Welcome 2013! What did you bring us?

January 7th, 2013 by Barak

2012 has ended, and guess what? Some of us are still alive. So, now that we all feel like we got a (nice enough) chance of continuing our lives (unless those Mayans were only mistaken by a month or so), it’s time to look forward to 2013 and guess which movies and TV shows will be the very best of this upcoming year:

10. Peaky Blinders


An epic, gangster saga, this series is produced by the BBC, starring Cillian Murphy and Sam Neill. It takes place around 1919 and deals with gangs fighting each other for survival.

Best case scenario: It will be Britain’s improved version of Boardwalk Empire.

Worst case scenario: It will be extremely slow and boring.

9. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire


The first movie was smart and fascinating, and not only for a teen-oriented audience.

Best case scenario: It will be as suspenseful, clever and exciting.

Worst case scenario: It will be more teen-oriented (or dumbed down, if you prefer).

8. Da Vinci’s Demons


Judging from the trailer, Starz’ new series looks like a blast. It’s visually impressive, with some exciting action scenes, though I’m not really sure if it’s truly loyal to anything that could have happened in reality (it’s supposed to be about Leonardo Da Vinci’s life, not a hybridization of The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons…)

Best case scenario: It will be as genius as its main protagonist.

Worst case scenario: It will suck more badly than The Da Vinci Code.

7. Man of Steel


Probably the most anticipated movie of 2013, millions (billions?) are crossing their fingers, hoping that this Superman movie will meet its great expectations. Zack Snyder is the director and Christopher Nolan is involved, so we can at least be sure it will be dark & visually stunning.

Best case scenario: It will be better than Christopher Reeve’s Superman movies.

Worst case scenario: It will be as good as Zack Snyder’s latest film – Sucker Punch.

6. The Americans


Keri Russell stars in FX’s new series that takes place during the 80′s when the Cold War was still going on. It’s about Soviet KGB officers functioning as a sleeper cell, while living undercover as American citizens. Guest appearance by Anna Chapman. Not really…

Best case scenario: It will be a new & improved Homeland.

Worst case scenario: It will be as suspenseful as Felicity.

5. Gangster Squad


Josh Brolin and Ryan Gosling play two law enforcers from the LAPD, trying to bring down some tough gangsters, including Mickey Cohen (portrayed by Sean Penn). For the movie’s director, Ruben Fleischer, this will be the first serious movie he makes (both in tone and in quality I hope), after the amusing Zombieland and the terrible 30 Minutes or Less.

Best case scenario: It will be better than The Untouchables.

Worst case scenario: It will be on par with the dull Public Enemies.

4. House of Cards


After Lilyhammer, comes Netflix’s second original series and it sure looks impressive. Created by David Fincher and starring Kevin Spacey, this series has a lot of star power behind it. It’s based on a critically acclaimed, award winning British TV show of the same title from 1990.

Best case scenario: It will be better than the original House of Cards.

Worst case scenario: It will remind us of the last time Kevin Spacey was involved in something related to cards (21).

3. Oz: The Great and the Powerful


James Franco, Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams and Rachel Weisz star in what seems to be an unconventional take on The Wizard of Oz – focusing on the wizard this time. The trailer looks beautiful, as well as the cast.

Best case scenario: It will be the best Wizard of Oz adaptation.

Worst case scenario: It will be like a family friendly version of HBO’s Oz.

2. Zero Dark Thirty

Kathryn Bigelow must be the manliest female director that ever existed (including the Wachowski brother turned sister). Following her nail-biting of a movie about a bomb squad, The Hurt Locker, this movie deals with the manhunt after Osama Bin-Laden.

Best case scenario: It will be better than The Hurt Locker.

Worst case scenario: Its 2.5 hours duration will make the viewers’ feel like they too were hunting him for 10 years.

