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Review By Gokhra

This came out about a year ago but they have been showing it for a while on HBO and it seemed pretty good. It's a lot like the mismatched buddy cop movies except here you have mismatched spies. Sort of.

The plot: Owe Wilson plays Alex Scott who is a secret spy as all spies are supposed to be. He's a bit of a number two spy as another guy called Carlos with a typically romance novel type accent and way cooler gadgets is number one. Of course, Carlos is just there in the movie to irritate Owens character by always stealing the limelight.

Somewhere along the story, a top-secret military plane is stolen from Uncle Bush's armory by some terrorist type conscience-free men. Its called Switchblade, the most sophisticated prototype stealth fighter created yet. The bad guys want to sell it to the highest bidder. Of course, planes even small jets are generally considered a bit difficult to hide by parking it in your apartment lot. This plane makes hiding a lot easier as it has a very high tech cloaking device that copies the surrounding images and projects them onto the body making it virtually impossible. If you've seen James Bonds new Aston then you know what it looks like. If you don't know then try to imagine it as a 'leafy bug'. That's the name given to it by the hyper talkative and slightly annoying but also enjoyable Eddie Murphy.

Murphy playing Kelly Robinson is a world-class boxer who probably knocks his opponents out more with his wise cracks than anything else. He is brought in to help out in the case for reasons mentioned despite sounding silly. The president (of US of A) needs Kelly to stage a fight in Budapest to provide cover for a secret mission to recover the stolen jet. Basically, two out of sorts people are put together to find a way to bring the plane back to Uncle Bush's garage.

So throughout the caper we see the duo constantly getting into and out of trouble in hilarious ways. There's plenty of good chases. There's men chasing men, car chasing car and men with big guns chasing men hanging onto runaway spy gadget balloon. At one stage the duo hide out in a sewage tunnel where they do some male bonding amid floating smelly brown wastes. They also go through a lot of painful jumps falls and crashes with Owen getting kneed in the groin a few times by the oh so sexy fellow spy Famke Janssen. He has a crush on her but this is probably not a good way to feel it.

The verdict: Both the lead characters are funny on their own right. It helps to add a comic touch to movies and these two characters drown the movie in it.

The plot does have plenty of twists but they are a bit predictable. This film does no favors to the memory of the I Spy TV series, a genuine original that knew how to pull off a surprise. On the big screen it gets a little ordinary. Its what you would call a popcorn movie where you watch it, have a few good laughs and then forget about it. Good, but not quite there.


By Tawsif

When God runs short of thunderbolts, He throws frogs from heaven. No kidding. One overcast day in 1939, a thunderstorm broke out in Wiltshire, England, and torrents of small frogs came falling down from the sky. The reaction varied from people to people, I presume. The Catholics probably hid under the table and prayed, certain that God had sent His Army of Frogs to punish the sinners. The English nobles probably stayed home, pretending it's just another day in life, and talked about the Fattest-Pig-in-the-shire contests. The Japanese immigrants definitely took their chop-sticks out!

Mother Nature is weird, folks. Over the years, strange showers have been reported all around the globe. In certain occasions, people were lucky to get away with mere plants, while in others the menu went on to include frogs, fishes and even frozen birds. Poor umbrella-companies! They must have had one hell of a time paying for all the cheeky law-suits; so much for the tough-against-all-sorts-of-weather advertisement!

The topic itself had remained a major mystery for quite a while though, with some people attributing it to the Holy presence, while others adhering to superstitions bizarre enough to make the Arabian Nights rather post-modernistic! Scientists, however, have a little different explanation. They believe that sometimes during tornadoes plants and animals are sucked up from the waterspouts into thunderclouds, and then dumped miles away in heavy rain. At times, even birds have been trapped into the mighty up drifts of a thundercloud, before turning into hailstones, and surrendering to gravity. Thank God, no thunder cloud is big enough to hold an elephant (or, Adnan Sami for that matter)!

More bizarre than raining frogs and birds is perhaps raining blood and arteries! Yup, you got it right. Ever since biblical times, rains of blood have been reported all around the globe, often with an honest enthusiasm, but most of the times with an oh-my-God-the-Mummy-has-come-to-eat-us frenzy. Although the superstitions are still predominant among a vast group of people, Scientists got near to the truth when a shower coated everything in red, gritty dust in Southern England, 1968. They later went on to explain that the so-called blood-rain was nothing but fine sand blown up from the Sahara and carried over a thousand of miles inside a colossal high pressure system before falling in a rain-shower. Religious Extremists were heart-broken!

Clouds often bend the path of light to create various optical illusions, one of the most tantalizing - not to mention weird - being 'sundogs'. I'm not certain where the 'dog' comes from, but sundogs are created by microscopic ice crystals in the high, wispy, cirrus-clouds which bend sunlight like a glass prism to create ghost-images of the sun alongside the real one. That way, you can end up seeing as much as three suns lined up in a neat row in the sky!

