So, apparently 24 just wasn't enough. This year, thanks to a two-hour season prologue, we get 26 whole hours of Jack Bauer doing what Jack Bauer does: running, shooting, getting tortured, and blowing stuff up. The question is: do we need it? At the start of 24: Redemption, we find Jack hiding out in an African orphanage run by his ex-special-ops chum Carl (Robert Carlyle), with General Duma's men on their way to "recruit" for their child army. Over in DC, President Allison Taylor is being inaugurated into the White House (Hollywood has done with black presidents now; it's all about women). The Sangala scenes play out as a rescue story with heavy nods to Hotel Rwanda, right down to the exhortations to "kill the cockroaches". They're beautifully shot, and a handy way of solving 24's perennial episode-one problem - how to recover Jack from whichever exile disaster area he's wound up in, so he can get on with finding the nukes/bioweapons/whatever. The Washington segments, though, serve only to remove any whodunnit tension from the first half of the season proper. There's a bit of so-what backstory, and a new first family to introduce, but you can't help but feel the producers would have been better to stay in Africa. The extras are sparse - a four-minute recap of the last season, and an extended trailer for the next one - although the DVD does come with a tiny phial of Eau de Jacques Bauer, in case you want to smell like a bloke who's been repeatedly beaten up and is suffering from sleep deprivation.
Syria refugees settle in Zaatari with the help of a de-facto German mayor
A year ago, Syrians were desperate to leave Zaatari, now they’re choosing to return to the refugee camp and it’s largely thanks to one man, writes Sakhr Al-Makhadhi. Meet the German who’s helping Syrians build a city in the Jordanian desert
Death of a Hero: A decent man’s life spoilt by the ravages of war
Richard Aldington’s classic First World War novel, which first appeared in 1929 and has been languishing out of print for years, is being re-released by Penguin Classics to mark the Great War centenary, writes Malcolm Forbes.
Starting at Zero is a gripping read on Jimi Hendrix experiences
A richly illustrated biography of one of the world’s most influential guitarists is a gripping read, writes James McNair, despite impossible claims that it’s a ‘posthumous memoir’
Maverick Egyptian poet Ahmad Fouad Nigm was a fearless speaker of the truth
Kamal Abdel-Malek remembers his friend, the maverick Egyptian poet Ahmad Fouad Nigm, who died on December 3 at age 84.
UAE hopes to rival Hollywood film industry with Dubai Studio City
State-of-the-art sound stages and studios built in Dubai to attract movie and television projects are fully booked until mid-March, writes Tahira Yaqoob
In pictures: DIFF 2013 wraps
The Dubai Film Festival 2013 comes to a roaring and successful finish. We look back in pictures.
- Palestinian feature Omar makes the Oscars shortlist for Best Foreign Film
- A good year for obituary writers
- Disney’s wintry fairy tale Frozen, starring Kristen Bell, is out in UAE cinemas
- Welcome return: Anil Kapoor is no stranger to the lush life in Dubai
- Baz Luhrmann pitches TV series about the roots of hip-hop in NYC
- Abhishek Bachchan: I can’t emulate my father’s stardom
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