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Member's Reviews

Bab el hadid, a review by Danae Cassandra

Where We Are:  Egypt

What We Watched:

Bab el hadid (Cairo Station)
Year of Release:  1958
Starring:  Youssef Chahine, Hind Rostom, Farid Shawqi, Hassan el Baroudi
Directed By: Youssef Chahine
Genre:  Drama, Suspense/Thriller, Film Noir

As shocking today as it was in 1958, Cairo Station is the great Egyptian director Youssef Chahine's masterpiece – a street-level expose of sexual obsession and working-class madness that's as grimy and claustrophobic as its Cairo railway station setting. From its noirish opening scene, in which a scruffy newspaper hawker discovers a rag-strewn living quarters filled with cutout girlie pictures, it's clear that the film has departed from the upper-class realms of typical 1950s Arab cinema.

Chahine moves his camera as fluidly as a sleepwalker through a nightmarish world where, as luggage porters strive to unionize and all sections of society swarm along the tracks, the crippled street vendor Qinawi (played by Chahine himself) feverishly desires a brash, beautiful and utterly uninterested lemonade seller with disastrous results. Combining Italian neorealism, Egyptian romanticism and overheated film noir, Cairo Station was unlike anything anyone had seen on movie screens before.

My Thoughts:
What a great film!  It has everything - great cinematography and lighting, a gritty realistic look, and solid acting from its players, most especially Chahine himself.  In fact, Chahine's performance as Qinawi is stunning.  You have a great sympathy for him while still being repulsed by his sexual obsessions and fearful of his instability.  Other stories weave themselves into the main one (the workers unionizing, Qinawi's boss following a murder story in the paper, a young couple in love forced to part) adding to the tapestry of Cairo Station.  Yet we never lose sight of Qinawi and the tragedy that is his life.  Brilliant, vivid, and dark, I would recommend this to any fans of film noir or Hitchcock. 

Bechdel Test:  Pass, barely

Overall:  4.5/5

(From Around the World in 86 Movies on February 16th, 2013)

Member's Reviews

The Cabin in the Woods, a review by Tom

     The Cabin in the Woods (2012/United States)
IMDb | Wikipedia

Lionsgate Home Entertainment (United Kingdom)
Director:Drew Goddard
Writing:Joss Whedon (Writer), Drew Goddard (Writer)
Length:95 min.
Video:Widescreen 2.40
Audio:English: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, Commentary: Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround

Sigourney Weaver as The Director
Kristen Connolly as Dana
Chris Hemsworth as Curt
Anna Hutchison as Jules
Fran Kranz as Marty

Five friends go to a remote cabin in the woods. Bad things happen. If you think you know this story, think again. From fan favourites Joss Whedon (The Avengers Assemble, TVs Buffy: The Vampire Slayer) and Drew Goddard (Cloverfield) comes THE CABIN IN THE WOODS, a mind blowing horror film that turns the genre inside out.

Produced by Whedon and directed by Goddard from a script by both, the film stars Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth (The Avengers Assemble), Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz (Tvs Dollhouse), Jesse Williams (TVs Grey Anantomy), Richard Jenkins (Let Me In) and Bradley Whitford (TVs The West Wing).

Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards (2012)  Best Sci-Fi/Horro Movie

  • Commentary
  • Featurettes
  • Picture-in-picture
  • Scene Access

My Thoughts:
I really wanted to like this movie. I had high expectations for it. It is written by Joss Whedon and I often read that is quite a game changer. But I found it quite a standard horror movie fare. Which I am not much of a fan of.


(From Tom's 2013 Horror Marathon on October 24th, 2013)

Member's TV Reviews

Tom's TV Pilots marathon, a review by Tom

     My So-Called Life: The Complete Series (1994/United States)
IMDb | Wikipedia

(United States)
Length:904 min.
Video:Full Frame 1.33:1
Audio:English: Dolby Digital 5.1, English: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo

All 19 episodes of the critically-acclaimed television series "My So-Called Life," starring Claire Danes, in one DVD box set! Danes' portrayal of Angela Chase, the angst-ridden, introspective teen, earned her a Golden Globe. Even today, after being off the air since early 1995, the show has thousands of fans all around the world.

My So-Called Life
1.01 Pilot
Writer: Winnie Holzman (Writer)
Director: Scott Winant
Cast: Bess Armstrong (Patty), Wilson Cruz (Rickie), Claire Danes (Angela), Devon Gummersall (Brian), A. J. Langer (Rayanne), Jared Leto (Jordan), Devon Odessa (Sharon), Lisa Wilhoit (Danielle), Tom Irwin (Graham), Nada Despotovich (Ms. Mayhew), Francine Riber (First Bathroom Girl), Amy Leland (Second Bathroom Girl), Bianca Lawson (Third Bathroom Girl), Stanley De Santis (Social Studies Teacher), Margaret Nagle (Science Teacher), Shane Powers (Guy #1), Tim Williams (Guy #2), Cameron Arnett (Cop), Devin Kamienny (Jordan's Buddy), Animalbag (Party Band)

Probably ahead of its time. A good series which was cut short too soon.


(From Tom's TV Pilots marathon on June 12th, 2012)