Girl, You Got Style…

March 4th, 2014 by Asaf

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There are many many women out there (and yet some would say not enough). Each with her own unique personality, with her own unique habits, with her own unique style… There are also many many movies and TV shows out there, each with it’s own unique style as well.  So for the International Woman’s Day we thought we’d combine the two. Here are 10 recommendations for strong women on the big and small screen, each with her own unique style.

The Talky One -

Symptoms – This type of woman has many thoughts, many of which transform into words. Any type of ear would satisfy her.

The Ellen DeGeneres Show (2003 – )

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Just this week Ellen DeGeneres talked a lot at the Oscars which probably wouldn’t hurt the ratings of her hit TV talk show. Ellen’s show is like the perfect woman – she’s sincere, she’s witty, she’s humorous, she makes you feel good and every now and then she bites. The perfect combination.

Rachel Getting Married (2008)

This Independent drama shows a different type of talky woman, the gloomy kind. Rachel’s getting married and it makes her sister (Anne Hathaway in an award winning role) talk a lot – about couples relations, about her past, about estrangement and basically about everything that makes a critically acclaimed bittersweet drama.

The Surreal One –

Symptoms – this sort of woman might drive you to insanity as her reality is kind of out there. You’ll enjoy the ride but probably bend your mind in the process.

Ashes to Ashes (2008 – 2010)

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If you’re looking for a clever woman try police detective Alex Drake from Ashes to Ashes. The only problem is when you’ll meet her because at the beginning of this crime drama Alex is shot and wakes up in 1981. And so she’s trying to get back to the future and in the meantime she investigates the crimes related to the past which is her present… mind bending like we said but a captivating one.

The Cell (2000)

If meeting Alex Drake would be difficult, meeting Catherine Deane (Jennifer Lopez) seems almost impossible because she spends most of her time in a coma. Not her coma, other peoples comas. Catherine is an expert in getting into the mind of people lying in that state and so she enters the mind of a psychopath who kidnapped a young girl. In a scary and stylized race against time Catherine must extract any information about the victim’s location before it’s too late.

The Girl On The Road -
Symptoms – this type is the one who likes to travel. In fact she can’t even sit still. She’s walking while she’s reading this blog. You better keep up.

Tabatha Takes Over (2011 – )

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Tabatha Coffey knows about Hair. Tabatha Coffey knows about business. Tabatha Coffey knows how to make good business out of hair. And so she spends her time on the road, giving advices to workplaces with financial problems. In recent seasons Tabatha became an overall top notch expert and so she helps all sorts of businesses, not just hairy ones. So if you’re looking for a reality show to help improve your business, catch a ride with Tabatha.

Philomena (2013)

First of all, who wouldn’t want to be on the road with Dame Judi Dench? Such elegancy, such style. And when the cause is to help her find her long lost child even more so. In this recent Oscar nominee Dame Judi plays the incredibly optimistic Philomena, an aging woman whose child was taken away from her when she was young and now, with the help of a cynical journalist she’s trying to track down her son and uncover the truth about her past. a touching and emotional journey that’s based on a true story.

The Twisted One –

Symptoms – The twisted woman isn’t necessarily twisted, she’s just filled with twists and turns. If you know this kind of woman then you already know to expect the unexpected.

Top Of The Lake (2013)

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Holly Hunter is a woman full of secrets. Secrets that Elizabeth Moss must uncover. Secrets relating to a missing child, police investigation and dishonesty.  In this mini series from last year Moss plays a police detective sent to a small town to investigate the disappearance of a pregnant suicidal teen. As she delves into the crime surprising and disturbing revelations are revealed. A twisted road ahead.

Mulholland Drive (2001)

If Mulholland Drive was a woman she’d probably drive her husband crazy trying to figure out what she wants (like many woman do anyway). Mulholland was made 13 years ago and it’s still an enigma wrapped in a mystery wrapped in manipulations wrapped in mysterious characters wrapped in… Well, you get the main idea. David Lynch’s film is the definition of mystery – A woman loses her memory and her identity.She encounters an ambitious actress and together they get involved in the filmmaking industry where nothing is as it seems. Nothing.

The Campy One -

When this woman walks in the room, any room, she’s the only thing in it. You’ll notice her immediately. She’s over the top, she exaggerates, she’s got something about her and the world better look and listen!

Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best? (2011 – )

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This reality show follows the extra ordinary life of “The queen of comedy”, Joan Rivers, as she’s moving in with her daughter and grandson to create a campy dysfunctional family. A humorous look at celebrity culture and showbiz in the shadow of family life. And fashion of course.

Death Proof (2007)

The women in Tarantino’s pictures worth a discussion on it’s own but in the meantime we’ll settle for this campy thriller which seems to represent both types of female characters from his films – the submissive and the strong. In the first half of “Death Proof” we see how stalker-serial killer Kurt Russell seduces and abuses a young woman and in the second half we see how such young women fight back. Lots of car chases, witty dialogues and one accident scene that’ll make you wish you’re never involved in a car accident (if you hadn’t already).

And that seems like the appropriate film to sum it up – there are many types of great women out there and whatever type of woman it is, if you don’t treat her right you’ll end up by the side of the road. You go girl…

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Short Films for a Short Month

February 28th, 2014 by May

When I first started my cinema studies, I was told feature films usually last around 90 minutes. Years passed, and today it seems if a film is not at least 120 minutes it can hardly call itself a film! Just look at the recent list of Oscar nominations with The Wolf of Wall Street (180 min.), American Hustle (138 min.) and 12 Years a Slave (134 min.).
But cinema does not have to be that long to be masterful, as this list will try to prove. Each of the following shorts is captivating, touching or unique  in its own way. So as we finish up the shortest month of the year – here are 10 great short films.

The Red Balloon (1956)
Touching on the verge of sentimental, this is a story about a young kid and a red balloon in Paris. With no dialogue at all the film lets us see and understand the kid from the balloon’s point of view.

Facing Fear (2013)
Nominated for best documentary short in the upcoming academy awards, this short tells an amazing story of a former neo-Nazi and one of his gay victims when their paths collide. The way it continues is surprising, to say the least.

The ittle Matchgirl (2006)
If this short won’t make you cry, you have a heart of stone. This adaptation of the Hans Christian Andersen story beautifully captivates the hardships and loneliness of a poor young girl dreaming of a better world.

Strangers No More (2010)
Sincere and uplifting, this best documentary short Oscar winner for 2010 revolves around an exceptional school in Israel, where refugee children struggle to fit in to a sometimes unwilling society.

Vincent (1982)
One of the shorts which launched Tim Burton‘s long, fruitful career deals with an eccentric boy who love everything gothic, dramatic and surreal. Burton’s unique visual style is apparent even in this early effort.

La Jetee (1962)
One of the most well-known and acclaimed shorts ever, Chris Marker‘s La Jetee is an atmospheric and bleak tale about time travel after a 3rd world war. Using unique cinematic language Marker managed to create a film every cinema lover knows.

9 (2005)
A surrealistic future dystopia is the setting of this amazing short, which deals with strange puppets who come to life. Creator Shane Acker was approached to make a full length feature of this short, which unfortunately failed to remain as tight-scripted as the original.

Un Chien Andalou (1929)
The famous collaboration between Luis Bunuel and Salvador Dali is not meant for the faint of heart. Without any real narrative this short follows Dali and Bunuel’s dreams and sub consciousness to create something that wasn’t seen on the screen until then.

Get a Horse! (2013)
One of this year’s nominees for best animated short, this film does a masterful job in showing how 3D can be used. A hilariously comical clash between cartoon characters of the past and special effects of the present.

Room 8 (2013)
This year’s BAFTA winner in an eerie tale of a convict, a prison cell and one strange box. Telling anything more will be a spoiler, but believe me – you don’t want to miss this one.

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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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Love Around The World

February 13th, 2014 by Asaf

“All you need is love”. Almost 50 years after that coin phrase came to life, we now know we also need money, career, car(s), smartphone, Ipad (preferably with the Jinni App) and a vacation twice a year. But still, love is an important ingredient of our lives so for Valentine’s day (guys, don’t forget) here’s a list of 10 romantic titles about love as it’s represented all around the world. Some are suggestions to watch on a date night, some are suggestions that might help you understand your partner better, and some will just make you feel good, as love should. We’ll begin our worldwide journey in the most romantic place on earth, Paris.