Clouds have also been held responsible for spoiling the trousers of certain mountaineers (not that too many were honest enough to admit)! Often, the shadows of the mountaineers are projected in the low clouds which are eventually reflected back by the tiny water-droplets in the mist, thereby giving rise to huge shadowy specters, mistaken as ghosts. Talk about being scared of your own shadow, eh?

Back to thunderstorms, in old times the mariners used to see eerie lights at the top of their ships' mast every time a thunder approached. Usually, they used to pray and tremble, more or less convinced that the ship was haunted, and then go back home after a month or so, and boast about how they'd fought spirits in the sea!

The eerie light, more commonly known as 'St. Elmo's Fire', was nothing but intense static electricity forming at the top of the mast usually, because of the charged ions in the thunder which eventually dissipated as light energy. The most recent and certainly the weirdest display of static electricity took place at a school football match in Dover, England, where the players playing under a storm of course found their heads glowing! They abandoned the game upon realizing that they might just end up becoming a bunch of lightening conductors…

Wee bit of an advice before concluding today's column. Your girl friend might coincide the likes of Catherine Zeta Jones, but if she looks way too dazzling in a stormy night, just leave her there and start running at the opposite direction as fast as you can, because she's about to be hit by a thunderbolt!


OniMUSHA 3: Demon Siege (Ps2)

By Paper or Plastic

Most of us have fought through the countless zombies of Biohazard/Resident Evil at least once in our lives and I can guarantee that some of us have pondered, 'how cool would it be if the characters could fight with melee weapons instead of guns?' Yeah. Capcom's kinda been thinkin' the same thing for a while and produced Onimusha in 2001 a Japanese action/samurai version of Resident, hosting fewer scares and more skirmish. Drama, romance and ah zombies are no uncommon features in the Onimusha series. And the latest entry in the franchise, Onimusha 3: Demon Siege is a great extension having the same game-mechanics as its renowned predecessors (i.e. hours of hack n' slash, menacing enemies and engrossing story) and enough new innovations to resist arousing monotony among gamers - sacred ground is retained, but none is broken.

For their efforts dedicated in vanquishing the power-monger, Nobunaga (series' Bad-dude), the heroes of the Onimusha series have been fruitless as the megalomaniac returns once again as the main wrongdoer in the latest follow-up. However, Nobunaga's nefarious schemes have reached a new standard, for this time, his intentions of domination does not include medieval Japan (1582) alone, but also present-day France, which flaunts manifold locations ranging from the modern Boulogne Zoo to the ancient Notre Dame. Now before you move onto another article thinkin' 'this is soo Samurai Jack!' read on and discover the awesome features and hours of fun Demon Siege has in store.

The most interesting feature of Onimusha 3 is the addition of French actor Jean Reno (Mission Impossible, The Professional, Ronin) as Jacques Blanc a French commando. He represents a half of the duo chosen by the Oni (a bunch o' old n' extinct philosophical, quasi-god people, much like the elder gods in the Mortal Kombat franchise) as the annihilators of Nobunaga and his notorious hordes (known as Genma). Jacques' gorgeous machine-gun toting fiancée, Michelle Aubert, also delivers some hours of (ahem) hot n' heavy action alongside Japanese actor Takeshi Kaneshiro as Mitsuhedi Samanosuke Akechi (Jacques' counterpart), the sword maneuvering, Genma-ravaging veteran Japanese samurai from the original Onimusha. Another significant character in the game is Ako - a puerile version of 'Tinker-bell' who can conveniently transfer momentous messages among the heroes ensnared in 'irrespective' eras. Uh-huh - that's the interesting aspect during the beginning of the game Samanosuke and Jacques are averse guinea pigs to Guildenstern's 'time-fold' (a malicious demon scientist working for Nobunaga), which delivers Jacques in 1582 Japan and Samanosuke in 2004 France (basically it swaps their positions). Quite anachronistic huh?

Our heroes parade amazing repertoires of arcane equipment including magic gauntlets that draw souls from foes, which can then be used to upgrade armors and weapons. Being the new-member, Jacques receives the full welcome hosting such weapons as a fire permeating chain-sword (Enja) (as seen in The Brotherhood of the Wolves) - and a morningstar exuding 'ice-magic' (Hyosai).

Using these arms are fun and riveting. For 'button-mashers', Demon Siege provides with munificence, enabling gamers to drum the 'square' button constantly until there's nothing remaining of the enemies. And those craving for some authentic hacking are also catered for as gamers can orchestrate combos with sword-slashes, kicks, hajiki issen/issen (defense-critical /critical) and mind-shattering special moves unique to each weapon.

