2021 PREVIEW: Gamers, prepare for playtime with these upcoming releases

2021 PREVIEW: Gamers, prepare for playtime with these upcoming releases
For the many hundreds of thousands of rabid Harry Potter fans out there, Hogwarts Legacy seems like wish-fulfillment of the best kind. (Supplied)
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Updated 10 January 2021

2021 PREVIEW: Gamers, prepare for playtime with these upcoming releases

2021 PREVIEW: Gamers, prepare for playtime with these upcoming releases
  • As designers get to grips with the next generation of consoles, there’s plenty for gamers to be excited about in 2021

GRAN TURISMO 7

The eighth ‘mainline’ installment of Sony’s popular racing game will be its first on the PS5 and it looks spectacular thanks to the new-gen console’s improved graphics. It’s not the only technological advance the game will take advantage of. PS Europe’s executive VP Simon Rutter has said 3D audio will mean you’ll be able to differentiate engine types and tell where the sound is coming from. The new DualSense controller’s advanced haptic feedback will also mean a variety of pedal tensions and a different ‘feel’ to different road surfaces.

FAR CRY 6

In the sixth installment of Ubisoft’s acclaimed first-person action-adventure shooter, you’ll play as freedom fighter Dani Rojas (a deliberately unisex name, as you can choose your character’s gender at the start of the game), aiming to overthrow the brutal fascist dictator Anton Castillo, who is grooming his son Diego to take his place as El Presidente of the fictional Caribbean island of Yara. Like the previous games, you’ll cobble together weapons from whatever resources you can find while, in a new twist, you can now hire ‘Amigos’ to help you topple the regime.

HALO INFINITE

Online reaction to the demo last year was not promising — the graphics were weirdly underwhelming and the gameplay lacked any real innovation. However, everyone’s hoping that developer 343 Industries will have used the game’s delayed release (it was originally supposed to be a launch title for the next-gen Xbox Series X in November, but has been pushed back to fall 2021) to sort all that out and provide an upgrade to  the story of Master Chief that reaches the dizzy heights of some of its predecessors — which have been some of the most adrenaline-inducing action games of all time.

THE LORD OF THE RINGS: GOLLUM

Given the fervor that greets all things Tolkien-related in the entertainment biz, it’s a fair bet that this action-adventure by Daedalic Entertainment is going to sell well, no matter how good it is. Thankfully, what little has been revealed so far looks very promising indeed. Gollum — the creature twisted by his obsession with the Ring of Power — isn’t an obvious choice as the ‘hero’ of a game, but the designers have spoken publicly about their efforts to make him a character players will want to prosper. It’s a stealth-driven adventure in which Gollum must navigate Mordor, but also his own split personality.

HORIZON: FORBIDDEN WEST

“Horizon: Zero Dawn” was, deservedly, a hit. Its sequel will likely perform just as well. It certainly looks spectacular. Once again, players control the huntress Aloy as she navigates a post-apocalyptic Utah, Nevada and California filled with lethal machines. This time around, she is charged with exploring the titular frontier in search of the source of a deadly disease that threatens the Nora tribe. The game map is larger than its predecessor and offers a wide array of environments, including underwater ones, to explore.

GOD OF WAR: RAGNAROK

The ninth installment in the bestselling action-adventure series continues the franchise’s shift away from its original Greek mythology to Norse legends. Once again, you play as Kratos (accompanied by Atreus, his young son), and can expect to be tasked with averting disaster once more. “Ragnarok” is, in Norse mythology, a series of cataclysmic events that signal the end of the world as we know it (albeit one that leads to a Utopian rebirth), so the stakes are, it seems, set pretty high.

HOGWARTS LEGACY

For the many hundreds of thousands of rabid Harry Potter fans out there, this game seems like wish-fulfillment of the best kind — allowing players to enter the magical Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry as first-year students, go through the Sorting Hat process to discover which house they’ll be in, and attend classes where they’ll learn to cast spells, brew potions, fight, and deal with magical beasts. All skills that will be needed when exploring the world inside and outside of the school. It’s set in the late 1800s, though, so don’t expect to see Harry himself knocking around.


Nominated actor Tahar Rahim debuts unreleased Louis Vuitton watch at Golden Globes

The Franco-Algerian actor wore custom Louis Vuitton to the Golden Globes 2021. File/Instagram
The Franco-Algerian actor wore custom Louis Vuitton to the Golden Globes 2021. File/Instagram
Updated 01 March 2021

Nominated actor Tahar Rahim debuts unreleased Louis Vuitton watch at Golden Globes

The Franco-Algerian actor wore custom Louis Vuitton to the Golden Globes 2021. File/Instagram

DUBAI: The Golden Globes 2021 kicked off on Sunday night, heralding the start of the annual awards season calendar. When it came to red carpet style, just like their female counterparts, the men did not disappoint with their sartorial choices. 

