‘Godmothered’: Are sugary fantasies losing their charm?

‘Godmothered’: Are sugary fantasies losing their charm?
The film stars Jillian Bell (left) and Isla Fisher. (Supplied)
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Updated 15 December 2020

‘Godmothered’: Are sugary fantasies losing their charm?

‘Godmothered’: Are sugary fantasies losing their charm?

CHENNAI: Helmed by Sharon Maguire, whose “Bridget Jones’s Diary” was a fascinating watch, “Godmothered” nips at the heels of popular fairytales in a bid to offer audiences a delightful little story, but in this case it falls flat.

Disney’s latest flick is a sugar spun magic-and-mayhem mess that is over-reliant on traditional fairytale tropes — pumpkins that turn into coaches pulled by mice that transform into — well, I’m sure you’ve guessed it.

Set in a beautifully illuminated Boston — it’s Christmas time after all — Mackenzie (Isla Fisher) is a single mother with two daughters working at a local TV station. Up in Motherland, Eleanor (Jillian Bell) is a trainee fairy, passionate about helping mortals on Earth. When she discovers a letter written by a little girl asking for “happily ever after,” Eleanor jumps at the chance to help.

Clumsy to the core and completely disappointed to learn that the girl, none other than Mackenzie, is a woman now, Eleanor makes up her mind to turn the mother’s life into a fantastical fairytale. Hiccups, ranging from disastrous to amusing, ensue as the fairy learns the ropes.

The film industry is notoriously competitive and Disney appears hell bent on adding its offerings to an already overloaded festive season schedule. While this may be great for harrowed parents whose children are at home for the holidays, one does wonder if the era of quintessential fairytales is over. Can production houses still sell fairies, goblins and witches to a generation that swears by hardcore reality? Yes, the likes of “Trolls” and “Onward” still captures an avid audience, but sugary fantasies are quickly losing their charm.

As for the casting, the clumsy and catastrophic Bell does introduce an antithesis to the delicate, dainty fairy of yesteryear, which is a fresh take on the concept and the one redeeming — if not slightly annoying — aspect of the film.


Expo 2020 Dubai releases official song featuring regional stars

Expo 2020 Dubai releases official song featuring regional stars
Updated 15 sec ago

Expo 2020 Dubai releases official song featuring regional stars

Expo 2020 Dubai releases official song featuring regional stars

DUBAI: Expo 2020 Dubai, which will kick off on Oct. 1, released its official song titled “This is our Time” on Tuesday. 

The English and Arabic language song, now available on YouTube, features Emirati singer Hussain Al-Jassmi, who is Expo 2020’s ambassador, along with US-Lebanese Grammy-nominated singer and songwriter Mayssa Karaa, who is the artistic director of Expo’s all-female Firdaus Orchestra. 

“This is our Time” also features 21-year-old Emirati singer-songwriter Almas, named in Spotify’s list of best female talent in the Middle East.

“‘This is our Time’ is a tribute to the UAE for all it has been, is today and will achieve in the years to come,” Al-Jassmi said in a released statement. “It’s a song about pride, faith and unity, and I hope that it brings a smile to the faces of everyone who hears it, wherever they may be in the world. Being a part of such an iconic event in the UAE’s history is extremely exciting and rewarding.”

Meanwhile, Karaa said that she feels honored to have collaborated on the song. “Expo 2020 is a significant moment for the entire Arab world and for Arabs around the rest of the world. Through this song, I hope we can inspire people of all ages and from all walks of life to follow their dreams – the possibilities are endless,” she said. 

The youngest of the trio, Almas, said that the song is an “embodiment of hope and the belief that collaboration will yield a better future for all.”

“I’m so proud to be Emirati and play a role in a moment that will be forever part of my country’s history,” she added. 

The six-month event, which was postponed due to COVID-19, will run until March 31, 2022. 


Bella Hadid celebrates niece Khai’s birthday with never-before-seen snaps

US-Palestinian-Dutch model Bella Hadid took to Instagram on Sunday to celebrate her niece’s first birthday. (File/ Getty Images)
US-Palestinian-Dutch model Bella Hadid took to Instagram on Sunday to celebrate her niece’s first birthday. (File/ Getty Images)
Updated 20 September 2021

Bella Hadid celebrates niece Khai’s birthday with never-before-seen snaps

US-Palestinian-Dutch model Bella Hadid took to Instagram on Sunday to celebrate her niece’s first birthday. (File/ Getty Images)

DUBAI: US-Palestinian-Dutch model Bella Hadid took to Instagram on Sunday to celebrate her niece’s first birthday, and paid special tribute to Gigi Hadid and her partner Zayn Malik on their daughter’s big day.

“Happy Birthday to the greatest gift our family has ever been blessed with… I didn’t know my heart could grow this big!!!” Bella posted on Instagram, alongside a carousel of photos featuring the now-one-year-old.

Although baby Khai’s face was blocked by emoji stickers in all the shots, for privacy reasons, Bella managed to gush over the family’s bundle of joy.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Bella (@bellahadid)

“You make me smile when I’m sad and make me cry of happiness just because (you’re) alive. I can’t wait to watch you grow into the most perfect specimen of all. @gigihadid @zayn thank you for my forever best friend,” the model aunt added.

The couple announced the birth of their daughter in September 2020, with Gigi sharing the exciting news with her 58.5 million Instagram followers.

“Our girl joined us Earth-side this weekend and she’s already changed our world,” she said at the time.

