Khalid Rafi

Khalid Rafi

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

Jumanji returns after 22 years, but with a remote-controlled twist

If you were a kid growing up in the 90s, chances are you saw Jumanji and loved it. Following the story of a sinister board game whose gameplay affects real life, the film was one of the benchmark children films of the 90s and for many people, one of their first introductions to the late and great Robin Williams. Now some 22 years later, it makes a return in the form of a sequel but there’s a twist. Instead of a board game, this one is about a Jumanji videogame which when played, consequently sucks its players into its world and transforms them into the characters of ...

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Lack of emotion and recycled jokes fail to elevate Despicable Me 3 from a cartoon to an animated film

Despicable Me 3 is the latest entry in the hugely successful Despicable Me franchise. And although the last two prequels have done well in regards to delivering good humour, fun characters and enjoyable set-pieces, the latest release falls short of being even slightly good. The latest film follows the now-reformed Gru (Steve Carell), who still works for the Anti-Villain League. His failure to apprehend the new baddie, Balthazar Brat (voiced by South Park’s Trey Parker) – a child star from the 80s who is seeking world domination because of the pre-mature cancellation of his show – leads to him being fired from the Anti-Villain league. Furthermore, ...

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Half Widow: Not Pakistan, not India, but the world through Kashmir’s eyes

Throughout history, cinema has functioned as a voice against oppression. Be it films such as Mississippi Burning or Fruitvale Station that highlight racism in the US’ past and present, or films such as Schindler’s List and Life is Beautiful which focus on the Holocaust and the oppression of Jews during World War II. The Battle of Algiers is yet another movie which focuses on the oppression of the Algerian people by the French, and their subsequent struggle for independence. Photo: Facebook Cinema has always played an important role in connecting the viewer with these moving stories. Kashmiri filmmaker Danish Renzu aims to do something similar with his latest film, Half ...

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Black Panther seems to be diversely epic and will fare better than Captain America

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU)  doesn’t seem like it’s slowing down anytime soon, despite the fact that many were disappointed by their recent streak of films after Captain America: Civil War. But I suppose that’s understandable when you set such a high standard. Regardless, their upcoming line up of films starting with Spider-Man: Homecoming looks quite promising. But one particular film you should get excited about is Black Panther. Directed by Ryan Coogler and featuring a talented cast led by Chandwick Boseman as the titular character, the film follows Boseman’s  T’Challa character. He is forced to return home to the fictional and technologically advanced African ...

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The Mummy is nothing new or special, but it works well enough for what it is

Never has intellectual property been a more valuable asset in Hollywood than it is today. In the age of franchise blockbusters, any almost marketable property can now be rebranded for 21st century audiences with a big enough movie star and sleek looking visual effects. Over the last decade, all major studios have found their personal cash-cow which they can milk through a connected universe of characters and films. Disney has the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Warner Bros have the DC Extended Universe, while Paramount has the much reviled Transformers series. Universal Studios is the latest to join the club with The Mummy, which is set to be ...

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Wonder: An important film that may genuinely pull at your heartstrings

These days, it is rare for children films to tread waters that aren’t edging towards the more sappy and sentimental side of life. But if first impressions mean anything, Wonder feels like a much welcome change of pace for this particular genre and seems like a film that may genuinely pull at your heartstrings. The film, based on The New York Times bestselling novel of the same name written by RJ Palacio, focuses on the story of a young boy named August (Auggie) Pullman (Jacob Tremblay), a fifth grader who is starting school for the first time and is also ...

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The Big Sick: An apt portrayal of Pakistan-US stuck in a culture clash

Pakistani-American comedian Kumail Nanjiani began stand-up comedy in 2009 and quickly rose to fame as one of the funniest comedians in the business. His success with stand-up led to small roles at first, but soon enough he landed his own live-comedy show The Meltdown with comedian Jonah Ray on Comedy Central. It was quickly followed by a starring role on one of the most hilarious Home Box Office (HBO) comedy series, Silicon Valley. Zoe Kazan and Kumail Nanjiani in The Big Sick (2017). PHOTO: IMDb Nanjiani is perhaps still best known for his role as the Pakistani software-engineer, Dinesh Chughtai on Silicon Valley. That is most likely going to change with the release of ...

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The Power Rangers is an utterly forgettable film

Power Rangers is the latest arrival from Hollywood’s ever-growing and seemingly endless pantheon of reboot/ remakes that are either in development, in production or hitting theatres near you. And looking back, it’s hard to even understand who this was aimed at. Kids these days don’t know about the Power Rangers and the people who watched the show, on which this film is based, back in 90’s, either watched it purely for its camp factor or were too young and stupid to realise how bad it was. Becky G., Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, Ludi Lin, and RJ Cyler in ...

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Manchester by the Sea is a striking portrayal of grief and loss

Grief’s a b****. There’s no getting around it. I have been lucky enough to not experience it in my adolescent life thus far, but I have seen the profound impact it has had on people close to me. It isn’t an easy thing to go through and can threaten to entomb anyone in a coffin of sorrow and despair. Most movies, in attempting to depict this, fall into an abyss of melodrama and manipulation. Such is not the case with Manchester by the Sea, which paints a striking portrayal of grief and loss, whose rock-hard essence lingers in the ...

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Moonlight is cinematic poetry

Issues of identity, sexuality and masculinity have always been fascinating subjects in cinema, but rarely have they ever been explored with such beauty, mastery and eloquence as they are with Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight. A film that simultaneously feels both grand and intimate and a film that leaves a lasting impact on you, whether it is through its subtle, fleeting touches or it’s vibrant, vivid images. Mahershala Ali and Alex R. Hibbert in Moonlight (2016)Photo: IMDb From the first frame to the last, Moonlight is a balancing act that never falters. It introspects the life of Chiron, a young African-American boy in Miami, through three ...

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