Khalid Rafi

Khalid Rafi

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

‘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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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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