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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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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Hobbits, Midgets and other short-statured creatures

December 13th, 2012 by May

Years of anticipation finally come to an end tonight, when the first part of The Hobbit will hit cinemas. Expectations are high but there are also concerns – does a short book like The Hobbit really justify 3 long films…? We’ll all know the answer soon enough.

But in the meantime, we have noticed that films and TV shows about short creatures have become very popular with the success of titles like Game of Thrones and The Lord of the Rings saga. Here are some other interesting related titles:

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
One cannot write a post about dwarfs and midgets without mentioning this Disney classic. Probably one of the best known and most loved animated films of all times, the dwarfs play a crucial role in this story. Later on, in recent and darker versions of the tale (like Snow White and the Huntsman and Snow White: A Tale of Terror) the dwarfs take on a rougher form. But in this relatively naïve tale they are still the good old guys who just try their best to help Snow White.

Living in Oblivion (1995)
Most fans of contemporary TV will immediately recognize Peter Dinklage of Game of Thrones fame, here in his first cinematic role, as a frustrated dwarf actor who is tired of being constantly cast in dreamlike or surreal films. Not to worry, Peter – just hold on a few more years and you’ll get a very juicy and complex role that will get you to the very top of Hollywood.

Elf (2003)
In this sweet Christmas tale, Will Ferrell portray an elf who discovers he’s actually adopted and belongs to the human race. This may explain why he himself is not short, while he is surrounded by “real” elves, including a guest visit by none other than… Peter Dinklage. There really aren’t enough dwarf actors and actresses these days…

The Secret World of Arrietty (2010)
This charming animated film from Studio Ghibli deals with really, really short people. They live among us like mice or bugs in the kitchen, but they are completely human otherwise. The film depicts the adventures of one such small creature, as she is discovered by a teenage boy who moves into the house.

Life’s Too Short (2011)
Warwick Davies is perhaps the 2nd most recognized dwarf actor, after Mr. Dinklage, mainly due to his appearance in the Harry Potter franchise. This mockumentary series (created by Ricky Gervais) allegedly follows “a day in the life” of a dwarf actor, but in fact Davis plays a much more extreme (and hilariously funny) version of himself.

Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999)
The 2nd film in the Austin Powers series introduced us to Mini-Me, the small version of the master villain Dr. Evil. As vicious as he is small, Mini-Me’s character provided lots of laughs and crazy moments, which justify him appearing in the 3rd sequel as well, Austin Powers in Goldmember.

Gulliver’s Travels (1996)
When people think of Gulliver’s Travels they mostly think of Lilliput, the land of the little people. but in fact the book included 3 more adventures of Gulliver: in the land of giants, in a floating island and in the land of talking horses. The beauty in this Emmy-winning Mini Series is that it relates to all four stories, but the main emphasis is still on Lilliput, which is a perfect mirror to our own society.

The Wizard of Oz  (1939)
Munchkins. Are they incredibly cute of incredibly annoying? Either way, there is no arguing they contribute a lot to the vibe and colorful atmosphere of the film. 124 Munchkins appear in The Wizard of Oz, most of them played by adult dwarfs, with some children here and there to “fill in the gaps” – possibly the biggest amount of dwarfs ever on one film set.

Carnivale (2003-2005)
There is no carnival atmosphere in this gloomy, atmospheric TV series, dealing with the mythical battle between good and evil. One of the main characters of the show is a dwarf, co-manager of the circus who started off as a mere performer before reaching his current position.

Game of Thrones (2011 ongoing)
The big fish in terms of dwarf roles. In no movie or TV show previously mentioned has the dwarf been given such a complex, “meaty” lead role. Peter Dinklage is one of the most complicated protagonists we have seen; he is the son of an extremely dysfunctional family, who somehow managed to turn out good, but still needs to play his cards right in the endless game of thrones.

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The Campaign – a cinematic guide to your political satire

August 6th, 2012 by Ben

The Campaign, which opens in theaters this upcoming weekend, brings to the screen the election battlefield between two eccentric candidates – Will Ferrell, as the prime candidate, an arrogant and idiotic congressman with too much self awareness, vs. Zach Galifianakis, a dimwit and naive guy who has no clue how congressional elections are held.

Will vs. Zach

This is obviously not the first comedy that portrays a political campaign where an underdog competes in the elections against a stronger candidate (and usually wins; still, we love an uplifting story); Nor is it the first political satire about dumb politicians who have no idea what they’re doing, but succeeding in harnessing the public to support them, despite the odds.

