The 2013 Oscars Recap. Jinni Style.

February 25th, 2013 by Uri

So, the Awards season has come and gone, leaving us with some smiling faces holding golden statues; and now it’s time for a quick recap of the major categories and trends.

Best Film – “Don’t Go Fully Period”

Dealing with state affairs and basing your film on a true story are good starting points on your journey towards the coveted golden bald man, but know this: you better not stray too far into history, since in the last ten years, no best picture winner took place in a time earlier than the  20th century. covering these three points and adding a topical touch by dealing with Iran, it’s no wonder Argo took home the big prize (portraying Hollywood producers as life savers probably didn’t hurt either.)

Best Director – 3D, Done Right, For A Change

Granted, Life of Pi isn’t as groundbreaking as Avatar, nevertheless, it is the first 3D film to win an Oscar for direction, and a much deserved one, since Ang Lee and cinematographer Claudio Miranda (who also won an Oscar for his work on this film) managed to create one of the most elegant and visually mesmerizing films in recent memory.

Best Screenplay – Festive Fifty

Quentin Tarantino celebrates half a century next month, so the academy for motion picture arts and sciences decided to give him an early birthday gift for Django Unchained’s controversial screenplay. The fact that it’s also his biggest blockbuster to date probably helped as well.

Tarantino-Oscar

Best Actor – The Sure Thing

In the words of the great, incarcerated Wesley Snipes

Just replace “roulette” with “Oscar bets” and “black” with “Daniel Day-Lewis with facial hair”, this time, taking the prize ,as expected, for portraying the United States’ most beloved head of state.

Best Actress – Life imitates Art (or at least imitates SNL)

It’s almost impossible to win when you’re not acting in a serious film, and we’re not talking just about gross out comedies, even semi serious films are usually shunned. However, playing a troubled, or better yet, mentally unstable character can greatly improve your chances. No wonder Jennifer Lawrence was so convincing in this Saturday Night Live sketch.


Best Supporting Actress – The Other Sure Thing

The old age maxim, that in order to win an Oscar for acting you’ve got to play a suffering character (and preferably while degrading your physical appearance,) worked well for Anne Hathaway. In fact, it looked so calculated and worked so well it even spawned a pre-Oscar parody (and hats off to you, Emma Fitzpatrick.)

Best Supporting Actor – A New Winning Formula

Christoph Waltz + Racism = Oscar Winner? Yes, it does sound far fetched, but it has already proven itself three years ago in Inglorious Basterds and again this year in Django Unchained. It looks like the Tarantino/Waltz duo should brush up on their Anti-Samoan racial slur skills for the 2016 Academy Awards. To be honest, how can he lose with such a great theme song (lifted from a little known Spaghetti Western from 1971)?

Best Animated Film – Pixar’s Home Advantage

In what has become an inner Disney Derby between Brave and Wreck-It Ralph, the red headed young heroine had the upper hand, since in the last ten years the only Pixar produced films not to win an Oscar where the mediocre Cars and Cars 2.

Best Documentary – Odd (Sugar) Man Out

Being the only one of the five nominated films to not deal with a social issue, but rather chronicle the quest for finding a presumably dead legendary musician, Searching For Sugar Man won the thing that eluded it’s hero – real time acclaim and recognition.

That’s all for these Oscars, folks; we’ll leave you with this year’s wistful Animated Short winner:

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Cracking the Genetic Code of the Oscars (infographic)

February 18th, 2013 by Ben

With the announcement of the 2013 Oscar winners right around the corner, we’ve decided to crack the genetic code of an Oscar winning movie. We’ve compiled the Oscar winning titles of the main categories throughout the 21st Century (best picture, actor, actress and director, from 2000 until today), analyzed and cross referenced their genes according to the Jinni Entertainment Genome, and compared them with the genes of this year’s nominees. The following infographic displays our findings:

The Genes of an Oscar Winning Movie - by Jinni.com

The Genes of an Oscar Winning Movie - by Jinni.com

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Your Guide to On Screen Economics

