I finally got to watch American Sniper yesterday and I don’t understand the controversy over it. Clint Eastwood’s Oscar-nominated movie tells the story of Chris Kyle, a Texan marksman who has become the most lethal sniper in US military history and portrays what an American sniper goes through during war. The movie may seem like an American propaganda for some and a tribute to American heroes by others, but there’s nothing really controversial about an American director bragging about US troops specially those who fought in Iraq.
If people were annoyed with the first scene where Chris Kyle kills a woman and a child trying to attack an army convoy, there’s another scene where Kyle is begging another kid to drop the RPG so he doesn’t have to shoot him. There’s no doubt that US troops killed innocent civilians in Iraq and that the US intervention in Iraq was a complete mess, but let’s not forget how terrorists are using kids and women to attack soldiers as well. Two days ago, I read an article on how ISIS militants are using “mentally challenged children as suicide bombers”.
Funnily enough, the only thing that surprised me was how highly rated the movie is as I didn’t think it was that good. The story is cool but the fight scenes are real quick and I got bored at some point. It’s probably Michael Moore’s tweet that made American Sniper the boxoffice phenomenon of 2015 so far.
A Lebanon-edition poster for Birdman
My cousin called me yesterday to see if I wanted to go watch Birdman with him. I told him I’ve already seen the movie but I am not sure if I liked it or not. He laughed at first but when he finished watching it, he replied back that he got the same feeling. Birdman is a strange, beautiful and unique black comedy. It’s a movie you’d want to watch 2 or 3 times just to make sure you didn’t miss anything, and where you have to let your imagination take over. The ending is also surprising and superb. Funnily enough, the only character standing between delusion and reality is Zach Galifianakis (Jake).
In all cases, even if you didn’t like the plot, you can’t but appreciate the outstanding performance and impressive acting of Michael Keaton and Edward Norton in the movie. I am planning to watch it a second time this coming weekend.
Update: Check out this amazing tribute by Magda Abu-Fadil from The Huffington Post.
Faten Hamama, an iconic Egyptian film star and the “Lady of the Arabic screen” has passed away yesterday at the age of 83. Faten Hamama lived in Beirut and London between 1966 and 1971 as she was being harassed by Egyptian intelligence during that time. She was awarded the “Al-Arz” decoration by the Lebanese President in 2001 and got an honorary doctorate from the American University of Beirut in 2013.
The above work is a tribute by my friend Corinne Martin, a Lebanese-Texan artist currently based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. You can check out her work [here].
Here’s an excerpt from an old movie showing Faten Hamama and Omar el Sharif:
Update: Here’s a [link] to the full video.
Chawki Matta, Houwayda, Rafic Najem and Madeleine Tabbar are in that movie. I saw somewhere in the comments that the guy singing at the end is Sami Clark (Grandizer song) but I can’t confirm. Does anyone know where we can download or buy this movie?
I was yesterday at the avant premiere of the latest Lebanese movie Yalla 3a 2belkoun and I personally thought the movie was good and a bit funny but it could have been much better. Yalla 3a 2belkoun (Single Married Divorced) is a Lebanese social comedy about four women in their late 30s who are pressured by society and their family to get married. Darine Hamze, Nada Abou Farhat, Marwa Khalil and Nibal Arakji play the four women and all of them are great choices in my opinion, specially Nada Abou Farhat who played her role of a confident and highly sexual woman to perfection and reminded me of Sex and The City’s Samantha Jones a bit. Mario Bassil is hilarious in the role he plays too.
The movie is meant to reflect the Lebanese society, specially women in their 30s who are struggling to get married or are happily single but are being pressured by their peers to tie the knot. There’s the highly sexual woman who’s afraid of commitment, the woman in love with a foreigner, the woman going out with a married man and the high-achieving doctor who’s always dating the wrong guys. I felt that there’s a lot of deja-vu in the first part of the movie and a lot of clichés that I didn’t want to see anymore, but the dramatic twist towards the middle was well-timed and the second part was far better as well as the end. Some of the clichés I am talking about is a woman driving around real fast in a cool car and people dancing awkwardly to disco music in a pub.
There’s one thing that I didn’t appreciate much and honestly couldn’t relate to, which is the way marriage and married couples in Lebanon are perceived. I know for a fact that there are a lot of divorces taking place but you get the impression that almost every married couple is unhappy in Lebanon which is not the case or at least not to my knowledge. If I look around me, most of the couples I know are happily married and I also know a lot of single men and women who are very satisfied with their life and having a blast. One thing I liked is the fact that they mentioned civil marriage in Lebanon and the need to legalize it.
All in all, I think Yalla 3a2belkon is a good movie that has a bit of everything and is worth watching and supporting. The movie will be out in Lebanese theaters on January 15.
PS: Wou yalla 3a 2belkoun if you are single and wish to get married.
Beirut+TV interviewed Mia live from her house in Florida and revealed the reason why Mia chose this career.
Meanwhile, check out Almaza’s smart take on this matter:
Those are the only things worth sharing about this whole Mia story to be honest. I don’t really care about her so-called “achievement” as there’s nothing to be proud of nor do I care about what she’s doing. I’ve heard about her 3 months ago and didn’t feel the need to share what she’s doing as I don’t see any pride in it. I am totally indifferent to this whole matter and I am just sharing this video and picture because they are funny.
I was actually enjoying Fares Karam’s interview on Hayda 7aki yesterday until he pulled a fully loaded pistol, emptied it and handed it to Adel Karam as a gift. I know that Fares Karam loves guns and all but I think it’s a very bad idea to let him carry a gun (and a loaded one) during the show.
PS: Skip to Minute 36:59 if you wanna see it.
Sex Tape is a lame movie but there’s one tiny detail that most of us have probably missed and that one of the blog’s readers noticed and sent to me. Roni emailed me this screenshot above showing Rob Lowe in a small portrait picture with Lebanese flags behind him taken at Minute 48.05. I have no idea where he took that picture or why it’s in the movie but it’s hilarious!
I asked our movie expert Anis and he told me Lowe was with James Jurdi, who’s Lebanese, in Pocket Listing but otherwise he can’t figure out how this picture landed there. I tried googling a bit and found that Lowe was in Beirut back in 2011 and he loved it here, so I am assuming he visited some official and took this picture.
PS: Spoiler Alert!
As you all probably know, The Interview was supposed to be released this Christmas but it got hacked and leading cinemas cancelled the screening of the movie. As a result, Sony decided to upload the movie online and it has officially become Sony’s most downloaded title of all time just few days after its release.
I downloaded the movie a couple of days ago and I must admit I loved every single bit of it! It’s smart, funny and a bit different from Seth Rogen’s previous movies. I loved the plot, the characters and the way the North Korean leader and the people are portrayed. I do understand North Korea’s anger though as their leader is mocked and killed at the end and I am honestly quite surprised the directors chose to call the North Korean dictator by his real name.
Nevertheless, I agree with President Obama (who was called a “reckless” and a “monkey” by North Korea) that Sony did a mistake by pulling the film after the cyber-attack and threats, but the good news is that everyone wants to watch the movie now.
I love the initiative and it’s a pretty cool Christmas stung from LBCI and 7kijelis but it’s not a new idea really as Westjet did almost the same thing last year with its real-time giving stunt. In all cases, if you ever get asked at the airport what you want for Christmas, make sure to ask for a million dollars in cash.