Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One
By Musarrat Rahman
This writer has travelled thousands of miles to watch Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part one, and it was totally worth it. We huge Harry Potter fans were very sceptical about it being a good movie since the last few ones being total crap, but this one was perfect from beginning to end.
A brief rundown of the film in case you have been living under a rock for the past several years: Harry and his comrades, Ron and Hermione, decide to skip their last year of school to continue on the quest left to them by Dumbledore in the last movie - the mission to find and destroy all the remaining Horcruxes made by Lord Voldemort. It picks up after the last epic disaster of a movie, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, with Harry being hunted mercilessly by Voldemort and the Death Eaters who invade Ron's brothers wedding to get to him. The three friends flee the scene and hide out in various forests while they hatch a plan on how to proceed on the expedition left to them.
Since the movie is split into two parts, director David Yates sticks close to the plot line in the book. Part one is pretty slow-paced (but never boring!) with not a lot of action sequences and wizard-on-wizard death matches. It's a lot darker than the previous six films, capturing the ambience perfectly.
The cast was the best part though! We've seen Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) practically grow up on screen, some of us even grew up with them; they are our awesome wizard friends. They make the movie that much better with their portrayal of the characters, it's easy to become numb to the fact that they are acting at all. The supporting cast, no matter how small of a role, does a straight-up fantastic job as well. The ever-so-talented Ms. Helena Bonham Carter continues to deliver some particularly memorable moments as psychotic death eater and Voldemort devotee, Bellatrix Lestrange as does Evanna Lynch as Luna Lovegood. Rhys Ifans joins the gang as Luna's father, Xenophilius, and while his screen time may be limited, he still manages to make a notable impression. The same goes for newcomer Bill Nighy as the new Minister for Magic Rufus Scrimgour. Ralph Fiennes gives his best performance of Voldemort yet, sending shivers down your spine at times. It's just a shame that Alan Rickman, Snape, does not have enough screen time, but fear not fellow Snape worshippers, we will see lots of him in the next part.
The one complaint about the movie is that it ended too soon and we will need to wait till next summer for the rest. The book was epic, and it is no wonder that they decided to split it into two parts to capture the plot like it was written to appease previously disappointed Potter fans. With this movie, we can start saying farewell to old friends. The next movie will be a final goodbye.
Rust and Chrome
By Shaer Reaz
Collectors are a queer breed. Give them a can of beans that had a manufacturing defect in 1955 and they'll pay you a hundred thousand dollars for it. The same can't be said for car collectors though. Most of these people have taste and the mental capacity to distinguish a vehicle's value before adding it to a burgeoning collection. They are also quite rich, in most cases.
Classics, especially from now defunct French and British car manufactures, along with Italian thoroughbred machines usually dominate closed auctions. Here is a list of the greatest classics to grace the world of collector cars, judged on auction value, number produced and manufacturer history.
Bugatti Type 57 Atlantic- Quite possibly the rarest, most expensive, and one of the most beautiful Bugatti's ever made, the Atlantic was a technological marvel and an indulgence in filthy luxury
at a time when the Great Depression was wreaking havoc everywhere. It was built based on the Aerolithe concept, which used a special magnesium alloy and aluminium, meaning the body could not be welded. It was riveted together down the middle, giving it a beautiful seam and looks to die for. Only four were made, of which two exist today. Price? A mere $40 million. Ralph Lauren owns one.
Bugatti Type 51 and Type 57S/57SC- See above, only add massive amounts of racing heritage. Ralph Lauren owns one of each.
Ferrari 250 GTO- One of the most famous Ferraris ever produced, and far removed from today's “crass and crude” Ferrari models, the 250 GTO was a thing of beauty and race bred precision that utilised a low slung, seductive, aerodynamic body and a race proven 3.0l front mounted V12 to give it an edge over the competition. Valued at around £16 million (yes, pounds) in today's market, the 39 GTO's produced hold immense respect from Ferrari fans worldwide. Motor Trend named it the “Greatest Ferrari of All Time”. Naturally, Ralph Lauren has one.
Jaguar E-Type- Not ultra-expensive or ultra-rare, but the most popular collector car of all time, and a favourite for beginner restorers too. It was so beautiful in design that even Enzo Ferrari called it “the most beautiful car ever made”. An extremely well engineered car, it combined sleek bodylines for aerodynamics and a choice of a 3.8l or 4.2l straight six engine. It was affordable too, and epitomised the beginning of the affordable sports car. Several limited editions and replicas were made, with varying price ranges. No doubt Ralph has a few tucked away in a corner somewhere.
