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T Magazine’s top picks of the week

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Movie: Blonde

The much-anticipated Blonde has finally been released on Netflix this week. The movie stars Cuban beauty Ana De Armas who, thanks to the blonde hair and make up, bears an uncanny to the legend Marylin Monroe herself in the movie. The movie tells the story of the tragic starlet that was severely misunderstood. According to Armas, it took her a year of lessons to get the classic blonde starlet’s accent right. However, her look and accent aside, whether the actress truly does justice to this icon, remains to be seen.

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TV show: Love is Blind: After the Altar

If you’ve been a fan of the reality series Love is Blind, then this is your time to rejoice. Unlike other reality series that focus on helping contestants find love, this show isn’t focused on just outer beauty alone. However, both the couples who got married in season two have recently announced that they have split. Therefore, this post-season episode should hopefully answer questions of fans clamouring to know why the couples whose love stories they saw unfold onscreen couldn’t make it work in the real world.

Song: Only Fan by Bazzi feat. Cordae

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Bazzi’s latest song titled, ‘Only fan’ just dropped this week. The American singer, songwriter and record producer Andrew Bazzi, better known as Bazzi, just released his third album Infinite Dream this Friday and while most fans will say there’s something on this album for everyone, we can’t help but be completely partial to ‘Only Fan’. With an upbeat sound and catchy lyrics such as, ‘How I don’t know you, But I’m missin’ you? Yeah, I can’t break through, And it’s drivin’ me crazy,’ what’s not to love about this song?

Book: Grounds keeping by Lee Cole

This debut novel by Lee Cole is by turns smart, funny and thought provoking. The story’s main character, Owen  Callahan, an aspiring writer, moves to Kentucky to live with his Trump-supporting uncle and grandfather in the run-up to the 2016 election. While there, he takes a job as a groundskeeper in exchange for a writing course at a local college, where he meets Ama Hazdic. Hazdic has everything Owen doesn’t: an ivy league education, a prestigious job and success as a writer. As these two begin a secret relationship, the novel explores themes of political polarization and class differences.



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Famous Indian comedian Raju Shrivastav passes away at 58

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Famous Indian comedian Raju Shrivastav has died aged 58 in Delhi after health complications, reported Indian news agency ANI. The news was confirmed by his family. Shrivastav passed away two months after he was admitted to the All India Institute Of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and had been on and off of the ventilator. 

After two rounds of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) failed to resuscitate the comic, he had to be shifted to the ICU. His wife, Shikha Srivastava, had also reached Delhi following the hospitalisation.

Last month, it was reported that his condition is stable and he continues to recover slowly in the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi. In a statement, the comedian’s daughter Antra Srivastava had said, “My dad’s condition is stable and continues to improve slowly. He is on the ventilator at the moment.”

She further appealed to people to trust the news from his official account on social media and the statement from AIIMS. “Only statements from AIIMS, Delhi and Raju Ji’s official social media accounts are trustworthy and genuine. Any other news or statements from anyone else is unreliable. The doctors and their entire team at AIIMS Delhi are working hard and diligently. We’re thankful to them and all his well-wishers”, Shrivastav’s daughter confirmed.

Srivastava is most notable for his comedic chops, having been active in the realm of stand-up comedy since the 1990s. He has also appeared in films like Toilet: Ek Prem Katha. Srivastava currently serves as the chairman of the Film Development Council in Uttar Pradesh.

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Shrivastav did small roles in films like Tezaab (1988), Maine Pyar Kiya (1989) and Baazigar (1993) to survive in the city until he bagged a show on Doordarshan.

Have something to add to the story? Share it in the comments below. 



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Golden Globes broadcast to return to NBC in 2023

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LOS ANGELES:

NBC will resume its live broadcast of the Golden Globe awards for film and television in January 2023, the network said on Tuesday, citing organisers’ steps to address ethics and a lack of diversity among voters.

The Comcast-owned (CMCSA.O) network said it had committed to airing the show for one year as part of an agreement with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), the group that hands out the awards. The Jan. 10 show also will stream on Peacock.

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NBC had cancelled its January 2022 airing of the annual ceremony, and major Hollywood studios and actors boycotted the event, following a backlash over ethical lapses among the organizers, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

A Los Angeles Times investigation published in February 2021 found the HFPA had no Blacks among its 89 members and raised long-standing questions about the behaviour of its journalist members, who were accused of soliciting favours from celebrities and movie studios.

