January 28, 1981, Elijah Wood has grown up to be one of the most well
respected and steadily employed actors of his generation. Born in
Cedar Rapids, IA, Wood modeled and did local commercials before moving
with his family to Los Angeles in 1988. It was there that Wood got
his first break, a small role in a Paula Abdul video. Film work almost
instantly followed, with a bit part in the 1989 Back to the Future
II. It was Wood's role as Aidan Quinn's son in Barry Levinson's 1990
Avalon (the third film in the Baltimore trilogy containing Diner 
and Tin Men ) that first gave Wood attention, as the film received
widespread critical acclaim and was nominated for four Academy Awards.
After a small part in the Richard Gere potboiler Internal Affairs
(1990), Wood secured his first starring role in Paradise (1991), in
which he played a young boy who brings estranged couple Melanie Griffith
and Don Johnson back together. He received good reviews for his performance
-- some said it was one of the best things about the film -- and from
there went on to co-star with Mel Gibson and Jamie Lee Curtis in Forever
Young and in Radio Flyer (both 1992).
In 1993, Wood
co-starred with Macaulay Culkin in The Good Son, which was a failure
both at the box office and with filmgoers who couldn't stomach the
idea of the little blond boy from Home Alone as a pre-teen psychopath.
In casting Wood as the good to Culkin's evil, the film helped further
establish the kind of characters Wood was to become known for: thoughtful,
well meaning, and perhaps a bit confused. Wood's next film, the same
year's The Adventures of Huck Finn, provided a departure from this
type of character, but The War (1994) with Kevin Costner marked something
of a return. Also in 1994, Wood had the title role in North, a film
remarkable for the volume of bad reviews and bad box office it received,
but also for the fact that practically every bad review contained
a positive assessment of Wood's performance. Wood's follow-up, the
1996 Flipper, was hardly an improvement, but the subsequent critical
and financial success of Ang Lee's The Ice Storm (1997) provided a
positive development in the young actor's career. As the soulfully
dazed and confused Mikey Carver, Wood gave a portrayal remarkable
for its rendering of the thoughtfulness and exquisite hopelessness
inherent in the character. 1998's Deep Impact and The Faculty did
not allow Wood the same degree of character development, but were
great financial successes and further stepping stones in Wood's evolution
from winsome child star to impressive young actor.
a brief turn as the boyfriend of a wannabe hip-hop groupie in James
Toback's problematic Black & White (1999), Wood further evolved
as an actor in Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings, the
first installation of director Peter Jackson's adaptation of J.R.R.
Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy. His most hotly anticipated project,
the 2001 film gave Wood top billing as Frodo Baggins alongside a glittering
cast that included Ian McKellen, Cate Blanchett, and Liv Tyler. That
same year the young actor could be seen in less mystical surroundings
courtesy of Ed Burns' Ash Wednesday, a crime drama that also featured
Oliver Platt and Rosario Dawson. In 2002, Wood let his vocal chords
for Disney's straight-to-video release of The Adventures of Tom Thumb
and Thumbelina. Of course, his most substantial role of 2002 is unarguably
his return to the role of hobbit Frodo Baggins in the second installment
of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy; specifically, Lord of the
Rings: The Two Towers.
proved to be a similar year for Wood -- after two relatively small
jobs (his role credited only as "The Guy" in Spy Kids 3-D:
Game Over and his stint as First Assistant Director in Sean Astin's
The Long and Short of It served purely as a break for Elijah), the
young actor once again resumed his role for The Lord of the Rings:
The Return of the King. Though Return of the King is the last in the
Tolkien trilogy, 2004 nonetheless looks to be a significant year for
Wood, as he is slated to star in soccer flick Hooligans, as well work
alongside Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet in director Michael Gondry's
fantasy feature Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
of the King
Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen, John Rhys-Davies
Directed by: Peter Jackson
The Fellowship's journey is coming to an end. Sauron's forces have
attacked Gondor's capital of Minas Tirith in his final siege against
mankind. Watched over by a fading steward, the once great kingdom
has never been in more desperate need of its king. But will Aragorn
find the strength to become what he was born to be and rise to meet
his destiny? As Gandalf desperately tries to move the broken forces
of Gondor to act, Théoden unites the warriors of Rohan to join
in the fight. Even in their courage and passionate loyalty, the forces
of men with Éowyn and Merry hidden among them are no match
against the swarming legions of enemies raining down on the kingdom.
