The Top 13 Movies of 2012

Since I haven’t watched all the “it” movies that 2012 has to offer yet, this list is once again tentative and will be subject to updates. Movies that I have yet to see include but are not restricted to Django Unchained, The Master, Les Miserables and Zero Dark Thirty.

I can’t say 2012 has been a brilliant year for movies but there were some releases that stood above others for me. So without further ado, this is the preliminary list of the movies that I enjoyed the most over the past 12 months.

When a review is available, it will be linked through the title.

13 – Beasts of the Southern Wild

Beasts of the Southern Wild Movie Poster

This odd, peculiar and strange movie is bolstered by an absolutely stunning performance by six year old newcomer Quvenzhane Wallis as a little girl who’s fighting for her father and her forgotten community.

12 – Anna Karenina

Anna Karenina Joe Wright 2012 movie poster

This take on Tolstoy’s most famous novel turned out to be very polarizing. But I was one to enjoy it. Despite a few hiccups in the storytelling, this adaptation turned out to be quite interesting.

11 – Wreck-It-Ralph

Wreck It Ralph Movie Poster

The best animated feature oscar is not going for this movie. But make no mistake, Wreck-It-Ralph is where animation magic and heart lie.

10 – Moonrise Kingdom


Moonrise Kingdom Movie Poster

Wes Anderson’s new offering is a refreshing take on a boy’s first love. It is a charming movie with a great musical score to accompany it. You can’t but feel happy as you finish watching Moonrise Kingdom.

9 – Life of Pi

Life of Pi movie poster

Ang Lee’s tale of an Indian boy lost in the Pacific Ocean with a Bengali Tiger is a marvel to look at. But that’s not what the movie is all about. This story about survival despite all odds cannot but take you in.

8 – Intouchables

120X160 INTOUCHABLES ok.indd

It’s no wonder this French movie quickly became one of the biggest movies in the history of French cinema. The real story of two men who become friends despite their drastically different backgrounds and their entirely different cultural and social classes is a joy to see.

7 – The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games - Movie Poster

This post-apocalyptic movie captured the book’s essence: the portrayal of the characters’ anguish, their fight for their own lives and their ordeal under a ruthless tyranny.

6 – Skyfall

Skyfall Movie Poster

The best James Bond movie in years. Skyfall gives 007 a much needed aspect of humanity and helps make our favorite spy much more relatable.

5 – Argo

Argo-Movie-Poster

Ben Affleck’s new movie of a stranger-than-fiction real story is absolutely mesmerizing. It did a great job at showcasing the morbid atmosphere that the American hostages were in and managed to turn their ordeal into top-rate drama that will keep you at the edge of your seat.

4 – The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Movie Poster

This coming of age movie is enchanting and absolutely heartfelt. It is about the joy of acceptance and the fear of rejection – all in the mind of a fifteen year old struggling with his freshman year of high school.

3 – Lincoln

Lincoln Movie Poster

This take on the last few months of the United States’ 16th president is absolutely brilliant. Be it from the top-rate acting performances to the highly engaging story, Lincoln is an absolute must-see.

2 – Silver Linings Playbook

Silver Linings PLaybook movie poster

Jennifer Lawrence gives the year’s best acting performance opposite a highly surprising Bradley Cooper in a movie about mental illness that goes beyond that and eventually becomes a movie about our inherent human need for others who can understand us.

1 – Amour

Amour 2012 Movie Poster

Michael Haneke’s movie of old age is riveting. It is breath-taking, captivating and absolutely chilling.

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Top 13 Songs of 2012

As the year ends, I’ll be making countdowns of my favorite things of this past year. The first list is for songs. The rules for this list are simple: 13 songs by 13 different artists that I’ve enjoyed the most over this past year. The song doesn’t necessarily have to be a 2012 year but it needs to have gotten to its maximal reach during this past year. The songs also cannot be album tracks that never became singles – yet.

Without further ado, we begin.

13 – Home – Phillip Phillips 

An guitar driving a feel good simple lyric – and yet the overall result is effective enough for Home to be one of 2012’s best songs.

[Listen here]

12 – Little Talks – Of Monsters and Men

A newcomer band with a niche sound that makes them stand out from the first note that gets played. Little Talks is one of the highlights off their album My Head Is an Animal.

[Listen here]

11 – Madness – Muse

Many people didn’t like Muse’s newest offering. I have to disagree. It may not be a typical Muse song but Madness is really, really good. At least to me.

[Listen here]

10 – Drunk On You – Luke Bryan

Some of its lyrics may be cheesy but Drunk On You’s hook line is gold: “I’m a little drunk on you and high on summertime.”

[Listen here]

9 – Pontoon – Little Big Town

This summer anthem has a quirky melody to it that takes some time to get used to. But once it sticks, it’s mmm, motorboatin’.

