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  • Jan05

    Priyanka Chopra announces sequel to her Netflix film, ‘We Can Be Heroes’

      published   15 days   14 hours   33 minutes   ago.

    Looks like the superhero flick ‘We Can Be Heroes’ has proved to be a hit, with actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas announcing a sequel to the film 10 days after it premiered on Netflix. Written and directed by Robert Rodriguez, the film was a spin-off of ‘The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D’ (2005) and a part of the greater ‘Spy Kids’ franchise. It stars Chopra Jonas as Ms. Granada, along with Pedro Pascal as superhero Marcus Moreno. The film also sees Taylor Dooley reprise her role as Lavagirl from the first outing. The film, which released on Christmas Day, has been viewed by 44 million households according to Netflix. Chopra Jonas celebrated the feat on her Twitter account, while announcing the sequel, writing: “Heroics Headquarters projection: 44 MILLION FAMILIES will have suited up for WE CAN BE HEROES in its first 4 weeks!! And….BREAKING NEWS: The Heroics are coming back for round two. Sequel is in development with @rodriguez and @Netflix!” The family film focuses on the kids of superheroes who rise to the occasion when their parents are taken hostage by alien invaders. In an interview with Collider, Rodriguez revealed that he has plans for future instalments. Rodriguez is also an executive producer for the Star Wars series, ‘The Book of Boba Fett’, which was announced last year. Meanwhile, Chopra Jonas appears to have a busy roster ahead with ‘The White Tiger’ dropping on Netflix later this month. She has also been cast in ‘The Matrix 4’.

  • Dec20

    Holiday viewing: All the top films, shows and more to watch over the break

      published   12 hours   17 minutes   ago.