With each victory comes great sacrifice. Despite their great losses,
The Fellowship charges forward in the greatest battle of their lifetime,
united in their singular goal to give Frodo a chance to complete his
quest. Traveling across treacherous enemy lands, Frodo must rely increasingly
on Sam and Gollum as The Ring continues to test his allegiance and,
ultimately, his soul.
wins Critics and Box Office
a moment to breathe a sigh of relief and satisfaction before this
movie begins. You're in good hands. And enjoy that breath because
it may be your last for the next three hours.
One of the most
ambitious projects in the history of film-making comes to a heart-poundingly
thrilling conclusion in "Return of the King," the last episode
in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy directed by Peter Jackson.
The second installment
opened in the middle of the action, but this one begins with a flashback.
It's not there to repeat anything we've seen before -- there's no
time for that. This glimpse of the past is just to tell us something
more about Gollum, the twisted, tortured creature who is supposed
to be leading Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Samwise Gamgee (Sean Astin)
to Mount Doom. It is also there to tell us more about the power of
that ring to make anyone willing to give up all he has to possess
After that very
brief prologue, we are back where we left off, a literal cliff-hanger.
Frodo, Sam, and Golum are crossing the stark peaks on the way to the
volcano in the heart of Mount Doom. That is where the ring was forged
and the only place where it can be destroyed. Meanwhile, the other
remaining members of the Fellowship of the Ring prepare for battle
with the forces led by Sauron.
As with the first
two chapters, Peter Jackson's rendition of the J.R.R. Tolkien classics
is astonishingly inventive and new and yet so clearly right that it
seems as though it always existed inside us. Every detail is just
right, from the leaf-shaped clasps on the rough wool cloaks to the
huge mumakils, mastodon-like creatures carrying Haradim warriors in
vast contraptions that look like masted schooners.
And from the struggles
of three very small creatures to stay alive as they scale sheer rock
to the huge battles with hundreds of thousands of warriors, Jackson
makes every moment vivid, exciting, and moving, filling every frame
with wonders. That means not just Middle earth citadels, a giant spider,
a battering ram that is an ironwork boar filled with fire, and thousands
of phantom combatants, but also smaller moments of equal power. Sam
and Gollum each try to make Frodo mistrust the other. The steward
eats alone at his table, bright red juice dripping down his chin,
as his son leads men into a doomed battle.
There are villains,
grotesque and powerrful, weak and greedy. And there are heroes, loyal,
brave, devoted, honorable. Told that death is certain and there is
small chance of success, one replies, "What are we waiting for?"
Who needs to breathe when there is all this to see?
The tone is epic
and majestic, the battles brilliantly staged, the vistas magnificently
conceived. But it is still all about the story. Characters learn and
deepen. Even little Pippin and Merry go from cute comic relief to
There is so much
going on that some characters feel like not much more than cameo guest
appearances, especially Arwen (Liv Tyler) and Galadriel (Cate Blanchette).