Amelie (2001)

Correction: the most romantic place on earth is the mind of a romantic French woman. Amelie is a daydreamer with a very active imagination. She sees the world through very offbeat and sentimental glasses. When destiny summons Amelie with new love, a modern fairytale unfolds. If you’re looking for a feel good film this valentine that’s perfect for a date night, pay a visit to Amelie’s mind. And as long as we’re in Paris, let’s meet…

Chico & Rita (2010)

Chico & Rita met in Cuba. He was a young musician; she was a beautiful young singer. But as they fell in love, they faced many obstacles. So we’re introduced to a bittersweet-up-and-down-relationship across several countries through the 40′s and 50′s. With an Oscar nomination for best animation film and a great Latin-jazz soundtrack, Chico & Rita is a love story you’d love to look & listen to.

We’ll stay in Latin America for now and take a road trip.

Y Tu Mama Tambien (2001)

Before Alfonso Cuaron went to space in “Gravity” he traveled the roads of Mexico. In “Y Tu Mama Tambien” he follows two teenage best friends, Tenoch and Julio, and a hot sexy woman – Luisa, that joins them for a ride to find a legendary beach. Although there’s a significant age difference between them, the two guys bond with the older woman immediately and a sexy-touching love triangle forms, filled with humorous moments and a voice over voice you’ll never forget… But, as we all know, a relationship involving “just” two people is usually complicated so imagine what it’s like for three people.. maybe Tenoch, Julio and Luisa should sign up for…

Love Lockup (2010)

We’ll travel from the great outdoors of Mexico to the tiny indoors of India. In India they have a wonderful system to deal with couples crumbling relationships, they just lock ‘em up for 8 days and throw away the key. Oh and of course they’re taping the whole thing. At least that’s what they do in this reality show. The show follows several couples facing difficulties, doubts and hesitations. The couple gets isolated from the world, confined in a villa, and deal with their problems till the bitter/sweet end. A sincere battle of the sexes that shows love and it’s side effects are the same wherever you are…

…And whenever you are…

2046 (2004)

2046 is a semi fantastic mind bending drama from Honk-Kong which takes place in several time periods and shows the influence love can have on our lives. A story about the road not taken and the past which haunts a romantic soul. Award winner atmospheric experience that’s sure to make you ponder about the future and think about the past and as long as we’re dealing with the past…

Gran Hotel (2011 – )

If you want to see different type of love, from another time and another place, here’s another suggestion: A periodic stylized drama from Spain with all the necessary plot elements to make a good TV show – Love affair, dishonesty, power relations, intrigues and one big hotel where it all happens. The show was referred as the Spanish version of “Downton Abby“, and won viewers and critics affection alike so if you want to see what young lovers in 1900 Spain did in order to fulfill their love, give this show a shot.

Now our love compass takes us to Turkey -

Leyla ile Mencun (2011 – )

A hit TV series in it’s homeland, this comedy series follows the love story of a young couple which was destined to be together. Though social differences come between them, Leyla and Mencun know something bigger is drawing them closer (though their parents draw them apart). Love doesn’t make sense so why should it makes sense on TV? a surreal offbeat and humorous look at true love that overcomes the biggest (and funniest) obstacles.

And if we’re talking about obstacles, imagine what gay Israeli guy and gay Palestinian guy have to go through…

The Bubble (2006)

Till new times arrive, this tragic love story from Israel is the definition of forbidden love. Two guys with very distinctive social differences meet by chance and as sparks start sparkling, they realize the political unrest surrounding them is too dominant. Optimism combined with tragedy, friendship destroyed by terrorism, a movie that shows the Israel-Palestine conflict from a different perspective. And if there’s one thing we know from the conflict is that humans are complicated, so let’s see what animals do.

March of the Penguins (2005)

What’s more romantic then love against the odds? Such is the (unbelievable) story of the penguins in the most deserted area in Antarctica. A dangerous journey those magnificent creatures must go through each year, facing countless dangers and the full wrath of the forces of nature, they must find their way to safe ground where they’ll divide into couples and mate. Love in it’s most pure (and uplifting) form. A surprising blockbuster that made viewers relate to, and admire, it’s heroes as if they were human.

And as long as we’re dealing with love in it’s purest form, what’s more pure then children’s first love?

Flipped (2010)

Sometime pearls slip by unnoticed. Such is Flipped – a wonderful coming of age dramedy from Rob Reiner, a man that has his way with young heroes (Stand By Me). Based on an equally fantastic book, the film describes teenage love in any town USA from the perspective of it’s two heroes. A humorous and clever way that shows us how men and women think differently from the very beginning… But in the end, it’s these differences that maintain the invisible glue connecting us all.

We started with a qoute from The Beatles and we’ll finish with a song from their unofficial successors – Oasis – Let There be Love. Happy Valentine!!

 

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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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