8 summer silver-screen smashes to look out for 

8 summer silver-screen smashes to look out for 
Jennifer Lopez stars in ‘The Mother.’ (Supplied)  
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Updated 25 April 2023

8 summer silver-screen smashes to look out for 

8 summer silver-screen smashes to look out for 
  • With ‘John Wick: Part 4’ and the Mario movie already out, blockbuster season has started. We run down the major movie releases heading your way over the next few months 

Get ready for an action-packed summer at the movies as big franchises return to the big screen and a new “Barbie” movie to boot. Here are eight films to catch at the theatres this summer:

‘The Matchmaker’  

Director: Abdulmohsen Aldhabaan 

Starring: Husam Alharthy, Reem Al-Habib, Nour Alkhadra 

The team at Saudi production house Telfaz11 are on a roll right now, turning out hit films and shows at an enviable rate. The latest is this psychological thriller, which releases April 27 on Netflix (part of the company’s eight-film deal with the streaming giant), and tells the story of an IT worker named Tarek (Alharthy) who becomes obsessed with the stunning new intern (played by Alkhadra) at his company. He heads to a desert resort (the film is mostly shot in AlUla) that promises its resident matchmaker will find men their perfect bride. “But when Tarek wanders outside the bounds of the resort,” the synopsis says, “he uncovers an ancient vengeance.”  

‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3’ 

Director: James Gunn 

Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan 

The Marvel movie we’re most looking forward to this year will hit cinemas on May 4. The titular lovable rogues, led by Star Lord/Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) are getting accustomed to life on Knowhere (the severed head of an ancient celestial being that they purchased to use as their headquarters), but Quill is grieving the loss of his lover, Gamora — a situation complicated by the fact that a younger version of Gamora now exists in their timeline, but does not share her older version’s feelings about Quill. Meanwhile, Rocket the raccoon’s shady past is catching up with him, and the team must unite to save his life.  

‘The Mother’  

Director: Niki Caro 

Starring: Jennifer Lopez, Joseph Fiennes, Omari Hardwick, Gael Garcia Bernal 

New Zealand director Caro has the chops for both action (the 2020 live-action version of Disney’s “Mulan”) and arthouse (the award-winning 2002 movie “Whale Rider”), so we’re excited to see her take on Misha Green’s story about a highly skilled former assassin (Lopez) who is forced to come out of hiding in the wilds of Alaska and face her past in order to protect her daughter, whom she gave up years ago but has watched from afar ever since. Out May 12 on Netflix. 

‘The Little Mermaid’ 

Director: Rob Marshall 

Starring: Halle Bailey, Jonah Hauer-King, Daveed Diggs, Awkwafina 

This intriguing live-action remake of Disney’s beloved 1989 animated classic is in good hands with Rob Marshall, who has some chops when it comes to film musicals, having helmed 2002’s “Chicago” and 2018’s “Mary Poppins Returns.” Its star, Bailey, also has form — along with her sister, her duo Chloe x Halle have earned five Grammy nominations in the last five years. The original animation has plenty of fans, both young and old, many of whom will be eager to see the new take. The story is straightforward. Princess Ariel (mermaid), falls in love with Prince Eric (human) after saving him from a shipwreck but is forbidden to leave her father’s undersea kingdom. So she strikes a deal with sea witch Ursula that grants her human legs to explore the human world. But the price for this bargain puts her father’s crown, and her own life, at risk. In cinemas May 25. 

‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’  

Directors: Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers, Justin K. Thompson 

Voice cast: Shameik Moore, Hailee Steinfeld, Jake Johnson, Issa Rae 

This film’s predecessor, 2018’s “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” was one of the best films of that year — a tense and hilarious ride through alternate universes involving a number of different incarnations of Spider-Man, including, of course, Brooklyn teen Miles Morales. In this follow-up, Morales and his love interest Gwen Stacy (the Spider-Woman of her universe) take on The Spot — a new foe who can open interdimensional portals and who threatens the lives of all Spider-People. They team up the Spider-Society, led by Miguel O’Hara, to take The Spot on, but Miles and Miguel clash over the best way to do so. In cinemas June 1. 


