Kristen Stewart plays Robert De Niro's daughter in What Just Happened?
Kristen Stewart plays Robert De Niro's daughter in What Just Happened?

What Just Happened?



The biggest problem with movies about the film industry is that they are greatly heralded by the very people they are meant to skewer: those working in the industry.

They are unavoidably penned and brought to the screen by insiders with lots of knowledge of the arcane inner workings of the industry, and the movies like to show that off. Critics and film journalists tend to love them because, with few exceptions, critics and journalists are peripheral to the moviemaking process. They tend to know a lot about things they are not a part of, which allows them to laugh smugly at the in jokes their friends don't get.

What Just Happened?, the director Barry Levinson's film version of the book What Just Happened?: Bitter Hollywood Tales From the Front Lines by Art Linson, is definitely an insider's take on the industry. Linson, who wrote the screenplay and got a producer credit as well, has been behind such hits as The Untouchables, Casualties of War, Fight Club and Into the Wild. What Just Happened?, however, has no smugness about it, no Hollywood "with it" superiority. It is not a satire so it does not assume its audience is in on the joke. And, unlike other takes on the film and TV industry, there is no presumption that a simple look inside the entertainment industry will leave filmgoers agog.

Instead, this is a well paced, accessibly cool and sometimes hilarious depiction of two weeks in the life of a Hollywood producer, Ben (Robert De Niro), a man past his prime who tries to maintain some self-respect while balancing two broken marriages, two troubled movies and three kids. His professional life is complicated by a $20 million (Dh73.5m) movie star - Bruce Willis, playing himself - who refuses to lose weight or shave his beard.

He also has to contend with a madman director, played by Michael Wincott, who fights against recutting a final scene, insisting: "The dog has to die!" When he doesn't get his way, the director erupts in a table-pounding fit that sends M&Ms flying around the studio head's office. The studio head, Lou Tarnow (Catherine Keener), watches stoically. "I've lost $25 million before," she says smooth as ice. "I'll lose $25 million again."

De Niro in the lead role is the Everyman of producers, struggling to maintain personal and professional lives so discombobulated that in the end it hardly matters what his profession is. He is the straight man among a host of colourful characters - some sympathetic, some pathetic - who at times border on parody. John Turturro's Dick Bell, a weak-spined agent who is afraid of his clients and just about everything else in life, is so dislikeable that you can't help but love him, and Willis's send-up of himself is refreshing and funny. Even Sean Penn, the epitome of a Hollywood type who takes himself way too seriously, is game for self-parody that is so subtle as to be almost unnoticeable.

There's been a lot of criticism of What Just Happened? because it avoids going for the jugular and outing every miscue of the film industry. Certainly the main players in this movie - Levinson, Linson and De Niro - know exactly where the bodies are buried; if they wanted to engage in slash-and-burn satire or tell-all memoirs, they could. Though that may have been the movie some people wanted to see, it was not the movie the filmmakers wanted to make. This choice is not necessarily a failure, no matter what the critics say. After all, who's making movies and who's writing about them?

Where the Crawdads Sing

Director: Olivia Newman
Stars: Daisy Edgar-Jones, Taylor John Smith, Harris Dickinson, David Strathairn
Rating: 2/5

The specs

Engine: 2-litre 4-cylinder and 3.6-litre 6-cylinder

Power: 220 and 280 horsepower

Torque: 350 and 360Nm

Transmission: eight-speed automatic

Price: from Dh136,521 + VAT and Dh166,464 + VAT 

On sale: now

Book Details

Three Centuries of Travel Writing by Muslim Women
Editors: Siobhan Lambert-Hurley, Daniel Majchrowicz, Sunil Sharma
Publisher: Indiana University Press; 532 pages

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Kinetic 7
Started: 2018
Founder: Rick Parish
Based: Abu Dhabi, UAE
Industry: Clean cooking
Funding: $10 million
Investors: Self-funded

Zayed Centre for Research

The Zayed Centre for Research is a partnership between Great Ormond Street Hospital, University College London and Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity and was made possible thanks to a generous £60 million gift in 2014 from Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women's Union, President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, and Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation.

Haircare resolutions 2021

From Beirut and Amman to London and now Dubai, hairstylist George Massoud has seen the same mistakes made by customers all over the world. In the chair or at-home hair care, here are the resolutions he wishes his customers would make for the year ahead.

1. 'I will seek consultation from professionals'

You may know what you want, but are you sure it’s going to suit you? Haircare professionals can tell you what will work best with your skin tone, hair texture and lifestyle.

2. 'I will tell my hairdresser when I’m not happy'

Massoud says it’s better to offer constructive criticism to work on in the future. Your hairdresser will learn, and you may discover how to communicate exactly what you want more effectively the next time.

