Go by OSN – A Netflix for the Middle East

Posted by Mark

gobyosn

A few months ago OSN launched a video streaming service similar to Netflix called ‘Go’. For just $10 a month you get access to a large library of movies and TV shows which are all available to watch at any time from your desktop or your mobile devices.

I found out about the service today and after playing around with it for a few hours I liked it, even though I don’t have a use for it.

The service isn’t anywhere near perfect but it’s a good start nonetheless. I have two main issues with ‘Go’, the first is the limited library. In the TV shows category they only have 15 shows, all old seasons which most of us have watched before. I compliment them on the fact they have one of my favorite shows ‘Boss‘ available but that show got canceled like 2 years back. The movies category is a lot better just don’t expect any of the latest blockbusters. Their movie section actually reminded me of Blockbuster back when I used to rent videotapes from them in Canada. Once I would be done watching everything in the top 20 I would wander randomly around the store looking for old classics I might have missed out on. Groundhog Day, Good Morning Vietnam, Top Gun, Medicine Man.. all classics available to watch along with other more recent hits. If only they would allow us to sort through the movies by release date, it would make things a lot more practical.

go1

The second issue I had with ‘Go’ was the quality of the video stream. I’m on a 10Mbps connection and I had difficulty getting a decent quality stream going. They don’t even let you control the quality of the video, they do it automatically for you based on your current speed so if your connection is fluctuating so will the quality of the video. One minute I’m watching a clear 1.3Mbps stream a few seconds later it drops down to 300Kbps, then back up to 800, then back down to 500. It’s really irritating and I wish they had an option similar to YouTube where I could choose the quality, hit pause and let it buffer up a bit and then hit play. On my iPhone things were slight better just because the screen is smaller so compression artifacts didn’t show as much.

On the plus side $10 a month is pretty cheap and I loved the fact I could play anything I wanted instantly. Even skipping randomly into different sections of the movie was fast. On the iPhone you could also leave the app while watching something and when you come back to it, the app will remember your last position and continue playing from where you stopped.

As I mentioned in the beginning, it’s not a bad start for a service that just recently launched. You don’t need to be an OSN subscriber to sign up to ‘Go’ and they also have a 7-day free trial so you could give it a spin before deciding if you want it or not. Here is a link to their [Website]

Thanks Sara


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KUWAIT – Through Our Eyes (Part 1)

Posted by Mark

The first part of the documentary on Kuwait that is airing on British Airways this month has been uploaded online in full HD. It’s nearly 12 minutes long and you can watch it above. [YouTube]

throughoureyes


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British Airways to Air Documentary about Kuwait Onboard All their Flights

Posted by Mark

BA-film

For the month of August, British Airways will be airing a short documentary about Kuwait on board more than 3,000 flights around the world. The documentary is called “Kuwait: Through Our Eyes” and is divided into four 10-minute films. Originally British Airways were planning just a 10-minute film but due to the overwhelming demand they ended up turning it into a four part series. Kuwait is just one of twenty countries from around the world that are getting a film done and Kuwait is the first one from the Middle East to be featured.

August is one of the busiest months of the year so Kuwait should get a lot of exposure. I couldn’t find a copy of the film online to watch but I’m hoping British Airways will upload it next month onto YouTube or their website. Check out the full article on KUNA [Here]

Thanks @Buzfairy

Update: Part one is now online, watch it below.


[YouTube]


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Lessons of Darkness

Posted by Mark

lessonsofdarkness

Although I’d like to believe that I’ve watched every movie related to the 1990 invasion of Kuwait, I obviously haven’t since I just found out about a film called Lessons of Darkness (thanks to reddit). The movie is directed by the German director Werner Herzog and was released in 1992. The style is similar to Baraka and Samsara where epic footage is combined with beautiful music except in this case, the beautiful footage is mostly of horror and destruction.

At the end of the Gulf War, following the troops’ withdrawal, Herzog travelled to Kuwait in order to explore this conflict in situ, filming a landscape as inhospitable and desolate as it is unnerving and perversely attractive: the devastation of war is exacerbated by the numerous oil wells in flames, towers of fire that appear to emerge from the earth, resulting in a deeply moving spectacle. With this backdrop, Herzog’s camera narrates several stories at once: the complex and extremely dangerous operation of extinguishing these fires, the psychological and emotional scars the war has left on the country’s inhabitants, and the harmful environmental consequences Kuwait must face. The images are often sublime, combining beauty and horror in a single shot. Despite the music used in several sequences, silence is ever-present: a woman and child serve to testify that even the inhabitants themselves have become mute. Ultimately the film affirms that it is impossible to express anything when faced with such horror. And, all we can do, once again, is thank the German director for having gone there to film it.

