Monday, 31 March 2014

Need for Speed: The Perfect Ride for Fun Loving Cinema Audiences

With the massive success of the billion dollar Fast & Furious franchise, car films have actually become a genre in their own right. And with the aftertaste of its sixth edition still fresh in memory, it could not have been a better time for audiences to experience Need for Speed.

The movie of this popular video game franchise is all set to appeal to a broad range of audiences, not just car and action enthusiasts.

Need for Speed has tapped into the talent from the TV revolution of our age. Need for Speed features the rising Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul, whose very screen presence and powerful performance do wonders to its appeal. Starring Paul was one of the factors why drama fans came flocking to the theater.

And since its release, Need for Speed has already grossed over $130 million.

Well the movie certainly has created a stir at its Premiere on March 28 in Rawalpindi.

The film is about a former race driver living as a broke mechanic. He hits the road again and loses everything he has to a rival in a bet. He is framed for a crime and must race against the clock to avenge the humiliation in a thrilling way.

The film has its share of mandatory clich├ęs and cheesy lines, but they may not backfire considering how they were expected by some in the genre. However, the film makes up for any of its shortcomings in the script through its stunning visual effects. The film is particularly brought to life by Michael Keaton’s entertaining appearance.

Furthermore, a great reason to respect the film is its remarkable car chasing stunts. The remarkable visual effects, the driver POV chase shots and stunts are the greatest achievement of director Scott Waugh in the film. And it is the action that has drawn such massive audience to this movie.

Unlike contemporary Hollywood, the production of the film does not lean on CGI for the execution of some of its most jaw dropping stunt scenes. The stunts certainly remind you of the originality of car chases in the 70s and 80s.

Whether it is the startling realism of collisions or a breathtaking scene involving a US Army chopper… Well let’s just keep spoilers to that.

But all in all, Need for Speed is a real treat if you can’t get enough of action and thrills on the screen. Featuring cars such as Ford Mustang, Shelby GT500, McLaren P1, Lamborghini Sesto Elemento and Koenigsegg Ageras, the film is a must watch for car enthusiasts.

And nothing beats the only 3D show in town at Cine Goldplex in Bahria Town, which just celebrated the premiere with top Pakistani motorsports enthusiasts. Most of the audience at the premiere were awestruck by the stunning visuals of the film and were thrilled to be at the event.

But don't worry if you were not there. Just don’t miss the next show.

For some of you, it may not even be a matter of choice.

Need for Speed Roars into Pakistani Theaters With an Exciting Car Show

Omar Saleem hosting the event with Uzma Khan and Makhdoom Brothers on stage - StudioBloop Photo

CineGold Plex celebrated the premiere of Need for Speed in a grand style by organizing a car show featuring the top Pakistani motorsports stars. The event took place on March 28 in Bahria Town, Rawalpindi. 

The show featured ace racer Omar Saleem, arguably Pakistan’s top biker Faisal Bacha and the Team Car Craft. Also present at the event was Rx7 owner and semi-professional race driver Khizar Alam.

The show featured contributions from some of the most prolific car collectors in Pakistan. The collection included the Audi A4 of Uzma Khan, the only female car owner in the event and the Cadillacs of the Makhdoom Brothers of Rahim Yar Khan.

Apart from that, the event was decked with some of the most premium car brands including Nissans, GTRs, Rx7, BMW Z4 and the Rolls Royce.

Motorsports star Faisal Bacha leading the bikers at the show - StudioBloop Photo

Bikers were also an integral part of the show who made their appearance in a grand fashion with their roaring engines. The crowd was captivated by their amazing display of stunts, and for quite a while they kept their attention away from the irresistible automobiles. 

Omar Saleem - StudioBloop Photo
At the show, StudioBloop was thrilled to speak to Omar Saleem, who has been dubbed the Godfather of Motor Sports in Pakistan. He is the first FIA licensed international race driver from Pakistan.

Omar was excited to see us approach right away and started explaining the significance of the event. "With such events we are trying to change that mindset and awaken the nation to the fact that motor racing is way bigger than cricket."