1. Anchorman 2

Most of the cast from the hilarious previous film will return for the sequel, but there’s at least one major addition to the cast: The funniest woman in the world, Kristen Wiig! What can you expect from a movie with the funniest woman and man (Will Ferrell of course) in the world? You can expect it to be the funniest movie in the world (ever)!

Best case scenario: The Godfather and Casablanca will be regarded as only decent movies in comparison to Anchorman 2.

Worst case scenario: It will be established as the second best movie ever made, after Anchorman of course.

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The Jinni Mood Awards 2012

December 31st, 2012 by Barak

After last year’s huge success of the Jinni Mood/Movie/TV Awards (think Golden Globes and then multiply it by a thousand, then add the Oscars and multiply that by a million. Is it too soon for self-deprecation? I have to check with my superiors) we decided to make a tradition out of it and choose our award-winning titles for 2012. So, which was the roughest movie or TV series of 2012? Which was the most exciting?  No need to open any envelopes, you can just read below:

Atmospheric: Game of Thrones – When you watch Game of Thrones, you really enter the world of Game of Thrones. And it’s a world in which a Hobbit won’t survive for more than a minute. “Winter is coming” (it’s here already.)

Biting: 30 Rock – Feeling very self-confident, the show allowed itself to bite whoever it wanted.  Politicians, competing shows, and even NBC, the hand that feeds them – all were in the line of biting.

Bittersweet: The Giant Mechanical Man – this movie is about two lonely people who find each other. It’s one of the most goodhearted movies I’ve seen in a while. If you like charming and sensitive movies – watch it. If you’re a douche – don’t.

Bleak: Breaking Bad – Sometimes you just feel too darn happy. But fear not, there is a solution – all you need to do is watch Breaking Bad; the critically acclaimed feel-bad TV show was at its bleakest during the first half of the 5th and final season. I can’t wait for the 2nd half of the season to wipe that grin off my face.

Captivating: End of Watch – I consider it to be the best movie of the year. It’s fascinating; there isn’t one dull moment in it. It’s not always easy to watch, there are some very harsh scenes, but if you have the stomach and the tissues for it, this movie is a must-see for you.

Clever: Argo – This is no less a sharp satire about Hollywood than it is a suspenseful spy thriller, even more I guess. What makes it a great movie despite its tonal shifts is that it remains extremely clever throughout its entire length.

Contemplative: Blackthorn – This western is beautifully shot, the Bolivian locations in which the movie takes place are unbelievable. Straying very far from Michael Bay territory, this gem of a movie is basically about a person (an older Butch Cassidy) reflecting about his own life. I know it sounds boring, but it isn’t. And if you think so, maybe you are.


Cynical: A Touch of Cloth – Can the guy (the genius, the king) who wrote Black Mirror come up with something that doesn’t have a cynical world view? Probably not; A Touch of Cloth is Charlie Brooker‘s spoof of more or less every cop crime drama ever made and it shows complete contempt towards every accepted standard of such shows.

Disturbing: Dexter – Fans of the show don’t really find this glimpse into the mind of a psychopath disturbing anymore. What they do find disturbing is the suggested romance (siblings with benefits, is that a thing?) between Dexter and his step sister. Maybe the sister is the only one with the forbidden crush, but it’s disturbing nonetheless. The bad writing that is.

Emotional: House M.D – Dr. Gregory House was the most fascinating, complex, well written character ever seen on TV. I think that more than a few people would agree with me. The final season of the hit series was probably its most emotional one. The only thing that prevented me from crying was/is that I’m a man.


Exciting: The Expendables 2 – This movie was a blast. Explosions, cheesy lines, completely over the top action; what can be more exciting than that?

Feel Good: New Girl – An upbeat and optimistic series with eccentric characters and a charming Zooey Deschanel (although not half as charming as Aubrey Plaza. See below).

Gloomy: This is England 88′ – After the movie This is England and the series This is England 86′ came This is England 88′ which dealt with more or less the same issues from the previous 2 entries – people whose lives are pretty shitty. Leave some room on you TV screens for some more sad faces, because This is England 90′ is coming up in 2013!

