April’s Finest!

March 31st, 2015 by Asaf_and _Barak

Ready, set, go… April is here and along with it comes “Furious 7” who would probably sweep theaters around the world. But aside from furious films, we have touching ones, and humorous ones, and captivating ones and… well, you know the deal. On top of that, if you roll down to our TV section you’ll find some highly recommended new TV shows this month. Let’s see how April is gonna look and sound like, these are April’s Finest!

April blog

Movies:

Furious 7 – For the ultimate exciting boys’ night.

The Longest Ride – For the ultimate girls’ night and/or date night.

Unfriended – For the ultimate scary teens night.

Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 – For the ultimate humorous family outing.

The Age of Adaline – For romantic and sentimental souls.

TV:

American Odyssey– For people that like conspiracy thrillers.

The Comedians – For people who like Billy Cristal and showbiz comedies.

Daredevil– For people who like superheroes. No need to love the Daredevil movie starring Ben Affleck to enjoy it (we hope).

Happyish – For people who like biting satires with a dark sense of humor.

  • What? Thom Payne is a 44 year-old man whose world is thrown into disarray when his 25 year-old “wunderkind” boss arrives, saying things like “digital,” “social” and “viral.” Is he in need of a “rebranding,” or does he just have a “low joy ceiling?” Maybe pursuing happiness is a fool’s errand? Maybe, after 44 years on this ludicrous planet, settling for happyish is the best one can expect.
  • When? April, 26. 2015.
  • Who? The cast is led by Steve Coogan (replacing Philip Seymour Hoffman who was supposed to be the star of the show), Kathryn Hahn, and Bradley Whitford.

Mad Men, Louie, Game of Thrones, Silicon Valley – We couldn’t ignore the return of these great shows so we decided to mention them despite the fact that they’re not new.

  • What? Four of the best TV show there are – Louie is a brilliant, sincere, somewhat sad comedy, Silicon Valley is a witty satire, Mad Men is a clever and stylized period drama, and of course Game of Thrones – the epic fantasy series.
  • When? Mad Men April. 5, 2015, Louie April. 9, 2015, Game of Thrones April. 12, 2015, and Silicon Valley April. 12, 2015.
  • Who? The same guys you fondly know if you’re a fan of any of those series plus a few new faces to spice up the new seasons.

 

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March’s Finest!

February 25th, 2015 by Asaf_and _Barak

March

Did you win any Oscar? A lifetime achievement award? No? Well, it’s all corrupted anyway. After all the glamour has faded, it’s time to enjoy some quality time with a good movie or a captivating new TV show. Lots of good films to watch this March and some fascinating new shows. Let’s check out March’s finest!

Movies:

Chappie – For those looking for some offbeat sci-fi action.

Cinderella – Great fun for a family outing and a sentimental option for a date night.

Insurgent – For teens and fans of the Divergent series.

Home – Another great option for families and kids.

Get Hard – For some good ol’ silly humor fans. And people facing jail time.

  • What? James King is about to go to prison. But he doesn’t know what they do in prison. So he hires who he thinks could teach him about prison life, Darnell Lewis, who pretends to be the most experienced ex convict even though he never spent a day in jail.
  • When? March. 27, 2015.
  • Who? Seems like an explosive combination between Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart. Debut feature by writer Etan Cohen.

Apart from the above, March also delivers the elderly comedyThe Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” (Mar. 6), the boys night comedyUnfinished Business” (Mar. 6) the critically acclaimed indie-horrorIt Follows” (Mar. 13), Liam Neesons’ action hero streak in “Run All Night” (Mar. 13) Sean Penns’ transformation to action hero in “The Gunman” (Mar. 20) and the Indie dramedyWhile We’re Young” by Noah Baumbach.

TV:

Battle Creek – For everyone who thinks that one Vince Gilligan show on air is not enough.

  • What? a drama about two mismatched law enforcement officers whose polar opposite views of the world and crime-solving breed frustration, disdain, humor and possibly a grudging respect as they clean up the hardscrabble streets of Battle Creek, Mich.
  • When? March. 1, 2015
  • Who? Josh Duhamel and Dean Winters star, but more importantly, the two creators of the show are Vince Gilligan (Breaking Bad) and David Shore (House).

The Last Man On Earth – For people who waited a long time for a funny post-apocalyptic TV show.

Dig – For people who like the Indiana Jones and National Treasure movies.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt – For anyone who likes Tina Fey and wants to see what kept her busy after 30 Rock.