Trailer LESSONS OF DARKNESS (Werner Herzog, 1992)

You can watch the trailer above and the movie is available to download via torrents or you can buy it from Amazon.


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Kuwaiti Short Films on Telly

Posted by Mark

shortfilms

The popular social video sharing site Telly is currently featuring Kuwaiti Short Films on their website. There are 12 films available to watch and they are:

Heaven’s Water (May Aljannah)
The Sniper (Alqannas)
The Neighborhood Cop (Shurty Alfreej)
The Youngest Son (Ju3da)
The Detective (Thabet)
Mustache (Shanab)
Sneeze (3atsah)
Someone (Fulan)
Saloon
Vanish (Ikhtifa2)
Ka3bool
9oorat

So if you’re interested in watching some short Kuwaiti films check them out [Here]


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Contaminated Trailer

Posted by Mark

contaminated

Last week I posted about the short film ‘Contaminated’ that was written and directed by Moe Al-Saeed, the guy behind the Happy Kuwait video. ‘Contaminated’ was officially selected to be part of the upcoming Miami Fashion Film Festival and Moe just uploaded the trailer for the film which you can check out below.

CONTAMINATED: A Fashion Film Trailer 2014 from Mohammad Al-Saeed on Vimeo.


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“CONTAMINATED” Now Part of the Miami Fashion Film Festival

Posted by Mark

contaminated

“CONTAMINATED” is a short film that was written and directed by the Kuwaiti film maker Moe Al-Saeed and a couple of days back he got word that it was officially selected to be part of the upcoming Miami Fashion Film Festival. Moe is the guy behind some great locally produced videos including my two favorites the Happy Kuwait video and BirdTalk: Dance.

He’s is still working on a trailer for “CONTAMINATED” but for now I was able to get the film synopsis:

God Shiva starts the tandav cosmic dance of death to wake the “children” up. She gives them beauty and power. The children blossom and as they reach their crescendo they get contaminated. Their time is up and Shiva destroys what she has once created.

Sounds pretty strange and interesting so can’t wait to see it.


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Watch Saving Mr Banks

Posted by Mark

mrbanks

Over the weekend I finally got around to watching the movie ‘Saving Mr Banks’ and I have to say I was completely taken by surprise with how good it was. The movie is about the author P.L. Travers who wrote the Mary Poppins book and deals with her childhood as well as her dealings with Walt Disney who wanted to adapt her book into a movie. Because of the subject of the movie I was expecting it to feel like a Disney movie or a movie aimed towards children which is why I was taken aback when I realized it wasn’t.

The movie stars a ton of great actors including Tom Hanks, Emma Thompson, Colin Farrell, Paul Giamatti, B.J. Novak and Jason Schwartzman. Saving Mr Banks is an emotional roller coaster ride and never seems to slowdown or get boring in the full 2 hours of the movie. If you haven’t watched it yet you should do yourself a favor and get it and don’t worry if you’ve never watched the original Mary Poppins movie, you’ll still understand everything. [IMDB]


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Tinker Bell Censored

Posted by Mark

tinkerbell

Twitter user @RoyElHachem snapped the photo above of the movie poster for “Tinker Bell and the Pirate Fairy” at Cinescape Fanar. I’m surprised they’ve kept her sexy shoulders showing.

Update: The movie poster is censored on the Cinescape website as well, I guess they’re serious. [Link]


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Cinemagics Rooftop Schedule for April

Posted by Mark

Below is this months schedule for Cinemagics rooftop movie nights. If you’ve never been to them before, they’re held twice a week, every Thursday and Saturday on top of the building that has Xcite in old Salmiya. I’ll also be listing the movies individually in the Events section to make it easier to track on a weekly basis. This will most likely be the last month of rooftop movies since the weather is getting hotter. I would highly recommend watching Close Encounters of the Third Kind, it’s a classic and one of my all time favorites.

Thursday, April 3rd 2014 at 7:30PM
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND
Considered one of Speilberg’s most essential films, Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind is a film that needs no introduction. Winner of countless awards, it has earned its place as one of the masterpieces of American Cinema. Ray Bradbury declared it “the greatest science fiction film ever made.” Jean Renoir compared the storytelling to Jules Verne and George Melies. Francois Truffaut loved the script so much he agreed to be cast in an essential role. A film that has inspired endless incarnations, and carrying one of the most iconic scores of all time by the great John Williams, Close Encounters continues to be an event film even today, almost 40 years after its original release.

