Cairo TV & DVD Guide - TV show reviews in Egypt

Cairo TV & DVD

10 Shows to Binge-Watch on Netflix This Summer
Published On: 12/07/2016

While it seems to be the preferred method of TV-watching the world over, 'binge-watching' is a relatively new concept. Entire seasons of television series now at our fingertips, plus a generation with a need for instant gratification, are two factors which perfectly explain this phenomena. Streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu have caught on in Egypt and even started releasing their own original series with every episode of a season available immediately – and we all know that no one actually attempts to pace themselves and watch an episode weekly, or even daily. It's all or nothing. This summer, Netflix is sure to be your best friend when it comes to a good old binge-watching session with plenty of buzz-worthy shows that recently came out with, or will soon be releasing, new seasons. So keep your sweatpants on and make sure you have plenty of snacks, because these binges are not likely to be short ones... Scream If you love slasher films, then it won't be difficult to watch just about every episode of this show in less than 24 hours. This spinoff features all the same components of the beloved 1996 classic; the creepy phone calls, the high school drama and the blood and gore, but they are now integrated into the 'selfie generation'. The fact that the killer and all the potential victims have access to social media definitely makes the situation a bit more intense. In the very first episode, Noah, the know-it-all horror nerd, explains to his class why a slasher movie cannot be made into a show. They 'burn bright and fast' and therefore cannot be stretched out over a series of episodes. Hearing this and then wondering how the writers will take this classic genre and turn it into a show is enough to get anyone hooked. Orange is the New Black If you haven't heard about this show, you've probably been living under a rock. This comedic drama gives a look into the lives of women in prison and provides a very important, yet difficult to stomach, social commentary on corruption in the American justice system. Perhaps the most loved thing about this show is the representation of women as real, complex characters from all different backgrounds. The much anticipated fourth season goes all out with much more intense storylines surrounding police brutality and mental health, but dark as the new season is, it still maintains the show's well-loved humour and hilarious moments of comic relief. Warning: make sure you have a box of tissues and a supportive friend with you as you binge on this season. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Tina Fey's newest comedy is nothing short of adorable and addictive. This show centres on Kimmy Schmidt, a woman who has been kept in an underground bunker for 15 years by a controlling cult-leader. Sounds dark, we know, but watching Kimmy as she discovers and navigates the world after her release with the help of her hilarious and sassy new roommate makes it impossible to not fall in love with this show. Besides being hilarious, it offers quite a lot of commentary on social issues such as race and gender, all delivered through extremely witty humour. Besides making you laugh, this show will certainly get you thinking. Jane the Virgin This satirical rom-com parodies typical clichés and tropes used in telenovas (Spanish soap operas) making it dramatic and very funny all at once. When Jane, a religious young Latina woman, is accidentally artificially inseminated during a visit to her doctor, she has to deal with the sequence of events following her being a pregnant virgin. With a main character as relatable, goofy, and wonderfully human as Jane, the first episode alone will leave you wanting more. Shadowhunters If you are a fan of shows like Vampire Diaries or Supernatural, then you may want to give this one a try. Based on the book series, The Mortal Instruments, by Cassandra Clare, Shadowhunters takes place in modern day NYC and stars 18 year-old Clary Fray, who discovers that she is part of a breed of human-angel hybrids destined to hunt demons. With ridiculously good-looking main characters, extravagant action sequences and wild fantasy creatures, who could resist? Love The new brain-child of Judd Apatow, Paul Rust and Leslie Afrin includes all the typical ingredients for a classic rom-com: guy and gal in their early 30s, both fresh out of turbulent relationships, dealing with the everyday struggles of life. However, this show takes a much deeper look into the human experience through its sometimes dark humour. The dialogue is so quirky yet natural it's almost off-putting. With its vulgar yet realistic and relatable content, this show is definitely unique (and NSFW). Gilmore Girls This is by no means a newly released show, but whether you're an old-time fan or completely oblivious to the wonders of it, everyone is getting excited about the Gilmore Girls reunion season which will be out later this year. The new season will give viewers a look at Rory's present-day life and, hopefully, sort out any leftover questions (yep, Dean, Jess and Logan will all be making appearances). Until then, it is necessary to binge-watch all seven seasons of the show in preparation for the new season. Luckily for us, every country where Netflix is available will be streaming Gilmore Girls starting on the 1st of July. Prepare for a long visit to Stars Hollow. Chef's Table This critically acclaimed docu-series is every foodie's dream. Chef's Table focuses each episode on the work and creations of renowned chefs around the world. With beautiful cinematography and stunning visuals of innovative food creations, this is a pleasure to watch. Not only does the series focus on the chefs' interesting cooking styles and restaurants, but also on their philosophies surrounding food as a whole. It is no understatement that this show could be considered a form of art. Narcos This crime thriller chronicles the life of Pablo Escobar, infamous Colombian drug lord and head of the Medellín cartel starting in the late 1970s. With a great deal of emphasis on corruption and violence, it won't be difficult to get immediately drawn into the compelling plot. According to Patrick Smith of the Daily Telegraph, "this is drama that commands your utmost attention." The new season is said to be released in August, so now may be a good time to start binging. Jessica Jones With new superhero blockbusters being released left and right, along with plenty of new comic-book TV series, superheroes are all the rage right now. Marvel's Jessica Jones is unique in that it has a somewhat film noir vibe. Jones is a former superhero who now works as a private investigator at her own detective agency where she deals with cases usually involving individuals with special abilities. On top of this, she has to battle her own personal demons and her PTSD. The show tackles much darker themes than most of the more wholesome, family-friendly superhero shows and movies which are so popular at the moment. If you enjoy psychological thrillers but are also a fan of superheroes, this might just be the show for you.


