Category Archives: Movies & Television

Review: Godzilla 2014

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I am not a hard core Godzilla fan but I enjoy monster films and I was looking forward to watching an action-packed movie with cool effects and in 3D. Unfortunately though, I almost got bored half-way through Godzilla and lost interest in the other half. The story takes time to pick up, the action scenes were pretty cool but weren’t that numerous and were cut out sometimes for no reason and there’s a lot of focus on the human element. For example, you see the two monsters fighting for few seconds then we move to another scene and are shown the damaged and leveled buildings afterwards. Add to that a lot of cheesy and unnecessary scenes.

Moreover, I didn’t understand what was going on with Godzilla at some point, as he looked like he was napping a couple of times before resuming his fights and then does something unexpected and left unexplained (I won’t say more). As far as the actors are concerned, Bryan Cranston’s acting was brilliant but I wasn’t too impressed with the other characters. Added to that, I thought the movie was too long just like most 3D movies this year. It’s as if movie makers insist on adding a good 20 or 30 minutes of pointless and stupid nice looking 3D scenes (not even action scenes) just to make use of the technology.

All in all, I am quite surprised the movie got a 7.6 on IMDb. I’d give it a 6 or 5 tops.

Burj el Murr: Tower of Bitterness

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Burj el Murr was built in the 1970s yet has only been used as a sniper hideout during the Lebanese Civil War. After reading about the Holiday Inn hotel being auctioned off soon, I tried looking for updates on the Burj el Murr but found none. Instead I ended up on this dark 11 minute video done by Lina Ghaibeh on the Burj.

PS: Just ignore the warning and watch it on VIMEO.

Around 11,000 Lebanese Attended John Paul II and John XXIII’s Canonization In Rome

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140427-vatican-aerial-st-peters-1150a_f35cdef7c55db609174e08cbacaa9ddc Picture via NBC

It was reported that more than 11,000 Lebanese, including the President of the Republic Michel Sleiman and Maronite Patriarche Bechara El Rai, made the trip to Rome to attend the canonization of Pope John XXIII and John Paul II. While it’s true that Lebanese feel particularly close to John Paul II who visited Lebanon in 1997, I was a bit surprised by the numbers and by the media coverage in Lebanon. In fact, most of the TV channels in the past couple of days haven’t done anything except talk about the canonization of John Paul II and cover every aspect of the process.

Some Lebanese who made it there were even convinced that John Paul II is “a Lebanese saint, like Charbel and Rafka”. As long as it unites Lebanese and makes them happy, I guess there’s nothing wrong with that.

Haifa Wehbe’s Movie Pulled From UAE And Egypt Cinemas

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Apparently the movie has caused an uproar in Egypt because of the sexually provocative scenes as well as a young boy’s infatuation with the character played by Wehbi. As for the UAE, Halawet Al Rooh’ was the third most-watched film in UAE cinemas before it was removed from cinemas on Thursday morning.

Has anyone seen the movie yet in Lebanon? Any feedback?

Trailer: I’m Not A Martyr By Samah El Kadi

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Just like the 16-year-old student Mohammad el Chaar who died wasn’t looking to become a martyr, a lot of Lebanese weren’t willing to fight for any militia or any cause during the war and just wanted to live in peace with their families. I’m Not A Martyr is the story of a poet who tried to escape the Beirut war by taking shelter with his family in the mountains, only to find himself forced to join a local militia and take up arms.

I will be looking forward to seeing this movie. Based on what the press kit says, the release date will be around the start of next fall or winter.

Review: Heritages (2013)

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I went to watch Philippe Aractingi’s latest movie/documentary “Heritages” and it honestly didn’t live up to my expectations or at least to what I’ve heard and read about it. Heritages is basically a documentary on Aractingi’s family, where he shows in pictures and old footage how they’ve been moving for decades from one country to another and why. While I loved the amount of old pictures, old videos, breath-taking stories and impressive archive the director has, I wasn’t really sure what he was trying to prove or the final message he was trying to relay throughout the movie.

In fact, there were several powerful messages that I loved, specially when he went to meet the family of a good friend he lost during the war, when he sat down with his kids and showed them his old “toys” back from the war days or when he tries to describe to his kids what Achrafieh looked like at some point and how children used to play back then. I loved how he approached his children on the war issue and I hope all parents are as honest and straightforward as Philippe is. However, the last scene was a bit too cheesy and the whole “building nations and staying in Lebanon” thingy is not very convincing, specially that the director has been trying to come back relentlessly to Lebanon but in vain and odds are that his sons and daughter will probably leave Lebanon for the same reasons he did.

Don’t get me wrong as I am not blaming him or saying it’s a bad thing to leave. On the contrary, and just like his wife said, Lebanon is a country that people leave, not stay in and build a family, and that’s the unfortunate truth we all live in these days. Unfortunately, not all of us have the option to leave and even when we do have that choice, it’s not as easy as people might think it is because of several factors such as money or family or society maybe, but for me, that’s not a country I’d want my children to grow in at the moment and probably won’t be for the next 10 years or more. The scenery on that final scene was breath-taking though and reminds us of Lebanon’s beauty or whatever is left of it.

All in all, Heritages is a nice family documentary that I do recommend you watch as the director has done an impressive work collecting all his archive and linking between his grandparents’ stories and his.