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Review: ‘The Insult’ Brings National Tension to a Contemplative Court

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The conflict of The Insult begins over a drainpipe. The Lebanese Christian Tony (Adel Karam) has a faulty drain on his deck that is spilling water onto construction workers. The foreman, Palestinian refugee Yasser (Kamel El Basha), offers to repair it so his crew won’t be splashed. Tony refuses. Yasser fixes it anyway, only for Tony to smash the pipe. Harsh are exchanged about each other, eventually leading Yasser throwing a punch that brings about a courtroom battle. There are more problems here than just leaky pipes as trial plays out.

Directed by Ziad Doueiri, The Insult doesn’t favor a particular side in the argument. Tony is portrayed as an expectant father, worried for his pregnant wife and the safety of his neighborhood. He works as a mechanic, working on cars as he listens to heated sermons on the radio and television. Yasser is an older man, struggling to keep his head down and not give in to the hate he has seen enough of in his lifetime. Both of them have understandable anger and lives that only become tougher as days go by. Tony is shaken that there are complications with the pregnancy and that his child must remain in the hospital. Yasser loses his job and fears his fate as a refugee, though not as profoundly concerned since he views himself as past his prime.

Their bitter disagreements lead into a trial that explodes from being a matter of slander versus violence to Lebanon versus Palestine. It becomes less about Tony and Yasser and more about outside gain. The lawyers on each side are willing to do whatever it takes to win, from digging up personal information without consent to showcasing historical arguments of atrocity. They also have a personal stake in this trial, as it’s a battle of father versus a daughter. As the trial continues, the feuding spills out of the court and into the streets, attracting national attention. Perhaps Tony may have gone too far by pressing charges. Even he is beginning to regret this decision for as much as he hates Yasser’s guts.

Of course, The Insult is a very heavy allegory for the pride we place in our identities and the wedge we shove between others. It’s a battle that could have very well favored one particular view, as when past atrocities are used as evidence to convince of wrongdoing, but it never strays from its path empathy. We get to know both Tony and Yasser to such a degree that we don’t want to see them bicker. They don’t want to either as the battle becomes far too draining for both of them, inevitably hurtling them towards each other as people that may not respect the same politics and beliefs, but recognize each other as people. One of the most understanding moments between the two, after a bitter talk with the Lebanese President who encourages them to stop, where Yasser’s car won’t start, and Tony reluctantly decides to help him out. No words; just one man helping another man with car problems.

The Insult may come on a little strong at times with its message and may even get a little twisty in its attempts to the keep the courtroom drama suspenseful, but it never fails to wrap the viewer into its tidal wave of long-running disputes. Both Karam and Basha are astounding actors in these roles of great depth, showcasing how they can appear as heated individuals of defense, as well as contemplative men of great understanding in their quieter moments. And the writing is so intelligently conceived and reflective of the regional politics that it’s easy for the uninitiated to jump in and understand the dilemma.

This type of film shouldn’t come as much of a surprise for its quality considering it’s from the award-winning director Ziad Doueiri, but it’s still astounding to see he hasn’t lost his touch. And in an age when emotions and tensions are running high across the globe, his all-encompassing tale of trying to decipher and decry political struggles feels as welcoming as it does mandatory.

[author title=”About the Author” image=”http://popstermedia.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/mark_mcpherson-300×221-150×150.jpg”]Movie Reviewer Mark McPherson has been all about movies since working at a video store in his youth. His talents range from video editing to animation to web development, but movies have always been his passion to write about.[/author]

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Izzy

Movie Magic: The De-Aging Technique of The Irishman

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Have you read Izzy yet? If so, you know that Izzy makes the apples that give the Gods their youth and immortality. It also seems Robert De Niro discovered one of Izzy’s apples too… In Martin Scorsese’s upcoming biographical film, he stars as Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran, a labor union leader and alleged hitman for the Bufalino crime family. The trailer for the movie, which will premieres NEXT WEEK (!), also features a “de-aged” De Niro. “We’re so used to watching them as the older faces,” Scorsese said in an interview on the A24 podcast. “Does it change the eyes at all? …If that’s the case, what was in the eyes that I liked? Was it intensity? Was it gravitas? Was it threat?…How do we get that? I don’t know.” Some might consider this magic and I for one can’t wait to see the impact of Izzy’s apples on screen for myself. 😉

