Category Archives: M & Movies

Ziad Doueiri’s #TheInsult: In the Actors’ Shoes/ Personal Triumph/ Special Scenes

In The Actors’ Shoes:

RUDZ9506“Toni Hanna is the example of every Christian Lebanese man who has suffered and is still suffering till this day because of the civil war. We never denied the aches of Palestinians – why does the world deny our pain? Where was the resistance “المقاومة” when we resisted the Palestinians from taking over our land?
It is true that Palestinians are refugees, but they made Toni a refugee in his own land.”
Camille Salameh Toni’s attorney

 

CAMA0531I was not a soldier during the civil war – I was young – and I might not even join war if it happens now, but I know what I suffered – and I know that my history justifies my rude attitude this day. I do not want to make my daughter go through all this, but it is all beyond me.
Sometimes, I wish I were Palestinian… Never mind, I did not mean that.”
Adel Karam as “Toni Hanna”

 

CAMA1247“I empathize with Palestinians because mostly, they are not represented well. I did not know Toni’s history though, it is tough and breaks my heart; I am Lebanese after all, not Palestinian – but, I will fight with my all to win this case.”
Diamande Abboud Yasser (The Palestinian)’s attorney

 

RUDZ7256“I did not choose to live in Lebanon, but I do. Whether it was Arafat or the plan of the G8, I am here now, building my career. My wife thinks Norway is a great escape, but I want to stay here. I feel successful here, my workers love me, I have moved on – but the Christians haven’t yet, perhaps because they are too spoiled.”
Kamel El Basha as “Yasser” the Palestinian

– – –

Personal Triumph:

I left the movie feeling triumphed because of its many social and political messages. If you’re in it for aesthetic cinematography visuals and severe art direction, don’t be. Yes, it is political. Yes, it is symbolic – and yes, TIME is irrelevant in the movie.
(and yes, there is a prolonged un-avoided loaded detailed dialogue)

The Palestinian case might be outdated to some of us, Toni’s character might not be very common in 2017 – this does not deny the fact that any other case is more worthy of cinema. Perhaps, it is the perfect time to handle this issue. Now, that it is less sensitive.

The Lebanese Christians lost 20 years of their precious lives fighting for the land -that we now TAKE FOR GRANTED – and ended up being labeled as “yobs” and “dogs”.

A “sorry” was enough to make Toni happy.

All this doesn’t mean that the future of Lebanon (Toni’s new born, Sethrida in this movie) should live in grief forever. In the movie, Samir Geagea looks through the lens towards Toni’s eyes and asks him to let go off the past and start a new page.
Lebanon is for all, and it always will be.

– – –

Special Scenes:

Toni’s attorney’s reaction at the court to someone calling Toni a dog:
Even though I mentioned it before, this moment acknowledges the resistance of Christians – this is a moment where most probably many of our parents will shed a tear for the friends they miss, the education they dropped, the money they lost, and the country they miss.

Toni and Yasser Sitting with the president:
In the midst of all the noise, Toni and Yasser sit side by side with the president. This is how politics is, we kill each other while leaders dine and wine together in perfect suits and echoing colognes.

Toni helping Yasser’s car failure:
This image depicts the reality of war. I hear stories of soldiers who let go their utmost enemy because of simply, humanity.
While people around me did not relate or believe the situation, I did. This is a fine example of brothers who till this day eat together but refrain from discussing politics because they know a fight is bound to happen.

Even though Toni was waiting for a personal apology, it was never personal.
He asked for an apology for everything else. It was never about THAT insult in specific; telling you why would be a spoiler.

|||| After watching West Beirut, I expected a similar movie. I had huge high expectations. The Insult is very different. Do not go in thinking of another West Beirut. ||||

Enjoy the popcorn 😉

M

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Raging Bull (1980) M Review

Raging Bull is a 1980 American biographical black-and-white sports drama film directed by Martin Scorsese, produced by Robert Chartoff and Irwin Winkler and adapted by Paul Schrader and Mardik Martin from Jake LaMotta‘s memoir Raging Bull: My Story.

What a true classic! This movie tells the story of every rising star. Robert De Niro playing Jake has his brother Joey as his manager. He is a boxer who does not only win all other boxers but also has a chance to winning the championship; he is feared by all other boxers, but according to Joey’s calculations and connections, Jake cannot do it without the mafia – Salvy Batts.

