Which director turned down the opportunity to work on Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince so that he could work on Hellboy 2? The answer is director Guillermo del Toro.
Hero Fiennes-Tiffin, who plays Tom Riddle, is actually related to one of the cast members. Who is it? Fiennes-Tiffin is Ralph Fiennes’ nephew and was specifically hired for the part because he resembled his uncle.
Who was J K Rowling’s personal favorite for directing this film but didn’t do so because of a dispute with Warner Brothers? Director Terry Gilliam, who reportedly said, "Warner Bros. had their chance the first time around, and they blew it."
Much of the movie’s ending has been changed, what was the reason the filmmakers gave? The end act was removed to avoid repetition with the forthcoming adaptation of Deathly Hallows. The funeral was removed as it was believed it did not fit with the rest of the film.
At the time of the release of the book, Half-Blood Prince, it broke the record for most books sold in 16 hours, which was three million copies, can you guess which book would break this record? The final book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
This is the second Harry Potter film not to open with events involving Harry. Which was the first? Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire opened with a scene from a chapter of the fourth book, "The Riddle House".
A special event returns to this movie after making its last appearance in fourth installment? The popular wizard game Quidditch.
Which director, while in negotiations to direct the first film, wanted it to be completely animated and wanted Haley Joel Osmet for the lead role? Steven Spielberg.
Was Harry Potter Daniel Radcliffe’s first screen role? No, his first role was in the Tailor of Panama, alongside Pierce Brosnan.
If you watched all of the Harry Potter films, from the first one right down to the last, how much time would it take? An astounding 903 minutes. Though this figure might change, since the last film Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows has not yet been films—and is scheduled to be filmed in two parts.
Which actor’s children were a fan of the series and ultimately became a hero to them and their schoolmates? Gary Oldman, who played Sirius Black.
For one thing, straight away upon listening to the album, you can actually tell that the hard work, blood, sweat and tears, put into it have actually paid off.
The band starts the album off with Chand Taare a track that sounds nothing like the rest of the album itself — though not in a bad way. This is the sort of song that you’d have in any commercial album but it’s pretty clear that the band are not comfortable performing this song, because this is not who they are. When we last spoke to the band (Kaavish: Speaking to the soul, October 5, 2008, published in Images, Dawn), they insisted on a need for such a track, to have it as their first track and so got it over quickly, perhaps so they could get down to the ‘real business’ of their music.
Things get really moody real fast with the onset of Chaltay Rahein. But it’s not sad, it’s the sort of melancholy track that reminds you of the bittersweet things in life and how no matter what happens, life goes on. Even the poignant lyrics reflect the sound of the track, “Kaisay kahein, kissay kahein, kehna ha kya, chaltay rahain.”
Sunn Zara is where things become a bit moody. The dark undertone of the keys is only kept alight by the powerful and mesmerizing flute. As the song picks up, the darkness is gone; thanks to the beacon of light that is the vocals. Jaffer’s voice is carefully placed so when he sings the listener hangs on to every word.
When Faisal Rafi spoke about the music being performed live, one would think about how different it would make to the sound. Bachoan and Tere Pyaar Main are where one notices that difference the most. These tracks are definitely slower than the first few tracks and perhaps for obvious reasons, we’re almost half way into the album and the band is settling into itself nicely. Out of the two, Bachoan is better, simply because it seems less overdone and tinkered with, rather than Tere Pyaar Main — which, although good, it seems as if too many cooks spoiled the broth on that one.
Where Jaffer went all over the place in Tere Pyaar Main, he seems very focused in Piya Dekho Na. In fact, his voice is the star of this track as it carefully serenades the music around it.
At this point in time, starting with Moray Sayyan through to Dekho, there is a distinct lack of variety of songs on the album. Nearly all tracks so far are classical, which makes the second half of the album sound as one continuous track. These songs are all great and have their own merits on their own, but just don’t sit well with each other.
