Category Archives: Movies & Television

One of The Voice Kids Finalists, Zein Obeid, Is Being Bullied Online

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Zein

Zein Obeid was one of the three finalists on The Voice Kids yesterday. The talented Syrian boy was able to prove himself throughout the whole competition and made it to the final stages after impressing all three judges. Even though he lost to Lynn el Hayek from Lebanon, he remains one of the best young talents on the show and should be praised as such.

Unfortunately, Zein has become since yesterday a target for internet bullies as people are shamelessly sharing a picture of him that says “Ma Tsawwetle B3atle Farrouj” (Don’t vote for me, send me chicken) and making fun of the little boy because of his body. This boy was brave enough to get on stage and show his incredible talent in front of millions of viewers yet some people were insensitive and cruel enough to mock him because he’s overweight.

I honestly don’t know if Zein is active on social media, and if he will be able to understand what’s happening. I don’t know if the people behind the Voice Kids show will be able to help him overcome this bullying. He’s probably still saddened by the fact that he lost, and the last thing he needs is to become an internet joke.

I won’t be posting the shameful picture being shared and I hope you all do the same. I also hope that Zein realizes that these haters are just jealous and probably will never have the guts to go on stage and sing in front of millions.

Zein, you have a bright future ahead of you. Stay strong and turn your back on all the haters!

Here are some of Zein’s best performances:

[YouTube]

[YouTube]

[YouTube]

Lynn el Hayek From Tripoli Mina Wins The First Edition Of The Voice Kids

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lynn2

The first edition of MBC the Voice Kids, the young Arab talent competition, ended yesterday with Lebanese Lynn el Hayek, who’s originally from Tripoli el Mina, winning the best voice title. Lynn, who is on Kazem el Saher’s team, was the only Lebanese who qualified to the finals along with Syrians Zain Obeid and Amir Ammouri.

I haven’t been really following the show but I’ve seen it a couple of times and watched a lot of videos being shared and most of these kids are incredibly talented. In fact, I was amazed by how relaxed and self-composed most of these kids were on stage, especially in the finale which was broadcasted live. I always wondered if these kids were under a lot of pressure or were actually enjoying the show, and I was never comfortable with the fact that they are getting rejected by their idols in front of a large audience and on public TV but I was told that there are coaches and specialized people that help kids cope with pressure and make sure they are happy and enjoying their time no matter what.

All in all, I’m sure it must have been really hard for the judges and everyone behind this show but I think they’ve done a good job and I’m definitely happy that a Lebanese girl won the title!

Here are couple of performances by Lynn, a video showing the moment she won and another showing the celebrations in Tripoli.

[YouTube]

[YouTube]

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Are you #TeamBatman or #TeamSuperman?

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BvS CinemacityBeirutSouks W1366xH768px

If you are a superhero movie fan then you are in for a good treat this year. There are at least seven different movies coming out (Deadpool, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Captain America: Civil War, X-Men: Apocalypse, Suicide Squad, Gambit and Doctor Strange) and one of the most anticipated ones will be Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice.

Even though most of the movies weren’t released yet, the battle has already begun as to which superhero movie is generating the biggest buzz online and advance booking has officially begun for Batman v Superman. In fact, there’s a website specially dedicated to pre-booking for this movie for Lebanon so hurry up and get your tickets if you are a fan. [Batman v Superman LB]

preooking

One of my favorite all-time superheroes is Batman so I have high hopes for this movie. I don’t usually like avant-premieres as it’s always crowded and you rarely get a good seat but I’m definitely making an exception this time. (I’m still hoping to get an early screening invite :P).

Batman v Superman comes out in cinemas March 24 and I will be giving away avant-premiere tickets soon so stay tuned!

[YouTube]

Best Picture Oscar Winning Movie “Spotlight” Banned in Lebanon?

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movie

One of the biggest surprises of the Oscars last night was “Spotlight” winning the award for Best Picture. Everyone was expecting the Revenant to clinch the award, after receiving two of the biggest Oscars of the night (Best actor for Leonardo Di Caprio finally! & Best director) but it was Tom McCarthy’s drama about the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church that took home the best picture Oscar.

