A little bit of advice is to remember that most reviews are written by Critics and you need to know and understand what the word means.

crit·ic   [krit-ik]
A person who judges, evaluates, or criticizes: a poor critic of men.

A person who judges, evaluates, or analyzes literary or artistic works, dramatic or musical performances, or the like, especially for a newspaper or magazine.

A person who tends too readily to make captious, trivial, or harsh judgments; faultfinder.

So that's the definition and I have to say that example/definition no'3 is most appropriate in describing most film critics ethos.  My advice to you is do not be controlled but be in control (of yourself).

Black Gold”

I remember seeing the ad for this film during the preview section of another film and I thought "this looks interesting!" So the minute it came out I was there at the cinema.

This film was financed largely by Arab countries and shot on location in Tunisia and Qatar.  Mark Strong plays Sultan Amar, a very wise individual who's a Muslim from the old school and his rival is Emir Nesib portrayed very much tongue in cheek by Antonio Banderas who is also a Muslim but he is a moderniser.

The film seems to be based around the era of the 1920s when being an Arab equated to being broke and according to The Amar (Banderas) in the film, "we are the Waiters of the world at a Banquet!"

To stop the warring between the two factions, it is agreed that Amar's two young sons should go with Nesib which means the Sultan wouldn't attack The Emir also the land of sand between them would be a no mans land (i.e. no one could make claim to it)
As the Prince Auda says goodbye to his Dad, The Prince cries at which his Dad with the desert as a backdrop says, "tears are a waste of water" which I think though a tad harsh, is a fantastic quote.

So far so good but as time passes, The Americans come over in the form of a Texan Oil Company and try to entice the wise brother called Amar that they have discovered oil under the sand and if they bring it up, they all will be rich!
Amar dismisses them by stating "what use is money in the desert?"(do remember Jesus was also tempted by the devil in the wilderness/deserted place with things that he (Lucifer) didn't own neither were they his to give away).

“Black Gold” is an Arabian Nights fable and should be respected as a future classic and is no way similar to The Hollywood influenced Prince of Persia (which also is a title of Lucifer but, I digress) .

To help unite the Kingdoms, The young Prince who's not in his mid to late 20s marries Princess Leyla the daughter of The Emir (Banderas) played by the most exotic creature that is Frieda Pinto (Slum dog Millionaire).

Based on how much I have written about this film, you know I don't only just like this film, "I love it!"

But the question I ask is this "how much of this is true?"
Do you remember those old detective shows where at the start of the programme you would here a narration that would go something like "The events in this film which you are about to see are true, only the names have been changed to protect the innocent".
The film makers would have to be creative with their story telling to get past the American "censorship" so there would have had to be changes to the true story. I on the other hand do not. Here’s the truth.....

The origins of Saudi Aramco can be traced back to May 29, 1933, when the Saudi government granted a concession to Standard Oil of California (Socal) in preference to a rival bid from the Iraq Petroleum Company.  The concession allowed “Socal “to explore for oil in Saudi Arabia.  “Socal” assigned this concession to a wholly owned subsidiary called California-Arabian Standard Oil Co. (Casoc).  In 1936, with the company having no success at locating oil, the Texas Oil Company (Texaco) purchased a 50% stake of the concession.

After four years of fruitless exploration, the first success came with the seventh drill site in Dammam, a few miles north of Dhahran in 1938, a Well referred to as Dammam No. 7.  This Well immediately produced over 1,500 barrels per day (240 m3/d), giving the company confidence to continue.  The company’s name was changed in 1944 from California-Arabian Standard Oil Company to Arabian American Oil Company (or Aramco).  In 1948, “Socal” and Texaco were joined as investors by Standard Oil of New Jersey (Esso) which purchased 30% of the company, and Socony Vacuum (later Mobil) which purchased 10% of the company, leaving “Socal” and Texaco with 30% each.
In 1950, King Abdul-Aziz Ibn Saud threatened to nationalize his country's oil facilities, thus pressuring Aramco to agree to share profits 50/50.  A similar process had taken place with American oil companies in Venezuela a few years earlier.  The American government granted US Aramco member companies a tax break known as the golden gimmick, equivalent to the profits given to Ibn Saud.  In the wake of the new arrangement, the company's headquarters were moved from New York to Dhahran.

In 1973, following USsupport for Israelduring the Yom Kippur War, the Saudi Arabian government acquired a 25% stake in Aramco.  It increased its shareholding to 60% by 1974, and finally took full control of Aramco by 1980, by acquiring a 100% percent stake in the company. Aramco partners continued to operate and manage Saudi Arabia's oil fields.  In November 1988, a royal decree changed its name from Arabian American Oil Company to Saudi Arabian Oil Company (or Saudi Aramco) and took the management and operations control of Saudi Arabia's oil and gas fields from Aramco and its partners.  It officially cut all oil supply to Israelthe same year, by order of the CEO.  Following the events that unfolded in 1988, Saudi Aramco has become a fully owned privately-held company with no shareholders or partners in business.  Today Saudi Aramco is the world's largest, richest and most valuable company of all time; concerns for monopolization of the world’s economy have been raised.