Remember how hard it was to distinguish between the characters in the CG movie Final Fantasy: Spirits Within and 'real' actors? DÉJÀ VU. Onimusha 3 presents a similar scenario to the viewers shocking them with a mind-shattering revolutionizing opening CG movie that rivals Hollywood's best. Graphics during game-play are also quite amazing boasting gorgeous character figures and 3D backgrounds showered with various adorned cryptic ornaments that add to the game's aesthetic splendor (enough to satisfy the finicky graphics-snob inside all of us). However, as a penalty, the game suffers sporadic 'slowdowns' during intense battle sequences. Negative features of the game also include horrendous voice performances and the 'what-if' manner with which the Genma were designed.

For an ending, it's fair to culminate that despite its flaws, Onimusha 3 is an awesome action-adventure game and a definite 'must-have' for gamers searching for some hours of samurai-style 'chop'em up' fun.

Xbox 2 details are out, gentlemen, and it seems that Microsoft has some packed some serious arsenal in its upcoming console. Apparently, the console's CPU will consist of three 3 GHz PowerPC cores. Xbox 2's GPU will be a generation beyond the ATI X800, clocking in at 500 MHz and supporting Shader 3.0. These will be handling any game like Half-Life 2 with ease.

"On the memory front, the Xbox 2 will have 256 MB RAM; it may sound insufficient but the Gamespy states that this should not be "equated to typical PC RAM". The console will, as per rumours, not sport a hard drive, making that optional. However, it will support memory cards, ranging from 64 MB to 1 GB. Not surprisingly, the console will feature a standard DVD drive, with games being released on dual-layer DVD-9 discs, holding up to 7 GB of data. The most interesting thing is that the Xbox 2 may feature a USB 2.0 camera capable of shooting 1.2 MegaPixel still shots and VGA video; how the camera will be used is still unknown." [Quoted from
For more info, check out Xbox 2 Official Announcement at http://www.bdgamer.net/?itemid=16739. Many major companies already announced support for Xbox 2. Also, Microsoft also released pictures of the interface of Xbox 360 http://www.bdgamer.net/?itemid=16771.
In other news, the Half-Blood Prince Book covers has been released! Mugglenet.com says: Scholastic (US publisher) and Bloomsbury (UK publisher) both released their respective covers for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince! You can view the American cover at http://tinyurl.com/6wpcw, the UK children's cover at http://tinyurl.com/692yp, and the UK adult version at http://tinyurl.com/3rr4e. Also, Mugglenet.com has word from a editor about the book. "There is to be a new Minister for Magic. We learn much more about Voldemort. No information revealed on whether Snape will be the Half-Blood Prince. HBP will be an intense book, but with light-hearted moments."

Also, as I mentioned before, there will be a special Sites Unseen next week. You, the readers, will be sending links to sites you like, and they'll be featured along with your names. Cool, huh? Email your links to me (niloy.me@gmail.com) today!

As usual, the whole Sites Unseen with all the links are available in my blog, niloywrites.blogspot.com, so that you don't have to type the links up.
The usual cool links:

Pictures of Walls
Once you get past the dire warning about cursing and the slightly confusing navigation (scroll down and click on the big white arrows), you'll find some spray-painted goodness in this collection of city snapshots. Using tagged expanses of brick, cement, glass, metal, and plywood as subjects, the contributors to this photo "Gallery of Grime" have tracked down moments of beauty and desperation in the often hidden landscape of urban street expression. It's just compelling to watch the walls speak for themselves.

Half-blood Prince plot generator!
"Harry falls in love with Draco Malfoy and Winky befriends Lord Voldemort. Meanwhile, Petunia threatens Wormtail and Mrs Weasley does a favour for Lucious Malfoy. Nobody wins the Quiddich Cup, and Hufflepuff wins the House Cup. Dumbledore's Army fights the rampaging trolls and Hagrid's Blast-ended Skrewts turn out to be evil. Hagrid dies, and we learn about a dark secret about Tom Riddle. Shockingly, Dobby turns out to be the Half-blood prince."

A great Mac Gyver fan site
The is a great fan site of one of the coolest serials of all time. Check out the "quotes" and "lessons".

Converter: Webshots picture format to JPEG
Do you use the site www.webshots.com? It's quite a neat site, really, and has a good collection of wallpapers. Anyway, the site requires you to use their specific software to use their wallpapers, and I don't like that. This nifty freeware, sized at 1.3 MB, converts the wallpapers you download from webshots.com into JPEG files.

Game: Orbox
A fun game in which you try to reach the goal while trying not to get lost in hyperspace. 80 kb.

Breakout clone with a twist
A nice game, similar to DX-ball, but features a circular play area. 300 kb.

Game: Mini Putt 3
Neat putting game. 285 KB.

Offering the worst email address in the planet…
This site offers free 6MB email accounts. The email address would be so long that... some web forms are unable to read your email address, some email software cannot be configured, people will have a hard time typing your email address, companies will think that your email address fake AND it'll be the longest alphabetical email address on Earth!

You can visit my blog, niloywrites.blogspot.com or email me to niloy.me@gmail.com



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