To stave off possible boredom while at home, every week Marhaba delves in to the wonderful world of popular culture to find the best new TV series, movies, books and music.


Hilary Swank, two-time Oscar winner for Boys Don’t Cry and Million Dollar Baby, makes a return to the small screen in the Netflix sci-fi series Away this week. Swank is Emma Green, an American astronaut who leads an international crew as they go off on a three-year mission to Mars, leaving behind her husband and daughter. It’s a difficult decision for her, as her husband has had a stroke and needs rehabilitation – a decision that threatens the success of the mission before it’s even underway. There are no aliens, no CGI space battles (as yet, anyway). It’s more a journey to the red planet focusing on interpersonal relationships and conflicts – the very real effect of space, both literally and figuratively, on the human body.


Hurrah! The cinemas have started reopening in Qatar, and the top movie of the week to see here is Tenet. If you’ve been anxiously counting down the days until you can watch Christopher Nolan’s latest epic on the big screen, the wait is finally over. Nolan (Inception, Memento, The Dark Knight Trilogy and numerous other award-winning films) apparently took more than five years to complete the screenplay for Tenet, only for the release of the movie to be delayed three times due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The plot is baffling and mind-blowing, as has come to be expected from Nolan, so suffice it to say we won’t try to explain everything here. Briefly, there is international espionage and a war over climate change, teen heartthrobs (Robert Pattinson and Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and acting legends (Sirs Michael Caine and Kenneth Branagh), and time travel that isn’t time travel as we know it – it’s inversion. You may want to swot up before heading to the cinema! Get the cinema timings in Qatar here.


What to Watch, Read and Listen to

An open house property sale in a small town in Sweden isn’t the first place that springs to mind when you think of life or death situations. For a group of strangers, having a nose around an apartment proves to be just that, as they are taken hostage by a failed bank robber. In Anxious People by Fredrik Backman, author of the bestselling A Man Called Ove, fear turns to irritation and then chaos for those trapped inside, as they are all harbouring secrets and grievances that eventually rear their ugly heads – but it would appear that the criminal mastermind holding them hostage needs rescuing more than they do. This is a funny, thought-provoking and unpredictable novel, multi-layered but never disappointing.


What to Watch, Read and Listen to

Unbelievably, One World is Billy Ocean’s first album of original music in 10 years. The R&B star had a string of hits in the 1970s and 1980s, such as When the Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going and Caribbean Queen (No More Love on the Run), before deciding to spend more time with his family. Ocean keeps to his soulful roots on this new album, with the additional elements of reggae, pop and jazz providing a pleasing mix of rhythms and tempo. The silky smooth voice is still there too, heard to great effect on the album’s first half of catchy, more modern tunes, and on the second half’s slower tracks, which is vintage Ocean. He has returned just at the right time, asking us to join him on his quest for global unity.

Author: Sarah Palmer

Copyright © Marhaba Information Guide. Reproduction of material from Marhaba Information Guide’s book or website without written permission is strictly prohibited. Using Marhaba Information Guide’s material without authorisation constitutes as plagiarism as well as copyright infringement.