Humorous: Parks and Recreation – With every passing season this series just becomes funnier and funnier. April (Aubrey Plaza – marry me today. Is 7:30 good for you?) and Andy are the best onscreen couple by far, and Ron Swanson is just the best. The picture below says everything; and also nothing.


Offbeat: Moonrise KingdomWes Anderson is more or less synonymous with the terms offbeat and quirky, and Moonrise Kingdom doesn’t ruin that reputation for the director.

Mind Bending: The Booth at the End – A mysterious man sits at a booth at the end of a diner. People come to him because they heard he has a gift and can solve their problems. But there’s a price… All is very mysterious in Hulu’s 1st original series that leaves you wondering.

Rough: Dredd – The movie takes place in a rough and tough world, in which Judge Dredd serves some very rough justice. You don’t have to go all the way to Indonesia in order to find this year’s best action film. Dredd is similar to The Raid only way better and in English, not that the dialogue is important.

Scary: Cabin in the Woods – This movie was extreme in every sense. I expected something light when I heard it was a horror comedy, but it’s much more shocking than it is light. It’s a funny and disturbing film, but first and foremost – a scary one.

Sentimental: Big Miracle – A nice old fashioned movie, with likable characters; especially the whales. It’s a pleasant film and although sentimental, you don’t overdose on its sentimentality.


Sexual: Californication – Season 5 continued being groundbreaking in terms of onscreen boobs and sex (I only watch the show for its wit and dark humor though.)

Sexy: Magic City – Starz’ attempt at making a “Boardwalk Empire meets Mad Men” type of show failed in many aspects, maybe in all aspects but one. It’s obviously not nearly as smart or captivating as the other two, but it’s definitely sexier. It’s like soft-core porn made for fans of periodic reconstruction.

Sincere: Louie – Usually when we describe a movie or a show as sincere we mean a certain kind of a drama. We rarely describe a comedy as sincere, but Louie is just so open and revealing that you get a sense that he’s showing you the real him. I believe him.

Stylized: The Man with the Iron Fists – I’ll start by saying that there’s nothing good about violence. Usually people get hurt when there’s violence involved. But when it’s in the movies, and it’s so over the top, extremely gory and super stylized then it’s just great.

Suspenseful: Sherlock – Each 90-minute mystery leaves you absolutely breathless. Not only the setting, but also the pace was adapted to fit the 21st century and the result is a masterfully suspenseful series.

Tense: Homeland – This paranoid psychological thriller keeps you on the edge of your seat trying to guess what will be the next plot twist.  Many critics say that the first half of the second season was much better than the second one. They could have been right if it wasn’t for that amazing episode that concluded the season. Homeland is must-see TV.


Thought Provoking: Game Change – This movie made me think about something that made be both happy and sad at the same time (I’m hoping more sad than happy): being especially smart is not a requirement for a person who wants to go far in life. Not at all; dumb people – the world is yours to take!

Touching: Trouble with the Curve – The movie itself is definitely touching, but what gives the movie this Mood Award is the fact that it was the last time we will see the legendary Clint Eastwood acting. And that’s even more emotional than it is touching.

Uplifting: Intouchables – You can’t remain cynical when it comes to this movie. It will definitely raise your spirits, at least for its duration + 1 hour; maybe 1 month, or year if you’re lucky.

Witty: 21 Jump Street – Don’t let the fact that it’s incredibly silly confuse you – 21 Jump Street enjoys a quick and smart dialogue with some brilliant tongue-in-cheek moments. Unlike many other movies, and people, 21 Jump Street is very self-aware.

