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Going to the Movies in California

July 21st, 2015 · No Comments · Abu Dhabi, Long Beach, Travel, UAE

Most major movies made in Hollywood make their way to the UAE, sometimes opening on the same day as they do in the U.S.

But certain movies …

Well, you can’t really plan on seeing them in Abu Dhabi. Which is why we spent two of the past three evenings in Southern California theaters.

The sort of thing you will want to see stateside?

–Something raunchy, like Amy Schumer’s Trainwreck. If a movie like that comes to the UAE, it would be chopped up, taking out the naughty bits, as the British would say.

Schumer’s movie is particularly provocative, even by U.S. standards, with naughty bits everywhere. Even if the producers were interested in taking the movie to the UAE, the amount of work necessary to cut out the objectionable parts would be onerous. (And would leave behind very little of the movie.)

–Something sedate. Like Ian McKellen’s Mr. Holmes. Slow, ponderous, dialogue-dense movies like this one are essentially art-house films. They are welcome to play in the UAE, and probably would go straight to a screen without a change — but they would not be popular. At all. And would disappear even more quickly in the UAE, which has little interest in art-house cinema, than they do in the U.S.

Other current movies, especially the action-and-effects-driven ones like Jurassic World, Ant-Man and Terminator Genisys, will arrive in the UAE on time and nearly untouched — and will run for weeks. Violence is OK. Sex and bad language is not.

All the kid stuff show up, no problem, too.

The authorities here make clear they do not censor films. They let the makers of the movies know what the viewing standards are … and then allow the producers to tweak their films to fit. Or don’t.

So, socially edgy stuff, like Trainwreck? You should see that in the States because it will not make it to the screen in the UAE.

Slow, plot-based movies like Mr. Holmes? You’ve got two weeks to see it in the U.S. and maybe a weekend to see it in the UAE.

Thus, if you want to see them as the moviemakers intended, you do it before you return to the Emirates. We can catch up on Ant-Man on the other side.


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