“Amreeka”, The Movie Everyone Should See

22 01 2010

In a very strange coincidence, involving Wikipedia and Rotten Tomatoes, I had the pleasure to learn about this movie.

“Amreeka” is an Arabic movie following the story of a Palestinian family emigrating to the U.S. in the hope of finding a new future, and maybe a new sense of home.

It’s a very lite film, not going deep in details, and not so shallow at the same time. There’s a nice balance in the story, making this film a must-see for every cinema fan.

The core of this film goes well beyond Arabs and Americans. The focus is shifted toward the human state of mind, the idea of a country, a nationality, and community. What is a country? What defines “home”? What are borders? Where would one find inner peace? Home or some place away from home?

Many different ideas, and one perspective, a perspective that you’ll never know about in Hollywood or European cinema. It’s this one perspective that makes this film so interesting and so important to watch, because we don’t usually get to see anything from that perspective in the news, on TV, or in the movies.

After seeing this movie, I had a strange feeling inside that I couldn’t really describe, nor express. It was something new, but very refreshing at the same time. And I’m so glad I had a new chance to experience Arab cinema once again. It was a pleasure, and it certainly opened my appetite for more…

Director “Cherien Dabis” makes one hell of a debut film that is indeed worthy of being watched and thought about for a very long time.

The poster of the movie "Amreeka"

"Amreeka" Poster

Links:

Official Website

Amreeka at the IMDB

“Amreeka” at Rotten Tomatoes

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Game of the Month: Mirror’s Edge!

1 02 2009

Yes.. Even though the year is just starting, I think we already have a winner on our hands.

Mirror’s Edge is actually a “running game”. A game where running and momentum is your main and primary weapon. If you know what “Parkour” is, then you know what I’m talking about. It’s basically a Parkour simulation.

Mirror’s Edge is hard to categorize, maybe an action adventure would be the closest match. But that’s not an issue.

The strongest point of the whole game is the ability to transfer the Parkour experience to your living room, with basically the same adrenaline rush that usually come with it.

The exceptional visual design is also a true example of those games that are able to convey an artistic message. It also plays a vital role in the overall immersing gaming experience. The use of strong, contrasting colors is a clever innovative technique that was used to highlight the route that you have to take throughout the game, and also to represent your mission, or more precisely your goal to bring back the stolen colors to a monochromatic world.

The game uses a beautifully crafted first-person perspective. Which is crucial to the experience, and really puts you in charge of your character’s movement and momentum. It is so close -in general- to the game “Portal”, released last year. Bringing the same jaw-dropping experience through a totally new gameplay concept. I believe it’s going to be as much influential to game design as Portal was.

Mirror’s Edge deserves an award for being innovative, and for offering a simplistic yet clean and efficient visual presentation. For more information on the game, check out the official website.

Pros:

  • Stunning visual presentation.
  • Great innovative gameplay experience.
  • Fluid and realistic animation.
  • Great musical score, and SFX.

Cons:

  • Story mode is a bit short.
  • Not enough information on the main characters.
  • Too much gun combat.
A screenshot from Mirrors Edge

A screenshot from Mirror's Edge





“The Bucket List”, Majestic!

28 10 2008

It’s always hard to write about good movies, because I always fear that anything I say would pollute them, or maybe, distort their beautiful image.

Anyway, there’s actually lots of things to say about this movie, mostly in a positive way. Let’s just cut to the chase and describe it as one of the really meaningful creations in the world of cinema. Even though the movie isn’t perfect on the cinematic side of things, but the story and the acting are just gorgeous! The dialogue is a work of art. There are some mishaps here and there that, sometimes, would detract from the immersion, but as soon as you hear a few more lines, you’d surely forget all about them.

So, for a great story, and great performances by the amazing Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, this movie puts the J in majestic, in every sense possible. ‘nough said, now go out there and give it a try…





Raptr, Social Network For Gamers

8 09 2008

Raptr (currently in Beta stage) is a new social networking website dedicated to gamers, and gamers only.

It aims to connect gamers together through the games they own and play. The interface is similar to Facebook. With a profile, friends, and inbox pages. And of course the almighty Games page, where you show off your own games to your friends.

Facebook already provides similar features to everyone through the use of applications. So, what’s new about Raptr? What makes it so unique?

Actually, Raptr has a few interesting and unique features up its sleeves:

First off, it is custom designed for gamers only. With that in mind, it has many features that are unique to gamers, and to gamers’ social habits. Like game recommendations, reviews, and user videos.

Raptr offers a client software that resides on your PC. This client searches automatically for games installed on your PC and adds them to your profile. It also logs your gaming habits for each and every game you own and play.