3. ‘I will treat my hair better out of the chair’

Damage control is a big part of most hairstylists’ work right now, but it can be avoided. Steer clear of over-colouring at home, try and pursue one hair brand at a time and never, ever use a straightener on still drying hair, pleads Massoud.

The specs

The specs: 2019 Audi Q8
Price, base: Dh315,000
Engine: 3.0-litre turbocharged V6
Gearbox: Eight-speed automatic
Power: 340hp @ 3,500rpm
Torque: 500Nm @ 2,250rpm
Fuel economy, combined: 6.7L / 100km
 

Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat

If you go

Flight connections to Ulaanbaatar are available through a variety of hubs, including Seoul and Beijing, with airlines including Mongolian Airlines and Korean Air. While some nationalities, such as Americans, don’t need a tourist visa for Mongolia, others, including UAE citizens, can obtain a visa on arrival, while others including UK citizens, need to obtain a visa in advance. Contact the Mongolian Embassy in the UAE for more information.

Nomadic Road offers expedition-style trips to Mongolia in January and August, and other destinations during most other months. Its nine-day August 2020 Mongolia trip will cost from $5,250 per person based on two sharing, including airport transfers, two nights’ hotel accommodation in Ulaanbaatar, vehicle rental, fuel, third party vehicle liability insurance, the services of a guide and support team, accommodation, food and entrance fees; nomadicroad.com

A fully guided three-day, two-night itinerary at Three Camel Lodge costs from $2,420 per person based on two sharing, including airport transfers, accommodation, meals and excursions including the Yol Valley and Flaming Cliffs. A return internal flight from Ulaanbaatar to Dalanzadgad costs $300 per person and the flight takes 90 minutes each way; threecamellodge.com

Sarfira

Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5

'Panga'

Directed by Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari

Starring Kangana Ranaut, Richa Chadha, Jassie Gill, Yagya Bhasin, Neena Gupta

Rating: 3.5/5

EMIRATES'S REVISED A350 DEPLOYMENT SCHEDULE

Edinburgh: November 4 (unchanged)

Bahrain: November 15 (from September 15); second daily service from January 1

Kuwait: November 15 (from September 16)

Mumbai: January 1 (from October 27)

Ahmedabad: January 1 (from October 27)

Colombo: January 2 (from January 1)

Muscat: March 1 (from December 1)

Lyon: March 1 (from December 1)

Bologna: March 1 (from December 1)

Source: Emirates

The Woman King

Director: Gina Prince-Bythewood

Stars: Viola Davis, Thuso Mbedu, Sheila Atim, Lashana Lynch, John Boyega 

Rating: 3/5

If you go

The flights
There are various ways of getting to the southern Serengeti in Tanzania from the UAE. The exact route and airstrip depends on your overall trip itinerary and which camp you’re staying at. 
Flydubai flies direct from Dubai to Kilimanjaro International Airport from Dh1,350 return, including taxes; this can be followed by a short flight from Kilimanjaro to the Serengeti with Coastal Aviation from about US$700 (Dh2,500) return, including taxes. Kenya Airways, Emirates and Etihad offer flights via Nairobi or Dar es Salaam.   

SPEC SHEET: SAMSUNG GALAXY Z FLIP 4

Display: Main – 6.7" FHD Dynamic Amoled 2X, 2640 x 1080, 22:9, 425ppi, HDR10+, up to 120Hz; cover – 1.9" Super Amoled, 512 x 260, 302ppi

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, 4nm, octa-core; Adreno 730 GPU

Memory: 8GB

Capacity: 128/256/512GB

Platform: Android 12, One UI 4.1.1

Main camera: Dual 12MP ultra-wide (f/2.2) + 12MP wide (f/1.8), OIS, portrait, super slo-mo, hyperlapse

Video: 4K@30/60fps, full-HD@30/60fps, HD@30fps; slo-mo@240/960fps; HDR10+

Front camera: 10MP (f/2.4)

Battery: 3700mAh, 25W fast charging, 15W wireless charging, reverse wireless charging, 'all-day' life

Connectivity: 5G; Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.2, NFC (Samsung Pay)

I/O: USB-C

Cards: Nano-SIM + eSIM; no microSD slot

Colours: Bora purple, graphite, pink gold, blue; Bespoke Edition in select countries

In the box: Flip 4, USB-C-to-USB-C cable

Price: Dh3,799 / Dh3,999 / Dh4,449

Shooting Ghosts: A U.S. Marine, a Combat Photographer, and Their Journey Back from War by Thomas J. Brennan and Finbarr O’Reilly

Common OCD symptoms and how they manifest

Checking: the obsession or thoughts focus on some harm coming from things not being as they should, which usually centre around the theme of safety. For example, the obsession is “the building will burn down”, therefore the compulsion is checking that the oven is switched off.

