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Monica’s Cleopatra Costume Stolen

NICE (FRANCE): A $180,000 "Cleopatra" costume worn by Italian actress Monica Bellucci was stolen from a hotel in the French Riviera resort of Cannes by a waiter who wanted to impress girls, police said on last week.

From Movies to PC Games

This summer there are more computer games based on hit movies than any other times. We have seen successful movie adoption of comic bookslike Superman, Batman, Spawn, Spiderman etc. And there had been a follow up trend of movie adoption of computer gameslike Mortal Kombat, Dungeons and Dragons and Tomb Raider. But these were lesser successful. And then there were also computer game adoption of hit movies like Terminator, Die Hard and the X-Files with lesser success. However still these received good response from fans and movie makers are increasingly investing on making computer games based on their movies.

This season, game makers released three games against three movie titles. Two of these movies have been released- Matrix reloaded and X2 and the thirdThe Hulk will be released on June 20th. Both Matrix and X2 are super hit movies world-wide and it is said that The Hulk would also gross huge returns. For fans, we have put up these game reviews so that they can decide on experiencing the movies more personally.

Enter the Matrix

Publisher: Atari. Developer: Shiny Entertainment. Genre: Action. Release Date: May 14. Difficulty: Easy. Learning Curve: about 1 hour. Stability: minor problems. Requirements: 128 MB RAM, 4X CD-ROM, 4300 MB disk space, DirectX v9.0.

There have been plenty of games based on movies in the past, and there seems to be an industry subset devoted solely to pumping out run-of-the-mill action games based loosely on books, TV shows, movies, and cartoons. Enter the Matrix attempts to take the concept to the next level by delivering a new storyline that runs concurrent to the movie it's based on, The Matrix Reloaded, filling in some of the back story that the movie doesn't have time to deliver. While there are a few instances in the game where that is indeed the case, the game's story isn't strong enough to stand on its own, and the gameplay simply doesn't save it, making the game worth a look for hard-core fans of The Matrix films, but a buggy disappointment for just about anyone else.

Enter the Matrix focuses on two side characters named Niobe and Ghost. You'll see both characters sparingly throughout the film, but they rarely get any meaningful screen time. However, it's assumed that the duo is off doing something important when they aren't hanging out with Neo, Trinity, and the rest of the film's principal characters. The game proves that assumption correct, as you'll pick up the story just after the conclusion of one of the short stories that make up The Animatrix and make your way from mission to mission until you reach the game's conclusion, which takes place around the same time as the end of the film. The game's story is very fast and loose, and it assumes that you're already familiar with the film. Even the game's FMV ending is little more than a "Whew, that was close" sequence with a trailer for the film thrown in for good measure. There is a smattering of FMV used throughout the game, but most of the noninteractive sequences are rendered with the game's engine.

Enter the Matrix's engine delivers a pretty standard third-person action game. You're able to fire weapons and engage in hand-to-hand combat against a collection of foes. Most of the fighting puts you up against security guards, cops, and SWAT forces, but you'll also face the Matrix's own brand of vampires, as well as a couple of well-placed run-ins with life-threatening agents. The game is objective-driven. It opens with your character in a post office, trying to get to a specific PO box to retrieve some information. As you make your way through the game, you'll chase after airplanes in an SUV, rescue captured rebels, navigate a sewer system, destroy a nuclear power plant, and fight off a sentinel attack from on board your ship, the Logos. None of the objectives are fleshed out terribly well, and it's difficult to really get a feel for what, exactly, your team is doing and how, exactly, it ties into the plot of the film. Sections also stop and start very, very abruptly, as the game pauses to load up new sequences or give you the opportunity to save quite often.

The Matrix may have been credited with bringing the slow-motion "bullet time" effect to the big screen, but games like Max Payne have already brought the effect--which slows time down to give you cleaner shots and more control of your character--to video games. Enter the Matrix, of course, uses this effect, and it's governed by a "focus" meter. You can use focus at the touch of a button, and it does things like let you run up walls, jump farther, and cartwheel out of the way of oncoming bullets. The ironic thing is that you really don't need to use the effect all that often, as the enemy AI is easily dispatched by hitting the action button to disarm them and then finishing up with some quick punches and kicks. You'll pick up an array of guns along the way, and it's quite easy to just pump enemies full of lead rather than bother with your kung fu skills. The AI in the game is also a bit of a mess, so you can expect to see things like enemy cops running into a wall and staying there, enemies clipping through walls and doors instead of running around to get to you, and so on. The game is rarely difficult, and like in Activision's recent movie game, X2: Wolverine's Revenge, you can simply stand still for a minute or so and regain all your health, which takes away almost all the tension. Short chapters and frequent saves combine to prevent you from ever having to replay lengthy sequences, should you actually die.