    With work slowing down and the holiday season upon us, now is a good time to catch up on some essential viewing across the various streaming platforms available in the UAE. As 2020 almost draws to a close, web content has been a saviour of sorts from utter and sheer boredom with cities under lockdown, shoots stalled and cinemas shut for the better part of the year. If you haven’t had your share of essential viewing online this year, we close 2020 with our picks of a few feel-good comedies, some high-strung dramas and some gritty documentaries to take us into 2021. SHOWS The Mandalorian The Mandalorian Image Credit: Disney Why should you watch it: The ‘Star Wars’ series concluded its second season this last weekend and there couldn’t have been a greater gift to nerds across the world than the finale episode, featuring one of the most epic cameos ever (we won’t spoil it for you if you haven’t seen it yet). If space westerns, intense action and adorable, goofy hijinks from a green toddler sound like something you’d enjoy, curl up on your sofa, lightsabers in hand, and binge right through the two seasons this festive season. Watch it on: OSN Never Have I Ever Paxton Hall-Yoshida and Maitreyi Ramakrishnan Image Credit: Netflix Why should you watch it: A 15-year-old Indian American teenager is looking to change her social status at her high school, while coming to terms with the death of a parent, and juggling academics, friends, crushes and a high-strung family. ‘Never Have I Ever’, created by Mindy Kaling, is a fresh and poignant take on the coming-of-age story, and deals with issues like grief, identity and love with a light touch. Expect copious amounts of laughter and tears, but especially look out for a standout performance by its newcomer leading star, Maitreyi Ramakrishnan. Watch it on: Netflix Julie and the Phantoms Julie and the Phantoms Image Credit: Netflix Why should you watch it: Based on the hit Brazilian television series ‘Julie e os Fantasmas’, the American coming-of-age series hit streaming in September to rave reviews. The eponymous Julie lost her passion for music when she lost her mother. But when three ghostly guys appear and lift her spirits, they decide to start a band together against all odds. The standout feature of ‘Julie and the Phantoms’ is it’s memorable, singalong soundtrack that’ll stay in your ears long after you’re done watching the series. But also keep an eye out for the exceptionally talented group of young cast members, and a deeply engaging plot. Watch it on: Netflix Lovecraft Country Lovecraft Country Image Credit: HBO Why should you watch it: Jurnee Smollett-Bell and Jonathan Majors’ performances drive this thrilling ride through Lovecraftian lore, expertly subverting racial tropes and giving us a substantial horror drama series for the ages. Set during America’s problematic Jim Crow era, ‘Lovecraft Country’ take a hard and brutal look at the systematic injustices of the era, while also pushing the bounderies of fantasy storytelling. If you’re looking for something less juiced up on holiday sugar, ‘Lovecraft Country’ is for you. Watch it on: OSN The Office The Office show Image Credit: IMDB Why should you watch it: With stories circulating at The Office will soon get the cut from streaming platforms, there has never been a better time to watch the hilarious misadventures of the disgruntled workers of the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company. We can’t pick our favourite moments from nine seasons of the hit show, but the CPR training episode where everyone getting carried away by Stayin’ Alive by Bee Gees and when Ryan Howard and Kelly Kapoor hook up (and the aftermath) are pure television gold. And who can forget the Jim and Pam love story? Watch it on: All nine seasons are streaming now on Amazon Prime Video Dash and Lily Dash and Lily Image Credit: Netflix Why you should watch it: This is a show that makes you want to believe again in the magic of Christmas. Based on the series by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn, the show is set around Christmas time, where two teenagers find themselves slowly falling in love after trading letters through a book of dares that is planted in public places across New York City. The series serves up a sweet holiday romance that brings in just the right dash of humour and joy. Plus, Nick Jonas also makes a cute cameo after serving as a producer to the show. Watch it on: Netflix Virgin River Virgin River Image Credit: Netflix Why should you watch it: If you are in the mood for an idyllic show set in an enchanting small town in California with stunning landscapes and quirky residents, then Virgin River is right up your street. The show follows the gorgeous and unthreateningly beautiful nurse and midwife (Alexandra Breckenridge) who relocates from the big city to this small town to escape her troubled past and inner demons. Her transition is smooth, thanks to the hunky local bar owner (Martin Henderson) who takes her under his strong wings, and she finds herself at home in the new turf. It’s one of those shows that will win