Director: Peter Sohn 

Voice cast: Leah Lewis, Mamoudou Athie, Ronnie del Carmen, Shila Ommi 

Pixar’s latest is set in Element City, where the elements of nature (fire, water, land and air) live in their respective neighborhoods and are traditionally forbidden to mix. Ember Lumen, a feisty, quick-tempered fire element meets fun-loving water element Wade Ripple when he is called to deal with a plumbing accident at the family store owned by her bigoted father Bernie. Even though they cannot touch, Ember and Wade begin to fall in love, with Wade’s laidback nature helping to calm Ember down. In cinemas June 15. 

‘Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny’  

Director: James Mangold 

Starring: Harrison Ford, Phoebe Waller Bridge, Mads Mikkelsen, Antonio Banderas 

With Steven Spielberg and George Lucas on board as executive producers, this fifth and final installment in the hugely successful franchise, set in 1969, finds an ageing Dr. Jones searching for the titular mystical and powerful object alongside his goddaughter Helena (Waller-Bridge). Jones is disappointed to discover that former Nazis are now working with the US government to take on the Soviet Union in the space race. He’s particularly concerned about the sinister Jurgen Voller (Mikkelsen). In cinemas June 29.


Director: Greta Gerwig 

Starring: Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, Will Ferrell, Simu Liu 

The fact that two great filmmakers — Gerwig (“Lady Bird”) and Noah Baumbach (“Marriage Story” and “Francis Ha”) — co-wrote this film, and that Gerwig herself directed it, hopefully means that what could have been (and was surely conceived as) a cynical marketing scheme for Mattel’s iconic doll will hopefully have plenty of heart. Other reasons to be hopeful include the two leads —two of Hollywood’s brightest young stars, Robbie and Gosling, as Barbie and Ken. In cinemas July 20. 

Cinema for Gaza auction raises over $300,000 with the aid of Annie Lennox, Jonathan Glazer, Ramy Youssef and more

Cinema for Gaza auction raises over $300,000 with the aid of Annie Lennox, Jonathan Glazer, Ramy Youssef and more
Updated 13 April 2024

Cinema for Gaza auction raises over $300,000 with the aid of Annie Lennox, Jonathan Glazer, Ramy Youssef and more

Cinema for Gaza auction raises over $300,000 with the aid of Annie Lennox, Jonathan Glazer, Ramy Youssef and more

DUBAI: Cinema for Gaza, which was launched by a group of female filmmakers and film journalists, has raised $316,778 to support the UK charity Medical Aid for Palestinians through a celebrity auction, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The auction featured donations from Tilda Swinton, Annie Lennox, Joaquin Phoenix, Spike Lee and Guillermo del Toro among others. 

Lennox’s handwritten lyrics to her Eurythmics hit “Sweet Dreams” was the top seller, with a bidder paying $26,222 for the item.

Meanwhile, “The Zone of Interest” director Jonathan Glazer, who received criticism online for referencing the Gaza conflict in his 2024 Oscars acceptance speech, donated seven posters from the film, signed by himself, composer Mica Levi and producer James Wilson, as well as a selection of posters for his 2014 feature “Under the Skin,” which collectively raised $13,702. 

US-Egyptian comedian and creator Ramy Youssef donated tickets to his live show as well as to the afterparty and a meet-and-greet. Oscar-winner Phoenix donated a signed “Joker” poster. Del Toro contributed six signed books. Lee contributed a signed, framed poster of Malcolm X.

“We thought we might raise maybe £20,000 ($25,000),” said London-based film journalist and critic Hanna Flint to The Hollywood Reporter.

Flint set up Cinema for Gaza together with her film-industry friends Hannah Farr, Julia Jackman, Leila Latif, Sophie Monks Kaufman, and Helen Simmons a few months after the start of Israel’s ongoing military assault on Gaza.

“We’re a very diverse group of women, we’ve got women of color, we’ve got Jewish women, Muslim women, Christians, atheists, who all came together out of this need to do something tangible to show our support and activism for the humanitarian crisis that’s going on (in Gaza),” said Flint.

“We really believe that cinema can be a powerful tool, a political tool, to speak about the world, to reflect and engage with what’s going on, and, we thought, what better way (to get) people in our industry to come together to try and help people who are not doing that well?”