X2: Wolverine's Revenge

Publisher: Activision Developer: Livesay Technologies Genre: Action. Release Date: April 15. Difficulty: Medium. Learning Curve: about a half-hour. Stability: minor problems. Requirements: 128 MB RAM, 6X CD-ROM, 32 MB VRAM, 1500 MB disk space, DirectX v9.0.

X2: Wolverine's Revenge is a third-person action adventure game starring Marvel's adamantium-clawed mutant that features basic hand-to-hand combat and a healthy helping of stealth action. The fundamentals of Wolverine's Revenge are solid, but just about everything seems to fall apart in the execution. The kinds of problems the game suffers from give rise to the sneaking suspicion that it would have been a significantly better game if its release didn't have to coincide with the premiere of the new X-Men motion picture.

Though the game bears the endorsement, as well as some of the talent, of the X-Men movie sequel, its story is not related to that of the film. Wolverine's Revenge begins in 1968, with Wolvie breaking out of the Weapon X program and learning about the dormant Shiva virus that was planted inside him. Jump forward to modern times, when you learn that you have but 48 hours to find the Shiva antidote before it finally kills Wolverine. The course of this adventure will put you up against a collection of X-Men bad-guy all-stars, such as Sabretooth, Juggernaut, and good old Magneto, as well as wave after wave of faceless, disposable goons. Several other X-Men make cameo appearances, most notably Professor X, who acts as your own personal Obi-Wan Kenobi, offering tips on what to do next throughout the game.

Wolverine's Revenge on the PC is just a quick and dirty port of its console counterparts, and little effort was put into adapting it to the inherently different controls found on the PC platform. As such, you'll definitely need a joypad with dual analog sticks to play the game with any effectiveness. The action in Wolverine's Revenge basically boils down to beating up anonymous thugs, sneaking up on anonymous thugs, flipping switches or finding keycards, and engaging in boss fights. The beating of bad guys simply requires you to mash on the punch button and occasionally block. Thanks to the game's dull-witted and predictable AI, just about all your fights will turn into the same fight, over and over again. When you have an opponent on the brink of death, or if there are several opponents coming in on you at once, the word "Strike!" will appear in the corner of the screen. If you press the action button in time, you'll be treated to a quick little sequence of Wolverine jumping around and beating the bad guys up with some style. As you progress through the game, more types of strikes become available to you, and they get progressively more visually impressive and outrageous. Unfortunately, the fighting that you'll actually have control over stays exactly the same from beginning to end, and the novelty of these canned kill animations isn't enough to make up for the otherwise shallow combat system.

Wolverine also has a rage meter that fills up bit by bit whenever you engage in combat or sustain some kind of damage. When the rage meter fills up, Wolverine can punch harder and run faster than usual for a few short seconds. But you can't go into stealth mode or perform simple tasks like flipping switches when you're in this heightened state. And since you have no real control over when Wolverine's rage will be triggered, there will be plenty of times when you'll just be standing around, waiting for the rage effect to subside so you can go about your business.

The stealth action in Wolverine's Revenge isn't much better. Activating the stealth mode gives Wolverine a sneaky stance and changes the color palette of your surroundings. Bad guys give off a glowing red aura, have arrows over their heads showing which direction they're facing, and give off a funky green smokelike "scent" wherever they go. In the stealth mode you can also see various laser trip wires, the field of vision of security cameras and automatic sentries, and the placement of mines. Pulling off stealth kills requires you to sneak up behind an enemy and hit the action button when the word "Strike!" appears in the corner of the screen. The real problem with the stealth action is that there's no variety, and the mechanics themselves often feel unfinished. Though you can sense the field of vision for security cameras and such while in stealth mode, there's no way of telling how far your live opponents can see. Also, Wolverine can sidle up against walls and peek around corners, but he'll also regularly sidle up against nothing at all, and it can be difficult to get him out of such a position.


