I’M SEEING STARS
By Raya Mahbuba
The guys we swoon over and the girls who make us jealous of their hair: yup, they're the stars of teen TV. And they're not just one hit wonders- here's what these hunks and hotties have been doing and what we can expect next:
Born: 8 July 1982
Los Angeles, California, USA
Plays Brooke Davis in One Tree Hill
It's hard to imagine that the actress who plays 'Brooke Davis', all-around seductress (and now possibly pregnant with Luke's child), once attended an all-girls high school. Having been crowned the Pasadena Rose Queen, Sophia quickly attracted attention from Hollywood. Her first movie role was in the comedy Van Wilder, with Ryan Reynolds and Tara Reid. Sophia played Sally, a freshman in college who harboured a huge crush on Reynolds' character. She also made a guest appearance on 'Sabrina, The Teenage Witch', as Sabrina's archrival. Sophia was most recently seen in the feature film Supercross, co-starring Daryl Hannah and Robert Patrick. She has also completed production on the movie 'John Tucker Must Die', with Jesse Metcalf, Brittany Snow and Ashanti, as well as 'Stay Alive', with Frankie Muniz and Samaire Armstrong. Both movies are due to be released in 2006. Sophia married her 'One Tree Hill' co-star Chad Michael Murray (background: sound of hearts breaking) in April 2005 after an eleven-month engagement. Oh well ladies, can't have 'em all!
Chad Michael Murray
Born: 24 August 1981
Buffalo, New York, USA
Plays Lucas Scott in One Tree Hill
At age fifteen, a high school football injury landed Chad in a hospital where a nurse encouraged him to pursue a modelling career. Two years later, Chad had won a scholarship from a modelling agency in Buffalo to attend a modelling convention in Orlando. There he met his destiny when an agent from Los Angeles spotted him and persuaded the seventeen-year-old to pursue his dream of acting after graduation from high school.
In 1999, the aspiring actor headed for Hollywood where he supported himself modelling for such clients as Sketchers, Tommy Hilfiger, and Gucci. After appearing in several guest-starring television roles, he got the break he'd been hoping for- he won the role of Tristan DuGrey in 'Gilmore Girls'. On the big screen Chad recently starred as the lead in the remake of 'House Of Wax' (May 2005) with Elisha Cuthbert and Paris Hilton. Chad starred as Prince Charming in 'A Cinderella Story' opposite Hilary Duff. Additionally, he co-starred in a remake of 'Freaky Friday', opposite Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan. Besides acting, Chad is an anti-drug role model for kids and is active in charities for children and teens.
Born: 1 July 1982
Loudoun County, Virginia, USA
Plays Peyton Sawyer in One Tree Hill
Born and raised in Virginia, Hilarie developed a passion for acting early in life. Shortly after moving to New York to go to school and pursuing her acting dream, she won a guest spot interviewing on the red carpet for MTV. She did so well that she ended up with the coveted job of VJ at MTV. Hilarie continues to host 'TRL' and 'MTV's Hits', travelling back and forth between New York and North Carolina (where One Tree Hill is shot). She'll make her feature film debut next year in 'Our Very Own', a comedy/drama set in Nashville, Tennessee, in the 1970s.
Bethany Joy Lenz
Born: 2 April 1981
Hollywood, Florida, USA
Plays Haley James in One Tree Hill
Bethany began her theatre career at age 7 as a Munchkin in a local production of 'The Wizard of Oz'. By the time she was 13, Joy (as she likes to be called) had begun her transition from stage to screen through a series of national commercials and TV pilots. In her sophomore year of high school she received the role of Linda Halleck in the Stephen King movie thriller 'Thinner'. She also appeared in the off-Broadway musical 'Foxy Ladies Love/Boogie 70's Explosion'. After a two-year stint in the soap 'Guiding Light', she has guest starred on 'Felicity', 'Charmed', 'The Guardian' and, of course, joined the cast of 'One Tree Hill'. She did another movie, this time the comedy 'Bring It On, Again' (the sequel to 'Bring It On'). But acting isn't her only thing: Joy was vocally trained by the Director of The Brooklyn College of Opera (we all got a taste of her singing and piano skills on 'One Tree Hill') and she still considers herself a musical theatre baby. Not surprisingly, the most recent development in her career is a recording contract with Sony/Epic Records. Her original music has been inspired mostly by artists such as Sheryl Crow, James Taylor, Fiona Apple and Billy Joel. Watch out for her album which is expected to be released in 2006.
Born: 25 July 1985
Hemet, California, USA
Plays Nathan Scott in One Tree Hill
As the youngest member on the cast of 'One Tree Hill', James is aptly nicknamed 'Baby James'. Like Nathan Scott, James also played basketball in high school, even earning the MVP award. He has been steadily working since the age of 6 when his mother encouraged him and his brother Stuart to act as a hobby. James successfully balanced a high school education and starting spot on his varsity basketball team with his budding acting career, landing a starring role opposite Ron Pearlman in 'Boys on the Run'. James has made guest appearances on several shows including 'Boston Public'. He also had a role in the ESPN movie 'Season on the Brink', a basketball movie about the Indiana Hoosiers, where he was able to demonstrate his basketball skills. James has been working on film projects set up through his production banner (in 2002 he was the executive producer of 'Yank Tanks') alongside the filming of 'One Tree Hill'. He has hosted numerous charity basketball events for local organisations and schools in the Wilmington area.
