Items of Interest – 29-Jan-12 to 5-Feb-12

Like I did some days back, here is a collection of interesting things that I linked to, or tweeted, in the past week.

Tweets and Retweets

  • 5-Feb-12: RT @funnyhumour My superbowl.com site has been getting loads of hits this week. It seems people are finally appreciating the sheer quality of my owl
  • 5-Feb-12: We want a better quality JPG 🙂 RT @MouthTapedShut The Girl with the #DragonTattoo Blu-ray/DVD cover: http://tmblr.co/ZuxP2xFvR_w_ #MOUTHTAPEDSHUT
  • 5-Feb-12: RT @josephradhik @gottabreakfree EPIC!! RT @RobKH: “Guy Pearce in Memento.” “Guy who?” “Guy.” “Who’s there?” “Knock Knock.”
  • 5-Feb-12: Can’t imagine what that would be like! RT @Lozatron_ I am tireder than a tired person who is very tired.
  • 5-Feb-12: RT @mihirfadnavis RT @SethMacFarlane: If you say “an historic”, you’re probably an hasshole.
  • 5-Feb-12: RT @Galactica_gk It’s so much more darker than the Swedish Version. David Fincher is a genius. #TheGirlWithDragonTattooEnglish
  • 4-Feb-12: Expert Mode http://t.co/gjUHQnMM
  • 3-Feb-12: RT @BaggadBilla Guess karo mein kaun hoon? (text from unknown number) me: @AapChutiyeHain
  • 3-Feb-12: RT @R_beccaBlair Life is too short to give your time to rude people. =)
  • 2-Feb-12: RT @atulkasbekar Lol! http://t.co/2wGpQcUN
  • 2-Feb-12: RT @rob_sheridan @jonjensen0 … Unicode 6.1 is out, and it includes this amazing new character: PILE OF POO (U+1F4A9) http://www.fileformat.info/info/unicode/char/1f4a9/index.htm
  • 2-Feb-12: RT @funnyhumour I’ve recently stopped using products that are tested on animals. My dog hasn’t had a meal in 2 days.
  • 1-Feb-12: Angel Heart – Atmospheric, dark and creepy horror/thriller. Mickey Rourke and De Niro are excellent. 8/10
  • 1-Feb-12: RT @funnyoneliners @the_moonface Me: I’d like to report a disturbance. Police Dispatcher: Okay, where sir Me: In the force, I can feel it.
  • 1-Feb-12: Nice review… RT @Galactica_gk Män Som Hatar Kvinnor http://t.co/YprUN9EF
  • 1-Feb-12: Total Carnage http://t.co/fC0UoYkw
  • 1-Feb-12: RT @RGVzoomin “@sirasri: its not the dips u take, its the depth which counts.. Its not the steps u climb, its the height which matters.”
  • 1-Feb-12: RT @designersays RT @VerifiedDrunk: I wouldn’t make a very good doctor cause I don’t give a fuck how you feel.
  • 1-Feb-12: RT @funnyoneliners 10 times out of 9, you’ll find me exaggerating about something. RT @clarkekant
  • 1-Feb-12: “A Room Filled with an Obnoxious Amount of Money” http://t.co/tdR1OLsw
  • 31-Jan-12: RT @funnyoneliners Sure you can follow your heart… just don’t forget to take your brain with you. RT @newfylover1
  • 31-Jan-12: Agreed 100%, Creamstone = Joy of Ice Cream RT @vemana Creamstone ice cream has been had. Joy of ice cream has been rediscovered.
  • 31-Jan-12: RT @HaaaNaaahh RT @funnyorfact #WeAllHaveThat one song in our playlist which we always skip, but never delete.
  • 31-Jan-12: RT @RGVzoomin “@Praveenraj_: We all damn well know that the whole world’s a stage, but none of us have a fucking idea what the script is?.”
  • 30-Jan-12: Awesome poster! RT @ResidentEvil Evil Goes Global. Fall 2012. #ResidentEvil http://t.co/p7eJpqgt
  • 30-Jan-12: Atari and Gaming History http://t.co/XcOnai54
  • 30-Jan-12: RT @zombeaner David Fincher Refuses to Cut ‘Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,’ India Release Canceled http://t.co/Du4oBlO3
  • 30-Jan-12: A nice hot cup of tea at the right moment (when you feel you need it the most) = heaven.
  • 30-Jan-12: RT @josephradhik RT @Koquettish: He asked her to unzip. She downloaded winRAR. #AwkwardErotica
  • 29-Jan-12: Before Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross’ In the Hall of the Mountain King from “The Social Network”, there’s another version I used to listen to.
  • 29-Jan-12: That is “In the Hall of the Mountain Thing” by Mark Anthony Klem. I have a MIDI file of it along with some of his Doom music.
  • 29-Jan-12: I am not able to find a proper link / download of it now, to link & share. I don’t know whether I should upload the MIDI file that I have.
  • 29-Jan-12: That MIDI file of Mark Klem’s “In the Hall of the Mountain Thing” I have is a whopping 11 KB in size and was downloaded on 26-Apr-01.
  • 29-Jan-12: Nice! RT @rajturl Didn’t know @ankash1009 had something to do with Talaash, ‘additional dialogues’. It makes it even more awesome …
  • 28-Jan-12: And a couple of days back, I registered the domain KarthikAbhiram.com. Right now it just points to Karthik82.com.