Emelie: Slow Burning Horror Will Make You Never Trust a Babysitter Again...
Published On: 27/06/2016

Delivering a clever twist on the classic babysitter-in-peril horror, Emelie - a quietly unnerving and a deeply disturbing story of a psychopathic babysitter left in charge of three unassuming children – has plenty of spine-chilling scares and an unsettling helping of frights, which first-time feature director, Michael Thelin, manages to carry through to the screen with a great deal of style and confidence. Emelie begins its story with an ominously shot scene, where a seemingly unassuming young teenager is abducted in broad daylight by a mysterious couple on the street. We then move to the Thompson household married couple, Joyce (Pourfar) and Dan (Beetem), are getting ready for an anniversary dinner. When their regular babysitter Maggie (Jayne) becomes unavailable, they decide to hire her friend Anna (Bolger) - whom they have never met - to watch over their three young children. At first, Anna seems relatively normal however, it doesn't take long before her behaviour takes a quietly psychotic turn, starting with an incredibly discomforting bathroom scene where Anna asks the eleven-year-old, Jacob (Rush) to get her a tampon while she is still seated on the toilet. The creepiness continues when she forces Jacob's younger sister Sally (Adams) watch as her beloved hamster is eaten by Jacob's pet snake but not before she forces all three kids, including four-year-old Christopher (Bair), to sit down and watch their a very private and personal video shot by their parents. As the oldest of the three, Jacob senses that something is off and soon learns that Anna is in fact Emelie; an obviously disturbed young woman whose motives are unclear but whom they, without a shadow of a doubt, must escape from. Director Michael Thelin's minimalistic approach ensures that an air of mystery and suspense is established very early on, leaving audiences on their toes for most of the duration. The story's unnerving energy is what drives the film and Thelin makes wonderful use of the location. The slow-beat horror-thriller style and unhurried pace may not sit well with all moviegoers, but Thelin also manages to create a deepl mood of dread that lasts all the way through the film's brisk eighty-two-minute running time. Sarah Bolger is wonderfully creepy as the young babysitter who manipulates her way into the minds of young children in order to satisfy her own hidden agenda, whilst Joshua Rush is faultless as the eldest of the three kids, quickly realising that only he can protect his siblings. The story's initial suspense does crumble a little towards the end and eventually falls into some of the clichés of the genre, but there's still plenty about Emelie to creep you out of ever hiring a babysitter again...


