Local Film: Dinosaur

Post by Mark

Dinosaur is a local short film that was produced back in 2013 but due to it being entered in some film festivals, it just became available for the public to watch online a few days ago. The film is directed by Meqdad Al-Kout who’s behind another popular local film, Mustache (Shanab). Dinosaur follows a government employee who is trying to change his job title to a higher position before retiring.

kuwait-government

I have mixed feelings about the film, overall I liked it but I did find some of the scenes a bit cheesy and I really didn’t like the film visually. But Dinosaur did have some hilarious moments with my favorite being at 15:43 minutes into the film when the employee walks into an office full of niqab ladies. There are a bunch of great moments like that in the film which made me enjoy it overall. The film is in Arabic but has English subtitles. It’s also not too long just 20 minutes so if you’ve got the time check it out on [Vimeo]


Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Airlift Trailer

Post by Mark

The trailer for “Airlift”, the upcoming Indian film based on the 1990 Iraq invasion of Kuwait just got released. The movie is based on a true story and is set to be released in January. Here is the synopsis:

Ranjit Katyal (played by Akshay Kumar), a wealthy and powerful Indian businessman, who has always seen himself as a Kuwaiti, rather than an Indian, realises that he no longer wields any influence on the Iraqis, and that he and his family are in as much danger as anyone else. Ranjit unknowingly becomes the man who all 170,000 Indians look up to for getting them out safely from Kuwait. Airlift is the story of Indians stranded in Kuwait during this traumatic time. A story of how they, with the help of Ranjit Katyal, managed to survive the Iraqi invasion, and against all odds travelled a thousand kilometres across the border into Amman, Jordan. From Amman, 170,000 Indians were brought home by the largest and the most successful evacuation ever attempted by any country, in the history of the world. Over 59 days, the Indian government systematically flew over 488 Air India commercial flights into a war zone to evacuate all 170,000 Indians and safely bring them back home. Airlift is an uplifting and entertaining edge-of-the-seat thriller and is the story of the biggest ever human evacuation in the history of mankind.

Airlift, directed by Raja Krishna Menon, starts filming April 2015 and is presented by T-Series and Cape of Good Films; produced by Crouching Tiger and Emmay Entertainment. Bhushan Kumar, talking about the film, said, “It’s my conviction that the story will be equally appreciated once on celluloid as much as I loved it during narration. The character that Akshay plays is filled with heroism and I am sure he will add to the perfection with this central character role that he essays.”

The trailer is in Hindi and doesn’t have any English subtitles but there’s lots of explosions so it’s still entertaining to watch. [YouTube]

Thanks Rayboy and Nand
airlift


Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Cinemagics Rooftop Movies Are Back

Post by Mark

The Cinemagics rooftop movies are back starting from this weekend. If you’ve never been to one you should and this month they’ve got some great films showing. I’ll be adding them all to the Events page but for now below is the full list of films taking place this month.

Thursday, November 5th 2015 at 7:30PM
WHIPLASH
Winner of 78 awards and nominated for over 110 worldwide, Whiplash was the little movie that caught the world by storm last year. Featuring a towering performance by J.K. Simmons (for which he won the oscar), the real star here is newcomer Damien Chazelle’s incredible pacing and fascinating editing style. It tells the story of a promising young drummer who enrolls at a cutthroat music conservatory where his dreams of greatness are challenged by an instructor who will stop at nothing to bring out the best, even if it may go to far. If you haven’t seen this yet, this is your chance to witness the experience.

Saturday, November 7th 2015 at 7:30PM
JIRO DREAMS OF SUSHI
A delicate documentary about Jiro Ono, am 85 year old sushi master who runs a 3 michelin star restaurant in a toile subway station. Carrying a certified fresh rating of 99% on Rotten Tomatoes, the site’s consensus reads “Beautiful, thoughtful, and engrossing”. A film that is generally adores by all who’ve seen it.