March 25th, 2012 by Ran

The end of March is time for annual fiscal reports in many countries around the world. Companies and corporations submit (hopefully truthful) reports of losses or profits that will determine how much they will pay in taxes, or how many loopholes they will jump through. Their reports will also determine whether they will continue to receive loans from banks or other financial institutions. Incidentally, on this day in 1957 the European Economic Community was created, grouping Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and Netherlands under one single umbrella economy, which was later expanded to the European Union in 1993. Today, 55 years later, the question about the future of this union is what everybody, and not just in Europe, is talking about (especially given Europe’s economic situation, and the world’s in general, after the 2008 financial crisis.) The economy sucks wherever you are, whether it’s in Europe, the US or Asia (in Africa, nothing’s changed, the situation has been, and still is, terrible). At the same time, capitalism is both the new religion, and a despicable one. If you’re feeling lost in all the mess and confusion that’s ruling the world of finance, you’re not alone. Even the experts are not bold (nor stupid) enough to predict what will happen to tomorrow’s stocks or gas prices. The globalization process has connected everyone to everything, and the relations of cause and effect are now ever more complex. Lucky for you, I have compiled a list of titles that will help you make sense of (or get mad at) the economic world. From informative and thought provoking via touching to exciting and entertaining, here they are:

1. The Corporation (2003) – This is the first of a trilogy of documentary films that I consider to be essential films, which could easily replace any macro-economics course. They explain how we got to where we are today. The premise is an 1886 Supreme court decision that gave corporations many of the rights people have. So the filmmakers set out to profile what type of a person a corporation would be. It’s sort of the reverse “what kind of animal are you?” game. The answer is pretty bleak and disturbing – a psychopath. Although it was made in 2003, the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling from 2010, that gave corporations and unions the right to spend unlimited political money (just like you and I would) makes it ever more relevant. It’s a pretty biased film (to the left, if you’re wondering), but one conclusion is unquestionable: Money in politics is bad.

2. Food, Inc. (2008) – This documentary will show you the effects of the industrial revolution and capitalism on the food industry. You will understand that making money and making food don’t really go together after this eye opening and very thorough documentary. The fact that health food is the province of the rich makes the saying “It’s better to be rich and healthy than poor and sick” ever so true and a bit less funny, but we do get a glimmer of hope towards the end.

3. Inside Job (2010) – Both chapters lead us to the grand finale – the 2008 financial meltdown. you will get mad, you’ll get depressed, you’ll feel helpless… all the things a good documentary should make you feel. The fact that no one really paid the price or acknowledges responsibility for the abuse of the financial system, and that everyone just wants to keep going like nothing happened, makes the first movie’s claims so very accurate (one of the traits of the psychopath is the inability to feel guilt).

4. Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005) – This is a guide on how to go from being named “America’s Most Innovative Company” for six years in a row (1996-2001) to going bankrupt in 24 days. Many companies go bankrupt, few do it in such a dramatic fashion. All of this is thanks to the magic of deregulation. It’s a tale of corruption, greed, hubris and human nature. Thanks to filmmaker Alex Gibney, bankruptcy and economics never looked as exciting or as funny (in a sad and infuriating way). Maybe too funny and exciting, as 2008′s crisis proved the lesson wasn’t learned.

5. Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer (2010) – You might ask ‘Isn’t Eliot Spitzer the lawyer guy who resigned after admitting to frequenting prostitutes? How is that relevant to the economy?’ This precise question is answered in this clever documentary. This is a story of a meteoric rise to the top, and subsequent and painful downfall of one of the most promising politicians of this century (who exposed Enron’s corruption). His ambition ultimately did him in. He thought he was invincible, going after corporate crimes and Wall Street corruption. He was a relentless reformer, that got things done, but he flew too close to the sun. Exposing his sexual vice was enough to melt his wings… He is such a charismatic and complex character that you will be captivated throughout this film.

6. Margin Call (2011) – If the documentary genre is too much for you, here you will find a fictional account surrounding the 24 hours leading to the financial meltdown of 2008. It’s a thriller, and its goal is more to entertain than to inform, but the cast is very good (Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons and Zachary Quinto), and while you know pretty much what happens you’ll be on the edge of your seat.