10 Ramadan Series That Will Have You Glued to Your TV (Whether You Like it or Not)
Published On: 06/06/2016

As has come to be a pillar of Ramadan in Egypt, this year's drove of seasonal TV shows and mosalsalat are already the talk of the town. With hundreds of hours of comedy and drama - ranging from the excellent to the downright terrible - set to hit our screens over the next month, not all will go down well with Egypt's increasingly discerning audiences. But one thing is for sure; so big is Ramadan TV season, that, whether you love it or hate it, you certainly can't ignore it. With that in mind, here are ten of this year's Ramadan shows that you won't be able to escape… Al Tabaal (ONTV) While the basic premise of Al Tabaal hasn't done much more inspire, the slick-back hair, beard and bulging biceps of popular actor, Amir Karara, might just well be enough to have viewers tuning in. Playing the part of a tabla player in a shaabi band, Karara's character seemingly takes on a kind of Eminem in 8 Mile role, as he tries to make a living out of his musical passion. Again, it doesn't seem like the deepest of premises, but should make for an interesting series that focuses on a very particular element of music and culture. Banaat Superman (MBC Masr) One of the more surreal and downright random shows this year, Banaat Superman – 'Superman's Girls' – sees a rather different interpretation of the 'Man of Steel'. Here goes: Superman comes to Egypt, gets distracted and finds himself on the notorious Haram Street, where he falls for and engages in a relationship with a local – who then finds that she's become pregnant. The illegitimate child is then dumped in front of an orphanage, where things start to get, well, weird. El Caesar (ONTV) Starring Youssef El Sherif in the titular role, El Caesar, could well be one of the darker show this year. Telling of a man who possesses 'extraordinary abilities' operating as part of a terrorist cell, the show also features the likes of the more comedy-prone Edward who likes like he might provide some much needed comic relief. Once again, a heavy dose of bulging biceps and fast-paced action will definitely have Cairenes tuning in. El Moghany (Al Hayah) Possibly the most anticipated show this year, El Moghany is a fictionalised series delving into the life of the legendary Mohamed Mounir. El King will himself star as, well, himself, and while the show is largely biographical, producers have been up-front about adding a few fictional elements, including romantic subplots. This has all the makings of one of the best Ramadan TV shows in years. Grand Hotel (CBC/OSN) Starring a brilliantly moustachioed Amr Youssef out for revenge, it's Grand Hotel's setting and general aesthetic that makes it intriguing – that and Amr Youssef's glorious moustache, of course. The story goes that Youssef's character's sister works at a high-class hotel and is murdered there. Being the moustachioed hardman that he is, Youssef's character then goes undercover at the hotel as he seeks answers and, ultimately, vengeance. Also, did we mention his moustache? Ma'moun We Shorakah (MBC 1/MBC Masr) No Ramadan would be complete without a cantankerous Adel Imam character dominated screens and the legendary actor hasn't disappointed this year. The plot for this one's a little weird; after being abandoned by his family for being tight-fisted, stingy and just plain cheap, Adel Imam's character is revealed to be a millionaire years later. Naturally, the kids suddenly want to reconcile with their penny-pinching father, as they search for his hidden money. Nelly & Sherihan (ONTV/Al Kahera Walnas/CBC/Dream/Dubai One) Starring the Samir Ghanem sisters, Donia and Amy, this too a little bit basic in concept, but the chemistry between the sibling leads – who actually play cousins in the show – is likely to give Nelly & Sherihan a unique spark, or whatever. Anyway, this comedy tells of a woman who, after the death of her father, searches of her cousin in the hope that she can help her decode the will. Sokoot Hor (CBC) Following the success of last year's Taht El Saytara, Nelly Karim is back in the possibly the most intense series of the year once more. Sokoot Hor (Free Fall) sees Karim take on the role of a supposed psychopath who has been placed in a psychiatric ward after being found guilty of murdering her husband and sister. Did-she-didn't-she plot-line aside, the subject matter alone has already made this one of the most talked about series this Ramadan. Ramez Yal3ab Bel Nar (MBC Masr) We're not sure who it is exactly that enjoys Ramez Galal's cringingly juvenile prank shows, but there must be lots of them, because he keeps coming back – in fact, he's managed to weave himself into the fabric of Egyptian Ramadan TV, which is not ok. Either way, you're bound to watch at least a clip or two, whether you like it or not. This year, there's fire involved. God help us. Saba3 Arwa7 (ONTV) As one of the best actors of his generation, Khaled El-Nabawy doesn't just star in anything and so you've got to wonder what's in store with Saba3 Arwa7 (Seven Souls). The plot is straightforward, but there's plenty to explore; a powerful businessman on death-row for murde, though the police officer that put him there begins to think he might have made a mistake as he comes to believe that the victim might not be dead after all *insert dramatic DUN, DUN, DUUUNNN sound effect*. Happy Ramadan, Cairo!