Other Links

  • Timehop – Timehop is a neat web-based application that integrates with your social networking accounts (I linked it to my Facebook and Twitter accounts), pulls past updates from them, and sends you an email on what you did a year ago.  For example a year ago, I posted this on Facebook.
  • Lee Bermejo’s Rorschach – They are apparently doing a set of Watchmen prequels with some big names attached to the project.  This is Lee Bermejo’s cover for Rorschach, and the story is written by Brian Azzarello.
  • Image Quality Comparison – Nokia N8, iPhone, Samsung Galaxy SII – Interesting comparison of the cameras on these smartphones.  According to that page, the N8 is the winner (yay!).
  • Ultraviolet FAQ – No, not the Milla Jovovich movie, Ultraviolet is a system of electronic media distribution, kind of like a non-physical DVD/Bluray.  I looked this up since the recently-revealed cover artwork for the Bluray release of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo mentions Ultraviolet and I didn’t know what that was.
  • India’s Incredibly Cool Hand-Drawn Movie Posters – These are awesome!  Done by a Bangalore-based artist.
  • Two wonderful pieces of art from deviantART – A Study in Paper by ~ldhenson and Television by ~boo21190.
  • Star Wars Rock Out – I was looking for a trope to mention in my Chronicle review post, and came across this.
  • Kevin Smith on Superman – An old one, but worth re-sharing.  A 20 minute excerpt from one of Kevin Smith’s shows, where he talks about his interaction with producer Jon Peters when he was given the chance to work on a Superman script.  Very funny.
  • Sherlock Holmes – Discombobulate Music Video – Amazing video!  I didn’t know this existed till my friend Kartheek told me about it.
  • Observer Series – My cousin Girish and I are big fans of the show Fringe.  He’s been posting about references to “Observers” in his school notes and various other places.  Four posts so far – One, Two, Three, Four.

Speaking of my cousin, his blog Galactica will be on hiatus for about a month.  I was mentioning that this is like a break between two seasons of a TV show.  This led to us creating posters advertising Season 2 of his blog.  This poster by him has got to be the best one of the lot –

I thought this was a very clever piece of work.  The design and text recalls the poster of The Social Network, and the background is from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  Two David Fincher references in one poster?  Class!  Click the image above to see more of the posters – one more by him and one simple poster by me.

On Saturday evening, I attended Pecha Kucha Night Hyderabad Vol 7, which I will write about in detail in a separate post.

