Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Thursday, February 15, 2007




By Rush

Well I got my hands on my PS3 at December 23rd to be exact. But until recently I didn't have any up-to-the-ps3-standard games. I have downloaded the Gran Turismo HD Concept (GTHD) directly from Playstation Online Store for FREE. And simply put: GTHD kicks any other racing-simulators out of the window when it comes to graphics and gameplay. GTHD features cuttings-edge HDR lighting system. This means: Sexually attractive shadows!! The shadows are so smooth and detailed that I can't help but be awestruck. The performance-nightmare self-shadow is active here too. Wing-mirrors, spoiler and even simple curves also cast shadow on the car and ground. Textures are very sharp and good looking. The game supports resolution of up to 1080p (1920*1080@60hz). And Gran Turismo always brought nicely modeled cars that accurately resemble their real counter-part. And this couldn't be truer in the case of GTHD. There are 10 cars in total. They are : Suzuki Cappuccino '95, Mazda Eunos roadster '89, Honda Integra type R '04, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IV GSR '96 , Infiniti G35 coupe '06, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX GSR '05, Lotus Elise 111R "04, Nissan skyline GT-R Vspec II '94, Toyota Celica GT-FOUR rally car '95, Ferrari 599 '06 . Each and every car in GTHD is superbly detailed. The sceneries and environments are of top class quality. Overall the graphics are simply real. Gameplay of GTHD is realistic in every possible way. Of course there aren't any damages. But cars sound and handle like the real one. You'll hear the same old Ferrari engine sound when you drive the GTHD Ferrari. And if you hook up a Force Feedback wheel, you'll be in for a real treat!! I've driven a Honda integra both in the GTHD and real world roads. When using a fine-tuned Force Feedback wheel with GTHD the experience was strangely similar. For the free concept version Polyphony created only two game modes.

They are Time Trial and Drift. You'll have to complete the time trial to unlock the drift mode along with 10 tuned versions of the previous cars. It's fairly easy to do so. Drifting in GTHD is nothing like the drift we saw in NFS:Carbon. It's damn real but fun!! To perform drift you'll have to turn off the Stability control and lower the traction control of the car. You'll feel what it feels like when people drift in real world. Except you'll not really get hurt when you fail for the hundredth time and hit a fence or something. There is an online ranking and replay sharing option too. You can also save and view your own replays. It is fun to show-off your moves to your friends.

The standard control options are very good. And they are fully customizable. Unfortunately it doesn't have any motion-sensing functionality now. But Polyphony promised that they will give this feature to us by a simple downloadable patch.

Another minus point is the cars don't leave any tire marks behind. It's quite funny for a nexgen game to lack this thing. Also PS3 doesn't support any rumble. This is really an important feature for a car game. Finally, GTHD is the first real show of the PS3's power. It does a great job at doing that. Still it has some flaws. But every PS3 owner should download this as soon as possible. It's available to download for FREE from PS store. Only 650 mb!! Who says good things in life doesn't come for free!!!??

California girl Vanessa Marcil first achieved national fame on General Hospital before eventually changing addresses for Beverly Hills, 90210. Along the way, she married and divorced Corey Feldman and had a son, Kassius Lijah, with 90210 co-star, Brian Austin Green.

Vanessa rose to the top of prime-time again in 2005 on NBC's hit series Las Vegas. The show paired the Daytime Emmy Award Winner with fellow beauties Molly Sims, Nikki Cox and Cheryl Ladd. She also appeared on an episode of Crossing Jordan.

Vanessa will continue to wheel and deal in Sin City as she joins the cast of Las Vegas for another season of high-stakes entertainment.

Why we like her?
Not only is Vanessa the "Most Beautiful Girl in the World," as Prince so mildly put it, she is also sexy, smart, petite, and the queen of soap operas, both daytime and night time ones.

Why is she famous?
She starred in the soap opera General Hospital, the primetime drama Beverly Hills, 90210, and currently stars in the NBC drama Las Vegas.

The gift
Vanessa Marcil has a gift. She has the uncanny ability to convince otherwise sane men to endure hours and hours of less than manly TV viewing such as Beverly Hills, 90210 and General Hospital. Lucky for us, she moved on to the NBC hit Las Vegas, in 2003, which is more acceptable for male-viewing audiences. Not to mention, she co-stars with fellow hotties Nikki Cox and Molly Sims.

Although Vanessa has tried to make a respectable movie career for herself, it seems that she was meant to be the queen of television. Which isn't so bad, especially considering that people (read: men) tend to watch the shows she stars in just to see her.

Personality & talent
Vanessa is a cool cat, and considering she was once married to the strange man that is Corey Feldman, that's saying a lot. Luckily the two divorced in 1991, after only two years of marriage. She eventually hooked up with her Beverly Hills, 90210 co-star Brain Austin Green, whom she had a child with in 2002.

As for talent, Vanessa made men everywhere fall in love when she co-starred as Nicolas Cage's wife in the blockbuster hit The Rock (1996). But alas, she has been relegated to television, likely for good, in the nighttime drama Las Vegas. We're okay with that... we get to see her at least once a week this way.

There's no denying that Vanessa is as sexy as they get. She has the shiny black hair, the cat-shaped eyes, the tiny, tight little body, and of course, a smile that can make us say "yes" to any and all of her demands. She also gained some notoriety as a Head & Shoulders model, and as Prince's muse for his song, "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World."

Vanessa Marcil combines good taste in clothing with trend-setting style to make her quite the fashion maven. Whether she's dolled up for an awards show or dressed down for a day of shopping, Vanessa has the kind of body that could make a garbage bag look stylish.

