Monthly Archives: May 2012

Tannoura Maxi Review *Spoiler Alert*

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Before I begin my review, you should know that Tannoura Maxi has been banned officially from theaters following a request by the Lebanese Catholic Information Center. I am of course against this ban because 1) it’s cultural terrorism and 2) the movie didn’t disrespect the Church nor Christianity in anyway.

Moving on to the review, let me just say in few words that Tannoura Maxi is like a badly prepared Tabbouleh. It has all the basic ingredients for a fine Lebanese Tabbouleh but some ingredients are put in excess, while others are missing and inappropriate ingredients are added. I personally found the movie long and boring, the plot a bit silly and unrealistic (despite being inspired from a true story), the characters dull, and the whole sex and religion themes very badly expressed.

Despite all that, I can understand why some people might like it from an artistic and poetic point of view. Indeed, the movie is very nicely filmed and has special features unseen before in a Lebanese production. The visuals and art direction are beautiful, especially the close-ups on pretty things and nostalgic items. I particularly loved the part where they play the old Ray-o-Vac ad. Nevertheless, all those positive aspects are not really appealing to the average or non-artistic viewer which pretty much explains the overwhelming negative feedbacks Tannoura Maxi received so far.

Digging deeper into the movie, and given that it’s inspired from a true story on how the director’s parents met, here are few things that I thought were inaccurate or did not like:

1- No one wears high heels to go to the well or “3al 3ein” as they say in Lebanese villages.
2- Women were way too overdressed for masses in the movie. That’s not accurate specially that most of them live in the village and are not coming for a visit and we are at war.
3- The music played in parties and on weddings is weird and has almost nothing to do with old traditional Lebanese songs. Unless I am missing something, this music is new to me.
4- I’ve been to masses in many villages and never heard women talk loudly and in such an offensive way about others. It was way too exaggerated and offending to Lebanese women and Lebanese in general.
5- Public signs of affection were not common in villages, even during war time. They are not even that common in the cities in Lebanon. Oh and Priests didn’t dirty dance and kiss at the time.
6- The scene where the priest is cutting some wood and showing off his muscles is really bad.
7- There’s at least 10 minutes of footage where the main character is walking towards the church, her house or to the well and you only hear the clacking noise of high heels. That’s where I felt like walking out of the theater.
8- I didn’t really understand the role the mentally challenged characters played in that movie. They are given way too much importance but it’s like the director focused more on how good they were playing their part rather than make it a significant one.
9- There’s a whorehouse in the village. Show me one village in Lebanon that has a whorehouse or had one back in 1982.
10- I did not sense a real connection between the various scenes of the movie. It’s like you jump from one scene to the other.
11- The monologues are confusing and seem out of place. There’s way too many as well.

In regards to the movie themes and controversial scenes:
1- Director Joe Bou Eid is portraying the Lebanese Forces as being thugs and criminals while Leftists are the good guys. I don’t care who’s wrong or right historically but taking sides does not send out the right message to younger generations.
2- The scene where the LF guy is the only one dancing with an Arak glass in one hand and a cigarette in the other is pure cliché and unoriginal. Leave those clichés to Comedy shows ya Joe!
3- The two key characters in the movie barely talk to each other and all of a sudden have sex and get married. When I first heard him talking about the movie on TV, and saying that it depicts how his parents met, I thought I was in for an original story. However, the movie makes it look as a one night stand where the girl got pregnant and had to marry the guy.
4- The sex scene did not occur in the Church but in a convent. It’s still a holy place but I still don’t think that’s a valid reason to ban the movie.
5- The movie shows the priest as a weak and vulnerable person, one not worthy of becoming a man of God, and does not really insult the Church or Christianity. There’s nothing wrong with falling in love with a girl and stirring away from priesthood, but going against your own beliefs by sleeping with the girl and then marrying her the next day is not something I would go out and tell, or at least not tell in the way Joe Bou Eid did.

There’s one review on IMDb by Sarah Zebian which I agree with and pretty much says it:

Poor story-line, poor scenario, poor performances.

The movie is full of eye-candy. Very little else, except quick-wins like the Rayovac commercial, the traditional dough-making scene, etc, obviously added in to trigger nostalgia without having any real role. Close-ups of the main characters and colorful scenic shots, despite their beauty, are excessive and quickly turn into a nuisance – a failed attempt to overshadow the lack of substance in the movie.

The love story fails to come across as genuine – as the rest of this movie. The two main characters never utter a word as far as I noticed! Generally, presumptuous and a waste of time!

On a last note, I understand that we should be supportive when it comes to Lebanese movies but I think we should point out a bad movie when we see one. Moreover, I strongly believe Lebanese directors need to come out with original ideas and stop digging old civil war stories.

