Twelve Review

“No one needs anything here. It’s all about want.” One of the few phrases that actually reminds you that the movie is supposed to be a film adaptation to Nick McDonell’s book Twelve which was released in 2002, the thing that gave the book its great fame is that McDonell  was only 17 years old when he wrote it. Which figures actually his familiarity with the privileged urban adolescents on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, the problem is the director Joel Schumacher is at the other end of the age spectrum. The book is a perfect screenplay in itself it didn’t need much tampering with at all.  To put it in simpler terms who read the book would be disgusted by the movie.

Ok now as I portray this movie for you I am gonna steal Stephen Whitty’s comment on the movie think of it as “Gossip Girl Gone Wild.”. Gotta love Whitty he never gets stuck on a phrase. Spoiled teenagers home from boarding school with money to burn wh

o discover in the end that money doesn’t buy love and twelve the featured drug in the movie that’s a mix of cocaine and ecstasy doesn’t really bring any real “ecstasy”. White Mike (Chance Crawford) a good kid who had it all then life just took a wrong turn with him when his mum got sick with cancer after her death he dropped out of his senior year in high school and started a career as a drug dealer selling drugs to his friends and specializing in marijuana. The only contact left he has with his old life is his childhood friend Molly (Emma Roberts). The thing is White Mike never did drugs himself he just sold them. When he’s not answering his cell to serve potential customers, White Mike stands on rooftops and looks pensive while a faux-poetic Kiefer Sutherland narrates the teenager’s thoughts, which are mostly about his dead mother. My point is it’s nice to read about a lost kid who is a link between two worlds in a book but on screen with one scene somewhere and the other somewhere else and the narrator’s voice distracting you and not allowing you to focus with the character it’s just downright confusing.

Now bear with me here as this going to get very complicated it’s like a mad house of every kind of category of bad kids you ever came across. Twelve has it all people. The hot manipulative cuckoo diva Sarah Ludlow (Esti Ginsburg). The stupid airheads who follow the diva around Shelly and Gabby (Chanel Farrel and Zoë Kravitz). The flashy male model who ignores the diva and who she tries to get attention from Tobias (Nico Tortorella). The rich nerd who wants sex so he is manipulated by the hot diva Chris Kenton (Rory Culkin). The fashion freak Rory De Wellon Frowick ( Liam Mcmullan). The addicted chick with puffed eyes that trades drugs for sex Jessica Brayson (Emily Meade). The little kid who got himself killed because he couldn’t pay for his drugs Charlie (Jeremy Allen White). The murderous drug dealer who killed the little kid Lionel (Curtis Jackson). Finally if all that’s not enough the gun psychopath Claude Kenton (Billy Magnussen). Ok whats next fireworks and an elephant rampaging in. This a circus not a movie. Which is one of the main problems of the movie way too many characters. The thing is a book is allowed to have too many characters because its 350 pages but the movie is a 117 minutes is just not enough time to fully develop them all. The only person we truly get to know is White Mike (Gossip Girl’s Chace Crawford), and it’s a little too much. Mike is the guy who connects all of the other characters, but he’s rather dull. Schumacher’s attempt to liven him up through spiritual moments and giving us a look inside his troubled soul just didn’t work for me.

The second issue is the narration. Kiefer Sutherland’s voice is very strong and at times extremely distracting it’s like he’s jumping to the conclusion without giving you the chance to enjoy the movie unfolding itself. If you tell me, he has to that because the movie is short and it’s necessary to give the audience back up stories on all the characters. I would just say well that’s still his problem why in god’s name are there so many characters?

The last thing is the end it was so damn predictable. You could see it a mile away. It was also a huge disappointment to anyone who read the book, which was extremely gripping and had you on the edge of your seat till the very last page.

Overall as you might have already guessed the movie was a total waste to a lovely Saturday evening. The reality it was trying to reflect was extremely exaggerated, and it was real bad publicity to the book it was supposed to be an adaptation of. My advice will be people go buy the original novel and enjoy a well-earned Saturday evening in bed with a cup of hot chocolate. I mean if you already went through the agony of watching the movie, you owe it to yourself to do just that.

