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  • Nov25

    The 2019 AMAs: Gulf News tabloid!'s top moments

      published   20 days   7 hours   47 minutes   ago.

  • Nov24

    David Attenborough gets honoured by queen for ‘Blue Planet’

      published   21 days   10 hours   22 minutes   ago.

    Legendary naturalist David Attenborough on Wednesday urged international action to tackle pollution as he received a prestigious award from Queen Elizabeth II, recognising the role his Blue Planet series played in highlighting the issue. The 2019 Chatham House Prize was awarded in London to Attenborough and Julian Hector, head of BBC Studios Natural History Unit, for the “galvanising impact” of the ‘Blue Planet II’ series on tackling ocean plastic pollution. The Queen said she was “delighted” to hand over the award to the 93-year-old broadcaster, whose voice has for decades brought the natural world into homes across the world. “This award recognises your many talents,” she told Attenborough, a long-time friend. “For those of us of a certain generation, we can take great pleasure in proving that age is no barrier in being a positive influence,” she joked. Attenborough issued a stark warning in his acceptance speech. “International problems have never been more international, more crucial, more pressing that they are today,” he said. “The atmosphere doesn’t have favourites among nations. “Never has there been a greater need for international cooperation; We are citizens of the world and we must recognise that,” he added. ‘It’s their world’ Attenborough earlier called out “two or three” unnamed big nations for their lack of urgency on climate change, saying “I’m sure we will bring them around, but it’s going to take time.” He also praised youth protesters around the world who had helped raise awareness of the issue through their programme of school strikes. “The world belongs to the students, it’s their world, it’s not my world,” he said. “They have every right to feel outraged and they should make that feeling clear. I hope now the point has been made.” The global smash series ‘Blue Planet II’ highlighted the damage caused by discarded plastics to the world’s oceans and marine wildlife. More than 150 million tonnes of plastic is now estimated to be in the world’s oceans. “Plastic pollution is one of the gravest challenges facing the world’s oceans, and undoubtedly an international issue,” said Robin Niblett, director of Chatham House. “Sir David and the BBC Studios Natural History Unit played an instrumental role in helping to put this issue at the forefront of the public agenda.” Attenborough said the response to the series had “amazed us all”. “The strange thing about the polluting of the ocean is we have been talking about plastic for a long time, but in the mass media it is very mysterious when you make an impact and when you don’t. “All we can do is go on about it,” he added. David Attenborough sits next to Britain's Queen Elizabeth during the annual Chatham House award in London, Britain November 20, 2019. Image Credit: REUTERS

  • Nov06

    ‘Watchmen’ review: First-class entertainment out of the box

      published   9 days   3 hours   4 minutes   ago.

