Sameen Amer

Sameen Amer

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

Even with not one but three acting legends, ‘Going in Style’ is bland, unexceptional and unmemorable

Some films try to bring out the best in their cast by giving their actors a solid script and a compelling story to work with. Other movies just want to coast on the charisma of their stars without bothering to make an effort in any other department. Going in Style falls firmly in the latter category. The heist comedy – which is a loose remake of the 1979 Martin Brest film of the same name – has managed to assemble a cast that includes three of the best actors to have ever graced the big screen. However, the movie has ...

Read Full Post

Don’t waste your time, effort or money on The Emoji Movie – the filmmakers didn’t either

Every once in a while, you come across a film that is so devoid of merit that it feels like it exists just so you can recommend it to someone you hate. That’s what The Emoji Movie is like. Try as hard as you can to think about something positive to say about this cinematic mess and you’ll still draw a blank. The story is downright nonsensical. An emoji named Gene (voiced by TJ Miller), who lives in a smartphone that belongs to a teenager (Jake T Austin), has one purpose in life – to make the ‘meh’ face whenever he ...

Read Full Post

Cars 3: Not a masterpiece but still a marked improvement from Cars 2

Over the last two decades, Pixar has impressed the world by releasing some terrific films, such as Finding Nemo (2003), Ratatouille (2007), WALL-E (2008), Up (2009), and the Toy Story series (1995 – present). But while many of the studios’ adventures rank among animation’s finest offerings, there have been a couple of missteps that have received a more lukewarm reception. Among its less imaginative efforts is the Cars franchise, a series that tells the tales of anthropomorphic vehicles. Although it may not have struck a chord with the critics, Cars has still been a monetary success, thanks to massive merchandise sales. The lucrative merchandising has led to the continuation of the series, which now gives us its ...

Read Full Post

Spider-Man: Homecoming: Predictable yet apt and entertaining

Marvel Comics’ superheroes have been ruling the summer box office for nearly a decade now. What started with the first adventure of Iron Man in 2008 has since turned into the most successful franchise in movie history. The Avengers have become a cinematic behemoth as more superheroes have joined the folds of the mighty collective over the years, and have altogether produced more hits than misses along the way. The latest adventure in the series takes us on another journey into the world of Spider-Man. A superhero which has already been the subject of two prior series, and is now getting another reboot in the shape of the ...

Read Full Post

‘King Arthur: Legend of the Sword’ is too busy, too long and marginally entertaining

The fascinating tales from the life and times of King Arthur have been the subject of various big and small screen works. The latest cinematic foray inspired by the intriguing folklore of the British leader comes to us from director Guy Ritchie, who explores the origin and rise of the legendary ruler in King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. The film is a frenetic big-budget adventure that isn’t nearly as captivating or exciting as it should be but still manages to be marginally entertaining. The action commences as the power-hungry Vortigern (Jude Law) betrays his brother, King Uther (Eric Bana), ...

Read Full Post

Ghost in the Shell: When filmmakers choose style over substance

Almost everyone’s vision of the (very distant) future is bound to include robots and robotics playing an integral role in everyday human lives. The future envisioned in the film Ghost in the Shell is no different, but it takes the concept one step further, leading us to a setting where the line between human and machine is fast disappearing. The westernised adaptation of the Japanese science-fiction manga classic finds humans living in a world where, thanks to advancements in technology, people now have the option to enhance themselves with cybernetic parts. But Hanka Robotics, the globe’s leading developer of such augmentation, has ...

Read Full Post

The Boss Baby: Forgetful and predictable

The addition of a tiny new member to a family is bound to change the dynamics of a household. A new-born demands a lot of adjustment from everyone, and this change can often be particularly hard on the firstborn who goes from being an only child to an elder sibling who is no longer the centre of his parents’ world. That’s the predicament that befalls Tim Templeton (voiced by Miles Christopher Bakshi), a seven-year-old with an overactive imagination, whose life changes with the arrival of his baby brother. Alec Baldwin and Miles Christopher Bakshi in The Boss Baby (2017)Photo: IMDb The ...

Read Full Post

Life: Another movie about space that wastes space

The possibility of life on Mars has been a source of endless fascination for us Earthlings. The existence of extra-terrestrial beings along with its worst case implications form the basis of the thriller Life. The movie is a sci-fi horror vehicle that pairs a talented cast with a routine plot to yield mediocre results. The action takes place on board the International Space Station, where a six member crew – portrayed by actors Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, Ryan Reynolds, Hiroyuki Sanada, Ariyon Bakare, and Olga Dihovichnaya – captures a capsule returning from Mars. Upon studying the Red Planet’s soil samples, the astronauts ...

Read Full Post

Miss Sloane is a rutted political drama that doesn’t utilise its impressive acting talent

With commanding performances in movies like Take Shelter (2011), The Help (2011), The Tree of Life (2011), Zero Dark Thirty (2012), and A Most Violent Year (2014), actress Jessica Chastain has established herself as one of the most impressive leading ladies in Hollywood. Her acting talents are the main asset of the film Miss Sloane, a political thriller that benefits from Chastain’s ability to captivate the audience. However, despite her best efforts, the movie still isn’t quite as compelling as one would have hoped. The movie explores the events surrounding the senate hearing of Elizabeth Sloane (Chastain), a high-power, workaholic lobbyist who isn’t afraid of playing dirty to achieve her goals. Driven by ambition, ruthless ...

Read Full Post

Collide is nothing but mindless action built around a threadbare plot

A number of subpar elements come together to form the film Collide. It is an action caper that covers the ground from frustrating inconsistency to mind-numbing stupidity within its 99 minutes of running time. The movie remained shelved for years (due to Relativity Media’s bankruptcy), a fate that was quite appropriate for such a shoddy project. Felicity Jones in Collide (2016)Photo: IMDb Two British actors play American characters who have moved to Germany in the movie. A reformed car thief turned drug dealer Casey (Nicholas Hoult) and a bartender Juliette (Felicity Jones) fall for each other, as the former ...

Read Full Post