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LINDA Cardellini

The Real Velma

Linda Cardellini's neither freaky, nor geeky, as the title of her former TV series or portrayal of Velma Dinkley might suggest. The super foxy actress is capable of playing a nerdy girl, like the cartoon character she brought to life in the Scooby-Doo movie, as convincingly as she portrayed a fully dimensional, sensitive student in Freaks and Geeks.

Linda first gained recognition playing high school student Lindsay Weir in the short-lived NBC series Freaks and Geeks (1999-2000). A supporting part in Legally Blonde (2001) and a co-starring role as Velma in the 2002 mega-hit Scooby-Doo have been two of her recent big-screen appearances.

Linda Edna Cardellini was born in Redwood City, California on June 25th, 1975, the youngest of four children. She made her public performing debut at the age of 10, when she sang a song in a school play. She was immediately bitten by the acting bug, and soon began attending drama courses and getting involved in school productions.

Following her graduation from Saint Francis High School in Mountain View, California, she received her first break in 1996 when she landed a starring role as Sarah on ABC's Saturday morning live-action children's series, Bone Chillers. She also made guest appearances on prime-time programs such as Step by Step, Clueless and 3rd Rock from the Sun.

Doing the film rounds
Cardellini made her movie debut with a small part in the comedy Good Burger (1997), and next appeared in the 1998 dark comedy Dead Man on Campus, portraying the girlfriend of a violent college student (played by her future Freaks and Geeks co-star and boyfriend Jason Segel). That same year, she played Genevieve Gage, one of Internet predator Captain Howdy's victims in Strangeland.

She returned to the small screen during the 1998-1999 season with recurring roles on Guys Like Us and Boy Meets World, where she was cast as Lauren, the girl that would come between the show's star couple, Cory and Topanga. She had a supporting role in the UPN made-for-TV movie Dying to Live, and received favorable reviews for her portrayal of a young starlet in 1930s Hollywood in AMC's miniseries The Lot (both 1999). Cardellini spent the summer of 1999 in Europe as part of a touring production of Lancelot, a 14th century Dutch tragedy. The highlight of the tour was a special performance as part of an international medieval play conference in Italy.

No freak, no geek
Her biggest break to date came when she landed one of the starring roles in the NBC series Freaks and Geeks, which debuted during the 1999-2000 season. Cardellini's portrayal of high school student Lindsay Weir received positive reviews, but despite critical acclaim and a sizable cult following, the show was canceled mid-season. She began dating co-star Jason Segel in 2001, the same year she graduated Loyola Marymount University with a degree in theater. She re-emerged on the silver screen later that year, with a small part in 2001's hit comedy, Legally Blonde.

Jinkies! a howling success
After a part in 2001's The Unsaid (aka The Ties That Bind), Cardellini co-starred along with Freddie Prinze Jr., Sarah Michelle Gellar, and a CGI canine in the live-action Scooby-Doo movie (2002). Despite critics' predictions that the film would flop, it boasted the best June opening to date. Cardellini joined the cast of NBC's ER as a free-spirited single mom, Nurse Samantha Taggart, in the fall of 2003. You can catch Cardellini in the recently released La La Wood, and in Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, set for release in 2004.

Aerosmith: Honkin' On Bobo

Review by Ken Micallef, Launch

His ego bloated by years of lip curling excess and larynx shredding dementia, Steven Tyler is a wasted rock star in the truest sense of the word. But Honkin' On Bobo proves that when the scrawny singer gets out of the way, Aerosmith is still a smoking rock 'n' roll powerhouse with more passion and guts than most preening punk rockers half their age.

