Sameen Amer

Sameen Amer

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

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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Tully: A not so rosy, honest and realistic look into motherhood

The collaborative partnership between Director Jason Reitman and Screenwriter Brook Busey – also known as Diablo Cody – has yielded two critically successful movies: Juno (2007) and Young Adult (2011). The duo has now come together once again; their third film is Tully, a comedy drama that tackles motherhood and its many complicated realities. The story revolves around the character of Marlo (portrayed by Charlize Theron, who was also the star of the aforementioned Young Adult), an exhausted mother of three, including a newborn. She is dealing with the impact that parenthood has on a woman’s life and marriage, and is clearly overwhelmed by the ever-increasing ...

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Intense and daring, Al Pacino’s ‘Paterno’ brings to light the aftermath of a child sex abuse scandal

The sporting world has been rocked by several scandals of late, with controversies such as doping and match-fixing in various fields making headlines around the globe. One of the most appalling episodes, however, which shocked fans of American football, came to the fore in 2011 when news broke of the Penn State child sex abuse scandal. Former defensive coordinator, Jerry Sandusky, was indicted for child molestation spanning over a period of a decade-and-a-half, whereas long-time head coach of the team, Joe Paterno, was accused of being involved in the alleged cover-up of the crimes. The latter is now the subject ...

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Battle of the Sexes: When too many narratives and ideological boxes spoil the broth

Even nearly 45 years after it happened, the famous showdown between women tennis star Billie Jean King and former men’s champion Bobby Riggs remains one of the most well-known fixtures in tennis history. Fans of the sport who are old enough to have witnessed the 1973 match certainly remember the hoopla around the encounter. However, even those of us born years or even decades after the incident took place, are likely to be familiar with at least the bare basics of the contest and how it went down. It’s this sporting event, the circumstances leading up to it, and the people ...

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Silly, zany and utterly delightful, Paddington 2 is a masterclass of children films

It has been over half a century – 61 years to be precise – since Michael Bond found a lone teddy bear on a shelf in a store near Paddington Station on Christmas Eve. The lovable stuffed toy went on to inspire one of the most celebrated children’s book series of all time (starting with a volume in 1958 and ending in 2017 with the author’s death). His stories have now led to a delightful film series that proves Paddington’s adventures remain as relevant as ever. The latest big screen instalment in the series, Paddington 2 – the sequel to ...

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Despite its great cast, The Greatest Showman failed to put on a show

Every once in a while, a project comes along that, on the face of it, has several elements that suggest the final piece will be stellar. However, it ultimately ends up failing to turn its promising individual components into an impressive whole. The Greatest Showman will go down in history as one such film. Based on an intriguing real life story, starring a terrific leading man, and featuring the musical work of award-winning songwriters, the movie theoretically seems like it would be an entertaining home run. But what we find instead is a shallow, hollow musical that ignores the nuances of ...

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