THE ROUNDUP: Regional pop-culture highlights for January

Gurumiran. (Supplied)
Updated 28 January 2019

THE ROUNDUP: Regional pop-culture highlights for January

Dubai: The regions pop culture highlights for the month of January 2019.

“Bathe You (Live)”
Filmed live at The Juke studios in Kuwait, this video captures Lebanese singer-songwriter and guitar virtuoso Miran Gurunian (aka Gurumiran) at his energetic best. There’s a newfound power and confidence to his idiosyncratic vocals that — coupled with his sparse but striking guitar lines over synth arpeggios — make this twisted love song a repeater.

“Time, Money”
The stuttering video cobbled together from an old documentary about Egypt by Noha Amin goes brilliantly with the stuttering experimental art-pop of this Egyptian group led by Ragy Ahmed, whose vocals, here, are pushed through a speech synthesizer. The effect of this collaboration with Lav (Egyptian artist Hannah El-Manawhly) is unsettling and dreamlike. And intriguing.

“Carte Blanche”
Karkhana with Nadah El-Shazly
Side B of the latest album from Unrock’s “Saraswati” series features Egyptian vocalist El-Shazly collaborating with an improv-based Middle Eastern/Mediterranean ensemble of acclaimed musicians including Maurice Louca and Sam Shalabi. The astonishing and unique soundscape that results is, the label suggests, “Far Eastern post-industrial.”


‘On the Rocks’ — Bill Murray is a steal in this dad-daughter outing

Updated 25 October 2020

‘On the Rocks’ — Bill Murray is a steal in this dad-daughter outing

CHENNAI: Bill Murray is the most endearing aspect from “On the Rocks,” Sofia Coppola’s seventh film as writer-director. Behind his trademark deadpan expression, Murray still has twinkle and mischief in his eyes. And he brings out the same kind of lonely wistfulness we saw in his earlier association with Coppola in 2003’s “Lost in Translation,” in which he and Scarlett Johansson meet in a Tokyo hotel and find comfort in each other. There was no romance there, as there is none in his latest outing as Felix. Daughter Laura (played by Rashida Jones, who has starred in “I Love You, Man” and “The Social Network”) is troubled thinking that her life is about to go into a tailspin. 

“On the Rocks” is now on Apple TV+. Supplied

“On the Rocks” — on Apple TV+ and set in New York — is just as sentimental and sweet as “Lost in Translation.” As Coppola’s latest adventure begins, we see Felix, who has made his millions as an art dealer, in the lap of luxury with a chauffeured Mercedes, first-class hotels and sensational magic in his persona. But having divorced his wife many moons ago, he longs to nurture the relationship with his daughter Laura, who is married to the very successful Dean (Marlon Wayans) with two lovely daughters. 

However, in a kind of mid-marriage crisis, Laura begins to have doubts about Dean’s fidelity, especially after he gets busy with his new professional venture that takes him away on frequent trips. His “leggy” assistant, Fiona, accompanies him, and Laura confides this to her dad, who weaves stories of all that could be happening between Dean and his assistant. Felix suggests that they follow the possibly philandering husband, and a troubled Laura gets talked into it.

“On the Rocks” has great moments, and is compelling to a great extent. Supplied

All this leads to hilarious situations with Felix always being in command, even when cops catch him speeding as he is trying to tail Dean’s cab. Wittily calm and composed, he is the sort of guy who will unabashedly say to a passing stranger that she looks ravishing and get away with it, much to his daughter’s consternation.

“On the Rocks” has great moments, and is compelling to a great extent, with Murray engaging us with full-of-life banter. Jones matches up to him, a nervous wife tottering on the edge of what has been a great marriage. She hides her angst with remarkable alacrity, trying to play a good mother to her kids, while her dad leads her up the garden path. “On the Rocks” is happily no weepy tale, and Coppola spices it up.