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Band members: Amy Lee, Ben Moody, John Lecompt, Rocky Gray,
(and formerly) David Hodges

Evanescence: a dissipation or disappearance like vapor. Although the band's name may suggest a sudden vanishing, the music of Evanescence is poised for longevity. Fallen, the Wind-up Records debut of this talented quartet from Little Rock, Arkansas, is an emotional, ethereal work of undeniable potency guided by the heavenly vocals of Amy Lee. "We're definitely a rock band," says the 20-year-old Lee. "But the twist is that the band's music is epic, dramatic, dark rock."

Co-founders Lee and guitarist/songwriter Ben Moody met while in their early teens. "We were at a youth camp," Moody recalls. "During some sort of recreational period held in a gymnasium, I heard Amy playing Meat Loaf's 'I'd Do Anything for Love' at the piano. So I went over to meet her, and she started singing for me. I was pretty much blown away, so I suckered her into joining a band with me." Since that day, the musical relationship has remained dependably loyal. "We have the same exact vision regarding what we love about music,"

Moody says. "When it comes to songwriting, we finish each other's thoughts." Evanescence first took shape in Little Rock at the end of the '90s. Predictably, the band didn't quite fit the mold of most others lingering around the Midwestern state. "It's typically death metal or really soft, older-people music there," says Lee. "I don't even know of any local bands that have female singers." Influenced by a wide-ranging collection of artists such as Bjö
rk, Danny Elfman and Tori Amos, the band started releasing EPs of its material. Even without the benefit of live performances, Evanescence began to establish a reputation. "A lot of it developed by being elusive," Moody remembers. "The second song we ever wrote was this seven-minute, ridiculous Goth anthem called 'Understanding.' And for some reason, the local rock station decided to play it a lot. We gained this popularity around town, even though no one knew who we were or where to find us. It was because we could never afford to play a show -- it was just Amy and I -- and we couldn't pay any musicians." Fallen was tracked in Los Angeles with producer Dave Fortman (BOYSETSFIRE, Superjoint Ritual).


Incredible Strength, Incredible FX... its The Incredible HULK

The Hulk Review by HollywoodReporter.com.

The Hulk which opened Friday, June 20, is at once a cutting-edge special effects extravaganza and a throwback to those science fiction classics of the '50s, where B-movie makers actually had things to say about the human condition. It's the best of both worlds, filled with visual energy, genuine artistry and compelling human emotions. In its own way every bit as inspiring and exciting as his last film, the international hit "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," Ang Lee's "Hulk" reconfirms the director's status as an Asian-born filmmaker who understands the heart and soul of the Occidental world perhaps better than we do ourselves.
Destined to be one of the summer's big hits, "Hulk" plants tentpoles far into the future for a series of "Hulk" films. The biggest challenge facing its producers, though, is to find filmmakers as imaginative as Lee.

Actually, two Lees form part of the creative force that drives this vehicle. The Hulk goes back to Marvel Comics character created in 1962 by writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby. Ang Lee and longtime collaborator James Schamus (credited with the story as well as being co-writer and co-producer) rely heavily on the comic books to tell this tale of a man unwittingly transformed into a monster -- a character with a bloodline going back to Robert Lewis Stevenson, H.G. Wells, Mary Shelley and James Whale.

Throughout the movie, Lee engages the viewer with the visual spectacle of comic book graphics transformed by movie magic. Wipes, split screens, zip pans and other optical effects replicate the experience of reading a comic's panels. Tight shots of characters under stress remind one of those huge panels where artists zero in on big emotions. In some sequences, the split screens move and multiply, catching characters at various angles at once.

In a brilliant opening titles sequence (designed by yU+co), we see a maverick scientist experiment in genetic modification. Failures result, but he perseveres. Then the consequences of his own self-experimental research hits home, literally, when his wife has a baby. Whatever mutation he conjured up in that devil's brew is passed on to his son. His boss, a military commander, tosses the scientist out of his own lab, but not before the scientist sabotages the lab and rushes home to relieve his son of the burden the boy carries without his knowledge.
Years later, scientist Bruce Banner (Australian actor Eric Bana) follows unknowingly in his father's footsteps as a researcher in genetic technology. He has repressed all memory of his first four years of life, believing that his parents died when he was an infant. Bruce is so emotionally cut off from others that it has undermined his relationship with girlfriend and fellow researcher Betty Ross (Jennifer Connelly).
Then their lab experiments attract the unwanted attention of Betty's estranged father, Gen. Ross (Sam Elliott), and rival researcher Glenn Talbot (Josh Lucas). Someone else mysteriously lurks around the lab, the new night janitor David (Nick Nolte), who turns out to be Bruce's father, recently released from prison.