And the post-ending endings, after more than three hours, may seem
a bit too much. But this is still an epic to satisfy the most devoted
fans of the books and viewers who are new to Middle Earth. In its
own way, it is as thrilling an adventure in story-telling on film
as the quest it portrays.
movie has intense battle violence, graphic for a PG-13. Characters
are injured and killed. While there is no modern-day profanity, characters
use some strong language. A strength of the movie is the way its diverse
characters learn to trust each other and work together. Some critics
have accused the original books of racism, with dark-skinned, slant-eyed
bad guys fighting pale-skinned good guys. But there is no evidence
of any such intent, even unconscious, in Tolkien's work or in this
Top Role Model of British Teenage Girls
CHART STAR Christina Aguilera has been named top role model by teenage
girls. The Dirrty singer, who is known for her scanty outfits, was
named the biggest inspiration by readers of teen magazine Sugar. She
pushed rival Britney Spears into fifth place while Beyonce Knowles
was runner-up. Readers praised Aguilera for being "strong minded"
and "independent". Aguilera, who has a number of body piercings,
beat last year's poll winner Pink. Readers listed some of her qualities
as being a "role model with breathtaking talent who isn't afraid
to be who she is".
said she was "open and truthful" and someone who "speaks
about real-life issues and encourages girls to reach their targets
said of the accolade: "It's an honour, and being in the UK has
been a highlight of my year."
Minogue, Avril Lavigne, Sarah Michelle Gellar and Holly Valance have
dropped out of the top 10 since last year. Lysanne Currie, editorial
director of Sugar, said: "The fact that Christina Aguilera came
out on top shows teenagers respect independent and strong-minded role
models more than ever before.”
ADVENTURE GAME REVIEW
Sword: The Sleeping Dragon
refreshing to play a game like Broken Sword: The Sleeping Dragon.
It's not hugely innovative, and it has its share of faults, but its
particular blend of features nevertheless gives it a fresh, fun feel.You'll
unravel a colorful, witty yarn filled with lovable characters, dramatic
encounters, sharp dialogue, and exotic locales. If nothing else, Broken
Sword: The Sleeping Dragon wins high points for style, often looking
like a slickly directed animated film. Vibrant colors, expressive
lead characters, and detailed settings all draw you into the game.
After a dark and
mysterious prologue, you see series hero George Stobbart soaring in
a plane over the lush jungles of the Congo. With a heroic orchestral
theme building excitement and well-chosen camera angles adding visual
drama, it almost feels like you're sitting in a theater watching the
beginning of a film. This Indiana Jones-style scene hits all the right
buttons; everything about the game says "high adventure"
right from the start.
games don't make you feel too adventurous, and most adventure games
tend not to be adventurous from a design standpoint. Those facts weren't
lost on Revolution when designing this latest Broken Sword installment.
In addition to boasting a winning style, the game merges a bit of
console-like, third-person action gaming with the traditions of PC
point-and-click adventures. This creates a more action-packed feel
and helps immerse you better than simply moving a character around
in front of discrete, static backdrops.
You maneuver George,
and later his fellow adventurer, Nico Collard, using directional buttons
on the keyboard or a gamepad. You can also make the hero run or creep
along stealthily. Whenever you near a hotspot that you can examine
or an area that you can climb, jump across, or shimmy along, little
icons light up to show your available options. You then just press
the appropriate key to select your option. When standing near a telephone,
for example, you can examine it, listen to any messages on the answering
machine, or make a call. When standing near a crate, you can push
or pull it and climb up or down from it, all using this simple icon
system. The system means that the game's climbing and jumping puzzles
are much less stressful than in a true third-person action adventure
game since here you don't need to employ lightning reflexes to avoid
a fall. You merely press a jump button at a valid location and let
the game handle the rest.
get to solve an interesting conspiracy and murder mystery that takes
you from the Congo to Paris, Prague, and other exciting locales. A
mysterious villain named Susarro is trying to tap into geomantic energy,
powerful currents that run through the earth. It seems like he's really
onto something because the earth's weather patterns have been going
haywire. George, a patent lawyer from Idaho, stumbles onto this plot
while trying to meet an inventor in the Congo. Meanwhile, a Parisian
hacker has managed to decrypt a mystic manuscript with clues to the
energy, but he gets murdered just as the game's other hero, French
journalist Nico Collard, is about to meet him for an interview. Suddenly,
she finds herself framed for the murder. With a great sense of pacing,
the game smoothly switches back and forth between the George and Nico
episodes, and eventually the two old adventuring buddies are reunited
to fight the evil that threatens the world.