Panjaa DVD – Camera Spotting and other observations

The Pawan Kalyan movie Panjaa is out on DVD from Volga Videos.  I’d seen the movie earlier on an IMAX screen and enjoyed it a lot.  Therefore, when the DVD was released, I bought it immediately (on Friday – when I went to see Chronicle at Prasad’s).

When I’d seen the movie earlier, I posted a few tweets about a couple of cameras I spotted in the movie.  I’m able to show you now, thanks to screenshots from the DVD.

There – you see it?  That’s a Canon EOS 5D Mark II being used to photograph Brahmanandam’s character Paparayudu.  The camera appears to have a 50mm f1.8 II lens mounted on it.  You can click the image above to see a bigger picture.

This screenshot is from slightly earlier on in the same scene –

Here, the camera appears to have a bigger lens mounted on it.  I can’t confirm this though, since it’s difficult to make out in this screenshot.  Perhaps a shot from a Bluray disc would make things clearer.

Either way, a 5D Mark II is an impressive choice of photography gear for a village!  The way the guy has the strap on is also cool.

Earlier in the film we see something more retro – a Yashica Twin Lens Reflex camera.  I don’t know much about classic cameras so can’t identify the exact camera.  But I believe something like this was seen in Agneepath also.

Another photography-related observation from the end credits –

The Publicity Campaign Photography for the movie is by Sharad Haksar.  The reason I know that name, is that I attended this event called BlogCamp back in 2006 in Chennai, and one of the most interesting presentations I got to see at that event was Sharad Haksar’s presentation on photography!  Check these two old blog posts: mine, Varun’s.

I enjoyed the movie greatly, and I thought the cinematography (by P S Vinod) was very good.  The “Veyira Cheyyi” song sequence is artistically shot –

This is a nice “in motion” example of what a lot of photographers do in their still photos – use a very shallow depth of field and cross-processing.  I am not sure if the DOF effect here was achieved in camera, but either way, it looks great on screen.

Volga Videos have released the DVD with what appears to be ‘variant covers’.  I saw at least two different covers at Sangeet Sagar, where I bought it.  I was actually tempted to buy two copies of the movie just to have the two different covers but I stopped myself.

The back of the DVD cover contained something interesting –

It says “Punchline: the war within”.  Isn’t that supposed to be tagline, since a punchline is something that comes at the end of a joke!  Genre is “Action/Love” and the final part will make one say whisky-tango-foxtrot: “Type: Straight”.  Really?  Straight?  As opposed to what other type?

The top of the cover also advertises “The Ultimate Guide to Anamorphic Widescreen for Everyone!” which would lead one to believe that there’s a documentary about Anamorphic Widescreen on the disc.  But sadly, that is not the case and all we get is the typical warning that tells you to switch to letterbox mode if you have a 4:3 TV.

I wasn’t aware that the NTSC format had an official logo.  After I posted the above photo to Facebook, my friend pointed out that the logo appears to be the result of a Google search for NTSC.  That is actually taken from a page titled Nuclear Technology Safety Center.

I also bought the DVD of the Mahesh Babu movie Dookudu at the same time – that is also released by Volga Videos and is also labelled as being “Straight”, and that also has the above NTSC logo.

These DVDs cost Rs 149 each (if you buy them in Andhra Pradesh, it’s Rs 155 in other states).  It’s worth getting them.  The covers of both discs indicate that Vedam would be released on DVD soon – a long wait considering that the movie was released in 2010, but as that is a very well done movie, it’s a DVD I’ll definitely be buying.

Chronicle

Chronicle from director Josh Trank is a “found footage” movie that explores what would happen if a ‘normal’ person was given superpowers.

Andrew (Dane DeHaan) is a shy and troubled youth with a sick mother and an abusive father.  He decides to document his life by recording video – that’s how the movie starts.  Through the footage that Andrew records, we encounter the other two main characters in the story – Andrew’s cousin Matt (Alex Russell), who is Andrew’s only friend, and Steve (Michael Jordan) who is running for President at their high school.