Led by the mighty Joe Perry, who sounds like he is itching for a fight and revenge, Aerosmith walk a thin line between electric blues and early rock 'n'roll, the album sounding at times like a lost Sun session broadcast from deep outer space. The production is shrill but the band is soulful. Aerosmith is a band reborn, especially in slow, driving numbers like the grueling "Back Back Train" and the molten "I'm Ready." Tyler still plays the circus barker (and some killer harmonica) on "Road Runner" and the lone original track, "The Grind," but he can't stop the gleeful thrill of rockers like Straycat rave-up, "Shame, Shame, Shame," or the Bo Diddley strut of "You Gotta Move." Perry is ferocious and omnipotent, guiding the band like a man possessed in the midnight prowl of "Back Back Train," the slamming shuffle breakdown of "Temperature" (with blues great Jimmie Johnson on piano), and Stevie Ray Vaughan send-up, "Stop Messin' Around" (with Perry on vocals).

Honkin' On Bobo is a big bruiser of an album, with heart, soul, and fury to spare. Who knew Aerosmith had anything, much less blues power, still left alive and well?

Dilated Peoples: Neighborhood Watch

“In a marathon/The artist will win it." That piece of philosophy, which leads off the third album from Dilated Peoples, is disproven daily in the meatgrinder of the music biz. But Rakaa, Evidence and DJ Babu, the members of this L.A. hip-hop trio, are certainly doing their part to make it a self-fulfilling prophecy. They've maintained their major label deal without a major hit, and the majority of Neighborhood Watch builds on the same elemental beats, scratches and deceptively clever rhymes that have been the heartbeat of the trio's career. It's almost impossible to assign an era to tracks like "Marathon" and "Who's Who," and the timelessness of their plain-wrapped, plain-rapped appeal will help make this album exactly what it claims to be: a tortoise that can outlast the hares of the mainstream.

The Punisher: The Album

If you name your movie The Punisher, you'd better not line your soundtrack with wimpy love ballads. And if you're a new hard rock act looking to get yourself some street recognition, you're going to want be on a soundtrack that includes new material from "veteran" bands such as Queens Of The Stone Age, Drowning Pool, Puddle Of Mudd and Nickelback. And if you're one of those aforementioned bands, you gotta feel pretty good knowing that in a few short years you've gone from unknown entity to "money in the bank." People return your calls. Your new house isn't just a home, but a feature on MTV's Cribs. * Life is good. But most importantly, hard rock fans the world over get a 19-song collection that allows them to size up the competition. If I were a betting man and these bands were horses, I'd put my money on Seether (and not just because they're on here twice and once with Evanescence's Amy Lee--though that doesn't hurt), Hatebreed and former Alice In Chains man Jerry Cantrell because they know how to deliver the--get this--punishing blow. Oh, now that hurts.

Walking Tall

A movie review by Niloy

The Walking Tall is a remarkably satisfying movie, considering the facts that the movie is full of purely uncomplicated parts and the story is pretty much simple. The movie reminds us of movies of 70's and 80's where people could be simply classified as heroes or villains. Now a days, the complexity of the plots and the characters of plots and the characters of the movies are increasing in such a rate that they are spoiling the enjoyment the movies offer. So, the Rock's latest movie, featuring a simple plot, is overwhelmingly enjoyable. And the movie makes the hours spent watching it worthwhile.

The story is quite simple. The Rock plays Chris Vaughn, who is an ex-soldier. After an eight year break Chris returns to his home town and discovers the town to be infected with crime and corruption. After his own family becomes the victim of the criminals, he decides to take revenge on the criminals. And he does take revenge, not in any Kung Fu or Terminator style, but in the pure, satisfying, remarkable, and motivating style of beating the living hell out of enemies with a big bad stick and forgoing rhetorical speeches both before and after the beating. Well, the stick he uses isn't only a big stick, it is a massive piece of timber with jagged rectangular edges.

And that's all the story the movie has. Unrepentantly, nothing unexpected happens throughout the movie. There are no twists, turns or double crosses. The good guys and the bad guys stay whatever good or bad they were throughout the movie; they don't change sides.

