Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Thursday, February 10, 2005










OCEAN’s 12

Review by Gokhra

This is one of the coolest movies out in recent times. This new "Ocean" returns the ensemble gang of thieves and angry vengeful victim. In the first movie, Terry Benedict (Garcia) was robbed off of $160 million from his Las Vegas casino which of course he recovered from the insurance. But this guy is spiteful so he wants the money back……
with interest. This brings up the amount closer to $200 million. Benedict drops in on nearly everyone in the offending crew giving them glimpses of what is in store for them if they do not giveback what he believes is rightfully his.

Danny Ocean's (Clooney) gang is ruffled as most of them have been trying to go straight with pointless results. The 11 reassemble, tally how much of their haul they have spent, and try to devise a gig with a payday that will make up the difference. Since they are too hot in the States they go for a series of meticulously planned and ridiculously elaborate heists all over Europe. So it's off to Amsterdam, Rome, and Paris albeit without a member of their gang Reiner, who, at his age, decides it's better to take the risk and enjoy his spoils.

By the way, the 12th member of the gang is Julia Roberts who in the last movie was torn romantically between Ocean and Benedict. Here, she's married to Danny again and by the end is a full-fledged robber. Love can do strange things.

Of course if that were all then it would have been a simple movie narrating one robbery after another. There's a twist or rater several twists along the way. One of the twists is a complication in the form of someone who calls himself Francois "Night Fox" Toulour (Vincent Cassel). He is a legendary thief who is miffed that the 11's international renown is encroaching on his. So he offers to compete with them for the title of "best thief in the world." He monitors their every move, swooping in to grab the loot before they can and sneering at them al the while proving to be a real annoyance. The catch is that if Danny wins, the Night Fox foots the crew's bill.

Twist number two is in the form of Rusty Ryan's (Pitt) international cop ex-girlfriend Isabel Lahiri (Zeta-Jones). All in all the gang is being pressed down from three sides. Speak about a rock, a hard place and another hard place.

The heists are silly but beautifully choreographed to make you stop thinking too much. The dialogue is also very frivolous as the players in the game are very relaxed in the face of such insurmountable odds. The way they remain cool despite knowing that their life is on the line is an ode to cool. It's very well made and undeniably entertaining movie. This is despite the fact that it suffers from a bit of overkill with all these fancy multi million-dollar jobs going fancily wrong.

Time to say hello to “Uncle Oscar”!

By Ashfaque Kabir

“9.00 pm, Kodak Theatre, Hollywood. Chris Rock (this year's host) is about to announce the winner of this year's Oscar. I could hear my heart pounding…there was a rush of cold blood that shivered my nerves, procession of trickles of sweat rallied down my neck. Rock's words faded out before they reached me….everything seemed blurred. Suddenly 3300 pairs of hands busted in tremendous applause…the name must have been announced. I wondered…could it be me?"

That's exactly how an Oscar nominee's dreams would be if he or she were to organize it in words. And why not? The people of the world's richest and finest film industry are on the edge of their seats to celebrate "Uncle Oscar's" 77th Birthday on 27th February. With less than a month to go, millions of cine-lovers are probably biting their nails along with the nominees in their agonizing period of waiting till the show time on 27th February. The international media and film critiques have already preoccupied themselves in predicting the winners and with the nominations announced on 25th January, it looks like we are about to witness an "interesting horse race" (as Oscar president says) that might have a very close finish indeed.

Now before going through the nominations, lets have a quick review of the history of one of the most prestigious awards of the world. The idea of Oscar's came from Louis B. Mayer ( co-founder of the MGM-studios). It was 1927, while having dinner in Crystal Ballroom of Biltmore Hotel, Los Angeles, Mayer and his colleagues were discussing ways in which they could honour outstanding achievements in film industry. Hence the idea of "The Academy Award of Merit" (the name Oscar was not used then) was born and within a short period of 2 years, the first Oscar Ceremony was held on 16th May, 1929 at Hollywood's Roosevelt Hotel's Blossom Room. It was rather a pretty quite start to the Oscars as only 15 awards were given out with 250 people attending the ceremony. The first event did not receive any media coverage! From the second ceremony onwards it was only covered by the radio until 1953, when the event was first televised!

Designed by Cedric Gibbons, the golden statuette of Oscar is 13-1/2 inches tall and 8-1/2 pounds. It is made from copper and nickel silver, and finally, is covered with 24-karat gold. The statuette depicts a knight, holding a crusader's sword, standing on a reel of film. The five spokes of the film reel signify the five original branches of the Academy: actors, directors, producers, technicians and writers. Although financially an Oscar statuette is not really valuable, its moral values are inestimable.

How the name Oscar came is actually quite unclear. But one of the most popular stories is that, in 1931, Margaret Herrick (an academy librarian) once mentioned to her colleagues that the bold head of the statuette resembled her Uncle Oscar. Since then the Academy staff along with the media started referring the award as Oscar until it was officially used in 1939.

Oscar has never had to look back (not even during the World Wars) since its start to till present. There were only three occasions when the ceremony was delayed but not postponed. They were, in 1958 when floods washed out Los Angeles, in 1968 when Martin Luther King was assassinated and in 1981 when there was an assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan.

