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Celebrity 411

By Fahmina Rahman

Celebrities are always up to something. Rumours persist, gossips follow, and more than a few rumours turn out to be very true. So if you want the latest word, the 411 on your favourite stars, read on people- this is the place for you!

Reese Witherspoon, actress of Legally Blonde I & II, recently won an Oscar for her amazing performance as June Carter Cash in Walk the Line. What many of you may not know is that she sang every song in the movie herself, after months of intense training with voice coaches. She did such a brilliant job of it that word is Reese might be in talks now with EMI Records to put out her very own album! The compilation could potentially include covers of old favorites by singers such as Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald. This might just be the start of a whole new career track for this Hollywood sweetheart!

Latest hottie Ashlee Simpson seems to be in a lot of stress lately! First she screwed up on Saturday Night Live and tried to save face with the lamest of excuses. She claimed to be suffering from acid reflux, which she said prevented her from singing without the help of a karaoke machine…yeah right! Seems like she's got to come up with an equally lame excuse as to why her face looks totally different from April to May of 2006. While it's painfully obvious that she had a nose job, like most stars, she has not admitted to the surgery. Who knows, maybe she'll say she got seasonal allergies and needed a surgery for it or something!
Arnold Schwarzenegger may be Governor of California, but he is certainly not above getting into trouble with the law. He was riding his bike with his son when an oncoming car struck them. The accident left him with more than just the 15 stitches in his upper lip. He could be served with a fine by California police for failing to have the special license needed to drive that type of vehicle. His rep says that Arnold will definitely secure the proper license before he heads out again.

When David Spade returned home on January 7, 2006 from a night out on the town with friends, he saw a man who appeared to be drowning in his swimming pool. Thanks to his quick thinking, David was able to jump into the water and pull the man out to safety. Spade, who has been hard at work on his new talk show, The Showbiz Show with David Spade, played the role of real-life hero when he saved the man, who turned out to be his gardener, from uncertain death.

Angelina Jolie isn't wasting any time getting back to work on her new movie. With three children plus more in the works, she can't afford not to. She gave birth to Brad Pitt's baby on May 27 and is already geared up to get back into the studio. The Oscar winning actress plans to take it easy this time - no Lara Croft stunts for this new mom. Jolie has signed on to be the voice of Tigress in Dreamworks' animated film Kung Fu Panda. Finally, a movie that her son Maddox can actually watch without someone covering his eyes!

Rumors have been swirling for weeks that Jennifer Lopez may be pregnant with her first child. She makes no secret about the fact that she can't wait to be a mother, and more than a few facts seem to be pointing out the reality of this rumour. First, she abruptly canceled her summer 2006 tour. I know this sounds crazy, but some women don't color their hair when expecting and J-Lo is currently sporting uncharacteristic gray roots. Lastly, she's adding a maternity line to her Sweetface clothing collection. So either J-Lo is totally preggers or she's experiencing one of the worst cases of PMS ever documented! It's apparently severe enough to make her cancel a tour, ignore her beauty regimen, wear loose clothing, and start stitching maternity stuff. I think the evidence speaks for itself, but we'll definitely find out soon enough.

That's all I got for now, but not to worry, it takes less than a week for celebrities to set off further rumours! So until then, au revoir!


Review by Gokhra

When Pixar comes up with something animated you know that it will be good. The question now is just how good? Pixar has had uncanny success with non-human characters such as children's toys, fields full of insects, furry beasts that hide in the closet and fish. This time they are going further form non-human into the realm of non living with cars.

Admittedly, I felt a little skeptical about an entire film about cars. Sure, you have movies based on and around cars. You could even go as far as to consider a particular car as good a star as the human counterpart (Mustang and Nick Cage in Gone in 60 Seconds). But what happens when the stars of the movies are cars that live and breathe and talk and fall in love? There are absolutely no humans to mess around with. That too it is connected to NASCAR racing that doesn't appeal too much outside the United States. Only one I know who loves NASCAR is Mood Dude but then again he loves anything on wheels. So he doesn't count.

The plot:
The film's hero is Light
ning McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson) who wouldn't feel too out of place quoting Vin Diesels phrase from 2Fast2Furious “I live my life a quarter mile at a time”. Of course, Lightning is all for the race track so a quarter mile wouldn't quite cut it. He is a cocky red rookie doing well in his first year.

The beginning of the movie begins with a race with slightly skewed results and busted pride as there is a three-way tie among Lightning, the aging track champion King (racing legend Richard Petty), and sneaky contender Hicks (Michael Keaton). You can tell Hicks is a sneaky dude because his radiator grill looks like a slick sneaky moustache that sneaky guys always have.

A race-off to bring out a winner is planned in California, but on the way there Lightning accidentally gets separated from his transport truck (named Mack) and his life takes a different turn, literally. He finds himself on the once busy Route 66 where he enters a desert ghost-town called Radiator Springs. There he manages to rip up the main drag strip and is sentenced by the locals to community-service road repair. Here's where you start to feel that the plot may be a little strained but don't hold your breath too long. Things pan out pretty well from here on.

Now so far Lightning has been a self-absorbed jerk and the wrong turn in the road is supposed to lead him to learn humility. We all know that's coming at the end of the movie but not exactly how. That's where the beauty lies.