Saturday Night Live Bil Arabi: Behind the Scenes of the Middle East’s Most Talked-About Comedy Show
Published On: 12/05/2016

For many in Egypt, Friday is a day to do exactly nothing, but snooze till the afternoon – but not for Saturday Night Live Bil Arabi cast, who spend almost all of their Fridays running through the sketches for Saturday's show in the newly renovated Studio Masr. Catching them during rehearsals, the SNL Bil Arabi cast were putting some final touches on several sketches with the show's directors and writers, as well as the week's host, actress Ayten Amer, and music guests, Eftekasat. In what seemed like a cosy and jovial environment – with producers more than happy to invite us to watch the rehersals, as well as bringing us chocolate – we sat down with the entire cast during a short break. As a live to tape show, SNL's basic premise is built on comedy sketches inspired by social issues and current events, which, in Egypt, are aplenty and more often than not, make for great material, according to the cast. "We gather at the beginning of the week to come up with comedy sketches for every episode. Some of these sketches are specifically written for the hosts; so they do have a say in the ones involving them, 'Shadi Alfons, one of SNL stars, told us. The devil, however, is in the fine-tuning process that every sketch has to go through. With long working hours and sometimes having to stay overnight in the studio, both the writers and the cast settle on the final selected scenes to rehearse before the sketches are performed live on stage. Even when actors have rehearsed their roles separately and everything is settled for the on-stage rehearsals, sketches may be subject to a complete transformation. According to Hazem Ehab, he went home to rehearse a sketch only to find out the next day that it had been entirely changed. When asked if this process is frustrating for them or not, the cast said that it is an extremely rewarding process. "To us, rehearsals are like a product's testing phase before hitting the market. Rehearsals help us figure out the weak points in the script and improve it to create an even better sketch," former Al Bernameg, Khalid Mansour, explained. Rehearsals take place over three days, with a final dress rehearsal taking place on Saturday – the day of the show. While SNL has arrived into a culture that has always been big on comedy, there's no doubting that it's the first show of its kind in Egypt and the Middle East. Many have drawn parallels with Bassem Youssef's El Bernameg in terms of having a similar spirit in humour, but SNL's appeal has been the fact that it tackles lighter issues – dating, marriage, and even football. But that doesn't mean that the show hasn't been met with controversy; SNL Bil Arabi's version of The Assumption Song, The Zizo Song, was the show's first hit sketch. Although it went viral, it received mixed responses, with many dismissing it as being crass. Speaking on how much feedback effects the script or the writing process, Islam Ibrahim, one of SNL's actors, said that when it comes to comedy, each has his own taste. "Sometimes, we do sketches that we don't necessarily like, but the audience finds them hilarious – and the other way around." But having aired its first episode on February 20th of this year, the show was almost instantly received with great reviews. "The instant feedback we received from the internet showed us that people love the show or, at the very least, when they share our sketches on social media, it shows us they like them," Alfons said. Though the whole process of putting together an episode can be exhausting, the cast all are unanimous in their response to their favourite part of it – performing in front of a live audience. "We could be at only 60% energy going into a show, but when faced with an excited audience, laughs and applause, it gives us a huge boost,' explained cast member, Hazem Ehab. Asked if they believe that Saturday Night Live Bil Arabi can achieve the same longevity as its original, American counterpart, the cast seem happy to take it one show at a time. "Our only aim is to make people laugh and forget all about life's troubles. If we manage to do that with just one sketch out of the eight we perform, then we've fulfilled our mission," Islam Ibrahim concluded.