The three encounter a mysterious force that grants them telekinetic powers.  The remainder of the movie shows us what they do with these powers – told mostly from the point of view of Andrew’s camera.  If a ‘normal’ person is given telekinetic powers, would that person use it to do goody-goody stuff?  No, they wouldn’t – and that’s what Trank’s take on the subject matter is, which results in an engaging and very well done movie, that does turn quite dark as it progresses.

Coming in at less than 90 minutes, Chronicle actually covers a lot of ground (origin and a whole story arc for the characters), and builds up really well.  It’s well written (screenplay by Max Landis, who is John Landis’s son) and the acting is very good.

The standout performance for me was from Dane DeHaan as Andrew, who was really believable in the role.  Towards the end, the movie reminded me of Akira, though the two are not related, Andrew’s character does have shades of Tetsuo from that movie.

The visual effects are very well done – they blend in very well with the supposedly ‘filmed’ footage.

The film takes a lot of artistic license with the “found footage” aspect (I don’t suppose the filmmakers have officially claimed it as a “found footage” movie, have they?).

Early on I suppose it could pass off as footage that was ‘found’ as is, but later on it freely breaks from that mould, since we’re shown footage from more than one camera.  Therefore, what is shown in the movie cannot possibly be found footage, as anyone who’s edited video would tell you.  If what we’re shown is true, much of the film is supposed to be shot with a Canon HD camera but I doubt that it would produce shallow depth-of-field effects like what we see.

In reality the movie was shot with Arri Alexa cameras (so yes, it was shot digitally) with Cooke S4 and Angenieux Optimo Lenses (technical info courtesy IMDb).

Of course, complaining about the video aspect not being plausible, in a movie about people who get telekinetic powers is needless nitpicking, I realise (see Bellisario’s Maxim)!  So it’s best not to think too much about that and simply enjoy it as a unique storytelling device employed by director Trank.

Overall a very nicely done movie.  Definitely worth watching and Josh Trank is a name to keep in mind!

Rating: 8/10

Note: I saw this at Prasad’s, entered the hall in time to see the trailer of This Means War (first time I’m hearing of this movie – it’s directed by McG).  My friend informed me that I missed the trailer they showed before that – the one for Prometheus!  Granted, it’s the same one I’ve already seen dozens of times, but it would have been awesome to see it on a big screen.

Another Note: Praise to whoever decided to release this movie in India, the same praise as I would attribute to the people who released Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive in India.  Drive was also shot (Newton Thomas Sigel) digitally, with Arri Alexa cameras.  Apart from the lenses mentioned above, the IMDb page lists Zeiss Master Prime Lenses as being used.

Collection of Tweets – end Dec-11 till today

This is a collection of tweets from me and others that I retweeted, between 30-Dec-11 and today.  I thought I’d post these on a regular basis to archive these links.  The below set essentially recaps the important stuff that I posted or shared this month.