Thursday, November 12th 2015 at 7:30PM
MY DINNER WITH ANDRE
A film that is universally adored by critics and audiences alike, My Dinner with Andre is the first in the trilogy of the Andre Gregory & Wallace Shawn experimental films. The film depicts a theatrical conversation between the two stars as they discuss experimental theater, the nature of life, and spiritual experiences. The Boston Society of Critics names it the Best American Film, and master critic Roger Ebert once said “If i could name a movie that was entirely devoid of cliches, it would be My Dinner with Andre”

Saturday, November 14th at 7:30PM
WILD TALES
One of the most refreshingly original films in recent history, Wild Tales is an Argentinian masterpiece covering 6 short stories, all of which share the themes of violence and revenge. The film has won over 40 awards worldwide, considered by many to be one of the best of the year. Holding a 96% rating, Rotten Tomatoes called the film “Wickedly hilarious and delightfully deranged”. The film received a 10 minute standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival. A rare combination of a crowd pleaser that also captures the attention of cinephiles. Unmissable.

Thursday, November 19th at 7:30PM
THE THIN BLUE LINE
One of the most provocative documentaries of all time, and a film many considered to be the shift in the way documentaries were being made, The Thin Blue Line was eventually considered to be one of the best 5 documentaries of all time. It depicts the story of Randall Dale Adams, a man convicted and sentences to life in prison for a murder he did not commit. The film is one of the only films to ever affect a judicial verdict, as the trial was reviewed after the release of the film. Errol Morris went on to become one of the most respected documentarians around.

Saturday, November 21st at 7:30PM
ANNIE HALL
Every year at Cinemagic, we pick one highlight one master director and create a series around him/her where we show an important film of their’s each month. This year, our director of choice is the cinematic gem, Woody Allen. We begin big with what Roger ebert called “just about everyone’s favorite Woody Allen movie”, Annie Hall. A film responsible for inventing the modern comedic film, Annie Hall won the oscars for Best Film, Director, and Screenplay, and solidified Woody Allen as one of the great American filmmakers of his generation. One of the most beloved comedies of all time, there’s nobody that doesn’t love Annie Hall.

Thursday, November 26th at 7:30PM
TIMBUKTU
Nominated for best foreign film at the Academy Awards, and winner of another 19 awards worldwide, Timbuktu tells the story of a cattle herder and his family who reside in the dunes of Timbuktu when they find their lives of peace disturbed by the political arena int he surrounding cities. Variety wrote of the director “In the hands of a master, indignation and tragedy can be rendered with clarity yetsubtelty, setting hysteria aside for deeper, more richly shaded tones. Abderrahmane Sissako is just such a master.”

Saturday, November 28th at 7:30PM
WATER
Beautifully shot and elegantly told, Deepa Mehta’s Water was a beloved film worldwide upon release. The film examines the plight of a group of widows forced into poverty, focussing on a relationship between one of the widows and a man who is from the highest caste and is is a follower or Mahatma Ghandhi. Of the film, The Los Angeles Times wrote “Mehta is able to inject considerable humor in her stunningly perceptive and beautifully structured narrative…Water emerges as a film of extraordinary richness and complexity”. Winner of 23 awards.

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]


Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Netflix Coming to the Middle East in 2016

Post by Mark

netflix

Netflix has confirmed they will be launching in the Middle East soon. In an email to IGN ME, Netflix’s Joris Evers said, “We plan to complete our global expansion by the end of 2016. Of course the Middle East is part of that, hence our hiring.” [Source]

Around 10 days back a local redditor noticed that Netflix had changed their usual error message while trying to access Netflix from his Roku device. The usual error message “Sorry, Netflix hasn’t come to this part of the world yet” was replaced with “Good news! Netflix will be coming soon to this part of the world. Stay tuned.” Now it’s actually confirmed which is pretty interesting news.

I wonder if the regional library of films and shows will be similar to that of the US. But I think I’m even more curious to see how this will affect OSN as well as the other regional streaming services like Telly.


Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

The Martian

Post by Mark

themartian

Just finished watching The Martian. After watching Interstellar last year I was really looking forward for another space related film. For some reason I was expecting The Martian to be as serious and dramatic as Interstellar but that wasn’t the case, it’s more lighthearted with lots of humor. It’s not as good as Interstellar or Gravity for that matter, but it was still fun to watch. There was o nudity, no violence, no cussing and no kissing, so you should be able to watch it in Kuwait without any censorship.

Update: I completely forgot there was one scene where you can see Matt Damon’s naked rear so I take back the last statement, it won’t be without any censorship.


Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

How is Magic Mike XXL not banned?

Post by Mark

xxl

How the hell did Magic Mike XXL not make the ban list in Kuwait? Cinescape have it listed as coming soon which doesn’t make any sense since the movie is all about male strippers. How long is the movie going to end up being after all the censorship, a full 5 minutes? So weird.


Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Sky Cinemas – The new Cinema Operator in town

Post by Mark

skycinemas

I’ve been hearing rumblings of a third cinema operator coming to Kuwait for awhile now but I didn’t think it would ever happen. The market is just too small and Cinescape is so dominant that I figured it just wouldn’t make financial sense for a third cinema operator to want to come in and compete. I guess I was wrong.

Sky Cinemas is the new cinema operator in town and they’ve just soft launched their first location in Dalal Complex on Salem Al Mubarek Street. If you’re wondering what building that is, it’s the new tower opposite Zahra Complex [Map]. Right now they have one theater operational and it’s playing Ant-Man but by next week they’ll have two more theaters operational as well as more movies to choose from including the new Mission Impossible.

Their ticket prices are KD3.5 which is exactly like Grand Cinemas and Cinescape plus they don’t have IMAX, so I don’t really see what their advantage is. They’re also located right in the middle between Cinescape Fanar and Cinescape Marina Mall so they have their work cut out for them. If you’re interested in trying them out, check out their website [Here]

The mall they’re located in is fairly empty at the moment with I think 4 shops open only.


Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Cinescape Increases IMAX Ticket Prices

Post by Mark

book

For some unknown reason, Cinescape have increased the ticket prices of their IMAX movies. They increased the price from KD4 to KD5 while all the other ticket prices remained the same. I tried to find out why the increase happened but I was told a memo was sent out to Cinescape employees not to discuss it. Very odd.

Update: On a side note has anyone watched Rogue Nation, is anything cut?


Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

A Film Called Kuwait

Post by Mark

kuwaitfilm1

I recently found out about a French film thats coming out called Kuwait. I was curious to what it was about and why it was going to be called Kuwait, so I contacted the director and was able to get a bit of information from him. First the synopsis:

KUWAIT tells the story of Stéphane, a lonely and pragmatic 18-year-old girl, who lives in a hamlet in France. Her father has disappeared a few days ago and Stéphane is worried. Her life changes dramatically the day a wide open hole appears in the family garden. Is it connected to her father’s disappearance? Stéphane is going to try and understand what happened with her neighbour Frank. What she will discover will shake her life…

kuwaitfilmposter

According to the director, in the film, the girls father disappears and she then later on in the film finds out he moved to Kuwait. The reason the director chose Kuwait as the destination is because as a kid he spent 3 years living in Kuwait. The film starts shooting in September and for more information you can visit the films website [Here]


Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Best Movie Theater in Kuwait

Post by Mark

cinemagics

nima

This is going to be a long one.
Winner: LITERALLY NO ONE WINS. LITERALLY.

I watched Van Helsing a few years ago. It’s a shitty movie with Hugh Jackman and Kate Beckinsale. Early in the movie, Van Helsing goes to Kate Beckinsale’s village, only to be attacked by 3 sexy flying vampire women. Because the flying sexy vampires are sexy, anytime there was a closeup of one of them, the frames were cut. The Flying Sexies would just die off one at a time. I remember this because at one point, the last remaining Sexie was outside flying around and screaming then suddenly CUTCUTCUT she’s inside already turned to ash around a crossbow bolt to her now visible chest. The editing was so jarring that I literally felt sick, like being in strobe lights for too long. I got up and walked out of the Cinema in Kuwait for the last time.

