Sameen Amer

Sameen Amer

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

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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Will The Lego Batman Movie surpass DC Comic’s Batman v Superman?

The Academy may not have given the film its proper dues – and yes, some of us may still be a tad miffed about this major award show injustice – but the fact remains that The Lego Movie (2014) was downright awesome. Both joyous and thought-provoking, the wildly entertaining animated romp ushered us into the zany Lego realm. Now, three years later, we finally get the chance to revisit Lego Land in the spin-off instalment The Lego Batman Movie.  The flick is centred on the character of The Dark Knight (voiced by Will Arnett) and its trailer promises an amusing adventure in Gotham City. As per the prevue, Bruce ...

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Passengers: An absurd cliche of a film

Why do good actors choose bad projects? That is the biggest mystery that runs through Passengers, a clunky sci-fi vehicle that can neither justify nor make the most of the star power at its helm. The film is set aboard the Starship Avalon, an interstellar star-liner that is on a voyage from an overpopulated earth to the colony world of Homestead II. Its 5000 passengers and 258 crew members are in hibernation, and are set to spend 120 years in suspended animation before they are awakened upon reaching their new home. Chris Pratt in Passengers (2016).Photo: IMDb But a malfunction ...

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10 Hollywood movies of 2016 that should have never been made

Films fail in different ways. There are financial failures – good movies that earn critical praise but just don’t excite audiences, thereby disappointing at the box office. Then there are critical failures – bad movies (like Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice and the downright shambolic Suicide Squad) which earn the ire of critics but still interest viewers and make bucket loads of cash. And then there are films that hit the double whammy of failure – critics hate them and so do moviegoers, making them derided box office bombs. Here are 10 such movies that simply couldn’t please anyone and ended ...

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Allied: Average, unexciting and forgettable

The hoopla around the real life of thespians can occasionally overshadow their work, but few films have been upstaged quite as ferociously by gossip as Allied has. The movie found itself being thrust in the middle of the Jolie/Pitt split (quite like Mr & Mr Smith landed in the centre of the Aniston/Pitt divorce around a decade ago). It doesn’t bode well for the film, however, that its alleged – and categorically denied – involvement in the Brangelina breakup is perhaps the most exciting thing about this otherwise mediocre project. Set against the backdrop of World War II, Robert Zemeckis’ romantic thriller tries to evoke ...

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Keeping Up with the Joneses is dull and devoid of any significant laughs

There are two basic things that you can logically expect from a film that is marketed as an action comedy: action and comedy. That detail might seem pretty obvious to you, but somehow Hollywood still hasn’t quite managed to grasp this fairly straightforward concept. The least an action comedy can do is entertain you with its excitement and wit, but ever so often, the movies that supposedly fall in this genre fail on both counts. The latest project is Keeping Up with the Joneses, a spy adventure that despite being powered by an impressive, talented cast (and Gal Gadot) is ...

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The Accountant just didn’t add up

Every once in a while, a movie comes along that seems to exist just to remind you of other big (and small) screen projects. That pretty much appears to be what The Accountant is trying to achieve. The same way Dexter meets Jason Bourne by way of A Beautiful Mind, Gavin O’Connor’s action thriller comes off as an amalgam of various (significantly better) projects that have preceded it, as it jumps haphazardly from one familiar plot point to the next. The film tells the story of Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck), an autistic math whiz with extensive combat training who is running a shady accounting firm ...

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These Storks just couldn’t get their job done right

The recently founded Warner Animation Group hit it out of the park with its first release, the joyously zany The Lego Movie, in 2014. The animation division of Warner Bros. has since been busy preparing the many sequels and spin-offs in this prized franchise, two of which – The Lego Batman Movie (2017) and The Lego Ninjago Movie (2017) – are slated to come out next year. In the meantime, the studio has tried to keep its audience entertained by releasing the lively Storks, an amicable but unexceptional offering that pales in comparison to the significantly more imaginative (and, of ...

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Skiptrace isn’t a ‘good’ movie by any metric

The success of action comedies like Rush Hour (1998) and Shanghai Noon (2000) helped Jackie Chan gain international recognition. For his latest cinematic endeavour, the star from Hong Kong has teamed up, yet again, with an American actor for another action comedy, Skiptrace. Joining him for the buddy adventure this time is Johnny Knoxville, the Jackass crewmember who may not have the star power of Chris Tucker or Owen Wilson, but still manages to deliver the requisite comic relief in a movie that is considerably more enjoyable than it has any right to be. Jackie Chan and ...

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