The whole process of zero to hero comes about by allowing other character into the life of the arrogant red racer. “Cars" includes many interesting characters such as Radiator Springs' village elder, Doc Hudson (Paul Newman) who is a sleek 1950s coupe with an air of weary aplomb and a few secrets in his garage. Docs opposite is a dim - bulb tow truck named Tow Mater. There are inspired bovine tractors and an appropriately hippie burn out Volkswagen bus with flowers painted on its side. A military drill-sergeant takes the guise of a World War II Jeep. Also there is a Hispanic low rider, a home-girl show car and a pair of Ferrari-obsessed tire salesmen(Tony Shalhoub and Guido Quaroni).

Star power includes talk show host Jay Leno voicing a talk-show host named Jay Limo. Then late in the film there is Arnold Schwarzenegger appearing as a Hummer which he used to drive before he became a pollution conscious Governator.

There's also the film's love interest, a light-blue Porsche Carrera named Sally whom actress Bonnie Hunt manages to make sweetly cute.

The verdict:
Surprising as it may seem Cars is not about racing as you might think. It's all about slowing down and enjoying life. Now you didn't think it would be a Pixar film without trying to impart a few life lessons? The movie has crack comic timing and makes you realize that the point of driving isn't how fast you get there but what you see on the way. It has brilliant comedy right through to the end where you have hilarious out-takes dealing with the cars themselves.

Animation always looks a bit too shiny but here it works perfectly as cool cars need to be shiny. The dialogue and characterizations go the extra mile with excellent attention to detail. You can even see the fly specks on the windows. Oh yeah, there are no humans but there sure are flies and other small creatures. Not only that it has some beautiful detailing where words aren't necessary to convey a message. Take for instance the way a town's neon signs shut down until it seems the loneliest spot on earth.

“Cars" also avoids the easy laughs of fart gags and other bodily humour. It's no longer enough for a film to be technically stunning. We also expect it to touch our hearts and that's where this movie scores high. It's a smart, soulful character comedy that is visually breathtaking.

Flat Out 2

Gamespot gave it a rating of 7.4
It's all utterly silly and utterly fun.
Available on PC, PS2 and XBOX

While Burnout series provided all the vehicular mayhem and destruction you could hope for you always want a little something else. After all , we are human and we can't help be greedy. So we had last year's entry of FlatOut which is a pure and simple demolition racer. And now we have the sequel. That game consisted of big, clunky, filthy-looking cars that broke apart in interesting ways while flying through the air or hitting one another. Even drivers were thrown out a little too occasionally. FlatOut 2 contains the same basic concepts with more content added to the package. Like the original, it has tons of cool stuff like demolition derbies, figure-eight races and stunt mode. The cars:
You race with a wide assortment of old heaps as well as racers and trucks. Unfortunately the developers did not dial in enough of a difference between the different cars. The only thing you can see most clearly is the difference in speed. Each car in the game has several ratings in categories like speed, acceleration, strength and sure, you can upgrade and whatnot but in the end there is the slight feeling of dejavu. Apart from the speed another difference is size. Big cars smash tiny ones in crashes. It's definitely no Gran Turismo so you do not have to learn driving skills with each new car. Everything has a slight floaty generic feeling. But that's not to say the handling of the cars is bad. It's just a little 'same'.

It's supposed to be a down and dirty game with cars getting mangled and mud spattered. But at times everything can look a little too immaculate. That's the problem with computer graphics I guess. The more advanced and realistic it gets the more nit picking we become. The game does have amazing graphics no matter what I say. There's even a part where in a crash the driver is flying out of the windshield which of course was a bit overused in the first game. The driver flies out, flops a while and it's over till you reset. It's silly but fun. Cars break apart wonderfully, with tons of body deformations, pieces that fly off, and all sorts of debris that stay on the track for you to drive into as you round another lap. Tracks break apart similarly well and provide plenty of jumps, shortcuts, and alternate paths for you to crash through. The amount of debris that can litter the various tracks is quite impressive, Especially since wrecking into it often slows down your car.

The game
There is a good time to be had with FlatOut 2. Modes like the demolition derby and figure-eight races both races in which you run laps trying to destroy each other. It's like a last man standing race. The stunt mode has gotten a number of new games to go along with the previous bunch.

FlatOut's stunt mode is specifically designed to take advantage of the whole guy flying out of the car thing, with extra-ridiculous games where you could try to launch him in a high jump, long jump, or even use him as a bowling ball in a bowling game.

One of the mini games is a basketball game where you try to drop the driver through one of several available baskets, all with different point totals. It's all utterly silly and utterly fun. The core racing action is just as good as it was last year.

The tunes:
It not only looks good but sounds good too with a lot of rocks tracks by Megadeth, Supergrass and Nickelback. It's just too bad there's no custom-soundtrack support on the Xbox version of the game.

The verdict:
FlatOut 2is a quality demolition racer that still manages to provide plenty of destructive racing fun. It has more content especially in career mode and the driving has a satisfyingly destructive vibe to it. Stunts are great fun as well. You can even take it online. The only rough spots would be the generic feel of the cars and the fact that the driver launching trick is not used to its full potential.

Although it has similarities to Burnout it definitely is different. Overall, those with an unsociable desire to smash and crash cars in interesting manners will find FlatOut 2 an appealing game.



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