[YouTube]

In case you are wondering why we barely heard about the movie “Spotlight” in Lebanon, it’s because the movie never got here and probably won’t be showing in Lebanese theaters anytime soon. It wasn’t banned by the Lebanese authorities as it was rumored, but apparently the distribution company didn’t even consider showing it in Lebanese theaters. This was confirmed by Father Abu Kassem, head of the Catholic Information Center, who stated that they never received the movie for approval but that they didn’t mind showing it if it was an objective one and highlighted how the Church reacted to these accusations and punished these priests.

I’m not sure if the General Surety commented on this matter or not, but this is yet another proof that we need a law in Lebanon to stop film censorship, or auto-censorship in Spotlight’s case, and revoke the role of The General Security and religious committees in licensing, monitoring, and censoring creative works.

Until then, you can probably buy Spotlight from any DVD store in Lebanon or just download it online.


PS:The movie won’t be shown anywhere in the Middle East, not just Lebanon.

In 2001, editor Marty Baron of The Boston Globe assigns a team of journalists to investigate allegations against John Geoghan, an unfrocked priest accused of molesting more than 80 boys. Led by editor Walter “Robby” Robinson (Michael Keaton), reporters Michael Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo), Matt Carroll and Sacha Pfeiffer interview victims and try to unseal sensitive documents. The reporters make it their mission to provide proof of a cover-up of sexual abuse within the Roman Catholic Church.

New Proposed Law To Stop Film Censorship In Lebanon

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censorship MARCH has been fighting censorship for years now in Lebanon

Under the law of 27 November 1947, all movies in Lebanon should undergo a censorship process and can’t be distributed and projected to the public without authorization from the Directorate of General Security. Personally speaking, I believe all types of censorship are wrong and useless, yet the silliest remains film censorship. No one has the right to tell us which movies or series to watch or not, and even if there’s an agreed-on approval process, The General Security Censorship Bureau in Lebanon is definitely not the qualified party to do so.

Throughout the past 10 years, we’ve seen some of the most absurd acts of censorship in Lebanon and a lot of movies were banned or renamed for that sake. In fact, censorship has gotten so ridiculous that some distribution companies resorted to changing the name of a movie before releasing it in Lebanon or the Middle East.

This being said, a new and very important law was proposed last week by MPs Nadim Gemayel and Serge Tor Sarkissian in order to regulate film censorship in Lebanon and revoke the role of The General Security in licensing, monitoring, and censoring creative works.

According to the law proposed, Article 3 of the 1947 law should be abolished and the control of movies should be handed to the directorate of film, theaters and exhibitions that is affiliated to the Ministry of Culture. Monitoring movies will take place in a specialized theater equipped for that purpose and if there’s any reason to stop this movie, a committee shall meet and vote on it. Even after a decision is taken, the producer can still file a complaint to the state council.

I think this is a very important law, and even though there are far more urgent issues that require our attention right now, we should keep in mind that our freedoms are threatened by archaic laws and that we need to abolish all sorts of censorship, especially internet censorship, to protect ourselves.

Check out the articles on the new law [here] and [here]. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any English article on that topic.

The “Ripoff” Show by Rodolphe Might Get Stopped

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marra

It’s one thing to get inspired from a popular show like The Ellen DeGeneres Show, but it’s another to steal the whole freaking show and pretend it’s yours. After the Lebanese Art Police shared a video showing the similarities between Rodolphe’s Show and Ellen’s show, an article mentioned that “The Show” will not broadcasted this week and that LBCI are considering stopping it after they got warned by The Ellen DeGeneres Show producers.

The only sure thing for now is that Rodolphe’s “Ripoff Show” is off for this week, but I doubt that the people behind The Ellen Show are warning LBCI. In fact, I doubt that they even heard of Rodolphe or his show and even if they did, they couldn’t care less about it.

If you missed the original video, check it out it’s hilarious 😀

[YouTube]

Asking The Wrong Questions

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tripo

MTV shared yesterday a chart that showed the Ministry of Public Works spending by area, in order to “prove” that Christians areas are barely receiving 18% of the total expenditure. They picked cities that have a Shiite majority (Baalbeck, Hermel, Nabatieh, Bent Jbeil) and compared them to areas of Christian majority like Matn, Jbeil, Jezzine, Zahle and Bcharreh.

I am not really sure what they were trying to prove, but they failed miserably because what matters here is how this money is being spent and not in which area. I currently live in Keserwan and I am more interested in knowing how these 3 billion Liras were spent because the roads are worse than ever and nothing has really changed in the past year or so. Corruption is the real problem in Lebanon and fueling sectarianism through such reports will only strengthen those who are in charge now.

