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I’m not giving a movie review nor a spoiler, I’m just sharing the text my sister got when she asked “how was it?”

Great visuals, amazing imagination, boring story line! Growing tired of all those fantastical alternative realities and worlds. I understand that Hollywood is seeking novelty; but I honestly don’t need another reminder of how boring our reality is 😉

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Wings of Desire

CHILD

When the child was a child,
it walked with its arms swinging.

It wanted the stream to be a river,
the river a torrent…
and this puddle to be the sea.

When the child was a child,
it didn’t know it was a child.

Everything was full of life,
and all life was one.

When the child was a child,
it had no opinion about anything.

It had no habits.

It often sat cross-legged,
took off running…
had a cowlick in its hair,
and didn’t pull a face…
when photographed.

Look.

The consolation of lifting one’s head
out here in the open…

of seeing the colors
enlightened by the sun…
in all men’s eyes.

At last mad, no longer alone.
At last mad, at last redeemed.
At last mad, at last at peace.

At last an internal light.

When the child was a child,
it was the time of these questions:

Why am I me, and why not you?

Why am I here, and why not there?

When did time begin, and where does space end?

Isn’t life under the sun just a dream?

Isn’t what I see, hear and smell just a
mirage of the world before the world?

Does evil actually exist,
and people who are really evil?

How can it be that I, the one I am,
wasn’t there before I was there…
and that some time I, the one I am,
no longer will be the one I am?

This is an excerpt of the script of the movie. According to my best friend, movie falls short of expectations, yet the script remains absolutely beautiful. Wether or not you agree with every line is another point altogether.

Entertainment Update

Cinema

Cabaret

Went to see this one against my better judgement. Actually glad I went though. Don’t get me wrong the movie isn’t brilliant. The idea is not new. Moreover, for some reason all movies this year are posing the lewd notion that life is a Cabaret (or a Casino, waiting for the movie where life is a brothel!!!).

I’m not good with names, so I’m not sure if this is the author’s first work or the directorial day-view, but in all cases extremely impressed. The casting was brilliant! It’s an odd thing to notice in a flick but I was pleasantly surprised with most if not all actors in their respective roles. I really liked Jumana in her role (have not seen her in anything prior to this). Actors I didn’t know could act were made to stretch what little talent they had to it’s limit.

Hats off to the director for managing to bring that much out of them and keep us entertained. Fathy Abdelwahab was amazing, yet a curse often associated with the naturally gifted is that you come to expect it of them, hence he was as great as always. The directing was really good as well, good angles, lighting, and amazing performance in the scene where the whole world freezes except the center. It was the first time I’d seen it done well in Egyptian cinema.

Finally, I found the idea of a one-day movie fun, albeit not new. The ending was very befitting. Yet for all practical purposes movie didn’t have enough events for my taste. Also as far as soundtracks go, this one was very in-line with the setting to my dismay, so I got a great deal of ear piercing noise posing as folk singing by anyone with access to a mic. At the end I’d say go see it.

Al Rayes Omar 7arb

I’d give you a movie review, only this wasn’t a movie, more like soft porn! I found it terrible really. Extremely weak plot, forced scenes, over-symbolised message, stolen story line and extremely shabby decor.

I’ve heard it referred to as a failed attempt at Devil’s Advocate and Awlad 7arretna. I will agree with failed attempt… 🙂

Casting was boring, acting was cliche, effects were terrible and the message and dialogue I found more annoying than controversial. I’m still trying to wrap my head around that my world is a “casino” owned/managed by God/the devil (movie’s position not my own).

On a lighter note, those of you shopping for evening gowns for the wedding season should go see it, Somaya El Khashab goes out of her way to model her entire collection of gowns throughout the movie (whether or not an evening dress makes sense in a scene).

TV

Nour

I really don’t get it. Maybe it’s just me. Perhaps I’m resistant to change. Perhaps I’m not into pretty people. I just honestly don’t get the craze. It’s a damn soap opera. The public has already survived years of The Bold and the Beautiful, Days of Our Lives, Dallas and what not. Then years and years of dubbed drama from the wild Mexican west starring the likes of Salma Hayek in stories paralleling those of most third world countries and where all girls are Marias and all dialogues start with “3azeezy alekhandro”.