Finally Dim Main Meray and Koi Hai Toh Sahee close the album; both the mood and the pace of the album change slightly as the band says goodbye to the listener. It is indeed a sweet parting, but after listening to the album in its entirety, there’s a feeling of emptiness — or something missing. Perhaps it’s the wait and the expectations that are to blame here; after all, this album was six years in the making. It is only natural for the listener to expect more.
Those expecting to find pop or commercialism on this album will be severely disappointed. Kaavish have already made clear they are about music at its purest form. Gunkali is all about Pakistani music at its core; it celebrates its history and heritage brought into a new era.
On another aspect, Rafi notes that in the time span of six years, the band itself has improved drastically. “The band has matured immensely through the recording and production process, their true potential is becoming more and more evident.”
Indeed, if this is just the first effort of the band, Gunkali is just the beginning of their journey.
It seems that Hollywood is taking a page from Bollywood movies these days, because the Proposal seems to be more of the latter than the former.
The movie stars Sandra Bullock as a smart, witty and very clever book editor and Ryan Reynolds as her beleaguered assistant. One day at the office, Margaret Tate (Bullock), a Canadian whose visa expires and suddenly she finds herself scrambling for a way to stay in the United States and the big New York office where she rules with an iron fist clutching a designer bag.
The plan that she devises involves her assistant, Andrew (Ryan Reynolds), a beleaguered yet funny character who helps his boss get out of trouble—almost all the time. For her to get the promotion, she needs to stay in New York, for her to stay in New York, she needs to become an American citizen and the quickest way to do that would be to marry an American.
She bribes Andrew into marrying her, in exchange for a promotion of his own, and as the story goes, somewhere along their fallacy, they get to know each other. During a visit to his family, she realizes that Andrew is actually a good man and someone more than just an assistant. She meets his mom (Mary Steenburgen) and dad (Craig T. Nelson) who provide the odd funny moment but give her into an insight into Andrew. Similarly, Andrew sees a completely different side of his boss, a fragile woman hiding behind the guile of a controlling and overpowering boss. Hence the movie being more Bollywood than Hollywood, the plot is thin to say the least and is filled by formula moments.
The film is directed by Anne Fletcher, who also directed 27 Dresses and is written by Peter Chiarelli whose script is filled with clichés and stereotypes. There are many scenes completely lifted off from other—more recent—movies.
Besides its obvious flaws the film does have moments that make it a worthwhile watch. Most of these moments belong to Ryan Reynolds. The young actor holds his own against Sandra Bullock, who may not be as charming as Julia Roberts, but she makes up for it by being very funny.
The Proposal is funny but you’ve probably seen and heard it all somewhere before, but it’s still an enjoyable watch.
It was perhaps after the Second World War when the forces of ‘good’ and ‘evil’ realized that war was a profitable commodity, but it had to be re-branded. So the forces of evil were ‘re-branded’ and along came the Cold War, which had Communism as the face of evil. Communism went on to star in many sequels and is still, the star of the Korean peninsula.
But over time Communism began to wane and wilt and so a new ‘evil’ was introduced. Harvested and bred by the forces of good themselves, this ‘evil’ has proven that war is here to stay and the forces of good and evil can continue to profit, no matter the consequences of any inflation. The face of evil for the new generation is the Taliban. Once the gallant heroes of the Soviet-Afghan War, now the enemy of states across the world – the Taliban (much like the Communism of its time) are everywhere.
However, nowhere around the world is it more close than it is in Pakistan. Or is it?
Is the threat of total domination by the Taliban real, or is it concocted and thoroughly sensationalized by media houses both at home and abroad? Is the peril of ‘Talibanization’ within Pakistan a shock and awe strategy being implemented by internal and external forces for the achievement of an ulterior motive?
Up until the year 2000, the Swat valley and the areas surrounded it, were havens for tourists and travellers from around the world. Travellers from Europe, and even the United States, frequently visited these areas – soaking in the scenery and the culture.
Then came 9/11, the ‘War on Terror’ and Osama Bin Laden – and all of that changed. Suddenly, the once precious valley became volatile and off-limits, to foreigners and to the people of the region alike.