  • What? About a woman who is rescued from a doomsday cult and starts life over as a nanny for an Upper East Side socialite in New York City. Armed with just a backpack, light-up sneakers and a couple way-past-due library books, she takes on a world she didn’t think even existed anymore.
  • When? March. 5, 2015.
  • Who? Ellie Kemper (The Office) and Jane Krakowski (30 Rock) star, Tina Fey created the series.

Bloodline – For people who enjoy tense family dramas.

 

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Gloomy Crime Drama Showdown!! UK vs Scandinavia

March 18th, 2014 by Barak

A new gloomy crime show starring Chloe Sevigny called Those Who Kill is premiering in the U.S. It’s yet another remake of a Scandinavian series titled likewise (after The Killing, The Bridge and Wallander). Is Scandinavia stealing England‘s status as the masters of quality gloomy crime dramas? We’ll take the best 5 British ones and the 5 best Scandinavian ones and try to decide – Who’s got the best gloomy crime shows in Europe?

Those Who Kill VS. Prime Suspect

those who kill-prime suspect
Those Who Kill (Den som dræber) is a suspenseful edge of your seat show that has some very intense and difficult to watch scenes. It’s about a female police detective and a male legal psychiatrist who together try to track down and take down serial killers. Prime Suspect starred Helen Mirren as a tough law enforcer who has to deal with a sexist police environment along with a murder investigation. These two titles actually prove that blondes have less fun.

Winner: Prime Suspect, probably Helen Mirren’s best role ever.

The Killing VS. Broadchurch

killing-broadchurch
The Killing (Forbrydelsen) is a slow burn series that demands patience. It’s about a murder investigation that uncovers secrets, power struggles and cover ups. It’s quite unique in the sense that it focuses on the story of the victim’s family who needs to cope with the tragic event almost as much as it focuses on the police investigation.

Broadchurch is another slow burn series that uses the beautiful landscapes in which the series was shot to create a haunting atmosphere. It’s about a small town murder that shocks the community. Everyone’s a suspect among the many characters of the series.

Winner: A draw. Both shows are quite similar – the plot, the mood and the quality.

Wallander VS. Cracker

wallander-cracker
Wallander is a grumpy and slightly depressed middle aged Swedish detective who tries to apprehend psychopathic killers. Skillful cinematography add to the chilling atmosphere of the series.

Cracker’s main character was called Fitz – an obese, chain smoking, gambling addicted alcoholic who’s also an excellent criminal psychologist. This clever and suspenseful series had an American remake that failed miserably.

Winner: Cracker. One of the best crime shows ever made.

Beck VS. Luther

beck-luther
Beck is a long running Swedish detective series about the detective Martin Beck and his colleagues. Beck is not especially heroic or courageous, but what motivates him and makes him a good detective is probably a strong sense of responsibility for human beings.

Luther, played by Idris Elba, is a police detective on the edge, with a strong tendency toward vigilantism. It’s a gritty and gripping show with strong performances all around.

Winner: Luther. Especially because of Idris Elba’s charismatic performance.

The Bridge VS. The Shadow Line

bridge-shadow line
The Bridge (Bron/Broen) is a mesmerizing show, the lead female detective is one of the most fascinating/weird/funny characters ever seen on TV screens. The plot has many twists and turns and the 2 main characters are flawed in a way that makes it easy to relate to them. The show has its own atmosphere and style (right from the opening theme) that distinguishes it from any other similarly themed shows.

The Shadow Line stars three excellent actors who all give fantastic performances: Chiwetel Ejiofor as a detective suffering from memory loss, Christopher Eccleston as the nicest drug lord you ever saw and Stephen Rea as an ultra-professional hitman. It’s an amazingly stylized, tense and complex Neo Noir Crime series.

Winner: A draw between these two masterpieces.

3-0 to the British series! The queen must be happy (although if she’ll watch an episode of one of these shows she might get sad). All these shows are dark and gloomy and go hand in hand with the weather in Scandinavia and in the UK. No wonder the suicide rate is considered high in those regions. If you are a British or Scandinavian resident and you are considering to end your life you’re not thinking clearly… Aren’t you just dying to know what will happen next in all of those intriguing murder mysteries?!

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Witches, ghosts, and goblins. Stealing down the street, Knock on every door way, Trick or treat!