The Lady in the Van: Maggie Smith Shines in Quirky British Comedy
Published On: 02/05/2016

Based on writer Alan Bennett's 1989 memoir, the 'mostly true' story of one Margaret Shepherd - an eccentric homeless woman who back in the mid-70's decided to set up camp in Bennett's North London driveway and stay there for fifteen years - is beautifully told in Nicholas Hytner's The Lady in the Van; a humorous and touching tale of an unusual friendship brought to life by an engaging script and one deliciously weird and quirky performance by the forever-great Dame Maggie Smith. Adapted to the screen by Bennett himself – his story was initially turned into a book back in 1989 before taking up stage in London's West End in 1999 - The Lady in the Van begins by introducing Alan Bennett (Jennings); a witty, dry and a seemingly withdrawn playwright who has just moved in to his new home in Camden, London. Thanks to camera trickery, there are two versions of the writer to be witnessed here; one is Bennett the man – a shy and a reserved fellow who deals with the outside world – and Bennett the writer; someone who sits, writes and complains about the lack of intrigue and excitement in their somewhat boring and complicated co-existence. Things take an interesting turn with the appearance of Miss. Shepherd (Smith); a strange, smelly and a particularly single-minded drifter who lives out of the back of a van. After not being able to park her van out on the street anymore, Miss. Shepherd – whose unconventional characteristics have already ignited an interest in the writer – turns to Bennett for help. Taking pity on the poor old lady, he soon agrees for her to temporarily use his driveway which, as it turns out, she stayed on for fifteen years. It's easy to recognise The Lady in the Van's theatrical roots with the movie bearing a somewhat of an artificial and at times, a distractingly stagey feel. However, that should not pose as a problem with the magnificent Maggie Smith at play, whose performance is so engaging that it's easy to forgive the film's tiny drawbacks. Reprising her acclaimed stage performance, Smith is absolutely superb as the wandering oldster whose mysterious past involving a hit-and-run – something that serves as the major subplot in the story – has led her to where she is today. Her interaction with Bennett – a pleasantly reliable Jennings - is where the story's heart lies and it's his never-ending curiosity about his particularly strange squatter that ends up slowly unravelling the mystery behind her suffering existence. Staying clear of unnecessary melodrama and over-sentimentalising its subject, The Lady in the Van is all about Smith's turn and, while its peculiar set up may not appeal to everyone's taste, it's hard to imagine anyone not being taken in by this 80 year old actress' immense talent and her incredible ability of commanding the screen. 


Netflix in Egypt: 10 Tips & Tricks to Get the Most Out of the On-Demand Streaming Service
Published On: 18/01/2016

