The biggest movies coming your way in 2023  | Arab News

2023-01-05 15:29:50 By : Mr. Lane Cao

‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3’ 

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

The pop-culture behemoth that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe shows no signs of slowing its momentum in 2023, with five releases planned throughout the year, including a new outing for Ant Man and the Wasp, as well as another ensemble effort with “Captain Marvel” sequel “The Marvels.” Top of our list, though, is the return of the lovable rogues known as the Guardians of the Galaxy, led by Star Lord/Peter Quill (Chris Pratt). Last time out, the Guardians managed to purchase Knowhere, with the intention of turning into their headquarters and a safe haven for alien refugees. Details are sketchy, but the plot will reportedly involved the team having to embark on a risky mission to save one of their members. And probably the universe too. James Gunn directs (as he has the two previous “Guardians” movies). There are rumors that Rocket — the racoon bounty hunter — will have a love interest introduced: Lylla the otter. 

Starring: Ezra Miller, Ron Livingston, Michael Keaton, Kiersey Clemons 

Marvel’s superhero rivals DC, meanwhile, are pinning their hopes on a couple of major new releases including Jason Momoa reprising his titular role in “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom,” and this movie about the swiftest superhero alive. Given the controversies currently swirling around lead actor Ezra Miller, DC will be hoping the old cliché about no publicity being bad publicity holds true and that the film isn’t DOA at the box office. Argentinian director Andy Muschietti, who helmed the “It” film series, has been tasked with running the show. Inspired by the comic book storyline “Flashpoint,” the movie sees Barry Allen/The Flash travel through time in an attempt to prevent his mother’s murder. Time travel, as you’d think the allegedly “highly intelligent” Allen would know, turns out to be a tricky affair, with a lot of unforeseen consequences. One of the good ones being that we get to see multiple versions of Batman, with both Ben Affleck and Michael Keaton reprising their versions of the Caped Crusader. 

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

Yes, a movie about the iconic Mattel doll — which has, over the years, become a symbol of society’s unrealistic ideals for women’s bodies — sounds like a terrible idea. But. This particular movie that sounds like a terrible idea is co-written by Noah Baumbach (“Marriage Story”) and Greta Gerwig (“Lady Bird”), who also directs. And it stars two of Hollywood’s brightest stars, Robbie and Gosling, as Barbie and Ken. Expect plenty of ironic humor, then. Suddenly, it starts to sound as though — despite the horribly cynical marketing scheme that undoubtedly got the film funded — this could be a lot of fun.  

‘The Super Mario Bros. Movie’ 

Directors: Aaron Horvath, Michael Jelenic 

Voice cast: Chris Pratt, Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Day, Jack Black 

It’s taken Nintendo a while to get over the disastrous 1993 film “Super Mario Bros.” Thirty years on, the Japanese video game giant has finally handed another license to Hollywood, this time for an animated adventure comedy with a stellar voice cast, based on its iconic games about two Italian brothers who are plumbers. Horvath and Jelenic’s pedigree as creators of the often-brilliant “Teen Titans Go!” bodes well for the movie. Apparently, not even the actors were privy to the full plot, so the story remains unknown, but it’s reasonable to expect it will involve Mario and Luigi having to rescue Princess Peach from some kind of labyrinth. May be worth seeing just to judge Chris Pratt’s accent for yourself. 

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Donnie Yen, Bill Skarsgard, Laurence Fishburne 

The first three instalments in the “John Wick” film series have all excelled at giving audiences adrenaline-rush fight scenes with minimal (by today’s standards) special effects, so we’re excited to see what new surprises Stahelski has in store in number four. Reeves returns as the less-than-talkative legendary assassin desperately trying to retire and be left in peace. But the shadowy organization that oversees the contract killers our anti-hero was once the best of won’t let him. Now, Wick believes he has found a way to defeat the High Table once and for all. But the path to his escape has many obstacles, including a well-connected new enemy, and old friends now turned foes. 

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

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

Anticipation is sky-high for this sequel to 2018’s animated hit “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.” Its predecessor was a superb, thrilling, funny journey into alternate universes that introduced us to a host 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) team up to take on a new foe who threatens the lives of all Spider-People. They are helped by the Spider-Force team, who include a British punk version of Spider-Man, and a pregnant version of Spider-Woman. 

‘Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny’ 

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

Okay, so Steven Spielberg isn’t directing it, and George Lucas didn’t write it, but it’s still Indiana Jones (and the pair are both executive producers). The film is set in 1969 and finds an ageing Dr. Jones searching for the titular object alongside his goddaughter Helena (Waller-Bridge). Jones is also wary of the former Nazis working with the US government to take on the Soviet Union in the space race, particularly the sinister Jurgen Voller (Mikkelsen). 

