We are approaching the end of season two (boo-hoo!) and a storm is brewing over the Soprano household. After dodging a legal bullet, Tony (James Gandolfini, right) is advised by mob lawyer Neil Mink (David Margulies) to spend more time on his legitimate business interests. But the inactivity causes Tony's stress level to rise and he begins to experience more anxiety attacks. To make matters worse, the mob boss discovers that Richie (David Proval) and Junior (Dominic Chianese) are using the 'garbage routes' they oversee to sell cocaine. Tired of Richie's insubordination, Tony orders him to stop selling drugs on the routes for fear of official scrutiny. But Richie and Junior, both strapped for cash, are angered by the new arrangement. In a separate development, Dr Melfi (Lorraine Bracco) is getting herself into a right state. After having more than a tipple, the slightly intoxicated psychiatrist has an altercation with another patron and is asked to leave by the management. She later admits to her own therapist that she's drinking before her sessions with Tony and agrees to join a support group for alcoholics.
The fact that this show has been rescheduled to the ungodly hour of midnight has not deterred diehard fans like me: I tape it. The lovely and righteous Ching-har (Chu Yin-chun, above) has done a disappearing act and Pang Mui is getting increasingly worried when there is no sighting of her for days. Ching-har, apparently, has been involved in a nasty dispute that is about to blow out of all proportion at the Wonder Bar.
A Steven Spielberg effort that failed to draw crowds at the box office, but that does not make it a bad movie. It is a powerful drama about a group of Africans who wage a legal battle for their freedom in the US Supreme Court and become a symbol of a nation divided. Held captive on board a Spanish slave ship bound for America, 53 Africans managed to break free of their shackles and take over the ship. Only wanting to return to their homeland and their freedom, they are instead caught by a US naval ship and charged with murder and piracy. Initially championed by abolitionist Theodore Johnson (Morgan Freeman, right), the case rises to the top and challenges the very foundation of the early 19th-century American legal system. Soon, pro-slavery President Martin Van Buren (Nigel Hawthorne), who wants to sacrifice the prisoners to appease the South, finds himself locking horns with former president John Quincy Adams (Anthony Hopkins, left), who comes out of retirement to fight for the Africans' cause in the Supreme Court. Nominated for four Academy Awards including best cinematography and best costume design.