November’s Finest

November 5th, 2014 by Asaf_and _Barak

november

In case you haven’t noticed, November is already here which means it’s time to see what’s worth seeing this month.  Some major blockbusters are heading our way plus Oscar wannabe contenders. On the TV section we have Lilyhammer in a new season plus  Katherine Heigl is back for another round on TV. Let’s see who are Novembers’ finest!

Movies:

Interstellar – For those looking for futuristic and stylized adventures.

What? Perhaps the most talked-about film of the year. Christopher Nolan shows us what it would be like when mankind is forced to leave earth. A group of explorers are seeking for a new home for humankind on distant planets. Will they find one safely?

When?  Nov. 7

Who? Matthew McConaughey is bound to continue the lucky streak he’s on. Along with him are (take a long breath) Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Matt Damon, Wes Bently, Casey Affleck, Topher Grace, Ellen Burstyn, John Lithgow and Nolans’ lucky charm – Michael Caine. Nolan wrote the script (almost as usual) with his brother Jonathan.

Foxcatcher – for those looking for critically acclaimed, tense, sport-dramas.

What? Based on a true story, Foxcatcher tells the story of Olympic wrestler Mark Schultz who was pushed to the edge by his sponsor with disturbing consequences.

When? Nov. 14

Who? The hardly recognizable Steve Carell in an unlikely role, Channing Tatum as Mark Schultz, Mark Ruffalo as his brother plus Sienna Miller and Vanessa Redgrave. Directed by Bennet Miller (Capote, Moneyball).

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 – for those can’t wait to see how this exciting and suspenseful adventure continues.

What? Well you know what it’s all about right? Future Dystopia, Political Corruption, Revolution, Survival and one young hero to fight it all.

When? Nov. 21

Who? As usual, Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, newcomer Julianne Moore, the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jeffrey Wright, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland, Toby Jones and Jena Malone. Directed by Francis Lawrence who directed the previous title.

The Imitation Game -  For those fascinated with WW2 and its’ backstage heroes.

What? Benedict Cumberbatch is amazing when he’s playing brilliant characters. This time he’s the prodigy mathematician Alan Turing who led the mission of cracking the German code during the war and almost lost himself during the process.

When? Nov. 21

Who? Along Benedict are Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode and Mark Strong. Directed by Morten Tyldum (The critically acclaimed Headhunters).

Horrible Bosses 2 – for anyone who ever fantasized about getting even with his obnoxious boss.

What? Three years after getting even with their bosses, 3 buddies Kurt, Nick and Dale are now their own bosses. They have a new invention and they find an investor who’ll join their business venture. But… when it turns out their investor stole their invention, it’s time to pay back again.

When? Nov. 28

Who? As in the original – Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day, Jennifer Aniston, Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx with newcomers Christoph Waltz and Chris Pine. Directed by Sean Anders (Sex Drive, That’s My Boy).

TV shows:

Olive Kitteridge – For fans of powerful dramas with a strong female presence.

What? A drama about a seemingly quiet small town with a lot of things happening under the surface. The story spans 25 years and focuses on a couple and their son.

When?  Nov. 2

Who? An impressive cast includes Frances McDormand, Richard Jenkins, Bill Murray, Zoe Kazan and Peter Mullan. The series is directed by the acclaimed director Lisa Cholodenko.

The Game – For people who enjoy clever, atmospheric and maybe slow burning espionage plots.

What? The head of MI5, sets up a secret committee to investigate the existence of a Soviet plot code named Operation Glass, whose existence was revealed by a leaving KGB officer.

When? Nov. 5

Who? Starring Tom Hughes and Brian Cox.

The Missing – For anyone who liked Taken, but thought it needed a lot more drama and less action.

What? Follows Tony, a man devastated by the kidnapping of his young son, Oliver, during a family vacation in France. He becomes obsessed, unable to accept that his child may be dead and never stops searching for him.