Movie Review

No Man's Land

Reviewed by- Bonhomie

Recently screened at the German Cultural Center Auditorium at Dhanmandi, "No Man's Land" is a virtuoso black comedy about the Bosnian conflict circa 1993. Writer-director Danis Tanovic's Oscar-winning (best foreign) film tells the bizarre tale of two wounded soldiers, a Bosnian and a Serb, trapped in a trench between enemy lines during the Bosnian war.

It all starts out one fine summer's morning when a Bosnian relief patrol wakes up to find himself between the frontlines. Only this man, Ciki (Branko Djuric), survives the subsequent turkey shoot, hiding in a trench in no man's land, where he is soon daggers drawn with Nino (Rene Bitorajac), a naïve Serb recruit sent to find him.

Neither the Bosnian (Ciki) nor the Serbian (Nino) trust one another. They bicker and blame, each accusing the other of starting the war and grapple repeatedly at gunpoint. But the crux of this anti-war film rests on a third man, Cera (Filip Sovagovic)- Ciki's compatriot, who was shot. Under his seemingly lifeless body, a Serbian soldier has planted a spring-loaded American-made bomb known as a "bouncing mine," designed to explode three feet off the ground when the corpse is eventually retrieved by his comrades. So when the unwitting Cera revives, both Ciki and Nino realize that if he moves the landmine will be set off and… they will be killed along with him.

A recent recruit, Nino has no idea how to defuse the bomb. Their only hope is to attract the attention of the United Nations humanitarian force, which patrols the area. But their predicament is also picked up by an aggressive, ambitious and nosy Global News Network TV reporter (Katrin Cartlidge) who monitors UN communications and is determined to snag interviews with the participants.

Much of the action takes place within the trench (which surprisingly does not bring forth boredom) as the writer contrasts the grim situation with a pastoral idyll of sunny skies and chirruping grasshoppers. Moreover, Balkan director Danis Tanovic delves deeper than the surface story line, using the various soldiers' language barriers in communicating to reveal the inherent moral absurdity of the conflict, the bureaucratic ineptitude of the timid peacemakers, and the opportunism of the media. Opinionating, "No Man's Land" is tense, powerful, ironic, and witty-finding prickly scraps of futile humor in the devastating horror of war. Some critics say that this story echoes something of the wit of Joseph Heller's "Catch-22", while also reflecting that book's frankness about the absurdities of war.

No Man's Land is a film that generates an ambiance of seriousness covered up with triviality and soothes the tenseness of language barriers by a motion speaking of it's own. Above all, it's a movie that you can watch graciously in front of family and friends. So, don't miss out on a chance for a nice family gathering and some frank fun…

Starring: Branko Djuric, Rene Bitorajac, Filip Sovagovic, Georges Siatidis, Simon Callow, Katrin Cartlidge. Director: Danis Tanovic. Writer: Danis Tanovic. Country: Bosnia-Herzegovina /Slovenia . Rated: R. Run Time: 98 Minutes. Release Date: December 2001. Theater Release: 17th May 2002 . Distributor: Momentum Pictures. Genres: Foreign, Suspense, War, Drama



The man was arrested on Tuesday after the one-of-a-kind dress, spun from gold thread, went missing on Sunday night from the Martinez hotel, where it had been on show during the Cannes film festival.

The thief, who had just started work at the hotel as a waiter, rapidly confessed and told police he had wanted the dress as a gift for two girls he had met only hours earlier.

The three have been released but will be charged with theft.

Bellucci wore the gown when she starred as the Egyptian queen Cleopatra in the 2002 French film "Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra". The dress was returned to its owner, a firm specialising in film costumes, but it has been badly damaged.

Bellucci, who hosted the opening and closing sessions of the Cannes film festival, most recently starred in the blockbuster sequel "The Matrix Reloaded".






The Hulk

Publisher: VU Games. Developer: Radical Entertainment. Genre: Action. Release Date: May 5. Difficulty: Variable. Learning Curve: about a half-hour. Stability: minor problems. Requirements: 192 MB RAM, 32 MB VRAM, 1500 MB disk space.

