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Movie Review: Closer (9/10)

Posted on December 22nd, 2004 filed in Movie Reviews
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Summary:

On a busy London street, while heading to his job as an obituary journalist, Dan (Jude Law) notices gorgeous Alice (Natalie Portman), a part time fuschia-haired stripper that just moved from New York. Eyes meet, sparks fly and she fails to notice the cab heading in her direction. Dan, rescuing the damsel in distress, takes her to the hospital while under serious infatuation.

Fast forward a year later. Dan and Alice now live together and Dan has written a book about his new love. While having his picture taken by Anna (Julia Roberts) for the cover of his book, he hits on her and gets rejected. He then fixes her up with a buddy sex-freak dermatologist as a revenge prank but they end up as an item and actually get married. Dan remains seriously attracted to Anna and that can only mean trouble for both couples.

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Shark Tale Movie Review (6.5/10)

Posted on November 16th, 2004 filed in Movie Reviews
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Summary:

Oscar (voiced by Will Smith) is a small fish, who works at the ‘Whale Wash’ with his friend Angel (voiced by Renee Zellweger). He is a ‘nobody’, with dreams of making it big and becoming ‘somebody’ on the upper side of the reef. On the other side of the ocean lives Don Lino (Robert De Niro), the God Father of all Sharks, with plans to leave the family business to his two sons, Frankie and Lenny. But Lenny is a kind, vegetarian, shark. One day, an anchor kills Frankie while he was trying to capture Oscar so the latter grabs this opportunity and takes credit for the death of the big, bad shark and gets notoriously known as the ‘Shark Slayer’. His lies will take him places he was longing for only to discover and appreciate what he is leaving behind.
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Travelogue: The Non Traditional Paris

Posted on October 11th, 2004 filed in Travelogues
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Ask anyone about Paris and they immediately refer to the Champs Elysees and the Eiffel Tower. These are undoubtedly great to experience for the uninitiated, but Paris has far more to offer than that as evidenced by my last trip there (I have just returned from a 5 day visit).

1) Bicycling: There are lots of opportunities for picturesque cycling in Paris, Champs Elysees, Boix de Boulogne, and the Seine river branches being some of many examples. There are dedicated and extremely picturesque cycling lanes there, for example the one stretching from Jardins De Tuileries till Arc de Triomphe.

2) Rollerblading: Rollerblading has picked up big time in Paris since my last visit few years earlier. You see rollerbladers everywhere and rollerblading is now a common method of transport. The cycling locations described above also double as rollerblading ones.

3) Les Invalides: This is where Napoleon is burried and his casquet is a must see mostly to appreciate the arabic writings there! Who would have imagined?

4) Les Catacombes de Paris: These are centuries-old underground mass burial sites that now are open to tourists. Your adventure starts by heading through a path between two walls made of actual human skulls! I met there a teenager who was bragging about how all this touristy crap (as he puts it) pales compared to the ‘Real Thing’. Apparently, he and his friends, spend hours exploring the actual “Catacombes’ through some hidden passages known to insiders only. The exploration would include a rite of passage through the sewers , ‘as that’s the only way to get there’. Ummmm….Thanks but no thanks. The touristy crap will have to do for now :)

5) Parks: Boix de Boulogne is a gorgeous park at a vicinity of Paris worth enjoying. You can hike, bike, rollerblade and simply enjoy the outdoors. It also boasts a central lake housing a restaurant at its middle. You take a small boat to get there. Overall a very pleasant and relaxing day.


Harry Potter and the prisoner of Azkaban Movie Review (9/10)

Posted on September 15th, 2004 filed in Movie Reviews
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Summary:

Unable to contain his anger, Harry performs magic outside Hogwarts- which is strictly forbidden- and blows up his viscous aunt Marge like a balloon into the open sky. He runs away from the Dursleys, and spooky things start occurring to him even before reaching Hogwarts to start his third Year. At Hogwarts a dark atmosphere of fear is reigning. The notorious Sirius Black, one of Voldemort’s most feared followers, who is also believed to have been the cause of death of Harry’s parents, has escaped the dreadful prison of Azkaban and is searching for Harry to kill him! Dementors, the terrifying prison guards that suck all hope and happiness, are roaming the school grounds to supposedly protect the students, but Harry faints whenever he is in their proximity. Harry’s life is once again in great danger and the trio set off to solve the new mystery and get a step closer to the truth.

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Travelogue: One Day in Vienna

Posted on August 15th, 2004 filed in Travelogues
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Streets of Vienna

Vienna is the luxurious, capital city of Austria. Situated in central Europe, in the vicinity of the Czech Republic and Hungary, it lies along the Bank of the Danube River.

I spent a day in Vienna, and it is a must see destination from every possible angle.

The transportation in Vienna is very practical. There are Trams, metros and Buses everywhere. They run at a high frequency and are very safe. Taking a bus from the airport to the middle of Down Town is a 40 minute ride and costs about 10 Euros.

My first impression of Vienna is that it is a spacious, clean city, vivacious and filled with style and culture. The people of Vienna are very courteous and friendly. I was struck of how well dressed they are. You see men in suits and women in chic dresses and high heels scurrying around the city. However, most of the population does not speak English, so unless you can manage with German, you will encounter the language barrier.

There are lovely cafes everywhere, with a wide variety of choices and the aroma of coffee is simply mouth-watering. The Viennese Coffee with cream is world renowned and that is for a good reason!

There are literally desert shops with delicious windows displaying sweets and cakes on every corner (instead of the US Starbucks). It is part of their traditions, and you must try their famous hot apple strudel ‘Apfelstrudel’ (referred to in Sound of Music), the dumplings and chocolate cake ‘Sachertorte’.

The smell of hot chestnut and fried potatoes being sold on small corner stands is another
delicious attraction typical to Vienna. As for restaurants, around 20$ should suffice for a good authentic or international meal.

Walking around the city is a cultural experience it itself. Every corner is a photo opportunity. You can spend a few days simple walking around. The architecture is grandiose dating from centuries ago to very modern. Every window is decorated by a sculpture, the presence of the church, revealing the history of the city, is in every stone.

In the heart of the city is a broad boulevard filled with attractions called ‘The Ringstrasse’. There is located the jurassic ‘Saint Stephen’s Cathedral’, which was first built in 1147 (107 m long and 34m wide) and is unique in the world. There is also the Opera House, the parliament, the town hall and many, many beautiful churches.

There are many wonderful, vast green parks with monuments and sculpture representing old myths, history and religion. There are many museums in the city as well, I found the Sissi Museum interesting to see.

There are also many Opera houses of the highest caliber and many classical music concerts for the Austrian musicians Strauss and Beethoven are often available.

Vienna is truly a dream, inspirational city! Every corner is majestic in its architecture and culture. The Music of Beethoven, Strauss and Mozart is in every shop. Visiting the Imperial Palace is walking the path of the world renowned Empress Sissy, and quite honestly you cannot but feel like royalty in this ostentatious city!


Personal Poetry: LA RAISON

Posted on August 5th, 2004 filed in Personal Poetry and Poems
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(THIS POEM REPRESENTS THE AGE WHERE WE MUST START TO DISTINGUISH BETWEEN TRUTH AND CULTURAL MYTH)

Mon âme qui se bat à comprendre
Et pouvoir enfin faire la différence
Entre la vérité et ce qui m a été enseigné,
Pour goutter tes larmes
et connaître ton âme
Fallait-il vraiment se livrer aux flammes?


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