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By Orin

The Oscar buzz has cooled off and once again free from the tear-jerkers and costume dramas, most of us have managed to make a list of all the must-watch summer flicks. We reviewed a lot of big names from the movies last year but one movie, with small names and big emotions was left out. A separation was the Iranian entry for this year's foreign film category at the Oscar and despite the strict censorship, when it won, it didn't surprise anyone.

The story goes like this: Simin and Nader are on the verge of breaking off their marriage because she wants the family to move to another country in search of a better future while he wants to stay in Iran and take care of his frail father suffering from dementia. Failing to arrive at a resolution, Simin moves out with her parents and gives Nader and their daughter Termeh time to think things through. Nader hires a woman to look after his father, and here comes Razieh, a nervous woman, whose unreliability results in outbursts from Nader and consequently lands him in court fighting Razieh and her husband. Simin and Nader's separation shapes many lives along the way, starting with the painful legal battle with Razieh and the distress on Nader's ailing father. But no one is more affected than their introverted, studious daughter, whose hope that everything will turn out okay, heartbreakingly collapses.

Because of the stringent censorship policy in the country, a lot of subject matters are off the table but what Asghar Farhadi did with this simple story is quite admirable. The movie seems a bit planned at some points, but the freshness turns this one into a complex web of emotions rarely portrayed in a western movie. The acting is done well, Leila Hatami and Sarina Farhadi captures the characters' emotions skilfully. A separation is not just another good movie that wins prizes; it also acts as an intermediate for connecting emotions and giving Iran a face in the global movie industry.

RS verdict: 7.5/10

By Selima

People love arguments. As Bangladeshis we love arguments just a little bit more than the next guy. Typically, arguments revolving around famous people are a common fight. Whether it's the good ol' Nazrul vs Rabindranath argument or Hasina vs Khaleda these arguments are found all over. Add to that funky beats, and the characters rapping their arguments and you got a sure way of grabbing people's attention.

NicePeter and EpicLLOYD are two Youtube figures who had the same idea. Cue: EPIC RAP BATTLES OF HISTORY! While they don't have our own deshi contenders, they do have some pretty hilarious stuff ranging from the newest: Mario Bros. VS Wright Bros. They also have Dumbledore VS Gandalf, Hitler VS Darth Vader and so on.
Keeping their lyrics, and as such arguments, mostly factually correct these may be a fun way to prepare for the history exams, although not the safest. Their material is 100% original and relatable without very obscure references, so it'll have you laughing for long. Of course, for this to be enjoyable you need to have a vague idea about each of the characters - and it gets a little dull and lame if you don't.

What makes these videos really fun is that they have a very good make up, costume and prop set meaning each character is easily recognisable. It's pretty unbelievable to see the guy you just saw playing Hitler is now a Mario Brother.
While not always side-splitting, they'll produce a chuckle at least. If it doesn't, you're probably just stupid and really need to brush up on your knowledge of history/famous icons.

We recommend you check out the following battles, before you decide you are officially hooked and go through all of the videos

Hitler VS Darth Vader
Einstein VS Stephen Hawking
Beethoven VS Justin Bieber
Dumbledore VS Gandalf

Genre: Action,
Comedy, Shounen
Episodes: 62

By Mahir

Hunter X Hunter is one of Togashi Yoshihiro's (also author of Yu Yu Hakusho) ingenious creations and as soon as the anime came out, it was immediately posted as the number one anime at that time. The anime and its two main characters Killua and Gon in a strange way remind viewers of that phase of childhood when we had this awesome friend who always had our back, did mischievous things and never ratted us out.

As you can guess from the title, this anime is about hunters. But hunting isn't confined to just killing animals. Rather hunters are considered as the elite members of the society who can do any kind of job that's thought to be beyond human capabilities. Thus they lead a life of excitement and luxury, which draws the attraction of a lot of amateur fighters who want to be a licensed hunter.

The hunter examination takes place every year to promote a new hunter, but to our protagonist, Gon Freecss, this stuff meant little until one day he came to know about his father - a legendary hunter who left Gon to pursue his own dreams. Gon decides to take the hunter exams to become a hunter himself and chase down his no good father.

He meets two other contestants Kurapika and Leorio, and they decide to team up against the stronger opponents during the exam. Later, during the test, Gon befriends Killua who comes from a family of celebrated assassins.