When? Nov. 15, 2014

Who? James Nesbitt, Frances O’Connor and Tcheky Karyo star.

State of Affairs – For people that enjoy suspenseful political dramas.

What? About a top CIA analyst and presidential advisor – a keeper of the nation’s secrets… with a big secret of her own.

When? Nov. 17, 2014

Who? Katherine Heigl stars alongside Alfre Woodard. The show was created by Joe Carnahan who also writes for The Blacklist.

Lilyhammer – For the many fans of the show who enjoyed the 1st 2 seasons, and for people who missed this brilliant show and want to join fashionably late.

What? In season three, Roar travels to Brazil to meet his Internet bride from a Rio favela. Blinded by love, he finds himself tangled up with the law and it’s up to Frank and Torgeir to make things right.

When? Nov. 21, 2014

Who? Joining Steven Van Zandt are guest stars Bruce Springsteen, Michael Badalucco and Tony Sirico.

 

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In Memory of Alain Resnais

March 2nd, 2014 by Ran

Alain Resnais Collage

Legendary French filmmaker Alain Resnais passed away today at the age of 92. He was known mostly for idiosyncratic, clever and contemplative films that deal with memory, human nature and the subjectivity of truth, but his filmography is surprisingly diverse. He was a very influential figure for the French New Wave movement of the late 50s, although he did not consider himself as a part of it.

After directing mostly documentaries and short films in the 1930s and 1940s, his breakthrough came in 1959 with the controversial Hiroshima, mon amour, which tells a brief love affair on the background of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, using groundbreaking methods of flashbacks and nonlinear storytelling. Last Year in Marienbad in 1961 and The War Is Over in 1966 continued this obsession with the nature of memory.

In the late 90s Resnais developed another passion – musicals, inspired by Dennis Potter’s The Singing Detective. Same Old Song from 1997 and Not on the Lips from 2003 are the most notable of this new trend, in which his second wife Sabine Azema became a prominent figure. He was an active film maker until he passed away, and his new film Aimer, boire et chanter is about to be released later this month in France.

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And the Oscar Goes to…

February 20th, 2014 by Barak

This year’s Oscars are coming up, and we decided to try and analyze the nominees and determine the winners while using the abilities of our entertainment genome. So, what type of movies are nominated this year and what history is trying to tell us regarding the winners in each major category? (Possible) answers below.

Time and Place

Only 1 movie among the 9 that were nominated for the best picture award takes place in the U.S. and in contemporary times (Nebraska). As for the others, some went back 20-170 years (The Wolf of Wall Street, Dallas Buyers Club, American Hustle, 12 Years A Slave), others are contemporary, but went far away from American soil, to sea and even to space (Captain Philips and Gravity), and one movie miraculously time traveled into the (very?!) near future (Her). Philomena takes place in the 21st century, but a significant part of it takes place in the last century, and it also takes place in the U.S., but mostly in Ireland and England. Bottom line – the best contemporary American movies don’t take place in contemporary America.

The 3 Groups of Movies in the Best Picture Category

9 different movies are nominated for the best picture award, but with the help of our genome we’ll try and prove that the 9 movies can be easily divided into 3 different types instead of 9: The first and largest group: Touching and contemplative movies about human nature, obsession, human relationship, mind and soul and estrangement. Her, Philomena, Nebraska and Dallas Buyers Club all belong to this group. The second group tells Captivating survival stories about trying to survive in perilous situations while being confined and afraid. Gravity, Captain Philips and Twelve Years a Slave are the 3 movies that fit the description. The third and last group include two Humorous and clever crime movies about cons and scams, dishonesty and corruption. American Hustle and The Wolf of Wall Street.

