Sahara is a 2005 action /adventure movie directed by Breck Eisner and based on the best-selling book of the same name by Clive Cussler. It stars Matthew McConaughey, Penelope Cruz, Steve Zahn, William H Macy & Rainn Wilson. The movie is about 3 points Рthe search for a  long lost ironclad boat, carrying the last of the Confederacy’s treasury away from attack, a disease spread through the water in Mali and a corrupt solar detoxification plant the source of the contamination and is aided by bribes given to the Mali dictator.

World Health Organization doctors Eva Rojas and Frank Hopper are investigating a disease that is spreading across Mali, Africa. Assassins attempt to murder Eva, but she is rescued by Dirk Pitt, from National Underwater and Marine Agency, who was working nearby. Dirk gets a call from a dealer in Nigeria to sell him a gold Confederate States of America coin, one of supposedly only five in existence. Believing this to be a lead to the long lost CSS Texas, Dirk gets his boss and former commanding officer, ret. Navy Admiral James Sandecker, to let him, Al Giordino, and Rudi Gunn, from NUMA, go to Mali to search. They give Eva and Hopper a ride, so that they can continue their investigation, for the WHO.

Former Navy seals & ex-CIA men Dirk & Al take Rudi along with them on Sandecker’s yatch and after dropping off the doctors and trudge along the river on their search. Businessman Yves Massarde and dictator General Kazim, who controls half of civil-war torn Mali, try to stop the doctors from discovering the source of “plague”. Kazim also sends some of his soldiers on motor boats to kill the men from NUMA but Kirk & Al are able to destroy their boats and escape unharmed. They send Rudi back to warn Sandecker about the situation while they themselves go to rescue the WHO doctors. They are able to save Eva from the soldiers but Dr. Hopper and their local crew are all killed by gunfire. The three of them make their way through the desert but are captured by¬†Tuareg, who are fighting the civil war against Kazim. The Tuaregs‚Äô leader, Madibo, shows Eva his people, who are dying from the same disease she was investigating at the beginning. After taking samples, Eva finds that their water is contaminated.

During their stay Al stumbles on a cave painting that depicts the CSS Texas. Dirk believes that the¬†Texas¬†became stranded when the river water dried up after a storm and that the same river that carried the¬†Texas¬†now runs underground, spreading the contamination. On their search they stumble upon the solar plant and realize that it is the source of the contamination but before they can leave they are captured by Massarde’s men. He keeps Eva but sends Dirk and Al to Kazim. They escape but end up stranded in the middle of the desert. The two friends make their way to civilisation and contact Sandecker, who warns them that Kazim and his troops are after them. Dirk and Al enlist Madibo‚Äôs aid to return to the plant and rescue Eva. He helps them infiltrate the plant and rescue his people who are working there as slaves. Rather than risk discover, Massarde decides to escape and blow up the plant but Al defuses the bomb. Dirk manages to rescue Eva while Massarde escapes in his helicopter. Dirk, Eva, and Al get away from the plant and discover the wreck of the ironclad while throwing bombs at a chasing Kazim in his helicopter.

They take cover inside but Kazim‚Äôs ammunition is too much for the old ironclad’s armor. Using a rusted old cannon they fire off and destroy Kazim’s gunship while Madibo’s men arrive to take care of Kazim’s army. In the end the contamination is dealt with Sandecker is offered a deal to do some covert work, while the government serendipitously funds NUMA, which he accepts, tentatively. Massarde is given some of the contaminated water to drink without his knowledge by one of Sandecker’s friends. The gold discovered in the Texas is given to Madibo’s people and Eva & Dirk start a relationship.

It’s a little too predictable and doesn’t really light up your imagination in the way that some adventure movies do. The movie made $120 mil at the box office but on a $160 mil budget that is considered a flop. My rating is a 6 out of 10!

Charmed – Season 3

Charmed season 3, originally aired in 2000-01, was significant for two main reasons РADA Cole Turner/Balthazor played by Australian actor Julian McMahon was introduced as a new main character to the series and by the end of the series Shannen Doherty would leave the show. Reportedly, the reason for her departure was because of tensions between Doherty and co-star Alyssa Milano. That might not come as a shock to fans of her previous show Beverly Hills 90210 Рwhich she left after 4 seasons due to reported tension with costars.

So the season sees a main character in Cole / Balthazor, who is a half human-half demon, sent by¬†The Triad¬†to destroy the sisters. In the process of befriending the sisters and Leo, Cole starts a relationship with Pheobe, initially to separate her from the other two but instead he falls in love with her and is unable to carry out his mission. Prue is looking for balance in her life, juggling her photography, her role as a Charmed one, and her love life. Piper and Leo’s relationship becomes serious as they plan to get married against the wishes of¬†The Elders. Their romance is a constant theme in season 3 and finally they do get married – albeit after a major mess courtesy Prue.

Most of the first half of the season centers on Cole/Belthazor forcing his way into The Charmed Ones’ lives by initiating a romance with Phoebe. As he struggles with his conflict between his duty and his love for her, Prue is extremely suspicious of Cole from the beginning, causing a rift between her and her youngest sister. The romance between them is responsible for a lot of cornyness in the show just like Piper’s & Leo’s problems but the show does get a lot more interesting because of the conflict. Anyways, their father also comes back into their lives and gets involved in one of the episodes. And here is one of my issues with the show – Prue is opening antagonistic towards their father as he left them when the sisters were very young. So while Piper & Phoebe in particular are glad for him being back in their life, Prue has reservations. However this all instantly vanishes – while in a demonic relm, she is getting sucked into she calls out “Daddy” and he grabs her and pulls her back. Instantly she is now daddy’s girl! So cheesy!

The Charmed Ones begin to discover and understand the hierarchy of the underworld, as they learn of The Triad who are responsible for sending Belthazor and various other demons after them. Unable to kill Balthazor/Cole, Phoebe fakes his death to her sisters, so he can continue to live on, although in secret as he has to hide from the demons. Cole decides to follow his heart & his human side and joins the Charmed ones in¬† their fight. Prue, growing weary of her battles to save innocents and in fighting off the Angel of Death, is forced to turn her back on a dying soul, and must come to grips with her feelings towards fate and the death of her mother. In the season finale Prue and Piper bring a doctor to the manor, to protect him from a powerful demonic assassin named Shax, who was sent by The Source. When Shax breaks into the manor, he throws Prue and Piper through a wall, causing them to almost die, until Leo arrives with enough time to heal them. Phoebe uses a vanquishing spell on Shax but it does not kill him. While searching for Shax out in the streets, Prue and Piper are caught on live television using their powers, thus exposing themselves as witches. As a crowd forms around their house, a mentally unstable girl, claiming to want to join The Charmed Ones’ coven, breaks in, only to be thrown out by Prue. In retaliation, the girl shoots Piper from outside. The Source, knowing about Piper, strikes a deal with Cole that if he can get Phoebe to stay in the underworld, he will have Tempus the demon reset time, thus saving Piper.

It is only in the 4th season opener that we learn that when Shax attacks them, Phoebe is unable to interfere and both of her sisters get injured close to death. Leo is unable to save Prue so Phoebe is saved and lives.