Born: 30 December 1982
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Plays Lana Lang in Smallville
Fate came calling in Kristin's senior year of high school when the casting director of a new TV series, 'Edgemont' (2000), sent a fax to her school. He wanted an exotic looking girl. Although Kristin had acted in school plays, this was her first professional audition. Kristin's Dutch/Chinese parentage and talent helped her land the part. Since then Kristin has been going steady acting in 'Legend of Earthsea' (2004) with Isabella Rossellini and Danny Glover, 'Smallville' (2001) and 'Snow White' (2001) with Miranda Richardson. She's currently filming 'Partition'- a movie set in the late 1940's India.
Born: 26 April 1977
New York, New York, USA
Plays Clark Kent in Smallville
After graduation in 1995, Tom chose not to go to college, but to work as a construction worker. Good thing he moved to Los Angeles where he received his first break when he was cast in a few episodes of 'Judging Amy'. Tom was named one of People magazine's 'Breakthrough Stars of 2001'. He has also received various awards and nominations, including four nominations for 'Best Actor in a Television Series' by the Saturn Awards and three nominations for Teen Choice Awards. He won his first Teen Choice Award in 2001 for Choice TV Male Breakout. Tom married Jamie White in July 2002 (background: sound of hearts being bulldozed). Tom made his feature film debut opposite Steve Martin, Bonnie Hunt and Hillary Duff in the 2003 comedy 'Cheaper by the Dozen' (Star Movies was showing it a couple of months back). His newest film, 'The Fog', is currently in post-production and will be released in October 2005. He is also scheduled to appear in the sequel of 'Cheaper by the Dozen', due out in 2006.
Born: 29 July 1982
Plays Chloe Sullivan in Smallville
Born in Germany, Allison moved with her family to Long Beach, California when she was 2. She began acting at the age of four with print work and commercials, and began studying at The Young Actors Space in Los Angeles when she was 7. In 1998 she attracted a lot of attention for her portrayal of a teenager who abuses and inflicts wounds to her wrist on 'Seventh Heaven'. She has starred in many TV movies including the critically acclaimed 'My Horrible Year!' (2001), about the intricate and turbulent life of a teenage girl as she turns sixteen (check HBO's listings). An avid fan of musical theatre, Allison's talents extend beyond film and television. She received rave reviews for pulling double duty, both as a choreographer and performer in 'Rent' and 'Chicago'.
So there you have it! 'One Tree Hill' airs on Sundays at 10 pm on Star World, and seems to be t the end of the season. 'Smallville' will be shown on the same channel sometime this month (and those of you in Gulshan who don't have Star World, I'm really sorry).
A Ps2 Game Review
RISE OF THE IMPERFECTS
By Le Chupacabra
There are crap games and there are utterly lousy games. Now, wheeeeere to place this one on the Craptacular meter, hmm? Probably near the top five, for resembling poo to the nth degree.
That's right, EA has done it again.
Blowing at least a few million green, they roped in all the assets that most companies could dream of. A license from Marvel, original Marvel scribes, artists, et al. Coupling that with a concept that would cause comic fans' heads to explode with sheer joy, nothing could have gone wrong… provided that EA wasn't in charge.
I mean, in terms of presentation its pretty, not-sh*t. It uses a heavily stylised look for the characters which recalls the CG animated Spider-Man they used to show a few months back. Menus are slick, sophisticated and are pretty user-friendly, natch. That's sort of what EA's good at, innit? The new characters are also very well-designed since a major artist from Marvel was in charge of doing so. Good eye-candy here. Even, the character voices are well-done and while they're not the ones we're used to hearing in the animated Marvel shows, they're good sound-alikes that get the job done.
Unfortunately, I'm done praising this game already.
Sadly, in terms of the actual meat-and-potatoes, the gameplay, this once-promising title, really, really lacks. Really. Unlike the traditional side-perspective of fighting games this is more like a brawler set in a sort of boxed, interactive arena so you can move around the characters and let them do what they do best. In other words, it's a huge chance to mess up on making a game when you don't stick to the basics. Movement is rather sluggish for all, so you're only left to get a feel for the characters unique traits via animation and moves alone. The animations themselves are rather stilted and it seems like everyone has Play-Dough crammed up their joints. Unless a character has an auto-aiming attack (like Spider-Man's web missiles), you might as well be circling your opponent for all eternity if you want to hit. More Craptacular™ points here. The environments are interactive to the point that you can pick and chuck random stuff and damage the playing field. BUT, it lacks a certain sense of cohesion. When I use the Thing to flatten a car I want to see it implode into a crushed mass of nothingness, dammit. I refuse to get a generic explosion and end up with what looks like a black pencil case. The same applies for most things. If you want interactive destruction with a Marvel super-hero, look no further than the utterly addictive and suitably violent Hulk: Ultimate Destruction.