The movie has a praiseworthy cast and they have all performed admirably. Of course, there is the Rock, with his magnetic personality anchoring the film. But the supporting team, led by Jhonny Knoxville, don't get unnoticed. They do deserve kudos as their effort and collective talent provides the film a level of drama much higher than the movie deserves. Particularly, Neal McDonough give the Rock a formidable adversary an the two square off equally well as physical and intellectual opponents.

It is now confirmed, with the release of this movie that the Rock is soon going to get the throne of Action movies. He is certainly the righteous heir of Arnold Schwarzenegger. I, for one, had been favouring the Rock for a long time as once I was a fan of the WWF. The Rock is a superhero with a sensitive side, and is someone who you will find yourself cheering for not because he's the guy with biceps bigger than your head, but because he seems to use his head and his heart in conjunction with them. His skills and instincts as an actor develops as he finishes different projects one by one. Rarely an established mainstream performer showed such constant charm for his career. With this film he continues his path to his place in the A-List which he no doubt seeks. Never has vigilant justice felt so persuasive as he, with his larger-than-life and undeniably charismatic presence, is whacking away at the evil with that massive piece of timber.

2004 Geneva Motor Show:

Rinspeed Splash

A detailed look at a concept car that can drive, swim, and fly over water

Every year we're impressed by the fanciful designs presented by Rinspeed Design, and unlike many auto show concepts, these cars usually function as claimed. This year's technical marvel is the Splash, a 137-hp turbocharged, natural-gas powered sports car that promises top speeds of 125 mph on land, but which also turns into a watertight stern-drive amphibious vehicle thanks to cleverly integrated hydraulics that deploy at the touch of a button.

An additional integrated hydrofoil system enables the Splash to 'fly' at an altitude of about two feet above the surface and up to speeds of 45 knots (about 50 mph) on smooth water--fast enough for water skiing or knee boarding. Splash is built of multi-layered carbon composite (a state-of-the-art plastic mainly used in Formula One racing) with buoyancy chambers inside for additional lift on the water--and a bilge pump, just in case... Purely a concept, the Rinspeed Splash claims to be the first and only sports car in the world that can drive, swim, and fly over water.

PC Game Review


The developer of Grand Theft Auto delivers its darkest, most violent game yet in Manhunt, a third-person perspective stealth action game that puts you in the role of a death row inmate forced to run a deadly gauntlet at the whim of a sadistic cinematographer. The grisly scenes are done up in style, as Manhunt has a real cinematic flair to it--not to mention a suffocating atmosphere that perfectly fits the theme. It also does a better job of incorporating stealth mechanics than most other such games, though the latter portion of Manhunt devolves into a nearly continuous, mind-numbing series of shoot-outs. Manhunt is seriously intense, and anyone with a stomach for the game's concept ought to find it fiendishly entertaining.

There's no reason to like the main character of Manhunt. At the beginning of the game, James Earl Cash is presumably about to be put to death--and with good reason. Something happens, however. The "lethal" injection he's administered merely knocks him out. He later comes to and finds himself alone in a cell with an earpiece nearby. He puts it on, and this is how Cash meets Lionel Starkweather. Starkweather presents himself as Cash's savior and promises the man his freedom...after he performs a few key tasks. From this point on, Cash is thrust into a series of levels, during which he is hunted by ruthless thugs and must make use of any weapon he can find to dispatch of them--or else die trying. All this happens to Starkweather's great delight. You see, Starkweather makes "snuff films" and captures on video the bloody executions conducted by people like Cash. Cash, it seems, is Starkweather's latest leading man. The rather original storyline is very intriguing at first but doesn't really take off. As a result, it proceeds in predictable directions and essentially just acts as a setup for Cash so that he can be thrust from one hopeless situation into another.

Manhunt is directly comparable to the Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell games and Hitman. By now, most gamers have experienced stealth gameplay before-- some like it, and some hate it. Manhunt can be highly suspenseful, and, yes, it can get quite frustrating at times--especially in the later scenes. But, for what it's worth, the game does handle certain aspects of the stealth action formula remarkably well.