The HFPA responded with a broad range of measures, including new ethics guidelines and the addition of new members and non-member voters. The organisation admitted 103 new voters from 62 countries outside of the United States, bringing the total voters to 200.

According to NBC, the total Golden Globe Awards voting body is now 52% female and 51.5% racially and ethnically diverse, with members who are 19.5% Latino, 12% Asian, 10% Black and 10% Middle Eastern.

“We recognise the HFPA’s commitment to ongoing change and look forward to welcoming back the Golden Globes to NBC,” Frances Berwick, chairman of NBCUniversal Entertainment Networks, said in a statement.

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Nominations for the 2023 awards will be announced on Dec. 12.

After 2023, Globes organizers can pursue other distribution opportunities, NBC said.



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Foreign audiences like Korean cinema: ‘Squid Game’ actor

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Smash hits like Squid Game and Parasite may make it look easy, but Emmy-winner Lee Jung-Jae says South Korean cinema spent years learning how to reach unprecedented global audiences through stories about the competitiveness and violence of modern life.

Lee spoke to AFP just days after making history as the first foreign-language performer to win the Emmy for best actor in a drama with Squid Game — the most-watched Netflix show of all time.

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“As a piece of work that is not in English that we’re able to bring to the global audience, we’re very happy about that,” said Lee.

“Even from Korea everybody was so happy and they were sending me congratulating messages,” he said during an interview at the Toronto film festival.

“When I go back there’s a lot of interviews and things waiting for me!”

The brutal social satire about misfits and criminals competing for cash in twisted versions of schoolyard games followed in the footsteps of South Korea’s Parasite, which two years earlier became the first foreign-language movie to win the best picture at the Oscars.

“For a long time, Korean cinema has been trying to figure out how to connect better with global audiences,” said Lee.

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“Now, as a result of these years-long efforts, we see a lot of high-quality content, that has resonated around the world and won critical acclaim.”

It has also been a huge commercial success: Squid Game director Hwang Dong-hyuk is writing an eagerly-awaited second season, with Lee teasing that his character Seong Gi-hun “will be completely different” this time around.

‘Overly competitive’

But before then comes Hunt, Lee’s directorial movie debut, which earned a prestigious “gala presentation” premiere this week at the Toronto International Film Festival — relatively rare for an Asian-language film.

The twisty Cold-War era spy thriller in which Lee also stars is loosely based on actual 1980s political events, including an attempted assassination of South Korea’s president and the defection of a North Korean pilot.

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Lee said the film shares some themes with Squid Game — including its unflinching depiction of violence, as rival South Korean spies turn against and even torture one another.

For instance, it too looks at how an “overly competitive society could actually lead to people hurting each other.”

Hunt has already topped the box office in its home country and will be released in North American theatres and on-demand streaming on December 2 by Magnolia Pictures.

But in a further sign of how Korean movie-making is adapting to the needs of its new-found audience, the final version reflects a more global film.

Following its initial screening at the Cannes film festival in May, some critics complained the plot was difficult to follow for Western audiences not familiar with Korean politics, so Lee re-cut it to simplify some elements, and revised the subtitles.

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But, he emphasised, that the film is less about Korean history and more about “how this violence is happening all around the world globally,” hurting ordinary people.

“This movie is about these two protagonists and whether their principles are righteous.”

“What’s most important is, because it’s an espionage action-drama, that I just want you to really enjoy the film,” he said.

‘Growing closer’

When Parasite director Bong Joon-ho stunned Hollywood by winning best picture at the Oscars in 2020, he spoke about the importance of overcoming “the one-inch-tall barrier of subtitles.”

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Lee said he has not discussed South Korea’s newfound global clout with Bong, but agreed that the country’s culture “has become widely understood globally” as the world becomes more inter-connected via technology such as global streaming and social media.

“In Korea, actually we watch a lot of content from different countries and all around the world, so it’s very natural for us,” he said.

He added: “The world is a lot closer now. Korea’s distinctive story is not something that is difficult for foreign audiences to understand.”

“It’s natural. With everyone growing closer to each other, it’s not difficult to understand the emotions — whether it’s pain or grief — of others because we live in a world where feelings are shared instantly.”

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