Jake plays their game – meaning he shakes hands with the Mafia and agrees to lose some games to get to the championship. Along the way, he finds out that his wife cheated on him with almost everyone he knows – including his brother. He forgives her, fights with his brother, and moves on to the championship game where he loses the game, royally – basically giving his opponent the championship on a silver platter. Somewhere along the way, Jake finds out in his own way that his brother also had fought with Salvy.

Later on, he retires and opens his own bar, and gets behind bars because of letting a 14 year old in. All that was nice and all, but the movie only gets good when he sights his brother randomly, follows him, only to discover that he is no one now. That’s where he realizes that it was his brother, who got it down-hill since that game when he made himself lose.

 

The monologue Jake performs in front of the mirror gave me goose bumps.

 

“It was like a peak you reach, and then it’s down hill. It was you Charlie. You was my brother. You should have looked out for me a little bit. You should’ve looked out for me just a little bit. You should’ve taken care of me, just a little bit, instead of making me take those dives, for the short end money. You don’t understand. I could’ve had class. I could’ve been a contender. I could’ve been somebody instead of a bum, which is what I am. It was you Charlie.”
Champions are born to be champions, champions don’t lose – but there are always people around them that are intimidated, jealous, and suspicious. The road to success is the hardest and most stressful, and usually people with talent depend on those around them to look out for them and to handle ‘other people’, that is when their managers, brothers, cousins, and friends fail them. Most ‘stars’ are poorly handled and misled with the wrong manipulating minds all the time, those who do not see the far picture.

Stars and champions are destructive perfectionists; they hate themselves when they don’t get what they want their way. Jake in the movie does not really fight the championship fight because he felt he does not earn it – he gave in to the mafia, and lost his reputation and his family along the way.

But again, there IS a movie to Jake’s story and this man’s last scene is him preparing for a show – anchoring with “I’m The Boss, I’m The Boss”; after seeing his brother walking like a no-lifer, Jake remembers that he IS BOSS. A person like him can be hindered, stopped, persecuted, thrown in jail, boo-ed, cheated on, deceived, but he would rise up every time and prove to the world that a champion cannot be stopped.

 

What a movie!

With Love,
M

(check out my other movie reviews on the category “M & Movies”)

 

MOVIE VI: NEIGHBORS II (2016) M REVIEW

You can totally rap up the whole movie by saying Zac Efron is effing hot, and you should watch him strip – almost rocking some Magic Mike moves – but I’ll go further in this. For the guys and men who are into lil’ girls, there is a bit of Selena Gomez there too. It’s not the brightest of movies, but since I watched it, here it is:

Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 1.14.22 PM

Zac isn’t in college anymore, his gay-best friend is getting married and he has to move out. He finds the perfect refugee: A House where Shelby (Chloe Grace Moretz) and two other freshman girls (Kiersey Clemons and Beanie Feldstein) are starting a cool-sorority “Kappa Nu” that actually throws parties unlike other sororities that can only attend frat parties (organized by guys).

Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 1.02.10 PM

Next door however, are Zac’s former enermies: the Radners (Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne). Those who have seen Neighbors 1 know a bit about their psychology, I’d advise watching Neighbors 1’s trailer, however you can totally catch up if you haven’t.

The Radners are expecting a baby and are trying to sell the house. According to them, there is no way they can sell it with crazy sorority parties happening in the house near them.

Zac starts out helping the Sorority raise money and get big, then he takes the old people’s side and decides on tearing it down with the Radners.

Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 3.37.59 PM

This Movie is 18+ at Cinemall and definitely targets university students; not a lot of wisdom messages there but here are a few things you might learn from Neighbors II:

  • Zac Efron is hot
  • You should grow up, life is not college
  • Zac Efron is hot
  • When your best friend(s) gets married or falls in love, you don’t have to feel left out – they would still love to have you there (third wheeling or being say, a maid of honor)
  • When you do the right thing, it pays off – sometimes, literally; in money buckets
  • Your cannot control kids, the belong to LIFE (Boom!)

Moreover, this movie shows all the homophobes out there that a homosexual guy can still be (best) friends with a straight guy. It exists and you shouldn’t be so paranoid and narrow-minded about it. Chill, no one’s going to rape you.

Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 3.39.56 PM

Two, this movie caters to those female college students that are not bimbos and hoes. They Exist. Somehow, college movies always classifies the girls into either lifeless church nerds or straight dumb b*tches. This movie is an Easy-A kind of college-movies that show girls who love to party but don’t need those 7-minutes-in-heaven and tequila-punches kind of parties.

