship in a stormy sea into a drydock, to the end, with the revolutionary battles - it is hard to imagine how this movie could have even been staged in a theatre in the first place!

Despite being a long movie, it is well paced with superb performances. Anne Hathaway's performance of "I Dreamed a Dream" is possibly one of the singularly best personal performances in a movie I have seen for a very long time. It is no wonder that she is up for so many award; and the movie is worth watching for that scene alone.

23 January 2013

Movie: The Master

The credits had just started rolling, and I had two reactions - WTF was that about, and why did bother staying through it? The Master seemingly has no plot, but rather a set of seemingly a set of events that take place featuring Joaquin Phoenix' character, who is suffering from PTSD after WW2. But I did not get out of the movie with an idea on what the story was, what the point of the movie was, and the movie did not even seem to convey some argument for or against cults.

All in all, it was a waste of 2 plus hours.

20 January 2013

Vodaworld's Customer Service

I promised my mom a new phone, and so we went to Vodaworld to get one on Saturday. I had gone earlier, and had already ruled out Android phones (too difficult to use, IMO) and given the general dearth of dumb phones (except the really cheap and nasty ones) - it boiled down to two choices - iPhone or a Windows Mobile enabled Nokia. Key factors I considered were large and clear lettering; and easy to use interface for the functions my mom uses most - text messaging and the phone itself. Thus app availability, navigation, music and even camera were not really under consideration. Ultimately, it came down to price and availability - the iPhone 5 was too expensive, and the 4S was not being sold anywhere; and the Nokia 610 was being sold at a fairly reasonable price.

That is if we could get one - the Nokia shop rep said that they had none in stock, but the Vodacom 4U store did. So we went back, stood in line, only to be told that they didn't have one in stock. In fact, all the stores in Vodaworld said the same; they didn't have one in stock (although they all had Nokia 510s, but none on display). When we went back to the Nokia store, they had no 510s on display - but they also informed us, that the 610 was actually being phased out to be replaced by the 510 (which doesn't really make sense; but ok). So the flagship Nokia store is full of phones, that are no longer being made, but doesn't actually stock the phones that are being sold. And people wonder, why Nokia is in trouble?

So back to Vodacom 4U to buy the 510, and then comes the sim swap - swapping the sim card for a micro sim. Again, wait in (a different) line, only to be told that they don't do pre-paid simcards; but rather to go to the Vodacom Shop opposite. Which off course proceeded to repeat the pattern - they don't do sim-swaps but rather go to the 4U shop (which is were wer are coming from!) or Customer Care. 

Vodacom Customer care was busy - and the waiting line was for 80 minutes! That's a lot of customer problems, being solved very slowly. Luckily to do a sim swap, you can just buy a micro-sim, and call the customer care number to do a swap. Which is what I proceeded to do (and took a matter of a couple of minutes).

This was supposed to be a painless exercise - after all this is Vodacom's showpiece for their customers. Given that so many new phones require micro sims (and so many people want to do sim swaps, as evidenced by other people in the lines), why doesn't Vodacom open up a dedicated channel for this purpose. And Nokia, please copy all the competitors, and actually showcase the phones you have to sell in the market - isn't that what you are trying to do?

Movie: Django Unchained

This was one of the movies I have been really waiting to see, and I wasn't disappointed. A brilliant script (with the expected witty banter), superb acting and over the top violence, it was a classic Tarantino movie. If Inglorious Basterds was the final word in Nazi movies; Django Unchained may well be the last word in slavery movies.

Unlike Tarantino's previous revenge movies, Django Unchained is also a love story, which serves as the central story theme. The real star of the movie is however is yet again Christof Waltz's character; once again a German hunter; this time a bounty hunter. There are also brilliant performances by Leonardo de Caprio, Samuel Jackson and Jamie Foxx as Django. In fact Samuel Jackson's character is as much a villain as the white slavers.

It is graphically violent, and perhaps not as brilliant as Inglorious Basterds; but it is quite close.