HxH has decent artwork but the plot is the best concept of the anime. There are twists in the most unexpected places and complications in almost every episode and, at the same time, there is simple hilarity to lighten up the mood.

Besides the story, the writer was successful in creating an admirable, if slightly clichéd, bunch of characters. Kurapika, the red eyed hunter, wants revenge for the murder of his clan (a lot like The Uchiha clan in Naruto) and will do anything to get it. Leorio, who wanted to be doctor, is often swept away by his greed for money. But Gon's character is very interesting; he hasn't been taught morals and can't differentiate between right and wrong. But, of course, during the course of the anime he ends up doing the right thing most of the time.

The disappointing fact about the anime is that it reduced a lot of violence that was found in the manga and well it seemed unreal at times but it is the plot that keeps the anime afloat and makes it a really addictive anime.

HxH was aired on Animax a long time ago and since it's not the most popular of animes, you may be hard-pressed to find a DVD. But come on, “hunt” for it.


Ratings: Overall: 10/10 Gameplay: 10/10 Story: 10/10 Graphics and Sound: 9.5/10

By Shaer Reaz

The Reapers are here. For any gamer even remotely interested in Role Playing Games, that line can mean one thing: the shit is about to hit the fan. Because Mass Effect 3 is in the house.

Unlike Mass Effect 1 and 2, you start off grounded on Earth. With an emotionally tugging intro that may leave the weak hearted sobbing in despair, Mass Effect 3 launches the player into a galaxy of terror and chaos as the Reapers begin their ruthless “cleansing” of the galaxy.

For those who don't know the backstory, in 2157, humanity discovered it wasn't alone in the galaxy. Co-habitation with a different alien species was achieved, with little or no conflict with the human race. In the events of Mass Effect 1 and 2, a soldier, Commander Shephard, discovered the existence of the biggest threat to life in the galaxy: the Reapers. The Reapers are a race of mechanical beings, whose only collective purpose seems to be wiping out all organic life every now and then. Till Shephard faced them and brought back hard evidence, the rest of the galaxy dismissed his claims, calling the Reapers mere legends.

Now, the Reapers are back in their thousands, attacking any planet with traces of life on them. Earth is not spared. In Mass Effect 3, it's up to you, Commander Shephard, to build a resistance and find a way to stop the Reapers, at any cost.

In Mass Effect 3, gathering forces for a push against the Reapers are as important as being skilled at combat. Diplomatic relations with alien races, keeping your squad motivated, keeping track of the part of the galaxy that is foundering under attack, all of these things are just as important as blowing away thousands of Reaper Husks and taking down Brutes. Most of the time, you'll be going into combat with the goal of achieving a diplomatic task, with your choices and actions affecting how the storyline progresses.

Choices play a huge role in this game, like the previous two games. Building relationships with your squad mates, authority figures - even who you choose to romance - play a role in the final outcome. The choice system is mind bogglingly complex, but if you go with your gut and choose what you think is right, you'll be fine. If you have save games from Mass Effect 1 and 2, you can import your character to Mass Effect 3 (with the same attributes and same level, which you finished on in ME2). So basically, all the choices you made in the previous two games will affect the choices you are given in Mass Effect 3.

Unlike previous games, you can choose to either play a full action shooting game (with minimal dialogue options); a regular RPG style game (with a balance of combat/story/dialogue); or a story mode (where combat takes a backseat to the story and the dialogue). It's best to stick to the RPG mode to get the best out of the game though.

Forget about choices for now, and let's get down to the combat. The first two games felt repetitive in combat, but ME3 corrects that in a brutal manner. There are so many enemies flying at you from different directions that it feels more like a survival horror game than a RPG-shooter (even more so when you consider that Husks are basically glorified zombies). The different enemy classes require different tactics and weapons to take down, so when they're all rushing at you at the same time, you need to think fast and do it smoothly. But there's the awesome new melee attack to help you out.

Be warned, this game will cause you to tear up if you're not a big fan of the “people dying all around you” type of entertainment. Think Halo: Reach in terms of the emotional factor. You know people are doomed, that they'll probably eventually die, and you can't do anything about it, but it still leaves you empty as a shell when they do.

On lesser things, graphics are astounding, the sound is brilliant, the gameplay is mind blowing, and the story will leave you wondering if this should have been a book.

Humanity needs you. All life in the galaxy hangs in the balance, and you hold it in your hands (or keyboard/controller). You up for it?


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