Monday, September 22, 2008

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

The blockbuster global "Mummy" franchise takes a spellbinding turn as the action shifts to Asia for the next chapter in the adventure series, "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor." Brendan Fraser returns as explorer Rick O'Connell to combat the resurrected Han Emperor (Jet Li) in an epic that races from the catacombs of ancient China high into the frigid Himalayas. Rick is joined in this all-new adventure by son Alex (newcomer Luke Ford), wife Evelyn (Maria Bello) and her brother, Jonathan (John Hannah). And this time, the O'Connells must stop a mummy awoken from a 2,000-year-old curse who threatens to plunge the world into his merciless, unending service.
Doomed by a double-crossing sorceress (Michelle Yeoh) to spend eternity in suspended animation, China's ruthless Dragon Emperor and his 10,000 warriors have lain forgotten for eons, entombed in clay as a vast, silent terra cotta army. But when dashing adventurer Alex O'Connell is tricked into awakening the ruler from eternal slumber, the reckless young archaeologist must seek the help of the only people who know more than he does about taking down the undead: his parents.
As the monarch roars back to life, our heroes find his quest for world domination has only intensified over the millennia. Striding the Far East with unimaginable supernatural powers, the Emperor Mummy will rouse his legion as an unstoppable, otherworldly force...unless the O'Connells can stop him first.

Death Race

In 2012, the United States economy collapses and life for everyone is not the same. Once a NASCAR champion, Jensen Ames, (Jason Statham), hits rock bottom and spent several years in prison. His life was improving and changing for the better after meeting and marrying Suzy (Janaya Stephens) and having a baby girl. Then the steel mill closes, and he loses his job. But that was not the worst thing to happen to Jenson that day. Suzy is brutally murdered, and he is framed for her murder. Jenson is sent to Terminal Island, the worst and toughest for-profit prison in the country run by Warden Hennessey (Joan Allen). She has created the country's most popular pay-per-view sport, a kill-or-be-killed car race where the inmates race to win their freedom from prison after 5 wins. Every inmate driver is driving a monster car that they built which is loaded with machine guns, missiles, flamethrowers, napalm, and no rules. Warden Hennessey convinces Jensen to secretly take the place of the late 4-time superstar winner, Frankenstein, and wear his metallic mask in the race. If Jensen wins just one race, he can go home to his baby daughter. To get to the finish line, Jensen must kill his competition before they kill him. Douglas Young (the-movie-guy)

My Best Friend's Girl

Tank (Dane Cook) is put to the ultimate friendship test when his best friend Dustin (Jason Biggs) hires him to take his ex-girlfriend Alexis (Kate Hudson) on a lousy date just to show her how great her former boyfriend is. When Alexis finds Tank more fascinating she decides that she wants Tank, and wants to take him to a wedding instead of Dustin. Dustin tries to become more like Tank in an attempt to get Alexis back. In the meantime, Tank is trying to make Alexis like Dustin again, but Dustin is trying to mess up the wedding and ruin Tank's and Alexis's relationship at the same time.

Lakeview Terrace

Chris Mattson (Patrick Wilson) and Lisa Mattson (Kerry Washington), a young interracial couple, have just moved into their California dream home when they become the target of their next-door neighbor, who disapproves of their interracial relationship. A stern, widowed-single father of two, LAPD officer Abel Turner (Samuel L. Jackson) is the watchdog of the neighborhood. His nightly foot patrols and overly watchful eyes bring comfort to some, but he becomes increasingly harassing to the newlyweds. The persistent intrusions into the lives of Chris and Lisa ultimately take a turn for the worse when the couple decides to fight back.

