Monday, October 19, 2009

Ice Age 3: Dawn of The Dinosaurs

Monday, October 19, 2009 38
Ice Age 1 introduced us to Sid (voiced by John Leguizamo), Manny (Ray Romano) and Diego (Denis Leary); a group of wildly funny ice age animals. Ice Age 2 followed their journey running away from the Meltdown of the world around them, and now, Ice Age 3 takes our joke-cracking, American-style living ice ages groupies to a whole new world, an undiscovered world of Dinosaurs.

While the first movie of the Ice Age, 2002, series was a family movie, with loveable hug-y characters, and although all of them were so deeply and creatively created, they did their job well as cartoon heroes, aiming for children as audience.

Now, the sequel was much different, Ice Age: The Meltdown, 2006, was trying to gain more audience, making sure that parents and older brother or sister would like to watch the movie as well. 

They needed a safety net, a way for grown-ups to actually advice other grown-ups to take their children to the movie, everyone in Hollywood knows that the word of mouth is the number one advertising tool, so they added all this two-faces jokes, where the grown-ups would get the joke in a “naughty” way, while children would enjoy the movie as it is.

Well, the latest installment to the movie, our topic for today, took the lead from the sequel and worked its way up, taking the bar higher, a bit too high maybe.

The problem is not the jokes, it’s the fact that it doesn’t work for youngsters anymore, this time, while you’re laughing your head off to the adults in-jokes, the children would look a bit off track and ask you: why did he say that, mummy?!

A new edition to the famous group is Buck, a vendetta-seeking character following his white-Whale of a dinosaur, British actor Simon Pegg gives a voice to the well-written and beautifully inspired character equally from Captain Jack Sparo and Captain Ahab of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick.

Of course, Ice Age wouldn’t quite be the same without Scrat, who is still following his nut all over the land of Earth, around the snow and underneath the dinosaurs claws, but the only difference is a nicely created character called Scratte, a female who has eyes on his acorn.

Like usual, Scrat hopeless quest to get his nut is running parallel to the movie giving it a funny yet action-packed segments every now and again.

No question asked, the movie is nicely flowing, with 3D technology adding amazing scenery to the already amazing movie, but still, maybe taking your children with you to see it is not such a good idea.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Arya - My second book

Thursday, August 6, 2009 1
So, yeah, and after almost 9 months of deliverance, here you have it.
my second collection of short-stories is finally out.
Arya - a Book of short-stories, although in Arabic, is going to be in stores starting next Sunday, and I invite all of you to join the book signing event next Sunday 9th of August 2009 at 8.00 PM in Hanneen Bookstore.

Arya is the second book written by yours truly, Ahmed Ramadan, it includes eleven stories, all connected by the thin line between reality and the fantasy world.
The book can be described as a journey between creatures of our reality facing abnormal situations.

Cover by Ahmed Mogahed
Waiting for you.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Broadway in Egypt?! Are You Kidding Me!

Thursday, July 16, 2009 0

I have a very special play in my heart for both “Grease” and “West Side Story”, being two of the first Broadway musical adaptations to the big screen I’ve ever seen in my life, so when I was passing by the Opera House couple of weeks ago and saw that big fat ad about “Broadway comes to Egypt!” featuring songs from both plays, I simply couldn’t believe my eyes.

Now, I’ve never been to New York, let alone Broadway, but I consider myself well educated in the musicals, as I follow up with the latest and greatest of the Broadway shows, I don’t miss a single screen adaptation, and I – secretly and shamefully – know all famous Broadway songs by heart.

Thinking that the tickets are going to be super expansive, I didn’t even bother going to the Opera House to ask about it, but my well-informed network of friends told me that the tickets actually are in the range between 25LE and 10LE, and I thought to myself: Hell Yeah, and went to buy couple of tickets, still not totally believing that I’m actually going to see a Broadway production, and I considered myself lucky when the guy at the Opera ticket booth told me that I got the last two tickets for the Saturday show, while the Sunday show was fully booked.

Going there all dressed up was a pain, but I kept my spirit up by singing “You’re The One I Want” from “Grease” with my date, and got in the Opera House feeling slightly bad because of the bad seats I got, but who cares! I’m watching B’way.

At the door, they gave us a booklet with the names of people working on the show, and I was kinda relieved when I saw the name “Michael Parks Masterson” as the choreographer and stage director of the show, knowing that the guy worked in Broadway before, and played some major roles in different plays in the United States and Japan, I had the feeling that the show is not going to disappoint me, now that was a mistake, and the show did disappoint me.

The show turned out to be an end-of-the-year production for some drama club in AUC, expect for the times when this Michael guy and the Opera dancers were on stage, the rest of the show was a major Blah in the world of Broadway.

Most of the songs they choose to play from both “West Side Story” and “Grease” were the ballads, sang by the Opera singers, admitingly, some of them have incredible rage of voices, but Broadway is not about singing, Broadway is about the Showbiz, who cares if WSS’s Tony has an amazing voice if he can’t pull three dancing steps together, who gives a damn if Grease’s Danny can sing “Summer Nights” if he doesn’t have the ability to do some basic dancing steps.