Marwa Arafa




Spartacus Review

The Oscar and Golden Globe winning movie “Spartacus” first released on 7 October 1960, which was over 50 years ago. Yet “The Rebel against Rome” which is what it is also called, is the perfect movie you could watch about a Revolution. The similarities it has with our Jan 25th Revolution are fascinating the conspiracy theories, the attempt to manipulate the Revolution so it could serve the good will of some sick and twisted minds that are devoured by their own love of Power, it’s all there.

Spartacus (Kirk Douglas), a Thracian slave, refuses to allow himself to become the animal the Roman civilization would have him be. His love for Varinia (Jean Simms), a slave girl, coupled with his revulsion at the crushing treatment and brutal murders of his fellow slaves ignite in his breast a passion for freedom. They escape and are joined by more runaways, and swell to become a v

st army. Contrasted with their impassioned plans for open rebellion are the cool, calculating minds of their Roman adversaries Crassus (Laurence Oliver), Gracchus (Charles Laughton) and Batiatus (Peter Ustinov) who won an Oscar for his part. The slaves’ cries for freedom and their challenge will be but a more diversion from the musty affairs of state. Therefore, in a chilling engagement, the superior military might of Rome proceeds to crush the army of Spartacus.

The movie had a lot of big Ego’s on the cast and crew, one of the most obvious is Actor Kirk Douglas who got the first director Anthony Mann fired with a two days notice because he disagreed with him but he didn’t get along easily with Stanley Kubrick either. They were both ditching each other behind closed doors in no time but the clash of giant egos proved fortuitous. Dalton Trumbo’s screenplay is sensational written during the Cold War and portrays modern-day politics, Trumbo made Ancient Rome more alive than ever dealing with virtues and ideals that were timeless. The music by Alex North is fulfilling and completely suits the atmosphere. The cinematography by Russell Metty won an Oscar which was quite ironic since he was complaining all through the movie that Kubrick was interfering in his work even asked for his name to be excluded from the crew!

Disregarding Antonius is wearing a Rolex watch and slaves are wearing wristwatches and sand shoes, and of course, the media considering the film Marxist Propaganda, the movie is brilliant. In so many ways Revolutions are all the same, all fighting the same injustice and all looking for the same lost Freedom. Spartacus is inspiring, just the movie we need to watch to keep the astonishing spirit of the revolution in the air.

Marwa Arafa

Microphone Review

“Choose your itinerary, Choose your fate” a graffiti done by a 19 year old girl on the concrete blocks lining the croniche in Alexandria that was what inspired me to make this movie” says Ahmed Abd Allah the writer and director of the award winning movie Microphone.

For all of you out there who say that 25 Jan Revolution was spontaneous and sudden, you obviously had not watched Microphone.

You can see it all through Khaled (Khaled Abol Naga) the young protagonist who had just come home from the States to find that all his fantasies, dreams are just mirages, and that everything has changed.

He felt lost and lonely after his fiancé Hadeer (Menna Shalabi) left him, wandering through the streets of Alexandria he discovered that he was not the only one lost and out of place.

He stumbled upon the flaming youth of Alexandria painters, independent filmmakers, skateboarders, musicians and so much more.

All this passion and love, young people who have lived for so long alternative lives running away from routine jobs going unnoticed even ignored.

You will learn through Microphone that it has always been there the creativity, the dreams, the talent, and the determination.

You will learn to take a second look at things you had taken for granted for so long.

The director Ahmed Abd Allah tried very hard to escape from the profit dilemma seeking famous actors like Menna Shalabi and Khaled Abol Naga in order to transfer the movie from a documentary (that usually makes peanuts for money) to a mainstream commercial movie.

In addition, the director was on a very low budget the cast is no more than eight actors and the film is filmed with a Canon D7 camera, which actually made it easier to capture the daily lives of the underground artists in the back streets of Alexandria without getting much attention.

Microphone is no ordinary movie it’s an inspiration, it’s so full of music and art, bands like Mascara, Y- Crew, Masar Egbari, Sout fey Elzahma, graffiti art works that show you the  battle of the words and the drawings that encourage you to revolt and pursuit happiness .

No our revolution was not sudden at all it was just waiting in the back streets of Alexandria for someone to give it the microphone so it could finally be heard.

Marwa Arafa