Sunday, December 11, 2011

Top 10 actors to look out for in 2012

It's been a while since I've made a list, and a longer while since I've written about something mindless. So here's my end-of-year contribution. A list of 10 amazing and not-too-shabby-looking actors  (ok fine, really hot and moderately talented actors) whom I'd like to see more of in 2012, because they made my 2011 that little bit more enjoyable. And I will start with the most obvious:

1. Ryan Gosling

I first saw Ryan Gosling in Half Nelson. Good movie. Good acting. Nothing to write home about. Lars and the Real Girl was original, funny and sweet. But he was a an awkward little thing. Then came Blue Valentine, in which the guy showed us some amazing talent. It was only until Drive and Ides of March though that I started to see something more. And the moment he took that shirt off in Crazy, Stupid, Love... it was all over. Watch and judge for yourselves.

2. Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Who remembers that scrawny teenager in 3rd Rock from the Sun? Here he is.

Who knew this kid was gonna grow into a bold young actor, undertaking challenging roles in indie movies like Brick, The Lookout and Mysterious Skin? His recent flicks (500) Days of Summer and Inception has given him mainstream recognition. But be on the "look out" as he blossoms into a star in this new hit 50/50.

3. James McAvoy

Maybe James McAvoy is less known for his role as Mr. Tumnus, the faun, in The Chronicles of Narnia, but this is where I first met him. Soon after he was cast in The Last King of Scotland and the underrated comedy, Penelope. His big break was surely Atonement, in which he made his mark on the soft-hearted of us - and whoever said they didn't at least hold back a tear are simply lying! Less impressive, for me at least, was X-Men: First Class - though to be honest his presence in that film made it more palatable. But seriously, look into his eyes. Don't you see a bright future that wants to just suck you in?

4. Mila Kunis

Mila Kunis started off as a silly little girl in That 70s Show. I'm not sure how much further she's ventured away from that, either as Meg Griffin in Family Guy or alongside Justin Timberlake in Friends with Benefits. However, I still think that she is a talented young actress, whose role, to be honest, was one of the few things I enjoyed in Black Swan (Yes. Natalie Portman drives me crazy).

5. Neil Patrick Harris

What can we say about Neil Patrick Harris? Teenage doctor in Doogie Houser turned serial womanizer in How I Met Your Mother turned gay in real life turned singer on Broadway. Here he is doing the  opening number at the 2011 Tony Awards. The guy's pretty funny, and he actually has talent.

6. Olivia Wilde

It's a shame that I can't watch Olivia Wilde every week as House's Thirteen anymore. She's moved on to bigger things. Guess I'm gonna have to catch up.

7. Hunter Parrish

Isn't it nice when you watch an 18-year-old become an adult right in front of your eyes? OK I sound kinda creepy but hey, everything about Weeds was kinda creepy. So, yeah, I enjoyed it. And one season I woke up, and Hunter Parrish was hot.

8. Marion Cotillard

Man. I feel like this is the only serious actor on my list... But she's not done yet.

9. Darren Criss

Darren Criss, as Blaine Anderson, is the best thing that happened to Glee. After a disastrous ending for the first season, I was ready to stop. But then came this highly talented, up-beat and gorgeous yet boy-next-door-looking character, and I was back. We have caught him at the very start of his career. Let's hope there's a lot more to come.

Glee - Baby, It's Cold Outside por pedrinhorafa no

10. Emma Stone

We've been through this before and she already has a clip at the beginning of this post (with Ryan Gosling). But here she is again. Though you know what? With all her and Gosling's charm combined, they couldn't save that lame ass movie called Crazy, Stupid, Love. It was just a stupid film with only one super cool scene.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

The kings of Lebanon, a country of mini dictatorships

Every time I hear about a new development in this ridiculous Middle East Airlines (MEA) story of injustice, my mouth opens wider in disbelief. Who are these people and what is wrong with them? Let me give you a brief of the story first:
  1. A MEA pilot, who had been serving the company for 38 years, was diagnosed with cancer. Instead of giving him the support he deserved for being such a loyal employee, MEA management basically fired him during his treatment, without properly compensating him  in accordance with the law.
  2. In response, 161 MEA pilots went on strike, the longest period being 48 hours.
  3. MEA Management relented and gave the pilot his rightful compensation, and formed a medical committee to determine if he can continue work after finishing his treatment.
  4. You think it's over right?
  5. No. MEA management decided to punish the 161 pilots who went on strike, basically saying that they are not allowed to do so. They deducted 5 days from their salaries, to compensate for lost income to the company and threatened that whoever decides to stay on strike will be fired.
After reading more about this, I believe using the term "MEA Management" is a little misleading. It's not "management", it's one person: the company's Chairman, Mohammed El Hout, who seems adamant on putting those pilots in their place and punishing them for being trouble-makers. Al-Hout believes he is well-supported by politics and for some reason thinks that he is the king of the MEA, a company fully owned by the government, and hence the people, of Lebanon. His reactions, on an institutional level, seem exactly the same as those of any of the dictatorships we've been gaping at for the last year. Except instead of shooting at the protestors, he is threatening to fire them (I guess that's the institutional equivalent). To make the analogy even more apt, the chairman-king is accusing the 161 pilots, who come from every corner of Lebanon, of having political motives for their actions. Maybe he will soon start referring to "foreign competitor interference".

What's even more disturbing is that this is probably how every public institution in Lebanon functions. Each is supposed to serve the people, but instead is run by a person who somewhere down the line, has appointed himself king, and everyone answers to them. No questions asked.

Will it ever end?