Predictions

Using genetic stats from the last 20 years we’ll try to determine the winners in the 6 major categories:

Best Picture

Dominant genes among the winners in this category during the last 20 years include: drama, captivating, life is a bitch, period, 20th century, mind and soul, bleak, stylized, emotional, unfulfillment, society, based on a true story and rough. This is a reward that’s not given very lightly, so it’s not surprising that the typical winner here is also far from being light. Actually, they tend to be very heavy, just ask Crash, The English Patient, Schindler’s List and Million Dollar Baby.

The genome predicts: 12 Years A Slave

Best Actor

Dominant genes from the last 20 years: Touching, contemplative, psychological, hopes, sincere, human spirit, friendship, biography, determination and misfits. In this category sincere and touching psychological biographies that celebrate the triumph of the human spirit tend to win. The past winners from the last two decades Philadelphia, Crazy Heart, Forrest Gump, Milk, Life is Beautiful, Shine, Lincoln and Ray are all good examples. 12 Years a Slave and Dallas Buyers Club seem like the ideal movies to win in this category, so who will it be, Chiwetel Ejiofor or Matthew McConaughey?

The genome predicts: Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club.

Best Actress

Dominant genes from the last 20 years: gender,  human nature, dishonesty, society, family relations, witty, couple relations, love and romance, gloomy,  Touching , humorous and redemption. Winners from the past include witty and humorous films about couple and family relations like As Good As It Gets, The Silver Linings Playbook, Erin Brokovich and Shakespeare in Love, and also gloomy movies that deal with society, gender and dishonesty issues like Boys Don’t Cry, The Iron Lady and Monster. There’s one movie that might be a combination of these two types of movies…

The Genome Predicts: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine.

Best Directing

Dominant genes from the last 20 years: Blockbuster, Hollywood tone, death, epic, stylized, escapades, survival, human spirit, atmospheric, suspenseful, heroes, against the odds. It seems that there isn’t really a place for a low budget indie film winner in this category. This category is looking for a flashy, great to look at, grand movie that includes plenty of heroics and adventures. Life of Pi, The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, Braveheart and also Titanic and Forrest Gump were all such movies; and they won.

The Genome predicts: Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity.

Best Writing – Original Screenplay

Dominant genes from the last 20 years: couple relations, humorous , independent, stylized, witty, mind and soul, clever,  love and romance, sentimental, date night, offbeat, gloomy. Suddenly the tone got much lighter. If you want to win Best Original Screenplay you should write something funny, weird, sophisticated and a bit sad about couple relations, mind and soul and love. Here are winners that prove that point: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Little Miss Sunshine, Juno, Midnight in Paris, Lost in Translation and American Beauty.

The Genome predicts: Spike Jonze, Her.

Best Writing – Adapted Screenplay

Dominant genes from the last 20 years: gloomy, emotional, sincere, misfits, bleak, Touching,  rough, human nature, society, cruelty. The difference in tone between best original screenplay and best adapted screenplay are incredible. While the first is very light in tone (at least in comparison to the other major Oscar categories), the second might be the category with the most serious tone. Don’t expect to laugh or even to smile when you check out these past winners: Schindler’s List , Precious, Sling Blade, The Pianist, A Beautiful Mind, Brokeback Mountain and Traffic.

The genome predicts: John Ridley, 12 Years A Slave.

One thing that Hollywood did wrong is related to the differences between the best actor and best actress categories. Best actor category is about human spirit, against the odds and uplifting (positive), and best actress is mainly about the less pleasent sides of human nature. What does it say about Hollywood and its attitude towards the sexes? It’s unequal at the very least. And if we’re already talking about wrongdoings that needs fixing, giving the best picture award to 12 Years A Slave might be a good place to start.

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10 Shows Below Zero

January 13th, 2014 by Barak

No matter the season, it’s always nice to stay indoors and watch a good TV show, but during winter you also have an excuse to do so! To empathize with the American people who are suffering from the terrible cold weather we’ll rank the new shows with below zero temperatures. So, turn on every available heating device you have in your home and check out these 10 new promising TV shows:

-1°. The Spoils of Babylon

It’s Like: A funnier Casa De Mi Padre

Executive produced by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay and starring Kristen Wiig and Tobey Maguire, IFC’s The Spoils of Babylon is a very silly humored spoof of soap operas. The amazingly impressive cast also includes Jessica Alba, Michael Sheen, Tim Robbins, Val Kilmer and Will Ferrell himself.