The Women

The story centers on a group of gossipy, high-society women who spend their days at the beauty salon and haunting fashion shows. The sweet, happily-wedded Mary Haines finds her marriage in trouble when shop girl Crystal Allen gets her hooks into Mary's man. Naturally, this situation becomes the hot talk amongst Mary's catty friends, especially the scandalmonger Sylvia Fowler, who has little room to talk - she finds herself on a train to Reno and headed for divorce right after Mary

The Dark Knight

Batman raises the stakes in his war on crime. With the help of Lieutenant Jim Gordon and District Attorney Harvey Dent, Batman sets out to dismantle the remaining criminal organizations that plague the city streets. The partnership proves to be effective, but they soon find themselves prey to a reign of chaos unleashed by a rising criminal mastermind known to the terrified citizens of Gotham as The Joker. Written by Peteagassi
With just one year having passed after taking out Ra's Al Ghul's plan to have Gotham eliminated and the mysterious disappearance of Dr. Jonathan Crane AKA the Scarecrow, and after the city was nearly plundered with his toxins, Bruce Wayne and his vigilante alter-ego the Batman, continue the seemingly endless effort to bring order to Gotham, with the help of Lt. James Gordon and newly appointed District Attorney Harvey Dent. But a new threat has now emerged into the streets. The Dark Knight faces a rising psychopathic criminal called The Joker, whose eerie grin, laughter, and inhuman morality makes him as dangerous than what he has yet to unleash. It becomes an agenda to Batman to stop the mysterious Joker at all costs, knowing that both of them are in an opposite line. One has no method at all and seeks to see the world plunge into the fire he has yet to light. One represents the symbol of hope and uses his own shadow to bring the peace and order he has yet to accomplish doing. Written by Anonymous
Set within a year after the events of Batman Begins, Batman, Lieutenant James Gordon, and new district attorney Harvey Dent successfully begin to round up the criminals that plague Gotham City until a mysterious and sadistic criminal mastermind known only as the Joker appears in Gotham, creating a new wave of chaos. Batman's struggle against the Joker becomes deeply personal, forcing him to "confront everything he believes" and improve his technology to stop him. A love triangle develops between Bruce Wayne, Dent and Rachel Dawes. Written by Leon Lombardi

Sunday, September 7, 2008

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Wanted (2008)

25-year-old Wes is a slacker who hates his life--with good reason, because it sucks. At work, his ballbuster of a boss lives to torment him in front of his fellow cubedwelling drones. Back home, his skeezy girlfriend is a sexual magnet for everyone except him, including Wes’ supposed best friend. No wonder this loser is on his tenth prescription for panic attack pills, which he downs like candy between cardboard meals of vegan tofu wraps. Wes’ pathetic excuse for an existence might just as well come to an end and save him a lifetime of prolonged misery. Fortunately for Wes, his life is over--his old one, anyway--and all because of a girl. Enter hot Fox, who crashes into Wes on the business end of a smoking gun. Seems Wes’ long-lost and mostly forgotten dad was killed while working for the Fraternity--a centuries-old league of supersensory trained assassins pledged to carry out the unbreakable orders of fate. Their motto: Kill one, save a thousand. Now it’s Wes’ turn to follow in his father’s footsteps and release the caged wolf that’s always lurked inside of him. Killing is in Wes’ blood, and he trains under Fox and a motley-but-lethal crew that includes the Fraternity’s enigmatic leader, Sloan. The neophyte is forcefully pummeled into developing lightning-quick reflexes and superhuman agility. No one said becoming an assassin would be easy. The former slacker is reborn as the golden boy of the Fraternity and Wes starts to relish his new life, even exacting some best-served-cold revenge on tormentors past. But soon, the sweet taste of power sours when he realizes that the intentions of his deadly associates aren’t as noble as first presented.
As he wavers between newfound heroism and soul-killing vengeance, Wes will come to learn what no one--neither cold-blooded father nor steaming-hot assassin--could ever teach him: He alone controls his destiny.

Will gold now move separately from the US dollar and euro?