Those experienced with GTA III or Vice City won't have any problems getting started with Manhunt, especially since Starkweather will conveniently walk you through the basics when you first begin play. As far as specific points of comparison, Manhunt's hand-to-hand combat system is basically a crude, button-mashing affair, just like in GTA.

Guns (including pistols, shotguns, submachine guns, assault rifles, and even a nailgun) come into play later on in the game. In the Xbox version, you can fire the weapons using an auto-aim feature, much like in the GTA series. You can aim manually as well, and on the PC, you'll have to, though there's a useful ability allowing you to snap your aim onto the closest foe. As if to encourage brutal, close-quarters shoot-outs, Cash will automatically target his foes' heads if you lock onto them from a short distance away.

Cash can take a number of hits before dying and will never show any real signs of fatigue or injury (except for the cuts and bruises you'll see on his body when he's particularly hurt). Like Max Payne, you recover health in Manhunt by finding painkillers.

The great variety of close-range weapons include knives, machetes, axes, police clubs, sickles, and more; all of these can be used to instantly kill a foe in three distinctly different ways, and each method is generally more brutal than the last.

GeForce Strikes Back

Nvidia opens the next-generation graphics card race with today's official announcement of the Nvidia GeForce 6 GPU series. Code-named NV40, the GeForce 6 GPU family will soon replace Nvidia's current NV3x-based GeForce FX line of graphics processing units. And not a moment too soon, many will add.

It's no secret that many consider ATI the winner of the previous architecture cycle, in large part due to the strength of the Radeon 9700/9800 series design, but also due to production delays and a handful of miscalculated design decisions on the part of Nvidia.

The GeForce 6800 Ultra offers twin DVI outputs and a TV-out. ATI was able to get the Radeon 9700 to market roughly six months ahead of the GeForce FX because Nvidia tried to adopt the then relatively new 0.13-micron manufacturing process. Usually a move to a smaller manufacturing process results in smaller chip dies and higher potential clock speeds, but Nvidia encountered problems with the move that resulted in a significant shipping delay. ATI, on the other hand, used the less efficient but proven 0.15-micron process to get to market quickly.

When the first GeForce FX did ship, it only featured a 128-bit memory interface, which required Nvidia card manufacturers to use faster, more expensive memory just to get close to the memory bandwidth offered by ATI's 256-bit memory interface. Nvidia did correct the issue by including a 256-bit memory interface with the GeForce FX 5900 release, but another crisis emerged when Valve's Gabe Newell openly criticized the GeForce FX's full-precision floating point performance under Pixel Shader 2.0.

Nvidia finally has an answer to the performance question with the announcement of the new GeForce 6 line of GPUs. Nvidia showcased the GeForce 6800 at its Editors' Day 2004 event just over a week ago:

GeForce 6800 Ultra Radeon 9800XT
Transistors 222 million 115 million
Core Clock 400MHz 412MHz
Pixel Pipelines 16 8
Vertex Units 6 4
Memory Bus 256-bit 256-bit
Memory Clock 550MHz (1100MHz effective) 365MHz (730MHz effective)

As you can see, the GeForce 6800 weighs in with a hefty 222 million transistors, almost double that of the Radeon 9800XT's 115M. To offer a little CPU comparison, Intel's Prescott Pentium 4 processor sports 125M transistors, and AMD's Athlon 64 has a 105.9M count. Manufactured on IBM's 0.13-micron process, the GeForce 6800 Ultra will ship with a 400MHz clock speed. The extra complexity is necessary since Nvidia has outfitted the GeForce 6800 Ultra with 16 pixel pipelines and six vertex units. In comparison, the ATI Radeon 9800XT has eight pixel pipelines and four vertex units. Running at a 400MHz clock speed, the GeForce 6800 Ultra's theoretical peak fill rate will be a massive 6400 Mpixels per second.

Nvidia plans to release two different GeForce 6800 versions-- one at an estimated street price of $499 and the other with a $299 price tag. Both the Ultra and non-Ultra versions should hit store shelves near the end of May.


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