Khalid Rafi

Khalid Rafi

The author is an aspiring writer and a passionate lover and supporter of Pakistan Cricket. He blogs at The Blazing Reel. (www.theblazingreel.wordpress.com) and tweets @TheKhalidRafi (twitter.com/TheKhalidRafi)

‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ feels like two films in one, and neither fares well

The prequel movie formula is one that barely works. In hindsight, you can understand its purpose – which is fan service – but for anyone who isn’t a fan of a particular franchise, this can be an issue. Because let’s face it, making a movie with a predetermined beginning and end while having to fill in between the middle just isn’t the most effective way of telling a story, nor does it give a lot of room to try something fresh. The latest Star Wars prequel series has tried its best to avoid these mistakes, and with Rogue One they succeeded in creating something ...

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Move over, Marvel! Mission Impossible may be the most original, entertaining action movie franchise

It isn’t common for action franchises to actually gain momentum as they get older; more often than not, it is the other way around. However, the Mission Impossible franchise stands as a distinct exception to the rule. Five movies in, the franchise that actually began as a (then) modern-day adaptation of a corny 60’s spy show, has now morphed into quite possibly the most entertaining action movie franchise out there. Not only does it continue to defy audience expectations with its ambitious set pieces, but it also actually provides a welcome alternative for anyone who is tired of the excess of superhero ...

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‘Terminal’ fails to grab our attention, but will Margot Robbie save the day?

Hot on the heels of an Oscar nomination for her incredible performance as Tonya Harding in I, Tonya, actress Margot Robbie is slowly taking Hollywood by storm. Her stock rose considerably due to the immense commercial success of Suicide Squad in 2016 and her performance as Harley Quinn was one of the few things about the movie that was lauded by critics and fans alike. However, the mark of an actor or actress is often determined by the types of roles they play, compounded by their own penchant to experiment and do something that would otherwise be considered outside their comfort zone. So ...

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Surreal and hypnotic, ‘You Were Never Really Here’ is 21st century’s ‘Taxi Driver’

In You Were Never Really Here, the latest film from Scottish filmmaker Lynne Ramsay, Joaquin Phoenix plays Joe, a man quite literally dangling on the edge of mortality. By day, he looks after his ailing mother; by night, he’s an unflinching hit-man and vigilante-for-hire who doles out justice to those who exploit the innocent. In between those extremes, he’s a man haunted by his traumatic past as both, a victim of domestic abuse during his childhood, and a war veteran with a serious case of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, after Joe is hired to rescue a senator’s daughter who has been kidnapped ...

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Is Veronica really the scariest horror movie ever made?

More often than not, some of the best films go unseen or get swept under the rug simply because they aren’t in English or don’t have the budget or marketing of big studio blockbusters to reach a large enough audience. These films instead have to rely solely on the buzz they generate to be successful, and while that’s a sad reality, it’s at least comforting to know that such films reach the right audiences who actually make an effort to seek them out. Such is definitely the case for the film in question – Veronica, the Spanish supernatural-horror flick that has ...

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‘Pacific Rim: Uprising’ – Even robots fighting aliens cannot save this mediocre sequel

Most people are likely to not have much of a memory of watching Pacific Rim. It came out in 2013, and was a glorified B movie at best, which probably had the simplest and easiest pitch ever made to a movie studio: giant monsters versus giant robots. However, Pacific Rim had a key factor working in its favour. A factor elevating it from the kitschy and forgettable B movie fare it could have been, to an original, stylish and genuinely fun piece of B movie mania (the differences may seem minor, but they were stark). This factor was the influence of writer/director Guillermo ...

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Mechanical and repetitive, ‘Tomb Raider’ is yet another failed video game adaptation

In recent years, it seems as if the question of what it takes to adapt a good movie from a video game has eluded Hollywood studio executives more than anything else. At first, it seemed as if they weren’t even trying. Films like Silent Hill, Doom and Max Payne, all releasing in the mid-2000’s, had the low-budget appeal of a direct-to-video movie, and felt more like a means to making a quick buck than faithful video game adaptations. However, when movies like Prince of Persia, Warcraft and most recently, Assassins Creed started bombing – both critically and commercially – the aforementioned question really started to emerge. After all, these were films ...

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Intriguing and intricate, Red Sparrow is well-crafted and different from today’s spy thrillers

There’s no denying that in recent decades, the spy film genre in Hollywood has shifted drastically towards the slick, fast-paced and action-heavy fare of films, like Casino Royale, The Bourne Ultimatum, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation and the most recent Kingsman movies. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, since these are all films that have represented the very best of the spy genre as well as the action genre in the past decade. But in the 70s and 80s, spy films had a very different look and feel, and were perhaps more interested in the boiler-pot suspense and intrigue rather than the action and slickness. Red Sparrow, the ...

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Solo: A Star Wars Story looks exactly like the irrelevant yet entertaining space adventure it should be

Arguably the most influential character of the Star Wars saga has to be Han Solo. His place in the Star Wars universe and the pantheon of great cinematic characters in general is everlasting. The reason for this is Harrison Ford’s immortalisation of the character over the course of four films. This is why many fans were sceptical when Lucasfilm announced that the second film in the stand-alone series of Star Wars spin-offs would be a Han Solo origin story. The movie was supposed to lend us a look into his early beginnings and show us exactly how he became ...

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‘The Shape of Water’ is meant to sweep you off your feet, make you cry and applaud, but that never happened

Few filmmakers are as good at exploring the magical and the whimsical as Guillermo del Toro. At 53, the Mexican visionary has established himself as one of the most distinctive artists in Hollywood whose obsession with monsters, spirits and ghosts can pretty much be seen in all of his films. What makes his films unique though is the maturity with which he treats and explores these fantastical elements and how often times they serve as a canvas for del Toro to explore weighty themes like loneliness, acceptance, love and outsiders finding their purpose in the world. Del Toro’s latest film The ...

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