Review: ‘The Terminal List’: Chris Pratt’s war show lacks a hero

Review: ‘The Terminal List’: Chris Pratt’s war show lacks a hero
Chris Pratt stars as Navy SEAL James Reece in 'The Terminal List.' (Supplied)
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Updated 07 July 2022

Review: ‘The Terminal List’: Chris Pratt’s war show lacks a hero

Review: ‘The Terminal List’: Chris Pratt’s war show lacks a hero
  • This bland, dragged-out military series leaves even Chris Pratt looking apathetic

LONDON: One of the best things about the streaming landscape is the possibilities it offers to take stories that would feel rushed in a couple of hours and fully flesh them out in a way a movie never could — exploring backstories and character arcs with more detail, multiple perspectives, big twists and surprising reveals.

Sadly, it can also mean a story that would have been hard pushed to fill two hours can be stretched so thin as to lose all sense of momentum, purpose and coherence. Amazon’s new military thriller — “The Terminal List,” based on Jack Carr’s series of novels — would have made for a so-so movie (maybe), but instead we’re treated to a beleaguered Chris Pratt struggling to imbue Navy SEAL James Reece with enough depth to fill eight one-hour episodes. He never comes close.

Reece is the sole survivor of a botched covert mission, which leaves the rest of his squad dead. Shellshocked and reeling with guilt, he returns home to the USA, only to find himself the primary suspect in a series of shadowy events which aim to (literally) put him in the ground. Lit up with a burning desire for revenge, he puts his training to work, creating the titular list of those he holds accountable, and systematically crossing them off.

It might have worked better with a weekly release schedule — something akin to the ‘villain of the week’ format of old TV serials — but instead we get the whole, torturous show in one sitting. Where the character of Reese could have been a subtle examination of a traumatized special ops soldier, instead he descends into little more than a deranged psychopath.




Chris Pratt is unable to find any nuance in a character seemingly devoid of humanity. (Supplied)

While his motives may be ostensibly honorable, his means and methods are brutal and gratuitous. It’s hard to root for someone with no apparent redeeming qualities, no matter how much they’ve suffered. Or to get excited by clunky, exposition-heavy dialog that sounds like it was written in a “Call of Duty” chatroom.

Pratt looks as confused as the rest of us, unable to find any nuance in a character seemingly devoid of humanity. In any other show, Reece would be the bad guy — and with good reason.


Actress Vanessa Hudgens, model Alessandra Ambrosio turn to Arab labels for summer style 

Actress Vanessa Hudgens, model Alessandra Ambrosio turn to Arab labels for summer style 
Updated 07 August 2022

Actress Vanessa Hudgens, model Alessandra Ambrosio turn to Arab labels for summer style 

Actress Vanessa Hudgens, model Alessandra Ambrosio turn to Arab labels for summer style 

DUBAI: From US Egyptian jewelry maker Jacquie Aiche to Lebanese eyewear maven Karen Wazen, celebrities from around the world are turning to Arab designers to accessorize their summer looks. 

US actress Vanessa Hudgens recently shared a picture of herself wearing a ring designed by  Aiche. The “High School Musical” star championed the brand’s double pyramid triangle ring in smoky topaz. 

Hudgens’ summery look featured a vintage Versace tie dye mini dress and a midsize Queen Nefertiti necklace in yellow gold designed by jewelry label FoundRae. 

Another one of Aiche’s loyal clients is Canadian supermodel and former “America’s Next Top Model” contestant Winnie Harlow. 

The star was spotted flaunting one of the brand’s turquoise beaded necklaces. 

Earlier this week, Brazilian supermodel Alessandra Ambrosio stepped out wearing Aiche’s pave diamond Small Mama necklace that retails at $5,750. 

On her Malibu stroll, the catwalk star wore a linen jumpsuit which she paired with a cotton bandeau top. Later that evening, she posed for pictures in an oversized suit by The Mannei, a brand founded by Polish-Jordanian stylist and model Sara Boruc Mannei. 

In a previous interview with Arab News, Aiche said that to her, jewelry is “everything” — it is much more than just adornment. “It speaks to the soul. It is a form of self-expression, a way of deep healing and a talisman of personal meaning,” she explained. 

Aiche, who launched her eponymous label from her garage in 2008, amassed an impressive celebrity client list that includes Hailey Bieber, Usher, Rihanna, Jada Pinkett Smith and Blake Lively. 

“I have such a strong, beautiful tribe, who have all sort of organically found and gravitated towards my designs. I love that about life, the unknown and the unexpected,” she said. 

Meanwhile, Lebanese eyewear designer Karen Wazen also had her moment in the spotlight this week with a number of international celebrities stepping out in her shades. 

Real estate broker and breakout star of Netflix’s popular “Selling Sunset” reality show Christine Quinn wore Wazen’s Pam reflective glasses in gold.

Meanwhile, US content creator Chriselle Lim, who has more than 1.4 million followers on Instagram, wore the Jen shades in brown. 