you over with its collection charm, simplicity, and overall prettiness. The episodes in the first two seasons are also a stark departure from our usual violent shows with graphic intimate scenes. Everything is vanilla here and we are not complaining. The series is so successful and feel-good that it has been renewed for its third season. Watch it on: Netflix Friends Friends Image Credit: GN Archives Why should you watch it: Like a hot mug of cocoa on a cold winter eve, ‘Friends’ is a comfort watch like no other. It’s as funny on the 30th watch as it is on the first, and a story as old as time (or, well, 1994). Six buddies — Rachel, Ross, Chandler, Joey, Phoebe and Monica — live in New York and try to survive love, work, family and each other. As we get ready for the epic ‘Friends’ reunion special set for 2021, another rewatch is exactly what we need — even if it’s just on in the background. Watch it on: Netflix New Girl New Girl. Why should you watch it: Not many sitcoms have the kind of rewatch power that New Girl holds. In fact, it might be one of a few rare shows that get better with age. Quirky new girl Jess (Zoey Deschanel) moves in with three eccentric boys — Nick (Jake Johnson), Schmidt (Max Greenfield) and Coach (Damon Wayans Jr), eventually replaced by Winston (Lamorne Morris) — and uncomfortably close friendships (and romances) soon develop. Hilarious, heartwarming and chockfull of holiday episodes, there’s no better time to delve back into this modern classic. Watch it on: Netflix Paranormal Paranormal Image Credit: Netflix Why should you watch it: This ground-breaking Arabic-language series is based on a series of best-selling fantasy horror books, and it’s already found a huge audience. With more than 66,000 reviews on IMDB rating this at 8.2, it’s safe to say ‘Paranormal’ has taken Arabic dramas to a new height, and into a fairly new genre in the region. Set in the 1960s and tinged with dark comedy, this show follows down-on-his-luck hematologist Dr Refaat Ismail as he faces off with a series of supernatural events. Watch it on: Netflix The Platform The Platform Image Credit: Netflix Why should you watch it: The first UAE mini-series is a pan-Arab drama that follows programming wiz and author Karam, plagued with an ugly past and a tumultuous relationship with his father, as he partners up with Nasser to build an online portal, dubbed ‘The Platform’, to seek the truth. Watch it on: Netflix FILMS A California Christmas A California Christmas Image Credit: Netflix Why should you watch it: Listen — we’re not saying ‘A California Christmas’ is going to change your life. If anything, this holiday movie is brimming with tropes and recycled dialogue that had us rolling our eyes at point. But sometimes all you need is a light Christmas-time romance that you’ve seen a million times before — big city guy has to convince a small town girl to sell her land, but will he be able to do it without falling in love with her? Watch it on: Netflix Sonic the Hedgehog Sonic the Hedgehog Image Credit: twofour54 Why should you watch it: One of the first films to release in cinemas in 2020, the video game adaptation was a surprise hit. In the film, our extraterrestrial hedgehog, Sonic, is discovered by a scientist (played nefariously by the great Jim Carrey) with evil intentions, who plans to use his superpowers for his selfish needs. Sonic teams up with a well-meaning police officer (James Marsden) to escape his clutches. What makes ‘Sonic’ great holiday viewing is the fact that it makes for a great family entertainer, with lots of belly laughs and breakneck action. Watch it on: OSN Paava Kadhaigal (Tamil) Paava Kadhaigal Image Credit: Netflix Why should you watch it: This dark and compelling anthology of four stirring short films pushes you to explore our bestial impulses that lurk behind our civilized veneer. Celebrated directors Gautham Menon, Sudha Kongara, Vetri Maaran and Vignesh Shivan pummels you with stories that tackle complex social issues such as honour killings, rape of minors, caste divides and gender inequalities in India and makes you question your own conduct. The well-cast film is an example of all that’s wrong with the times we live in and forces you to ask a few existentialist questions. It’s not a film that will make you jump with joy, but sometimes a sobering film is just what we all need to appreciate the good times that we all enjoy in our lives. Watch it on: Netflix Ayappanum Koshiyum (Malayalam) Ayappanum Koshiyum Image Credit: Netflix Why should you watch it: Consummate actors Prithviraj and Biju Menon are on a roll here as they indulge in a battle of wits and might in a film, directed by Sachy. Prithviraj plays the arrogant and privileged Koshy Kurian who gets detained by a local policeman Ayappan (Menon) for driving drunk in his turf. Koshy feels slighted, his ego is bruised, and he swears to exact revenge on the law-enforcement officer. But the game between these two men-turned-brats who think they are alpha males spirals out of control. The movie also reveals the deep divides between the have and the have nots and how