By: Peter J. Cooper
For the past six months gold has risen in value when the dollar has weakened and vice-versa, while the relationship with the euro has been the reverse. But increasingly precious metals are being regarded as a currency in their own right, and that should mean a decoupling from the dollar and euro as gold is not governed by inflationary central banks.
Certainly the euro’s reputation as a solid currency and a worthy successor to the deutschemark has taken a battering over the summer, as it has become clear that the credit crunch and energy crisis has also taken its toll on the European economy which might even enter recession before the US finally gets there.
The European economies are a heterogeneous bunch with Spain, Ireland and Italy deep in debt and suffering real estate crises while Germany never succumbed to the housing mania. But the downturn in the weaker euro-economies is weighing on the stronger areas, quite apart from producing policy dilemmas at the highest levels, not to say outright disagreements.
In the middle of August some animal spirit seems to have stirred in the European Central Bank and a concerted round of currency intervention conspired to bring the euro down from almost $1.60 to the current $1.47.
Not surprisingly, given the assumed dollar link, gold tumbled in its wake from over $900 to $782 an ounce before rebounding back to the mid-$800s.
It looks as though a line was drawn in the sand at $1.60 for the euro, at least for the time being. Whether that proves to be sustainable is another thing entirely. One major US bank failure is forecast in the next few months while over 100 banks are on the Fed sick list; the housing credit agencies Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are due for a multi-billion bail-out; and a whole queue of industries from autos to airlines are likely to need assistance, perhaps like the $50bn soft loan to GM to develop an electric car.
All this is going to cost a great many dollars and that means issuing more treasury bonds and inflating the money supply. More money in circulation means a higher rate of inflation and a lower value for the dollar relative to currencies that are not printing money at the same speed. So where does this leave gold?
Nobody can print gold. Its supply is inflated by annual production at no more than a couple of percent a year. Why should gold’s fortune therefore be linked to the relative movements of the dollar and the euro, especially at a time when monetary inflation becomes extreme?
Gold should logically start to move against all currencies, and that may just be starting. Strong buying of physical gold has emerged from India even while the investment market for gold was paralyzed like a rabbit caught in the headlights by the resurgent dollar, while there has been strong investment demand for silver and a rebound from its sudden fall.
There is also a renewed interest in holding gold among US retail investors as shown by the US Mint’s suspension of golden eagle coin sales this month due to unprecedented demand. And now we are heading into the traditionally strongest months of the year for the yellow metal, driven by fundamentals like the religious calendar in India and the buying of jewelry.
Thus it may prove perfectly possible for gold to advance in value this autumn despite a resurgent US dollar, or perhaps we should see this more correctly as a break for independence by the yellow metal which may now cut a path of its own as a quasi-currency, dragging silver along with it.
As soon as gold is reckoned to have broken from the dollar and the euro then the gold market will be seen very differently by investors. There is a crying need for a new favorite investment class as a definitive hedge against inflation.
Demand from Europe and the Far East will really take off under these circumstances, not simply as a hedge against the US dollar but as a means of countering inflation and beating falling stock markets, which look very vulnerable to a major crash this autumn or soon after being overvalued on fundamentals like the profit outlook.
Then gold will achieve a new status as an investment class, something that has been building up very steadily since the start of the bull market in 2000. This will set the stage for the second phase of this gold bull market with prices running quickly above $1,200 with $1,650 as a two-year target. Silver could perform even better as it has since 2000 with almost double gold’s total gain.
The golden opportunity to buy precious metals and associated assets like precious metal stocks is now, as gold and silver are going to be both a currency of choice and surging asset class from hereon.
Peter J. Cooper