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The Bond Genome, Shaken & Stirred

November 12th, 2012 by Uri

007, Her Majesty’s favorite secret agent (and probably everybody else’s – Judging from the great critical and commercial responses) celebrates a jubilee – a pretty remarkable achievement for a film series. Just think of it; when Dr. No, the first “official” Bond film, came out in 1962, its counterparts were a film by legendary westerns director John Ford and an Elvis film…

So, giving a cultural icon due respect, here are some James Bond highlights:

Essential – Dr. No

True, it is a 50 year old film and might feel a bit dated, but it still remains an essential viewing for anyone who wants to know the blueprint for every world-saving spy film made since. Plus, it has the best introduction scene.

Underrated – On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

George Lazenby had the unfortunate job of following Sean Connery, and – maybe unsurprisingly – got a rather negative reception. However, over the years viewers have come to appreciate Bond’s Swiss escapades and tragic love affairs, as one of the most underrated entries in the series.

Underwater – The Spy Who Loved Me

Not one to confine himself to dry land, 007 goes underwater in numerous films, but nowhere more extensively than in his 1977 reincarnation, where he must stop two hijacked nuclear submarines from starting World War III. As the good people of Q Branch presumed, an amphibious car may be useful.

Megalomania – Moonraker

In a series known for the grand schemes of its villains, a man must go to extra lengths to be regarded as the most megalomaniac evildoer. Well then, how does eradicating the entire human race in order to create a new superhuman species, to whom you’ll be a God, sound to you?

Well done, Hugo Drax!

Slick – The Man with the Golden Gun

While being slick is a basic requirement for every Bond, no one was slicker than Roger Moore, and he had to be at his slickest in The Man with the Golden Gun, facing the almost equally slick golden-gun-toting-three-nipple-having-peanut-eating-dwarf-henchman-aided Scaramanga.

The Remake – Never Say Never Again

Granted, the Bond series is formulaic, and in some lesser films has been very lazy and uninspired (the insipid invisible car in Die Another Day comes to mind), but there has never been a flat out remake. Not an official remake, anyway, since Sean Connery‘s return in 1983 for one last round of gratuitous sex and violence in this mildly successful attempt to update Thunderball.

Love and Romance – Casino Royale

Being portrayed as a relentless womanizer throughout most of his cinematic run, it was a refreshing change of pace to see James Bond fall in love in the middle of all of his heroic missions. Having a rougher feel than almost all of his predecessors, also helped make Casino Royale another essential entry in the Bond canon.

Vengeance – Licence to Kill

While Daniel Craig’s films are often described as the most brutal Bonds, they are actually far behind this late 80′s effort by Timothy Dalton, in which 007 goes on a trail of vengeance, granting himself his own license to kill freely and bloodily.

Back from the Dead – Skyfall

Having come back from the dead at least once before, in the aptly titled and slightly campy You Only Live Twice, Bond manages to do it again, this time in a grittier, more somber fashion in the excellent (though a bit long) Skyfall. It reintroduces some emblematic elements that can serve as a neat closure, not only for the current Bond, but for the entire cycle.

Warning:

Worst Bond – Quantum of Solace

Following the impressive reiteration of the Bond myth in Casino Royale, expectations from its follower were quite high, but the film was a disjointed mess and a total disappointment, which only had one slightly memorable scene, covering poor Gemma Arterton in crude oil as a sloppy homage to the far superior Goldfinger.

Gemma Arterton

Bonus:

Best Bond – Goldfinger

Widely (and justly) considered as the best Bond film ever, Goldfinger boasts not only the coolest Bond car (the iconic silver Aston Martin DB5, which appeared in 5 bond films to date – that’s one more than Pierce Brosnan) but also the best and wittiest master villain.

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When Hollywood Starlettes Go for the Gold

July 31st, 2012 by Barak

With the Olympics Games already taking place, we decided to confront the most impressive female athletes with our favorite Hollywood heroines:
1. Fencing: Mariel Zagunis VS. Beatrix Kiddo

This wasn’t fencing, it was a bloodshed. Kiddo wins, sportsmanship loses.
Score: 1-0 Hollywood heroines.

