By Professor Spork
After Inception made its debut on these same pages, RS decided it was time to discover more of the category so closely bordering insane. These movies aren't your average 'love' or 'hate'. These are the ones you need to watch twice just to get, and watch a third time ‘cause they're just that awesome.
Shutter Island: Shutter Island comes at you with a superb ensemble cast and crew, instantly drawing eyes. DiCaprio stars as US Marshal Teddy Daniels who, alongside partner Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo) is investigating the escape of a murderess from a remote psychiatric ward on the island. The flawed characterisation isn't noticeable due to the suspense perfectly portrayed, going back to basic, believable human psychology over cheap tricks. For once, the movie is as promising as the trailer, and it also does justice to the book. Certainly enough details were changed to keep viewers engaged till the end. As for Scorsese's work, it's definitely not first-class, yet the movie never loses sight of its goal, and that is always to be commended.
Pan's Labyrinth: When Spain is still drowning in its fascist nightmare, a take on the imagination of a child (Ofelia: Ivana Baquero) creates one of the most stunning films in history. When you speak of a journey through fairyland, you think of a movie for kids, but this one isn't at all recommended for children. Parts of the film seem to borrow from Alice in Wonderland and Narnia, yet the unending gore and misery worked craftily into the settings set apart Del Toro's film. The greatest achievement of the movie is in passing on a single wholesome message: even fairytales have their monsters. Ofelia's resistance to the evil in both worlds makes for impeccable filmmaking; the same story told in two vastly different ways.
Secret Window: You don't expect the lovechild of one Johnny Depp and Stephen King to pull any punches, and it definitely tries not to. Depp, playing the part of a writer accused of plagiarism, as per usual doesn't lose a single opportunity to amuse himself, and we all know where that always leads. While aspects of the movie were predictable at best, the last few minutes come out of absolutely nowhere, and is a must-watch if only for the ending. The violent scenes rely heavily on the viewer's imagination, thereby making the movie a whole different kind of enthralling, testing every limit of PG without ever crossing them. It's a mystery story without much mystery, but let's see if you remember that when watching it.
A Beautiful Mind: Russell Crowe in all his glory. John Nash gives you an overview of what the world would be if seen through numbers. It's a biography and a love story; a psychological brainstorm gathered into a single film. Superb acting, directing and storyline is enough to build a movie, but more appealing than all of those is Nash's life itself, as he struggles with schizophrenia, drawing viewers along with him into a life where there is little difference between reality and hallucinations. His compulsive need to define everything using calculations contrasting with his own unpredictable behaviour, incomparable to any algorithm, generally eludes a viewer's senses. A compelling watch, worth every second spent.
Fight Club: It defines one of only two ways of attaining relief. Basically put, two guys “build a global organisation to help vent male aggression”. It is not Pitt's best acting, but it definitely is his best performance. Besides, no one cares about the acting, because it's not about that. It's not even about the storyline. It's about the fighting. This movie speaks of the boundaries set upon people by society, throwing away dreams for practicality, through the Fight Club created as a method of compensation. For those naïve combatants, feel free to watch this as you would WWE, but for those veterans looking for a tremendous watch, it's one of the few essential films Hollywood ever created.
By Eshpelin Mishtak
My first foray into the world of Real Time Strategy gaming was a small SEGA game called Dune 2 that came out in the age of 386 processors, and which I played on the Pentium 2 years later. With graphics that consisted of small blocks of colour; it instantly got me hooked to the idea of collecting spices and building armies with them in Arrakis so that I could protect my spice collectors from being devoured by sandworms and little purple enemies.
I have played many RTS games in the years since, and in my search for the true Shangri-la of RTS gaming after getting bored of ugly ogres in Warcraft and bragging knights in Age of Empires, I found a good contender last month; Supreme Commander 2. It is a lively and action-oriented RTS about making important decisions and enjoying the ensuing spectacle. It plays fast, throws units headlong into combat, and will be over soon enough that you can jump right into your next match. It even has elegance and character that is finely shown off by the commanders whom you control.
The game starts with you going through a Quantum Visionworks simulator where you learn the deal of playing SC2. Gaming is simple if you have gone through strategy games before, easily understandable even if you have not. The main game revolves with you, the commander usually landing in a place with a transport vehicle in the edge of enemy territory with a small army and a big mission to take care of.
Your first job is to create a land factory to create land units from, and the only resources you need to worry about are energy and mass. Energy factories can be set up anywhere whereas mass extractors need special extracting spots where they can be set up, which eventually is what is going to get you into a brawl with the enemy.
The main story revolves around three races, the Illuminate, UEF, and the Cybrans; and usually involves killing the others for a victory.