Mercedes Benz 540K Roadster- The most expensive Mercedes sold at an auction price of £4 million may not seem like much compared to the other cars on this list, but the 540K is still a phenomenal example of pre WWII German engineering. The 5.4l eight cylinder supercharged motor developed 185hp (a lot for the mid 1930s) and its body and interior was typical of the coach built cars of that era. Along with the Mercedes SSK, the 540 was the peak of German pre-war engineering, and their present market values reflect that.
Mercedes 300SL Gullwing- A legendary car that had gullwing doors as a necessity, not an aesthetic add-on. The race-spec body construction required beams down the sides where the normal doors would be, so in order to grant access to the interior, the engineers devised the clever method of a door going up hinged on the roof. Performance matched the beautiful lines of the body, and price of any SL in any condition is well above £300,000.
Maserati 3500GT- Italian manufacturing at its finest, after Ferrari of course. At a time when Lamborghini was still the name of a farmer who also built tractors for a living, Maserati and Ferrari were putting out masterpieces like the 3500GT. It looked like a typical Italian sports car of the era - rounded headlamps and squared off rear arches giving the GT a tight chiselled look. Another more or less inexpensive classic, the 3500GT nonetheless provides the full experience of owning a classic: a head turner, classic power and road holding, and a huge pain in the behind to maintain if you're an average Joe.
I could have gone on to fill the whole issue with useless info, but due to a word limit I'm going to have to end it here. Classic car enthusiasts and the regular idiot are welcome to trawl the Internet all they like for about more of these classics.
When Duty Calls For Action
CALL OF DUTY BLACK OPS
By Eshpelin Mishtak
Yes, after an agonising year of anticipation and held breath, Treyarch has finally managed to bring out the latest franchise from the world of Call of Duty. So, what is it like? One word; it is "awesomeness".
As the title suggests, the campaign focuses on a series of operations all over the world which will make you go from Havana to the Battle of Khe Sanh, and will have you step through nasty locales like Kowloon and through the mountainous Yamantau with new and innovative weapons in missions ranging so far and wide that they will leave you gaping for at least a twelve hour stretch.
The game in the campaign mode starts with you, Alex Mason, a spy, an assassin, and a soldier; being tortured by electrocution and questioned inside an interrogation cell sometime in late 1968. Of course, like any other hero, you first try to resist, and then give up. That is when the game starts, inside your brain; in the first operation, you run on a mission to kill Fidel Castro, the "still-alive" Cuban socialist leader inside a well laid out terrain that shows you well thought out graphics work (instead of the everyday dark theme) against the backdrop of commendable background music.
The game is filled with cutscenes in order to make it appeal to a broad audience; it has the action elements down and has plenty of twists and turns. It also manages to touch enough historical events without subjecting itself to the limitations of "plain old history". Unlike the previous ventures of Treyarch, in Black Ops, you do not switch between characters; you are a fully realised character with a very specific story.
The graphics, as is expected, are up to the mark. Black Ops looks amazing at times and generally maintains some stellar graphics, which is important because the look and tone play a huge part to the storytelling. The character animation, both in facial and body movements, are top notch. They have not gone over the limit with the details, but they are enough for an FPS game; and, the destruction level is as entertaining as ever. Starting from trucks to small cars, everything now blows up if you have a big gun, which you have more often than not.
Speaking about guns, the new additions to the Call of Duty arms cache is a must mention. Starting from the crossbow with the green exploding bolts to the new gas grenades that turn your enemy blue out of suffocation, the new equipments are a true treat. The fun though, as they are found in all games, are in the small details; not only can you now tie a helicopter to a harpoon and bring it down, you can also fling off exploding slingshots from a rooftop in order to create havoc inside an "unbreakable" Russian prison.
The game-play, as I have already stated, is cleverly lined with tricks and treats; Treyarch now puts you into points where you must fight your way out, because if you try to wait it out, the enemies will continue to press you down. Some say that "it adds to the intensity", but sometimes, it can become quite frustrating such as in the Battle of Khe Sanh, where you will get tired and frustrated because you are unsure what you exactly need to do next.
As the pace of the game pushes you forward, you will notice a few glitches here and there; such as, the enemies are dumber than you would expect them to be, they do not move from their positions even though they can duck very well. And at the rate they keep on coming, it never gets boring even though they are brainless.
Also, making the trip over from the World at War is the zombie mode, where you fight off waves of zombies, which is more of a diversion than a genuine addition to the game; it is a very good diversion though.
All in all, Call of Duty: Black Ops lives up to the hype. Play it, even if it is just to watch the ending, it will not fail you.