You’d think by now people would have gotten bored, or hooked on to the likes of Prison Break, Lost or Grey’s Anatomy. Instead all I hear about anywhere (friends, facebook, the number one national newspaper in the country) is Nour this, Nour that. There have been cases of divorce apparently caused by the series. People are going home early to catch the episodes. My own best friend is blowing me off to see re-runs.

Yet I honestly truly still can’t see it!!!!!!!

“For you a thousand times over!”

Went to see the wide screen interpretation of one of my favorite novels of all time. I stick by my view that movies seldom live up to the brilliance of the books on which they are based. That is not to say that I didn’t cry, for tears did I shed at all the emotionally touching parts of the flick.

The casting was brilliant, using actual Afghan boys for the lead roles added an incredible level of authenticity to the movie. The entire first half of the movie is in Afghan too, I’m not sure if I’m pro or against. On one hand I understand his strive to achieve authenticity and do the novel justice. On the other hand, I felt having to read subtitles distanced me from the action on the screen.

I loved the soundtrack and wardrobe and locations during the entire movie with one sole exception. I found it corny despite being warned by Hola. In the scene where he goes to pray in the masjid they play Sami Youssef! I mean come on! Please! It’s becoming sickeningly cliche!

The ending and beginning are every bit as amazing as I expected and more. You really do want to pick up that kid, hug him and shelter him from the cruel world. Apologize on it’s behalf for having wronged him so bad (I’m quoting a friend).

A must see!

“If America taught me anything, it’s that quitting is right up there with pissing in the Girl Scouts’ lemonade jar.”

Movies

Won’t apologize for the absence, to do so would be to kid myself about the popularity of this digital space. Instead, just for documentation purposes… reviews of some of the movies in cinemas these days.

“1408” ~ Stephen King fans are in for a treat, naturally any movie falls short of the brilliance of a novel, yet this one is pretty good with the visuals. 1408 is a spook story, like most of King’s stories. It’s about a young man who claims to be fearless, who rationalizes all supernatural phenomena, who seeks these cheap thrills to expose them as the hoaxes they are. He seeks out this room, demands to stay in it, and suffers through that night for the majority of the screen time of the movie. Disadvantages of such a plot line is that it’s a one man show, if you like Cusack you’ll like it, if you don’t then chances are you’ll hate the movie. I found it quite fun and not the least bit scary. Samuel L Jackson was brilliant as always and some of the dialogue was really good. At one point when you think he’s ended it at a very stupid part you feel like getting up and leaving the theatre, but thank God he chooses to continue and instead ends it brilliantly.

Final verdict = 4 stars (only see if John Cusack fan)

” Mr. Brooks ” ~ Kevin Costner remembers that he once had an acting career. This is a really bloody movie, and if you’re watching an uncut version quite an R-rated one. Nevertheless, it’s an interesting depiction of a serial killer’s life. I actually liked this one. Perhaps even more than the previous. He was good in his role, twists were cute, liked the ending. Plus there is something about a movie where half the dialogue is with an imaginary character! You don’t usually get that kinda insanity outside your own head 🙂

Final verdict = 4.5 Watch it!!

“Heya Fawda” ~ Had the potential of being amazing. Didn’t have the usual vagueness and chaotic surrealism usually associated with its famed director. Was a very real plausible story. Menna Shalaby was brilliant, as was Khaled Sale7. I’m glad Hala Sedky is acting again. The rest of the cast where all fine in their respective roles. The plot line was weak in some parts and the entire second half of the movie had no rhythm. So if you overlook the slow pace and the excessively expected ending, overall a good show and very reflective of our miserable status quo.

Final verdict = 4 

Live Free or Die Hard

Dear all,

I apologize for the 10 day dissappearance. Ravine, if thou wishes to contribute to the *cough* ransom fund you may do so at any of my bank accounts :P. So having said that, no I was not kidnapped, killed or given up blogging. I’ve just been technology-less for the past 10 days on account of being out of town.

Last thing I did before ditching Cairo was go see the latest installment of the Die Hard series, being a big Bruce Willis fan and all. Although falling short of the glory of the part starring Samuel L. Jackson (personal favourite part) this part lives up to the series reputation of having the ultimate disaster magnet detective John Mclaine (not sure about spelling) be at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Theme for this installment was YEAH RIGHT! (also read Ya Salaaaam! or if you are a personal friend AWINNA!!!) Action sequences were nothing short of outrageous. As in all Die Hard movies, heroes are impossible to kill (and mighty tough to wound) and majically evade flying bullets, exploding appartments, jet plane chases and brute physical beatings. To give you a slight idea at one point our hero jumps out of a speeding car near the end of a tunnel, car then proceeds to run up some crashed cars acting as a ramp and flies through the air to hit a hovering chopper filled with bad guys.. I mean LOL!