October 31st, 2013 by Guy

It’s that time of year again boys and girls! After an entire year of watching dramas, comedies, and Hollywood action movies – It’s time to step to the dark alleys of cinema, set our eyes upon the bloody and the gory, the scary and the disturbing, the suspenseful and the tense! Tales of werewolves, ghouls, clowns, vampires and all the creatures of the night are approaching! Be warned, some of these titles might not be for the faint of heart, so better grab a friend or two to keep you safe, warm that popcorn and get ready for some bloody fun!
Last year, we took a look at some of the classic titles of horror; yet this year, we’re taking a look at some of the more up-to-date titles, so considering its a 30-40 year time-skip the scares, and torture significantly more advanced.

I Spit on Your Grave (2010)

Jennifer Hills drives up to her isolated forest-home in order to find some peace of mind. She’s in the midst of writing her book, and the quiet should do wonders for her focus. Alas, some local men notice Jennifer and decide to “pay her a visit”. Unfortunately, Jennifer gets horribly abused, but the men’s mistake was not making sure she’s dead, cause she’s coming for them, with a raging vengeance. This is a remake of a 1978 movie of the same name, though this one is much more rough, and merciless.

Evil Dead (2013)

We proceed with yet another remake this time for the 1981 movie of the same name, which was actually developed into trilogy of sorts. Five friends drive up to an isolated cabin in the woods to try and get their friend Mia to quit drugs cold-turkey, since she almost OD’d. While in the cabin, they stumble upon the “Book of the Dead” which awakens a powerful evil force that corrupts all of them slowly, turning them against each other.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D (2013)

The remakes keep on coming! Although we wrote about the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre last year, I felt it was important to mention the new version since it was a surprising box office hit in theatres, which instantly got a green light for a sequel. Heather Miller inherits her grandmother’s mansion in Texas. Little does she know that once she’ll get there, she will encounter the notorious Leatherface and his chainsaw.

Mama (2013)

This chilling ghost movie is based on a short film of the same name, and take it from someone who watched it fellas – In it’s most fearsome moments, it’s so tense and scary that as much as you want to look away, you just can’t, as if the ghost has a hold of you aswell. That is the sign of a great horror film. The story revolves around 2 little girls that are found in the forest and are adopted.  In trying to readjust to everyday life, the ghost of their mother is not having it, much to the distress of the girls and their new adoptive family.

Carrie (2013)

It almost seems as if 2013 is the year of horror remakes Smile Honestly though, It’s not an easy thing to come up with an original horror concept that actually works.

Carrie!

Carrie!

That being said, “Carrie” is a remake of a’76 film of the same name, which revolves around a young girl that has telekinetic powers. Despite being so special, all that Carrie wants is to be normal like everybody else. However, getting bullied 24/7 can only be tolerated for so long before you break.

The Host (2006)

This foreign monster film from Korea revolves around a middle-aged man who runs a snack shop on the banks of the Han river in Seoul. Park Gang-Doo houses his family with him as well. One innocent day a sea-monster emerges from the Han river and abducts his little girl. When the family realizes that she’s not dead, they are determined to save her as fast as possible. This film is notorious for being highly tense while still managing to stay humorous throughout. Incredibly original and highly recommended.

The Walking Dead (2010-ongoing) – TV

One of THE most popular TV shows currently running. Notoriously known for bringing ‘slow-zombies’ back into popularity, and also creating a bleak and chaotic post-apocalyptic world that actually feels real. It’s uncompromising approach towards it’s characters is one of the more chilling aspects of this series that tells the story of ex-sheriff Rick Grimes who tries his best to keep it together after waking up into the zombie apocalypse.

Big Bad Wolf (2013)

This recent Israeli horror was praised by Quentin Tarantino as one of 2013’s best films. “Big Bad Wolf” tells the story of a series of brutal child murders, and focuses on one parent that recently lost his daughter to one of those murders. That same parent heads out on an obsessive revenge quest to find his child’s killer and exact justice on him in a most brutal way.

Dead Set (2008) – TV

“Dead Set” comes from the creator of the technophobic mini-series “Black Mirror” and tells us the tale of a zombie outbreak which happens no less than in the middle of the ‘Big Brother’ reality show. This mini-series takes itself very seriously. It is gory, scary, suspenseful and original to top it off. Like I mentioned earlier, It’s not often that you get to see something different.

Hellraiser (1987)

I’d like to finish with an oldie that is fast approaching with a remake of it’s own. “Hellraiser” tells the story of a man who inadvertently opens up a gate to hell, and in doing so, loses his earthly body to a trio of demons known as the Cenobites. His mistress finds a way to bring him back to life by bringing human sacrifices to her house. Only by killing the victims, the man can gain a little more body essence to reclaim his body.