A lab accident exposes Bruce to what should be a fatal dose of gamma radiation. But his dad's mutating gene not only allows him to withstand the gammas, the combination serves to kick-start the "monster" within. Now when severely angered, the scrambled DNA turns Bruce into the Hulk. Unlike the old CBS series "The Incredible Hulk" (1977-82), in which Bill Bixby's Bruce steps off camera in favor of bodybuilder Lou Ferrigno's Hulk, Bruce's alter ego here is a massive, green CGI creature that can withstand missiles, leap into the sky and shake up the entire U.S. military.

This character has already caused controversy, the major complaint from some moviegoers being that they have a hard time investing emotionally in a CGI-created character. But not only does this character conform to the Hulk from the Marvel Comics, this is a true-blue (make that green) superhero.

Desperate to understand these transformations, Bruce delves into his own origins. But he is in a race against the blowhard Gen. Ross and conniving Talbot, who seek power and money from the Hulk's genetic makeup. Equally as puzzling, Bruce must admit that he rather enjoys his other self, knocking about people, cars, ferocious dogs and eventually flying aircraft. The climatic sequence when the Hulk escapes a desert lab and rampages all the way to San Francisco is event moviemaking at its best.

This is a long film that moves at lightning speed, egged on by Danny Elfman's bold theatrical score and Tim Squyres' fluid editing. For all the considerable contributions by designer Rick Heinrichs and cinematographer Frederick Elmes, though, "Hulk" takes its energy from character development and conflict.

Bana conveys the inner turmoil of a man at odds with his very essence. Connelly, too, gets torn in different directions, unable to trust any man in her life, from this normal guy who becomes a monster to her monstrous father who experiences occasional moments of tenderness. Finally, there is Nolte's character, a new and interesting twist on the "mad scientist." One sympathizes with his drive for knowledge only to see it corrode as logic deteriorates and the quest for "science" overrides all human concerns.


Charmed Stars

Those of you out there who are star world freaks like me should probably know about the series called "charmed". It is aired as I said on star world at 8:30 pm. If you haven't been watching it then you should from next week. I have to admit that the story is sometimes kinda stupid but hey, where can you find a famous tv show without having the actors do something stupid (or abnormal at many occasions). Well I think it's worth watching. Here are some bios I found on the Internet of the charmed ones" that I think you will be interested to know.

Milano (born: Dec. 19, Brooklyn, NY): Born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y., Milano got her start with the national touring company of Annie. At 10, she was cast as Samantha Micelli in the long-running comedy Who's the Boss? starring opposite Tony Danza for eight years. The show ended in 1992, and she continued to hone her talents on both the big and small screens. Milano's next starring role was on the hit drama Melrose Place for two seasons.

Milano starred in the title role in the feature comedy Hugo Pool. Directed by Robert Downey, Sr. and co-starring Sean Penn, Malcolm McDowell and Richard Lewis, the film chronicled a day in the life of a Bel-Air pool cleaner (Milano). Her additional feature credits include the psychological thriller Fear with Reese Witherspoon and Mark Wahlberg, Double Dragon, Where the Day Takes You and Commando.

McGowan (born: Sept. 5, Florence, Italy ): One of six children, McGowan was a citizen of the world at an early age. Raised in Italy, she spent her childhood traveling throughout Europe. She returned to the U.S. to attend high school in Seattle.

A chance trip to Los Angeles resulted in her being cast in the film The Doom Generation. Her performance in Gregg Araki's dark and stylish road movie earned her a nomination for Best Newcomer at the 1996 Independent Spirit Awards. Also in 1996, Rose appeared in Wes Craven's smash hit Scream as Sydney's (Neve Campbell) doomed best friend who met with an unseemly death under a garage door.

Holly (born: December 5, New York, NY): Holly Marie Combs, popular with audiences for her role as teen-aged Kimberly Brock on the Emmy Award-winning series Picket Fences, returned to series television in Charmed. She most recently can be seen in Steven Soderbergh's remake of Ocean's Eleven opposite George Clooney and Brad Pitt in which she plays herself along with The WB stars Barry Watson and Joshua Jackson.

Combs was born in San Diego, Calif., and moved with her family to New York when she was 8 years old. Following her mother's footsteps as an aspiring actress, she began her career working in television commercials and print advertisements at age 10. She won her first movie role by 13, playing the daughter of Don Johnson and Susan Sarandon in the feature film Sweet Hearts Dance. - Compiled By Melissa.

 

The album successfully finds that intangible balance between lush beauty and primal heaviness. Typical of the record is the first single, "Bring Me To Life," a piano ballad-turned-riff-driven barnburner. Highlighted by a guest vocal from Paul McCoy of 12 Stones, the song is featured prominently in the Daredevil film and soundtrack.

"'Bring Me To Life' is about discovering something or someone that awakens a feeling inside them that they've never had before," says Moody. He continued, "You discover there is a world that is bigger than just your safe bubble." Also significant is the vibrant anthem "Tourniquet" and the eerie "Haunted," with its pummeling beats and jarring melodies (augmented by chamber choir arrangements courtesy of Lee). Of the latter, Moody asserts, "It's the song that is the most 'us'. That best sums up what we strive to sound like." Lyrically, Evanescence explores dark, introspective themes of love, desperation, and despair. But the group insists its fundamental message is a positive one. "The point of this whole record and band is to let people know that they're not alone in dealing with bad feelings or pain or anything that they go through," says Lee, who pens most of the words. "That's life and that's human. They're not alone, and we're going through it, too."