2. Shooting: Du Li VS. Cherry Darling

Du Li’s hat blocks her view a bit, and Cherry Darling takes advantage to strip her of her title.
Score: 2-0 Hollywood heroines.

3. Trampoline: He Wenna VS. Supergirl

He Wenna jumps exceptionally high, but Supergirl jumps on the trampoline and reaches the sky!
Score: 3-0 Hollywood heroines.

4. Sailing: Anna Tunnicliffe VS. Storm

Storm uses her ability to manipulate the weather and leaves her opponent no chance.
Score: 4-0 Hollywood heroines.

5. Cycling: Nicole Cooke VS. Lara Croft

Showing fantastic athletic abilities, including a daring ride, Lara Croft grabs the win.
Score: 5-0 Hollywood heroines.

6. Javelin Throw: Barbora Spotakova VS. Wonder Woman

Spotakova reaches 72.30m with an impressive throw, but Wonder Woman uses her super strength to reach 350m.
Score: 6-0 Hollywood heroines.

7. Diving: Chen Roulin VS. Ariel

Ariel feels at home under water and wins this diving competition with ease.
Score: 7-0 Hollywood heroines.

8. Archery: Zhang Juanjuan VS. Katniss Everdeen

Katniss’s longtime experience in hunting squirrels allows her to beat the expert Chinese archer.
Score: 8-0 Hollywood Heroines.

9. 20 km walk: Olga Kaniskina VS. Drew Barrymore’s character from Going the Distance

Barrymore has more experience with going the distance and manages to beat the wonderful Russian race walker.
Score: 9-0 Hollywood Heroines.

10. Weightlifting: Jang Mi-Ran VS. She-Ra

She-Ra isn’t called the “Princess of Power” for no reason (that would make no sense), she is in fact the strongest woman in the world.
Score: 10-0 Hollywood Heroines.

As for you, you could have read any other post in the world today, but you chose to read this one. I appreciate that.

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If Superheroes were in the Olympics…

July 26th, 2012 by Barak

With the Olympic Games opening soon, and with so many superhero movies coming out lately, we decided to check out what a sports competition between the heroes of the Olympics and the superheroes of Hollywood would look like…

1. Weightlifting

Andrei Aramnau: 436 kg

Superman: 5 tons

Winner: Superman

Score: 1-0 Superheroes


2. Boxing

Alexander Povetkin

The Hulk

Winner: The Hulk, 1st round knockout

Score: 2-0 Superheroes


3. Archery

Lee Chang-Hwan: 669 points

Hawkeye: 720 points, a perfect score

Winner: Hawkeye

Score: 3-0 Superheroes


4. Wrestling

Bilal Makhov (120 kg)

Hellboy (182 kg)

Winner: Hellboy, Makhov gets pinned to the mat in seconds

Score: 4-0 Superheroes


5. 100 Meter Run

Usain Bolt: 9.72 s

The Flash: 1 s

Winner: The Flash

Score: 5-0 Superheroes


6. Hammer Throw

Ivan Tsikhan: 82 meters

Thor: 5 km

Winner: Thor

Score: 6-0 Superheroes


7. 400 Meter Swim

Michael Phelps: 4:03.84

Aquaman: 0:16.31

Winner: Aquaman, Phelps wasn’t even close

Score: 7-0 Superheroes


8. 50 Meter Pistol Shooting

Jin Jong-Oh: A score of 670.3

Robocop: A perfect score of 709

Winner: Robocop

Score: 8-0 Superheroes


9. Fencing

Salvatore Sanzo

Zorro

Winner: Zorro

Score: 9-0 Superheroes


10. High Jump

Andrey Silnov: 2.38 meter

Spider-Man: 5.5 meter

Winner: Spider-Man

Score: 10-0 Superheroes

We hope we’ll have a more exciting Olympics tournament, and end this post with a piece of advice to the athletes – drugs are forbidden, but if you have superpowers – use them.

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