It is apparent that 2013 on it’s own had an incredible amount of horror remakes. It’s not much of a surprise either since horror plots are usually very much the same; It’s either a serial killer, zombie outbreak, group of promiscuous kids looking around where they shouldn’t, eventually leading to everyone getting sliced, bitten, infected, and horribly tortured in one way or another.  People get bored from seeing the same thing over and over, so the logical thing would be to give a visual upgrade of sorts with the advancement of technology in visual effects and create a more realistic feeling to the gore.
Some of the remakes actually work and add to the original, and others are rather pointless. As long as we don’t change our state of mind in terms of delivering a realistic story, I’d expect us to see more remakes in the future, and then it’s just a 50/50 chance of receiving something good.
With that note, I wish everyone a happy Halloween, filled with scares that will leave you with a taste for more!

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Reboot! What Is It Good For?

June 10th, 2013 by Ran

supermanman of steel

Absolutely nothing like war? Let’s see. Man of Steel, a reboot of the Superman saga, is coming out this weekend, which is a good a reason as any to check the value of reboots. Those who oppose this new trend claim it stems from a lack of creativity, laziness and greed. Those who condone it say that sometimes movies become outdated, because of cultural and technical changes (special effect, CGI and such), and a reboot is a means of making the same story relevant to today’s viewers. This sounds like a noble endeavor in theory, but does it pass the reality test? For my research I have chosen 10 titles and their respective reboots and compared between them. I wanted to examine what has been changed (and why) in terms of mood or even plot, whether those reboots have something of value to add to the original or just intent on being a money milking machine. For the latter I take a look if they at the very least succeeded at making the money they so desperately need (to make other reboots, of course).

Here we go:

1. The first Batman Trilogy (1989, 1992, 1995) vs. the second Batman Trilogy (2005, 2008, 2012)

batman-1989batman_returnsbatman-forever or batman-begins-2005-38-gthe_dark_knight_jokerThe-Dark-Knight-Rises

I know the first series had a fourth film, but because it sucked so badly I decided to leave it out. Thank you for your understanding.

What has Changed?

Everything really. The mood of the new trilogy is much bleaker, showing Batman as a very troubled superhero, who searches for his path in life. The old Batman does have his demons, but he seems a lot more together and less vulnerable. Plus, the new trilogy looks almost realistic, and very different from any other superhero film, while Tim Burton’s style is more campy than Christopher Nolan’s.

Box office comparison: $411,348,924,  $266,822,354,  $336,529,144 vs. $374,218,673, $1,004,558,444, $1,084,439,099

Verdict

There’s no question that the new Batman trilogy gave new life to this series. Both series are very different, which is very good, and both boast an excellent  cast. While The Dark Knight is generally regarded as the best superhero movie of all time, I prefer the less ambitious Tim Burton films, but you could call it a tie.

2. Spider-Man (2002) vs. The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

spider-man or The-Amazing-Spider-Man-008

What has changed?

They added the word ‘Amazing’, but it just makes them look insecure. Andrew Garfield is more serious than Tobey Maguire as the arachnoid superhero. The new villain is a mad scientist (Rhys Ifans) instead of a mad businessman (Willem Dafoe), and while the original version put an emphasis on Peter Parker’s unfulfilled love with Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst), in the new version love does flourish with Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone).

Box office comparison: $821,708,551 worldwide for the original vs. $752,216,557 for the reboot.

Verdict

It’s hard to surpass the ‘original’ version, as it became kind of a modern classic, with memorable scenes that have been referenced a lot since. While the reboot is not bad, it doesn’t feel fresher than the original. Hence, I conclude that this reboot was a mere money milking machine, and unfortunately it succeeded at that.

3. Judge Dredd (1995) vs. Dredd (2012)

judge_dredd or DREDD-Selected-Stills

What has changed?

Sylvester Stallone became Karl Urban; 2D became 3D; the new version has a Neo Noir style and much more gore, with a dash of dark humor for good measure. For what it’s worth (and not a lot as you’ll see) critics liked the reboot a lot more than the original.

Box office comparison: A knockout for the critically bashed original – $113,493,481 vs. $35,626,525

Verdict

The gore and darkness of the reboot probably scared off viewers, which is a shame, because it’s much better than the original.