Review: ‘Thirteen Lives’ pays tribute to real-world heroics of Thai rescue mission

Review: ‘Thirteen Lives’ pays tribute to real-world heroics of Thai rescue mission
Updated 07 August 2022

Review: ‘Thirteen Lives’ pays tribute to real-world heroics of Thai rescue mission

Review: ‘Thirteen Lives’ pays tribute to real-world heroics of Thai rescue mission

LONDON: When details began to emerge of the daring rescue of a Thai football team from flooded caves in Tham Luang Nang Non, it seemed only a matter of time before Hollywood swooped in to buff the real-life drama with the polish of a big-budget movie adaptation. Happily, “Thirteen Lives” is more than a shameless cash in. Director Ron Howard treads carefully, telling the story of a truly monumental international rescue effort which eventually expanded to include more than 10,000 people. Rather than attempting to only superficially capture that sense of scale, however, Howard focuses in on a few crucial players — the British dive team who first located the boys, the small group who planned and orchestrated the rescue of the 12 young players and their coach, the local governor tasked with bringing everybody home, the Thai engineer working with locals to divert the floodwaters, and the Thai Navy SEALs who spearheaded the initial response.

 

 

For the most part, this focused approach works well. Viggo Mortensen and Colin Farrell (questionable English accents aside) are excellent as divers Richard Stanton and John Volanthen, as are co-stars Joel Edgerton (as Australian Richard Harris) and Sahajak Boonthanakit as Governor Narongsak. Though the famous faces inevitably get the lion’s share of the screentime, Howard does his best to tell more than just the tale of the Western saviors – taking a few beats to flesh out characters such as the parents of the boys, local farmers and the frustrated SEALs. 

In order to do so, Howard also had to be a little ruthless with his 150 minutes — so there is no mention of Elon Musk’s contentious contributions to the rescue effort, and no time to find out much about any of the innumerous supporting volunteers. Instead, “Thirteen Lives” is a tense, taut drama, claustrophobically shot and scored. It’s perhaps impossible to accurately recreate the sheer terror that must have gripped the rescuers and rescued alike, but Howard goes some way towards acknowledging their magnificence.


Edinburgh Festival Fringe presents Yemeni play 

Edinburgh Festival Fringe presents Yemeni play 
Updated 07 August 2022

Edinburgh Festival Fringe presents Yemeni play 

Edinburgh Festival Fringe presents Yemeni play 

DUBAI: Scotland’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe this week presented a Yemeni play titled “Saber Came to Tea” to give visitors a taste of the Middle East. 

The short play, based on a true story, follows a young couple who stand against the constraining social norms of their families and risk their lives to be together. 

The play, which features musical and multimedia elements, is by award-winning Yemeni artist Shatha Altowai and her composer husband Saber Bamatraf. 

The couple worked with Palestinian poet Ghazi Hussein and writer and director Robert Rae on the narrative.

Edinburgh Festival Fringe kicked off on Aug. 5 and will run until Aug. 29. 

This year’s event returned in full capacity after it was canceled in 2020 and was reduced in size in 2021. 


Muslim ‘Home Alone’ film to hit UK screens in aid of charity

Muslim ‘Home Alone’ film to hit UK screens in aid of charity
Updated 06 August 2022

Muslim ‘Home Alone’ film to hit UK screens in aid of charity

Muslim ‘Home Alone’ film to hit UK screens in aid of charity
  • The critically acclaimed “Super Hijabi,” which stars a Muslim girl wearing a hijab, will be screened in five British cities

LONDON: A film dubbed the “Muslim version of ‘Home Alone’” is set to appear in UK cinemas in aid of international charity Penny Appeal’s campaign on behalf of orphans.

The critically acclaimed “Super Hijabi,” which stars a Muslim girl wearing a hijab, will be screened in five British cities — London, Bradford, Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow — from Aug. 19-29.

“Super Hijabi” is based around a 10-year-old girl tech genius whose parents who are on the brink of divorce. After thieves steal the family safe, she uses her skills to track down the bad guys and reclaim the family’s belongings before financial stress forces her parents to call it quits, Penny Appeal said in a statement.

The charity described the film as a “Muslim version of ‘Home Alone’,” and said the production “is revolutionary to the world of Muslim-inspired movies.”

Poet and performer Boonaa Mohammed and stand-up comedian and actor Omar Regan head the film’s cast.

Penny Appeal founder Adeem Younis said: “We are very proud to present a film made by Muslims and distributed by Muslims.”

Younis said that the screenings will raise money for the charity’s OrphanKind projects, which provide vulnerable orphans around the world with basic necessities, including school uniforms, clothing and books.


Dubai to host a new film festival in October

Dubai to host a new film festival in October
Updated 06 August 2022

Dubai to host a new film festival in October

Dubai to host a new film festival in October

DUBAI: The Dubai-based Great Minds Events Management company has announced the launch of Meta Film Festival, which will be held Oct. 27-29 at Vox Cinema in Dubai’s Nakheel Mall.

The festival is billed as the first private-sector- and industry-stakeholder-led film festival in the Middle East and Africa and promises red-carpet premieres and an awards ceremony. It comes five years after the last edition of the not-for-profit, state-run Dubai International Film Festival, which ran annually from 2004 to 2017.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by @meta.filmfest

“Due to its location, the festival guarantees one of the most diversified audiences present at any festival, with the legendary glitz and glamour of Dubai to accompany,” the official website states.

The festival will conclude with an awards ceremony that will honor films across seven categories: Best Arabic Feature Film, Best International Feature Film, Best Animation Film, Best Documentary Film, Best Short Film, Best Student/Youth Film and the Film Development Fund award.

Meta Film Festival is accepting submissions on its website, with a selection committee that includes the managing director of Vox Cinemas and the head of OSN Studios deciding which titles make the final cut.