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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Fate of the Furious is nothing but a slow and strenuous collection of ludicrous action pieces

Remind me again, what exactly is this whole franchise? There is no way it can be termed as a movie series. Films, after all, require some resemblance to a story. But in furiousverse, there is no such thing as a plot.  We have simply got a collection of ludicrous action set-pieces that are connected together by filler scenes comprising of hot chicks, lame gags and tediously boring monologues about the importance of ‘la familia’. But – with due respect to all the furiousheads out there – in our universe, this might be called a show reel, but there is ...

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Rasm-e-Duniya: Why are Pakistani dramas obsessed with weepy women and damsels in distress?

Rasm-e-Duniya, starring Armeena Rana Khan, Samina Peerzada, Sami Khan and Bilal Abbas, has faced a lot of criticism from audiences for resorting to the familiar trope – the dukhiyaari damsel.  Let’s break down the play. The protagonist is Haya (Armeena Khan) who is pressured into marrying Harib (Sami Khan) by her family. But the situation takes an ugly turn since Haya and Harib’s elder brother, Farris (Bilal Abbas), were in love with each other. Mussarat (Samina Pirzada) is Farris and Harib’s mother, and was incidentally in love with Haya’s father, Tabrez. Since Mussarat was unable to marry Tabrez, she is extremely bitter and wants everyone around her to ...

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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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White on Green: A reflective recollection of Pakistan’s cricket journey

‘White on Green’ is not a book about the history of cricket in Pakistan and yet it takes up the story through individuals who profoundly influenced the game. It is not a sequel and yet it is, in a way, a prologue to the ‘Wounded Tiger’ by Peter Oborne (2014). One of these fascinating cricketing characters was Prince Aslam, a scion of Juna Garh ruling family, a handy all-rounder who nearly made it to the Test team. A colourful character with partiality for finer spirits, he passed away in his early 40s on account of alcohol addiction. An impression ...

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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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Too tired to cook? Fret not, this easy and delectable chicken handi is here to save the day!

This one is for all the working women (and men) out there! Have you ever come home too tired to cook? Or have you ever struggled your way through some very low emotional time? Recently, I have started expanding my arsenal of relatively quick dinners that can be cooked in a jiffy. Chicken is one of the easiest ingredients to work with. There are so many ways one can use it to satisfy the taste buds. Chicken handi has its roots deeply engrossed in tradition. Although this isn’t a traditional handi recipe – it is more of a desi-retro version – I ...

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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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Reflecting on Raza Rumi’s Identity, Faith, and Conflict

I arrived in the United States a few weeks ago and the first public event I attended was a bit too familiar. In 2013, I went to the launch of Raza Rumi’s book ‘Delhi by Heart’ at the Khayal Festival in Lahore. Four years later, I was in Queens Museum, New York where Rumi’s new book titled ‘Identity, Faith and Conflict: Essays on Pakistan and beyond’ was released. The book is a collection of essays that Rumi has authored over the past few years. It was strange to see that the introduction described Rumi as an “international scholar in residence at Ithaca ...

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On a quest for the ultimate brownies? Well look no further!

If given a choice between cookies and cake, it will always be brownies, any given day! The biggest concern when baking these scrumptious sweethearts is whether they will turn out to be chewy, fudgy or even dry like a cake for that matter. The secret behind getting them just right is to make sure that the batter is of the perfect consistency. My penchant for brownies led me on the ultimate quest, during which I ended up wasting a chunk of groceries and got scolded multiple times by my mother for making a mess in her kitchen, but I finally found my ...

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