Khalid Rafi

Khalid Rafi

The author blogs at www.theblazingreel.wordpress.com and tweets as @TheKhalidRafi

The Big Sick: An apt portrayal of Pakistan-US stuck in a culture clash

Pakistani-American comedian Kumail Nanjiani began stand-up comedy in 2009 and quickly rose to fame as one of the funniest comedians in the business. His success with stand-up led to small roles at first, but soon enough he landed his own live-comedy show The Meltdown with comedian Jonah Ray on Comedy Central. It was quickly followed by a starring role on one of the most hilarious Home Box Office (HBO) comedy series, Silicon Valley. Zoe Kazan and Kumail Nanjiani in The Big Sick (2017). PHOTO: IMDb Nanjiani is perhaps still best known for his role as the Pakistani software-engineer, Dinesh Chughtai on Silicon Valley. That is most likely going to change with the release of ...

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The Power Rangers is an utterly forgettable film

Power Rangers is the latest arrival from Hollywood’s ever-growing and seemingly endless pantheon of reboot/ remakes that are either in development, in production or hitting theatres near you. And looking back, it’s hard to even understand who this was aimed at. Kids these days don’t know about the Power Rangers and the people who watched the show, on which this film is based, back in 90’s, either watched it purely for its camp factor or were too young and stupid to realise how bad it was. Becky G., Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, Ludi Lin, and RJ Cyler in ...

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Manchester by the Sea is a striking portrayal of grief and loss

Grief’s a b****. There’s no getting around it. I have been lucky enough to not experience it in my adolescent life thus far, but I have seen the profound impact it has had on people close to me. It isn’t an easy thing to go through and can threaten to entomb anyone in a coffin of sorrow and despair. Most movies, in attempting to depict this, fall into an abyss of melodrama and manipulation. Such is not the case with Manchester by the Sea, which paints a striking portrayal of grief and loss, whose rock-hard essence lingers in the ...

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Moonlight is cinematic poetry

Issues of identity, sexuality and masculinity have always been fascinating subjects in cinema, but rarely have they ever been explored with such beauty, mastery and eloquence as they are with Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight. A film that simultaneously feels both grand and intimate and a film that leaves a lasting impact on you, whether it is through its subtle, fleeting touches or it’s vibrant, vivid images. Mahershala Ali and Alex R. Hibbert in Moonlight (2016)Photo: IMDb From the first frame to the last, Moonlight is a balancing act that never falters. It introspects the life of Chiron, a young African-American boy in Miami, through three ...

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Jackie: Beautifully directed and acted but lacks courage

Pablo Larraín’s latest film, a biopic about Jacqueline Kennedy (Natalie Portman) from the days after John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s death is one of 2016’s most frustrating films. It feels far too much like an obscured portrait of its own subject. Natalie Portman and Caspar Phillipson in Jackie (2016).Photo: IMDb. Natalie Portman in Jackie (2016).Photo: IMDb. On one hand, its technical marvels cannot be denied and it’s directed in a unique way that’s quite immersive, up to the point that it feels almost like a psychodrama at times. But at other times the film just feels empty, reaching ...

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Power Rangers: Taking you back to the 90s

In the age of gritty, big budget reboots it was only a matter of time before Hollywood cashed in on the nostalgia factor and finally brought one of the most beloved children’s live-action series from the 90’s Mighty Morphin Power Rangers to the big screen.  Now, the series was known for its campy nature, so it’ll be interesting to see how the South African director Dean Israelite and the producers bring it to the big screen in a manner that is able to maintain that feel of a modern day blockbuster, without being too self serious. And judging by the trailer, it ...

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Rings: The utterly lifeless sequel no one asked for

Rings, the latest franchise horror sequel, has very little reason to actually exist. It arrives 15 years after 2002’s The Ring, and feels both forced and unnecessary in every facet. It also has very little connection to the first two films, made evident by the fact that none of the major stars of the first two films turned up for this one. Rings also conveniently ignores the events of 2005’s much maligned, The Ring Two.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NFB4eZSVgBE Now, one of the best and most original things about The Ring was how it used VHS tapes to create a genuinely scary premise. With ...

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Moana finds Disney returning to its old formula

The Disney films of the 80’s and 90’s had a very specific formula for success that helped make them very successful for many years. This formula was based on having catchy tunes that would help advance the narrative, while also being a joy to listen to. With stories centering on spirited young protagonists finding their way in the world, usually aided in some part by a cuddly animal sidekick. Moana finds Disney returning to this formula after decades, and not only does Disney manage to revoke so many of the elements that made it work so well in the past, but ...

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The Underworld needs to go under and never resurface again

I must admit I’ve never cared much for the Underworld movies. For me, they are very akin to the Resident Evil movies — both are going on five plus movies, both follow the stories of a female protagonist played by a C-list actress battling monsters like werewolves, vampires, zombies. And both series, upon the release of a new film, make you ask the question: ‘Exactly who paid to see the last one?’ Underworld: Blood Wars is the fifth entry in the Underworld franchise, and yes it’s utter trash and just as bad as the last four. Kate Beckinsale returns as vampire ‘death-dealer’ Selene in her traditional skin tight leather costume. This time ...

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There’s really nothing about Inferno that warrants a viewing

Much has already been said about the literary merits of Dan Brown’s novels, whose success often mystifies critics and people who don’t want to read books where characters talk like expository plot-devices who must explain anything and everything they come in contact with. But I suppose what even greatly mystifies such people, myself included, is that they’ve actually churned out three big screen adaptations of these books, that are at times the cinematic equivalent of watching someone solving a highly complicated crossword puzzle. With Inferno, the sequel to 2009’s Angels and Demons you have Ron Howard back behind the camera, and ...

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