And it is dealing with this new-found threat that has become tricky with the Pakistani government.
After first making a deal with the Taliban, the Pakistani government decided to bomb them.
In an article titled ‘Alarmism does not help’ by Aasim Sajjad Akhtar (published in a local daily), the author subscribes to the notion that: “…the jihadis have cultivated significant pockets of support (even while employing outrageous brutality and coercion at the same time) by representing themselves as an alternative to incumbent state and class power, throughout invoking a divine mandate. Trying to bomb them into submission will serve only to make their millenarian mission into a self-fulfilling prophecy and increase their popularity.” This holds rather true. Those that empathize with the Taliban and their ‘cause’ must realize that the Taliban aren’t Robin Hoods. There is no reasoning with them.
Yet, it must be understood, and never forgotten, that the Taliban’s inception and the subsequent spread of militia within Pakistan was the result of the war in Afghanistan against the Soviets in the 70s. And therefore, the United States has had quite a large hand to play in the sculpting of this explosive militia.
In April this year, the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, stated: “We can point fingers at the Pakistanis. I did some yesterday frankly. And it’s merited because we are wondering why they just don’t go out there and deal with these people. But the problems we face now to some extent we have to take responsibility for, having contributed to it. We also have a history of kind of moving in and out of Pakistan. Let’s remember here… the people we are fighting today we funded them twenty years ago… and we did it because we were locked in a struggle with the Soviet Union.”
As long as the Taliban posed no imminent threat to the main cities within the country, the Pakistani government had nonchalantly assumed a backseat. But as the news reports of trigger-happy Taliban started seeping in, along with the mounting pressure from the United States, the Pakistani government snapped into action – resulting in an almost zero-tolerance, ‘wipe out’ policy of the Taliban in the Northern areas of the country.
Not very long ago, spine-chilling rumours regarding the threats given to established educational institutions by the Taliban had started doing the circuit. Apparently, educational institutions such as the well-known, all girls Kinnaird College (KC) in Lahore was under threat by individuals who had stood outside the campus and warned the students to cover up or else acid would be doused on them.
A host of other schools and colleges in Lahore too, were faced with similar threats resulting in the imposition of certain dress codes for women (no jeans, or Western attire could be worn) and both genders had to keep a certain degree of physical proximity from one another.
Overall, it is Lahore and Islamabad that are now facing the brunt of these attacks. Perhaps it is the proximity or perhaps the Taliban are now sending us a signal. That no matter where we are, and no matter who we are, the Taliban can (and will) reach us. Even the local police and rescue services are no longer safe.
In May, the country suffered its third bomb blast in as many months, when the Rescue 15 building (in Lahore) was completely levelled as the result of the blast. Twenty-six people, including an ISI colonel and 15 police officials, were killed and around 400 people injured – when an explosive-laden vehicle rammed into the Rescue 15 building.
For that matter, even those scholars that decry the Taliban movement are not safe either, as in the case of Sarfraz Naeemi who was killed in a recent suicide attack in Lahore. A leading Sunni Muslim scholar opposed to the Taliban, Naeemi was known for his outspoken views against suicide bombings and militancy. Being one of the few scholars who had openly supported the ongoing military operation in Swat, Naeemi had also labelled the activities of the Taliban as “un-Islamic”. He was a vital part of a conference of Islamic scholars, convened by the government in May, which criticised suicide attacks and the beheading of innocent Muslims as un-Islamic, stating that the Taliban were “misusing” religion for their activities and were bringing a bad name to the Islamic faith. His words seem to indicate that the Taliban were being used, rather than acting on their own.
And regarding the staggering number of internally displaced families, currently? It is heart-wrenching.