So that's what happened in the past, what is this company worth?

Saudi Aramco (Arabic: ?????? ????????), officially the Saudi Arabian Oil Company, is the state-owned national oil company of Saudi Arabia.  Saudi Aramco was estimated to be worth $781bn in 2005, making it the world's most valuable company and 80% more valuable than Exxon Mobil, the largest publicly traded company.
Saudi Aramco has both the largest proven crude oil reserves, at more than 260 billion barrels (4.1×1010 m3), and largest daily oil production. Headquartered in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, Saudi Aramco operates the world's largest single hydrocarbon network, the Master Gas System.  Its yearly production is 7.9 billion barrels (1.26×109 m3), and it managed over 100 oil and gas fields in Saudi Arabia, including 279 trillion scf (standard cubic feet) of natural gas reserves.  Saudi Aramco owns the Ghawar Field, the world's largest oil field, and the Shaybah Field, one of the world's largest oil fields.

Go see this film if you want to know what made the middle east folk go from being "waiters at the Worlds banquet" to owners of Football distractions, to the worlds biggest and most expensive corner shop to owning the world's most expensive real estate (i.e. "waiters for the owners of the Banquet)

Finally, how many people do you think were in the screening of this film when I went to see it?
A: 100?
B: 10?
C: 1?

Answer C (me myself & I)

So, so wrong people......


Safe House

I don't know about you but when I go to see a film my main reasons are who stars in it and in my case will they let me in for free or if I kick off, will they call security and do any of them know origami?

Well my next review took place on Friday 24th, the day before payday and I didn't have to receive licks from the security.....

Safe House

I don't know about you but when I see Denzel Washington on the credits, then the plot doesn't matter because this Kat “don't do duds“.  Ryan Reynolds ain't bad either but I have to say that “The Green Lantern” could have been better, I won't judge him negatively though unless I see him star in back to back duds (I’m hoping if I repeat a word repeatedly, I’m hoping the repeats will make the repeated word credible. Maybe not but, I digress so on with the plot).

Denzel plays Tobin Frost (come on people, which black guy in the entire world do you know who's called Tobin?), who was a celebrated CIA operative who's gone bad, making a living selling secrets of the service to the highest bidder.
The film is based in Cape Town South Africa and starts with Denzel doing a deal with British MI6 agent Alec Wade (played by Liam Cunningham) for a microchip type file but the deal goes wrong and Frost, in order to save his own life, voluntarily walks into the American Embassy based in the city.

Once the authorities in the Embassy realise who he is, they arrange to have him transferred to a Safe house so that they can thoroughly interrogate him.

Prior to this Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds) has been in contact with his boss David Barlow (Brendan Gleeson) hoping to get a promotion to become a field agent (think suit wearing FBI agent and you'll be on the right page) but he's told that he will have to wait possibly a year before this will happen. This disappoints Wade but as a good operative, he accepts what his boss (who is also his mentor) advises.

Wade gets the call that someone's coming in and prepares the Safe House (i.e., turning on the cameras to record the interrogation but is asked to turn off the cameras and provide water and towels to replicate the feeling of drowning…..  Known in the trade as water boarding)

Wade then asks a member of the incoming team if their methods are legal?

During the interrogation, there is an explosion at the front door and the interrogators exchange gunfire with the opposing force lead by Black and Middle Eastern men fronted by a guy called Vargas (Fares Fares) whose methods appear to be similar to the Americans.
In the ensuing battle, the Americans are all killed bar Wade, the novice.

Wade realises that he has to do something quick so frees Frost and they both make their escape which leaves him with the burning question, who can he trust?

So that's the plot in a nutshell but let me describe this film.
Do you remember when you used to watch “James Bond” and it all became a little (shall we say), tedious? Then out of nowhere they made “The Bourne Identity” which meant that Pierce Brosnan was gonna have to wait till forever before he received another Bond script! Talking about Pierce B, he looked good in The Ghost Writer playing the part of a former British Prime Minister who's wanted for war crimes and writes his memoirs (pure work of fiction eh! but I digress).

This film is a cross between post Pierce Brosnan “James Bond” and Matt Damon in the “Bourne” trilogy (if you read my previous review of “Mission Impossible Ghost protocol “ you would have remembered that I had mentioned Jeremy Renner, who had also starred in The Hurt Locker was the new star of “The Bourne” films which I can't wait to see but, I digress).
This is fast paced, exciting with lots of twists and turns that makes you think while your watching it, "who's right and who’s wrong but more importantly, what is right when the name of their game is secrets, lies, deception and death....

If you want to see how they get out of this then I do recommend you visit your local cinema and appreciate an interesting film where just like in life when you are unregulated or the regulators are not accountable by the people, the lines get blurred.....

Article by @gmanzen / 28th February 2012


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