With the current rash of comic book movies sweeping through Hollywood, the video game tie-in has practically become an inevitability. With Ang Lee's big-screen interpretation of The Hulk just around the corner, VU Games and Radical Entertainment have stepped up with a video game counterpart. At its core, The Hulk is a simple beat-'em-up action game that delivers an enjoyable comic-book-style experience with plenty of wanton destruction, as well as its fair share of flaws.
Though it's a tie-in with the upcoming Universal motion picture of the same name, the game pays only passing respect to the movie's storyline, instead borrowing elements from both the film and the comic book series to create an entirely new adventure. The story it weaves, which pulls in The Hulk regulars like Betty Ross, General Ryker, and the Leader, isn't terribly cohesive or compelling. The story is just a means to an end, the end being a series of scenarios where the Hulk can do some serious smashing.

As the Hulk, you'll essentially be running from one end of a level to another, beating on a variety of opponents, smashing through walls, and generally running amok. You'll occasionally run into sections where you'll have to target something specific before you can advance, but for the most part, the action is simple, fast-paced, and fairly brutal. The Hulk has at his disposal a small yet potent arsenal of attacks. There's the simple punch attack, which you can tap for some quick three-hit combos and hold in to charge up your punches. The charge-up effect is pretty cool, especially when you use it mid-jump, as it will leave you hanging in the air for a couple of beats before you launch toward your target. You can mix up the three-hit combos a bit by using the Hulk's hand-clap attack, which creates a sonic boom that can knock down and disorient enemies. The Hulk is also able to grab enemies and knock them around a bit, or use them as projectiles. Actually, the Hulk can grab just about anything and use it as a melee or projectile weapon, and this ability is complemented by the game's semi-destructible environments. You can knock down pillars, break pipes, or bust straight through walls, which gives you plenty of debris to use against your enemies. The Hulk also has a rage meter that fills up as you give and receive damage. Once the meter fills, the Hulk gets even angrier, which temporarily gives his punches more wallop and allows you to trigger some special attacks. The game has joypad and keyboard support, and though a good joypad with analog support gives you a bit more precision, the gameplay in The Hulk isn't that exacting, and using the keyboard alone works surprisingly well.

The gameplay does an excellent job of making you feel like you are the Hulk. Simply jumping creates huge cracks in the floor, and your fighting will leave the environments in ruins. You also dish out absurd amounts of damage on your enemies, whose greatest strength seems to be numbers. Indeed, the game will throw a virtually never-ending stream of enemies at you, including regular army men, gamma dogs, a variety of gamma-enhanced soldiers, and even some anti-Hulk robots. If you do clear a room, it only takes a couple of seconds for more enemies to pour in, so your usual plan of attack is to beat back the opposition just enough to move on to the next area. Unfortunately, the game breaks up the simple-but-satisfying Hulk action with sequences where you play as the Hulk's alter ego, Bruce Banner. These sequences blend basic stealth action with some crate pushing and switch flipping, as well as the hot new gameplay mechanic for 2003, the fake-hacking minigame. In The Hulk, the minigame gives you two strings of numbers and 20 seconds to make them match up by switching the positions of two numbers at a time, which is neither challenging nor particularly fun. The Bruce Banner sequences in The Hulk really bring the whole experience down, as they aren't as engaging or as fully developed as the pure Hulk action sequences.

The story mode in The Hulk clocks in at well under 10 hours, and though the Hulk sections are good fun, the sheer simplicity of the gameplay will probably leave you pleased that it didn't go on any longer. Though, if you want to deal more damage as the Hulk, the game also offers a survival mode, a time attack mode, and the aptly named Hulk Smash! mode, which gives you a train yard full of destructible objects and a time limit.
The most striking visual aspect of The Hulk is the way the characters are rendered. The game uses a sort of modified cel-shading effect that gives the characters a distinct comic book feel, but with a darker, grittier edge. Whether they're in cutscenes or in-engine, the characters look sharp and move in an exaggerated but believable fashion. The environments, which are primarily indoor locations like office buildings, laboratories, military compounds, and underground bases, look clean and sharp. After a while, though, all these federally funded compounds start running together, and the structural differences between the government base at Alcatraz and the Leader's underground lair are mostly nominal. Make no mistake, there are some cool set pieces, though the game's coolest moments happen early on, and it seems like the developers started running out of ideas as they got nearer and nearer to the end. The game is pretty sound technically, and it maintains a fairly smooth frame rate throughout. We tested the game on a mid-level PC and a high-end PC, and it seemed to perform well, though we did notice on the mid-level PC that the pronounced shading effect was missing from the characters. This took away some of the game's comic-book-like visual style, though the characters still looked pretty good.

























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