Robert Angier - Hugh Jackman
Alfred Borden - Christian Bale
Cutter - Michael Caine
Olivia Wenscombe - Scarlett Johansson
Nikola Tesla - David Bowie
Julia McCullough - Piper Perabo
Sarah - Rebecca Hall
The Prestige is a story about two warring magicians. It comes on the heels of ``The Illusionist," the season's surprise hit which was also about two warring magicians. The movie is a lot like ``Memento" with flashbacks within flashbacks within flashbacks.
The setting is Victorian London where Hugh Jackman plays Robert Angier, an American magician with showmanship that upstages everyone else. Christian Bale is Alfred Borden, a working-class Londoner who may not be so much of a showman but has all the skill alone to wow the crowds.
They start out as friends but soon it leads to a rivalry that turns life-threatening. Below stage one evening Angier, after dropping on schedule into a hidden water tank during a disappearing trick, finds himself trapped in the tank while Borden looks on, remorselessly. Angier drowns, Borden is tried, and in prison he is given the dead man's diary, which unleashes the film's back-story. But that is merely the beginning of the story and not necessarily how it ends.
The duelling began in an onstage tragedy when the two were young. Each then vows to become the best and upstage the other no matter what the consequences. Eventually Borden debuts a trick called ``The Transported Man," which drives Angier into a fit of jealousy. He becomes obsessed and travels to the Colorado Springs laboratory of Nikola Tesla, inventor of AC current and himself a rival of Thomas A. Edison. He is busy trying to perfect his miracle invention that was like a transporter device from "Star Trek."
Tesla by the way is a real-life figure here. The real Nikola Tesla discovered the rotating magnetic field and came up with the "Tesla Coil," used later in radio technology. "The Prestige" makes a fairly intriguing story out of intermingling real folks and made-up folks.
It is a brilliantly acted out movie by all the characters although the others get rather short parts. These include Scarlett Johansson is a stage assistant whose heart wavers between the two leading men (or not). Her short assistants costume is great too. Michael Caine, an old hand at the illusion game, creates the stage tricks that dazzle the multitudes. And of course, there is Rebecca Hall as Borden's increasingly confused wife who shows off her talent at making a character stand out despite a very small part.
The movie plays around with flashbacks and the chronology of events is scattered. It makes for a nice attention grabber of a plot albeit a little puzzling. If you like magic you will love this movie except that many the tricks here are not actual feasible illusions. An element of sci-fi is introduced at a crucial juncture which takes the movie on an interesting turn. It's Hollywood after all and a lot of fakery goes on but that does not detract from the fact that it is oh-so visually appealing. It combines a good story, great acting and terrific visuals.
By Sabhanaz Rashid Diya
Ornob Shayan Chowdhury has been entertaining today's Bangladeshi audience with soulful vocals, playful lyrics and great compositions. First, as a part of Bangla, and later releasing two solo albums, 'Chaina Bhabish' and 'Hok Kolorob' and recently, working with Prayer Hall, Ornob's unique sense of rhythms have made him a favorite to many. He is now the C.E.O of the newly founded Bengal Music Company, where he is directing music videos, documentaries and ad films while working as a graphics designer. RS finally meets up with this multi-talented musician for an exclusive interview.
RS: Tell us about you family.
Ornob: My parents, Swapan Chowdhury and Suraiya Chowdhury, and my elder sister Milita Chowdhury all come from Fine Arts background and are artists in their own ways. My wife Sahana Bajpaie Chowdhury is in academics, writes songs for me & a singer.
RS: You've been to Santiniketan for your education. Tell us more about your schooling and days at Santiniketan.
Ornob: As a kid I went to Will's Little Flower School in Dhaka. I was admitted to the school Patha-Bhavana, in Santiniketan in 2nd grade. My journey started from then, and eventually I finished my MASTERS in Fine Arts from Kala-Bhavana Graphics Department, Visva-Bharati University, Santiniketan. In school we had our classes under the trees in the glorious "Guru-Shishyo" tradition propagated by Rabindranath Tagore. Whenever it rained our classes were called off; thus, the monsoon season was closest to our hearts as it was filled with rainy days holidays. The school system was based not only on drab textual education but also focused on ECAs and sports. We had compulsory classes on music, dance, sculpture, craft, woodwork, painting and such.
