Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Thursday, April 12, 2007




Reviewed by Gokhra

The plot:
The story revolves round the lives of a group of middle-aged friends who are bored with their suburban routine. And the best way to go about it is to do that rebel thing: buy a bike. In this case they decided to go on a bike trip. Heck, they missed an opportunity calling this movie bike Trip like all those other 'trippy' movies.

Allen is Doug, a onetime free-riding stoner now trapped in the body of a middle-aged Cincinnati dentist, with obnoxious son (Dominic James) and understanding spouse (Jill Hennessy). Lawrence is Bobby, a plumber and wannabe novelist with a two-dimensional harpy of a wife (Tichina Arnold).

Macy is Dudley, a gentle, addled computer geek who doesn't know how swish he acts (the actor plays this strange notion straight, as he must). Travolta is Woody, a high-powered lawyer whose life has fallen apart and who persuades the others weekend rebels like himself to chuck it all and drive to the West Coast.

The guys head out for the freedom of the open road. Of course, they end up getting more than they ever bargained for. The trip begins to challenge their wits and their luck, especially during a chance run-in with the Del Fuegos, a real-life biker gang who are less than amused with their novice approach. As they go looking for adventure, they soon find that they've embarked on a journey they will never forget.

The verdict:
The funny thing is that this movie was badly slated by the 'professional' critics who probably feel it their obligatory duty to blast comedies. But it turns out to be really damn funny. Throughout. There are a few flat moments but there are also the obligatory touching moments when you reach for the hanky.

Once again I say, the movie is genuinely funny. It a formulaic comedy and it has all the right ingredients.

For starters the actors are great at what they do. A-list cast with a grade A comic ability. Travlota can not only be the quintessential cool dude but his wide range of talent also enables him to play the rich funny happy go lucky bugger in the movie. As for Macy the man's a genius at getting absorbed in the characters he play. This is not an Oscar movie because it is not boring like most Oscar winners are.

Secondly the story is light enough yet engaging. It's original for the basic plot alone. And you don't have to be middle aged and dying to break free to connect.

Finally, it has great zingers ort what is better known in better English as one-liners. Also wait till the end of the end of the credit roll as there is a little bit more of the movie contained in the credit reel. There's more comics repartee.

You'll definitely be repeating some of the lines later in the day after seeing the movie.

If your goal is to escape, laugh and not take life or movies too seriously, then you should definitely watch this.

By Tareq Adnan

The first Grand Theft Auto on the PSP was Liberty City Stories and now there's Vice City Stories. Liberty City Stories was big on the PSP but when you shift platforms to PS2, the game falls short. That doesn't really change with Vice City Stories although they both manage to be memorable and forgettable games at the same time (if that's even possible).

The game returns to the gaudy, neon lights of Vice City. In the original Vice City you get to play Tommy Vercetti and witness his rise to the top. Here it's Vic Vance. Fans of the series will probably find that name familiar since he's Lance Vance's brother, Lance being a central character in Vice City.

The story setting is a few years prior to Tommy's arrival in Vice City. Vic has just joined the army and is already involved in things that the army normally isn't involved in like drug trafficking, transporting hookers, etc, thanks to his boss Jerry Martinez. The only drawback is that Vic is one of those whiny characters complaining about what he has to do. This is more a swerve from the cold hearted types from the previous games. It gets annoying after a while though. Anyway, Victor and Lance are on hard times, Vic gets thrown out of the army, Lance is an addict, and like I said, times are hard. The story basically follows the Vances trying to take over Vice City. The awesome voice acting and the brilliant cut scenes are still here and they keep the somewhat flat story alive.

In terms of game play, the game is the same of the previous GTAs, except for subtle unimportant differences. The same open air environment that GTA is famous for is here. It's actually very refreshing roaming around Vice City and subsequently getting lost and finding your way again. You'll find yourself aimlessly driving around the city in between missions. The driving physics have been changed and you'll find that skidding out of control more than before but that still doesn't take the charm away. Driving over pedestrians is one of the novelties of GTA.

The story missions, the main objective of the game are somewhat more satisfying that those offered before in LCS (the boring missions where you drove around all the time). Consequently it'll take more than just 10 hours to complete the story unlike the previous Stories. The multi tasked missions all follow the basic premise of killing rival gang members, doing odd jobs every now and then, smuggling contraband, chasing crooks etc.

If the story-missions seem like the type you don't want to do or you've come across a certain malignant one that refuses to be completed you can always switch to the vigilante, ambulance or taxi missions. I would suggest doing these before actually starting the story missions. They give a feel for the city and once completed they are rewarding (extra health, extra armor). There's also the new Empire feature. It's a lot like the territory thing in San Andreas. You take over a business and set it up. Upon doing so you get a bit of cash every day. The thing is that you can customize and upgrade these businesses by doing the appropriate missions. It's like an empire of crime controlled by you.