Also, (unlike Hollywood movies in the 90s) the three girls starting the sorority (or is it Sorortity?) are not all blonde; one is blonde, the other is African American and the third one is ‘fine’ looking and overweight. They’re all cool. The blonde is still the dominant leader, but they’re all best friends and there is no bossing around. I love that Hollywood is shifting the 90s stereotypes and being more real.

 

Enjoy the strip!
Much Love!
M

Maya Acra Show Reel

I’ve edited my old show reel like 3 years ago of random university students (senior) projects, here’s a new one: more freaky; of only two projects I’ve done.

Khati2ati Takwa (Anas Arabi Song)
Character: girlfriend
– Bed Time Story (Valerie Yaacoub Senior Movie)
Character: Belle

MOVIE VII: Tallatit (2016) M Review

It took me a while to convince my friends to go watch Tallatit at Cinemall – simply for the fact of it being a Lebanese Movie. I was personally excited to watch it ever since I watched its trailer at the Lebanese Movie Guide Awards, however I was disappointed to see the little enthusiasm us Lebanese people have to go watch our own productions. I must admit, I have walked out of a couple of Lebanese movies that, I personally felt, insulted my intelligence and decreased my IQ level, however Tallatit is definitely a must-see for any of you who love to support the local movie industry. Again, the number of people watching Tallatit in comparison to other movies was so low, I felt ashamed!

I’m not sure if one should applaud the director Kristian Abouanni, but the characters in this movie are quite believable; I admired their acting skills! I didn’t find any unjustified movements and theatre recital-kind-of-conversations. I could feel the actors ‘feeling’ – yes, the verb – in this movie. I personally cried – something I do not usually do while watching Lebanese productions.

Tony Issa’s character is so sincere, romantic, and emotional. He’s the man that drives behind you at night and makes sure you are treated like a princess; every girl’s dream love. Carmen Bsaibes’ billboard face is exactly the missing piece when it comes to the overall crew-energy of this movie – a cute poised lady! As for Joy Karam, I don’t know who raised Cynthia and Joy but RESPECT to their GENES; what a Strong Character! Chapeau Bas!

karam

The message in this movie is not cliché at all and definitely hits the spot when thinking of the Lebanese Media Scene; probably why the movie theatre wasn’t too packed? Lebanese people probably like “tjeljou2” and retarded jokes instead of watching their brutal truth.

Lebanese women have innate gifts; most of us are not ONLY beautiful, we are also not walking sex-and-baby-popping machines. I have met great media professionals who basically offered me media space for a certain ‘price’. I am more than proud to say that I rejected every single walking-sperm who tried to come close to my personal space. Unfortunately, many girls have gone through that road to get to the positions they are at now. Although, every girl and woman is free to do whatever she pleases, EVERY SINGLE GIRL who has done that forgot her value, just like Manel Mallat almost did in Tallatit.

Manel was born with the only gift I call a gift – A Lovely Musical Voice. However, we could see in the movie that she was going back and forth with a ‘producer’ who was offering her a big part in a movie – for a ‘price’. She was focusing on acting ‘for a price’ instead of focusing on her main gift, which is singing.

Isn’t that what so many of young girls in the media are doing just to get famous and be on the big screen?

Also, having her heart torn to pieces by her old partner/muse and due to the society/parental pressure of getting married asap, Manel forgot her talent and lost her self-value and self-confidence – when EVERYONE around her didn’t, including the supportive boyfriend-material-Tony Issa.

tony 2

The awful pressure almost-30-year-old women face in this country is the main reason of the disloyal husbands and high level of divorce. Women forgetting their individuality and running after any man who might consider making them pop his babies, is well, disgusting.
I honestly do not know why Lebanese chicks (yes in this context, I will call my gender chicks) would rather go to a club, post selfies and snapchat stories about their colorful-yummy-drinks, wear skinny tight dresses, and talk endless useless conversations about guys, instead of going to watch this socially and cultural/social awakening movie about their/our reality – and perhaps get a hit on their LV heads.

This movie, thank God, is one of the movies that actually stimulates our societies’ brains and does not just go with the flow with the idiocy of our culture. It motivates women to give chances to the right men, to be around the supportive ones, and to be successful.

Go Watch It!