Knowing what in his hands, the director of the show had to cancel some of the most amazing songs from both shows, and working by himself on the stage to give the Broadway show to one of the songs only, as he played the DJ Kenicke character, giving an amazing performance to the song “Greased Lightening”, but his efforts were lost in the long boring ballads and nonstop silly semi-dancing movements of his team.

The shocker was that some of the singers can’t actually pronounce English properly , giving the whole show a feeling of unprofessionalism to it, forcing you to disregard the big names on the cover of the booklet; American Embassy in Cairo, American Voices, Cairo Opera Company and – of course – Broadway.

A problem you can always put your fingers on whenever you see such a show in Egypt, they always seems like they ran out of time, they always work like they started preparing for this show the day before yesterday, and this show didn’t take enough time to prepare, giving it a feeling of a high school production rather than a Broadway show.

Let’s be honest here, having a Broadway show in Egypt is a dream long awaited, but to pull such a good idea you need to organize it, to work on it and sweat for it, to bring actual production to Egypt, not just have the logo of Broadway on your booklet.

I expect to be uplifted and entertained, which I had whenever real professionals took the stage, referring to the Opera House dancers and the American director, but whenever the show falls in the hands of the AUC kids, I just felt like falling asleep in my seat.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

One arm and a Michael song

Sunday, June 28, 2009 0
My shoulder hurts, if you're a friend of mine you would know that my shoulder is my weak point, my bad part, my akhilleus ankle, so, I'm wearing what you would call an arm sling to protect the shoulder, you can imagine now that typing this post is a pain!

On another subject, I wasn't planning on writing anything about Michael Jackson's death on my blog; don't get me wrong: I love the guy, but I'm not the kind of guy that goes with the wave and write silly tributes about the people who keep dying, they'll always do, and it's much more beautiful if I kept my thought to myself and let them rest in peace.

I ran to the office on Friday morning (first day in the weekend here in Egypt) to write about the death of MJ, I did an elaborated bio and published it on our website and sent it to our clients, then I went home to sleep, couldn't sleep, went to the swimming pool where I - of course - overdid it, and I had the wear the arm sling.

I kept playing what I have of MJ music, which is not much, most of his No.1s and couple of my favorites and then I switched back to Dido and Amy Whinehouse, and forgot all about it.

Today in the office nobody is talking about MJ, most people around me now are talking about the addictive WAKA WAKA game on Facebook, he only died three days ago, but nobody is interested anymore ..

With one arm, and not to bore you with details, I started looking for videos from MJ, for no reason whatsoever, I found one, a 9 minutes long video for "Smooth Criminal".

As I was watching it, I remembered, my first PC, my first CD that I've ever bought myself, my first video I've ever played on my first PC from my first CD, my first fight with my father about that sinner guy who keep touching himself while dancing, my first time I ever try to actually know what the hell he's saying in English, my first time I understand that he's asking "Anne" if she's OK, who's Anne, and why she shouldn't be OK?!

In the bathroom, my tears started to run down my face, I feel like part of my teenage years just died.

Michael Jackson: Thank you for the music, I never believed that you were a bad person, although I had my doubts, but now, I just want to thank you for my childhood years.

I promise never to forget you, and that someday, I'm going to force my kid or my nephew to listen to your music on a rusty CD, tell him that this is the kind of music that created our generation.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Egyptian Equality - NOT!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 0
So, here I'm setting in the cafeteria, it's the break time, and after translating God-knows how many articles in the last three hours for work, I just wanna be left alone.

Of course you would know, if you were ever in one of this office's cafeterias, it's the right time for some people, with nothing better to talk about, to show off their new hunts of mobiles, and play the latest funny/tacky songs or videos they have to their friends in a show-off kinda way.

You actually can categorize people depending on what they play on their mobiles at these times, the three 30something boys there with naughty laughs are watching porn, the couple of people in the corner with wet arms after cleaning up for prayer are playing Quran or watching the latest fatwa from El-Shikh something-something-or-another on the mobile, and the younger generation are playing the latest song of Haifa Wahbi or listening to the latest funny video someone downloaded it from, and of course there's me, the guy who just wants to be left alone, drinking his Pepsi and almost dozing off.

eavdroping on the next group, half interested in the latest mobile joke they're playing I hear the fight starting:
- No! No! No! Haram (It's a sin), you have to delete this NOW!
- Oh! com'n .. it's not even mine, it's just a joke.
- NO! you can't make jokes about Quran reading, do you understand!?
Well, you see, the mobile joke the guy was playing was about someone talking normal stuff (I went to the market, I bought a carrot, and it tasted nice) but with a twist, he's saying all of that in the same tune of "singing" that they Shikhs do when reading Quran.
Tajweed, it's called, it's a way to read Quran in a beautiful rhythm, of course there's different ways and tunes, and of course there's the Egyptian reading and the Saudi reading etc. it's a huge science really, something that you study in school if you're raise Muslim.