    Many a superhero origin story involves exposure to a volatile substance — something dangerous, radioactive, caustic — that can be powerful if mastered, ruinous if uncontrolled. In HBO’s ‘Watchmen,’ that fissile storytelling material is history: specifically, America’s legacy of white supremacy. The first episode begins with the 1921 riot in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in which white mobs rampaged in the prosperous ‘Black Wall Street,’ massacring African-Americans in the street and strafing them from above with airplanes. A small boy’s parents pack him onto a car that’s fleeing the mayhem, like Kal-El being sent from Krypton. But there is no Superman flying to the rescue. With that opening, Damon Lindelof (‘Lost,’ ‘The Leftovers’) reframes the universe that the writer Alan Moore and the artist Dave Gibbons created in the 1980s comics series. Where Moore wrote an alternative history of Cold War America — a pre-apocalyptic dystopia in which masked vigilantes have been outlawed — Lindelof reaches back and forward in time to root his caped-crusaders story in a brutal American tragedy. The choice invests this breathtaking spectacle with urgency. ‘Watchmen’ is a first-class entertainment out of the box, immediately creating a sad and wondrous retro-futuristic world. It takes longer, though, to get a handle on the complicated and all-too-real material it uses as its nuclear fuel. In 2019, Robert Redford (yes, that one) has been president nearly three decades, succeeding Richard Nixon, who’s now on Mt Rushmore. Redford’s liberal administration has instituted reparations, or ‘Redfordations,’ as disgruntled racists call them. The police hide their faces — in superhero garb or yellow masks — to shield their identities from white-power terrorists, who favour the inkblot mask of Rorschach, the reactionary nihilist of the original ‘Watchmen.’ (In real life, the character has been mistaken for a hero by Sen. Ted Cruz among others.) These villains are like the ultimate misguided fanboys, their splotchy masks a kind of meme-trolling made concrete. HBO’s ‘Watchmen’ isn’t a remake; Moore has disavowed it, as he did the 2009 film. (The first episode, interestingly, involves an all-black production of ‘Oklahoma!’ — another pop-culture landmark lately reinterpreted in a new production.) The series expresses both reverence for its source and some anxiety of influence; it presents the back story of the original superheroes through a farcical, Ryan Murphy-esque show-within-a-show, ‘American Hero Story.’ But ‘Watchmen’ takes place in a world where all the graphic novel’s events happened. The omnipotent Dr Manhattan — the sole superpowered being in this world — won the war in Vietnam, which is now the 51st state; the Cold War ended after the messianic villain Adrian Veidt detonated a giant psychic squid in Manhattan, killing millions but uniting the world against a fictitious alien threat. ‘Watchmen’ explains much of that history eventually, but at first Lindelof dumps newbies into this strange ocean like so many squidlings. It may not matter, though, because it moves with such brio, carried by Regina King’s confident star performance as Angela Abar, a Tulsa policewoman who moonlights as Sister Night, in a supercool ninja-nun long coat and cowl. The racist terror attacks pull in her police colleagues, including Chief Judd Crawford (Don Johnson, chewing the role like a fat cheekful of tobacco) and Looking Glass (Tim Blake Nelson, his head ensheathed in what looks like a reflective party balloon). It eventually pulls in a Vietnamese trillionaire (Hong Chau); Laurie Blake (Jean Smart), a figure from the original comics now working for the FBI; and a mysterious elderly man in a wheelchair (Louis Gossett Jr). But back to those masked men and women. It’s unsettling, at minimum, to see police as the progressive foes of racists when today’s headlines are full of white-on-black shootings by officers. ‘Watchmen’ doesn’t delve much into how this alternative world could have become so reverse-polarised, other than the election of what sounds like a PC administration out of an alt-right persecution fantasy. The show’s image of the Redford era (guns are heavily regulated, even for the police) doesn’t seem like a political statement so much as a device, a means of script-flipping. ‘Watchmen’ works hard to hammer home that racism is bad, but doesn’t look deeply into how it works. Its early hours substitute for this by tossing out a lot of explosive signifiers — hoods and nooses, alongside the franchise’s trademark watches and smiley faces. You could read anything into this Rorschach. It’s as if Lindelof, who dared the wrath of the internet with the ‘Lost’ finale and pushed his adaptation of ‘The Leftovers’ into surreal transcendence, wasn’t content merely with the risk of disappointing a landmark comic’s fervid fan base — he had to throw in America’s stain of racism as well. He’s a free-solo climber of pop entertainment, unsatisfied unless he’s staring down the possibility of a thousand-foot plummet. Is his ‘Watchmen’ thrilling? Abundantly. Funny? Riotously. Inventive and surprising? Like a magician with a thousand hats and rabbits. (Try to resist the action set-piece in the pilot, directed by Nicole Kassell, involving flying machines and a firefight in a cattle field.) Lindelof’s superpowers get put to full use here: the disorienting cold open, the clever and poignant twist, the pop-culture hyperliteracy. His world is like a superhero ‘Leftovers,’ in which characters are left to muddle ahead after staggering events. (Dr Manhattan has decamped to Mars, meaning, essentially, that people know that God is real and that he no longer cares.) Some of the most delightful moments are the droll, creepy interludes with the dotty Veidt (Jeremy Irons), isolated on a country estate where he experiments with and on his retainers. (The show’s publicity has cheekily treated his identity as a spoiler. It is not.) Two-thirds into the nine-episode season, I still don’t know how he fits in this new story. Nor do I care. His scenes do something more important, which is to convince you that this is a mystifying world you want to spend time in. In the first five episodes, ‘Watchmen’ feels more loose and comfortable the farther it gets from the racial-history marker it sets down in its opening minutes. It doesn’t deeply reckon with the implications of the Tulsa massacre until the sixth, written by Lindelof and Cord Jefferson. But that hour (the last screened for critics) is a wallop, synthesising past and alt-present in a stylistic tour de force. It reframes the mythology and symbolism of Moore’s ‘Watchmen’ unsettlingly — but not, I think, flippantly — into racial commentary, in such a way that you might think that the original story was intended to grow into this all along. I’m still not sure Lindelof is wholly in control of the subject. But he earns the chance to show that he has a thought-through long game, that he’s working with something more than magic dust and good intentions. ‘Watchmen’ is a big, audacious swing. It asks, Which is more outlandish and dystopian: an America in which the Tulsa atrocity is being paid for and fought over nearly a century later? Or the one we live in, where it is barely remembered and taught? If the series can sustain and deepen its commitment to this idea, it can be not just a great entertainment but also one invested with great power. But as someone from another comic-book universe once said, with great power comes great responsibility. ___ Don’t miss it! ‘Watchmen’ is now streaming in the UAE on Wavo.

  • Dec15

    Bollywood : Kareena gets ready at Bengaluru airport for cousin's roka

      published   6 hours   14 minutes   ago.

    Bengaluru : Dec 15 Due to busy work schedule, actress Kareena Kapoor Khan had to get ready for her cousin Armaan Jain's roka ceremony (a pre-wedding ritual) at the Bengaluru airport. A video of her getting her make-up done at the airport has gone viral. She is seen dressed in a red ethnic suit. "My new make-up room, the Bengaluru airport," Kareena said in the video while getting her hair and make-up done by her team. Kareena was in Bengaluru for a fashion store launch. Armaan's roka ceremony was held on Saturday night in Mumbai. The function was attended by celebrities like Rishi Kapoor, Neetu Kapoor, Randhir Kapoor, Karisma Kapoor, Kiara Advani and Tara Sutaria. Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor Khan at Armaan's roka ceremony Image Credit: Instagram/therealkareenakapoor Kareena was accompanied by her husband Saif Ali Khan, who complemented her in a white kurta pyjama. Armaan is the grandson of late Raj Kapoor and son of Rima Jain. He proposed to his longtime girlfriend Anissa Malhotra earlier this year in July.

  • Dec10

    Kapil Sharma and wife Ginni blessed with a daughter

      published   5 days   7 hours   58 minutes   ago.

    Comedian Kapil Sharma and his wife Ginni Chatrath welcomed their first child together — a daughter. Sharma on Tuesday took to Twitter to announce the happy news. “Blessed to have a baby girl. Need your blessings. Love you all. Jai Mata Di,” he wrote. Sharma and Chatrath got married in December last year in Jalandhar at a traditional Punjabi ceremony. Their wedding was preceded by days of ceremonies and pre-marriage rituals, including a sangeet that saw their friends dance the night away.

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