  • 28-Jan-12: #NowDownloading Romero’s Night of the Living Dead 1968 in 720p HD – http://t.co/UTyI9Qn6 – MP4 file is 1 GB in size. 1080p is also there.
  • 28-Jan-12: Twitter’s Awful But Amazing Recruitment Video [Video] http://t.co/gg42Ad4b
  • 28-Jan-12: If you run a self-hosted WordPress blog, search for and install the Jetpack plugin – http://jetpack.me – it enables advanced plugins.
  • 28-Jan-12: MOVIE REVIEW: Josh Trank’s Chronicle (2012) http://t.co/rcCQRMig
  • 27-Jan-12: Agneepath – Acting was good, especially Hrithik’s. But I felt it was too long and had too much exaggerated drama. 6/10
  • 26-Jan-12: Famous Photographers With Their Even More Famous Photographs [Photography] http://t.co/Jj6HClur
  • 26-Jan-12: Is This the Canon 5D Mark III? [Cameras] http://t.co/C8ZZD9yl
  • 26-Jan-12: RT @Galactica_gk The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo not releasing in India as David Fincher isn’t willing to cut 3 scenes in the movie.
  • 24-Jan-12: You should get married soon. Or else.. http://t.co/AnEZEzj1
  • 22-Jan-12: Underworld: Awakening 3D – Decent & good looking movie with stylish action scenes. Fun while it lasts but you won’t remember it later. 7/10
  • 22-Jan-12: Drawing face-off between @justkalpana and her son: the results: http://pic.twitter.com/oWzIbGDU (mommy) and http://pic.twitter.com/ngziMePf (son)
  • 21-Jan-12: “‘The Raid’ features some of the bloodiest, impressive, and most inventive action sequences in recent memory” – http://www.movieline.com/2012/01/20/sundance-everything-youve-heard-about-indonesion-actioner-the-raid-is-true/
  • 21-Jan-12: RT @OfficialBrookeT Life is too short to be sitting around talking about how short life is. (:
  • 20-Jan-12: Just bought “The Illuminator: Access To Universal Intelligence by Rajith Rajappan” from @flipkart http://t.co/HqvibO7Q
  • 19-Jan-12: RT @Galactica_gk Really America?? Really? RT @denofgeek CBS orders contemporary Sherlock Holmes show http://t.co/pOrydLzU
  • 19-Jan-12: Sad news if this is so… AICN: Are We Getting A PG-13 EXPENDABLES 2? http://bit.ly/xFBc6C
  • 18-Jan-12: RT @mihirfadnavis I like Len Wiseman – Die Hard 4 was great. But the Total Recall remake looks like it won’t last.. *puts on sunglasses* #TwoWeeks. *YEAAAAA*
  • 17-Jan-12: Five directors and their questionable filmmaking techniques http://t.co/BM4DSkjb
  • 17-Jan-12: What makes Prince Of Persia so enduringly popular? http://bit.ly/xoO43g Pls note @psam @rajturl
  • 17-Jan-12: Businessman – Loved it! Mahesh Babu carried the movie with his tremendous attitude, storyline kept one interested & music was good. 8/10
  • 14-Jan-12: Lee Bermejo – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo http://t.co/BgWq1irg
  • 14-Jan-12: RT @GDBALA Exclusive: Quentin Tarantino’s favorite films of 2011 & more! http://t.co/2nAn9Wbs
  • 13-Jan-12: Journey – Two love stories told as flashbacks, in the context of an accident. Very nicely done. I watched the Telugu dubbed version. 8/10
  • 12-Jan-12: RT @RGVzoomin Extreme heights of craze for Business man..Mahesh babu himself is not getting tickets!
  • 12-Jan-12: Attn @rajturl @psam RT @mihirfadnavis If you used to dig Baba Sehgal and are feeling nostalgic, here – http://t.co/rR5dOiW5
  • 11-Jan-12: Extended cut? RT @FarOutAkhtar Off to the gym now and then to do background music for Don 2 additional scenes to be incorporated in the DVD.
  • 10-Jan-12: RT @gurpreet_bhatia @AshuMittal Photographers are violent people. First they frame you, then they shoot you, then they hang you on the wall.
  • 10-Jan-12: RT @krishashok Me: have you heard this new Harris Jeyaraj song? @hariflute: No. Me: yes, you have heard it before
  • 10-Jan-12: RT @krishashok The @hariflute – “Tamil physicist to waiter: There’s an MC-squared in my soup”
  • 8-Jan-12: If I attach my new flash on my camera, and put a telephoto lens on it, I can do bicep exercises with it.
  • 8-Jan-12: I bought a Canon Speedlite 580 EX II flash today. The flash looks big compared to my diminutive EOS 550D 🙂
  • 7-Jan-12: RT @mihirfadnavis I didn’t dig ‘Tinker Tailor’ because it was a cool old fashioned spy tale. I dug it cos it had Sherlock Holmes punching Bane in the face.
  • 7-Jan-12: IMO – The Darkest Hour > Skyline > AVP: R 🙂
  • 7-Jan-12: The Darkest Hour – An effortless watch if you switch off your brain. To it’s credit was never boring. Dialogues unintentionally funny! 7/10
  • 7-Jan-12: RT @mihirfadnavis #IamSoMiddleClass I go to Landmark but avoid the DVD/BluRay section, so I can buy the Moserbaer 40 rupees 3-in-one VCDs.
  • 7-Jan-12: “Hello Amanda. Tum mujhe nahin jaanti ho. Par main tumhe acchi tarah se jaanta hoon. Main ek game khelna chaahtha hoon.” – SAW Hindi dub 🙂
  • 6-Jan-12: RT @io9 An Exclusive Look at the Making of Dragon Tattoo’s Stunning Titles http://io9.com/5873372/
  • 5-Jan-12: RT @Violent_Gandhi_ @Chiken_chameli ‘SHERLOCK HOLMES’ is a Poor Mans ‘ACP PRADYUMAN’… . 🙂
  • 5-Jan-12: Great poem in the beginning… Geekolinks: 1/4 http://t.co/YKyUUcju
  • 4-Jan-12: RT @purisubzi A tome, if there ever was one, on Roboto – the font used in Android 4. http://bit.ly/y8Mdum #TypeNerdsOnly
  • 4-Jan-12: 70 Science Fiction and Fantasy Movies to Watch Out for in 2012 [Io9 2012 Preview] http://bit.ly/A7cWOu
  • 3-Jan-12: RT @zombeaner If youre havin girl problems i feel bad for you son/It took me under 12 parsecs to make the Kessel Run – Han Goin’ Solo
  • 1-Jan-12: Mihir Fadnavis – The 35 Most Anticipated Movies of 2012 http://t.co/3D9l8xwQ
  • 1-Jan-12: What do colorblind people see? [Biology] http://t.co/KfM03x2Q
  • 1-Jan-12: RT @clientsfh “How many SEO experts do you need to change a lightbulb lightbulbs buy light bulbs neon lights sex porn” http://t.co/DwaaxtwA
  • 31-Dec-11: Alien trailer, Prometheus style http://t.co/Vm4gOHAD
  • 30-Dec-11: RT @josephradhik RT @sickipediabot: What do you get if you cross a left leg with a right leg? A squashed bollock.