I forgot about it, and got busy with my own mobile when I heard the conversation turns into actual laughs:
- Yeah, that's totally OK! it's actually funny!
- HaHaHaHa!
Ha ?! what is so funny?! I mean in the end of the day I'm still in Egypt, when anything that touches Islam is enough for you to be hanged ..
It turns out to be another joke of the mobile, this time the guy - same guy as before - is saying the same normal words, but this time with the same tune that Christian psalms are, and the people are laughing about it like crazy.
Hold on a second, are you serious now?! I had to get to that conversation, I had to say something:

- You know?! it's a religion as well, why you're not treating it the same way?!
- It's not my religion, they're wrong anyways so why not making fun of them!
- you're wrong in their eyes as well, why don't you allow them to make fun of you the same way you allow yourself to make fun of them.
- HEY! of course not! I care about my religion, it's the right one! Islam is the right religion and it's what God said.
- Well, Christ said that Christianity is the real deal, what difference does it make?! both you and a Christian man are getting your information from different sources but in the same way.
- Oh Shut Up! what do you know about Islam ?!
- I know enough, and anyways this is not about Islam, it's about social equality! where's the brotherhood of Egypt and the "The religions belongs to Gods, and the Land belongs to everyone else" ?!
- That's not what Islam says!
(Here, thankfully, couple of other people agreed with me that he was wrong, he should delete both jokes, of course, I believe that if he wants to keep the songs he shall, but not delete one and leave the other).

I left the cafeteria knowing that the guy didn't change his mind, he felt that everyone agrees with me because logic was on my side, but he still believe what he believes.

What do you think ?!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

That's so Swine-Flu of you!

Sunday, May 17, 2009 0

So, if you're living in the same galaxy as I'm, you would be well-informed about the swine-flu thing that's taking over people minds lately, it's more of a fashion thing actually, the swine-flu is the new black of summer 2009 and everyone is wearing masks.

Now, question, does anybody knows what "Swine Flu" really is?!
That is a very interesting question because, obviously, no body actually knows what that kind of sickness is, everyone is scared shitless of it, but no one understands it at all.

Like for example, the Egyptian government decided to kill all the pigs in the country, a whipping number of three hundred thousand plus pigs, amazing, right?! specially that none of them is actually sick, and that the virus doesn't depends anymore on the pigs, it's a person-to-person sickness now.

The government as well found it extremely funny when an Irish tourist and his mother landed in Egypt with a normal "Flu", but of course a single sneeze on the plane and everyone started screaming like little girls, the poor Irish guy did nothing wrong (other than being Irish of course, the damn red nose and weird English), and suddenly he found himself and his mother in the Fevers Hospital (mostashfa El-7meeyat) in Abbasya, a place I used to live near by, and to be honest, there's nothing healthy about it, the way I remembered, it's just scary looking.
of course, the guy had a normal influenza and was sent back home.

Interesting Ads were spread all over the metro in Egypt, asking people to avoid "crowded places", thous avoiding the swine flu, and I was wondering as I saw them if the people who created those ads actually took the metro before.

Egypt is a crowded place, really, really, really crowded, if you mange to avoid crowd you're actually a superman, a super-hero, a person who can tele-port or something.
Today I was talking to a friend who're traveling to the States for a month, a clubing trip he called it, and I was like "Yeah, please don't come back with Swine-Flu.

The problem with him coming back with the sickness is not the fact that he might spred it all over, not that all the company will be sick and no body would work, the problem would be that nobody knows what to do with it here, and most likly, if it actually breaks nobody will go on TV and tells you that, rather than a phone call on air in some goddamn local TV program to Mr. Healthy McHealth asking him about the rumers of spreading the sickness, and he, of course, asuring you that everything is safe and sound.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Poke Her Face!

Thursday, May 7, 2009 0
"Poker Face" was a Chart-topper song, that took Lady Gaga to the next level, instead of being a one-hit-wonder girl singer, famously known for her "Just Dance" song, GaGa became a worldwide success story and now, you just can't stop reading about her new hair color, her new outfit, and her Goddamn cup of tea she takes everywhere.

Kanye West, on the other hand, was never my cup of tea, his attitude of "Fuck everyone else, I'm the Goddamn legend" that really pisses me off, however, I like his couple of his songs, specially his "American Boy" song (maybe because it features Estelle) , click here for the video.

I first heard that song, actually, when I saw the parody couple of Egyptian boys did it, titled "Egyptian Boy", which was REALLY hot! Do click here for the hilarious video.

Now, like usual, I'm getting somewhere, and that "somewhere" is actually a street track called "Poke Her Face", done by Kanye West and friends, playing the same Lady GaGa hit, but with a twist, GaGa consider this song to be the ultimate meaning of "Poker Face", and actually called it "the Real Poker Face", and Kanye takes about sex, drugs, threesomes and other stuff in his virsion of "Poker Face".
You can listen to the song if you clicked on this link, and you can read the lyrics on this link.
So, listen to it and tell me what you think.
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