Palestinian American comedian Amer Zahr all set to speak ‘the truth’ at Dubai show

Palestinian American comedian Amer Zahr all set to speak ‘the truth’ at Dubai show
Updated 13 April 2024

Palestinian American comedian Amer Zahr all set to speak ‘the truth’ at Dubai show

Palestinian American comedian Amer Zahr all set to speak ‘the truth’ at Dubai show

DUBAI: Palestinian American comedian Amer Zahr, who is set to perform at the Dubai Comedy Festival on April 17, says he is an activist who “likes to use comedy as his tool.”

In an interview with Arab News ahead of his show at the Dubai Opera, Zahr said: “Activism is about telling the truth. Being Palestinian is about telling the truth. And comedy is about telling the truth. People sometimes say to me, ‘Hey, I never know when you’re joking.’ I tell them, ‘Look, I’m always being serious. I’m always telling the truth.’ But a comedian uses humor to tell the truth.

“Because if you can make someone laugh, they listen to you and they let down their guard.

“And we Palestinians have been trying to tell our story for 75 years. And we’ve been using art, music, poetry … but for me, I found that comedy is a very effective way. So, I’m a Palestinian first who is trying to tell our stories, and comedy is my tool,” he added.


A post shared by Amer Zahr (@amerzahr)

Zahr, who is also a law professor and political activist, said he got hooked to stand-up comedy while in law school.

“I had thought about comedy and then in law school, the opportunity presented itself where there was a show going on, and they kind of asked if anyone wants to do some comedy before the main comedian comes on. And so, I said ‘let me try it.’ I got up there. I told a couple stories about my dad. Everybody laughed, and I got kind of hooked to the idea of being on a stage and being able to make people laugh and connect with people in that way,” said Zahr.


A post shared by Amer Zahr (@amerzahr)

For Zahr, the allure of stand-up comes from the fact that it involves “speaking truth to power.”

He said: “Comedy is one of the purest art forms. When somebody sings, we’re okay with it if we learned later on that they didn’t write the song. We’re just happy they have a great voice. But when you hear a comedian, you assume that everything that that person is saying is genuine and coming from them. And if you learned later that it wasn’t, you might feel cheated.

“Comedy is a very personal art form between the audience and the comedian. And, so, that’s something that you that you grow into. And then comedy, in its purest form, is a form of protest, speaking truth to power. And, so, it kind of fits the Palestinian story perfectly,” he added.

Asked about what audiences can expect from his Dubai show, Zahr said: “It’s going to be me telling the Palestinian story from before Oct. 7, and after Oct. 7, with love, laughter and the truth. And maybe during the show, I’ll make people laugh until they cry. And sometimes I’ll make them cry until they laugh.”

Ryan Reynolds spotted wearing Gigi Hadid’s clothing brand

Ryan Reynolds spotted wearing Gigi Hadid’s clothing brand
Updated 13 April 2024

Ryan Reynolds spotted wearing Gigi Hadid’s clothing brand

Ryan Reynolds spotted wearing Gigi Hadid’s clothing brand

DUBAI: Hollywood star Ryan Reynolds is the latest celebrity to be spotted in a cardigan from Palestinian Dutch supermodel Gigi Hadid’s clothing label Guest in Residence.

Hadid took to Instagram to thank the “Deadpool” star for choosing the label, while also playfully including the star’s actress-wife Blake Lively in the message.

“Thank You @vancityreynolds mostly because we collectively, as a team, geek out every time you wear Guest in Residence,” wrote Hadid.

“You will never look like Blake in it,” the post added. “But you know this and I find you as a more useful friend of the brand because you love trying all the new pieces and she’s been wearing the same shirt from two winters ago through every season.”

“CC @blakelively … Your spring package is on the way, please try a cotton blend.”

Reynolds was wearing a peach Everywear Cardigan.

Earlier this year, Lively was spotted in New York City wearing a colorful Guest in Residence sweater.

Lively was with US singer and songwriter Taylor Swift when she was seen wearing an orange, yellow and black striped sweater, called Stripe Crew.

Hadid shared Lively’s picture on her Instagram and wrote: “I’m dead, so gorgeous.”

Lively paired the sweater with a brown suede circle skirt, a pair of orange platform heels and a yellow, brown and beige Louis Vuitton purse.

Lively and Swift were attending a private party at Lucali Pizza restaurant in Brooklyn.

Swift has been spotted in Guest in Residence several times. She sported an eye-catching, red cashmere crewneck at a Kansas City Chiefs game, while cheering on her partner Travis Kelce.

Yet another celebrity supporting Hadid’s label is Hollywood star Bradley Cooper, who sparked dating rumors with Hadid late last year.

