‘Tokyo Vice’: American reporter’s tale of crime underworld ‘yawningly long’

‘Tokyo Vice’: American reporter’s tale of crime underworld ‘yawningly long’
The series is streaming on HBO Max. Supplied
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Updated 04 May 2022

‘Tokyo Vice’: American reporter’s tale of crime underworld ‘yawningly long’

‘Tokyo Vice’: American reporter’s tale of crime underworld ‘yawningly long’

CHENNAI: Films on gangsters are nothing new and they have had an arc beginning from the American Westerns to Godfather fare. HBO Max’s “Tokyo Vice,” created by J.T. Rogers in a series of eight episodes, are yawningly long and offer little novelty or finesse.

Narrating the adventures of a real-life American journalist, Jake Adelstein, who learnt Japanese, lived in Tokyo, worked for a leading newspaper and wrote about all this in his eponymous book, the work takes us on a dark and deadly ride through the dazzling neon-lit metro.

His dealings as a crime reporter with the city’s underworld and the police have largely inspired the television series. But his bestselling memoir has been questioned in The Hollywood Reporter which reveals that his friends and colleagues at the daily have raised doubts about the accuracy of his reporting.




The series follows the adventures of a real-life American journalist, Jake Adelstein, who lived in Tokyo, worked for a leading newspaper. Supplied

The director’s portrayals play out like a fictionalized account of Tokyo’s seedy underbelly where the yakuza and bar hostesses have a love-hate relationship with cops. In an early sequence, we hear one of them telling Adelstein (played by Ansel Elgort) that there are no murders in Japan, followed by several scenes of gore, blood and bodies in what turns out to be a bitter power play between two gangsters — Ishida (Shun Sugata) and Tozawa (Ayumi Tanida).

Woven into this, though not quite neatly, is a subplot on a bar girl, Samantha Porter (Rachel Keller), who had run away from her hometown after stealing money from a nunnery. This is similar to Adelstein’s personal story: He left Missouri, leaving his family behind including a sick sister. It is never quite clear what had driven him in the first place to land in Tokyo and try so hard to get into a Japanese-language newspaper with a tag like gaijin (foreigner) mocking him.




Adelstein's dealings as a crime reporter with the city’s underworld and the police have largely inspired the television series. Supplied

There are far too many exaggerations bundled into the episodes as there are plot-driven conveniences. Samantha’s character, for one, comes off as highly unbelievable, especially the way she switches allegiances from Adelstein to a yakuza, Sato (Show Kasamatsu).

However, two relationships are nicely written. Adelstein develops a lasting tie with crime cop, Hiroto Katagiri (a compelling Ken Watanabe, a solid pillar in the Japanese movie industry), and the reporter also has a great professional camaraderie with his newspaper supervisor, Emi Maruyama (Rinko Kikuchi), and these convey a certain warmth that is otherwise lacking in the series.

The effort to get the celebrated Michael Mann, who is nearly 80, to set the tone of the series by asking him to direct the pilot plot, backfires in the remaining seven episodes. The contrast is too glaring to be missed, and even the couple of credible performances, Elgort’s included, cannot lift “Tokyo Vice” out of its sordid mess.


US actress Lindsay Lohan calls Arab fiance ‘husband’ and leaves fans confused

US actress Lindsay Lohan calls Arab fiance ‘husband’ and leaves fans confused
Updated 02 July 2022

US actress Lindsay Lohan calls Arab fiance ‘husband’ and leaves fans confused

US actress Lindsay Lohan calls Arab fiance ‘husband’ and leaves fans confused

DUBAI: US actress Lindsay Lohan this week called her fiance Bader Shammas her “husband” in a heartfelt message she shared on Instagram. 

The “Mean Girls” star, who is based in Dubai, shared a picture of her and Shammas, a financier, with her 10.9 million followers and wrote: “I am the luckiest woman in the world. You found me and knew that I wanted to find happiness and grace, all at the same time.

“I am stunned that you are my husband. My life and my everything. Every woman should feel like this everyday,” the singer and songwriter wrote.  

After sharing her post on Saturday, the star sparked speculation that she had married in secret. 