social conditioning/patriarchy represented by Koshy’s domineering father are a legacy that can destroy lives. This film works primarily because of Prithviraj and Menon’s brilliant performances. Watch it on: Amazon Prime Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (Hindi) Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara Image Credit: Supplied Why should you watch it: This feel-good bromance and friendship saga among three best mates who embark on a stag party in Spain never loses its sheen and sparkle. It’s their last hurrah before Abhay Deol’s character gets married to a posh princess, played by Kalki Koechlin. Director Zoya Akhtar brings out the best in the good-looking trio Hrithik Roshan, Abhay Deol and Farhan Akthar as they learn more about life, love and making tough choices. This coming-of-age drama works because of the effortless camaraderie among the boys and the women who add colour and verve to the narrative. And since we are not travelling much this winter, it’s a splendid way to see the beauty of Spain too. Watch it on: Amazon Prime Love Actually Bill Nighy with Santa's elves 'Love Actually' - film 2003 Image Credit: Gulf News Archives Why you should watch it: Follow a bevy of stars as they discover romance and Christmas magic across the streets of London. The motley characters are many, but our absolute favourite character arcs are that of Hugh Jackman’s David, the dashing single Prime Minister who finds love in the newest member of his household staff, Natalie (Martine McCutcheon), along with Bill Nighy’s fading rockstar act as Billy Mack and that awful, yet catchy, Christmas variation of The Troggs’ ‘Love Is All Around’. Watch it on: Streaming on Netflix Serendipity Serendipity Image Credit: Suppled Why you should watch it: What’s not to love here - it’s Christmas in New York with John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale to add to the charm. Jonathan and Sara are strangers whose paths cross in New York one snowy day and sparks fly. Leaving their union to fate, Sara throws out their phone numbers into the universe to see whether their paths will cross again. Years later, the duo set out to find each other and nudge the hand of fate. This is a film for all seasons. Watch it on: You can rent the film through Amazon for $3.99 Sound of Metal Sound of Metal Image Credit: Netflix Why should you watch it: Riz Ahmed’s standout performance in ‘Sound of Metal’ is being touted as Oscar-worthy, and it’s not hard to see why. Ahmed plays the bleach-blonde, heavily tattooed Ruben, a drummer of a heavy metal band whose life begins to unravel after he begins to lose his hearing. The heart-wrenching film has raked in a huge amount of critical acclaim in a short time. Watch it on: Amazon Prime ‘Operation Christmas Drop’ Operation Christmas Drop Image Credit: Netflix Why should you watch it: There’s nothing like a feel-good romance to set the mood in the lead up to Christmas. Taking viewers out of the small-town rom-coms, this film takes us from the bright lights of Washington DC to a tiny tropical island where a hunky airforce captain takes on the tradition of airlifting goods to the citizens of Guam. Incidentally, this is based on a true story. Trust Netflix though, to bring in some romance. Watch it on: Netflix My Girl My Girl Image Credit: Supplied Why should you watch it: Instead of watching another rerun of Home Alone or Home Alone 2 over the holidays, we go old school to pick another Macaulay Culkin gem, ‘My Girl’, which also stars the talented Jamie Lee Curtis. The coming-of-age bittersweet movie follows Anna Chlumsky playing a 11-year-old who deals with love and loss over an eventful summer. Keep that tissue box handy. Watch it on: Netlfix DOCUMENTARIES AND REALITY SHOWS Song Exploder Song Exploder Image Credit: NYT Why should you watch it: Hrishikay Hirway’s super hit music podcast show was turned into a riveting docu-series this year and it makes for a riveting and soulful watch. From Dua Lipa and Alicia Keys to the Killers and R.E.M., watch these musical icons peel back the layers behind the creative process that goes into one of their hit songs. A standout episode features Lin-Manuel Miranda talk about fan-favourite song ‘Wait for It’, from ‘Hamilton’. Watch it on: Netflix The Social Dilemma The Social Dilemma Image Credit: Netflix Why should you watch it: Fancy some tech-paranoia to add that extra zing this festive season? ‘The Social Dilemma’ features tech experts as they sound the alarm on the dangerous human impact of social networking. The documentary film features interviews with many former employees, executives, and other professionals from top tech companies and social media platforms such as Facebook, Google and Apple. While they talk about how social media platforms have been instrumental in providing positive change for society; what’s more alarming is when they also note that such platforms have also caused problematic social, political, and cultural consequences. It’s a quick and disturbing watch, but also makes for great party conversation starters. Watch it on: Netflix Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich Image Credit: Netflix Why should you watch it: This four-part series documentary — based on the 2016 book of the same name — chronicles the sordid crimes committed by convicted sex offender and flamboyant billionaire Jeffrey Epstein. The riveting series reveals how Epstein — who died in 2019 — used his wealth, privilege, power and clout to feed his numerous perversions and you are filled with a sense of outrage. The manner in which Epstein got away with sex trafficking for so many years is a sobering thought and the harsh accounts of survivors who were abused by him makes you realise how money and influence can purchase impunity. The series explores how he was a powerful predator who got away with near murder. Watch it on: Netflix Ladies First Ladies First Image Credit: Netflix Why should you watch it: This Indian documentary follows the trials and triumphs of Deepika Kumari, an archer champion who broke the shackles of poverty and patriarchy that she was born in to emerge a world-class archer champion in life. Born in the village of Ratu, Jharkhand, Kumari – who was constantly told that a woman’s place belongs at home - had to work her way up without any support. Lack of money was a constant in her life, but she made it on her own steam with her unending spirit and grit. As far as inspiring sports documentary go, this one is a true account of a woman who beat all odds to achieve her dream. She hit bullseye here. Watch it on: Netflix The Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives Bollywood Wives Image Credit: Supplied Why should you watch it: There’s some vicarious fun to be had in Karan Johar’s reality web series ‘The Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives’ and gives you a ringside view of what happens (or doesn’t) in their cocooned lives of Bollywood star wives married to fading actors. The better halves of Sanjay Kapoor (Maheep Kapoor), Chunkey Panday (Bhavna Pandey), Sohail Khan (Seema Khan) and Samir Soni (Neelam Kothari) give us a sneak peek into their decadent, party-fueled existence and their day job as hands-on mothers. You also get to see Shah Rukh Khan and his queen bee wife Gauri make a cameo. What’s not to love about days in the lives of some crazy rich Bollywood Indians who embark on girl trips and shopping expeditions that make your eyes roll? Watch it on: Netflix The Ripper The Ripper Image Credit: Netflix Why should you watch it: The name might mislead viewers into thinking about Jack the Ripper, but this is a deep delve into another serial killer — the Yorkshire Ripper, who killed 13 women in Northern England between 1975 and 1980. This new docuseries on Netflix is a tad slow to start, but boy does it gain steam, painting a bleak and engrossing picture of how misogyny tainted a police investigation of one of the deadliest criminals in UK history. Watch it on: Netflix Our Planet Our Planet Image Credit: Netflix Why should you watch it: David Attenborough takes viewers into a fascinating journey that unravels the magic and beauty of our planet, while examining the impact of climate change on animals. If there’s ever a film needed to teach your children about the perils of climate change, this is it. The documentary film also has the stamp of approval from the British royals. Watch it on: Netflix Abducted in Plain Sight Abducted in Plain Sight Image Credit: Netflix Why should you watch it: Okay, we admit, this is hardly a documentary that comes to mind to view over the holidays but the sheer ludicrousness of the story makes you just want to grab that popcorn and binge your way through this documentary. In this true crime drama, a family falls for the charms of a neighbor, who abducts their daughter twice. Yes, grab that remote now. Watch it on: Netflix Indian Matchmaking Indian Matchmaking Image Credit: Netflix Why should you watch it: The documentary television series has been the subject of one of the most heated debates to explode on social media this year. Matchmaker Sima Taparia guides a list of clients from India and the US through the trials and tribulations of matchmaking, hoping to get a happy ending for these individuals. Our absolute favourites on the show are former Dubai resident, the brutally honest Aparna Shewakramani, from Houston, mamma’s boy Akshay Jakhete, a businessman from Mumbai and Nadia Christina Jagessar from New Jersey. Be ready to form some strong opinions as you watch this. Watch it on: Netflix Sons of the Soil: Jaipur Pink Panthers Sons of the Soil: Jaipur Pink Panthers Image Credit: Amazon Prime Why should you watch it: Bollywood actor Abhishek Bachchan, who owns the Kabaddi team Jaipur Pink Panthers, takes us behind the scenes of this sports documentary as they attempt to reclaim the champion’s trophy of India’s Pro Kabaddi League 2018-19 after a flying start, only to come crashing down to earth after a winning season. The feats and defeats of the team, along with the tireless efforts by the coach and Bachchan himself make it a cracker of a viewing in celebration of a do or die spirit. Watch it on: Amazon Prime