Here, the hits are meekly punctuated with what sounds like bizatch-slapping and special powers aren't as impressive as you'd thought they'd be. You might think it'd be awesome to bust out Wolverine's adamantium claws and lacerate your foe with a berserker barrage. Not here. Provided you actually manage to hit your opponent (a rarity with close-combat chars) you'll go into a set animation of been-there-done-that combos that just about ruin the fact that you're playing as one of the coolest characters on the Marvel roster. It's sad, to say the least. At least the grunts are authentic, so I gotta give kudos there. The controls are very iffy as well. It eschews the more traditionalist set up and ends up with a 3rd person/fighting hybrid that's a pain to use. Another bad aspect is that the new characters, The Imperfects as they are called, are just that absolutely imperfect. They feel more like different skins for the Marvel chars than anything else. With utterly ridiculous and laughably lame storylines for each (sadly, they were penned by a revered Marvel scribe), they don't come across as enticing or likeable as any of the Marvel group. But once again, most of your starting roster incorporates these freaks. In order to unlock more Marvel goodness, you have to plunge your head in the toilet after you've RELIEVED yourself, natch you must play the story mode. Words cannot describe how insanely boring, frustrating or pathetic it was. If you want a camp, yet really fun 'fighting game-action/adventurer', Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks offers hours of old school goodness full of high-pitched yelling, gory fatalities and tense boss fights. On the flip side, Marvel Nemesis is just plain sucktacular. It is not worth going through the pain of story mode just to unlock the Marvel characters. There are way better Marvel-based games out there (The Marvel vs. Capcom series being a shining example). Just… just stick to the starting roster and keep playing Versus mode if you insist on playing this game.
I have to admit, initially it was slightly fun (the Versus mode that is, not the story mode) but even then, that lost its appeal. If a fighting game can't retain itself through versus mode, then all hope is lost.
I was really hyped up about this game. The screenshots looked tantalising and the concept seemed brilliant (after all, Marvel vs. Capcom is one the most popular fighting games ever). However, despite a flashy, presentation, everything just plain sucked. There, you heard it here. Now back to Hyper Street Fighter II…
An Image Bank for Everyday Revolutionary Life
From the 1930s to the early 1970s, the Mexican muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros hoarded souvenir postcards, tore pages out of old National Geographics, and collected the work of some of the century's great photojournalists. From ancient figurines and brassiere billboards to the Triple Crownwinning racehorse Citation and a "man with traditional attire," little escaped Siqueiros's gaze or interest. Eventually, he amassed a stockpile that exceeded 11,000 images and embodied much of the struggle, the dynamism, and the beauty of the 20th century. Siqueiros organized his compilation into 14 topics, among them people and historical figures, misery, workers and industry, and "religious stamp." This extraordinary collection currently finds a home in Mexico City, but thanks to the work of e-flux, we can now view much of it online.
Manga Explains Nasa Mission
Anime fans working with NASA? Apparently, yes. Some planetary scientists made a manga to explain a NASA mission, complete with spandex-clad, big-eyed lead character and robotic dogs. You can also download the manga in colour or black/white PDF files from [doiop.com/cindi]. If you sit through the talk about dogs, it's actually pretty interesting.
Mod: Animated Desktops
If you've got a relatively modern machine, you might like this mod. From [deans3D.com], you can find some animated desktops that make your desktop appear to be moving. You can get an ocean view, heat waves, storm clouds and more. It really has to be seen to be understood. Each desktop modification comes with a handy Windows installer, so it can be uninstalled easily using Add/Remove programs if you decide not to keep it. Just keep in mind that each one uses its own installer, so you'll find it in your Add/Remove list under the individual desktop's name. You know, just in case you decide to move on to some other mod at some point.
Cubeoban is a great Flash puzzle game in which you have to scoot the blocks around to rest on the dots of the same color. It's tricky, though, because once you set a block in motion it keeps going until it hits another block or a wall. As with all puzzle games, the levels start out simple and rapidly get more difficult.
AV Voice Changer
You know how they always use those creepy-sounding voice changers in the movies when the villain is making a ransom call? You can make your voice sound just as creepy, or as many other ways as you can think of, just with the click of a button. AV Voice Changer can take the sound on a microphone channel and modify it sufficiently so that the voice is not recognizable anymore, but the words still are. It has a number of other features, like the ability to record any audio that plays on your computer, and even adjust your voice to more closely imitate someone else's, by analyzing both voices and determining the differences.
Game: Heli Attack 3
Heli Attack 3 is a great arcade survival shooter. It's prequel, Heli Attack 2, was Miniclip's best game of 2003, so you know it's good. And this time the developers added a lot to that, new movements, weapons and enemies. Web browser games don't get much better than this, and these guys prove that you really can develop serious games in Flash.
That's it for this week. All the links are available at niloywrites.blogspot.com so that you don't have to type up any links. You can log on to my site BDcomics.blogspot.com if you're into comics, or check out my photography at flickr.com/photos/niloy/. You can contact me at email@example.com