Contamination: the obsession is focused on the presence of germs, dirt or harmful bacteria and how this will impact the person and/or their loved ones. For example, the obsession is “the floor is dirty; me and my family will get sick and die”, the compulsion is repetitive cleaning.

Orderliness: the obsession is a fear of sitting with uncomfortable feelings, or to prevent harm coming to oneself or others. Objectively there appears to be no logical link between the obsession and compulsion. For example,” I won’t feel right if the jars aren’t lined up” or “harm will come to my family if I don’t line up all the jars”, so the compulsion is therefore lining up the jars.

Intrusive thoughts: the intrusive thought is usually highly distressing and repetitive. Common examples may include thoughts of perpetrating violence towards others, harming others, or questions over one’s character or deeds, usually in conflict with the person’s true values. An example would be: “I think I might hurt my family”, which in turn leads to the compulsion of avoiding social gatherings.

Hoarding: the intrusive thought is the overvaluing of objects or possessions, while the compulsion is stashing or hoarding these items and refusing to let them go. For example, “this newspaper may come in useful one day”, therefore, the compulsion is hoarding newspapers instead of discarding them the next day.

Source: Dr Robert Chandler, clinical psychologist at Lighthouse Arabia

Confirmed bouts (more to be added)

Cory Sandhagen v Umar Nurmagomedov
Nick Diaz v Vicente Luque
Michael Chiesa v Tony Ferguson
Deiveson Figueiredo v Marlon Vera
Mackenzie Dern v Loopy Godinez

Tickets for the August 3 Fight Night, held in partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi, went on sale earlier this month, through www.etihadarena.ae and www.ticketmaster.ae.

The burning issue

The internal combustion engine is facing a watershed moment – major manufacturer Volvo is to stop producing petroleum-powered vehicles by 2021 and countries in Europe, including the UK, have vowed to ban their sale before 2040. The National takes a look at the story of one of the most successful technologies of the last 100 years and how it has impacted life in the UAE.

Read part three: the age of the electric vehicle begins

Read part two: how climate change drove the race for an alternative 

Read part one: how cars came to the UAE

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: DarDoc
Based: Abu Dhabi
Founders: Samer Masri, Keswin Suresh
Sector: HealthTech
Total funding: $800,000
Investors: Flat6Labs, angel investors + Incubated by Hub71, Abu Dhabi's Department of Health
Number of employees: 10

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: SupplyVan
Based: Dubai, UAE
Launch year: 2017
Number of employees: 29
Sector: MRO and e-commerce
Funding: Seed

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Carzaty, now Kavak
Based: Dubai
Launch year: Carzaty launched in 2018, Kavak in the GCC launched in 2022
Number of employees: 140
Sector: Automotive
Funding: Carzaty raised $6m in equity and $4m in debt; Kavak plans $130m investment in the GCC

Who is Tim-Berners Lee?

Sir Tim Berners-Lee was born in London in a household of mathematicians and computer scientists. Both his mother, Mary Lee, and father, Conway, were early computer scientists who worked on the Ferranti 1 - the world's first commercially-available, general purpose digital computer. Sir Tim studied Physics at the University of Oxford and held a series of roles developing code and building software before moving to Switzerland to work for Cern, the European Particle Physics laboratory. He developed the worldwide web code as a side project in 1989 as a global information-sharing system. After releasing the first web code in 1991, Cern made it open and free for all to use. Sir Tim now campaigns for initiatives to make sure the web remains open and accessible to all.

Director: Nag Ashwin

Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★

CREW

Director: Rajesh A Krishnan

Starring: Tabu, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Kriti Sanon

Rating: 3.5/5

Company Profile

Name: HyveGeo
Started: 2023
Founders: Abdulaziz bin Redha, Dr Samsurin Welch, Eva Morales and Dr Harjit Singh
Based: Cambridge and Dubai
Number of employees: 8
Industry: Sustainability & Environment
Funding: $200,000 plus undisclosed grant
Investors: Venture capital and government

How to avoid getting scammed
  • Never click on links provided via app or SMS, even if they seem to come from authorised senders at first glance
  • Always double-check the authenticity of websites
  • Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) for all your working and personal services
  • Only use official links published by the respective entity
  • Double-check the web addresses to reduce exposure to fake sites created with domain names containing spelling errors
'Morbius'

Director: Daniel Espinosa

Stars: Jared Leto, Matt Smith, Adria Arjona

Rating: 2/5

The specs

Engine: 4-litre twin-turbo V8

Transmission: nine-speed

Power: 542bhp

Torque: 700Nm

Price: Dh848,000

On sale: now

Wonka

Director: Paul King

Starring: Timothee Chalamet, Olivia Colman, Hugh Grant

Rating: 2/5