After a long and gruelling wait, revolutionary streaming website, Netflix, arrived in Egypt as part of its global expansion, providing on-demand media content at a click of a button. Questions of how Egypt's notoriously shaky internet services will handle the arrival aside, we can essentially watch what we want, when we want. But as are most things on the abyss that is world wide web, things aren't as clear-cut as one might think, which is why we've put together a list of some things you need to know to get the most out of it before you become an avid Netflix user. 1. Manage Data Usage When Streaming from Phone or Tablet If you're out and about and want to stream Netflix on your phone or tablet, there's a way to do it without ripping through most of your data. All you have to do is log into Netflix from your phone or desktop browser, go to "Your Account", press on 'Playback Settings', followed by 'Manage video quality' then finally set your Netflix to the 'lowest streaming quality' – (typically 480p). 2. Unblock Movies Restricted by Country Media Hint is a website providing an unblocking service to movies and TV shows that are restricted by country or region. The website offers a 7 day free trial then you pay around 4$ per month, for every unblocked content on Netflix. 3. Find Movies Outside Recommended Pages If you want to go well beyond Netflix' recommended pages and check out other genres or content, use this link or check out Neflix's List of Genres right here. 4. Find out if Someone is Using your Account and Stop them If you suspect malicious usage of your Netflix account or some of the episodes are being shown as 'watched' when you haven't watched them, here's how you prevent hackers from stealing your Netflix account: Go to 'Your Account', then 'Viewing Activity' then 'See recent account access' and see if any of the device locations look weird. To sign these locations out, go back to 'Your Account', click 'Sign out of all devices', which may take up to three days to go into effect and change your password. 5. Check Rotten Tomatoes To Sort your Netflix Movies If you get baffled on what movies you should be watching on Netflix, movie reviewing website, Rotten Tomatoes has a scoring system-Tomatometer-which scores movies based on critics and users' feedback. Rotten Tomatoes has a ranking system for Netflix on-demand movies. 6. Use Nenhancer for Optimum Netflix Experience NEnhancer is a useful extension enhancing your Netflix experience by providing you with all the information you need about movies, trailers and their IMDB ratings. Nenhancer's old extension is available free through this link or you can get the new one for $1 a year through the Netflix website. 7. Keyboard Extensions If you are planning to spend hours on Netflix, you might as well learn a few keyboard extensions to make your life easier: press F for full screen, Shift + Left Arrow to rewind, Shift + Right Arrow to fast-forward your video, M to mute, Up/ Down arrow to increase and decrease volume, Enter to play or pause and finally ESC to exit full screen mode. 8. Learn About New Releases Use Netflix Middle East Facebook page, What's on Netflix fansite or What's New on Netflix to learn about Netflix latest movies, documentaries and TV shows. 9. Catch Netflix Movies before they Disappear The Now Streaming Pod has a selection of the shows that are removed from Netflix every week. 10. Leave Your Viewing Experience to Others If you don't know what to watch and want to leave it up to fate, try Netflix Roulette, the go-to website which leaves it up to others to pick movies for you and helps you figure out what to watch next. Happy Watching! 


While We're Young: Cast Chemistry Carries Wandering Indie Film
Published On: 16/08/2015

Often described as 'the new Woody Allen', writer-director Noah Baumbach – who made his film debut with Kicking and Screaming back in 1995 at the tender age of twenty-four – returns to the big screen with a distinctive dose of panache in the intelligent and witty cross-generation comedy, While We're Young. Like so many indie, coming-of-age films, Baumbach's latest production asks the impossible-to-answer questions in this game called life. Set in Brooklyn, New York, the story is centred on forty-something year-old married couple, Josh (Stiller) and Cornelia (Watts), whose entire childless existence is brought into question when close friends Marina (Dizzia) and Fletcher (Horovitz) become parents for the first time. Forced to ask themselves some big life questions, the anxieties of being stuck in a rut, growing old and Josh not being able to finish his latest documentary project, are soon taken to another level when they meet a so-hip-it-hurts young couple, Jamie (Driver) and Darby (Seyfried). Charmed by their much-younger friends, Josh and Cornelia soon begin exploring and embracing their quirky life. Written and directed by Baumbach himself, it's definitely not the most even and balanced of pictures, though its honest and humorous look at the challenges of getting old proves to be a premise worth exploring. The funny and the not-so-funny differences between the two generations is portrayed with a mix of humour and sombre realism and it's definitely not hard to spot a bit of Woody Allen-influence in the way the dialogue progresses. As far as the performances go, Stiller is easy to root for and his portrayal of a middle-aged documentarian struggling to make sense of his existence is funny and relatable. Meanwhile, Watts, Driver and Seyfried are superb and the onscreen chemistry between all four is evident throughout. While We're Young is one of those ambiguous indie-darling films that the critics have raved about, but audiences have been much more hesitant about – the old adage that we fear what we don't understand is just as true in the world of film. The plot is engaging and welcomingly simple, though there is a sense that Baumbach doesn't really have a clear idea where he wants the story go. But there's something endearing about its misguided and muddled nature that serves to be a perfect reflection on its equally disorientated characters.


