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Review by Gokhra

Robots is a slapstick comedy set in a futurist world inhabited by robots who are human in almost every aspect. They even have babies. As the movie opens, Herb Copperbottom and his wife are unwrapping their new little boy, who has arrived in a shipping crate, some assembly required. The robots even have the ability to fart, which is a crucial entertainment requirement of younger children as well as some much older ones.

The baby robot grows up into young Rodney Copperbottom (voice of Ewan McGregor), who dreams of a journey to Robot City, where he hopes that a mysterious tycoon named Big Weld will be amazed by his inventions. Rodney's father (Stanley Tucci) is a dishwasher (the appliance is built right into his midsection), and Rodney has invented a tiny helicopter robot that can whiz around the kitchen, stacking plates and silverware. Encouraged by his father to follow his dream, Rodney takes the train to Robot City. In Robot City, almost the first robotperson Rodney meets is Fender (Robin Williams), a tourist tout who snaps pictures, sells postcards and introduces Rodney to the city's public transportation system.

Their trip across town is a series of ramps, pulleys, catapults, spring-loaded propulsion devices, spiraling chutes and dizzying mechanical sling shots that hurtle Fender and poor Rodney on a stomach-churning ride.

But David Lindsay-Abaire and the veteran screenwriting partners Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel have built in a smart class parable about consumerism, too. Rodney wants to show his ideas to his inventor hero, Bigweld (Mel Brooks), whose corporation, Rodney discovers, has been taken over by Phineas T. Ratchet (Greg Kinnear), a sleek corporate meanie who has forced Bigweld into a retirement of sorts. Profits at Bigweld's company have flattened, and Ratchet's plan to make money is to do away with the sale of simple, cheap robot parts and instead sell fancy upgrades. Ratchet's new anti-parts campaign even has a slogan: ''Why be you when you can be new!"

Phineas is dominated by his mother, Madame Gasket, voiced by Jim Broadbent. Madame Gasket's master plan is to create a shortage of spare parts, so that robots will have to be replaced, instead of being indefinitely repaired.

Apparently, robots fall apart all the time. But now, if all they require is a tightened wing nut or new valve, they have to go in for full-body makeovers. So Rodney, with his urgently needed mechanical genius, becomes the equivalent of the small-town doctor who takes on a healthcare giant.

Cast & Credits
With the voices of
Rodney Copperbottom: Ewan McGregor
Fender: Robin Williams
Phineas T. Ratchet: Greg Kinnear
Big Weld: Mel Brooks
Cappy: Halle Berry
Crank Casey: Drew Carey
Piper Pinwheeler: Amanda Bynes
Herb Copperbottom: Stanley Tucci
Tim: Paul Giamatti
Madame Gasket: Jim Broadbent

Rodney meets a sexy robot named Cappy (Halle Berry) who becomes his sidekick in an invasion of Big Weld headquarters, which leads to a confrontation with the Weld himself.

Robots is a funny, vividly made technorama that is always splendid to look at. Heck, two of the most impressive and intricate sequences in Robots -- one involving a billion loosed marbles and another a zillion toppled dominoes -- really have nothing to do with anything. The filmmakers are just showing off. But they're also incredibly inspired.

Its got a great storyline of the underdog taking on the Goliath. The movie is much recommended.


By Gorkha

Requirements: P4 with 256 RAM and a 64 MB graphics card. 32 MB cards with Ati Radeon chipsets also do the trick.
The game
Other than a few handful of names like NFS, Midnight Club, Colin McRae Rally and GTA, PC users do not have much of a choice when they look for car games. There are tons of other titles but they are as interesting as watching a parliamentary sessions. So what's with Street Racing Syndicate a.k.a. SRS?

It's a tuner racing game just like NFS Underground. Heck, the comparisons between the two games will be plenty. You race for cash and glory. The money you make goes to wards upgrades and repairing your damage. Yes, there is damage modeling. The glory part includes a very shallow idea of winning girlfriends as you progress through the game.

SRS looks exactly like NFS. That's a good thing because that means you get top-notch graphics and extremely well detailed cars. The environment is downright gorgeous with all the streets having a distinctly wet look in the night. By the way, nighttime is when you will do most of your racing. Comparatively SRS seems to require less juice than NFS providing all the bells and whistles. You get tire smoke from all the cars as well as a blur effect when you hit to nitro. All this comes at a smooth frame rate whereas similar levels of graphics for NFS would have the game play sputtering.

The vehicles
The web site mentioned something about having 50 cars to choose from. That's' a load of bull droppings because you only have 7 manufacturers offering a handful of their models which amount to about 14 separate cars. Al the cars have their variations which include engine sizes or special editions. There are several different Celicas all of which have the same performance but cost differently. So you are better off buying the cheapest and upgrading as needed. All the cars (some locked) available are those that are favored heavily by tuners that mean all of them are Japanese makes except for two Volkswagen models. The selection of cars is good but they have omitted Honda from the list which is a cardinal sin.

Frankly there is not much of a storyline. In the career mode you have a very easy first race where you fill in for another racer who is in jail. The money you win helps you buy a new car and its upgrades. Then you move on completing one series of race after another with not much of a story left. While you drive around you can challenge other racers prowling the streets by flashing your headlight behind them. Yes, that's a trick taken from Midnight Club. Or you can check the map and head off to other challenges on offer.

