Category Archives: Movies & Television

There Has NEVER Been A Confirmed Case of Satanism in Lebanon

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1993

I was expecting another silly report when I first read the title but it turned out to be a decent report on satanism. I’m really glad MTV is finally making sense on that topic. Take aside the creepy intro, they actually explained that skulls are not satanic symbols and got a believer tattoo artist to explain that. Moreover, they clearly stated that music and satanism are not directly related and that rock, as well as trance and pop singers use satanism in their music.

More importantly, they stated there has NEVER been a confirmed case of satanism in Lebanon, which puts in question all previous reports and articles on satanism.

Just to remind you on how stupid this whole thing is, a Friday 13 themed party got mistaken two years ago for a devil worshiping party and people got arrested in the process. Also recently, a trance party got cancelled because some journalist wrote a stupid article claiming it’s a satanist party (Black Mass, Sacrifice rituals, recitation of prayers, digital drugs etc ..)

All in all, if you are still worried about attending devil worshiping parties, watch out for these signs:

1- Satanist parties usually last more than one night.
2- Arguile is forbidden there.
3- Jägermeister is their preferred alcohol.
4- They don’t play Ali el Deek songs.
5- They love blood so make sure you keep a bag of blood on you and spray it on them. If they enjoy it then run for your life!
6- They dance tirelessly for hours.
7- Guys don’t dress up and girls rarely wear heels.
8- Party venues are not fancy and consist of remote places or abandoned warehouses.
9- They don’t eat.
10- Digital drugs are distributed at midnight.
11- They hate cotillion.
12- Satanists like yoga.

[YouTube]

“Bennesbeh Labokra Chou?” Review From A Non Ziad Rahbani Fan

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I just got back from “Bennesbeh Labokra Chou?” premiere at Beirut Souks and the least I could say is that it was a beautiful experience. It felt great to finally watch the original footage and put a face to all these voices that people have been listening to for ages. I’m not even a Rahbani fan and I enjoyed it, so you can imagine how happy Ziad fans were. People were singing along with the songs, laughing at their favorite quotes and repeating some of the lines and they clapped more than once throughout the play. As far as the image and sound quality were concerned, I think M Media did an amazing job by reconstructing this play from bits and pieces. The play is 2 hours long, a bit too long for me, but more than good enough to be shown in theaters.

For those who are not familiar with the plot, it’s about a couple Zakaria (Ziad Rahbani) and Souraya (Nabila Zeitouni) who decided to move to Beirut and work together in a trendy bar in Hamra to provide for their family and improve their social status. However, the couple’s ambitions are thwarted by the high cost of living in Beirut and Souraya starts going out with customers to get some extra cash. Sadly enough, things have become even worse 35 years later and more and more Lebanese families are struggling to stay above the poverty line and provide for their families.

najib I finally got the “Bet7ebba ya Najib” line

One of the most powerful acts in the play was the last one where Zakaria is fed up with the situation and lets his frustration out. It’s a whole different thing when you see it live rather than hear it on a radio and Ziad’s acting was quite impressive in that part. Speaking of which, I loved how genuine the acting was in general. The characters weren’t shouting and faking it like most Lebanese actors do these days and it felt like they were all having fun and just being themselves. My favorite character was Joseph Sakr, I always admired this man and listened to his songs and seeing him perform “live” was a dream come true for me! (Check out the small video I shared [here])

All in all, Bennesbeh Labokra Chou? is a must-see whether you’re a Rahbani fan or not. It’s all about the experience rather than the play itself and if you enjoy looking back at old footage like myself, you will love it even more!

PS: On another note, and just like I mentioned back in November, a second Rahbani play “Film Ameriki Tawil” will be in cinemas soon.

Netflix Finally In Lebanon: Here’s How You Get It

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netflix2

I was few meters away from the Netflix keynote that was taking place at CES 2016 when they announced they are finally launching their service globally to over 130 new countries (except China) around the world. The expansion included the Middle East and Lebanon of course. The service actually went live during the keynote which is pretty cool!

Since I’m not in Lebanon right now, I cannot check what’s available but I’ve been told not all the series are available yet. In fact, Netflix mentioned that they will be adding throughout 2016 “31 new and returning original series, two dozen original feature films and documentaries”.