Meet your candidates

In the eccentric/unqualified politicians category, who find themselves in a position that doesn’t exactly fit their skills set, we can honorably mention films such as Dave, King Ralph, Bulworth and also the fresh TV series Veep. But we’re here to review political satires who also involve elections and campaigns, so let’s get started with our (cinematic) debate and introduce the candidates:

Ali G Indahouse

Sacha Baron Cohen’s first original character would always be the British dimwit gangsta-wannabe persona (and phenomena) – Ali G. In his first feature movie, Ali G decides to save his beloved neighborhood, and after tying himself to a fence and going on a 2-minute hunger strike, he decides (with the fake support of some dirty politicians) that running for parliament would allow him to fix the situation. What starts out as a goofy candidate’s absurd campaign, changes quickly when he succeeds in getting into parliament. Ali G unwittingly manages to alter the debate culture and the political standards, lowering them to his own bar. An hilarious farce about the perfect political anti-hero.

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Head of State

How would you like Chris Rock to be your president? The funny man plays Mays Gilliam, an alderman who has been elected by his party to run for office, after the party’s two main candidates’ airplanes crashed into each other. His political party, presuming the elections are already lost, decides to select him as a losing candidate – but nobody told that to Gilliam. What starts out as an underdog irreverent campaign, turns out to be a presidential Cinderella story.

SVOD-M4-Head-of-State

De President

A political satire from the Netherlands, where the public, fed up with corruption and politicians, decides to elect a young Moroccan immigrant as the president. After a a successful (and humorous) campaign, the newly elected head of state moves with his posse to the president’s mansion, and obviously things don’t go so smoothly from there on, for them or for the nation.

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Election

Alexander Payne’s classic movie talks about a different kind of election, although as equally important and brutal – the student body elections. Reese Witherspoon plays a high school student who really, really wants to be elected as the student council’s president. The biggest problem is a school teacher who dares to challenge this obsessive & over-ambitious student. A funny, immoral and chaotic tail of a high school world, where Witherspoon would use every dirty trick in the book to win these elections.

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Gnarr

A funny and irreverent comedians’ election campaign is not only a figment of some screenwriter’s imagination; it happens in real-life too, as seen in Gnarr, the biting and funny documentary from Iceland. Introducing the Best Party – a political party born from the boredom of Icelandic comedian Jón Gnarr. Among some of its platform’s principles – more polar bears at the zoo, free trips to Disneyland for every citizen and cooperating only with people who have watched the complete 5 seasons of “The Wire” (we at Jinni can relate to that). But when the party actually gains momentum, we can see that the line between a comedian’s semi-serious caprices and the true whims of the electorate is far more blurry then anyone could ever anticipate.

Gnarr

Hénaut President

This French comedy reveals the big secret behind every politician’s success – public relations. An agency is tasked with promoting Pierre Hénaut, an honest man and an improbable presidential candidate; as the campaign progresses, we can see that in the media world, every manipulation is legitimate, stating the truth is strictly a recommendation, and using any means to fulfill this blind ambition is necessary for creating a whole new public image. A funny media satire about the behind-the-scenes intrigue of a presidential campaign.

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Welcome to Mooseport

Gene Hackman’s latest film (to date), where he goes head-to-head against Ray Romano at a small town’s elections for mayor. Hackman is the smug ex-president who wants to retire in a cushioned public office job; Romano is the simple small-town-guy who wants to make a stand against the big celebrity who is sweeping the town (and his girlfriend) off their feet. Political-wits vs. honesty; shrewdness vs. naivety; an ex-president against a local plumber. Want to take a guess who would win these elections?

welcome-to-mooseport-8

Man of the Year

Surprised by Stephen Colbert’s semi-serious campaign? Well, Barry Levinson thought of it first. Here he reunites with Robin Williams who portrays Tom Dobbs, a comedy talk show host who bashes politicians and their ideals on his show, until one day he decides to actually run against them. The campaign garners momentum when Dobbs proves that he’s not afraid to oppose traditional politics’ standards and to confront the other candidates. But what would happen if he actually gets elected? A witty political satire that is relevant today more than ever.

ManoftheYear_600x338

Will Ferrell: You’re Welcome America – A final Night with George W Bush

And finally, we’ve started with Will Ferrell, so we’ll give him the honor of wrapping things up with his funny interpretation of ex-president George W. Bush, one of Ferrell’s best impersonations. He concludes 8 years of presidency and gives his shrewd opinions and insights on his term, the state of the union and the American way. A 2-hour humorous special that shows us what real leadership is made of.

will

Well, what have we learned from the movies..? That if you want to succeed in politics you have to be oblivious to orthodox campaign fundamentals, obtain an eccentric personality and have a few spare tons of luck stashed away somewhere. Every political character on this list, just like the electorate system, has his own faults. So who is your favorite Candidate?