-2°. True Detective

It’s Like: A high quality Scandinavian crime show… only American.

Big movie stars Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson make a transition to Television for HBO’s True Detective. This stylized and tense crime drama just might be America’s answer to the acclaimed Scandinavian shows The Bridge and The Killing.

-3°. Fleming

It’s Like: James Bond without all the made up stuff…

Fleming is a mini-series about the life of James Bond creator Ian Fleming who lived a life that were pretty similar to the life of the fictional spy he wrote about. Fleming himself was also a spy and quite a womanizer. He also drank martini and wore slick suits.

-4°. Intelligence

It’s Like: Person of Interest with more special effects.

Hi-tech espionage helped by top-notch special effects – you don’t have to be very intelligent to see this series has a lot of potential. Josh Holloway (Sawyer from Lost) is the protagonist of this show that looks a lot like another CBS action show – Person of Interest.

-5°The Moaning of Life

It’s LikeAn Idiot Abroad with the same amount of complaining and a bit more contemplating.

After An Idiot Abroad, Karl Pilkington continues to travel around the world and feel like a fish out of water wherever he goes. This time he doesn’t have to deal with the challenges\obstacles that his good friend Ricky Gervais sets up for him, but his task here isn’t much simpler – he tries to understand what does it all mean, life that is.

-6°. Black Sails

It’s Like: An extremely violent Treasure Island.

Executive produced by Michael Bay, Black Sails is a sort of prequel to Treasure Island, and takes place in 1715, 20 years prior to the events of the book, during the golden age of piracy. With another high profile piracy show coming up later this year (Crossbones) this might be the golden age of TV shows about piracy.

-7°. Brody Stevens: Enjoy It!

It’s LikeJoaquin Phoenix‘s I’m Still Here, only crazier

If you thought I’m Still Here was insane wait till you see HBO’s new docu\reality\comedy. The humor here is pretty dark, and Stevens seems like an obsessed individual who is very unhappy in life. It’s definitely not the funniest thing I’ve seen, but it’s quite a fascinating character study.

-8°Rake

It’s LikeCalifornication meets Boston Legal with cannibals.

A remake of an Australian show titled likewise, Rake stars Greg Kinnear and tells the story of a morally dubious lawyer who has no problem defending the very worse (cannibals for example).

-9°. Killer Women

It’s Like: The female version of Walker Texas Ranger.

Killer Women = Walker Texas Ranger – the beard + the breasts. Judging from the trailer, it looks like and exciting and sexy action series that will give us a good measure of weekly escapism. Tricia Helfer plays the lead here, a female law enforcer surrounded by chauvinist male colleagues who want to see her fail, but she won’t because she’s a badass!

-10°. The Assets

It’s Like: The Americans, only slower.

Cold war tensions arise in ABC’s slow burning espionage thriller. The Assets is based on a true story and it seems it might give The Americans a fair fight for the title of best cold war TV thriller around today (and yes, the fact that there are only two in existence at the moment helps).

If you’re afraid to discover new things (like new shows), you can just welcome back your old favorite shows which are returning from a long hiatus. I recommend:

Person of Interest, The Walking Dead, House of Cards, Banshee, Sherlock, Justified, Community, Parks and Recreation, Downton Abbey and The Big Bang Theory.

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Happy Birthday Nic Cage :)

January 8th, 2014 by Guy

Nicolas Cage is turning 50, which is quite a feat for one of the busiest actors in Hollywood. When you come from one of the most talented filmmaking families in history (the Coppolas) it’s only natural for you to be extra ambitious and strive to make your stamp on the industry. While we respect Nic and his past achievements with classics such as Face Off, Birdy and Leaving Las Vegas, it’s apparent that he’s not picky on films he’s participating on in the 2000s. So our gift for you Nic, is showing you examples from your fellow actors who are making successful acting choices.