In February this year, the “Maestro” actor stepped out in in the label’s Stripe Crew in the forest/cobalt/midnight colorway. He paired the look with comfortable gray sweatpants, hiking shoes and a heavy coat.

Late last year, Cooper also made a style statement when he was photographed wearing the cashmere Plaid Work Shirt while out on a stroll in New York City.

Saudi conceptual artist Filwa Nazer discusses highlights from her career so far 

Saudi conceptual artist Filwa Nazer discusses highlights from her career so far 
Updated 12 April 2024

Saudi conceptual artist Filwa Nazer discusses highlights from her career so far 

Saudi conceptual artist Filwa Nazer discusses highlights from her career so far 

DUBAI: For as long as she can remember, the conceptual Saudi artist Filwa Nazer — who was born in Swansea, Wales, in the 1970s but grew up in the Kingdom — has always loved art. She says that she spent her time as a youngster drawing, painting, writing notes, and reflecting on life in a Saudi Arabia which, back then, lacked art education. “As a young artist, you don’t realize that all the challenges you face eventually inform your creative process,” Nazer tells Arab News.   

In the 1990s, Nazer moved to Milan, where she studied fashion design and later trained with the acclaimed Italian fashion designer Gianfranco Ferré.  

“He was quite an intimidating character, so I was a little bit in awe of him, but I was fascinated by the fact that he was an architect originally. His white shirts were quite structural,” says Nazer.  

Saudi artist Filwa Nazer — who was born in Swansea, Wales, in the 1970s but grew up in the Kingdom — has always loved art. (Supplied)

At the Ferré company, she was particularly drawn to the archival department, where all kinds of vintage garments were stored. She also learned about embroidery. Those experiences feed into her recent work, which focuses heavily on fabrics, but with an emotional touch.  

There is something sentimental about Nazer’s artwork, which is inspired by emotions, spaces, life transitions and memories. “For me,” she says, “the work always comes from a personal place.” 

Here, Nazer talks us through six significant works, from a large-scale installation in the desert to an intimate fabric piece addressing women’s bodies.  


‘The Skin I Live In’  

This installation from 2019 was one of the first ever textile works that I made, setting me on this journey of working with textiles. It’s two meters high and looks like a big skirt from the front. Inside, there are layers of embroidered muslin cotton, which is cut according to the floor plans of my flat in London. Covering the muslin is a layer of green polyethylene — a type of plastic mesh that you see in construction sites. I use these materials in a conceptual and symbolic way. I wanted to see if I could use sewing as a language and create landscapes of emotions through stitching. This work was about a particular time when I needed healing and protection, and that space provided a container for me to explore all of that.   


‘Preserving Shadows’  

This was part of Desert X AlUla this year. I’d never done something on this scale before — and in such a challenging environment like AlUla desert, which made me feel blocked. But I like to get out of my comfort zone and see what can happen if I work in a different way. Through my research, I came across this paragraph about plants in the desert and the supernatural. Suddenly, there was a lightbulb in my head and I started thinking that my blockage and discomfort in this environment could become my concept. I wanted to create a journey that is about a moment of transition; you walk through shadows and, as you walk, you are ascending and the shadows recede until you reach the end. It’s a journey of metaphorically overcoming darkness. 


‘The Hands Want To See, The Eyes Want To Caress’ 

This body of work was shown in an exhibition called “Saudi Modern” in 2021. A few artists were commissioned by Bricklab to create artworks that responded to a particular building from the modernist era of architecture in Jeddah. I created these five pieces as my response to a private residence, the Bajnaid House, in Al-Kandarah area. It was the epitome of modernist, trendy Jeddah in the Fifties and Sixties. It’s completely lost that status now. The works kind of explore what happens to a space or a house as it degrades — as it’s abandoned. Some of these pieces are about how I connected to the aesthetics of the house and the other pieces, the ones with the wood and fabric, are about how this house made me feel and how my body reacted to it. It asks: “Is a discarded house not attractive anymore? Or do you find beauty in the way it is now?” 

‘Five Women’   

This was a very special series. It was commissioned for the first edition of the Diriyah Biennale in Riyadh in 2021. It literally tells five stories of five Saudi women from my generation — women that I have spoken to privately and anonymously. Each woman told me a story and gave me a dress that related to one particular story about an event that changed this woman’s relationship with her body. The stories were about pain, coming of age, and the flamboyancy of showing off beauty in society. This work was also shown in the Lyon Biennale in 2022.  