In terms of graphics, it's GTA and has that way being of awesome and yet, when you think about it, not that being great really. But it's great. The glitches are there, like when suddenly fall right the ground or get stuck in some piece of scenery. This is a problem prevalent in all Grand Theft Auto games and although not surprising they are annoying. The camera angles are controlled by the right analog stick and the targeting system is decent, which means that occasionally you'll find yourself aiming at the wrong person and thus getting shot in the process. It's sad that these things haven't been fixed yet.

The atmosphere of the early eighties is nurtured by the awesome radio stations. Some of the best pieces from the eighties are on the radio and the DJ banter is still as hilariously engaging. The voice over work done by the actors is superb and they make memorable characters even more memorable. Also it makes you hate that whining dolt Vic Vance even more. Vic is just not the right type a guy to be a GTA main man.

In the end it all boils down to the game being good, but no necessarily great. It makes a good way of wasting time (which will probably infuriate your already infuriated parents). If you already have a PSP version of the game don't bother about the PS2 version. This game is for those die hard GTA fans (me) that just can't resist another GTA. Later…

By Gokhra

What with soaring fuel prices and cute furry penguins making down payments on air conditioners due to global warming, hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles are a welcome move. Of course, car fans or rather petrol heads want cars with great power and acceleration. With the Prodrive Tango it seems you can satisfy your need for speed as well as save some furry endangered animals. You will probably be able to save furry animals if you hot one because the Tango is so small that it should not register much of an impact. That too if you manage to hit something. Quite likely you will miss because almost anything else on the road (including furry animals) is wider than this car.

The car is hardly wider than one of those big cruising motorbikes like the Honda Goldwing. It's also taller than most cars making it look quite odd. But aside from the size and shape it makes a wonderful transport for green people. Not only that they can whir away to a 100kmph from rest in 4 seconds flat. That's better than a Viper even. You may not be able to turn other road users green with envy but the colors of embarrassment are just as acceptable.

This British-built, electric-powered two-seater is a very socially responsible vehicle with one of its biggest supporters being Hollywood celeb George Clooney among many others. In fact, Clooney recently took delivery of his and is known as a real driving enthusiast

Unfortunately long road trips are a no-go. The Tango was designed primarily as an efficient, space-saving commuter for the city and the suburbs with the range between charges being 80 miles.

This week, I bring you some of the most interesting blogs that I've come across by Bangladeshis here and abroad. While some finger point our politics, many gives you an outlook of Bangladesh's image on the larger world. Some raised social concerns and created a platform for young Bangladeshis to voice out their opinions.

BNWLA Hostel Appeal

This is a campaign to raise funds to pay for a new BNWLA shelter for survivors of abuse, rape, trafficking, domestic slavery and acid attacks, as well as people living with HIV and AIDS and abandoned babies. It's to be built outside Dhaka and will provide a hostel, school, training centre and playing area. The hostel's aim is to help people initially recover from trauma in a safe environment and then look to the future under a new light.

Shada Kalo

As stated by the blogger, this is a running commentary on local politics. Quoting articles from different national dailies and expressing views, I felt this blog held strong opinions and would be a good read for anyone interested in social and political issues.


Straight out from one of the most renowned photographers of our country, Shahidul Alam; this blog highlights his perspectives on recent happenings and logs his retrospective traveling across the world. Many entries were moving, leaving footprints and lingering thoughts in your mind. Definitely tagged 'favorite'!

Unheard Voices

A Drishtipat initiative to create an online platform for young people to raise their concerns about social issues. Strongly leaning towards human rights, the blog provides a voice for everyone and is very active. I could feel the energy and rebellion expressed by these youngsters as I scrolled down the posts; so another tagged 'favorite'!

Take Back Bangladesh

A compilation of articles and posts by people who are working for a democratic and economically prosperous Bangladesh. It aims to inspire young people to step up and make a difference.

The Color of Rain

I quote the blogger: “the life and adventures of a 19 yr old Muslim Bangladeshi, junior (currently studying abroad), Economics major with a strong interest in third world, namely South Asian 'development', media and Islam.” I found the blog introspective and a good read.

The desh in me

Another introspective blog from a Bangladeshi living in Chicago. The blogger describes herself as a 30-something woman who is torn between her love for the East and freedoms of the West. Quite personal with its entries, I found her blog interesting.

1º Initiative

I work for this group and from 1st hand experience, I found their ideologies inspiring. They are a small student organization, believing in making smaller one-step differences in the lives of people around them and making them happy. The blog compiles 1º Initiative's projects and success stories.


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