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Monday, September 15, 2008

Twilight - Movie Preview

release : Friday November 21, 2008
genre: Thriller
director: Catherine Hardwicke
studio: Seville Pictures
producer(s): Greg Mooradian, Karen Rosenfelt, Mark Morgan, Wyck Godfrey
screenplay: Melissa Rosenberg
cast: Kristen Stewart, Nikki Reed, Peter Facinelli, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Reaser, Jackson Rathbone

Twilight Movie Synopsis

Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) has always been a little bit different. Not one to run with the crowd, Bella never cared about fitting in with the trendy, plastic girls at her Phoenix, Arizona high school. When her mother remarried and Bella decided to live with her father in the rainy little town of Forks, Washington, she didn't expect much of anything to change. But they do when she meets the mysterious Edward Cullen (Robert Pattison). For Edward is nothing like any boy she's ever met. 
He's nothing like anyone she's ever met, period. He's intelligent and witty, and he seems to see straight into her soul. In no time at all, they are swept up in a passionate and decidedly unorthodox romance. Unorthodox because Edward really isn't like the other boys. He can run faster than a mountain lion. He can stop a moving car with his bare hands. Oh, and he hasn't aged since 1918. Like all vampires, he's immortal. But he doesn't have fangs -- that's just in the movies. And he doesn't drink human blood, though Edward and his family are unique among vampires in that lifestyle choice. To Edward, Bella is that soulmate he has waited 90 years for.

But the closer they get, the more Edward must struggle to resist the primal pull of her scent, which could send him into an uncontrollable frenzy.

Somehow, they will have to make their unorthodox romance work. But what will they do when Laurent and James, the Cullens' mortal vampire enemies, come to town, looking for Bella?

Based on the #1 New York Times best-selling book series by Stephenie Meyer.

Clarke quits as Chelsea assistant

Chelsea have confirmed that their assistant manager Steve Clarke has handed in his resignation, but have so far refused to sanction his departure from the club.

It is understood that Clarke - who has been at Chelsea for over 20 years as a player and a coach - wants to team up with his former Stamford Bridge team-mate Gianfranco Zola, who was yesterday confirmed as West Ham's new manager.

"Chelsea can confirm that West Ham have made an approach with regards to talking to Steve Clarke," a Chelsea spokesman said. "They have not been given permission to talk to him.

"Steve Clarke has tendered his resignation as assistant first team coach. We have not accepted his resignation. Talks are continuing."

The Chelsea manager Luis Felipe Scolari had words of praise for Clarke today, and revealed he tried to convince the Scot to stay with the club.

"Now I have been told he is going I am sad but I understand Steve. All people have projects in their life," said Scolari. "I don't agree with his decision but I am happy for him because I like Stevie. I like him as a person and as a coach and I wish him all the best."

"Yesterday I invited Steve to visit my house and we discussed the situation between West Ham and Chelsea," he added. I told him what I thought and this morning told [chief executive] Peter Kenyon what I think about Steve, that he is very important for me and for Chelsea.

"He is a man that is a link between me and the players and between me and the staff. He knows Chelsea very well and English players and clubs. I don't know what happened in the night but when I came here in the morning I heard he had resigned."

I'm selling up, says emotional Ashley

Mike Ashley last night planted a "For Sale" sign outside St James' Park with apparent reluctance but the club's owner is not about to offload Newcastle United at a knockdown price.

In a lengthy statement Ashley offered an impassioned defence of his modus operandi since buying the club in May last year and claimed Newcastle are only on the market because "you [the fans] want me out". Bargain buckets may be a feature of the billionaire Sports Direct owner's retail outlets but Ashley's insistence that "this is not a fire sale" indicates Newcastle could be on the market for some time.

City sources, who claim the 45-year-old has been seeking a buyer at the right price for some months, might demur but it seems Ashley's failed attempt to recapture Kevin Keegan, who resigned as manager nearly two weeks ago, finally convinced him to bail out. His decision to sell came as it emerged that Alan Shearer has been relieved of his ambassadorial duties with the club following critical comments made by the former Newcastle captain about the "strange" set-up at St James'.

"I am putting the club up for sale," said Ashley. "I hope that the next owner is someone who can lavish the amount of money on the club that the fans want. This will not be a fire sale. Newcastle is now in a much stronger position than it was in 2007. It is planning for the future and it is sustainable. I have the interests of Newcastle United at heart. I have listened to you. You want me out. That is what I am now trying to do but it won't happen overnight and it may not happen at all if a buyer does not come in."