IMDb Rating: 7/10 (From 56 users only)
My Rating: 4.5/10

Qatar to expel 30,000 Lebanese?

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According to Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Rai, Qatar has threatened to expel 30,000 Lebanese as a response to the arrest of Qatari national Abdul Aziz Al Atiyya by the Lebanese authorities. Al Atiyya reportedly left Lebanon few days ago and his charges were dropped. He was accused of forming a terrorist cell. [Link]

Yay more good news for Lebanon and the Lebanese!

Fadi Fawaz on Ahmar Bel Khat Al Areed

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George Michael’s boyfriend, Fady Fawaz, will appear on Malek Maktabi’s show on LBC “A7mar bil Khat el 3areed’ soon. According to Elie Bassil, The naughty prince of all media (WTF?), aside from being Michael’s lover, Fadi is a a very famous gay pornstar whose nickname is “Isaac Mazar”.

Warning: There’s a very explicit picture in Elie Bassil’s website.

Burn Calories not Tyres!

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Lebanese tried convincing Arab tourists last week in Tripoli that the security situation is good through Kamikaze Arguile-Delivery displays but that didn’t stop Qatar & UAE from asking their citizens to leave Lebanon.

It appears that the Arabs knew something we didn’t know and the result was a bloody day that started in Halba, then extended to Akkar and Tripoli and later on to Beirut and Saida. I don’t even want to know who’s wrong or right because I’ve lost hope in all parties in Lebanon but what pisses me off every time is the burning of tires as a sign of protest.

If you wish to protest for any reason, why the hell do you wanna pollute your country and asphyxiate everyone? Form human chains to block roads, park your cars or put garbage cans or cement blocks for all I care but stop burning tires!

I asked around what’s the alternative to burning tires and the best answers I got were calories and fat, or maybe even “politicians” lol! Speaking of calories, it would have been much better if Akkar and Tripoli residents participated in yesterday’s planned Mini-Marathon in Tripoli and eased the tensions a bit instead of organizing rallies, blocking roads, shooting at each other and of course burning tires.

Picture from LiBeirut

Avis – My new favorite rental car company

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This weekend I was visiting Lebanon and felt like renting a convertible since I read the weather was going to be great. After calling a few different rental agencies I decided to rent a car from Avis Lebanon for two reasons and those two reasons are actually why they’re going to be my favorite car rental agency from now on.

The first reason is the fact I was able to book a car with Avis using their website’s live chat. I was actually going to call them but then saw the “Live Help” button and figured would give it a shot out of curiosity. I honestly wasn’t expecting the button to work but I ended up chatting to a person called Pamela and when I asked her if it was possible to book a car with live chat to my surprise she said yes. I thought that was very cool and convenient.

The second reason I liked them is because it turns out I can get a 30% discount on their cars using my American Express credit card. That obviously makes things more affordable and instead of paying $100 for my car I ended up paying $70.

It was a cool experience and loved the live chat option but I did have one issue which I already mentioned to them and that is the fact they put a $2,000 hold on my credit card. I thought that amount was too much since with other rental agencies I’ve used, the amount is usually around $500. Maybe it’s because it was my first time renting with them but still, overall it was a good experience.

Qatar & UAE call on their citizens to leave Lebanon

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Arab Tourists in Beirut: Picture from ArabianBusiness

The United Arab Emirates and Qatar on Saturday urged their citizens to avoid travel to Lebanon, where clashes linked to the conflict in neighbouring Syria have left 10 people dead. “The UAE foreign ministry has urged citizens not to travel to Lebanon until the tense security situation there is cleared,” it said in an English-language statement carried on state news agency WAM.

Kalbani also called on “citizens currently in Lebanon to leave the country, and in case they have to stay back for any unavoidable reasons, to contact the UAE embassy in Beirut” to give their whereabouts and contact details. [Link]

You can’t really blame them for warning their citizens, specially with everything that’s been happening in the past week or so. Added to that, it comes at the worst possible time whereas the summer season is about to kick in. Our Prime Minister Najib Mikati urged them to reconsider their warnings arguing that the security situation is good. On the other hand, Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud stated “Qatar and the United Arab Emirates didn’t officially issue a travel restriction advisory for their nationals.”

Indeed, the situation in Tripoli is great and all websites are lying.

ZAP Electric Car in Lebanon

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A friend of mine spotted this car on the highway in Lebanon. It’s the four-door ZAP Xebra electric city car that is manufactured by Chinese transportation pioneer ZAP. It was introduced in 2007 and drives up to 64 KPH. The Xebra costs a little over 7000$. [More]

If you ask me, this car could solve a lot of problems in Lebanon, especially with the ever-increasing gas prices. Taxi drivers should switch to that car, as well as municipalities and some government departments.

Maybe we should email both Ministries of Environment and Energy in Lebanon and ask them to consider this alternative to petrol cars.