Vanessa Marcil, ne Vanessa Ortiz, was born in Indio, California, on October 15, 1969. The youngest of four children, Marcil moved with the rest of her family to Anchorage, Alaska. By age 8, Marcil began acting in a local theater in Palm Desert, after she and her family returned to California. Although she was acting at an early age, Marcil studied law after graduating from high school. She finally decided to pursue a career in acting and took her theatrical talents to the stage in performances such as Neil Simon's Fools, Pygmalion, The Miracle Worker, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Southern Rapture, co-starring country music singer Dwight Yoakam and actress Sally Kirkland, and under the direction of Peter Fonda, and Sweet Bird of Youth, to name a few.

In 1989, Vanessa married actor Corey Feldman. The two later divorced in 1991.

She received a Hottest Female Star Award at the 1997 Soap Opera Digest Awards, Daytime Emmy nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actress in 1997 and 1998, and a Soap Opera Digest Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in 1998.

While working on General Hospital, Vanessa kept busy with other projects. Besides starring alongside Nicolas Cage in The Rock and in the made-for-TV movie To Love, Honor, and Deceive (both in 1996), she had a recurring guest role on the primetime cop show High Incident (1997). Vanessa also starred in the fantasy film 976-Wish (1997). Fittingly enough, Vanessa was featured as one of the "50 Most Beautiful People" in People magazine's 1995 edition, and was honored by her friend, Prince, who wrote the song "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World" for her (she starred in the hit video).

Leaving The Hospital
After leaving General Hospital in August 1998, Marcil joined the cast of the popular Aaron Spelling primetime soap Beverly Hills, 90210, replacing Tiffani Thiessen as the show's vixen. However, Vanessa left Beverly Hills, 90210 in 2000 to pursue other projects.

Going to Vegas
Amid her stint on 90210, Vanessa starred in the disappointing films Nice Guys Sleep Alone (1999) and This Space Between Us (2000). After another disappointing film in 2002, entitled Storm Watch, Vanessa finally made her return to television in 2003, on the NBC drama Las Vegas with co-stars Molly Sims, Nikki Cox and James Caan, and did another movie entitled Fish Without A Bicycle, with Beverly Hills, 90210 co-star Brian Austin Green, whom she's been engaged to since 2001. She also made a short return to General Hospital, from 2002 to 2003, which was honored by the Soap Opera Digest Awards, with a trophy for Favorite Return in 2003.

In March 2002, Vanessa gave birth to a baby boy named Kassius Lijah Marcil-Green, and is currently living with her fiancée, and her two dogs, Woof and Joey.

"Acting probably saved my life. It gave me a home and a safe place to let out all of my emotions and have it be okay." -Vanessa Marcil

"Because of my crazy work schedule, I have become something of a master at changing my clothes while driving. The men driving next to me love it." -Vanessa Marcil

Cast: Larry - Ben Stiller, Rebecca - Carla Gugino, Cecil - Dick Van Dyke, Gus - Mickey Rooney, Reginald - Bill Cobbs, Teddy Roosevelt - Robin Williams, Nick - Jake Cherry, Dr. McPhee - Ricky Gervais

It's a kid' s dream. Thigns in a toy store or better yet, a museum, come to life. The movie dwells on the most imagined of imaginations: dinosaur skeletons and stuffed critters follow a rule as soon as you turn your back. They move.

Ben Stiller plays Larry Daley, a dreamy Brooklyn schnook who gets a job as the museum's new night guard to convince his ex-wife (Kim Raver) and young son (Jake Cherry) he's dependable. What he doesn't know is that the whole place starts dancing the moment the sun sets.

Why? Does it matter? It has something to do with a magic amulet over in the Egyptian wing, but the upshot is that Larry has to deal with a frisky T. rex skeleton (it likes to play fetch), the beasts of the African veldt (including a capuchin monkey somewhat brighter than the hero), Attila and his Huns, a gum-obsessed Easter Island statue (voiced by Brad Garrett). Etcetera.

Since it is the Museum of Natural History, its founder, Teddy Roosevelt, is on hand, played by Robin Williams with what counts for him as restraint and providing Larry with the character-building bully the script requires. (The ex- president has a mildly creepy crush on Mizuo Peck's Sacajawea, but every movie needs a love story, if only a waxen one.)

Better, Larry has to broker peace between two warring factions of itty-bitty historical figures: an Old West cowboy played by an uncredited Owen Wilson and the Roman emperor Octavius, played by Steve Coogan ("Tristram Shandy"). This pits American slacker-dude humor against snippy British bile in ways the routine script by Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon ("Herbie Fully Loaded," "The Pacifier") doesn't leverage. But that's all right, since the actors more than compensate.

The verdict:
"Night at the Museum," in fact, is stuffed with smart performers doing graciously silly work, and all Levy has to do is manage traffic. (With a resume that includes the "Cheaper by the Dozen" remakes, he can at least do that.) Coogan's countryman Ricky Gervais, of the original "The Office," plays the twitty museum director, and his scenes are small marvels of inarticulate blither .

Best of all, the troika of retiring guards who advise Larry on his appointed nightly rounds include Bill Cobbs, Dick Van Dyke, and the unstoppable Mickey Rooney, who at this point resembles the world's oldest, angriest troll.

"Night at the Museum" is nobody's idea of art, but it's an unexpectedly swell ride, most of all when it plays along the hazy line between a diorama and a child's lovely nightmares. It's the stuff of children's imagination that runs wild in 'Night at the Museum'


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