As you travel
the globe and uncover the plot, you'll enjoy two of Broken Sword's
biggest strengths: sharp writing and a cast of memorable characters.
The story is filled with funny, dramatic, and even touching moments,
not to mention a rogues' gallery of colorful people. In Glastonbury,
England, for example, George lands in the middle of a hilarious imbroglio
involving a retired British Army colonel with a bad temper and a shotgun,
his randy daughter who's run away from home to assert her womanhood,
a monumentally pompous hippie who runs a New Age shop, and an Irish
BBC TV host with an almost violent passion for poetry.
if Broken Sword can at times be frustrating to play, it's a joy to
behold. The graphics sure aren't cutting edge, but the attention to
detail, vibrant colors, and smooth animations give the game its own
attractive style. The wonderfully elegant and evocative soundtrack
varies from bold fanfares to jaunty comic bits to pensive piano interludes
to suit the locales and situations.
Holiday Gaming Guide
the Eid and Winter holidays coming hand in hand, now is the time to
spend your well "earned" Eidis or pocket money on the finest
pieces of electronic entertainment available. In other words, it's
the ideal time to get the best games money can buy. This week I'll
feature the top 10 video games released this holiday season for the
Sony PlayStation 2. Next week I'll rank the top 10 PC games.
The games are ranked in reverse alphabetical order (from Z - A). Most
of these are so good it was too hard to rank by rating.
Hawk's Underground (Activision)
Better known as THUG, this game completely revamps the Tony Hawk universe.
With completely open - ended totally customisable gameplay, a HUGE
career mode, an 80-song playlist, the ability to get off your board
and move about and more...this is another essential must-buy title
from the Hawkman.
Here Comes The Pain (THQ)
This is the fifth edition of the long running Smackdown series. That's
enough for it to be a bestseller over here. With over 65 licensed
wrestlers, an incredibly fun career mode, location-specific injuries,
a new submission system, six man Elimination Chamber matches and more,
give this game a Hell Yeah.
3 (EA Big)
One huge mountain with three peaks which one can literally snowboard
down in half an hour; millions of out of this world trick combos;
and mind blowing graphics with over 30 varieties of snow and ice.
Minds, Barriers, Bones, Egos, Laws, Gravity: All broken in one game.
Snowboarding has reached levels never reached before.
of Persia: The Sands of Time (UbiSoft)
The case: Ethereal graphics, mind-boggling gameplay, wonderfully clever
puzzles, haunting soundtrack, solid voice acting, intensely fluid
swordplay, and an evil treacherous (aren't they always) vizier with
a perfectly evil sneer. The verdict: An awesome genre defining game,
No.1 contender for Game of the Year and a definite 'must get'.
Evolution Soccer 3 (Konami)
Known as Winning Eleven 7 in Japan, this game (though not so commonly
known in the USA and here) has set the benchmarks for footie games
everywhere. With immensely life-like (yet intuitive and easy-to-get-into)
gameplay, realistic graphics (players animate and act just like they
do in real life!) and the life-taking-over Master League mode there's
every reason to buy this game!
For Speed: Underground (EA Games)
Made by the same geniuses behind NFS Hot Pursuit 2, this is the true
embodiment of the movie The Fast and the Furious in video game form.
