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By Reggie

Have you guys seen the Departed? If you haven't, stop reading this, run to your local DVD store and immediately buy a copy! It is not only the greatest movie you would see this year, but its one of the rare few which actually makes Leanardo Di Caprio look what he was supposed to look like, that is a guy.

The Departed is not only a great movie but it features a couple of really good songs which are guaranteed to make heads roll. One song I am currently so in love with is called “I am Shipping Upto Boston” by this hitherto unknown band called, Drop Kick Murphy. Dropkick Murphy's are native Bostonians (yeahh!) and typically describe their music as a mixture of more different genre than you care about and than bassbaba know about! However the mixture sounds amazing. Imagine an Irish Pub with good old Irish folk music playing in the background. Now add to it a drum, some electric guitar riffs and a guy screaming “ I am a sailor pig and I lost my leg, climbing up the top sail I lost my leg!” Now that makes a song uniquely awesome!

Amy Lee of Evanescence

If you liked your taste of folk rock, then you should also try the Braveheart's theme song by Enya. Although this is only a score it is as haunting as the movie. You can almost imagine Mel Gibson walking across the moors of Scotland before the final approach of the tyrannical English Army!

Another great song which is a must hear for fans of mushy romance movies and even mushier love songs is The Ride by the Cary Brothers. The song is featured in the movie, The Last Kiss, a movie that I never watched and never plan to watch. However the song is really nice and soothing. It has the characteristic low tones of a love song and the vocals never seem to exceed that threshold either in pitch or volume. There is this nice guitar/(piano?) riff in the background that adds to the calm ambience of the song. Speaking of soothing sound, I have got a song which will literally put you to sleep. Its from the movie Donnie Darko and is called Mad World. Sung and composed by an American solo artist called Gary Jules this song is both hauntingly beautiful and extremely nostalgic. If any of you guys had managed to salvage the patience and watch Donnie Darko, you would realize that the song perfectly blends with the themes of the movie. Its about a guy loosing his mind and eventually asking wether the world is a mad place or is it only him.

I am a sucker for nostalgic songs and I would leave you with one last such song. Coming from the movie The Punisher this song is called Broken and features the voice talents of Amy Lee of Evanescence and Seether! I don't know wether I have mentioned this song before in my column, but it's such a good song that it's worth mentioning again. It's a song which is essentially a loving farewell to a lover. What makes this song particularly attractive is that the two vastly different vocal styles of Amy Lee and Shaun Morgan of Seether complements perfectly to create this awesome rock ballad. Its not a typical love song in a sense that some of the sequences are very powerful and you can hear the strains on Amy Lee's angelic voice! Enough talk, get the song now. It's worth it. Believe me!

1. “I am Shipping Upto Boston” by Dropkick Murphy's (in The Departed)

2. “Braveheart Theme” by Enya (in Braveheart)

3. “The Ride” by Cary Brothers (in The Last Kiss)

4. “Mad World” by Gary Jules (in Donnie Darco)

5. “Broken” by Seether feat. Amy Lee (in The Punisher)

By Le Chupacabra

Borat: Although Kazakhstan a glorious country, it have a problem, too: economic, social and Jew.

Pause yourself, open wide and breathe.

That's something you'll clearly forget to do while watching this film! Why? Simply because you'll either be laughing to the point of suffocation or coughing out every bit of your life in utter revulsion.

Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan or more commonly (and painlessly), Borat is a documentary-style film that takes our loveable Kazakhstani reporter on a cross country romp through the USA. On the way, laws will be broken, social morals will be shattered and the fabric of society will unravel as Borat Sagdiyev attempts to learn about American culture while giving offering a bit of his own in return.

At its heart this film is a pretty well-disguised satire that liberally takes a few jabs, if not full-fledged punches, at the face of American society. Of course, if you don't want to think too much about the hidden, postmodern agenda of Borat, it still happens to be one that's utterly hilarious and oh-so-wrong at every step of the way.