He also emphasized probably the most important point the event made. “It’s not just men”, he went on referring to Uzma Khan, “The good thing is that the sportiest car in the show is owned by a lady.” Omar stressed that women were as involved in motorsports and are as interested in fast cars as men. “The women drivers are doing well at the events. They are very competitive.”

We also spoke to the Makhdoom Brothers, agriculturists and businessmen from Rahim Yar Khan, which goes to show the diverse participants in the show. Makhdoom Mihaal said that they love American cars and drive their Cadillacs everyday.

The car show gave way to the red carpet event for the premiere for movie Need for Speed. The event was hosted by both Omar and model Natasha “Natty” Hussain. The event honored the motorsports participants with certificates of merit, which were distributed by CineGold Plex and the organizing sponsors.

CineGold Plex has brought the premiere of Need for Speed to life with some real action on wheels with the car show. And we hope that it would go a long way in creating awareness and enthusiasm about motorsports and sports cars in Pakistan.

The complete photo album of the event will be posted shortly on the StudioBloop facebook page. 

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Watch Out for The Latest Horror Thriller Sensation - Jinn: or Fury

Have you heard of Jinn?

I am not talking about those creepy invisible creatures, for those who get it, but the film that has become quite an anticipated attraction. 

But even if you have not, you are reading this just in time to catch probably the most relatable and intriguing horror film to land in Pakistan.

Jinn: The Movie, or "Fury" as it is titled in English, will make its premiere in the United States on April 4. In Pakistan, the film will hit the local theaters on April 11. Speaking of which, the film is not without its Pakistani American connections.

Ajmal Zaheer Ahmad is the director of the film, who debuted with a relatively unknown but intriguing sci-fi film Alliance (2005). There is little doubt that Ahmad is a talented filmmaker and probably could be able to prove a point about his mastery of the medium with this effort. He is also the co-founder of the studio producing the film, Exxodus Pictures, based in Detroit, MI.

But that's not enough, the film features some prominent actors as well. The film features the Pakistani American actor of choice Faran Tahir (Elysium, Iron Man). Jinn also features familiar actors such as Ray Park (Star Wars Episode I, X-Men), Serinda Swan (Tron: Legacy) and William Atherton (Die Hard, The Last Samurai).

Alright, perhaps they are trying too hard to be The Omen (1976) or even (2006), but in recent years probably no one has tapped this theme. As a matter of fact, the fascinating Arabic theme of Jinns, mystical beings created with fire, could offer a lot of richness to the horror genre.

With the rich visual and special effects incorporated in it, the film is going to be one grand spectacle.

Don't miss it.

Watch the trailer for yourself.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

5 Reasons Why Young Girls Should Watch "Frozen (2013)"

By Humay Waseem

Disney has come a long way since its earliest productions based on folk stories to the 3D animations of today. Tangled (2010), Brave (2012) and Frozen (2013) which is not just visual eye-candy but carries a refreshingly realistic and poignant message.

Frozen features two sisters, Anna and Elsa who are born to royalty. Elsa, the older sister, possesses the magical power of freezing anything but left unharnessed, her power becomes so overwhelmingly uncontrollable that she accidentally traps the entire kingdom in eternal winter.

Meanwhile Anna, her fearlessly optimistic sister, gets engaged to the seemingly perfect Prince Hans on the same day she meets him. When the kingdom is hit by Elsa’s polar spell Anna teams up with extreme mountain-man Kristoff on an epic journey to find her sister Elsa, the Snow Queen and put an end to her icy spell.

Disney movies have conventionally followed the same theme of a beautiful damsel in distress getting rescued by a knight in shining armour. This plot, although sweet and dreamy, ingrains in girls, the notion that they “need” to be “rescued” or “saved” by a prince charming who will sweep them off their feet and free them from all their sorrows.