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An Alien Sense of Humor

July 22nd, 2012 by Barak

The Watch opens July 27th – it’s an alien comedy starring Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and Jonah Hill, which was written by Seth Rogen. As fans of aliens (but only benign ones) and comedies (but only funny ones), we decided to dedicate a post to alien comedies, which we have been seeing more and more of in recent years. Risking abduction, we left some major movies and TV shows from the genre off our list, but the 10 titles we included are our UFO’s (Utmost Favorite Original) Sci-fi comedies. (And yes, I agree I should be punched in the face for that last sentence.)

10. Megamind (2010)

The story revolves around a super villain who remains rival-less after defeating his enemy. With his rival gone, Megamind has some time to re-examine his villainous ways. When you make a movie with Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Tina Fey, Will Ferrell and Ben Stiller, you can’t go wrong. Add to the all-star cast some great animation and a good script and you’ve got yourself a real winner.

9. My Stepmother Is An Alien (1988)

In this lighter than a feather comedy, Celeste, a sexy extra-terrestrial spy, is assigned to seduce astrophysicist Steve Mills and enlist his aid in saving her planet. But when Mills’ 13 year-old daughter catches her new step-mom snacking on flashlight batteries (not really something a human would do), Celeste’s mission is suddenly in danger.

8. Attack the Block (2011)

This offbeat movie offers unconventional heroes (teenage street kids) and even more unconventional aliens (they look like ridiculous ape or dog mutants with glowing mouths). In this exciting and funny film, inner city and outer space battle it out and there can only be one winner.

7. CJ7 (2008)

Broke widower Ti must funnel all of his wages into the private school education of his 9 year-old son, Dicky. Ti brings home a mysterious green orb found at a dumpster. Dicky is soon shocked when the orb transforms into a dog-like alien being, dubbed “CJ7.” When Dicky witnesses CJ7′s otherworldly powers, he imagines CJ7 to be the answer to all of his school troubles, but CJ7 is not as all-powerful as Dicky believes. When tragedy strikes the family, both Dicky and CJ7 must overcome doubt to reveal their true inner strength.

6. Alf (1986-1990)

Alf stands for “alien life form” and it becomes Gordon Shumway’s nickname, as he is the last known survivor of the planet Melmac. Gordon crashes his spacecraft into the garage of the Tanner family’s suburban home, and is subsequently adopted by them. They must keep him out of the hands of the authorities, however, this means no one can ever know about the alien who lives with them, giving way to many hilarious escapades.

5. Tremors (1990)

The race to higher ground is on when two handymen and a local seismology student  discover that their small town is infested with stinky subterranean man-eating worms. Tremors is a campy, funny and scary B Movie with good pacing and with the ‘always fun to watch’ Fred Ward.

4. Paul (2011)

The writing/acting team Simon Pegg and Nick Frost who created Spaced, Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, maintain their very high level of comedy with Paul, a movie about a smart-ass pot-smoking alien played by Seth Rogen. Filled with references to other Sci-Fi movies, Paul is a nostalgic and funny homage to E.T. and other Sci-Fi classics.

3. MIB3 (2012)

A surprisingly excellent third part to the Men in Black film franchise, it’s exciting, funny, stylized and even a bit touching near the end (you have to see it to believe it.)  Josh Brolin without a doubt steals the show with his very good Tommy Lee Jones impression.

2. Cocoon (1985)

Although an alien comedy, Cocoon is also touching at times, its special effects are impressive even today and it’s just a fun and uplifting viewing experience for the entire family. Not a lot of movies focus on the elderly (not to mention elderly aliens) and this one does, to a moving and funny affect.

1. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005)

Based on the five-book series by Douglas Adams, this is a funny, witty and highly creative ride through a bizarre universe. Arthur Dent is a British everyman that is suddenly thrust into intergalactic intrigue when the earth is destroyed by the Vogons to make room for an interspatial highway. Arthur travels with good friend Ford Prefect, an alien writer for an electronic encyclopedia called The Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy.

Finally, just for this post to get thousands of Likes on Facebook, I’ll finish by saying: Rihanna, Kim Kardashian, Katy Perry, sex and violence, lots of it.

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