RS: How did you get involved with music?
Ornob: I started learning esraj, a traditional classical instrument in 7th grade at Santiniketan. My musical endeavours kept on taking different forms as I grew up and learned more about western music genres. I started playing guitar and keyboards in school inspired by my friends in Dhaka whenever I used to come home in vacations. The bauls of Santiniketan have always inspired me to create an alternative form of Bengali folk music arranged with contemporary sound. Around 1997, in Santiniketan, my Indian friends, Sahana (then friend) and I formed Bangla. Anusheh and Buno joined in later. On coming back to Dhaka after completing my studies, Bangla became a full-fledged Bangladeshi band. Bangla was an idea that we had nurtured for a long time in different places and ended up working together. It is one of the best things that has ever happened to me
RS: How did it feel working solo? How do you describe your music?
Ornob: It felt great to work as a solo artist! It was a completely different experience to have everything on your own head and then execute them properly. I wanted to create a unique sound for myself and cannot define any particular genre, as it comprises of very different and at times oxymoronic ideas and sounds. Lyrics are the guiding force of my music. They inspire me to create. The syllables of the words dictate me to play around with rhythms, which are unconventional. I think of myself first when I make music. In a way, I 'de-personalise' and imagine another Ornob listening to my music. However, the listeners are the ones who inspire me to make and publish an album.
RS: Tell us about your album. Many say that your second album has less variation that your first one. What are your feelings towards such views?
Ornob: Chaina Bhabish and Hok Kolorob reflect two particular times of my life - the life I was living and the ideas that I was developing. Where Hok Kolorob is a bit more structured and simple, Chaina Bhabish is lucid and introspective. The songs in Hok Kolorob were composed 10 years back. They had a kind of simplicity and innocence in them. I wanted to retain their originality. I am sorry if it has disappointed my listeners but my humble suggestion would be to forget the Chaina Bhabish Ornob and embrace the Hok Kolorob Ornob with open arms.
RS: You have been coined as a multi-faceted musician. What are the difficulties you had to face during this journey?
Ornob: I would not like to call myself a multi-talented musician. It's just that I like to keep my eggs in different baskets. Even today, I find it difficult to accept the fact that I did not pursue my esraj more seriously. I am a very patient person when it comes to getting something right. Unless I get to the core of something, I don't stop.
RS: How do you react to statements like “all musicians are losers and drug-addicts”?
Ornob: No musician can possibly be a loser or anyway near it! Just because God has especially favoured them with the gift of musical sensibility which others were denied of makes them green-eyed enough to proclaim musicians as losers. Either you have it or you don't! All musicians aren't drug addicts! All non-musicians aren't non- addicts!
RS: Your message to young musicians.
Ornob: It's all about how passionate one is to pursue music he can't escape the craving for composing and playing good music. Recognition will naturally follow. However, he/she has to forget about getting rich and buying a BMW! It is also important to attain a formal training in whatever you want to do and to dream big.
Anime Title: Ouran High School Host Club
Adaptation: Ouran High School Host Club (Manga) by Bisco Hatori
Other Title: Ouran Koukou Host Club (Japanese)
Official Site: www.ntv.co.jp/host (Japanese)
Fan site: ouran.krysyuy.net (English, For Richer or Poorer)
Genre: Comedy, Drama, School Life, Romance, Slice of Life, Shoujo
Age Rating: 13 and above.
Number of Episodes: 26
Anime News Network Ratings: 9/10 (Excellent)
One of the top 5 Anime of 2006
Production: Bones (Other titles under Bones: Fullmetal Alchemist, Wolf's Rain, RahXephon)
Opening Theme: Sakura Kiss by Chieko Kawabe
Ending Theme: Shissou by Last Alliance
Vintage: 4th April'06 to 26th September'06
Synopsis: Ouran High School in Japan is defined, firstly by prestigious families and secondly, wealth. A super-rich school for those who are blessed with everything this world has to offer. All elevated families send their future possessors from Japan as well as from the rest of the world, to this school. But there are special cases as well. Like most of the other schools, Ouran High School does have scholarship programs.
