Sameen Amer

Sameen Amer

The author is a Lahore-based freelance writer and critic. She tweets as @Sameen (twitter.com/Sameen)

El Camino is nothing more than an extended Breaking Bad episode

In the days leading up to the release of El Camino, the Breaking Bad fandom eagerly dissected every single frame of the film’s trailer, making it glaringly obvious that there were high expectations from the movie. And why wouldn’t there be? After all, the movie is a follow-up to one of the most critically acclaimed television series ever made.  Drama creator Vince Gilligan once again taking the helm for the movie was another factor screaming that the cinematic continuation was bound to be a masterpiece. But high expectations are a slippery slope and perhaps, for this very reason, the thoroughly entertaining El Camino seemed just a tad bit ...

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Will El Camino do justice to the Breaking Bad saga?

Being a Breaking Bad  fan has been a very rewarding experience throughout.  Not only was it an absolute thrill to witness the rise and fall of Walter White Heisenberg played by Bryan Cranston, in one of the most acclaimed series in television history. But on top of it, we were then blessed with a Saul Goodman prequel. The prequel meant another chance for fans to dig deeper into the pasts of some fascinating characters in a riveting spinoff. Now, 11 years after the original adventure began, and six years after its finale, the saga of Breaking Bad continues. The story of Heisenberg, a ...

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The Rhythm Section: Are you ready to see Blake Lively kick some butt

Blake Lively is on a roll. Not only does her personal life seem like a picture of perfection but the actress has also been busy establishing a solid career by delivering a string of impressive performances in films like The Age of Adaline (2015), The Shallows (2016), and A Simple Favour (2018). It seems like it took Lively a bit of time to emerge from under the shadow of the juggernaut that was Gossip Girl, but she has done well to carve out a new persona for herself in order to ensure that most people don’t only think of Serana Van Der ...

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A Nazi satire, Disney takes the unconventional route with ‘Jojo Rabbit’

Disney is releasing a movie in which a zany version of Adolf Hitler feasts on a unicorn’s head. That’s a sentence I never thought I’d type, yet here we are. Taika Waititi has crafted a madcap adventure that is set during World War II in the shape of his upcoming satirical black comedy Jojo Rabbit. The project, perhaps incongruously, finds itself at Disney following the company’s recent acquisition of the now-defunct 21st Century Fox. Based on the book Caging Skies by Christine Leunens, the film revolves around a nationalistic young boy, Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis), whose imaginary friend happens to be a silly incarnation ...

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Lady and the Tramp: Another lazy, opportunistic adaptation

Disney may be raking in billions of dollars with its live-action remakes of animated classic movies, but this string of lazy, opportunistic adaptations isn’t doing much for the company’s image. While these projects have displayed the company’s visual wizardry, the media giant has yet to produce a new iteration that was truly essential. With each unnecessary revisit, Disney seems increasingly uninspired and creatively vacant, reliant primarily on the powers of nostalgia to draw in an audience. This year has already seen the release of three such ventures — Dumbo, Aladdin, and The Lion King — none of which have ...

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Boring and annoyingly predictable, Secret Obsession sinks into a puddle of tedium

Netflix has released a string of terrific web series over the last few years, but the streaming giant hasn’t been quite as impressive when it comes to its feature length offerings. Barring a few standout exceptions – the most prominent of which is last year’s acclaimed Roma – the original films produced by Netflix have mostly been underwhelming and paled in comparison to their big screen counterparts. It isn’t surprising then that its latest thriller, Secret Obsession, ranks among the worst additions to its online library. We meet the protagonist, Jennifer (Brenda Song), as she is fleeing an unidentified pursuer on a rainy ...

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With zombies and sequels losing popularity, is Zombieland 2 a smart move?

There was a time a few years ago when zombies were all the rage. From The Walking Dead to World War Z, it looked like Hollywood was desperate to cash in on the audience’s love for those slow, meandering creatures. Zombieland rode that wave of zombie interest very well back in 2009 and helped to further bolster the growing resumes of future A-listers Emma Stone and Jesse Eisenberg in a film where Woody Harrelson was the most well-known actor (not counting that brilliant surprise cameo by Bill Murray). But the fever has died down since and zombies no longer capture ...

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Mulan: More serious, less playful than the original

Most of Disney’s live-action adaptations have been fairly loyal to their animated counterparts, but it looks like the studio might be going in a dramatically different direction with its upcoming revisit to Mulan. Directed by New Zealand filmmaker Niki Caro and starring Chinese-American actress Liu Yifei in the titular role, the remake appears to have a more serious, less playful tone than its predecessor. The story is based on the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan, the daughter of an ailing warrior who disguises herself as a man and takes her father’s place in the army. The teaser trailer suggests that this could ...

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Will Charlie’s Angels 2.0 fall before they even fly?

Hollywood really seems to have taken the 3R’s of conservation – reduce, reuse, recycle – to heart and has been busy reducing creativity, reusing plots, and recycling projects through its plethora of remakes, reboots, and revisits. Clearly everything must return to the screen in one form or another, which must be why we are now getting another Charlie’s Angels reboot. The standalone sequel sees a new cast pick up the crime-fighting baton as the newest recruits of the agency, headed by the unseen and mysterious Charlie Townsend. The current set of Angels include fierce spy Sabina (Kristen Stewart), brainy former MI6 agent Jane (Ella ...

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Toy Story 4 keeps surprising us with the franchise’s continued excellence

Pixar continues its tradition of making grownups tear up at children’s movies with Toy Story 4, a touching adventure so earnestly sweet that it’s futile to resist its charms. The studio once again makes good use of its abilities to entertain audiences of all ages with this animated adventure, and even though this instalment may not have been strictly necessary, it is still a delightful revisit to the acclaimed franchise. Sheriff Woody (Tom Hanks, of course!), Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), and the rest of the gang are now in the possession of little Bonnie (Madeleine McGraw), given to her at the end ...

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