Abdul Basit, a young Pakistani who happened to visit the IDP camps stated: “I get shivers down my spine every time I step into a camp because of the agony infront of me. From Swabi to Mardan, the story is the same; the IDP’s are afflicted with troubles related to health, sanitation and the scorching heat. While I was there, I heard of an incident where a father and son were trying to cross into Mardan from Malakand during the curfew. They were attacked and the son died on the spot. The father however, managed to cross over. The son was only six – he didn’t deserve this…”
Mobisher Rabbani, another youngster (based in Dubai) who has been heavily involved with collecting aid for the IDP’s, said: “I’m proud of our soldiers who are bravely fighting these terrorist and criminal elements within the country. We should pledge all our resources into helping the IDP’s get back on their feet. Whenever I visit the camps for distribution of relief items, I apologize to the people for coming to their aid so late as they’ve scarified their today, for our tomorrow.”
Our police have been attacked, our rescue services have been attacked, and our very faith has been attacked by the Taliban. Whatever the Taliban may be, a part of them is a part of us. After all, we were a part of the forces that made them who they are now. Technically, we are a parent to their destiny and we have to owe up to that, unlike the other parent – the United States – who conveniently walked out of this ‘family’ only to walk back in; guns blazing.
Only history knows the outcome of this conflict, but the sad part about that is that, history does not write herself, for she is written by the victorious.
In the final analysis, it is the soldiers of war, the preponderance of internally displaced families and the young men (roped in to fight for a ‘cause which isn’t as black and white as it’s made out to be) who are made to endure the repercussions of a ‘war’ gone horribly wrong – that are the truest of all casualties. And whose lives will never be the same again.
It's always difficult not to enjoy animated films. They're a bundle of fun; whether you're an adult or a kid, you always get something that's funny or poignant and most of all, anyone and everyone can watch it together.
In the third installment of the Ice Age franchise, it's all about mammoths versus dinosaurs; clearly a metaphor for clashes between the old generation and new. Ice Age 3 is one of the many franchises that have developed over the years with computer generated animated films; such as Toy Story (whose third installment is due next year), Madagascar, and Shrek to name a few. With such competition, it is often tough for animated features to find their own footings and stay clear of comparisons. Ice Age 3 suffers from the brunt of the competition, in which, it doesn't have exactly the same star power as the Shrek or Madagascar films nor does it have the same comedy as most Pixar films.
The Ice Age franchise—though successful—has always suffered from a "not-too-funny by funny" stigma. The movies which have been praised by families as being heart warming and fun to watch have been panned by critics as dull and lifeless.
Ray Romano, Queen Latifah, Denis Leary and John Leguizamo all return for their respective roles as, mammoths, sabre-toothed tiger, and sloth. Also returning are the opossum brothers, Crash and Eddie voiced by Seann William Scott and Josh Peck, respectively. The story continues from where the last film, Ice Age: Meltdown, left off. Ellie (Latifah) and Manny (Romano) are expecting their first child, and Manny is fixated on making life safe for the family. Ray Romano identifies with Manny’s anxiety, “It wasn’t that different from my own life,” he notes. “Getting crazy preparing for a new arrival comes with the territory.” Likewise Queen Latifah found much of herself in Ellie’s character and opposite of Manny. “Manny and Ellie are opposites in the way they’re handling imminent parenthood,” says Latifah. “Manny is nervous and neurotic, trying to make sure that everything is perfect and safe for the baby. Ellie is more nurturing and begins to assume the mantle of matriarch of this family of friends.”
At the same time, Diego (Leary) has been feeling more like a kitty cat than a fearsome feline, and fears that joining the herd is making him lose his edge. Instead of participating in the preparations for the baby’s arrival, Diego heads out on his own in search of adventure, wondering if it’s time for him to move on from the herd. “He’s breaking off on his own,” says actor-comedian Leary. Sid (Leguizamo) feels left out from the group and decides to adopt babies of his own; in this case, three eggs that he discovers—but it's when the eggs hatch that the real fun begins. Leguizamo returns to that distinctive voice while finding inventive ways to add new dimensions to the character. “Sid wants to be taken seriously, get some respect, and be treated like an adult,” says Leguizamo.