Almost since the day he bought out the Hall family and ousted the former chairman Freddy Shepherd, Newcastle have been the subject of assorted takeover rumours and the latest centres on Xu Rongmao, a Chinese property developer who is seemingly keen to exploit St James' Park's city-centre position by redeveloping the high-value land around the ground.

It is understood that Ashley tried to make contact with representatives of Dubai International Capital last week but any talks are yet to take place and, in any case, DIC remains focused on Liverpool.

Talk of a local consortium buying him out appears fanciful as it is hard to identify north-east business people possessing either the money or the inclination to take over. Shepherd, though, last night claimed he had turned down potential involvement with two foreign consortiums keen to buy into Newcastle. He has previously told friends he will concentrate on attempting to purchase Real Mallorca but last night insisted "never say never" about a possible return.

Although the Indian billionaire Anil Ambani, head of the Reliance telecommunications group, claims to have turned his attentions to Everton, Ashley may be hoping to tempt the world's sixth-richest man after earlier interest in Newcastle.

While he waits to recoup his investment, Newcastle's owner is pleading for patience and, having launched an impassioned defence of the continental managerial structure presided over by Dennis Wise - who he says has done a "first-class job" - which so infuriated Keegan, Ashley is aiming shamelessly for a soft spot in the Geordie psyche. Tynesiders invariably put their "bairns" first so when he said, "I have really loved taking my kids to the games, being next to them and all the fans. But I am now a dad who can't take his kids to a football game on a Saturday because I am advised that we would be assaulted. Therefore, I am no longer prepared to subsidise Newcastle United", he will have intended to touch a collective nerve.

Speaking to inhabitants of a city where many people have lost, or are about to lose jobs at Newcastle's sponsors, Northern Rock, Ashley also played the "sensible" card stressing he was aiming to avoid creating another Leeds United out of a club on which he has spent more than £250m.

"I paid £134m out of my own pocket for the club," he said. "I then poured another £110m not to pay off the debt but just to reduce it. I am determined that Newcastle United is not only here today but that it is also there tomorrow for your children."

The Duchess - Movie Preview

release date: Friday September 19, 2008
director: Saul Dibb
studio: Paramount Vantage
producer(s): Gabrielle Tana, Michael Kuhn
screenplay: Jeffrey Hatcher, Anders Thomas Jensen
cast: Keira Knightley, Ralph Fiennes, Charlotte Rampling, Hayley Atwell, Dominic Cooper, Simon McBurney

The Duchess Movie Synopsis

Long before the concept existed, the Duchess of Devonshire, Georgiana Spencer (Keira Knightley), was the original "It Girl." Like her direct ancestor Princess Diana, she was ravishing, glamorous and adored by an entire country.

Determined to be a player in the wider affairs of the world, she proved that she could out-gamble, out-drink and outwit most of the aristocratic men who surrounded her. She helped usher in sweeping changes to England as a leader of the forward-thinking Whig Party. But even as her power and popularity grew, she was haunted by the fact that the only man in England she seemingly could not seduce was her very own husband, the Duke (Ralph Fiennes).

And when she tried to find her own way to be true to her heart and loyal to her duty, the resulting controversies and convoluted liaisons would leave all of London talking.

Terry Appeal To Fall On Deaf Ears

According to Times Online, the Blues must expect to be without their skipper for the next match against Manchester United on Sunday and probably also the next encounters against Stoke City and Aston Villa.

Chelsea came from behind to claim an impressive 3-1 victory at the City of Manchester Stadium yesterday, but the performance was marred by Terry's controversial dismissal.

The England skipper was given his marching order by referee Mark Halsey after bringing down City striker Jo late in the game, and the London club immediately indicated that they planned to launch an appeal on MOnday.

However, since Hasley deemed Terry's foul on Jo to be serious foul play rather than a professional foul, again according to Times Online, he will have little hope of escaping a three game ban since the the FA do not have the power to downgrade cards from red to yellow.

Babylon A.D. - Movie Synopsis

release date: Friday August 29, 2008
genre: Action
running time: 90 min.
director: Mathieu Kassovitz
studio: 20th Century Fox
producer(s): Alain Goldman, Mathieu Kassovitz
screenplay: Mathieu Kassovitz, Eric Besnard
cast: Vin Diesel, Michelle Yeoh, Mélanie Thierry, Lambert Wilson, Mark Strong

Babylon A.D. Movie Synopsis

It is the not-too-distant future. Thousands of satellites scan, observe and monitor our every move. Much of the planet is a war zone; the rest, a collection of wretched way stations, teeming megalopolises, and vast wastelands punctuated by areas left radioactive from nuclear meltdowns.