[Listen here]

8 – The A Team – Ed Sheeran

This well-written song about a crackhead is bound to hit a nerve somewhere.

[Listen here]

7 – Merry Go ‘Round – Kacey Musgraves

An extremely well-written song about life in a small town where God, family and country always have to come first, limiting your prospects and what you can be. “If you ain’t got two kids by 21, you’re probably gonna die alone. At least that’s what tradition told you.”

[Listen here]

6 – I Drive Your Truck – Lee Brice

A country song about a truck? How original. Guess again.

[Listen here]

5 – Charlie Brown – Coldplay

The third single off Mylo Xyloto is a song that makes me happy whenever I listen to it. It’s not necessarily a feel-good song, it just has this feel to it that puts it high up my top songs list.

[Listen here]

4 – Never Let Me Go – Florence + The Machine

2012 has been a good year for Florence + The Machine. They’ve had big hits with Calvin Harris remixes. But this ballad remains one of the highlights off Ceremonials and a definite highlight of 2012.

[Listen here]

3 – I Knew You Were Trouble. – Taylor Swift

This dubstep-influenced song is all over the place. In a good way. It might prove polarizing at first but you will soon find it stuck in your head, refusing to let go. Trouble, trouble, trouble.

[Listen here]

2 – Springsteen – Eric Church

A mellow song of a young love set to a backdrop of The Boss’ most famous tunes. What more can you ask for?

[Listen here]

1 – Blown Away – Carrie Underwood

I’m sure none of you expected otherwise. This song about a daughter’s vengeance is dark and mesmerizing. One of the year’s best written-songs and most multi-layered productions that give the song depth beyond the words and sound, not to mention the spot-on vocal delivery.

[Listen here]

Nicolas Sarkozy & Barack Obama’s Presidential Campaigns – Who’s Copying Who?

If you’ve been following the French presidential elections closely, you’d have noticed the Sarkozy camp has been sharing attractive-looking infographics of his achievements while in office. Here are a few examples:

Well, you get the idea.

Recently, I saw on Barack Obama’s twitter account a very similar infographic released as well:

The resemblance between Sarkozy and Obama’s posters is uncanny: the colors, the style, the font size, etc….

The first Sarkozy image of the sort was shared on April 17th. The one by Obama was released on April 28th. I would be more inclined to believe the Obama campaign is taking a few hints from the Sarkozy camp, seeing as the latter’s campaign is wrapping up with the final round of elections set for next week.

With the American elections set for November, I’m sure we’ll see much more posters like these from the campaign office of Mr. Obama.

 

 

The French Presidential Elections – Round One: How Lebanon Voted

As expected, both Nicolas Sarkozy and François Hollande advanced to the second round of the French presidential elections to be held on May 6th.

According to official results, Sarkozy got 26.1% of the votes while Hollande got 29%. The current polls show the Socialist Hollande leading Sakozy 54% to 46% for the second round. The shock of the night, however, was a huge score by the woman of the French “Front National” Marine Le Pen who managed to break the two-party dichotomy of France by getting 18% of the votes, according to the latest results.

Her score will come as a headache for the socialists who are deciding to round cloud nine up until May 6th. If Le Pen endorses Sarkozy, all bets are off.

But political analysis aside, here’s how the situation was in Lebanon yesterday. 15000 French people are registered to vote in Lebanon, out of which 51.5% voted. On top of the French residing in Lebanon, 1600 French residing in Syria are eligible to vote in Lebanon due to the situation in their country. Out of those, only 28% cast their ballots.

As a reminder, in 2007 Nicolas Sarkozy got 51.5% in the first round in Lebanon. This time, however, he got 54.47%, beating Hollande who only got 19.81%.

On the other hand, Marine Le Pen got 9% among French-Lebanese voters, almost double what her father managed in 2007 in Lebanon but still less than the result she got in France.

All foreign territoires put together have Sarkozy ahead of Hollande at 38% to 28.31%. Marine Le Pen came in fourth with 5.34%. The total participation in Lebanon is above the average for French expats, which settled at 40%.

Altogether, here’s yet another elections where Lebanese voters who hold a second nationality go with a right wing candidate.

Harry Potter Author J.K. Rowling To Release New Novel in 2012

Harry Potter author, turned first self-made author billionaire, J.K. Rowling is set to release a new novel later this year. Announced through this website, The Blair Partnership, with whom she has an agreement, the book is apparently very different from the Harry Potter series and it will target a more adult audience.

In fact, J.K. Rowling left a note on that website saying: “Although I’ve enjoyed writing it just as much, my next novel will be much different from the Harry Potter series.”

I have no idea what the book might be about but I’m sure very excited for this.