M (1931)

M is a 1931 film directed by Fritz Lang.  The movie is set in a Berlin terrorized by a child murderer.  It has been months since the cops have been on the hunt for this man, but they have failed to find him.  As a result, people in the city are constantly afraid for the safety of their children.  Not only that, the police’s crackdown is so extreme that organised crime in the city is unable to operate properly.  So, the criminals decide to take matters into their own hands and start a search for the killer.

The killer is revealed early on in the film to us, the audience.  It is Hans Beckert, played by Peter Lorre.  Are his killings premeditated, or does he act out of compulsion?  If so, what is justice for such a man?

M 1931 - A drawing by Karthik Abhiram

For the most part, I found M a very nicely done movie.  Peter Lorre’s acting was very good as Beckert.  The story kept one’s attention, and some of the elements (the killer writing to the press, how the crime syndicate actually implements their search) reminded me of later movies.  The scene with the cops deciding to intensify their search and the crime syndicate discussing their plans to apprehend the killer is intercut in an interesting way.

The movie has some nicely designed, very artistic shots.  As is common for older movies, most of the shots are deep focus ones (I think the practice of using shots with a shallow depth of field started much, much later).

There were certain parts in the film that tended to drag and some of it was over-dramatized (one scene in the beginning where the crowd panics and almost lynches an old man).  Does every lawman in Berlin smoke cigars constantly?  The ending I thought was a bit abrupt.

I guess when one watches an older movie in the present day, one tends to approach it with a jaded mind, having already seen elements from it in later movies.  I couldn’t avoid this bias.  Still, the movie holds up very well and does pose some interesting questions.