This part is more aware of technological advancements and the crimes have elevated to the world of hackers and techies. Movie is interesting to watch as you observe how reliant we’ve become on technology, and how a familiar scenario taking place in real life could be vitally damaging. (Keep paper copies of all vital documentation ya shabab).

Overall, I would say a 3.5/5 movie. It’s very consistent of the series and the genre. If you’re an action buff you’ll love the Mega sequences. Technology lovers will get a kick from the villan and the plot. Was a fun 2 hours all together, just keep an open mind to all the crazyness and unwind.

Ocean’s 13

Ocean's 13 PosterSo I finally went to see Ocean’s 13. I had fun, I laughed. It still remains a mediocre production which is completely reliant on it’s star studded cast rather than a believable story line or witty dialogue.

Gals will probably enjoy it more than the guys cause well lets face it, movie does offer plenty of eye candy to gape at. Pitt looks as adorable as ever and fans of any of the other hunks featured will not be disappointed.

I’m disappointed that Al Pacino was willing to play a role in such an air-headed self-indulgent pointless movie. Then again I wasn’t wild about most of his recent film choices (with all due respect 88 minutes sucked).

Movie is better than the previous installment of the sequel, which was practically a paid and aired party. Yet it falls short of being anywhere near as good as the first installment or The Italian Job, in terms of plot and banter.

Even the parts you smiled, you smiled because it’s them, rather than because it was funny. All Oprah Winfrey references were cute though (to be honest).

Will leave you with the only deep line in the movie.

Roman Nagel: You’re analog players in a digital world.

Perfect Stranger

Trying to come up with a single good thing to say about this movie and failing drastically. I didn’t like it, not one bit. Not the least impressed by anything. I wish I could tell you differently, or urge you to see it, but I stand disappointed.

1) I really really hate the title.

2)I could swear I had seen Halle Berry before in the same role, perhaps in Gothica, perhaps in another movie at the start of her career who’s name eludes me.

3) Bruce Willis on the other hand plays a very cliche role who could have been played by any guy in Hollywood!!!

The movie would have been a complete waste of time if the ending had not been decent. Despite the great importance I place on movie endings, even a finish like yours doesn’t excuse the terrible quality of the movie and the cliche story line.

Should’ve seen Spiderman 3!

The Illusionist

The sis and I went to see “The Illusionist” this Friday. I have to tell you, it has been a while (perhaps since V for Vendetta) that I’ve found a movie intellectually stimulating. A must see if you ask me.

 illusionist.jpg

Movie is a tale of magic, love, philosophy and enchantment. Filmed with a cinematic technique that gives it a feel of old tale, a legend being told again and again. The tale of a romance that survived all odds, a hushed inspirational tale stretched to fictional proportions and handed down by word of mouth, potentially as a bed time story. The events themselves are set against an even older backdrop than cinematic technique would reveal. Think back to a time where Europe was ruled by Lords and Barons and wars were waged and politics resolved through marriage. A time where people seek inspiration and entertainment, and where amidst this all an illusionist is born.

Eisenheim: Everything you have seen here has been an illusion.

Edward Norton delivers a chilling performance as the charismatic illusionist who raises the dead, slows down time, speeds it up and disappears. Take nothing you see for granted as the story unwinds, romance is challenged and murder mysteries are solved.

I leave you with a quote:

 Eisenheim: From the moment we enter this live we are in the flow of it. We measure it and We mock it, but we cannot defy it. We cannot even speed it up or slow it down. Or can we? Have we not each experienced the sensation that a beautiful moment seemed to pass to quickly, and wished that we could make it linger? Or felt time slow on a dull day, and wished that we could speed things up a bit?