Regardless, fans quickly congratulated the star in the comments. 

Lohan has not yet confirmed the news.

The Hollywood star announced her engagement in November, posting a series of snaps that showed off her diamond engagement ring.

Lohan and Shammas were first spotted together at a music festival in Dubai shortly before the pandemic hit in 2020.

In May 2020, Lohan’s mother, Dina Lohan, spoke about Shammas, saying: “Lindsay is dating a wonderful guy right now, but that’s neither here nor there. When she’s ready to talk about her personal life, she will.”


Actress Naomie Harris shows off pink gown by Tony Ward at grand prix ball

Actress Naomie Harris shows off pink gown by Tony Ward at grand prix ball
Updated 02 July 2022

Actress Naomie Harris shows off pink gown by Tony Ward at grand prix ball

Actress Naomie Harris shows off pink gown by Tony Ward at grand prix ball

DUBAI: British actress Naomie Harris this week stepped out in a hot pink gown by Lebanese-Italian fashion designer Tony Ward at London’s Grand Prix Ball 2022.

The “Small Island” star turned heads in a one-shoulder chiffon draped dress that was tight at the waist with a subtle cut-out bust. It featured a long train and a thigh-high slit.

The ball is an annual charity gala held in the lead-up to the British Grand Prix in support of the charitable organization the Prince’s Trust.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by TONY WARD (@tonywardcouture)

For her jewelry, Harris, who started her career by appearing in the 1987 TV series “Simon and the Witch,” opted for sparkly Swarovski hoop earrings and a simple glitzy bracelet.

Her dark hair was styled in raven braids, and the actress kept her makeup simple with a neutral lip and blushed cheeks.

Ward’s clientele list includes Chrissy Teigen, Lori Harvey, Sharon Stone, Bella Thorne Naomi Campbell, who wear the designer’s pieces to events such as the Oscars, the Grammy and the Critics Choice Awards.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by TONY WARD (@tonywardcouture)

In May, Ward dressed a number of stars on the red carpet of the Cannes Film Festival, including  Indian actress Urvashi Rautela, US-Indian actress and social media star Liza Koshy, Danish model Josephine Skriver, US model Jasmine Tookes, German blogger Leonie Hanne, US-Somali actress Sabrina Dhowre Elba, Belgian model Rose Bertram and TikTok star Jessica Wang.

Last week, US singer and songwriter Mary J. Blige wore a two-piece white gown by the part-Arab designer to the BET awards in Los Angeles.

The couturier, who has worked with such high-profile designers as Gianfranco Ferre for Dior and the late Karl Lagerfeld for Chloe, will unveil its fall/winter 2023 collection during Paris Haute Couture Week on July 4.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by TONY WARD (@tonywardcouture)

Meanwhile, Harris’ most recent work is “The Man Who Fell to Earth.” She stars in the sci-fi show, released in April, alongside actors Chiwetel Ejiofar, Sonya Cassidy and Jimmi Simpson.

Harris, whose father is from Trinidad and mother from Jamaica, has won multiple honors from the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards, Hollywood Film Awards, and the Independent Spirit Awards.

In 2017, she was nominated for best performance by an actress in a supporting role award in the 2017 Oscars for her part in “Moonlight.”


Lebanese singer Nancy Ajram teases collaboration with US DJ Marshmello

Lebanese singer Nancy Ajram teases collaboration with US DJ Marshmello
Updated 02 July 2022

Lebanese singer Nancy Ajram teases collaboration with US DJ Marshmello

Lebanese singer Nancy Ajram teases collaboration with US DJ Marshmello

DUBAI: Lebanese singer Nancy Ajram this week teased an upcoming collaboration with US music producer Marshmello.

The superstar took to Instagram to share a picture of herself with the DJ, who was in his usual custom white helmet resembling a marshmello, in a recoding studio.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Nancy Ajram (@nancyajram)

Ajram captioned the post: “Sah Sah,” meaning “true true” in English. This hints that this could possibly be the title of the duo’s new song.

Marshmello shared a short clip on Instagram of him playing the stringed qanun instrument. His post was also captioned “Sah Sah.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by marshmello (@marshmello)

Ajram shared Marshmello’s reel and wrote to her 33 million followers: “Soon.”

