Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Mummy (1932)

In my experience, when Westerners think of Arabs in the cinema, they think of four things: terrorists, the Crusades, the Arabian Nights, and…

I love this poster so much. From a compositional standpoint, it just looks amazing. The two biggest words tell us all we need to know: “KARLOFF. MUMMY.” The eye naturally moves from Boris Karloff’s greenish, putrefying presence down to Johann’s contrasting red dress against a giant stone slab.

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Thief of Bagdad (1940)

Douglas Fairbanks’ swashbuckling Arabian Nights adventure won so many hearts and minds that the world needed a remake! The 1940 version actually hasn’t aged as well as Fairbanks’ original silent film, but I still liked it a lot. Unencumbered by the lack of sound, this version boasts wonderful music as well as some great moments and gorgeous use of color. Speaking of color, this film also marks the first major use of chroma keying in film history!

Friday, April 5, 2013

The Axis of Evil Comedy Tour (2008)

As much as I love stand-up, I seldom write reviews of it because of its subjective nature. I’ll happily make an exception with Comedy Central’s Axis of Evil Comedy Tour, though. I can’t overstate how refreshing it feels to see my feelings on the world and life as an Arab-American articulated so adroitly by these awesome comedians.

Shout-Out: Roger Ebert Eulogy at

Like any film buff worth his salt, Roger Ebert’s recent passing has had a dramatic effect on me. Ebert, more than any other film critic, made me see film analysis both as something that I could do and as something that I could never master. My colleague in the film-blogging game Danny Reid wrote a nice panegyric yesterday that explains Ebert’s effect on him. I’d have the same sentiments if I could articulate them as well as he does. So go check it out!

While I have you here, check out one of my favorite of Ebert’s takedowns of a guy at Sundance who cavils about a movie made by Asian-Americans that doesn’t “properly” represent their people.