4. Star Trek (1966 – 1969) vs. Star Trek (2009)

star-trek-original-tv-cast or 2startrek460

What has changed?

While the original cult franchise had a very serious tone, J.J. Abrams’ reboot has a lot more humor, a faster pace and a definite Hollywood tone that did not exist in the series. Captain Kirk is more of a hotshot in the new version, but he’s also haunted by the past, and the death of his father, an element that does not exist in the series (as far as I know).

Box office comparison: N/A, but I don’t think you can rival the cult status, popularity and obsession that surrounds the series. the reboot made $385,680,446.

Verdict

Rebooting a franchise of this magnitude is very dangerous, but has a big upside. If the trekkies don’t like it you’re in big trouble, but if they do, the box office numbers can go where no film has gone before. All in all, it’s a great film, that can be enjoyed by old fans and new, with a strong story and great visuals.

5. Planet of the Apes (1968) vs. Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

apescientists or rise-of-the-planet-of-the-apes-1024

What has changed?

Everything really. In the original film Charlton Heston lands in a distant planet ruled by apes only to discover that (spoiler…) it’s actually earth. The reboot of the franchise tells us the first phase of the story of how the apes came to rule our planet.

Box office comparison: $32,589,624 vs. $176,760,185 (domestic), but the original made five times more than its budget, compared to twice as much for the reboot.

Verdict

There’s definitely value in the reboot, which tells the story from the beginning, but I prefer the original’s surprising Twist.

6. Conan the Barbarian (1982) vs. Conan the Barbarian (2011)

arnoldconan or conan_the_barbarian__by_jodeee-d50ppub

What has changed?

Arnold Schwarzenegger was replaced by Jason Momoa. John Milius, the director of the original, decided to skimp on special effects and supernatural elements to make the film more realistic, while the reboot goes all-out on effects, sorcery and stuff like that.

Box office comparison: The original made $68,851,475 (or more than 100,000.000 according to some sources) while the reboot bombed with $48,795,021.

Verdict

The new version doesn’t come close. There’s a unique style to the original, which elevated it to cult status, while the reboot looks like any other big budget film.

7. Battlestar Galactica (1978) vs. Battlestar Galactica (2004)

battlestar galactica 1978 or battlestar-galactica-2004

What has changed?

There’s more emphasis on couple relations in the newer version and relations in general, which makes it more complex than the 70s series.

Success comparison: While the original series lasted only one season, the reboot had four, and became a cult series.

Verdict

This is easy, as the new show surpasses the old one in every parameter, with good special effects for a TV show, and a more complex storyline. Reboot wins!

8. The Hulk (2003) vs. The Incredible Hulk (2008)

Hulk-2003 or hulk 2008

What has changed?

Here they added the word ‘Incredible’… Guys, this insecurity thing is becoming worrisome. Ang Lee’s original was slower paced and heavier than its reboot, focusing more on what it means to be a hulk and on family relations, while Zack Penn’s version has a lighter touch and is more action oriented.

Box office comparison: $245,360,480 for the original, $263,427,551 for the reboot.

Verdict

I personally prefer the slower heavier Ang Lee version. Regardless, I think that the reboot was unnecessary, and we were better off with a sequel or something.

9. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) vs. A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)

nightmare-on-elm or A-Nightmare-on-Elm-Street-2006

What has changed?

Unfortunately nothing, except for the century.

Box office comparison: $25,504,513 domestic for the original (done on a minute $1.8 million budget) compared to $63,075,011 for the reboot (on a $35 million budget)

Verdict

If there’s a lesson to be learned from this exercise is: don’t touch cult films. Usually their remake feels older than the original. I’m sure the lesson is wasted, but I’m putting it out there.

10. Friday the 13th (1980) vs. Friday the 13th (2009)

fridaythe13th 1980 or friday_the13th2009

What has changed?

One of the original Slasher films gets a reboot, and this time Jason is a bit more sympathetic than in the origin, depicting him as a down on your luck character. The girls are sexier and older than the teenagers in the original.

Box office comparison: $39,754,601 domestic for the original compared to $65,002,019 for the reboot.

Verdict

While it’s better than the Nightmare on Elm Street reboot, all signs point to the fact that this too was supposed to be a money milking machine, even if it had mediocre success at that. The original film has more freshness and still is scarier than the reboot.

My research conclusion: If you do a reboot, make sure it has something to contribute to its source material, and something original of its own offer up. Otherwise, it will probably bomb at the box office or suck in general. Thank you for your attention.

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