Khalid Rafi

Khalid Rafi

The author enjoys writing and is passionate about Pakistan Cricket. He tweets @TheKhalidRafi (twitter.com/TheKhalidRafi)

‘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 ...

Read Full Post

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 ...

Read Full Post

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 ...

Read Full Post

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 ...

Read Full Post

‘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 ...

Read Full Post

Contrived and rote, ‘Insidious: The Last Key’ fails to hold a candle to its predecessors

The Insidious franchise has inarguably been one of the best examples of studio-budget horror done right in recent times. And as a franchise, it has not only been immensely successful commercially but has also delivered on the scares effectively time and time again. But sadly, like most horror franchises, it also doesn’t know when to call it quits and stop milking the franchise cash-cow, which means we get Insidious: The Last Key, the fourth film in the franchise. It is the  latest to join the likes of Ouija: Origin of Evil and Annabelle: Creation, as films from already established horror franchises are taking the prequel route just ...

Read Full Post

Celebrating the best and vilifying the worst that Hollywood offered in 2017

This has been another banner year for Hollywood, and while there have been the usual crop of mediocre and bad films that are better left ignored, there have also been a number of great films that continue to give us a reason to go to the theatres, while also setting new standards for the art of story-telling and stretching the very boundaries of cinema itself. As we near the end of this year, the time has come to celebrate the best, and vilify the worst that 2017 has offered! 5. Mother! Darren Aronofsky is no stranger to exploring strange and exceedingly bewildering stories. ...

Read Full Post

Sorry George Clooney, but no one carries out a diamond heist better than women, and Ocean’s 8 proves just that

Sixteen years ago, Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s 11 wowed audiences by offering a slick, stylish and entertaining new take on the crime-caper/heist genre. The movie had a star-studded cast led by George Clooney as the smooth-talking Danny Ocean, while also featuring the likes of Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Julia Roberts and Andy Garcia, among others. The film went on to spawn two sequels (Ocean’s 12 and Ocean’s 13) and received both critical and commercial acclaim with the trilogy itself grossing over a billion dollars worldwide. Sixteen years later, Ocean’s 8 attempts to do something similar but with a strictly feminine twist, with some of the biggest female actresses ...

Read Full Post

‘Avengers: Infinity War’ just might be the ultimate superhero crossover

“There was an idea to bring together a group of remarkable people, to see if we could become something more. So when they needed us, we could fight the battles that they never could.” In many ways, the opening line in the new trailer for Avengers: Infinity War pretty much sums up everything the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has been building towards up till now. After 10 years, everything comes full-circle, so to speak. Photo: Giphy The ever-growing threat of the franchise’s big bad Thanos (Josh Brolin) has finally come to the fore and stopping him would ...

Read Full Post

‘Murder on the Orient Express’ is an unremarkable, conventional and lifeless adaptation of one of the most renowned classics

In an age when cinema and filmmaking is arguably at its biggest, it is surprising that the ‘whodunit’ seems like a genre from a bygone era. While television shows like Twin Peaks, Sherlock and the latest Riverdale have continued to reinforce the classical construct of the genre increasingly well and creatively, only a handful of films, in recent times, have tried to bring the genre back to life. This, again, is surprising because nothing gets ‘butts in seats’ like a good, old-fashioned murder-mystery with a twist. Director and actor Kenneth Branagh likely feels the same way, which can only explain why he decided to adapt Agatha ...

Read Full Post