The reason I love “Frozen (2013)” is because it strays from this conventional plot and shows a different and new perspective and here is how:

1)      It empowers women to count on themselves
For a young girl to dream of having a prince charming rescue her ingrains in her feelings of powerlessness and compels her to passively await someone to make her life better. Frozen shows us that the key to all greatness lies within a woman and that she alone can achieve whatever she wants. It is Anna’s sole courageousness that persists her to overcome all challenges to save her sister Elsa and her kingdom.

2)      It reassures that blood is thicker than an ill-advised crush
At the end of the movie when Anna gets frozen, she needs the touch of a true love to be saved. We are expecting the typical kiss from a man, but it is actually her sister Elsa’s embrace that defrosts and saves her. Often times we forget the value of our own family members and give in to the charms of complete strangers who may not be having our best interests. Frozen reminds us that even when your family has not been the sweetest with you, you can trust them to have your back and not betray you.

3)      Your true love does not have to be a perfect 10 prince
Prince Hans is good looking, charming, and wealthy but lacks sincerity, principles and character. He charms Anna with the false pretence of “love” just to get access to her wealth. We have constantly been told by previous Disney movies that a “true love” must possess all of these external materialistic qualities whilst ignoring that these are not the sole pre requisites of falling in love for love is a meeting of souls and not just of certain traits.

4)      To not be so hastily trusting of strangers
In almost all mainstream media, the guy who looks good on the outside happens to also be good on the inside but in reality this is not always the case. Sometimes those who seem too good to be true can have the illest of intentions aka “Satan in a Sunday hat”. Frozen reminds us to not rely on face value and be hasty in such situations. Anna’s sister Elsa disallows her from getting engaged to a man she has just met but Anna, being the ever-optimist does not listen and sets herself up for hurt and betrayal.

5)      If you have a power learn to harness it and don’t suppress it
Elsa has the super power of freezing anything and creating snow. This power can help her fight evil, cool up scorchingly hot places or merely operate an ice-cream production unit but she fears her own power and brilliance so much that she considers it a weakness and locks herself up in solitude.

Similar to this is how countless women of today suppress their own greatness in order to fit in with the world so that it doesn’t offend anyone. Millions of women shy away from being smart, funny, intellectual, beautiful, charitable, kind or simply themselves just so it doesn’t make others insecure.

 The truth is that by accepting your own brilliance you are helping the world be a better place and are unconsciously allowing others to show their brilliance as well. Hence, a woman should proudly show her greatness and not lock it up only to one day find it exploding and causing massive “destruction”. 

Humay Waseem is a Writer at StudioBloop and tweets @HumayWMD

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Facebook Messenger Covering All Bases on Mobile Platforms

Facebook messenger is going places on mobile.

Facebook messenger has now just been introduced on the Windows Mobile Platform. So the social network is pretty much getting all bases covered when it comes to mobile accessibility.

Last month, the updated Facebook messenger for Android v 3.3.2 was introduced, while in January, the iOS version 3.1.2 was updated. The messenger app is already available on BlackBerry OS.

And if you an Android bloopie and are sick of the perpetually crashing Skype app and not finding all of your friends on Whatsapp, then it is high time you start paying attention to facebook Messenger. Because this app sounds like the future of mobile messaging.

Watch Out for the Android App Beta Testing Campaign

Facebook Messenger for Android has been around for a while. The 3.0 version design overhaul of the app came with some exciting features like phone number integration. 

The good news is that facebook has just launched a new Android beta for the app that could really change your instant messaging experience on your phone. In its official post announcing the testing campaign, facebook has promised introducing new design features and bug fixes every month.

If you are the kind who gets thrilled instead of getting irritated by constant facebook layout changes, then you may have the patience to actually test the beta app for yourself. You would be required to submit bug reports when you encounter them though. Privileges come with responsibilities. 

All you have to do is join the closed Google group for the beta testers.

Once you do that, go to the Google Play Store and enable beta downloads by becoming a beta tester. Download the updated Facebook Messenger app for Android. Make sure you keep up with the updates because the app will be changed faster than you think.

Have fun with the new app, which is the best way to test it.