Dollar surge will not stop America feeling the effects of a global crunch

Two alerts landed on my desk this weekend from the elite markets team at Goldman Sachs. One was entitled "The Dollar Has Bottomed!". Those betting on an imminent disintegration of American economic and political power may have to wait another cycle. Rival hegemons are falling like ninepins.
The US dollar index hit an all-time low in March. It crept slowly upwards in the early summer before smashing through layers of resistance over the past month.
The surge against sterling, the euro, the Swiss franc and the Australian dollar is one of the most spectacular currency shifts in half a century. "Something fundamental has changed," said the bank. Indeed.
US industry is now super-competitive, if small. Mid East funds are drawing up shopping lists of Wall Street takeover targets. Airbus and Volkswagen are shifting plant to America to escape crushing labour costs.
US exports have risen 22pc over the past year, outstripping Chinese growth. The US non-oil trade deficit has shrunk by two fifths since 2002. It is now running at $300bn a year. This is 2.1pc of GDP.
More on economics
More Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
The other note advised clients to "Take Profit on Globalization Basket", especially on Eastern Europe currencies. Goldman Sachs has quietly dropped its talk of $200 oil. Even Russia's petro-rouble is now deemed suspect.
The twin missives more or less sum up the dramatic change in mood sweeping financial markets since it became evident that the entire bloc of rich OECD countries has succumbed to the delayed effects of the credit crisis.
Japan contracted by 0.6pc in the second quarter, Germany by 0.5pc, France and Italy by 0.3pc. Spain recalled the cabinet last week for an emergency summit. New Zealand and Denmark are in recession. Iceland contracted at a catastrophic 3.7pc in the second quarter.
"The whole decoupling thesis has started to come apart at the seams," said David Bloom, currency chief at HSBC. "Canada is frozen over. We have Arctic conditions in Sweden, and the UK is falling off the white cliffs of Dover."
The UK economy is not my brief, but I see that hedge funds are circulating a report from the US guru Jeremy Grantham predicting a very bad end to Gordon Brown's debt experiment.
"The UK housing event is probably second only to the Japanese 1990 land bubble in the Real Estate Bubble Hall of Fame. UK house prices could easily decline 50pc from the peak, and at that lower level they would still be higher than they were in 1997 as a multiple of income," he said.
"If prices go all the way back to trend, and history says that is extremely likely, then the UK financial system will need some serious bail-outs and the global ripples will be substantial."
For months the exchange markets ignored this impending train crash, just as they ignored the property bust in Europe's Latin Bloc, or the little detail that UBS alone had just lost the equivalent of 8pc of Switzerland's GDP. All they cared about in the currency pits was the interest rate gap: US low, Europe high.
Now the paradigm has flipped. The Fed may have been right after all to slash rates to 2pc. The European Central Bank may have panicked by tightening in July. Note that the elder Swiss National Bank did not do anything so rash.
Bulls now believe America is turning the corner. Financial stocks are up 20pc since early July. Some "monoline" bond insurers have risen 1,200pc in a month as fears of Götterdämmerung give way to sheer intoxicating relief, and a "short-squeeze". Such are bear-trap rallies.
Regrettably, I remain beset by gloom. The US fiscal stimulus package that kept spending afloat in the second quarter is running out fast. There is nothing yet to replace it. The export boom cannot keep adding juice as the global crunch hits. My fear is that the US will tip into a second, deeper leg of the downturn, setting off a wave of savage job cuts. This will start to feel more like a real depression.
The futures market is pricing a 33pc fall in US house prices from peak to trough, based on the Case-Shiller index. Banks have not come close to writing off implied losses on this scale.
Daniel Alpert from Westwood Capital predicts that a mere 28pc fall would alone lead to a $5.4 trillion haircut in US household wealth, and leave lenders nursing $1.25 trillion in losses. So far they have confessed to less than $500bn.
Meredith Whitney, the Oppenheimer's bank Cassandra, predicts a gruesome 40pc fall in prices. If so, expect prime borrowers facing negative equity to start throwing in the towel en masse. "I do not think we are near the end of writedowns. I continue to see capital levels going lower, and stocks going lower," she said.
So no, this painful ordeal is far from over. We are not witnessing a dollar rally so much as a collapse in European and commodity currencies. The race to the bottom has begun in earnest.