300

Went to see 300 this weekend with friends. Movie is not for the squeamish or the faint of heart. Think Troy minus the love story or Kingdom of Heaven minus believability. What 300 offers you is a cinematic experience. A fantasy. Albeit a historically incorrect one. One can only stand in awe and marvel at the cinematography. I loved the black and white feel to the colored movie, I loved how the action sequences were filmed, I loved the effects of slowing down everything as you saw blood splatter (unrealistically) but for enhanced effect. The actors physiques were probably graphically enhanced, nobody is in this shape. Plus I’m impressed with what they did in terms of CGI and effects given that the whole movie was shot against a blue screen.

Putting aside that, the story itself leaves a lot to be desired. There hardly is a plot or dialogue worthy of mention. There was more politics involved in the making of this movie then there should have been. The whole West is righteous and East (Persians) are blasphemous monsters who don’t fight fair and are worthless warriors. USA is sending out a message to Iran. Only the message in the movie doesn’t mirror the reality. So I’m not sure what they hope to achieve.

For a well thought out review of the movie, click here.

If you are into politics or visuals go see it, else just go see “Music and Lyrics”, my friends claim it was a good 2 hours.

The Pursuit of Happyness

“And it was at that time that I thought about Thomas Jefferson writing that Declaration of Independence. Him saying that we have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And I thought about how he knew to put the ‘pursuit’ in there, like no one can actually have happiness. We can only pursue it.”

A bunch of friends and I went to see “The Pursuit of Happyness” this Friday. It wasn’t a conscious choice, rather the only movie we were all ok with visa vie “The Queen”, “Babel” and “Code 36”.

Movie was cute, funny at parts and overall very inspirational. Will Smith’s son was just adorable. This kid has got a career in acting. Will Smith has come a long way since the Fresh Prince of Bel Air. His acting was very mature and heartfelt.

Movie is your typical rags to riches story. Title is inspired by the quote above from the Declaration of Independence and the typo intentional in reference to a scene in the movie.
Movie is about a guy struggling to make it, to become a broker, to get out of the gutter, to raise his kid and raise him well.

To me, perhaps cause I’m an economist, movie wasn’t as inspiring as “A Beautiful Mind”. Something was missing. I can’t quite place it. Perhaps the message was too clear. Perhaps the ending too bland. Maybe the characters were too few. Movie lacked luster I’m afraid to report. Yet the message in the movie is worth relaying to you. So here goes:

Christopher Gardner: [to his son] You got a dream, you gotta protect it. People can’t do something themselves, they wanna tell you that you can’t do it. You want something? Go get it. Period.

Song of the day: Father and Son

Sandra

Went to see Sandra’s movie over the long weekend. “The Hostage” Elrahina offers a very Western form of entertainment. Sandra could be directing the next Bond flick for the weakness of the story and unrealism and extraordinariness of the events. Movie is written by Nabil Farouk (did any of you read “Ragol Elmosta7eel” growing up?) and the characters are very inspired by his older work. Ahmed Ezz plays a working class unemployment victim who travels abroad to live the European Dream and gets involved in attempting to save kidnapped Egyptian Noble Prize winner.

Movie had potential of being good, I genuinely liked the first half.. BUT.. they’ve really overdone it. Can I please go see a movie where I am not preached to on religious unity, patriotism and overall ethics.. just once.. PLEASE.

Nour was good at her part.. very believable as a cold blooded assassin 🙂 I didn’t like Yasmine.. a bit too over for my taste.. Ezz wasn’t bad.. I’m just not used to him not being suave .. he was quite vulgar in his role.

Directing was by far the best thing about this movie.. I’m wild about Sandra. The chase scenes, albeit long, were incredible. No really, unbelievably amazing, they were believable and very well shot from all the fancy angels. You had scenes that rival those of “The Italian Job” all over the Ukranian city, a car crashing into a bus and a chopper blowing up. Go SANDRA. At one point honestly I started getting the feeling that she wasn’t making great action sequences because she had to.. rather cause SHE COULD 🙂 Very very very impressed.

Having said that.. don’t go unless you are obsessed with action movies and can bare to sit through 20 minutes of “eldeen lellah wal wattan lelgami3”. Ciao bloggerz.

P.S. Sou is walking around advertising my blog, if that’s the reason you are here, I’m sorry to dissappoint.. nobody could live up to the great things she said.

Song of the day: Everybody’s Fool

2006 #1s

Looking back at 2006 in a different light.

Best Arabic movie: Aw2at Faragh

Best English movie: Crash

Newcomer of the year: Jannat

Album of the year: Elissa (although not as good as her last).