More importantly, and I think this is the real scandal here, MTV were complaining about the lack of spending in Batroun yet they missed out on the fact that Batroun got almost twice as much as Tripoli, the most populous and poorest city in the north. (Thank you Mustapha for noticing that!)

[YouTube]

Cash Flow 2 Review: Should Have Stopped At 1

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cash flow2 Source

To be honest, the title should have been “Should Have Stopped At 0” because the first Cash Flow movie is as bad as its sequel. I really wanted to say a couple of positive things about that movie, but the only thing I enjoyed were the bloopers at the end. Nevertheless, I decided not to share the harsh review that I had drafted but instead list some of the things that bothered me in this movie and that are being repeated in most Lebanese movies and series.

Comments on Cash Flow 2:
Actors:
– I didn’t like the guy playing the main character (Carlos Azar) because he doesn’t fit the role. Also, why is there so much focus on his looks? I felt like watching Fashion TV at some point.

– Hisham Haddad is not funny (he never was), I like Gabriel Yammine but he’s yelling the whole time for some reason, Teta Latifa jokes are no longer funny and the new girl is cute but she’s not making any sense in the movie. Oh and that guy playing Gabriel’s right hand is disturbing and not funny at all.

Plot:
– The plot is very confusing to say the least. Going back to Cash Flow 1, why would a random rich man give a guy who just saved him a credit card? Who gives away credit cards randomly? Moving on to Cash Flow 2, why would you give Mazen, a struggling young man who tends to spend more than he has and is heavily indebted and couldn’t control his credit card spending, control of your company? Isn’t it obvious that he doesn’t know how to manage his money?

– Assuming the movie is a comedy, how is killing a guy by mistake in one of the scenes funny? How is beating up someone funny? And why is Mazen (the main character) depressed and sad the whole time?

I won’t say more because it will ruin the movie for those who want to watch it, but you get the idea.

General Comments on most commercial Lebanese movies and series:

Some of these comments apply to Cash Flow but there are far worse movies and TV series out there. I am sure you can relate to most of these points:

– Actors are always dressed up, even when they are shopping at the supermarket.
– They all own sports cars, especially the girls, and Range Rovers.
– They only eat sushi.
– They all live in villas with a huge garden.
– They don’t know how to yell or get angry normally.
– They are always loud.
– They speak in a weird (Mexican-Syrian-Lebanese) language.
– They are trying too hard the whole time.
– The roads they drive on are perfectly paved.
– The pubs and night clubs they go to all have disco balls.
– The jokes are cliché and not funny.
– George R. R. Martin couldn’t come up with a more complex plot.
– We still see people wearing sunglasses indoors.

All in all, The only reason why I enjoyed the bloopers was because the actors were being themselves and not faking it and that’s what they should be doing in the movie as well. Of course, this is my opinion and I’m sure a lot of people beg to differ.

Score: 2/5

“Gods of Egypt” Movie Renamed to “Kings of Egypt” in Lebanon

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gods via Jad

Does anyone know why Gerard Butler’s latest movie “Gods of Egypt” was renamed to “Kings of Egypt” in Lebanon? I first thought it was a mistake but then I noticed the same poster is being used online. If someone got offended by the title, this is freaking ridiculous!

I wonder if they are going to use a voice over to censor every time they say “Gods” in the movie and replace it with “Kings”. Now that would be hilarious, sad but hilarious!

Update: The distribution company apparently decided to rename it to “Kings of Egypt” for the Middle East release to avoid any censorship from the authorities or outrage from religious figures.

kings

Al Jadeed Making Fun of Al Jadeed

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jadeed

Did you know that aliens are mating with humans? Did you know that there are weird looking kids out there born with horns and stuff? Did it occur to you that a potential solution to the “spinster crisis” (عنوسه) is mating with aliens? Did you know that ex-Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev stated that there are tons of aliens out there?

Of course you didn’t because this is total rubbish and I wasn’t sure whether I should be laughing or not when I saw this report. However, Al Jadeed managed to make things worse by mocking its own report. Needless to say, there’s nothing wrong with making fun of other colleagues over a small mistake or a tongue slip, but to bash a report of your own TV due to its fabricated and non-verified facts is like slapping yourself in the face.

I just wish they had just removed the report and apologized.

[YouTube]

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