Update: It looks like Little, Brown have won the rights for the book. Here’s a more extensive quote from Rowling regarding the book:

“Although I’ve enjoyed writing it every bit as much, my next book will be very different to the Harry Potter series, which has been published so brilliantly by Bloomsbury and my other publishers around the world. The freedom to explore new territory is a gift that Harry’s success has brought me, and with that new territory it seemed a logical progression to have a new publisher. I am delighted to have a second publishing home in Little, Brown, and a publishing team that will be a great partner in this new phase of my writing life.”

Michel Hayek’s 2012 Predictions

When I was younger – way younger to be exact – I used to get excited about New Year’s Eve when Michel Hayek came up on our TV sets to give us a “glimpse” through his “gift” of what the coming year held.

As I grew up, I became more critical of the “information” he gave us through his “visions.” I began to think of them as bland, useless, very obvious…. 2012 wasn’t any different.

If you thought this post is a list of his predictions, you won’t be very disappointed because his predictions can be compared to the following story that I was once told by an old man I know:

“I once met a man that you know but I won’t tell you who. He rolled up in front of a store whose name I cannot mention in a black, big car. I won’t tell you the make. That man told me a very interesting story. I can’t tell you that story. He was also very funny. I can’t tell you the joke either. But then something happened – a very dark, mysterious thing whose nature I cannot divulge. And the man became very sad, the kind of sadness I cannot describe. But somehow, things got better. He got into the car which I cannot give you more details about and drove away from the store. But let me tell you this, that conversation was hilarious.”

Did you get anything out of that story? No? Well, those are Michel Hayek’s 2012 “predictions” for you – unless you’re too keen on believing our national currency, the lira, won’t collapse and that the oil we’ve discovered off our shores will solve our national debt in the long run and that the political situation will remain troubled and that there will be sadness for the arts in Lebanon (Isn’t Sabah 90 and very ill?) Except those are obvious things anyone can deduce.

But if you are still adamant on checking them, here you go.

Well, till 2013 I guess. At least we’ll have elections then.

Top 13 Movies To Be Excited About in 2012

Since 2012 is a few days away, I figured I’d make a small list featuring 13 movies that will be released in 2012, which I am personally excited about. So without further ado, let us begin:

13 – Titanic – 3D

This movie is on my list simply because of the magnitude of its initial version. Like it or not, think it’s been turned into a useless cliche or not, it was until very recently the biggest movie in history.

12 – Men In Black III

Because the first two are fun. Hopefully the third one won’t put a damper on the whole franchise.

11 – Snow White and the Huntsman

This movie is on my list simply because Charlize Theron looks (and sounds) absolutely chilling in it. “Hair black as night, lips red as blood. Give me your heart my dear, dear Snow White.” Also, the TV show Once Upon A Time has boosted my Snow White interest as well.

10 – The Avengers

Most superhero movies we watched were a preparation for this. We liked some and hated others. This, however, should be brainless good fun.

9 – The Master

Amy Adams joins Philip Seymour Hoffman in a 1950s-set drama about a cult leader. What more can you ask for? I’ve decided to include this movie even when there’s neither a poster nor a trailer available to it, mostly based on the caliber of its cast, coupled with the intrigue in its story.

8 – The Amazing Spider-Man

A reboot of the franchise. I hated the third movie but hopefully this will be a much needed return to basics.

7 – Prometheus

Gladiator Ridley Scott’s newest movie. I am a big fan of Scott with his movie screen and TV screen work (The Good Wife for instance). So this movie is definitely on my list.

6 – Skyfall

The new James Bond movie. I personally loved Casino Royal and hated Quantum of Solace. So third time will be the charm for Daniel Craig’s bond.

5 – Les Miserables

We’ve all read the book. We’ve also watched the Liam Neeson version many times when we were younger. But there’s a new version coming to theaters and Victor Hugo’s masterpiece will hopefully be more than well represented. Again, this movie has no trailer nor a poster.

4 – Kill Bin Laden

I hated Kathryn Bigelow’s last movie The Hurt Locker. But this movie, about the operation leading up the assassination of Bin Laden from a Navy Seal’s perspective, looks more interesting and promising. No poster and no trailer available for this as well.

3 – The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Having read the book, I can safely say this will be a brilliant movie. The trailer can’t but get you über excited as well. And it’s Peter Jackson at the helm after all. You simply can’t go wrong with anything Lord of the Ring related.

2 – The Hunger Games

I really can’t wait for this. March is just so far away when it comes to The Hunger Games. The books are epic. The trailer looks brilliant. The song of the movie is stunning. It has Jennifer Lawrence, one of my favorite new actresses. What more can you ask for?

1 – The Dark Knight Rises

Because no other movie deserves to be here other than this. One of the most anticipated sequels to one of the best movies I have ever watched. Christopher Nolan’s Batman is back.

Is there any movie you think should be on this list that I’ve missed? Let me know.