  • Jan02

    Elton John tired of singing same hits at concerts

      published   18 days   13 hours   46 minutes   ago.

    Legendary English singer-songwriter Elton John says he is tired of singing the same hit songs over and over again at concerts. “I’m lucky to have so many great songs to play every night. But there is a point in time where you think, ‘I don’t really want to play this anymore’,” said John, who will soon retire from touring. “There are things like ‘Original sin’ or ‘(Gotta get a) meal ticket’ that I haven’t really played before — not enough anyway. But if I have to go back and play ‘Crocodile rock’ again, it’s like, ‘I’m gonna kill myself’,” he added. So, after he is done with his tour, he doesn’t “want to play some of these songs any more”. “I’d like to do something like (singer) Kate Bush, where I can do a show and play some of these songs that are deep cuts,” said the 73-year-old rock star, according to Contact Music.

  • Jan05

    Harry Styles and Olivia Wilde spark dating rumours

      published   15 days   18 hours   35 minutes   ago.

    Behold the first celebrity power couple of 2021 — maybe. The internet was abuzz on Monday as new photos surfaced of Harry Styles holding hands with Olivia Wilde while attending a wedding together over the weekend. The former One Direction heart-throb is reportedly dating the ‘Booksmart’ filmmaker, who recently directed Styles in her sophomore feature, ‘Don’t Worry Darling.’ According to a People magazine source, Styles, 26, began dating Wilde, 36, “a few weeks” before they were photographed at his manager’s wedding in Montecito, California. The viral paparazzi photos see the two entertainers, hand-in-hand, wearing masks and formal attire. Representatives for Wilde and Styles did not immediately respond Monday to The Times’ requests for confirmation. Last year, Styles joined the stacked cast of Wilde’s upcoming thriller, ‘Don’t Worry Darling,’ also starring Florence Pugh, Gemma Chan, KiKi Layne, Nick Kroll and Chris Pine. And in December, Variety reported that the budding director recast Styles in a lead role after firing embattled actor Shia LaBeouf, who was recently accused of physical and emotional abuse by singer FKA twigs. While making history in November as the first man to appear solo on the cover of Vogue, Styles lauded Wilde’s work on the teen comedy ‘Booksmart’ and told the magazine he was “very honoured” to accept a part in her latest feature. In turn, Wilde praised Styles’ big-screen debut in Christopher Nolan’s 2017 war drama, ‘Dunkirk.’ Wilde was also among the many who rallied behind Styles after conservative pundits Candace Owens and Ben Shapiro shamed the ‘Treat People With Kindness’ singer for wearing a ruffled Gucci dress on the Vogue cover. “... I did a little victory dance when we heard that we officially had Harry in the film,” Wilde told Vogue, “because we knew that he has a real appreciation for fashion and style. And this movie is incredibly stylistic. It’s very heightened and opulent, and I’m really grateful that he is so enthusiastic about that element of the process — some actors just don’t care.” The frenzy surrounding Wilde and Styles comes months after the former ended her seven-year-plus engagement with ‘Ted Lasso’ star Jason Sudeikis. The ‘Saturday Night Live’ alum proposed to Wilde in 2012, and the pair split in November. They have two children together. After Styles and Wilde sparked relationship rumours with their wedding outing, several noted on social media that the same kind of attention was not devoted to the ‘Watermelon Sugar’ hit maker and Lizzo when the two singers were seen holding hands at the 2020 Brit Awards back in February. “So lizzo and harry can hold hands but when olivia and harry do y’all assume they’re dating?” one person tweeted on Monday along with the photo receipts. “make it make sense.” “So your [sic] telling me that when Harry holds hands and cuddles up to Lizzo it’s nothing but when he does the same to Olivia, a white and smaller girl, he’s automatically dating her,” wrote another. “Mhm ok.” An official release date has yet to be announced for Wilde and Styles’ ‘Don’t Worry Darling,’ which went into production in the fall of last year.

  • Dec11

    Time magazine names BTS its Entertainer of the Year

      published   9 days   19 hours   13 minutes   ago.

    BTS has had more than just a ‘Dynamite’ year — they’ve become such a global phenomenon that Time magazine named the South Korean group its 2020 Entertainer of the Year. The magazine announced the honour for the seven-member K-Pop boy band on Thursday, hours before a prime-time special that will culminate with the naming of Time’s Person of the Year: President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. The magazine cited BTS’ massive global presence amid the pandemic, including leveraging their massive fan base to support causes like Black Lives Matter. The group has become a staple of recent awards shows, performing their flashy No 1 hit ‘Dynamite.’ The song in November brought BTS its first Grammy nomination. “There are times when I’m still taken aback by all the unimaginable things that are happening,” BTS member Suga told Time for an interview that accompanied the announcement. “But I ask myself, Who’s going to do this, if not us?” Time Executive Editor Ben Goldberger in an interview with The Associated Press on Thursday credited the relationship between the group and its fans for transcending COVID-19. “The communal experience of watching a show, being at a concert, it just dissipated out of thin air and BTS managed to forge a really rich connection with their audience around the world in spite of these barriers which fell many, many other acts,” he said. Time also announced Thursday the selection of Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James as its Athlete of the Year. “He is the greatest basketball player of his generation, arguably of any generation. And he won a fourth title this year. That’s no small thing, but his true influence was what he did off of the court,” said Goldberger. “LeBron has had a remarkable influence across activism for athletes around the world.”

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