Samuel L. Jackson – Work as part of an ensemble cast/Only in small doses

Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith (2005)

Star Wars needs no introduction, and this installment which connects the old and the new franchise include a large ensemble in which Sam shines bright. The reason why it is so good is partially because Sam often plays villains or immoral characters and here he plays on the side of the good.

Django Unchained (2012)

Django made big waves last year when it came out, and while it has a large cast, and a rather long running time, it’s only towards the last segment of the movie when we finally encounter Sam, and his character is cunning, devious, sometimes awkwardly funny, but most important of all, he does his job well.

Bruce Willis – Stick to Comics & Animation

Sin City (2005)

The thing that makes Bruce stand out in this film, is that he’s not the regular flat character who shoots people and blows everybody up. He’s an anti-hero, with many flaws, and he’s willing to sacrifice everything to save a little girl and allow her to live a normal life. Similarly to Sam, Sin City is also divided to segments so Bruce also appears in small-doses which enhance his performance.

Red (2010)

Much like the former, this ensemble feature is based on comics, and turns Bruce’s action towards a more humorous approach, adding a down-to-earth love story in the mix. Moreover, Red takes itself lightly, which is often a recipe for a good film. If you’re too serious, and you tell a bad story that is unreliable, you’re bound bomb.

Robert De Niro – Work with Bradley Cooper Winking smile

Limitless (2011)

Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

It’s no secret that in recent years Bradley Cooper had become a rising star in Hollywood, especially since his recent Oscar nomination in Silver Linings Playbook. In the past decade, De Niro either played in date/family comedies or some badly written action thrillers. Out of all those movies, he got most praise and recognition for his roles alongside Bradley. Now Nic, I’m not saying I have a script in my hands to give you, but maybe striking while the iron is hot would be highly beneficial, wouldn’t you say? Winking smile Give Brad a call!

Forest Whitaker – Play real historical figures

There is no doubt Forest Whitaker gives a powerful and captivating performance as real-life dictator Idi Amin. True stories always speak louder than fiction, and the same thing goes for actors depicting real people, because you assume the behavior of that character is real. You assume it really happened, and it’s harder to doubt your actions.

Lee Daniels’ The Butler (2013)

From portraying a ruler to playing a servant, nothing proves your skill as an actor better than showing your versatility and ability to be anyone. Some of the most famous actor’s biggest career problem is that they cannot reach self fulfillment due to being stuck in a certain stereotype. They cannot convince you they can do anything else.

Nicolas Cage – Stay true to Offbeat

Bad Lieutenant (2009)

Not to be mistaken as a remake, this movie follows the 1992 movie of the same name, focusing on different characters with a different plot, yet maintaining the crazy, unbalanced, manic and frantic demeanor of it’s title character. Despite not being an instant hit at the box office, Nicolas Cage received much acclaim for his unhinged performance. He was always known to dive into the darkest corners of his characters minds (see below for a bonus clip)

Adaptation. (2002)

It is my personal opinion this is the best Nicolas Cage film to date. Written and Based on the trials and tribulations of screenwriter Charlie Kaufman as he does his best to adapt one of his favorite books into a screenplay. The more he writes the more desperate he becomes. One of the brilliant things Kaufman added to the story was a fictional brother who is the polar opposite of he himself, thus allowing Cage to show incredible acting prowess throughout the film.

Nic, we all love you. You are a great actor in your own right. In 50 years, you gave us memorable films to look back on, and hopefully you are not done. You are truly one actor that is utterly dedicated and committed to your art-form. If anyone doubts you, I hereby present a bonus clip that shows you’ll do whatever it takes to give an entertaining performance!

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