While a lot of the humour seems to be exceedingly crude, it's also quite ingenious and hides a subtler message in its facets. Simultaneously, it's also extremely blatant and in-your-face when it comes to touchier (oh the irony) topics such as anti-Semetism and rights against feminism. Sacha Baron Cohen is a man who knows how to write up excellent satire whereas Borat is one who says anything on his mind together we have a character who knows he's wrong but doesn't give a damn and all the while, drags the audience along for a rollercoaster ride of endless laughter. There's something brilliant about the way the ridiculously accented Borat just manages to bring about the most brazen emotions from people who would otherwise think twice before hooting and hollering to something like “May George Bush drink the blood of every man, woman and child in Iraq!”.

There are numerous points in the film where you'll just burst out even though that little voice at the back of your mind is tutting away. While being extremely funny, there are also moments that will make you cringe, if not completely writhe, in absolute disgust. You'll know what I'm talking about… trust me! (Dear god, the memories burrrrnn….)

A little warning here seems fair: if you are one who takes offence quite easily (oh and trust me, Borat will take any and all opportunities for that) then you would be better off avoiding this film. Even though I find this absolutely hilarious, there were still portions that were just plain wrong.

In the end however, you'll still come out a giggling mess of flesh and bone that'll stop chuckling only to quote a random one-liner and thus reducing yourself to hysteria yet again. Just make sure you've got some like-minded friends with you on this journey! Ah, good times…

By Le Chupacabra

Sunrise,26 episodes,Age Rating: 15+

Tokiha Mai and her younger brother have just been offered scholarships at the prestigious Fuuka Academy. It's a good thing for the orphaned children now that they can enjoy a quality education without financial woes. However, money is the least of their worries when they're caught in the crossfire of a vicious battle between two teenage girls armed with strange weapons. Things start getting heated once Mai discovers the secret links between Fuuka Academy and these female warriors called 'HiME' (Highly-advanced Materialising Equipment).

While almost flawless, Mai-HiME still lacks what makes anime like FullMetal Alchemist and Monster peerless… but as far as sheer entertainment is concerned, it ranks as one of the finest!

Mai-HiME starts off conforming to staples set by many shounen (for teenage boys, essentially) anime. In fact, early on it's quite easy to write this one off as unspectacular and cliché. It's a good thing that it doesn't take too long to obliterate such impressions!

Mai-HiME wonderfully mixes together action, comedy and drama into a hearty concoction that leaves you unusually satisfied even after it ends.

The story strikes a perfect balance between familiarity and freshness. Then it goes one step further and rewards viewers with a bevy of tantalizing plot twists that will really have you glued to the screen. The pacing is slightly off though; the first half moves quite slowly as characters are introduced and the audience is immersed into the world of Mai-HiME. The latter portion flies along at a breakneck pace with unexpected revelations at every corner. The transition is rather sudden, however it doesn't harm what is otherwise a rather enjoyable yarn.

It seems that new characters are consistently introduced for the first half of Mai-HiME and as a result, it has quite an extensive roster. While this is typically disastrous for an anime of standard length (26 episodes), Mai-HiME pulls it off with aplomb. Without delving too much into each personality, Mai-HiME is still able to develop its characters through a skilful mixture of dialogue and interactions. As a result, these guys and gals are quite genuine people and you definitely feel for them.

Mai-HiME has a very clean and rather beautiful art style that should sate most palates. It's also nice to see a consistency being maintained in that there is no drop in quality for the full run of the anime. The designs are quite brilliant, particularly those of the Orphans (the monsters that the HiME fight) and Children (the creatures that choose to help HiME in their battles). The characters themselves have a lot of personality in terms of looks alone. The animation for the battles is great stuff and combined with some fine choreography, it makes for quality viewing.

Something I personally love about Mai-HiME is the music. The opening song is an energetic J-pop track that you'll find hard to skip while watching! The closing theme does a fantastic job of segueing with the ending portions much like 'Tobira no Mukou he' did in FullMetal Alchemist. The music within the anime itself really shines and the battle themes are brilliant.

Finding problems with Mai-HiME will really boil down to personal preference. Some initial episodes are somewhat hackneyed in that they're evocative of the 'Monster of the Week' formula. Otherwise, I really have nothing to complain about!

Just because I think Mai-HiME is ideal in many ways, it's still not one to be compared with the likes of FMA or other truly peerless anime. On the other hand, Mai-HiME knows exactly what it wants to achieve and it does that with conviction. As a result, it's a superbly entertaining anime that you really must watch!


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