Sameen Amer

Sameen Amer

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

Likely to be a winner, ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’ humorously targets the internet and Disney itself

It may not have made as much money as Frozen (2013) or received as many awards as Big Hero 6 (2014) or Moana (2016), but that doesn’t change the fact that 2012’s Wreck-It Ralph was one of the most inventive animated films Disney has made as of late. The story of Ralph (voiced by John C Reilly) – the antagonist of the Fix-It Felix Jr arcade game, who no longer wants to be the bad guy – and Vanellope (an effervescent Sarah Silverman) – the glitch in the game Sugar Rush, who wishes she was a racer – the film ...

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Can Mowgli surpass The Jungle Book’s success?

Why? That is probably the first thing you’ll wonder when you think about the upcoming film Mowgli, yet another adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, which comes just two years after Disney gave its 1967 animated classic a live action remake. Why are we getting another The Jungle Book movie so soon after the previous one? It’s a phenomenon we’ve seen time and again: twin films – two similar but separate projects developed at the same time by two different studios. That is certainly what has happened in this case as well. And it’s the massive success of Jon Favreau’s 2016 take on the fantasy ...

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Can Bohemian Rhapsody do justice to a band as legendary as Queen?

Seeing how eager Hollywood is to immediately turn even mildly intriguing people and events into subjects of elaborate films, it seems peculiar that there hasn’t been any major Queen or Freddie Mercury biopic thus far. Watch the trailer for the upcoming Bohemian Rhapsody – a film that has been in development hell for the better part of a decade, but will finally come out later this year – and it quickly becomes apparent why filmmakers might have been reluctant to pursue such a project: it’s just so hard to do justice to a band as legendary as Queen. After all, ...

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Breaking In: Move over ‘Taken’ and ‘Die Hard’, there’s a new parent in town!

From Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) and his legendary particular set of skills in Taken to the yippee-ki-yay-ing John McClane (Bruce Willis) in Die Hard, Hollywood has often given us tales of action hero fathers doing whatever it takes to save their children. Now, Breaking In is on a mission to prove that a mother can be just as fierce as any of her male counterparts! Helmed by V for Vendetta Director James McTeigue, the home-invasion thriller stars Gabrielle Union in the lead as Shaun Russell, a single mother who must protect her kids from armed dacoits. Photo: Screenshot While visiting her late father’s mansion with her ...

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Does ‘Life of the Party’ have what it takes to be the next ‘Bridesmaids’?

Actress Melissa McCarthy’s cinematic collaborations with her husband, filmmaker Ben Falcone, may not have impressed critics thus far, but their movies have seen enough financial success to inspire the couple to continue making more comedies together. Their new project is the upcoming Life of the Party, another offering from the duo’s production company, On the Day. The pair is firmly in charge of this vehicle – the film has been directed by Falcone, written by Falcone and McCarthy, and stars McCarthy in the lead role. The protagonist is Deanna (McCarthy), a 40-something woman in the process of getting a divorce from ...

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With its suffocating silence, ‘A Quiet Place’ is one of the best thrillers to come along in a while

It’s the 89th day of a monster invasion that has ravaged the world. Fierce armoured beasts that hunt by sound have decimated the human population on the planet and are now picking off the remaining survivors. Anyone who makes the slightest sound is immediately snatched by a lethal monster. You have to stay silent to stay alive. That is the premise of A Quiet Place, a little horror thriller that has unexpectedly become the most talked about film of the moment. The story follows the Abbot family – father Lee (John Krasinski, who also directed and co-wrote the movie), mother Evelyn (Krasinski’s real ...

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Derivative and predictable, ‘The Darkest Minds’ marks the death of Hollywood’s originality

The trend of turning young adult novels into films may have produced more misses than hits, but the mixed results haven’t dampened Hollywood’s enthusiasm for pursuing more of such projects. The upcoming movie, The Darkest Minds, is all set to join the considerably long list of these page-to-screen adaptations. Based on Alexandra Bracken’s novel of the same name and directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson, the film is a teen dystopian episode set in the near future, and by the looks of its trailer, it will probably turn out to be yet another generic young adult thriller. Photo: Screenshot The story ...

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Ready Player One’s virtual reality will make you want to escape back to the real world

The powers of nostalgia can be blamed for a number of recent big and small screen projects, including sitcom revivals and movie spin-offs. Similarly, nostalgia is clearly the driving force behind the success of the cinematic adaptation of Ernest Cline’s 2011 novel, Ready Player One. Directed by the great Steven Spielberg, the film is a celebration of the 80s pop culture, by way of a visually ambitious extravaganza with a paper thin story. The year is 2045, and humanity has chosen to escape its dystopian reality via the virtual world known as the OASIS. Real-life desolation is thus left behind ...

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The Spy Who Dumped Me won’t be winning any Oscars, but its leading ladies will definitely entertain

The leading ladies of Hollywood have proven time and again they can be just as entertaining and bankable as their male counterparts, and when they team up for female-fronted action and buddy comedies, the results can be quite enjoyable. This is why I’m looking forward to The Spy Who Dumped Me – a film that may not have a very ingenious premise, but will hopefully deliver a lot of laughs, courtesy of the comedic chops of its leads. Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon have teamed up for this spy adventure, portraying two best friends. Audrey (Kunis) and Morgan (McKinnon) unexpectedly become entangled into an ...

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‘The Grinch’ is proof that Hollywood has officially run out of original ideas

Hollywood’s fondness for revisiting familiar ground to make quick money keeps leading to rehashing of old, well-known tales, which explains why we’re about to get another adaptation of Dr Seuss’ book, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!. The classic story of the holiday-hating curmudgeon was turned into an animated television special, with Boris Karloff voicing the titular character in 1966, and then adapted into a live-action movie starring Jim Carrey in 2000. Now, Illumination Entertainment has created a big screen animated adventure inspired by the Christmas tale. Directed by Yarrow Cheney and Scott Mosier, The Grinch finds Benedict Cumberbatch voicing its anti-hero protagonist; the infamous ...

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