How To Get It?
netflix1 (2)

It’s really quite simple.
– Go to netflix.com
– Choose your plan
– Enter your credit card details during signup. First month is for free so you won’t be billed for now.
– You will probably get an SMS with a small charge, which is an authorization check that you won’t be charged for.

What Are The Plans Available?
The plans are identical to the ones in the US:

– Basic at $7.99: You get to watch on 1 screen and HD is not available.
– Normal at $9.99: You get to watch on two screens at the same time, HD is available.
– Premium at $11.99: This plan will get u Ultra HD content on up to 4 screens simultaneously.

Will it affect my internet usage?
Our internet is still not so good in Lebanon, and the real problem is not only with the speeds but the data caps which are very low. I recently signed up for Ogero’s unlimited 2Mbps service which costs me $50 and the speed is almost stable at around 1.6 1.7Mpbs which should be good enough to stream Netflix videos and TV series.

In terms of consumption, “Watching movies or TV shows on Netflix uses about 1 GB of data per hour for each stream of standard definition video, and up to 3 GB per hour for each stream of HD video”, so it really depends on how frequently you will be using Netflix.

If you look up the data usage settings for your account, you can actually reduce the amount of bandwidth used while watching Netflix by selecting the lowest plan which consumes around 300MB per hour:

Low (0.3 GB per hour)
Medium (SD: 0.7 GB per hour)
High (Best video quality, up to 3 GB per hour for HD and 7 GB per hour for Ultra HD)
Auto (Adjusts automatically to deliver the highest possible quality, based on your current Internet connection speed)

Will NetFlix Be Censoring Any Content?

I don’t have a clear answer for that but as far as I know, Netflix doesn’t censor any content. We will have to see though what will happen if a movie or a TV series that’s on Netflix gets banned in Lebanon.

All in all, I’m still in Vegas so hopefully by next week I will have a more elaborate post on Netflix. Till then, netflix and chill (If your internet connections allows you too)!

Ghena Bou Hamdan: The Young Syrian Girl Singing For Syria’s Children Of War

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ghena

Back in the late 70s and early 80s, famous Lebanese child singer Remi Bandali captured Arab hearts by singing “3touna el toufouli” and “Imani A7la Iman” to a war-torn Lebanon. Over 35 years later, Ghena Bou Hamdan did the same by bursting into tears while singing Bandali’s “Give Us Our Childhood” song on the new MBC show “The Voice Kids”. Ghena was carrying a message of peace and hope for her home country and singing for all of Syria’s Children of war. Syria has become the toughest and most dangerous country in the world to be a child and the Syrian War has left millions of children deprived of their rights to survival, health and nutrition.

There are over 14 million children who can’t go to school because of wars in the Arab World, and a lot of children are unfortunately losing their innocence due to the war. We see hundreds of them begging and selling flowers on the streets instead of being in school, others are being sexually exploited or even recruited to become child soldiers.

These kids are the forgotten victims of the horrific war and they need every help they could get. I hope Ghena’s performance will help shed more light on this situation and get these innocent children much-needed assistance.

[YouTube]

LebaneseBlogs Awards & BlogBaladi Featured On MTV Prime Time News & LBC

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bbmtv

The LebaneseBlogs stats and awards were featured yesterday on MTV & LBC. Jerry Ghazal who runs the Connected segment on MTV spoke around the awards for almost 2 minutes right after the News and summed them up pretty nicely.

You can watch it here:

[YouTube]

My friend and blogger Ralph Aoun (BlogOfTheBoss) featured the LebaneseBlogs awards on LBCI and stated the winners for every list. Congrats to you Ralph and thank you for the kind words!

BB LBC

[YouTube]

On another note, the Uf Chou Laziz guys congratulated the winning bloggers in their own special way.

uf

All in all, I’m glad that blogs and bloggers are being recognized and featured on prime TVs in Lebanon and I hope we will see more and more blogs in 2016.

The Funniest Interview I’ve Seen This Year on Lebanese TVs

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tawk2 He actually compared himself to Britney Spears LOL!

This is beyond hilarious. A prank call was being circulated between some guy called Elie Tawk and a security officer who was threatening him for insulting a Lebanese MP and Joe Maalouf somehow managed to interview Tawk.

Listen to the interview, you’ll laugh your ass off, trust me!

[YouTube]

PS: MP Kanaan denied that he was filing a lawsuit against this guy or threatening him.