Stunning visuals, brutally fast (and furious) racing, endless options
to mod your ride and more... We need more of this!!!
of the Rings: Return of the King (EA Games)
A glorious follow-up to the action-riffic game LOTR The Two Towers,
this game is bigger in every way possible. Nine playable characters
including Gandalf (and three secret ones), huge levels, incredible
graphics, killer combos, exclusive movie footage, and a bloody good
soundtrack proves that movie-to-game conversions can be sweet. You'll
love this one to death.
of Kain: Defiance (Eidos Interactive)
This is the Holy Grail of the LOK series. Finally, with the answers
to all the questions asked ever since Raziel had his wings torn off,
this is also the first time in this series, that the gameplay doesn't
take a backseat to the story. With a robust combat engine, Telekinetic
(a.k.a mind) powers, jaw-droppingly detailed graphics and the ability
to play as both Kain and Raziel, this game will own your soul. The
story itself is worth the price of admission.
Melding every single game genre out there seamlessly, Jak II is a
multicultural experience that's utterly addictive and insanely fun
to play. Its darker themes, twisted (and pretty darn good) storyline,
Vice City-like metropolis and gunplay prove that platforming has evolved.
Animation-film quality graphics, almost-perfect gameplay, brilliantly
directed voice actor and the return of the ever-corny and endearing
Daxter make this one of the PS2's finest ever.
Fantasy X-2 (Square-Enix)
In an unprecedented move that's sure to please RPG fans everywhere,
Square Enix has decided to revisit one of its previous storylines
from an earlier Final Fantasy (FFX) and reveal to the word the eventual
fate of some of its more popular characters. This time, FFX-2 has
upped the ante with an all-new action-oriented battle system, innovative
dress sphere job switching, and more open-ended game design. Once
combined with some of the best voice acting, visuals and storytelling
this year, Final Fantasy X-2 earns its place as an instant classic.
hope these games will keep you crazy people happy until next Eid.
I'll be back next week with more stuff. Cyaz.
Last week we were
taking a peek into what the net has to offer on Web Designing and
Graphics at no charge. Well, since it has a lot to bid, we couldn't
quite wrap it up last week. I hate to leave things half done, especially
if it's just before a new year; a time for a fresh start. So, here's
the rest of the best:
Weird name but has the coolest stuff. There are lots of free software
tools on this site to help you build and maintain your site; plus
lots of bullets, icons, backgrounds, bars and themed graphic sets
to perk it up. It also gives a lot of tips on how to take the best
advantage of HTML. It has a section for those just starting to build
up their site and shows easy steps to lead they way. Then again, it
also has tutorials. What more can a site offer?
The name of this site speaks it all. Download whenever you want, what
ever you want. It offers the most recent releases and the most popular
software. For today we'll be concerned with its Web Developer, Design
Tools and Software Developer links. Don't miss out on the HTML editors.
This is a site that will at first cause you a lot of swearing, since
it's filled with ads from the very first line. But the reason I'm
suggesting this is for what you will find on its sides and at the
very end. Just open the page, keep your eyes shut until you get to
the bottom of it, then open it to find-Walla! The links to your hearts
On this site you'll find free trial versions, software development
kits, and freebies to lighten up the websites that you're working
so hard on. Go to its 'web design products' link and you'll find all
you need to create great looking images, menus and GIF animations
for your Web pages.
(1st Page 2000 Version 2.0 Free Edition) 1st Page 2000 is a professional
HTML editing software which lets you create great websites fast! The
and supports all the latest web languages. There have been 3+ million
download requests to this site. Highly recommended!
Since we were on the subject of graphics, it's been a while since
nVIDIA GeForce FX family released its new series of GPU's which they
claim provides better performance than before. They're calling it
'the most powerful graphics processor in the world'. Well, that's
one good reason to check it out. You'll find info on it at: www.nvidia.com/page/fx_desktop.htm
Before I end,
I would advise newcomers in web development to emphasise on the use
of Meta Tags. Using Meta Tags helps you to get your site listed closer
to the top of some search lists. They are code in your HTML that is
invisible to the guests of your web site but are read by some web
spiders and search engines. I'm sure you'll find something on them
Hope you guy's
have a blast on New Year's Eve. See you all after the Party! Happy