Most played song: Rob Thomas – Lonely No More

Best clip: Nancy Ajram – Ehsas gedeed

Books read and loved: Harry Potter (all the parts), Kafka’s Metamorphosis, A Brave New World (I know it starts out really boring, but it picks up), Mr. Ibrahim and the Flowers of the Quran, Bein Elkasrein, Timeline (Micheal Crichton), Dan Brown (all his other books 🙂  ), I’m sure there are a bunch of others but these are the ones that come to mind. 

Best outing: Casper and Gambinis terrace

Soccer mania: Italy won the World Cup (GO CANNAVARO); Ahly kicked ass in Japan and Tunisia, Egypt won the African Cup of Nations, and Chelsea is on fire. Its been a great year for my teams begad.

Things I’d never done before:

  • Visited Brussels
  • Sat in a stadium and screamed my lungs out
  • Started blogging
  • Owned an Ipod
  • Had so7our (in Ramadan) at a cafe with friends
  • Became good friends with complete strangers compliments of the blogging world
  • Planned weddings and engagement parties and failed to show up to the actual event
  • Read Harry Potter (so to make up for lost time read them back to back)
  • Got published
  • Taught a class (she aced her exam 😉 )
  • Chosen as Time Magazine’s person of the year 😛 (couldn’t help myself)

On the political arena there’s been so much going on I can’t pinpoint an event that was more important than all others. We’ve had a very unsetteling year in the region. We’ve had local elections, Hizbollah in Lebanon, mass killings in Palestine and Iraq and the year capped off with the execution of Saddam.

Overall its been interesting. Seeing that this was so much fun, if you’ve gotten this far in the post (good for you) you’ve just been tagged. 😀

Ciao people, have an AMAZING 2007. May your 2006 #1s pale in comparison to your 2007 #1s.

V for Vendetta

In a world of opression. Where freedom is a notion of the past. Where literature and the arts and religion are banned.

One man stands alone in the face of the government. Attempting to destroy their means of control, their media their figures their buildings. Attempting to bring the drones that are the citizens back to life.

I absolutely loved the story line and the dialogue. Will leave you with one of my favourite parts.

Remember, remember, the Fifth of November,/ The Gunpowder Treason and Plot… / I know of no reason/ Why the Gunpowder Treason should ever be forgot… But what of the man? I know his name was Guy Fawkes and I know, in his 1605, he attempted to blow up the Houses of Parliament. But who was he really? What was he like? We are told to remember the idea, not the man, because a man can fail. He can be caught, he can be killed and forgotten, but 400 years later, an idea can still change the world. I’ve witnessed first hand the power of ideas, I’ve seen people kill in the name of them, and die defending them… but you cannot kiss an idea, cannot touch it, or hold it… ideas do not bleed, they do not feel pain, they do not love… And it is not an idea that I miss, it is a man… A man that made me remember the Fifth of November. A man that I will never forget.

poster_dagger.jpg

CRASH

” Moving at the speed of life, we are bound to collide with each other.”

Will attempt not to ruin it for those of you who’ve yet to see it.

This is a really deep, really heavy movie. It has little to no happy moments. So if this is not your thing, don’t even bother going.

Movie has a stellar cast and no real star, all the parts are small but significant and the interaction between all the characters and the linking is exquisite.

Movie gets off to a very strong start and just keeps escalating. Once or twice I would have preferred the pace be a little faster but in the overall its really well written and really well edited.

Movie uses a shock approach, takes the brutal reality and shoves it in your face, you are no longer allowed your peaceful state of denial and you are tossed out of your comfort zone. Nothing is off limits and at times you find it really difficult to say who was wrong and who was right. There is no hero. Each person throughout the movie is the good guy, the bad guy, the victim and the villian.

” You think you know who you are. You have no idea. ”

I guess so. At a moment you start doubting everything, yourself, the characters, their actions. You start wondering if you would have behaved different? If the right thing to do is necessarily what you should do? Cause whatever decision you make there are consequences…. there always are. These reprecussions will come back to haunt you, or to get you.

We were startled, we cried, we momentarily felt relief. We sympathized and tried to understand.

Above all else we finally realized that in reality we all constantly live our lives on the verge of a crash, and when that crash comes, everything changes.

P.S. Wrote this after seeing it at the movies, just re-saw it on DVD, thought I’d share.