‘Missing A Rib’ (2019) 

This 2019 piece is about my house in Jeddah. It’s a transparent sculptural piece, within it hangs a structure that resembles a broken rib cage. Prior to the conception of this work, I injured my ribs and was in bed for such a long time. Besides alluding to the symbolism of Adam and Eve, with Eve being created from Adam’s rib, it also connects to the theme of exploring spaces under the influence of patriarchy. The white strips (a type of thread-pulling technique decorating the hemlines of undergarments of men in Saudi) are a metaphor for masculine energy controlling a woman’s space. 



This is one of my latest works that I made for Selma Feriani Gallery in 2023. It’s part of a seven-piece series that explores patterns of personal garments in relation to personal living spaces. You can see the outline of a floor plan. The red patches are made of layered stitching. I revisited that kind of abstract stitching that I use symbolically as landscapes of emotion. Nevertheless, when you look at it; the duality of it gives it the feel of a body or a chest. The green that I always use is symbolic of Saudi Arabia, so it links to society and environment. It’s quite philosophical in exploring space, but also in relating to emotions, memories and socio-political influences. 

The Roundup: Pop-culture highlights from across the Arab world

The Roundup: Pop-culture highlights from across the Arab world
Updated 12 April 2024

The Roundup: Pop-culture highlights from across the Arab world

The Roundup: Pop-culture highlights from across the Arab world

DUBAI: From art and fashion to Egyptian electro, here are pop-culture highlights from across the Arab world.


Farah Al-Qasimi 

‘Toy World’ 

The acclaimed Emirati artist’s latest exhibition, which runs until April 19 at The Third Line in Dubai, includes her first black-and-white image series. “Black-and-white images automatically historicize,” Al-Qasimi told Sarah Chefka in an interview for promotional material. The series includes this image, “Camel Bones,” of which Chefka writes: “I know that the camel bones lying in the barren grass are innocuous victims of the cycle of life, but all I can think of are anonymous human remains, lying forgotten in battlefields that will never bear another rose.” 


Weam Ismail 

‘Ala Belady’ (Remix) 

The latest release from the Egyptian producer is a remix of his popular track “Ala Belady.” According to his label, Universal, Weam “invites listeners on a transformative journey where artistry and spirituality intertwine.” His blend of electronic music, Afro-house beats and Arabic sounds has connected with fellow artists in the region and in Europe, and his upcoming album should be one to look out for. 


Majdulin Nasrallah 

‘Hadatha Ghadan’ 

Zawya Gallery announced a series of new prints from the Palestinian artist Majdulin Nasrallah last month, in which, according to the gallery, she “takes us on a journey through the urban landscape of Palestine, offering a fresh perspective on power dynamics” and sparks conversations about “the role of built environments in perpetuating or challenging systems of control.” The series, including this image, titled “The Hole Hanging,” is typical of Qatar-based Majdulin’s work, which focuses heavily on life and the built environment under occupation. 



The Dubai-based luxury accessories label recently launched its latest handbag collection, ranging from elegant clutch purses to practical tote bags. “Whether you're seeking a sophisticated companion for the office or a chic accessory for a night out, our drop caters to the diverse facets of your lifestyle,” the label stated in a press release. “Each piece in this new line up exemplifies our unwavering commitment to quality, functionality, and contemporary aesthetics.” 

Mohammed Suliman Al-Faleh 

‘Kara tribe’ 

The Saudi photographer was one of the winners of March’s Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum International Photography Awards’ Instagram competition, which was held under the theme “Culture.” The striking image is one of a series of photographs that Al-Faleh has taken of members of the Kara tribe in Ethiopia. This one was shot on the banks of the Omo River. 


Salama Hassan 


This piece by the self-taught Saudi conceptual calligrapher was featured in “Senses and Spirituality,” an exhibition curated by Saudi designer Amar Alamdar at Riyadh’s Centria Mall. In “Kanji,” Hassan used Chinese typography characteristics to reproduce Qur’anic verses. “I love Eastern cultures like Japanese and Chinese and their calligraphy, as well as Arabic,” she told Arab News previously. “I wanted to prove that the Arabic letter is valid in any time and space.”