Share this post and inform your friends about the beta testing too.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Catch Up on Your Reading With the Newly Launched Islamabad Readers Club

There is nothing like a stimulating shot of literary conversation to break the sleepy dullness of Islamabad. And if your reading list needs some catching up, you are not the only one. Here is the chance to do just that in the most exciting way. 

The good news is that the first ever Islamabad Readers Club has been launched by the familiar and able hands of the administrators from Desi Writers Lounge. Desi Writers Lounge have regularly held reading club sessions in Karachi and Lahore, but this is the first time they have taken the initiative in Islamabad and StudioBloop was also at the event held on March 14. 

Desi Writers Lounge is a non-profit organization that serves as a platform for South Asian writers. It has enjoyed a rich history of promoting literature of South Asia in the English language since 2005. DWL is especially known for its Short Story Writing Competitions and issues a biannual literary publication known as Papercuts

The first meeting of the club kicked off with having around 20 members present. The participants were from a variety of fields of work and interest, including academics, linguists, bloggers, advertisers, engineers, activists and last but not the least, writers and poets, but all of them sharing a common love for literature and the finer things in life. 

The reader's club has decided to meet every first Friday of a given month on a decided location. The club votes for and selects a work of literature every month and holds readings and discussion among the participants on the set date. 

The next meeting is scheduled on April 4, 2014 and will discuss arguably the magnum opus of Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

For more information, to confirm the venue and to register for participation, follow the Islamabad Readers Club page on twitter @ISBreadersclub and join the Desi Writers Lounge forum and facebook pages.

Friday, 7 March 2014

We'd Rather Have a Cool Leo Than an Oscar

By Haroon Riaz

So Leo lost again.

I know what Leo fans must be thinking out there.

Vanity Fair wrote that Leonardo DiCaprio may not win any time soon enough, unless he becomes a different kind of actor.

Because the Academy has this unspoken policy of not awarding it to the cool guy.

You know folks like Leo and Cary Grant.

And of handing them to jerks like Matthew McConaughey who would thank no one but himself.

I bet Matthew McConaughey thought Dallas Buyers Club was all about him. 

And hell, Leo is too cool for the Oscars.

So what if he didn't win the Oscar.

He's not the only one.

Tom Cruise, Robert Redford (ah, the look on his face at the Golden Globes this year), Steve McQueen, Samuel L. Jackson and Brad Pitt.

OK he just won this time, but at least not for his acting.

Oscars suck. Oscars don't matter.

But hey, maybe we are talking about this because Oscars do matter.

The whole world watched it.

And Leo deserves his due place in it, instead of just being offered pizza by Ellen DeGeneres.

And what of Leo's performance.

His amazing portrayal of a greedy and morally corrupt Wall Street broker was nothing like we have ever seen before.

And does anything this year comes even close to his performance in that infamous cerebral palsy scene?

Not just that. The poor fellow had to explain why he made a film glorifying greed everywhere he went.

So what went wrong?

Does the Academy only value performances that involve physical transformation?

But let's see the bright side of the picture.

McConaughey was not the only one in the race.

There was this great performance from Chewetel Ejiofor playing Solomon Northup in 12 Years a Slave that would have won so easily.

And perhaps an even stronger presence was that of Bruce Dern, playing a man searching his life's treasure.

And don't forget there was the sexy Christian Bale with a real physical transformation in American Hustle.

If the Academy really is into awarding winners for physical transformation, Bale probably would have been their second choice.

So Leo would not have been the obvious choice anyway.

But who cares about the Oscars?

The bright side of the picture is that Leo consistently carries on choosing great roles.

Frank Abagnale Jr in Catch Me If You Can, Howard Hughes in the Aviator, Calvin Candie in Django Unchained and Jordan Belfort in the Wolf of Wall Street.

He's somebody who is cool enough and is not afraid to play a wicked guy.

And that's what his fans really need.

Don't freak out.

It's not the end of the world.

Just like the Vanity Fair article said, we'd rather have a cool Leo than an Oscar winning one.


Haroon Riaz is Creative Manager at StudioBloop.  

For the complete list of 2014 Oscar winners, click here