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“Captain Marvel” Retains Top Slot at the Box Office

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It’s no surprise that in its second weekend, the first Marvel Cinematic Universe of 2019 is still riding high. Captain Marvel, the latest in the MCU with Brie Larson starring as the lead, generated another $69 million over the weekend, placing its domestic total at $266 million. Tallying up the international box office, the film’s global total to date is $760 million. Despite the online controversy, the film is looking to be another strong box office smash for Disney and Marvel.

As for the premieres for the weekend, and there were plenty, they were all over the map. Just below Captain Marvel was the animated adventure Wonder Park, bringing in $16 million, another film with controversy when the director’s name was removed from the picture after sexual harassment charges. Five Feet Apart, the dying teen drama about a romance amid cystic fibrosis, only came in at #3 with a weekend gross of $13 million. And debuting the lowest in the top 10 for debuts was Captive State, a sci-fi dystopian tale, only making $3 million. The film debuted so low the little film No Manches Frida 2 was able to sneak about it at #6 with a gross of $3.8 million.

Drops were fairly low all around for the returning films, mostly because Captain Marvel was dominating the previous weekend. The only milestone worth noting is that The LEGO Movie 2, after six weeks at the box office, finally cracked $100 million. And the sun is now setting on Green Book’s post-Oscar run by coming in at #10 for the final weekend of its top 10 run over the past few weeks.

View the full top ten weekend box office results below:

Captain Marvel ($69,318,000)

Wonder Park ($16,000,000)

Five Feet Apart ($13,150,000)

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World ($9,345,000)

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral ($8,085,000)

No Manches Frida 2 ($3,894,000)

Captive State ($3,163,000)

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part ($2,135,000)

Alita: Battle Angel ($1,900,000)

Green Book ($1,277,000)

Next weekend, Captain Marvel may very well have some competition when Jordan Peele’s new horror film Us hits over 3,600 theaters.

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“Dragon” Continues To Soar, “Funeral” Close Behind, “Green Book” Back

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With little competition for the weekend, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, the third in the animated fantasy saga, was able to secure the box office once more. In its second weekend, the animated epic made $30 million to push its domestic total to $97 million. So far the film has done about the same as the previous film and is on track to stay in the top 10 for a few more weeks in March.

Debuts this weekend were small with one big exception. Tyler Perry’s latest Madea film, A Madea Family Funeral, naturally made a relatively big splash with its dedicated audience. Starting at #2, the film made $27 million for its first weekend. No word on the budget yet but it’s most likely on a budget as most Tyler Perry productions are, so it’s safe to call this a success, especially for debuting with a box office so close to Dragon.

The rest of the premieres were not as strong at all. Greta, the new thriller starring Chloe Moretz, debuted all the way down at #8 with $4.5 million box office. To be fair, however, the film was in a constant battle for its spot as three other films also reported earnings around $4 million for the weekend. Of note, Green Book, fresh off winning the Academy Award for Best Picture one weekend ago, splashed back into more theaters to arise even higher in the top 10 with its domestic total now sitting at $73 million. Don’t count on it remaining there long as bigger blockbusters will be swooping as we plow through the last remnants of winter movies.

Check out the full listing of the top 10 box office weekend results below:

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World ($30,046,000)

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral ($27,050,000)

Alita: Battle Angel ($7,000,000)

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part ($6,615,000)

Green Book ($4,711,000)

Fighting With My Family ($4,691,284)

Isn’t it Romantic ($4,645,000)

Greta ($4,585,000)

What Men Want ($2,700,000)

Happy Death Day 2U ($2,516,000)

Next weekend is once again all about Marvel as their latest superhero solo film, Captain Marvel, will be appearing in 4,100 theaters.

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