‘Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One’ 

Starring: Tom Cruise, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson 

The COVID-19 pandemic played havoc with its schedule, but the seventh instalment of the “Mission: Impossible” franchise is finally with us. Cruise is now 60, but continues to pull off many of his own stunts including the spectacular motorcycle-dismount-into-parachute-jump seen in the trailer. Esai Morales is the as-yet-unnamed main villain of the piece. Details have been kept under wraps, but it’s a fair bet Cruise’s special agent Ethan Hunt and his IMF team will still have members of The Syndicate/The Apostles to deal with, despite defeating their leader, and we know that Vanessa Kirby is returning as arms dealer Alanna Mitsopolis.  

Starring: Timothee Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Josh Brolin, Zendaya 

Frank Herbert’s “Dune” novels were long considered ‘un-filmable,’ but Villeneuve disproved that theory with 2021’s “Part One,” marrying Herbert’s vision with his own to create a superb sci-fi epic. Part two will see Chalamet’s Paul Atreides seek revenge against those who wiped out his family, with some help from the Chani and his new allies, the Fremen. Along the way, he must somehow prevent the nightmarish future that he has foreseen. 

‘The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes’ 

Starring: Tom Blyth, Rachel Zegler, Hunter Schafer, Jason Schwartzman 

Just over a decade ago, the first “Hunger Games” film propelled Jennifer Lawrence into mainstream stardom and cemented Suzanne Collins’ novels as bona-fide cultural phenomena. “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” takes us back into that dystopian universe, but serves as a prequel to the four films released so far. Blyth stars as a young Coriolanus Snow (the future president of Panem and villain of the previous movies), who is serving as a mentor for the upcoming Hunger Games and forms a bond with the tribute from District 12: Lucy Gray Baird. Expect revelations about what happened to turn Snow into the monster he would become. 

DUBAI: For “Star Wars” fans with an “Andor”-shaped hole in their hearts, the arrival of the sophomore season of animated series “The Bad Batch,” which began Jan. 4 on Disney+, will be some consolation.  

“The Bad Batch” follows the adventures of an elite experimental Imperial military unit-gone-rogue called Clone Force 99 and their latest addition, young Omega. The first series, which dropped in May 2021, proved a hit among fans of the seminal sci-fi franchise. 

Set in a post-Order 66 world (the order that designated all Jedi traitors), season one saw Clone Force 99 and Omega go on the run when it became apparent that the Galactic Empire was set on destroying the Jedi and their sympathizers. 

While season one was about survival, season two — which debuted with a double-episode feature on Disney+ on Jan. 4 — will see the group come into its own and question their place and purpose in a conflict-ridden world, “The Bad Batch” head writer and executive producer Jennifer Corbett told Arab News. 

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“By the end of season one, after the fall of Kamino, the Empire thinks the Bad Batch fell along with it and that they are no longer a problem. So the group has been laying low, staying under the radar and experiencing relative peace,” she said. “But then the missions that they start to go on, and the things that they see as the Empire is growing, sort of pull them back in. And they lead to more discussions within the group like, ‘How much longer can we sit back?’ and ‘Should we be doing more?’” 

Longtime “Star Wars” voice actor Dee Bradley Baker returns to bring the Bad Batch members — Hunter, Echo, Tech, Wrecker, and Crosshair — to life. But season one proved that the heart of the show is the youngest and newest member Omega, voiced by New Zealand native Michelle Ang. 

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Supervising director Brad Rau said watching the two voice actors come together was a treat. “They are so great together. And the interesting thing is, they’re sort of like Omega and the Bad Batch — the rookie and the veterans. But Michelle is so talented that it’s a disservice to call her a rookie. To see them play off of each other is incredible. And the way that Dee portrays all the different characters live, right in front of us, as though they’re different characters, is wild,” said Rau. 

For Ang, who got to keep her distinctive New Zealand accent for Omega’s character, 2021 was also about acquainting herself with the “Star Wars” fan base. 

“Earlier this year, I got to attend the celebration in Los Angeles, which was mind blowing. And the thing that really struck me was how universal and how intergenerational our fan base — especially for ‘Bad Batch’ — is,” said Ang. “The best thing was parents saying, ‘I’ve really wanted to find a thing that I could watch with my child and show them what I grew up with.’ And so a lot of parents enjoy watching ‘Bad Batch’ with their children.” 

In season two, fans will find that Omega has become a “real asset” to the Bad Batch team, according to Ang. 

“I think she’s feeling very, very comfortable. She’s come to terms with the fact that she is wanted and has things to offer. It’s really exciting with the time jump, because you’ll see an advancement of her knowledge of how to act on missions and in moments of danger. And you can see how much her thinking has evolved to become like her brothers,” she said. 

At the end of season one, it was revealed that Omega is technically older than her clone brothers. And while this is sure to throw an interesting wrench into group dynamics going forward, Ang said Omega still has much to learn about the larger world. 

“She’s older in terms of actual years, but her naivety is still something we continue to explore in season two. In season one, we established that she has only ever lived her life on Kamino. So her wonder is very much about the vastness of the universe,” explained Ang. 

“In season two, Omega is learning some darker themes, like politics and power and the way different communities are run with either good or troubling leaders. But her brothers — who are technically younger — have so much more world experience and life experience that we see Omega having to do a bit of a catch-up,” she added. 