Fans quickly responded to the stars’ posts and expressed their excitement for the new track.

“What a collab,” wrote one fan on Instagram, while another said: “Can’t wait!”


NYU Abu Dhabi Gallery to host first-of-its-kind show on Gulf modern art 

NYU Abu Dhabi Gallery to host first-of-its-kind show on Gulf modern art 
Updated 02 July 2022

NYU Abu Dhabi Gallery to host first-of-its-kind show on Gulf modern art 

NYU Abu Dhabi Gallery to host first-of-its-kind show on Gulf modern art 

DUBAI: The NYU Abu Dhabi Art Gallery is set to stage an exhibition documenting modern art movements in the Arabian Peninsula in September. 

Widely regarded as a first-of-its-kind show, the exhibition is titled “Khaleej Modern: Pioneers and Collectives in the Arabian Peninsula, 1941-2008” and will run from Sept. 6-Dec. 11. 

Hassan Sharif, ‘Bakh Bakh,’ 1985. (Supplied)

Curated by Aisha Stoby, who helmed the inaugural Oman Pavilion at this year’s Venice Biennale, the show is a historical survey of twentieth century modern art movements across the Arabian Peninsula, collectively known in Arabic as the “Khaleej.”

The show will introduce modern audiences to the collectives that sprang up in the 20th and 21st centuries, including Kuwait’s Al-Mubarakiya School, which has been active since 1941, and Saudi artists Mohammed Racim (1911-1974), Mounirah Mosly, Safeya Binzagr, Abdulhalim Al-Radwi and Abdullah Al-Shaikh. The show also features work by Mohammed Al-Saleem and Abdulrahman Alsoliman from The Saudi House of Fine Arts in Riyadh.

By the 1950s, Bahrainʼs Manama Group had formed, with the following two decades seeing the emergence of Qatar’s The Three Friends collective and the UAE’s Group of Five, in addition to pioneering solo artists — all of which will be represented during the upcoming showcase. 

Ibrahim Ismail, ‘Building of Ships,’ 1966. (Supplied)

“An exhibition like this is quite rare, a kind of opening salvo and call to action, offering new vistas on art history and art practice in this region Executive Director of The NYUAD Art Gallery Maya Allison said in a released statement. “Rather than a definitive survey, this project sets us on a journey to explore the under-studied — and, for some people, unknown — emergence of modern art in the Arabian Peninsula over the last century. It is a profound honor that Dr. Stoby will present her original research with us, in this exhibition that was many years in the making. I thank her for partnering with us for this crucial, pathbreaking project.”

For her part, curator Stoby noted that “many of the works in this exhibition will be on view for the first time in decades… enhanced by the presence of rare and archival material, ‘Khaleej Modern’ creates a space and offers resources for learning and re-understanding our own histories. More broadly, we hope the exhibition will contribute to wider regional and global understandings of modern visual art.”


What We Are Reading Today: Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

What We Are Reading Today: Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Updated 01 July 2022

What We Are Reading Today: Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

What We Are Reading Today: Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

“Anna Karenina” by Leo Tolstoy is widely regarded as one of history’s greatest works of literature. 
The novel, first published as a complete work in 1878, is centered around a love affair between Anna and Vronsky, a Russian military officer, with the book’s characters highlighting the conflict between socially accepted norms and human desire.  
Despite being married to Alexie Karenin, Anna has a scandalous affair with Vronsky and moves to Moscow with him. There they live together as a married couple. 
When he finds out about the affair, Anna’s husband gives her an ultimatum: Leave Vronsky and keep the family’s reputation intact — or never see her son again. 
Tolstoy is still revered as one of history’s greatest authors. 
Born to an aristocratic Russian family in 1828, he was a master of realist fiction, and produced plays, essays and short stories. 
His most famous works include “War and Peace,” “Resurrection,” “The Death of Ivan Ilyich” and “The Kingdom of God is Within You.” 
Tolstoy received nominations for the Nobel Prize in Literature every year from 1902 to 1906, and for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1901, 1902, and 1909.