Khalid Rafi

Khalid Rafi

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

The 1974 adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express was flawed, will the 2017 adaptation be better?

Considered by many as one of the most ingeniously crafted stories ever published, Agatha Christie’s ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ has stood the test of time (it was published in 1934) and a handful of cinematic iterations to retain its place in the pantheon of great whodunits’. Most who haven’t read the book may be familiar with filmmaker Sidney Lumet’s adaptation of the classic mystery which was released in 1974. In Hollywood though, no film is old or important enough to be remade or as I like to call it, ‘reheated’ and this time around veteran Shakespeare director, Kenneth Branagh, is taking a ...

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If you have seen Mission Impossible, Jason Bourne or Taken, then you have already seen American Assassin

With James Bond and Jason Bourne on a temporary hiatus, and Jack Reacher likely on a permanent one, the espionage and spy-thriller market in Hollywood has been left largely untapped. So it makes sense that American Assassin ‒ based on the first book in a long-running series of spy novels by author Vince Flynn ‒ would swoop in and try to make easy money at the box office. Dylan O’Brien, star of the Maze Runner series, plays Mitch Rapp, a man on a path of vengeance. The film opens two years earlier on a beach in Ibiza, Spain where Mitch ...

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Jigsaw: A new direction for an old franchise that’s been failing the mystery genre

I think it goes without saying that the Saw movies are definitely an acquired taste. It probably also goes without saying that over the years, the series has developed more into torture porn rather than actual horror. In Hollywood though, the only thing that really matters are the numbers and numbers suggest there is an audience out there for these kinds of movies. With seven films, the Saw franchise has raked in nearly $874 million worldwide, all on a budget of approximately $67 million. And to think, the first one was shot on a low budget in a run-down warehouse, over the span of just 18 days. Jigsaw, the eighth ...

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‘It’ is a twisted, terrifying and an intense piece of work

Clowns are creepy. There’s simply no getting around that. I don’t care what people say, there’s just something odd about a grown man in a kooky outfit wearing makeup, a wig and a red nose, and has that much cheer in him. It’s this creepiness that author Stephen King capitalised on in 1986 when he wrote It, a book that did for clowns what Jaws did for sharks and what Psycho did for taking showers. The title character, Pennywise, is a dancing clown who happens to actually be a macabre and malevolent force of evil that exists in underground sewers of the small town of Derry, Maine. ...

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‘Insidious: The Last Key’ looks like yet another spooky addition to a franchise that almost always delivers on the scares

If there’s one genre that Hollywood can’t get enough of, it is the horror genre. And understandably so, horror films are cheap to make, even easier to market and can almost always guarantee increasing returns, regardless of their critical reception. The Insidious franchise is one of the prime examples of this. Launched in 2010 by director James Wan’s Insidious, the franchise has accumulated $370 million worldwide with its three films. This is highly impressive because all three films had production budgets of $10 million or less. Insidious: The Last Key is the fourth and latest instalment in the franchise. And like the Conjuring franchise did ...

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Atomic Blonde rethinks the action hero template from a feminist perspective but never overstates it

With John Wick’s release, David Leitch and Chad Stahelski reminded people that action movies could still rise above the current mundane Hollywood template (lazy editing and toothless action) which most blockbusters follow. Unfortunately, the two former stuntmen turned filmmakers parted ways last year. But their penchant for projecting gritty, unrelenting and superbly choreographed violence on the big screen is matched by very few people in Hollywood. This impeccable work is still visible in Stahelski’s John Wick: Chapter Two, which came out earlier his year, and is also evident in Leitch’s recent release, Atomic Blonde. Leitch’s violent and densely plotted Atomic Blonde has all the low-key intrigues ...

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Annabelle: Creation is better than it’s sequel yet brings nothing new to the horror genre

Annabelle: Creation is the latest installment to be released in the Conjuring universe. The series was initiated after James Wan’s The Conjuring witnessed massive success at the box office in 2013. Since then, a sequel, a prequel and now a pre-prequel to both The Conjuring and 2014’s Annabelle have been produced. Set in the early 60s, Annabelle: Creation follows the story of a former toy maker Sam Mullins (Anthony LaPaglia) and his wife, Esther (Miranda Otto). Following the tragic death of their young daughter, the pair has gone 12 years without a child. That is, until they happily welcome a nun and six orphaned girls into their California farmhouse. However, ...

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With John Wick’s David Leitch at its helm, Atomic Blonde will definitely deliver on the action

In 2014, two stuntmen David Leitch and Chad Stahelski made their foray into directing their debut feature John Wick. The film wasn’t anything more than a predictably-plotted action film. However, one thing it did differently from every other action film around was that it made sure you felt every punch of the action. With their extensive experience in stunts, Leitch and Stahelski proved that there was still room in Hollywood for slick, well-choreographed and well-shot action films that didn’t have to rely on rapid editing cuts and big explosions to capture the audience’s attention. Since then, both Leitch and Stahelski have gone ...

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Ozark fails to come into its own as the crime-drama it is so desperately trying to be

Netflix has been dominating the television landscape for a number of years now. Their strategy of rolling out entire seasons in a day has been a successful one because of how quickly it has turned people to binge-watching. Another reason for their success is that they have not only produced great shows, but produced genre-diverse shows, which means they have got a little something for everyone. Shows like House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Master of None, Making A Murderer and Narcos are all part of this list. Ozark is the latest show to join this list. Created by Bill Dubuque – the writer ...

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War for the Planet of the Apes isn’t nearly as intelligent, interesting or exciting as its prequels

War for the Planet of the Apes serves as the third and final instalment in the rebooted Planet of the Apes trilogy, which like most rebooted blockbusters of the present has looked to offer a bleaker and more serious version of its old, campy predecessor. Set a few years after the events of the last film, War for the Planet of the Apes follows the ape leader Caesar (motion-captured by Andy Serkis) and his primate community hidden in a dense forest, wanting only to be left alone in peace. However, a group of humans led by a ruthless colonel (Woody Harrelson) are still raging against the repercussions of ...

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