For his part, proud father and British signer Malik write: “Our baby girl is here, healthy and beautiful. To try put into words how I am feeling right now would be an impossible task.”

“The love I feel for this tiny human is beyond my understanding. Grateful to know her, proud to call her mine, and thankful for the life we will have together,” he added.


Review: ‘Schumacher’ is a touching, if unsatisfying, portrait of a legend

Review: ‘Schumacher’ is a touching, if unsatisfying, portrait of a legend
Updated 20 September 2021

Review: ‘Schumacher’ is a touching, if unsatisfying, portrait of a legend

Review: ‘Schumacher’ is a touching, if unsatisfying, portrait of a legend

LONDON: Michael Schumacher will always be an iconic figure in Formula 1 — widely regarded as one of the most gifted racers of all time, with a work ethic hitherto unseen in the sport, and a drive for perfection that left his rivals staggered by his laser focus. And while this documentary, created with the blessing and cooperation of the Schumacher family, offers an incredible look at the personal and private life of the German driver, it does little to expand on what most people already know about the seven-times world champion.

Now streaming on Netflix, a procession of famous faces from the world of F1 — Ross Brawn, Flavio Briatore, Jean Todt, Eddie Irvine, David Coulthard and many others — offer their recollections of Michael, and those interviews are expertly combined with archival material from Schumacher himself, home videos released by the family, and interviews with his wife and children.

Michael Schumacher’s documentary offers a look at the personal and private life of the German driver. (Motorsport Images)

But while directors Hanns-Bruno Kammertöns, Vanessa Nöcker and Michael Wech do a skilled job of stitching everything together, they rarely take the chance to take “Schumacher” into new territory. Subjects such as Schumacher’s aggression-fueled lapses in racing judgement, or his insistence that he simply couldn’t be in the wrong in any crash, get little more than lip service — perhaps understandably, given that the film was created in such close cooperation with his family. But it does beg the question of what “Schumacher” hopes to achieve. Anyone who follows F1 knows that his was a generation-defining talent, and hearing that same sentiment reflected by a series of notable interviewees simply rings a little hollow.

What’s more, the movie steers clear of offering up any glimpse of Schumacher today. At the end of 2013, Michael suffered a significant brain injury during a skiing trip and hasn’t been seen since. He is, his family insists, continuing to live his life as privately as possible. And while that privacy is important, and absolutely his right, it makes for a strange juxtaposition with a film billed as offering such an intimate portrait of a racing legend.


Luxury label Jean Paul Gaultier celebrates Saudi National Day with new film

Luxury label Jean Paul Gaultier celebrates Saudi National Day with new film
Updated 4 min 5 sec ago

Luxury label Jean Paul Gaultier celebrates Saudi National Day with new film

Luxury label Jean Paul Gaultier celebrates Saudi National Day with new film

DUBAI: French luxury fashion label Jean Paul Gaultier is celebrating Saudi Arabia’s 91st National Day, which falls on Sept. 23, in its first-ever launch dedicated to a Middle Eastern country.

The brand has brought to life the traditional card game of baloot through a film shot by an all-Saudi production team in Riyadh. 

The brand is also celebrating the country’s heritage and culture with the baloot box. (Supplied)

The film features a host of Saudi personalities, including actress Sarah Taibah, emerging fashion model Domie Alsalim, fashion and beauty multi-hyphenates Yara Alnamlah and Faisal Alghazzawi, as they compete in the game. 

The brand is also celebrating the country’s heritage and culture with the baloot box — a luxe green case which comes in velvet stamped with gold details.

 

The celebrity-loved fashion house created a deck of cards exquisitely designed by Saudi artist Raghad Al-Ahmad. 

Al-Ahmad merged Jean Paul Gaultier’s signature iconography with cultural motifs rooted in the identity of Saudi Arabia through the art form of collage. The queen, king and jack of the deck are reimagined to represent the regions and cities in the Kingdom. 

The queen, king and jack of the deck are reimagined to represent the regions and cities in the Kingdom. (Supplied)

The baloot box is packed in a green bag with gold-embroidered straps, patterned after the intricate gold trimming of the traditional Saudi bisht.

The bag was designed and created by traditional Saudi tailor Salman Alhamad and Atharna, a social enterprise dedicated to the preservation and celebration of Saudi crafts and culture.


Egyptian actress Rosaline Elbay to star in Netflix drama 

Egyptian actress Rosaline Elbay to star in Netflix drama 
Updated 20 September 2021

Egyptian actress Rosaline Elbay to star in Netflix drama 

Egyptian actress Rosaline Elbay to star in Netflix drama 

DUBAI: Egyptian actress Rosaline Elbay is set to star in Netflix’s upcoming heist action drama “Jigsaw” alongside US actor Giancarlo Esposito, she revealed this week. 

The series centers around a large heist that is loosely based on the $70 billion in bonds that went missing in New York’s downtown Manhattan when Hurricane Sandy struck the city in 2012.

Elbay, who is also a writer, will play the role of Judy Goodwin, the crew’s demolitions specialist who is clever, talented and independent.

The eight-episode series, which ranges from 24 years before the heist to one year after, also casts Spanish actress Paz Vega, British star Rufus Sewell, US actors Tati Gabrielle and Peter Mark Kendall, Australian talent Jai Courtney and Iranian actress Niousha Noor.

Elbay is famous for her role as Amani in Hulu’s award-winning series “Ramy,” which stars US-Egyptian Golden Globe winner Ramy Youssef.