Throughout the game you are scored in two categories. One is simply the amount of money you win. The other is points for respect that you have to earn with stunts. Particular races you receive points for special moves, being the winner, making clean accident free laps etc. These points add up and allow you to enter other sanctioned races.

Then there's the part of wining girlfriends. It's a very shallow but at least unique option. Very hot looking women ask you to impress them by following their instructions. You can do what they ask then you win them as well as a video where they basically dance around. It's a sidebar of the game that could have been done without.

What they could have added was a drag race where you have to shift manually like in NFS.

The physics are more on the side of simulation than NFS. That means you will require a steering wheel if you want to enjoy all the cars. You see, with a keyboard it is very difficult to drive the rear wheel driven cars like the Nissan 350Z, Supra or the Mazda RX 7 & 8. When souped up these cars can spin out when you take a turning and your grip from the rear tire is fading. A lot of fun an be had with the front wheel or 4-wheel drive cars like the Celica, Eclipse, Subaru Impreza, Lancer Evo and the god of all tuner cars Nissan Skyline.

The tricky part is the upgrades where you have to choose the parts a little carefully as some parts do not push up the power as much as others. But you do it right and you can pump up a Skyline to give out 900 plus bhp with turbos. Also there is not much of a wide choice for you to customize your ride. Bodykit choices amount to just one particular kit. That's kinda disappointing.

Also when you are prowling on the streets there are cops who aren't' that difficult to outrun most of the times. But they can come and hit your car and that causes damage which you have to pay for. Heck, a lot of the money you win goes toward repairing your damages.

So why should you buy the game? Well, its looks awesome and the driving is quite engrossing. It has some decent damage modeling making it more realistic. That means you are forced to drive cleanly and not like a hooligan smashing your way through. A few extra features could have made this better such as allowing more customizing and including an actual storyline. If NFS had not come out before this it would have received a cool 9.0 rating. Now as a copycat it get 7.5 which is still pretty good.

Sites Unseen

By Niloy

Nothing seems to be happening.
After all the excitement, disappointment and lies from the E3, the gaming industry is tired and silent. The tech industry is moving on as usual, but there's nothing to report. An "interesting" new movie is out the Star Wars episode 3 but it's full of Sith, to say the least.
Some guys are trying an interesting experiment, though. Simulating the universe! A story in the Guardian [doiop.com/guardianarticle] reports on The Millennium Simulation [doiop.com/bigsim] saying that it is 'the biggest exercise of its kind'. It required 25 million megabytes of memory to take our universe's initial conditions along with the known laws of physics to create this simulated universe." From the article: "The simulated universe represents a cube of creation with sides that measure 2bn light years. It is home to 20m galaxies, large and small. It has been designed to answer questions about the past, but it offers the tantalising opportunity to fast-forward in time to the slow death of the galaxies, billions of years from now. The machine they are using has 512 2-GHz processors and a terabyte of RAM! That's big.
What if we're in a simulated universe, simulating other universes?
The links are available in my site [niloywrites.blogspot.com] so that you don't need type them up.
Star Wars Episode 3:
A steaming pile of Sith
"The most damning thing about this epic waste of time is the piecemeal plot thatched together with just enough good will and nostalgia to pacify the average idiot (i.e.: you). Besides all the jedis in the movie being morons who are unable to detect conspiracies involving the cooperation of thousands of soldiers, Lucas does his best to make this movie extra insulting to our intelligence."
"Senator Palpatine seduces Anakin to the dark side in about as much time as it takes you to read this sentence. Nevermind the fact that Anakin knows Palpatine is a Sith lord before accepting his fate, or that Sith lords are known for doing things like, oh.. I don't know, KILLING MILLIONS OF PEOPLE. Anakin is on a mission to save his wife, Padme, from certain death! Or at least likely death. Okay, it was a dream. But it seemed pretty real during the flashback sequence, so Anakin has no reason not to believe this dream will come true, as dreams tend to do. Near the end, Lucas takes a shit on the script and expects his crew to translate it into the plot. Ditch this movie."
Colour in Motion
What's your favourite colour? In this engaging and interactive Flash presentation, you'll learn all about colours and the way they affect communication. There are three doors to open -- behind them you'll find a colourful world to explore. Inside the door labelled The Stars you'll find the colours, their profiles, and what they mean. After you're finished learning about each one, head to The Movies section where each short clip presents a colour's symbolism. Finally, The Lab offers the opportunity for you to play movie director, manage one of the stars, or just have fun playing with the Kaleidoscope, a cool toy that lets you create your own colourful changing patterns. Impressive.
The Scribbler
Every so often I happen upon a web site that is just too cool to ignore. The Scribbler falls into that category. It takes "simple vector based input... and creates its own drawing on top of it based on a number of simple rules." Confused? Basically, you create a drawing using your mouse, and the Scribbler randomly chooses a few numbers that determine what the drawing will eventually look like. You can also adjust the transparency, thickness, colour, and "scribbliness" of the line that the Scribbler uses. Before you get started, check out some creations in the gallery for inspiration. You'll be amazed that even the simplest drawings result in beautiful and intriguing creations.
Gallery Of The Absurd
Gallery Of The Absurd is a fantastic "gossip - fuelled art" blog.
Interface Escape
Interface Escape is one of the more clever flash games I've played; the goal is to make a series of calculated jumps from platform to platform, using a viewscreen to plot out your trajectory and jetpack thrust. Nicely evolved game play with pretty slick graphics for a Flash game. 363 kb.



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