The client also provides instant updates about you to many other social network websites. For example, when you run a game on your PC, the Raptr client can automatically send an update to your Facebook and Twitter feeds. So your friends will be able to join you while you’re still playing for a multiplayer session. Or they may leave their comments on you, or the game you’re playing.

The most important feature offered by Raptr’s client IMHO is the ability to collect statistics from gamers all around the world about so many games, so that when you check a game’s Raptr page, it will show you how many players had played this game, when they played it, and for how long they did play. So, by comparing different stats with your friends on the network, Raptr is able to provide recommendations to players based on their friend’s stats and on your own gaming preferences. Which is an awesome feature!

And with a larger user base, Raptr will be able to even recommend some potential friends, based on similarities between you and them. Which would help to connect gamers together, thereby fulfilling the social networking purpose of the site.

Currently, Raptr is in Beta stage, so it’s still under development. And it still has some few quirks that needs to be sorted out. But nonetheless I think it has a great chance of becoming a major player in the social networking (or Web 2.0) world.

I tried it and installed the client, and I’m liking it so far. You can visit my Raptr profile page here: http://raptr.com/GFX

Pros.:

– Great concept.

– Streamlined website design (navigation, performance).

– The game’s statistics page.

Cons.:

– Game thumbnails are too large (more than 120 KBs). I assume it will be fixed in the Beta stage.

– The software client eats a large chunk of system memory (+30 MBs).

– A relatively small user base. Public Beta stage started only a week ago.





Dogville..

31 08 2008

……………..

I’m sitting right now, wanting to write something to let it out. Longing to find the right words that would make me feel good again…

I feel like I was hit with a brick on the head. Dogville is one of those movies that reminded me of who I truly am, of how life is like, and how the whole human kind is like..

I’m startled right now, so I just can’t say anything of value about this movie, I just can’t.. You just have to watch it by yourself. I barely survived the length of this movie, or should I say, this wake-up call.. Not because the movie is a failure, but because the movie is a strikingly wonderful success..

Dogville is a torture, and yet it is the cure. Dogville is the cinematic art of being a human.

Dogville lives inside each and every single human being, it’s not a work of fiction, it only shows the truth. The whole naked selfish truth.

Anyway, I prefer not to speak about it any more than I already have. Suffice it to say that this film has undoubtedly been the greatest cinematic experience that I have ever had in my life so far!

Strongly recommended to everyone who appreciates a valuable cinematic experience, that offers a naked peek at the very core of human values, and the human’s -somewhat- disgusting way of life.





Bioshock.. Freedom Within..

10 08 2008

I have just finished playing Bioshock on the PC. I know it’s an old game, but I was hesitating to play it when it came out because it was such a creepy game, I couldn’t play for more than 30 mins sessions! I wasn’t really enjoying myself. And because I’m not a typical FPS gamer. Especially not the survival thrillers.

But, I read a lot about this game, lots of articles mentioned how this game had such a great artistic value, and an emotional story. So, being a strong fan for mature games that actually pay attention to art (more on that in an upcoming post), I just had to play it no matter what. So I reinstalled it, and started it all over. This time with a totally different mentality.

In Bioshock, you play the role of a man who was on a plane over the Atlantic. The game starts after the plane crash-lands in the middle of the ocean, and you’re the only survivor. Next to the crash site is an entrance, the entrance to an underwater city named “Rapture”.

Rapture was built by the mysterious “Andrew Ryan”, a man who believes in freedom. A man who had a dream, a great dream. To escape all kinds of governments, laws, and typical world conspiracies, and build his own city underwater! A city where everything is permitted, where the scientist could do his research without interruption, pressure, and administration. Where the artist could create art unafraid of boundaries, and censorship.

Rapture is basically a place for everyone to live independently, enjoy their freedom, and forget the mishaps of the outside world! And as “Andrew Ryan” himself would put it; “It was not impossible to build Rapture on the bottom of the ocean, it was impossible to build it anywhere else!”

Read the rest of this entry »





“Jumper”, Cool But…

29 06 2008

So, finally I managed to watch the Jumper movie, and overall, I found it to be an average sci-fi blockbuster with a great concept, but poor execution.

I liked the idea of ‘jumpers vs. paladins’, but they didn’t have it fully exploited, even though the concept is very unique and flexible.

The end is disappointing, there’s no cliff-hangers or happy endings, but the movie ends right where it started. Nothing had changed!

Overall, it was entertaining and cool to watch, great visual effects, and gorgeous shooting locations, but that’s it. There’s nothing more to see here, so if you can’t stand the concept of blockbusters and super-heroes, you might want to skip this one.