It is a world made for hardened warriors, one of whom, a mercenary known only as Toorop (Vin Diesel), lives by a simple survivor's code: kill... or be killed. His latest assignment has him smuggling a young woman named Aurora from a convent in Kazakhstan to New York City.

Toorop, his new young charge Aurora (Mélanie Thierry) and Aurora's guardian Sister Rebeka (Michelle Yeoh) embark on a 6,000 mile journey that takes them from Eastern Europe, through a refugee camp in "New Russia," across the Bering Straight in a pilfered submarine, then through the frozen tundra of Alaska and Canada, and finally to New York. Facing obstacles at every turn, Toorop, the killer for hire, is tested like never before, in ways he could never have imagined—as he comes to understand that he is the custodian of the only hope for the future of mankind.

For the first time in his life, Toorop has to make a choice: to make a difference or walk away and save himself.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Xinhua: 22 dead from Saturday quake

BEIJING, China -- An earthquake hit southwest China Saturday, killing 22 people, according to the state-run Xinhua news agency.

The United States Geological Survey measured the quake as a 5.7-magnitude.

The quake hit Panzhihua City in Sichuan province. By Saturday night, 17 people were reported dead and about 100 others injured in Sichuan, Xinhua said. In neighboring Yunnan province, five people died and 35 others were injured, the news agency said.

In addition, nearly 1,000 houses were destroyed and cracks appeared in walls of more than 400 houses, according to Xinhua.

Rescue teams were headed to Sichuan, Xinhua reported. The China Earthquake Administration sent teams and seismic experts to the quake-hit area while the Yunnan provincial civil affairs bureau and the Yunnan Red Cross Society sent 3,400 tents and 2,000 quilts, Xinhua said.

Heavy rains and the region's rugged terrain were delaying relief efforts, it said.

The China Earthquake Administration has sent teams and seismic experts to the quake-hit area while the Yunnan provincial civil affairs bureau and the Yunnan Red Cross Society sent 3,400 tents and 2,000 quilts, Xinhua said. Relief efforts were hampered by heavy rains and the region's rugged terrain, it said.

On May 12, a 7.9-magnitude quake in Sichuan and nearby provinces killed nearly 70,000 people and more than 18,000 others are still listed as missing.

Premier League Preview: Chelsea - Tottenham Hotspur

Flying Start For Scolari

It has been an ideal start for new Chelsea boss Luiz Felipe Scolari in the Premier League so far. Two games, six points, no goals conceded and now a game against a side that are yet to get off the mark this season, as his team look to an extend a superb run of 84 home league games without defeat.

Things started superbly for Scolari with a 4-0 hammering of Portsmouth in his side’s opening game.

Free-flowing football, goals and entertainment galore saw the press lavish praise on the World Cup winner.

Last week’s 1-0 away victory over Wigan showed some of the qualities more recognisable with Chelsea teams, but, as has been said time and again, the ability to win ugly when you are not playing well is the key to picking up championships.

There are no noticeable weaknesses in Scolari’s Chelsea side, and new additions such as Deco and Jose Bosingwa add flair to a team now rated by the bookmakers’ as favourites to lift this season’s Premier League title. However, this will be Scolari’s first taste of a London derby and he will need to ensure there is no let up in his side’s performance against a side who can beat anybody on their day, as proved by March’s Carling Cup final victory over the Blues.

The former Brazil coach has done his research though, and will have his side fully prepared for the task in hand. Tottenham, after their poor start, represent a wounded animal – a team who could cause problems if they are given a foothold in the game. An early breakthrough could see Spurs’ wounds opened, but even if patience and a competitive battle is required, the early signs indicate that Chelsea are up to the task.

"It is important for Tottenham not to lose another game. They want their first three points in the league so we have some problems to cope with, we know this," Scolari said in his pre-match press conference.

"Tottenham have lost both games and made some mistakes. But this is a big chance for Tottenham because it is a derby. We need to respect them even more."

The respect will be there, but anything other than three more points would represent a disappointing afternoon for the Blues as they look to continue their flying start to the campaign.

Shocking Spurs
Although the Dimitar Berbatov saga has over-shadowed Tottenham’s summer, hopes have still been high that Spurs can have a successful season in manager Juande Ramos’ first full year in charge. Vice-captain Robbie Keane moved to Liverpool but the arrivals of the likes of Luka Modric, David Bentley, Heurelho Gomes and Giovani Dos Santos yet again prompted analysts to suggest that Spurs were the most likely side to challenge the established dominance of the Premier League’s ‘big four’.