After 35 Years, You Will Finally Be Able To Watch (Not Just Listen) To Ziad Rahbani Plays!

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ziad

How many of you have been listening to Ziad Rahbani plays for the past 20 years or more? How many times have you visualized the scenes in your head while listening to the plays? How awesome would it be to actually watch the original footage and put a face to all these voices you have been listening to?

Well M Media is finally making it happen and you will be able to watch two Ziad Rahbani plays in theaters starting Jan 2016. The first play that will roll out is “Bennesbeh Labokra Chou?” and you can already watch its trailer [here]. The plays will be available on [M’s online platform] afterwards along with other movies and plays.

ziad1

I’m not a Ziad Rahbani fan but I’m really excited about this project, because these plays were all part of our culture and still are, and because the original scenes were recorded in bits and pieces and reconstructing them audio and video took several months of hard work. I have no idea how these plays looked like and a lot of Rahbani fans were too young at the time, so watching the original footage is going to blow their minds away! Two of my friends are already going crazy about it and can’t wait till January.

I am still not sure in which theater “Bennesbeh Labokra Chou?” will be playing but I will have further details next week for sure. Stay tuned 😀

How Lebanese TV Reporters Covered The Burj Barajneh Bombings

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haidar

Al-Manar TV Reporter Ali Rasslan decided to visit Haidar, a three-year boy who got injured in the Burj Barajneh blast and ask him about his dead parents. The reporter was clearly aware that Haidar was orphaned after both his mother and father died in the explosion that took place on Thursday in Bourj al-Barajneh, yet he thought it would be a smart idea to visit him at the hospital while he’s laying in bed injured and ask him about his parents’ whereabouts.

To make things even worse, he started by asking the poor kid who’s seriously injured and still traumatized from the blast if he’s ok! Eh walla he’s doing just great. He just survived a terrible bombing, he may have lost his right eye, he just lost both his parents and is laying in a hospital bed instead of playing with his friends or watching TV. He’s having the time of his life I’m sure!

Needless to say, most of the TV reporters here in Lebanon cover the events in an unethical and inappropriate way. This video just happened to be gone viral and caught my attention. Nada Andraos was asking one of the mothers if she saw her dead child’s body. Georges Saliby was asking a kid if he has anything to tell his deceased parent at the worst possible time etc …

I think the Lebanese media needs to take lessons from the French and watch how unfortunate incidents are covered properly.

Check out the video [here].

Here’s a video showing MTV interviewing Haidar and another child Mohammad at the hospital as well (Starting Minute 7:00)

[YouTube]

And here’s Al-Jadeed report (Starting Minute 8)

[YouTube]

Review: “Spectre” Is Fun But Slightly Disappointing

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spectre

I enjoyed “Skyfall” and was looking forward to the latest installment “Spectre”. The trailer was very promising but the movie failed to impress. I don’t know if I had unreasonably high expectations for this installment following the success of Skyfall but I honestly got a bit bored in the last hour and lost interest in the plot.

Spectre did start promisingly with Bond in Mexico City climbing over rooftops, assassinating terrorists, running from explosions, finding himself in a spinning helicopter and causing an international incident. However, the actions scenes that followed weren’t that impressive and could have been executed better especially the car chases. Even the main seduction scenes were disappointing with Monica Belluci showing very briefly and Léa Seydoux not worthy of a Bond girl in my opinion.

As far as the plot is concerned, it’s way too complicated and can easily confuse those who are not familiar with Craig’s previous three installments and old Bond movies as well. In fact, the filmmakers were juggling modernity and nostalgia, just like they did with Skyfall, but it didn’t work out this time. Also, Craig’s character didn’t really help and his lack of humor and emotions remains problematic.

All in all, I think the problem is that Spectre had a lot of everything, from villains, locales, explosions, dialogues. It has all the ingredients but it’s not as fun and entertaining as it should be. It feels like Daniel Craig has had enough of Bond and the last scene where he walks away with his new found love (Bond in love?) is a clear sign of things to come.

Spectre remains a fun and entertaining mid-level Bond movie but I think it’s time we get a new actor to make James Bond relevant again. Quoting Vulture, “the result is fun, even if it’s a mishmash, leaving you shaken, not stirred.”

PS: I hated the song by the way.

bond

Review: 3.5/5