Fujioka Haruhi is one of those 'commoners' who had that extra something that got him a scholarship into the school. Gaining admission here is extremely difficult, with one scholarship being handed out in a year, but Haruhi's real troubles begin after he gets in. As they say its hard to blend yourself in a new school but its harder to get along with affluent classmates especially when you are not one of them! To make matters worse, Haruhi couldn't even manage to purchase the expensive school uniform.
Trying to find a quiet place to study, Haruhi wanders through the large corridors and huge doorways of Ouran and wonders how rich people spend their time doing nothing and finally gets to a room seemingly the Third Music Room. But as soon as Haruhi opens the door, finds a group of handsome boys asking him to join as member of a Host Club! Their sneering attitude towards 'commoners' irritates Haruhi, and he tries to leave, and they try to stop him, and in the process, breaks an invaluable vase meant for the school auction. As compensation, the leader of the host club Tamaki compels Haruhi to work as a dog of the Host Club for the rest of his tenure as a pay-off.
The host club as defined by Tamaki is a special club run by a handsome group of men who have their time, dedicating it for the pleasure of the fair ladies, who also have their time and profit off from it. Trapped in an embarrassing situation, Haruhi gets himself forced to do all the chores of the host club.
Well things would have been as pitiful as ever for Haruhi, until the members of the host club Discover that under his thick framed glasses, he hides beautiful wide eyes, cute enough to lure more ladies in the host club, leading Tamaki to promote Haruhi from host-club-dog to a genuine-host.
What Tamaki and the others (apart from vice-president of the host club Kyouya) do not know is the real secret of Haruhi.
This real secret of Haruhi, which leads to the story developing from here onwards, is what makes the series worth a view, despite this boring synopsis.
Character design: The character design had been absolutely superb. Thanks to Kumiko Takahashi (Original Character Design: Cardcaptor Sakura,) this anime got the perfect set of characters based on the original manga by Bisco Hatori. I have read the manga and the character setup has been of the top quality, being profound, fallible, funny, and easy to relate to, and thus, gripping. Main Characters: Fujioka Haruhi, Suou Tamaki, Kyouya Ootori, Morinozuka Takashi, Haninozuka Mitsukuni and Hitachiin Twins (Kaoru and Hikaru).
Voice Talents: The Japanese voice acting was very good, and worth relying on subs for.
Overall Animations: Here is another thumbs-up for Ms. Kumiko (Animation Director: Fullmetal Alchemist: Movie, Eureka 7), the animation is pretty simple, without much CGI effects, but the continuation of screens and character movements and expressions will give you eye-catching entertainment.
Background Pictures: This is where the anime gets 10 out of 10 for sure. Detailed background stages and screens (especially the hall-ways, corridors and classrooms) will give you a complete environment and will surely make you question how neatly an animation can be shaped within such a minimal color-range and line-usage.
Background Music: Ouran hits high points here too. Usually it's really easy to set background tunes for any comedy series, but Ouran provided with splendid compositions suiting every single second. All credit goes to Yoshihisa Hirano (Music: Midori Days, Death Note, Strawberry Panic).
Story development: I think this is something I would not share for the viewers' sake. Check the anime out and you will uncover the hidden talisman just at the corner of the synopsis I wrote and the story developments from there onwards as you make your way to the Host Club. Just for your information 17 top level storyboard writers and episode directors worked under Takuya Igarashi (Storyboard and Episode Director: Mushishi, another anime-masterwork of 2005) to make this anime-masterpiece a hit of 2006.
Enjoyment: Well this is a point where I must make sure that I provided enough information so that I don't end up being behind bars. So please read the following lines carefully. Warning: Contains excessive amount of laughing-dose as deadly as any medicine (you know what happens when someone is overly over-dosed) that may take you down with uncontrollable stomach-ache originated from unstoppable laughter!
FYI: “Shoujo” means anime title mainly aimed at female fans (Who cares! I love “Shoujo” as much as female fans love “Shounen”, aimed at male fans mostly)
“Manga” means comic book in/from Japan.