However, it has been a shocking start for Spurs. Defeat against Middlesbrough on the opening day could have represented an unfortunate defeat in a tricky away clash, but last week’s home loss to Sunderland again highlighted the lack of a midfield general and seemingly ever-present defensive frailties – with the absence of Berbatov and Keane adding a lack of firepower up-front to Ramos’ list of problems.

Tottenham should be fine however, with a first eleven that can rival most in the Premier League and an array of talented players being led by an astute manager - they are a side capable of beating anybody on a good day. However, their inexperience and evident problems ensure that they are unlikely to launch a consistent enough league run to challenge the top four in the near future and perhaps indicate that the best avenues for immediate success lie in cup competitions.

But the league remains crucial for Tottenham and they will be desperate to get off the mark sooner, rather than later. This game in many ways represents a situation where they have nothing to lose. Nobody expects them to triumph against a powerful Chelsea side and Ramos should take the opportunity to attack, something he has hinted could happen in his pre-match comments.

“I think having a game like Chelsea at this time gives us a great chance to lift the spirits. The game plan should be to go there and play with an ambitious attacking style of football without fear," he stated.

Spurs are dangerous opponents for Chelsea in this encounter, but even the most ardent of Tottenham fans will admit that anything they gain from Stamford Bridge tomorrow will be a bonus.

Chelsea – Deco

Deco has made an impressive start to his Chelsea career, earning a man of the match award while scoring in the 4-0 win over Portsmouth on his debut. Last week the Portuguese international enhanced his reputation further with a superb free-kick that proved decisive against Wigan at the JJB Stadium. The ex-Barcelona man will look forward to pulling the strings tomorrow with no real ball-winner to hinder him in the Spurs midfield.

Tottenham – Darren Bent

With Keane gone and Berbatov seemingly going, Darren Bent had his opportunity to announce himself as the man to lead Tottenham this season during the first two league games, following a red-hot pre-season. As yet though, the former Charlton man has failed to take his chance and with Roman Pavlyuchenko now signed for £14 million, the England international is beginning to run out of chances to prove himself to the Spurs faithful.
With Juande Ramos considering playing predominantly with a lone-striker this year, Bent has to take his chance soon and this match on the big stage would be the ideal place to start.


August 24 v Wigan (A) WON 1-0
August 17 v Portsmouth (H) WON 4-0

August 23 v Sunderland (H) LOST 2-1
August 16 v Middlesbrough (A) LOST 2-1


Nicolas Anelka will continue to lead the line for Chelsea as Didier Drogba is still out with a knee injury. The Ivorian is reportedly scheduled to return to training in the coming weeks, but is still said to be some time away from regaining full fitness. Key midfielder Michael Essien started against Wigan last week despite nursing a minor injury and is therefore rated as 50/50 for this clash, as is Germany international Michael Ballack.


Dimitar Berbatov will have another crisis meeting with Spurs boss Juande Ramos ahead of thegame before a decision is made on the Bulgarian’s involvement. Scotland international full-back Alan Hutton is no closer to a return having suffered a stress fracture in his foot, meaning that Didier Zokora will continue to deputise at right-back. It is as yet unclear if new £14 million signing Roman Pavlyuchenko has been registered in time to play a part.


Chelsea (from): Cech, Cudicini, Hilario, Ivanovic, Alex, Belletti, Bosingwa, Terry, Carvalho, A Cole, Bridge, Ballack, Essien, J Cole, Mikel, Lampard, Deco, Anelka, Malouda, Kalou.

Tottenham (from): Gomes, Cesar, Zokora, Gunter, Assou-Ekotto, Gilberto, Bale, King, Woodgate, Dawson, Modric, Jenas, Huddlestone, O'Hara, Lennon, Bentley, Dos Santos, Berbatov, Bent. 

Chelsea (1-0 Away V Wigan) (4-5-1/4-3-3): Cech, Bosingwa, Carvalho, Terry, Ashley Cole; Essien, Ballack, Lampard, Deco, Joe Cole, Anelka.

Tottenham (1-2 Home V Sunderland) (4-5-1): Gomes, Zokora, King, Woodgate, Assou-Ekotto; Bentley, Bale, Modric, Lennon, Jenas; Bent.


It is hard to see Chelsea’s incredible home record being brought to an end by Spurs tomorrow, but Juande Ramos’ side do have nothing to lose. If both sides are true to their pre-match words then there should be goals in this encounter as Chelsea look to build the early season pressure on their title rivals and the visitors attempt to pick up their first points of the season.

I expect to see an improved Tottenham side tomorrow, one that will not go down without a fight and are likely to test Chelsea’s reserves before the international break. However, the Blues are strong in all areas and should be confident of making it three wins out of three for Luiz Felipe Scolari.

Chelsea 2-1 Tottenham

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