The different units you can choose to build from are pretty vast in option because after years of making games that were the epitome of the generic, Gas Powered Games got wonderfully creative. Illuminate assault bots with their domed backs look like samurais and the gunships doing their deadly orbit is a delight to watch. You can build a giant snail, a kraken that's actually a kraken, a couple of flavours of giant vacuum cleaners and gigantic experimentals like laser-blasting flying saucers and plodding dinosaur cyborgs that breathe blue fire. The three races also have different specialties, such as the Illuminate's teleporting ability, which is the coolest thing ever unless you are their opposition.
The zooming in and out function of the game is truly a benchmark addition to the game that allows you to zoom in very close to the battlefield in order to see what is going on at high detail and zoom out when you need to go to the other part of the map. It is a real help as it allows you to scroll less and thus suck out more of the game flavour.
The graphics of the game is another thing that can be lauded; it allows you to choose the same configuration as Crysis Warhead, even though the immense number of units that your card has to render does not allow it to reach that same niche. But still, the graphics is way better than what your common RTS games offer.
No game in the world is flawless though (maybe except Most Wanted), and SC2 has its share of bad engines and brainless commanders. On the hardest difficulty level, it does stupid things like charging engineers into enemy armies, building a transport fleet (hundreds of them) without a single assault bot to transport, or parking a respectable army off to one side and then dribbling out a few units at a time. But we can disregard those just for the sake of gaming.
Sadly though, the multiplayer of SC2 is nothing to brag about, so it is still way off from taking the place of Warcraft and the likes even though it offers many hours of solid gaming experience that you should definitely give a try.
So, as you go around giving it a look, allow me to stare at the gaming blogs and stores of pirated CD's in search of my Shangri-la strategy game. A 7 out of 10 is in order.
By Professor Spork
TIME Magazine quoted that "Super groups are a potent but short lived rock phenomenon, which is an amalgam formed by the talented malcontents of other bands". Although this is usually the case with these "Super groups", there are some that have managed to push their egos aside and actually came up with some good music and entertaining live shows.
The Yardbirds - A British Blues-Rock band formed in the sixties, the Yardbirds are said to be "the most impressive guitar band in rock history". It is hard to argue with that statement considering the fact that the Yardbirds started the careers of three of the best guitarists in the history of rock music: Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck. The band disintegrated shortly and this led to the formation of Led Zeppelin by Jimmy Page,
Audioslave - Audioslave is one of the most successful and long lasting super groups of all time. This hard/alternative rock band consisted of Chris Cornell (Soundgarden, vocals), Rage Against The Machine members Tom Morello (guitars), Tim Commerford (bass) and Brad Wilk (drums). The band enjoyed a string of success with their hit album "Out Of Exile". Then in 2007 the inevitable happened and the band was officially disbanded.
Chickenfoot - American hard rock band Chickenfoot is a super group, comprising of ex Van Halen members Sammy Hagar (vocals) and Michael Anthony (bass), with Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith and legendary blues guitarist Joe Satriani. The band was formed in 2008 and is famous for their hit single "Oh Yeah". Chickenfoot is still going strong and will be releasing their second album sometime in 2011.
Let's face it. The Internet is swarmed with violent, weird, gag-inducing not-suitable-for-anywhere things these days. More and more, it's becoming like the world we live in. And that's no fun. So, today we feature some happy sites to lift your mood and give you a boost that there are still good things at work.
1.cargocollective.com/ learnsomethingeveryday: There is no bad mood that a weird trivia cannot resolve. There are just so many things to learn! Sometimes, yes, they might not help you pass the calculus test, but they are little wonderful things to know. Who will tell you that coconuts kill more people than sharks each year or you can't taste mint if both of your nostrils are blocked or the fact that it snowed in the Sahara desert in 1979! The whole concept is brilliant and is a site worth checking out.
2. www.givesmehope.com: FMyLife.com is a popular site, but hundred times brighter is givesmehope.com (GHM), because it's for optimists. People share their own sentimental and sweet stories with the rest of the world. These are the stories of random acts of kindness and generosities from complete strangers and from the people we love. Who won't love the world after reading that?
3. 1000 Awesome things: 1000awesomethings.com is a blog that enumerates the awesome things in life. Launched in June 2008, this site counts down from 1000. It is updated every weekday and currently is at #442. From things like staying up so late that things start to become funny (#442 ) to finishing your last exam (#472), this is the site for the smallest things in life that we don't appreciate much but which makes life so much awesome-er.
4. Postsecret: Everyone has secrets that they have been harbouring all their lives. Postsecrect.com is the perfect place to let that go. A lot of good can come from knowing that someone somewhere in the world shares our beliefs, thoughts and fears. All the posts are anonymous and posted every Sunday by founder Frank Warren. Some are downright shocking, some are cryptic and some are touching; but all of them make us feel that we humans are the same all over the world.