Live, Evanescence functions as a quartet with John LeCompt (guitar) and Rocky Gray (drums) rounding out the line-up. "As a four-piece, we are able to carry out the intricate harmonies and orchestrations of the memorable material on Fallen," Moody emphasizes. "We're very sincere about what we do. There's so much pre-packaged teen angst these days in music. That's not us. We're not trying to sell an angle, we're just here writing from our heart."

 

 

 


PC Game Review

F1 Challenge '99-'02

Publisher: Electronic Arts, Developer: Electronic Arts, Genre: Driving, Release Date: 06/23/2003

The sport of Formula 1 has changed a bit over the course of the last few years. Drivers and teams have come and gone, rules have been altered, and some of the circuits have even undergone design changes. Electronic Arts' latest Formula 1 game--as its title suggests--features accurate information not only for the current season, but also for the three previous seasons. F1 Challenge '99 - '02 doesn't offer a four-season career mode like F1 Career Challenge for the PlayStation 2, but it does allow you to climb into the cockpit of no less than 44 different F1 cars from the stables of 14 different teams.

Before playing F1 Challenge '99 - '02 for the first time, you're required to create a player profile that'll keep track of all of your race statistics as you progress through the game. It seems a little strange that before you're presented with a game options screen, you're required to choose which season you want to race in and which driver you want to race as, but these choices determine the appearance of the subsequent menus, and switching to a new season or driver simply requires you to edit your profile. All the in-game options screens are color-coordinated according to the team you've chosen, and you'll immediately have access to a model of your chosen vehicle that can be rotated manually in real time, should you wish to inspect details such as sponsor logos, the name of the tire manufacturer, or even the plank on the underside of the vehicle, before taking it out onto the track.

You'll probably want to get your chosen car onto a circuit as quickly as possible once you've navigated the various menu screens, and thanks to Electronic Arts' numerous driving aids, you can do just that. The driving aids available in F1 Challenge '99 - '02 include steering assistance, opposite lock assistance, braking point assistance, stability assistance, spin recovery, invulnerability, auto shifting, traction control, antilock brakes, pit lane assistance, and clutch assistance. With all the aids turned on to maximum effect, the game requires you to do little more than accelerate and turn the wheel. This is a good way to start playing, and as your confidence grows, you can choose to either increase the intelligence of your opposition or make things a little more difficult for yourself by switching individual aids to a lower setting or off altogether. It's a shame that no training mode or series of license challenges have been included in the game for novice players, but the driving aids make for a mild learning curve, and they have the added bonus of allowing you to drive competitively the moment your first race gets under way.

F1 Challenge '99 - '02 can be comfortably played exclusively with the keyboard, as the visuals and audio do a good job of providing you with feedback on your car's handling, and after a few practice laps on any given circuit, you should be more than ready for the qualification and race ahead. There are quite a lot of controls for you to remember once you start ramping up the game's difficulty--such as letting your team know that you'd like to make a pit stop, and then activating your rev limiter manually when you go in--but initially you'll be able to get by with just steering, accelerating, and braking.

The opposition in the game seems quite intelligent for the most part, although we haven't really been able to study their movements closely enough to know whether or not individual driving styles have been replicated successfully. As your own racing skills improve and you turn more and more of the driving aids off, F1 Challenge '99 - '02 also affords you the opportunity to get involved with your car's setup. Like with the driving itself, the game allows you to become involved in the car setup options gradually by first presenting you with a screen that consists of nothing more than four sliding bars representing downforce priority, balance, gearing bias, and suspension stiffness. After experimenting with different setups in this way, you can eventually attempt to optimize your car's performance by tweaking everything from radiator and brake-duct sizes to tire pressures and rebound damping. It's not strictly necessary to go that deeply into the car setup options to win races, but if you're out to set record lap times or take advantage of the game's multiplayer mode against friends, there's every chance that doing so will improve your times to some degree.

As far as the visuals are concerned, F1 Challenge '99 - '02 looks very impressive. The circuits all look extremely realistic, the car models and textures are incredibly detailed, and the overall presentation of the game is of the quality that fans of EA Sports games have come to expect. Perhaps our only criticism of the game at this point would be its lack of different gameplay options--notably of the career mode being incorporated into its PS2 counterpart--but if you're after a realistic F1 racing game, it's difficult to see how you could go wrong with F1 Challenge '99 - '02. Every aspect of the four racing seasons covered by the game has been re-created in detail, including the very same weather conditions that were experienced in real life--which pretty much sums the game up at this point. F1 Challenge '99 - '02 will be released later this month.


 
 

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