What follows is an epic chase by a ferocious Tyrannosaurs Rex, an encounter with a crazy weasel fighting Baryonyx, an attack by a Ankylosaurus and rivers of lava ripping apart landscapes. Out of all, it's the moments with the crazy weasel, Buckminster or Buck, that are the funniest to watch. Voiced by Scottish actor Simon Pegg, Buck's lines and characteristics are something that will tickle audiences. In casting the role, the filmmakers wanted a voice that stood out from their previously established characters. “Every character in the ‘Ice Age’ films has a distinct voice, but they all somehow fit together,” says producer Lori Forte. Ultimately, it was British actor Simon Pegg who got the nod to voice Buck. “Simon has great comedic timing, and his work brought a completely different flavor to Buck,” Forte continues. “We wanted a quality that conveyed a worldliness and range of experience that hadn’t yet been heard in an ‘Ice Age’ movie.” Parents might not understand or differentiate one dinosaur from another, but children will be delighted to see the introduction of dinosaurs into the fray of Ice Age.
The previous Ice Age films show Scrat (Chris Wedge) who does everything he can to retrieve his precious acorn. In fact, he was the first character we ever saw and his story is interlinked with the main story as he tries to get the acorn he is so vehemently after. This time around however, his efforts are complicated by the presence of Scratte (Karen Disher), a female of his species, who cajoles his entire attention. Scratte outsmarts him a number of times, which leaves Scrat to decide which is more important; his acorn or his love?
Though Ice Age 3 discusses about evolution its storyline hardly evolves. Thanks to some terrific animation this time around, there’s actually something worthwhile to watch, but animated movies aren’t all about the animation; as films like Wall-E and UP have shown us. Sadly this is not the case with Ice Age 3. We are instead dealt with more of the same stuff we’ve seen from the previous two films and more.
Another aspect of Ice Age 3 is that originally the movie has a special 3D version, something we probably won’t get to see here, but the added dimension does change the viewing of the film.
Finally, with all its merits of funny and poignant moments, Ice Age 3 just simply does not live up to the mark as set by its competition; particularly UP and Wall-E. But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t worthy of watch, especially with family goers who will be delighted to watch the many adventures of Ice Age and its characters.
Filmed without a live audience, this year Coke Studio feels rather cold and almost mechanical. Gone is the intimate relationship between the music and its audience, and instead we’re meant to listen to music that’s very carefully controlled and tinkered with. However, this time around there is much more to be listened to, more artists mean more collaboration and more collaboration means more music from the crimson studio.
Dastaan-e-Ishq (Nachna Peinda) by Ali Zafar with Baqir Abbas
An interesting track to say the least, here Ali combines his own song writing with a few verses of poetry from Baba Bulleh Shah. But it isn’t the fusion of the poetry or lyrics that spurs the listener—it’s the mesmerizing almost haunting sound of the flute, by the brilliant Baqir Abbas. Though he is not alone in setting the stage for this track, the award winning Babar Khanna leads the house band with his Dholak. Ali’s singing, although at his best, is simply not enough to match the work put in by the two classical instrument maestros. Even he admits their immense contribution, “Baqir Abbas has always been a great support and a magical flute player. His participation brought much more than I had expected.”
Jaaney Do by JoSH
There’s a lot of potential in this track. Both Qurram and Rup bring in their A-games as far as their performances are concerned and this is one of the few tracks we’ve heard so far where we hear much of the house band, but somewhere along the way, this track falls short of being a perfect blend of fusion music.
Ankhon Key Saagar by Shafqat Amanat Ali featuring Gul Mohammad on the Sarangi
If there’s someone who is completely at home with Coke Studio and its concept, it’s Shafqat Amanat Ali. His foray with Fuzon and its music have completely prepared him for Coke Studio but the track that brought him and Fuzon much fame doesn’t sound special anymore than it did the first time around. Granted we have Gul Mohammad on the Sarangi, but the song is taken to another level not a higher or better one.