Much Love!
Maya

 

MOVIE VI: NEIGHBORS II (2016) M REVIEW

You can totally rap up the whole movie by saying Zac Efron is effing hot, and you should watch him strip – almost rocking some Magic Mike moves – but I’ll go further in this. For the guys and men who are into lil’ girls, there is a bit of Selena Gomez there too. It’s not the brightest of movies, but since I watched it, here it is:

Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 1.14.22 PM

Zac isn’t in college anymore, his gay-best friend is getting married and he has to move out. He finds the perfect refugee: A House where Shelby (Chloe Grace Moretz) and two other freshman girls (Kiersey Clemons and Beanie Feldstein) are starting a cool-sorority “Kappa Nu” that actually throws parties unlike other sororities that can only attend frat parties (organized by guys).

Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 1.02.10 PM

Next door however, are Zac’s former enermies: the Radners (Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne). Those who have seen Neighbors 1 know a bit about their psychology, I’d advise watching Neighbors 1’s trailer, however you can totally catch up if you haven’t.

The Radners are expecting a baby and are trying to sell the house. According to them, there is no way they can sell it with crazy sorority parties happening in the house near them.

Zac starts out helping the Sorority raise money and get big, then he takes the old people’s side and decides on tearing it down with the Radners.

Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 3.37.59 PM

This Movie is 18+ at Cinemall and definitely targets university students; not a lot of wisdom messages there but here are a few things you might learn from Neighbors II:

  • Zac Efron is hot
  • You should grow up, life is not college
  • Zac Efron is hot
  • When your best friend(s) gets married or falls in love, you don’t have to feel left out – they would still love to have you there (third wheeling or being say, a maid of honor)
  • When you do the right thing, it pays off – sometimes, literally; in money buckets
  • Your cannot control kids, the belong to LIFE (Boom!)

Moreover, this movie shows all the homophobes out there that a homosexual guy can still be (best) friends with a straight guy. It exists and you shouldn’t be so paranoid and narrow-minded about it. Chill, no one’s going to rape you.

Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 3.39.56 PM

Two, this movie caters to those female college students that are not bimbos and hoes. They Exist. Somehow, college movies always classifies the girls into either lifeless church nerds or straight dumb b*tches. This movie is an Easy-A kind of college-movies that show girls who love to party but don’t need those 7-minutes-in-heaven and tequila-punches kind of parties.

Also, (unlike Hollywood movies in the 90s) the three girls starting the sorority (or is it Sorortity?) are not all blonde; one is blonde, the other is African American and the third one is ‘fine’ looking and overweight. They’re all cool. The blonde is still the dominant leader, but they’re all best friends and there is no bossing around. I love that Hollywood is shifting the 90s stereotypes and being more real.

Enjoy the strip!
Much Love!
M

Movie V: Me Before You (2016) M Review

AAAND I finally watched the movie everyone has been ‘crying’ about at Cinemall last night; AAANND I sobbed yes.

In short, Emilia Clarke (playing Lou Clark) is a clumsy simple lazy cute young lady – with a hideous choice of funny colorful clothes – supposedly dating active ‘Young Entrepreneur of the Year’ Matthew Lewis (playing boyfriend Patrick); She gets fired from her job and gets a job as a ‘cheerful’ aspect in the life of a handsome man: Sam Claflin (playing Will Traynor) who was previously an adventurous athlete – and has been paralyzed due to a recent car accident. His paralysis is from his chest down. Yes, everything.

Capture2

Me Before You is Thea Sharrock‘s movie directorial debut, and if THAT is her debut then I cannot wait to see the next movies she directs. Not that I doubt Game Of Thrones actors’ potential, but the chemistry between Lou and Will, their face expressions, and the beautiful energy between all the actors is brilliant. Also, the psychology behind each character is lovely and well worked on.
Both the screenplay and the novel are written by Jojo Moyes; perhaps that’s why the movie didn’t disappoint those who have already read the book.

 I just watched the trailer to make sure I am not the one spoiling the movie (and I had to repeat 5 times because of it being so addictive!!).

In the beginning of the movie, Vanessa Kirby (playing Will’s ex girlfriend Alicia) helped with the paralysis of Will – not intentionally, but when she asked him not to take the bike. In a parallel universe of selfish people, Will would have blamed his physical condition on her and got her to stay with him for that. On the contrary, later on in the movie, we understand that Will pushed her away after his severe injury. Quote her saying to Lou, “you can only be there for someone who wants you to be there.” Will here was thinking You Before Me with his ex- girlfriend.