French-Algerian actor Tahar Rahim, who was nominated in the Best Actor in a Drama Motion Picture category for his role in “The Mauritanian” made a fashion debut during the virtual awards ceremony wearing a head-to-toe Louis Vuitton look that included the French maison’s newest watch: The Tambour Street Diver.

The 39-year-old actor, who watched the virtual ceremony from his Paris hotel suite, wore the Skyline Blue model, customized with a black strap, that matched his navy blue, double-breasted suit. 

The unreleased timepiece will be unveiled at Watches of Wonder in Geneva in April and launch on April 9.

Rahim was nominated for his role as Mohamedou Ould Salahi, who was held for 14 years without charge in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. The film is based on Salahi’s 2015 memoir, “Guantánamo Diary.” 

The film also stars Jodie Foster, Shailene Woodley and Benedict Cumberbatch.

The accolade ultimately went to the late Chadwick Boseman, who was awarded the Golden Globe for lead actor in a movie drama for his emotional role in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.”


Netflix’s ‘The Girl on the Train’ with Parineeti Chopra goes off-track

Netflix’s ‘The Girl on the Train’ with Parineeti Chopra goes off-track
Updated 01 March 2021

Netflix’s ‘The Girl on the Train’ with Parineeti Chopra goes off-track

Netflix’s ‘The Girl on the Train’ with Parineeti Chopra goes off-track

CHENNAI: “The Girl on the Train,” the bestseller written by British author Paula Hawkins in 2015, told the story of three women in bad relationships drowning their woes in binge drinking. The novel was on The New York Times Fiction Best Sellers list for 13 consecutive weeks before being adapted into a Hollywood film in 2016 by Tate Taylor, with Emily Blunt as the girl on wheels. Netflix has now brought out a Bollywood remake directed by Ribhu Dasgupta. Also entitled “The Girl on the Train,” it stars Parineeti Chopra (the cousin of actress Priyanka Chopra).

Dasgupta sticks to the thriller genre of the book, but instead of narrating the story through three women, he focuses on Chopra’s Mira Kapoor, a brilliant lawyer whose life spins off axis after she gets a man convicted. Practising in London (why this city was chosen remains a puzzle) and once happily married to Shekhar Kapoor (Avinash Tiwary), her relationship suffers after a tragic motor accident.

“The Girl on the Train” stars Parineeti Chopra (the cousin of actress Priyanka Chopra). (YouTube)

The audience watches as Mira takes a train back and forth from central London every day, passing the house where she had lived in absolute bliss. Seeing happily married Nusrat John (Aditi Rao Hydari) with her husband, Anand (Shamaun Ahmed), Mira becomes obsessed with what could have been her own life. Fueled by alcohol, she is driven into a self-destructive cocoon. Finally, when she is accused of murder, with British-Asian policewoman Inspector Kaur (Kirti Kulhari) leading the investigation, Dasgupta’s effort begins to sway as wildly as Mira’s tottering steps.

Parineeti Chopra is an amazing actress, but the script has been so shoddily written that it becomes clear midway that she has had a raw deal. A terribly tormented woman should have been offered a better script, but the director settled for smudged makeup and stage tricks — there is hardly any depth in the way her character has been built.

Tiwary gets nothing better — the minute he displays his darker, sinister side, he is sidelined with a fresh twist.

The one person who sparkles is Hydari, who manages to rise above the sparsely written part in a short screen time with a remarkable range which swings from love and care to anger and fear.

With contrivances and coincidences at every turn, the train goes way off track. While the original work invested in emotional trauma and psychological brutality, which the girl fought to emerge from the mess, Dasgupta offers a murder mystery whose carriages seem uncoupled. The work is so choppy that a lot of talent, including that of Kulhari, is wasted.


Model Shanina Shaik shows off trip to Dubai on social media

The part-Saudi model jetted off to Dubai this week. Instagram
The part-Saudi model jetted off to Dubai this week. Instagram
Updated 01 March 2021

Model Shanina Shaik shows off trip to Dubai on social media

The part-Saudi model jetted off to Dubai this week. Instagram

DUBAI: Part-Saudi model Shanina Shaik has landed in the UAE, according to her Instagram Stories. 

The catwalk star, who has walked the Victoria’s Secret runway five times, announced that she landed in Dubai by way of a clip shared with her 2.2 million followers that showed her at Dubai International Airport collecting her luggage at baggage claim. “Landed in Dubai,” she revealed to her fans. 