So why do we censor such things but not violence? Think about this, if a movie showed a woman getting her arm taken off, not a problem. Shirt taken off, problem. A horde of zombies grab someone and bite their goddamn face off, no problem. Someone kisses their wife for good luck before embarking on some death-defying last-ditch effort against all odds. That’s a fucking problem. “Tsk. Why are you kissing? Ha? Who told you to kiss? Tsk. Shino hatha? There’s a camera here and we can all see you. Tsk. Respect yourselves.”

They also censor blasphemy. When the bad guy says, “I will be a god” or something like that, I know it’s wrong. He’s an asshole. What do you expect? That’s why we’re all paying money. To sit here silently in the dark and watch someone kick his ass. Why do I need that part of his asshole behaviour to be kept from me? Doesn’t context matter?

Whether they censor a brief kiss from the movie or cut a movie into spastic chaos, it doesn’t matter to me. The result is the same; I am ripped away from the movie and put into a movie theatre sitting next to the sonofabitch friend that convinced me to give this shit another chance. (You lied to me Mohi, you lied right to my face.)

So now people are reduced to looking up the running time of the film from the cinema companies here and comparing them with the actual running time of the film to see how much of the movie is cut. Some friends of mine went to watch Rush Hour 2 or 3. It was literally an hour long. Allegedly, films are watched by a panel of men. The men have a button each. They press the button when something is worth censoring. It doesn’t take a consensus, just one to be offended. The process is then repeated through a panel of women. Allegedly. But I believe it just because of how ridiculous it sounds.

Now think about this, and this is what drives me to rage, a group of people, that have never met you, watch something uncut, on your behalf, to mark the things that you would not be able to handle, and remove them from your experience. We are treated as children. Undeveloped enough to be able to comprehend reality from film. The whole thing is institutionally condescending. And honestly, what’s the point of censoring movies when everyone has OSN at home and the internet everywhere else they go? At this point is it little more than a empty gesture of righteousness?

TL;DR
I won’t go to the cinemas here or anywhere films are censored. Even if it’s just a kiss. Even if it’s a kids movie. Because they censored the lion king. The Lion King.

Runner up: Cinemagics
I was the man with the plan behind the Game of Thrones private cinema night that Mark wrote about. I loved that place. What a fun night. And is there anything more enjoyable than watching a movie on a rooftop in Old Salmiya on a cool winter night? Fantastic movies and beautiful viewing areas, I can’t recommend Cinemagics enough. If you’ve never experienced it, do yourselves a favour and check them out.

mark

Winner:Cinemagics
I’ve been posting about the Cinemagics rooftop movies for years now and every year they keep making it better. This year for example they replaced the previously uncomfortable chairs with super comfy air sofas. They also added a live food station and their movie choices are also unmatched. Best part is you can watch their movies for free and thats because Cinemagics is trying 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. And to top it all off, they’re located down the street from where I live. An easy winner here.

Runner up: Cinescape 360 Mall
I have to agree with Nima regarding the censorship issue, I stopped watching movies for a long time in Kuwait because I got pissed off after going to watch The Simpsons and realizing it was censored. But I’ve recently started going back to the movies again but now I make sure whatever I watch isn’t censored, or at least minor censorship, like I wouldn’t mind one kissing scene being chopped. That said, the movie theater I frequent the most, or should I say the only theater I actually go to now is the Cinescape one at 360 Mall. Its aesthetically pleasing and their IMAX 3D theater is the best one in Kuwait from what I’m aware of (let me know if there is a better one cuz I’d love to check it out). Note to Cinescape, just buy cinescape.com already, it’s what I always type before realizing I need to go to kncc.com instead.


Share on Facebook Share on Twitter



Contribute

If you have anything you think would be interesting to share on this blog
[Email Me]