Ben Lloyd-Hughes (playing Will’s former best friend and Alicia’s current boyfriend-husband-to-be) was definitely jealous all along from Will. In Will’s birthday video, he even says he hates him, jokingly. The Ex-Girlfriend dating the Best Friend is quite classic! From observation and experience, when these kinds of relationships happen, it’s mostly both not moving on right. It is not them being assholes; it’s them going through the same experience together, and eventually getting attached to each other due to weakness and comfort-seeking. Is it real? It’s mostly never real. Did Lloyd consider Will’s feelings before he proposed to marry Alicia? Definitely not. He was definitely thinking Me Before You.
On the other hand, Will can at least know that his love is in good hands. Optimistically speaking, that’s what Lloyd thought of when he approached Will, with wedding invitations, while Will is living the last 6 months of his life.

Jenna Coleman (playing Lou’s sister “Treena”) pleads Lou not to quit her job so that she can afford traveling to study in Europe. Again, she is thinking Me Before You. Still, all the advice she gives Lou in the movie are quite inspiring. She gives Lou strength from her personal acquired wisdom. That’s what sisters are for, right? She also states that she had her share of hard work. Sometimes, after sacrificing a lot of time and energy for others, you start loving yourself and thinking of yourself first, that doesn’t necessarily make you a bad person.

Capture13

Janet McTeer (playing Will’s mom Camilia) and Charles Dance (playing Will’s father Stephen) are in the hardest situation in this movie. Both of their characters are quite admiring. You could feel from the beginning of the movie how the mother is not giving up when she was hiring a young lady to take care of her son. Keeping hope till the last second that Will will change his mind and decide on continuing his life is his parents thinking Me Before You. At the end of the day however, they were fine with him ending his life, which is the hardest selfless decision parents can take – still, it wasn’t their decision – it was his. No one was feeling or living what he was living.

As for Lou, she is selfless. She fell in love and she could do anything. She tried to do everything she could do to get Will to change his mind. She even breaks up with Patrick, who she has been with for seven years. With Patrick, she was thinking Me Before You; he didn’t deserve her thinking otherwise cause he was thinking Me Before You all along when he got her to do the things that HE likes – without taking her opinion in anything.

In the course of Lou showing Will a good time, she experienced Opera and ocean-diving for the time; she gave HERSELF the best time!

Capture6

When a person is in love, nothing else matters. Will gave meaning to Lou’s dull life, his paralysis didn’t matter to her. However, his far seeing wasn’t convinced to let Lou suffer with him, he wanted to free her. That’s what love does, it doesn’t lock you and separate you from the world. Love makes you look around and see the beauty of life, love makes you look forward for tomorrow every night and for tonight every morning, love wakes you up from coma so you embrace every wind breeze and every ray of sun, love reminds you of your potential, and when a person loves you, it is the only time that he puts you before himself.

If Will kept her with him, it would eventually turn out to be another Steven Hawking relationship. It would be him being selfish. Just like Will thought of Alicia before himself, he thought of Lou before himself. Love is the only thing that makes you selfless.

Nevertheless, he was ending his suffering when he decided on ending his life, and again that would be him thinking Me Before You – while sparing everyone around him the drama while thinking You Before Me.

Capture9

STILL, most of us were in love once. We would give the world to go back in time and spend a good 24 hours with the person we lost or life separated us from, right? STILL, even if love frees us we long to be loved and to be held. STILL, we love the attention even if it were platonic and not physical. That’s what got us all crying in this movie. Caring love is so hard to find.

But was it love what Lou and Will had? Did Lou really love him or did she feel useful with him around? Did she love him or his condition? Did he love her or her innocence? Would Will like Lou if he weren’t paralyzed or would she be serving him wine and being ‘A Nobody’? Would have Will gotten paralyzed had he taken the bike that day? Would he change his mind if he was more in love? Is Love even enough when something so big and serious happens?

Capture12

With an active person like Will, I’m sure love is not enough. He enjoyed the company of Lou, he loved her energy. He was there for her and not the other way around. He had lived good days before. When his wheel chair got stuck in sand, he felt embarrassed when buffed men rushed to help. He WAS one of those guys before. It is definitely hard.

Would you end your life if you were sick and someone was willing to take care of you? Would you let your son take out his life?

What I know is this movie makes us learn that no one can change anyone, that no one should root himself into one city, and that life is too short to not think of your happiness and your comfort first before EVERYONE  else.

Brilliant movie with believable and convincing characters! A Must Watch!

With love!

Maya