7. Better Off Ted (2009 – 2010) – After I depressed the hell out of you with those documentaries, let’s look at the corporate world in a humorous way. Jay Harrington and Portia de Rossi headline this workplace sitcom about a the on-goings in a wacky corporation. It’s a great satire, and De Rossi steals the show by perfectly embodying the spirit (or lack thereof) of the modern corporation, with obvious lack of emotion or basic social skills. It’s a shame it was cancelled after only two seasons.

8. Mondays in the Sun (2002) – Set in Spain way before the EU crisis, this drama about unemployment couldn’t be more relevant today, as the unemployment rate has recently reached more than 22%. Spanish heavyweights Javier Bardem and Luis Tosar play struggling working class people in the port town if Vigo. It’s an intimate portrayal of the harsh reality of people dealing with their plight from pride, proving men to be helpless and useless, and it is dealt with great sincerity. You will not stay indifferent to this film. Today’s Spanish youth doesn’t even have the memories of the good old days to hold on to.

los lunes al sol

9. Battle in Seattle (2008) – History repeats itself. This movie depicts the 1999 chaotic protests against the World Trade Organization meetings that were scheduled there, accusing it of widening the gap between rich and poor. Sounds familiar? Today’s Occupy Wall Street movement’s claims are very similar, so things don’t really change (sigh). What was planned as a peaceful demonstration soon deteriorated into chaos and mayhem in the streets. The violent outburst undermined the activists’ agenda, just like every violent incident by protesters today hinders their message and effort.

10. V for Vendetta (2006) – If you’ve followed the news in the past year, chance is you’ve seen the mask of V. This anti-hero became one of the symbols of the Occupy Wall Street Movement, and many organizations claiming to fight the system. Although the movie does not really deal with the economy, the rebellious attitude has crossed over to the economic protest, proving without a doubts that the cliché is right: money does make the world… (go round, fight, unite, anything really).

v for vendetta

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10 Great New Spring TV Shows You Should Be Watching

April 13th, 2011 by Barak

The spring is the transition period between winter and summer. The spring season is identified with ideas of rebirth, renewal and regrowth. And also with many new TV shows! If the change of season has you confused, and you don’t even know what to watch on TV anymore, here are 10 new TV shows you should at least check out:

1. Game of Thrones

It’s Like: A more violent Lord of the Rings

The most buzzed spring TV series comes from HBO and promises quite a lot. Judging from the 1st episode it’s not going to disappoint. Creepy creatures killing people in the snow, and someone’s head being cut off –that’s only from the first 10 minutes of the show…I think it’s yet another sure hit for HBO.

2. The Borgias

It’s Like: The Tudors, but with the pope as the lead character.

This show’s main character is a corrupt pope that bribed his way to the papacy, a pope that sleeps with women (just not with his wife) and that has a son who is a murderer. Stylized and epic, with many corrupt deeds, manipulations and sex, this Showtime series is one of the best to come out this spring.

3. The Killing
It’s Like: Forbrydelsen (the Danish series on which it is based), Murderland and Above Suspicion.

It’s a slow and gloomy show (about a murder mystery), and the protagonists aren’t very charismatic, but it still manages to keep you interested and wondering: Who did it? Since this series comes from the AMC network that produced Mad Men, Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead and Rubicon, you have to give The Killing a chance.

4. Chaos
It’s Like: A funnier Covert Affairs.

The first episode of the series that deals with a newcomer to the CIA was very humorous; the second one was more serious. The change in the series attitude didn’t spoil the fun for me, and I thought that both the first two episodes were very good. I do hope that it will turn out to be more in the spirit of Spies Like Us and Knight & Day and less like Salt and Spy Game.

5. Camelot
It’s Like: The family oriented TV series Merlin, but with a lot of sex and attractive people in the nude.

A very stylized TV series, and in the tradition of its network Starz (Spartacus: Blood and Sand, The Pillars of the Earth, Spartacus: Gods of the Arena) it is also violent and sexual. Watch it if you like the king Arthur/knights of the round table story, and also if you like Eva Green (and if you don’t like her, and you are a man, you will after you’ll watch the 1st episode).