Ramez Wakel El Gaw : Ramez Galal's Weakest Ramadan Prank Series Yet
Published On: 22/06/2015

While some may argue that originality is dead, no genre is more vulnerable to that notion than comedy, which has always been prevalent in Egyptian Ramadan TV. One only has to look to polarising TV personality and prankster, Ramez Galal. Appearing for the fifth consecutive time on TV screens during Ramadan, Galal's latest shenanigans present nothing new – in fact, one could argue that this year's show, Ramez Wakel El Gaw, is one of the poorest yet; even the opening credits have come to be uniform. A grand orchestral intro makes way for nonsense music with nonsense lyrics. Galal – who lends his vocals to the opening credits – begins each episode in the same way, weaving in some banter at the expense of the celebrity that he's about to prank. The concept of the show is that each unsuspecting victim is summoned to a mystery business meeting in Dubai via plane. The prank? It's simple: convince the celebrity in question that the plane is experiencing engine failure and that they are about to die? Tasteless? Maybe. Unfunny? Almost certainly. Galal and co also pepper the celebrity's ride with smaller, more infantile mini-pranks – serving strange-tasting coffee and spewing unpleasant odours in the plane. As mentioned, the main prank itself is significantly weaker and cruder than that in previous series. In addition, episodes are shorter, while the show misses the opportunity in making the most of their guests – a sit-down and interview would give the show much more value, for examples. In fairness, however, the disguises and make-up that Galal uses during the pranks isn't half-bad and there's a certain guilty pleasure in seeing what he'll look like in the next episode. As always, the pay off in a show like this is how the celebrity responds to the revelation of the prank and this series has thus far seen some pretty angry and over-the-top reactions, with one particular episode featuring former belly-dancing star and actress, Lucy, requiring an inordinate amount of bleeping. Galal was even the victim of a pretty firm kicking at the hands of another unimpressed guest. Galal shows have always received criticism, but viewing figures have always proven the popularity of them; like him or loathe him, people are always talking about him. This year, though, despite Paris Hilton featuring in an upcoming episode, there isn't as much buzz; this is partly because of the emergence of other Ramadan prank shows, but could Egypt finally be tiring of his antics? Only time will tell.


Ramadan in Cairo 2015: Five Mosalsalat You Need to Tune Into This Ramadan
Published On: 21/06/2015

Ramadan traditions are numerous, but one tradition Egyptians hold dearly is obsessing over their mosalsalaat. You know this is the case when you walk into any house to find a crowd of watchers, silent and focused, hunched over the latest episode of their favorite show. Now, thanks to the ever-growing prominence of the Egyptian television industry, we're left an abundance of options to choose from; but who has the time to flip through the whole lot of them until they find the one they kind-of like? Plus, with our hectic work days or bear-like sleeping patterns, it's hard for anyone to keep up with what's worth tuning in to, which is a shame because there are some pretty good shows this year. We, here at Cairo 360, feel for you, and wanted to make your Ramadan mosalsal viewing experience a little more enjoyable. So we've picked the top five mosalsalat you should watch this here. Haret El Yahood (The Alley of the Jews) Set in a post 23 of July Revolution Egypt, Haret El Yahood has been one of the most talked about shows this year. The controversial drama follows the lives Jewish Egyptians as they move from humbly coexisting with their Muslim counterparts, to be being the targets of belligerence as Israeli troops close in on Palestine. In the midst of this turmoil, a story of forbidden love blooms between a young Jewish girl and a Muslim military officer. Problems arise and tensions fester, making Haret El Yahood a definite one-to-watch this Ramadan. Showing on: CBC, Ten, Al Hayat, Dream, Al Kahera Wal Nas, Panorama Drama, Orbit, Nile El Kaboos (The Nigthmare) Living up to its name, this psychological thriller opens up with a woman having nightmares about her son, whom she wakes up to find has been murdered. As the grief takes its toll on the woman, she is tormented by plagued thoughts and sleepless nights. Ultimately, with the rest of her life drifting into sheer bedlam, she makes it her sole mission to find out who murdered her son, but as things get more and more confusing, it gets harder for her to keep up with the mess inside her mind, let alone the one outside. Showing on: CBC, OSN Taht El Saytara (Under Control) Painting a hauntingly memorable portrait of the turbulent lives of people fighting addiction, Taht El Saytara has propped itself up to be one of the most engaging shows out there this year. The thriller-drama follows the life of a scarred addict trying to forget her past and move on with her life, and a young girl who gets away with minor drug use, but has no idea this is where it all starts. With the allure of the social scene, and the comfort of old habits, the characters encounter challenges and dilemmas that shake up their very cores, offering a beautifully painful account of the victims of a condition that devours them whole. Showing on: CBC, Ten, Al Mehwar, Al Kahera Wal Nas, Dream, Sada El Balad Zehab Wa Awda (Round Trip) The highly anticipated return of Ahmed El Sakka to television screens has not disappointed with the actor's latest show, Zehab Wa Awda. Khaled, the show's protagonist, lives a calm and quiet life with his family as a wealthy businessman. This serenity is soon disrupted, however, when his son is kidnapped. Unusual to Egyptian screens, the show sheds some light on the somewhat forgotten human and organ trafficking issue as the son is taken to be trafficked. With no other option, Khaled is forced to infiltrate the organisation in order to save his son, but as he soon learns, things are not always what they seem. Also, for the action-junkies, you should know by now that Sakka, dangerous stunts and nail-biting fight scenes are pretty much synonymous. Showing on: MBC Masr Baad El Bedaya (After the Beginning) Egyptian journalist, Omar, has a nose for sniffing out corruption. His work gets him into trouble however, as he exposes the underbelly of the worlds of business and politics alike. After surviving a failed murder attempt, Omar realises how serious the situation really is, but with articles declaring his death surfacing and his name adorning the obituaries, he is convinced. The show follows him as he uncovers the secrets behind the things that are happening to him and, ultimately, who's behind them. Showing on: ART, Al Nahar Happy watching!