Kinara by Atif Aslam with Riyaz Ali Khan
Thanks to Coke Studio, we’ve seen a completely different side of Atif Aslam. Whether you love him or hate him, his singing talent and voice cannot be denied. Kinara is actually a tricky track in itself—being of the Rock and Grunge genres. But throw in Rohail Hyatt’s careful direction and Riyaz Ali Khan’s soulful performance and the track actually takes a life of its own.
Saeein Zahoor featuring Ali Hamza on the Banjo – Toomba
Probably one of the best tracks that we’ve heard so far from Coke Studio 2, proving that if anything that was missing from the first installment of CS, it was the venerable Saeein Zahoor. Toomba was composed and written by Saieen himself, he reveals, "This song speaks of Hazrat Amir Khusrau, Baba Farid Ganj Baksh, Baba Bulleh Shah and other great Sufi poets and saints and is a tribute to their dedication and belief to spreading the correct faith and the right path." Ali Hamza’s contribution, while sizable, is completely eclipsed by Zahoor’s performance.
No matter what the criticism, Coke Studio 2 is being heard everywhere by everyone. People are already looking forward to its future installments and have their own personal favorites. Goes to show that once again, the magic of Coke Studio has enthralled audiences with the fusion of music and once again brought people together.
If the death of Michael Jackson could be summed up into one word, it would be disbelief. But it is impossible to sum anything with Michael Jackson into one word. To say that he lived a full life would be an understatement. Michael Jackson was not just the Prince of Pop he was the venerable pillar of the music of this generation. Some of the children who grew up listening to his music would eventually become stars themselves, and if one looked closely they would see the inspiration of Michael Jackson in their music.
He was only 11 when he appeared on TV for the first time, as a part of the
Before he recorded his first album,
That album would eventually sell 7 million units, but
It was shortly after the release of this album that
But not all the coverage he got was good. During the mid eighties his eccentric habits would often grace the covers of tabloids. Whether it was sleeping in an oxygen chamber or befriending a chimpanzee called Bubbles, Michael Jackson single handedly helped spawn the tabloid magazine era. He is quoted to have said, “Why not just tell people I'm an alien from Mars. Tell them I eat live chickens and do a voodoo dance at midnight. They'll believe anything you say, because you're a reporter. But if I, Michael Jackson, were to say, 'I'm an alien from Mars and I eat live chickens and do a voodoo dance at midnight,' people would say, 'Oh, man, that Michael Jackson is nuts. He's cracked up. You can't believe a damn word that comes out of his mouth.’” And these words summed up his relationship with the tabloids. But they weren’t done with him yet. After the weirdness allegations, there were the child molestation charges—some say that Michael might have recovered from being called Wacko Jacko, but he never recovered from being called a pedophile. His fans never left his side. They had kept a vigil outside the Santa Maria courthouse during the whole of Jackson's trial in 2005. When it was announced that he had been cleared of all charges, they released 14 white doves to celebrate his acquittal.
His foray into movies was not sizable, but whenever he did it was a moment unto itself. He starred in Moonwalker, Ghosts, Thriller and Bad, which were music videos to singles but movies in their own right. He starred in the TV show Simpsons and guest starred in Men in Black 2. For the most part, Michael knew that although he could've gone in and made movies, they would not have been a good business decision.
Few people realize how adept
His extravagance did not end there. In 1987 he bought a 2,800 ranch for $14 million and named it Neverland. There he created a theme park and a zoo, a few notable establishments bringing the cost of running the entire facility every year to a staggering $4 million.
His death on June 25th, 2009, leaves a gaping hole within the music industry. He had not released new music in a while, but his presence was always there. It would be an understatement to say he was a part of the music industry. Some say that the best selling album of all time, Thriller, single-handedly saved the entire music industry. His contribution to the music industry, whether it was his music or the inspiration he gave to the many music artists of today, can never be measured nor equaled.
He started off as a prodigy in music. He was also called a paranoid, a pedophile and even a pariah. Call him what you will, and each historian will remember him in their own words—and none of them will be alike, except of course, Michael Jackson’s own words.
I'm starting with the man in the mirror
I'm asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make a change