Saturday, April 5th 2014 at 7:30PM
THE HOUSEMAID (Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project)
Every month, we’ll be playing a film from the World Cinema Project. Established by Martin Scorsese in 2007, the World Cinema Project expands the horizons of moviegoers everywhere. The mission of the WCP is to preserve and present marginalized and infrequently screened films from regions generally ill equipped to preserve their own cinema history. This month’s film is The Housemaid. A torrent of sexual obsession, revenge, and betrayal is unleashed under one roof in this venomous melodrama from South Korean master Kim Ki-young. Considered to be one of the top 3 korean films of all time by koreanfilm.org.

Thursday, April 10th 2014 at 7:30PM
THE KILLING OF A CHINESE BOOKIE
The fourth in our Cassavetes series, where we’ll be showing a film every month by acclaimed legendary independent filmmaker John Cassavetes, who is known as the father of independent American cinema. A proud strip club owner is forced to come to terms with himself as a man, when his gambling addiction gets him in hot water with the mob, who offer him only one alternative. Ben Gazzara brilliantly portrays the gentleman’s club owner, Cosmo Vitelli, desperately committed to maintaining a facade of suave gentility despite the seediness of his environment.

Saturday, April 12th 2014 at 7:30PM
PLAYTIME
Jacques Tati’s visual masterpiece, shot in glorious 70mm and inspiring an entire generation of filmmakers (most notably Peter Sellers) who tried to emulate his subtly, comedic timing, and visual style, Playtime is structured in six sequences, linked by two characters who repeatedly encounter one another in the course of a day: Barbara, a young American tourist visiting Paris with a group composed primarily of middle-aged American women, and Monsieur Hulot, a befuddled Frenchman lost in the new modernity of Paris. Surreal, magical, and not to be missed.

Thursday, April 17th 2014 at 7:30PM
SURPRISE MOVIE OF THE MONTH
Every month we’ll be playing a surprise film, where you won’t know what you’re watching until just a minute before the film begins. One thing is for sure, every month the surprise film will be either my favourite film of the list, or the most unique in one way or the other. This month’s film is an enigmatic piece of poetry, highlighted by a beautifully nuanced lead performance (which won many Best Actress awards worldwide) and a goosebump inducing score. Shot masterfully by acclaimed cinematographer Slawomir Idziak, this film is unlike anything you’ve seen before, and will last with you far after you leave the screening.

Saturday, April 19th 2014 at 7:30PM
EASTERN PROMISES
Winner of the audience prize at the Toronto Film Festival, featured on over 20 top ten lists of its year, and nominated for countless awards, most notably for Viggo Mortensen’s mesmerizing lead performance, Eastern Promises begins as a typical gangster story before flipping the entire genre on its head. Uniquely paced, with a not so typical central struggle on hand, this was the film to solidify Cronenberg’s return to form (after his comeback with A History of Violence). A Russian teenager living in London dies during childbirth leaving clues to a midwife in her journal that could tie her child to a rape involving a violent Russian mob family. Her investigation into uncovers layers that challenges the audience’s expectations.

Thursday, April 24th 2014 at 7:30PM
GEORGE WASHINGTON
One of the best reviewed films of 2000, and the film responsible for launching David Gordon Green’s flowering career (who after a dip in the quality of films returned this year with the two critically acclaimed films Prince Avalanche and Joe), George Washington tells the story of A group of children, in a depressed small town, who band together to cover up a tragic mistake one summer.

Saturday, April 26th 2014 at 7:30PM
CERTIFIED COPY
Iranian cinematic master Abbas Kiarostami’s first foray outside of his native Iran and into French Cinema, Certified Copy takes place in Tuscany, where to promote his latest book, a middle-aged British writer meets a French woman who leads him to the village of Lucignano. While there, a chance question reveals something deeper. Through a wonderful performance by the always magical Julliette Binoche (for which she won the Best Actress prize at the Cannes Film Festival), Abbas Kiarostami achieves a universal film, between levity and drama, about the feelings that are diluted over time.

Cinemagics is organizing these events as part of its efforts to contribute to the development of an internationally competitive Kuwaiti audio-visual production industry, partly by bringing the filmmakers and audiences together and by increasing the public’s interest in – and appreciation for – the art of film-making. Cinemagics movies are screened in the old Salmiya, on the rooftop of Xcite and LG [Map]. There is no entrance fee. Here is a link to their Facebook group [Link]


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