Starred Up: Gritty, Award-Winning British Prison Drama
Published On: 09/02/2015

Titled from a popular term which describes the early transfer of a young offender from a juvenile detention facility to an adult penitentiary, Starred Up is by no means an easy watch. However, as much as it is difficult to digest at times, there is a certain poetic beauty behind its seemingly violent and destructive quality that makes it difficult to look away from. Shot within the walls of an abandoned Belfast prison, the film opens with troubled nineteen-year-old Eric Love (O'Connell) undergoing an embarrassing admittance process, involving a complete body strip down, as he's transferred into an adult reformatory. Immediately marked as a "single cell, high risk" type detainee, it doesn't take long for Eric – whose frequent and violent outbursts got him relocated there in the first place – to stir up trouble and make enemies both with fellow inmates and security guards. After a mistaken attack on another inmate lands the young delinquent into the disciplinary hands of the law, Eric is soon approached – and rescued – by the in-house therapist, Oliver Braumer (Friend), who believes that he can help the young man rehabilitate. Unfortunately, getting to the root of Eric's problems - and getting him to open up - is no easy task and Oliver - together with the other rehabilitating convicts - often find themselves the targets of both verbal and physical abuse. To top it off, Eric has to find a way to learn to share the walls of his new confinements with his estranged father, Nev (Mendelsohn), who is currently serving a life-sentence in the same prison. Penned by first-time screenwriter Jonathan Asser – a former prison psychotherapist whose own experience with the British penal-system adds a hefty dose of authenticity and realism to the film – Starred Up, told through a series of wordless and violent expositions, is fuelled with gripping intensity which is hard to shake off. Relying on action, rather than words, the uniqueness – and the heart - of the story lies with the father-son narrative, whose bonding difficulties are depicted through the oppressiveness of life in prison. Contributing to the movie's relentless and uncompromising approach to despair and violence, O'Connell – mostly known for his role in the British TV-series Skins and recently seen as the lead in Angelina Jolie's war-drama Unbroken – is an absolute standout; feral and unpredictable, his performance carries the film, while Mendelsohn is equally superb as a man whose persona and motives are seemingly hard to read. Powerful, emotional but never too sentimental, Starred Up is a true British-prison drama classic whose quietly yielding power and passion for storytelling will leave you feeling captivated and moved. 


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