The aforementioned scene in which the killer sends a note to the press reminded me of David Fincher’s Zodiac.  Also, Hans Beckert whistles the tune of “In the Hall of the Mountain King” by Edvard Grieg, which Fincher used in The Social Network.  This made me think, what would it be like if there was a remake of M directed by David Fincher, with music by Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross?  Or a moody remake by Nicolas Winding Refn.  If there was an Indian remake, I guess Anurag Kashyap would be a good fit to the material, and he’d do it in a gritty style like his That Girl in Yellow Boots.

Rating: 7/10

More info on the IMDb page and the Wikipedia article.

I drew the above image with black and red gel pens and a black marker.  You can click that to see a larger image.

You can watch the film below:

The above video is available in HD (720p) and a great way to enjoy the movie.  It appears to be ripped from a BluRay source (I guess the uploader could do this, since the movie is in the Public Domain).  It’s a 110 min restored version in German with English subtitles.

If you use Mozilla Firefox, you can download the video if you have a plugin called DownloadHelper.  Apparently, on Google Chrome there’s a YouTube downloader in built.  Alternatively, you can use an online downloader like SaveYouTube (where you copy the YouTube URL and just replace the youtube.com part with saveyoutube.com).  That’ll give you some other options, like downloading the WebM encoded version (which at 1.69 GB is smaller in size than the MP4 file).

While you may be able to get the video using any of the above methods, you’ll still need to download the subtitles.  You can search online for subtitles that match this video, or you could use a program called Google2SRT to get the subtitles.  This is a very handy program to have, since it’ll allow you to rip subtitles from any YouTube video.

Underworld: Awakening 3D

Underworld: Awakening is the fourth movie in the Underworld series of movies, which is set in a world where vampires and werewolves (here called lycans) exist and are feuding races.  The first two movies featured Kate Beckinsale as the vampire Selene, who hunts lycans, but falls in love with Michael, a lycan.  It’s been a while since I saw those two movies, so to be honest, I don’t remember more details about them.  Evolution, though, I remember had quite a bit of the icky creature stuff, and dealt with vampire-lycan hybrids and the sort.  The action was good too.  Along the way, the heroine found out that the vampire elders were not so honourable as they seemed to be.

I didn’t see the third movie, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, but that is a prequel, so not necessary to watch in order to understand the fourth movie.

Underworld: Awakening opens with humans conducting a ‘purge’ – eradicating both vampires and lycans, who they believe to be infected.  Michael and Selene are running from the humans when an explosion happens.  Selene wakes up in a lab (after 12 years, as we later find out) and escapes from there.  It’s later revealed that this is Antigen Labs, and Dr Jacob Lane (Stephen Rea), one of the people behind the purge, is the one who’s been doing experiments on Selene and another subject.  This other subject turns out to be Selene’s daughter, who is very powerful and the lycans are after her for some reason.

The movie looks good – slick and a cold blue tone throughout.  The action scenes were well done.  Although, like the first two movies, I doubt I’d remember any of it after some time.  It was entertaining while it lasted though, and the acting was decent.  Kate Beckinsale did well in her role.  It’s directed by the Swedish Måns Mårlind and Björn Stein and there are a bunch of writers credited (including a story credit for Len Wiseman who directed the first two movies).

This movie reminded me of the Resident Evil movies, and in fact, the scene where Selene escapes from Antigen Labs was very much like the siege on Umbrella Corporation by the Alice clones from the beginning of Resident Evil: Afterlife.  The vampire and lycan mythology is nearly jettisoned here and this is a more traditional action movie.  For some reason I also got reminded of the Spierig Bros’ Daybreakers while watching this.  Underworld: Awakening plays things seriously, so I guess it wasn’t as much brainless fun as a later Resident Evil movie.

This movie is shot in 3D (as opposed to being post-converted), and I thought the 3D effect was quite good.  I saw this in a theatre with good 3D system, so no complaints about the glasses or about the screen being too dark.

I read that this was the first 3D movie to be shot on RED EPIC cameras, and that the upcoming Resident Evil: Retribution is also shot that way.

Overall, I’d say this movie gets points for the good action scenes and Kate Beckinsale’s acting, but other than that, I thought it was a decent movie at best.

Rating: 7/10