Sameen Amer

Sameen Amer

The author is a Lahore-based freelance writer and critic. She tweets as @Sameen (twitter.com/Sameen)

‘King Arthur: Legend of the Sword’ is too busy, too long and marginally entertaining

The fascinating tales from the life and times of King Arthur have been the subject of various big and small screen works. The latest cinematic foray inspired by the intriguing folklore of the British leader comes to us from director Guy Ritchie, who explores the origin and rise of the legendary ruler in King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. The film is a frenetic big-budget adventure that isn’t nearly as captivating or exciting as it should be but still manages to be marginally entertaining. The action commences as the power-hungry Vortigern (Jude Law) betrays his brother, King Uther (Eric Bana), ...

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Ghost in the Shell: When filmmakers choose style over substance

Almost everyone’s vision of the (very distant) future is bound to include robots and robotics playing an integral role in everyday human lives. The future envisioned in the film Ghost in the Shell is no different, but it takes the concept one step further, leading us to a setting where the line between human and machine is fast disappearing. The westernised adaptation of the Japanese science-fiction manga classic finds humans living in a world where, thanks to advancements in technology, people now have the option to enhance themselves with cybernetic parts. But Hanka Robotics, the globe’s leading developer of such augmentation, has ...

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The Boss Baby: Forgetful and predictable

The addition of a tiny new member to a family is bound to change the dynamics of a household. A new-born demands a lot of adjustment from everyone, and this change can often be particularly hard on the firstborn who goes from being an only child to an elder sibling who is no longer the centre of his parents’ world. That’s the predicament that befalls Tim Templeton (voiced by Miles Christopher Bakshi), a seven-year-old with an overactive imagination, whose life changes with the arrival of his baby brother. Alec Baldwin and Miles Christopher Bakshi in The Boss Baby (2017)Photo: IMDb The ...

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Life: Another movie about space that wastes space

The possibility of life on Mars has been a source of endless fascination for us Earthlings. The existence of extra-terrestrial beings along with its worst case implications form the basis of the thriller Life. The movie is a sci-fi horror vehicle that pairs a talented cast with a routine plot to yield mediocre results. The action takes place on board the International Space Station, where a six member crew – portrayed by actors Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, Ryan Reynolds, Hiroyuki Sanada, Ariyon Bakare, and Olga Dihovichnaya – captures a capsule returning from Mars. Upon studying the Red Planet’s soil samples, the astronauts ...

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Miss Sloane is a rutted political drama that doesn’t utilise its impressive acting talent

With commanding performances in movies like Take Shelter (2011), The Help (2011), The Tree of Life (2011), Zero Dark Thirty (2012), and A Most Violent Year (2014), actress Jessica Chastain has established herself as one of the most impressive leading ladies in Hollywood. Her acting talents are the main asset of the film Miss Sloane, a political thriller that benefits from Chastain’s ability to captivate the audience. However, despite her best efforts, the movie still isn’t quite as compelling as one would have hoped. The movie explores the events surrounding the senate hearing of Elizabeth Sloane (Chastain), a high-power, workaholic lobbyist who isn’t afraid of playing dirty to achieve her goals. Driven by ambition, ruthless ...

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Collide is nothing but mindless action built around a threadbare plot

A number of subpar elements come together to form the film Collide. It is an action caper that covers the ground from frustrating inconsistency to mind-numbing stupidity within its 99 minutes of running time. The movie remained shelved for years (due to Relativity Media’s bankruptcy), a fate that was quite appropriate for such a shoddy project. Felicity Jones in Collide (2016)Photo: IMDb Two British actors play American characters who have moved to Germany in the movie. A reformed car thief turned drug dealer Casey (Nicholas Hoult) and a bartender Juliette (Felicity Jones) fall for each other, as the former ...

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Will The Boss Baby be a cinematic atrocity like Baby Geniuses?

If you’ve ever had the misfortune of watching the 90s (supposed) comedy film Baby Geniuses (1999), then you’ll be forgiven for being wary of movies with talking baby protagonists. So it comes as quite a surprise and relief that even though at first glance the upcoming movie The Boss Baby may seem like an animated rehash of the aforementioned cinematic atrocity, its trailer promises an altogether different, significantly funnier adventure. The plot of the film revolves around the impact that the addition of a new bundle of joy has on a family. The new arrival in this case is the Boss Baby (voiced by Alec Baldwin), ...

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The Great Wall: When Hollywood marries Chinese mythology, and it just doesn’t work out

The East and the West have teamed up for the monster flick The Great Wall, a CGI-drenched, high budget action fest that comes off as nothing more than a wasted opportunity.  The Chinese-American co-production tries to marry Hollywood blockbuster sensibilities with Chinese mythology but forgets to add anything compelling to the mix. The premise revolves around the legend that the Great Wall of China was constructed as a barrier against the Tao Tei – a horde of alien monsters that rise every 60 years as a reminder of what happens when greed is unchecked. Two European mercenaries – William Garin (Matt ...

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The Lego Batman Movie: Not as inventive as its prequel, but just as enjoyable

After the triumphant cinematic debut of the Lego franchise with 2014’s joyous The Lego Movie, we return to the interlocking­-bricks realm in The Lego Batman Movie, an amusing spin-off that may not be as inventive as the first instalment, but certainly proves to be just as enjoyable as its Oscar-snubbed predecessor. Will Arnett, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, and Adam Devine in The LEGO Batman Movie (2017).Photo: IMDb. Zach Galifianakis in The LEGO Batman Movie (2017).Photo: IMDb. The focus of the animated adventure is on the Lego version of DC Comics’ Batman the Caped Crusader Batman (voiced by Will Arnett) who ...

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Live by Night brings nothing new to the crime drama genre

Even though Ben Affleck’s acting career has been decidedly uneven, his directorial efforts have generally been impressive. Which is why it is quite disappointing that his latest project, Live by Night, fails to deliver anything interesting, compelling, or original. Set in the 1920s prohibition era, the film tells the (ludicrous) tale of World War I veteran, Joe Coughlin (Affleck), who turns to robbery after his return from the war. But when he falls in love with Emma Gould (Sienna Miller), the mistress of Irish gangster Albert White (Robert Glenister), their relationship, as you would expect, doesn’t have a happy ending. ...

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