Going through several websites I came across many interesting facts about Oscars. Like, in the early days of Oscars, the winners were known prior to the ceremony. Results were given in advance to the newspapers for publication at 11 p.m. on the night of the Awards. In 1940, guests arriving for the affair could actually buy the 8:45 p.m. edition of the Los Angeles Times and read the winners. As a result, the sealed-envelope system was adopted the next year and remains in use today.

It was surprising to know that eminent film personalities like the glamorous Marilyn Monroe and " Pshycho" director Sir Alfred Hitchcock are omitted from the exclusive club of Oscar owners. The ravishing Katherine Hepburn holds the distinction of most Oscar wins by a performer, with 4 Leading Actress Oscars. Walt Disney is the all-time winner with 26 Academy Awards to his name. Amongst the films, "Titanic" (1997) and "Ben-Hur" (1959) holds the record of winning most Oscars by a single film.

In the Academy's 76-year history, only three films have won awards in all of the following main categories: Best Picture, Directing, Writing, Actor and Actress. These films are: It Happened One Night, in 1934; One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest in 1975; and in 1991, The Silence of the Lambs. Shirley Temple was the youngest winner when she won the Juvenile Academy Award at age six years. The youngest winner of a regular Oscar was Tatum O'Neal, who was ten years old when she won the statuette for Best Supporting Actor in "Paper Moon".

Woody Allen is probably the most controversial winner of Oscar. He holds the record of of being nominated 17 times and winning only 3 times. Moreover, he didn't even bother to turn over in one of the ceremonies and later said in an interview that he had more important things to do like "having breakfast in bed"!! In 2000, just before the Oscar, 4000 ballots along with 55 statuettes were stolen and fortunately were recovered few days before the presentations.

Well, besides the awards and the winners there's one more thing, which makes the Oscar very famous. That is the "Red Carpet". Well this is the term used to describe the gorgeous dresses the film stars wear in the ceremony. Believe it or not, more than 1500 journalists have their cameras flashing the moment stars get out of their Mercedes or BMW limousines and step onto the "Red Carpet". Wearing world famous brands like Armani and Versace and dazzling diamond jewelry of Tiffani, these stars perhaps sparkle more than the actual stars on the sky.

So..lets get a quick round-up of this year's nominations before wrapping up the article, The Aviator seems to be leading the race with 11 nominations in it's tally. Million Dollar Baby and Finding Neverland are also viable contenders with 7 nominations each. Ray's Jamie Foxx looks to be the no. 1 contender for the Best Actor Award.

He has also been nominated for the Best Supporting Actor category, which makes him the only performer to have won both accolades in the same year in the Award's history. As far as Best Actress Award is concerned Kate Winslet looks pretty ahead of everyone as she delivers unprecedented heart-wrenching performance in Finding Neverland and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. But don't forget Imelda Staunton's superb performance in Vera Drake, which might be just enough to fetch her the award.

All in all, with no big Oscar grabbers like Titanic or The Lord of the Rings, this years Oscar promises to be worthwhile waiting for. So friends.. bet you've already started your countdown for the Hollywood extravaganza…27th seems to be few years away, doesn't it?

Ranma and Akane

Anime's got some really special couples. Really special ones. Those of us who've been fortunate enough to see them have loved for their charm, exuberance, romance, or just how plain cute they've looked all along. In keeping with the season, then, we felt it only fair to mention a few of these, if only for love's sake (and cause we love them too much to not want to make the reader feel the same way about them, too).

All time tops, despite stiff competition from classic shows like Robotech and others, must go to Ranma and Akane, from Ranma ½. Despite being always at each other's necks, particularly given Ranma's rather frequent morphing to a female that gets Akane rather worked up, the two have got moments of incredible sweetness, and while they're always pretending to hate each other's guts you can just TELL that Ranma'd give his life for Akane, and vice versa. Which might seem mildly corny and extremely soppy, but is actually very cool indeed.

Close on the heels of Ranma come the lead characters from Robotech: Rick Hunter and Lisa Hayes, who most of us have known since the mid 90s when Robotech aired in Bangladesh; and the chemistry between these two people has been evident. ALL the time. What makes them feel special, of course, is that they've been struggling all along to get to each other, despite having been through hell and back again on more than one occasion.

From Rurouni Kenshin, we have Himura Kenshin and Kamiya Kaoru. Though there's many who'll argue about the more tragic Yukishiro Tomoe's story, we like Kenshin and Kaoru because they stay together and each goes on, in the face of adversity, for the other. And, of course, Kenshin's good with laundry while Kaoru gets drunk easily. And other utterly irrelevant matters, too.

Love Hina's Urashima Keitaro and Narusegawa Naru are another pair we can't get enough of. Sure, Keitaro gets punched into orbit more times than NASA can afford; and sure, Narusegawa can be quite in denial for just about all of the show. But for laughs, and for some seriously sweet character play, and Naru's really cute, too.

Vision of Escaflowne's Van Fanel and Hitomi Kanzaki. Against all odds, from worlds apart and while each has their own retinue of doting admirers, Hitomi and Van manage to fall in love, stay in it, and defeat the machinations of fate in so doing.

From Kare Kano we have Arima Souichiro and Miyazawa Yukino. We love them cause they love each other enough to grow and mature beyond a mere high school romance and to accept the deeper, darker sides of each other, and they're both so completely human for every instant that we saw them. And they look really nice together, but mostly because theirs IS a story of guy meet girl, etc; it's just a real one.



home | Issues | The Daily Star Home

© 2005 The Daily Star