The Saudi-Pakistani-Lithuanian-Australian star flew in from Los Angeles and it’s uncertain whether she is in the UAE for business or for pleasure. However, she made sure to document how she spent her trip on her Instagram account.

The model flew in to Dubai from Los Angeles this week. Instagram/@shaninamshaik

After checking into the Waldorf Astoria, where the 30-year-old was greeted with a floral bouquet sent from MAC Cosmetics Middle East as soon as she arrived, and she made sure to show off her treats from Mama Rita, the food delivery concept launched by Australian-Lebanese model  Jessica Kahawaty alongside her mother Rita Kahawaty. 

“Had to try,” Shaik captioned a picture of herself holding a white Mama Rita bag. 

Instagram/@shaninamshaik

The star later met up with her close friend, Dubai-based influencer Mahmoud Sidani, who is commonly known as Mr. Moudz to his legion of social media followers. 

“Look who’s in Dubai,” he excitedly announced in a video posted to his Instagram Stories of Shaik indulging in a dessert from local healthy restaurant Krave. “So, Shanina’s never tried a cheesecake from Krave,” he said, adding “I’m about to change your life. Have a bite.”

The next morning, Sidani picked up Shaik, AKA his “workout buddy for the day,” and the two headed to 51 Gym Dubai for an early bird sweat session. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Mahmoud (@mrmoudz)

In a recent clip, the Los Angeles-based beauty revealed that she hasn’t been traveling as often due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

She also shared her travel essentials for when she does hop on a plane. 

Instagram/@shaninamshaik

Among the items she can’t travel without are her silk pillowcase from Slip – “for hygienic reasons” – melatonin for sleep, gut probiotics, Vitamin C capsules and Zinc.

“That comes with me everywhere,” she stated.

Prior to going to Dubai, the jet-setting star was recently in Mexico and in Ghana, where she spent New Year’s Eve.


Beauty mogul Huda Kattan speaks up against racism toward Asian community

Beauty mogul Huda Kattan speaks up against racism toward Asian community
Updated 01 March 2021

Beauty mogul Huda Kattan speaks up against racism toward Asian community

Beauty mogul Huda Kattan speaks up against racism toward Asian community

DUBAI: US-Iraqi beauty mogul Huda Kattan on Monday spoke out about racist comments towards the Asian community that she says have “increased dramatically” since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2019 in China. 

On her makeup brand Huda Beauty’s Instagram page, she shared a story writing: “At Huda Beauty, we stand against racism of any kind. Today, we want (to) draw attention to the violent hate crimes against the Asian community that have increased dramatically since the pandemic began.”  

Instagram:@hudabeauty

The makeup artist and entrepreneur added: “Sadly these alarming events have had very little attention with the media, and that is not okay.”

Kattan shared a series of images that gave her 47.8 million followers insight into the issue. The source of the statistics presented in the images is not immediately clear.  

Kattan also shared a video by Michelle Lee, host of The Science of Beauty podcast, who addressed this issue. In the video, Lee said: “Racism was always there, but the pandemic has given people an excuse to act on it.” 

In the 84-second clip, Lee shared videos of Asians people being pushed, thrown objects at and made fun off. 

“No one’s going to pay attention to you. You’re a stupid blue Asian haired girl,” said one man in the video. 


MAC Cosmetics teams up with Nadine Njeim on new makeup range

It is the second time the former Miss Lebanon collaborates with MAC Cosmetics. Supplied
It is the second time the former Miss Lebanon collaborates with MAC Cosmetics. Supplied
Updated 01 March 2021

MAC Cosmetics teams up with Nadine Njeim on new makeup range

It is the second time the former Miss Lebanon collaborates with MAC Cosmetics. Supplied

DUBAI: MAC Cosmetics has developed a 15-piece cosmetics range in collaboration with Lebanese actress and model Nadine Nassib Njeim. The collection features eye, lip and complexion products that come in striking Japanese cherry blossom-inspired packaging.

The former Miss Lebanon, who has previously launched the Mosaic Masterpiece collection with the beauty brand, appears wearing Zuhair Murad in The Black Cherry x Nadine N. Njeim collection campaign, which was lensed by photographer Desiree Mattson.

“I’m so excited to reveal my second collaboration with M·A·C Cosmetics, starring in the campaign for the new limited edition Black Cherry collection!” wrote the star on Instagram alongside images of the ad.

“Transform a brief moment of Cherry Blossom bliss into a full season of new looks, with this stunning color collection for eyes, lips and skin!” she added.

The Black Cherry x Nadine N. Njeim collection. Supplied

The collection includes a limited edition mascara, liner, lip primer, three lipsticks, four lip balms, four blushers and a Cherry Blossom Fix+ Spray that will hit shelves on March 10 in MAC Cosmetics boutiques as well as online.