6. The Runaway
It’s Like: A combination of This Is England 86 and Animal Kingdom.

This series is based on a book written by Martina Cole, and just like the last series that was based on a book she wrote (The Take), this one also deals with crime and gangsters. The main difference is that the two main characters here are two teenagers – a boy who gets dragged into a life of crime, and a girl whose life gets turned upside down after she stabs a man who was hitting her prostitute mother.

7. The Kennedys
It’s Like: The Special Relationship, but much less flattering to the main characters.

This show raised quite a few controversies, and it’s no wonder: Many American symbols are presented here in a very unflattering manner. The Kennedys, Frank Sinatra and even Marilyn Monroe are depicted in ways that will make them rollover in their graves.

8. Monroe
It’s Like: The British version of House, but not as good.

When I first heard that there’s a new British TV series starring James Nesbitt that’s supposed to be quite similar to House I was very excited. After watching the first few episodes I have to say it’s really not up there with House, but it’s still better than most other medical shows.

9. Mildred Pierce
It’s Like: The movie Mildred Pierce from 1945, but much more stylized.

Kate Winslet is the star of another HBO period piece that has a high production value. It’s slow, gloomy and melodramatic; It offers strong acting, especially from Winslet, and a convincing 30’s period feel. I think this show is suited mainly for female viewers.

10. The Paul Reiser Show
It’s Like: Judging from the shows preview it’s somewhere between Curb Your Enthusiasm, Men of a Certain Age and Louie!

A new comedy  with Paul Reiser playing a version of himself, a bit like Curb Your Enthusiasm and Louie, but more buddies centered. It also reminds me of a lighter Men of a Certain Age. If it’s half as good as the three series I mentioned then it should be no.1 on this list. The first episode premiers tomorrow.

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Gene 5 – Chicken Soup for the Incorrigible Pessimist’s Soul

August 19th, 2010 by Guest

Want to submit your own Gene 5 piece? More info at the end of the post.

Angie J. Han is a Brooklyn-based writer who likes thinking about pop culture, especially films, television, and how feminism relates to both. You can find her work at AngieHan.

I’d consider myself a very happy, cheerful person. But in spite of this – or perhaps a therapist would say because of this? – I’ve got a thing for movies with the “gloomy” and “unfulfillment” genes. My favorite films feature protagonists filled with longing and regret, and usually end badly. They’re not always easy to watch, but I find them satisfying in a way that the candy-coated optimism of Slumdog Millionaire could never hope to be.

1. McCabe & Mrs. Miller

Director Robert Altman takes familiar Western conventions – a larger-than-life hero, a beautiful hooker, miles of empty frontier and a can-do spirit – and turn them into a moody, bitter meditation on how the West was really won.

2. The Fountain

Yes, it’s a mess. But give in to the experience, and you’ll find that it’s an elegantly imagined, enchantingly told mess. Hugh Jackman’s arresting performance anchors three melancholy love stories that intersect through time and imagination.

3. The Wrestler

Mickey Rourke made his comeback with this crushing story of a has-been wrestler facing his twilight years with regret and disappointment. You know those uplifting tales of people who turn their lives around armed with nothing but determination and a smile? This isn’t one of those.

4. The Last Temptation of Christ

Who could be more unfulfilled than a man who had to sacrifice the best parts his life for the greater good? Martin Scorsese strips away the mythology surrounding the son of God, revealing a complicated – and undeniably human – man facing the harshest decision of his life.

5. In the Mood for Love

Wong Kar-Wai’s masterpiece of sexual tension plays out in the things that don’t happen, rather than the things that do. Sumptuous cinematography helps create an atmosphere heady with desire, while stars Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung soulfully attempt to not seduce each other.

What’s your favorite gene (search term) on Jinni? Is there one, or several combined, that especially expresses your tastes – or your life? Email us at bloggers@jinni.com with a piece about your favorite gene and the 5 movies or shows that express it for you (200-500 words; or you can present your ideas in images/video), and we’ll publish our Gene 5 selections on a rolling basis.

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