Written by Nobel Prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman, “Thinking, Fast and Slow” discusses the polarity of two systems of thought processing.

The book, published in 2011, describes the fast system as emotion-driven with automatic operations, while system two is slower, more logical, and with controlled operations.

The author has divided his book into five parts, each with an overarching theme of regulating thought processes.

Section one introduces awareness of the two systems, and how to understand and utilize them for ultimate psychological operations. Kahneman notes that an individual’s associative memory dictates how they view the world around them.

In parts two and three, he begins to dissect the pros and cons of both systems, starting by exploring a major difficulty faced by most people: Why do they find it easy to think socially and metaphorically but not statistically with facts and numbers?

The fourth section of the book branches out to the original prospect theory — a psychological theory of choice that can be applied to economics — behind Kahneman’s research with his Israeli cognitive psychologist colleague Amos Tversky, while part five looks at the research and scientific findings of the theory and its possible flaws.

Kahneman is a professor of psychology and public affairs emeritus at the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, in the US, and the Eugene Higgins professor of psychology emeritus at Princeton University.

He gained a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.

He is a member of numerous societies including the Philosophical Society, the American Psychological Society, the Society of Experimental Psychologists, and a fellow at the American Psychological Association.

In 1982, Kahneman received the American Psychological Association’s Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award, the Warren Medal of the Society of Experimental Psychologists in 1995, the 2002 Nobel Prize in economic sciences, and in 2007, the Lifetime Contribution Award of the American Psychological Association.

LONDON: Everybody wants to be Lionel, or at least to be named after the Argentine hero that led his team to win the FIFA World Cup for the third time in history.

In the wake of the Qatar victory by Lionel Messi and his team over France in December, the civil registry office for the province of Santa Fe in Argentina reported a 700 percent increase in babies named Lionel or Lionela.

The figures reveal a true fixation for the Santa Fe champion, who was born in Rosario on June 24, 1987.

According to the office’s data, there were about six monthly registrations in the province for the names Lionel or Lionela until September.

But ahead of the World Cup that began in November, the figure began to surge.

In October and November, there were 32 registrations in honor of the captain of the Argentine national team.

As of Dec. 31, there were 49 Lionel or Lionela registrations throughout the province — a 700 percent increase compared to September.

Of that total, 22 are from Rosario, 20 from Santa Fe and seven from the rest of the province.

In 2014, the city of Rosario allegedly banned parents from naming children “Messi,” with officials claiming that using the star’s surname as a given name would cause headaches for census workers.

In the meantime, out-of-the-ordinary celebrations by Argentina fans following the country’s World Cup victory continue to make headlines.

Earlier this week, a fan who had “Messi” tattooed on his forehead reportedly regretted his decision after receiving negative comments about the new look on social media.

In December, El Financiero newspaper reported that the Argentina Central Bank was considering putting Lionel Messi’s face on 1000 peso banknotes.

DUBAI: Argentine model Georgina Rodriguez sported an elegant abaya as she accompanied her long-time partner and Portuguese international footballer Cristiano Ronaldo on their arrival in Riyadh.

On Tuesday, Ronaldo was officially presented by Al-Nassr as the Saudi club’s new signing.

A post shared by Georgina Rodríguez (@georginagio)

Rodriguez opted for a simple maroon velvet abaya from the Qatari brand Dollab Line.

The 28-year-old also wore a black MaxMara turtleneck and blue jeans by Elisabetta Franchi as she walked with Ronaldo and his four children to the Mrsool Park stadium.

This is not the first time Rodriguez has been spotted wearing a Qatari label. In Doha last month for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, she opted for a sage green abaya by Qatari brand 1309 Studios while cheering for Portugal at Lusail Stadium.

DUBAI: Miss Universe Bahrain Evlin Abdullah Khalifa arrived in New Orleans on Wednesday to launch her bid for the Miss Universe title.  

The 24-year-old Bahraini Russian model and pianist wore a modern black and white abaya by Dubai designer Harvey Cenit. 

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“My presence here in Miss Universe is about representation. Now as I arrive in New Orleans and meet my co-candidates, I would like to pay respect and homage to our traditional wear called abaya,” she wrote on Instagram. 

“Just a fun fact, abaya is our everyday wear — it offers comfort with its light and flowy fabric. Moreover, in the pre-Islamic era, people believed that wearing clothes that covered the whole body was much more about a status symbol rather than a religion,” she wrote.

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“It was a symbol of strength for women who stayed at home and looked after their families. Furthermore, along with this, some women wore veils to make them look more regal.”

Abdullah Khalifa was named this year’s Miss Universe Bahrain in September. 

In a previous interview with Arab News, she said that winning the title “completely changed” her life. 

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“In this short time, I learned and saw so many new things. I traveled to the Philippines. I have been training there with one of the best beauty pageant trainers,” she said.

Abdullah-Khalifa said that her main goal in taking part in the pageant is to “let the world know more about (Arabs), more about our culture.”

She added: “I think the world should know that we, modern Arab women, can combine modern values with centuries-old traditions.”