Sameen Amer

Sameen Amer

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

Is Happy Death Day 2U as ‘deathly’ entertaining as its first part?

It may not have been a cinematic masterpiece, but 2017’s Happy Death Day was a fun black comedy that put together the idea behind the Harold Ramis classic Groundhog Day and the conceit of a slasher thriller. Combined with an impressive lead performance by the charming Jessica Rothe, the result may have been silly but it was certainly entertaining. For its sequel, Happy Death Day 2U, writer and director Christopher Landon has thrown some Back to the Future into the mix and blended sci-fi, comedy, and horror into an enjoyable concoction. A sequence of events leads us back, once again, to the accursed Monday the 18th, the day ...

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Alita: Battle Angel is not a cinematic masterpiece, but it is a visual spectacle

Western adaptations of Japanese manga have largely been commercial and critical disappointments (Scarlett Johansson, anyone?). But that hasn’t deterred Hollywood from continuing to explore the genre and trying to tap into its worldwide fan base. The latest effort to do so comes in the form of Alita: Battle Angel, an adaptation of Yukito Kishiro’s Gunnm series. With the filmmaking effort of writer and producer James Cameron and director Robert Rodriguez, the movie is set in a dystopian future where the world has been left ravaged by war. The population is divided into two factions: the privileged, who live in the floating sky city ...

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Escape Room may not be the smartest movie but it surely delivers the thrills

The excitement of the escape room has captivated people around the globe, including celebrities like Ariana Grande and former President Barack Obama, and it’s easy to see why the trend has become so popular – it must surely be fun to unravel mysteries, solve puzzles and find your way out of the room(s) by completing this adventure game. But what if someone deliberately made the adventure deadly? That’s the idea behind the film Escape Room, a horror-thriller in which a group of strangers find themselves trapped inside a lethal maze and must fight for survival. A shy student Zoey (Taylor Russell), ambitious ...

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Glass: A forced marriage of Unbreakable and Split, has M Night Shyamalan lost his mojo?

Glass, the final chapter in writer-director M Night Shyamalan’s Eastrail 177 Trilogy, brings together the worlds of Unbreakable (2000) and Split (2016). David Dunn (Bruce Willis), the plane crash survivor with superhuman abilities from Unbreakable, is now a vigilante known as ‘The Overseer’, who is taking down criminals with the help of his now-grown son Joseph (Spencer Treat Clark). The superhero finds himself on the trail of Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy), the kidnapper from Split, who is referred to as ‘The Horde’ and who suffers from dissociative identity disorder. As soon as the two men clash, they are arrested and sent to ...

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What Men Want: Can the gender-flipped remake surpass Mel Gibson’s mediocre original?

Thanks to Hollywood’s never-ending fondness for recycled ideas and gender reversals, we are now getting a new film inspired by the very mediocre Mel Gibson-starrer, the 2000 romantic comedy What Women Want. Because everything in existence must be remade, obviously. Director Adam Shankman and co have taken the concept behind the Nancy Meyers film and flipped the gender to come up with – you guessed it – What Men Want, a (hopefully amusing) look at what would happen if it was a woman who could hear the inner thoughts of the men around her. Photo: Screenshot The terrific Taraji P ...

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Lacking poignancy, ‘What Will People Say’ could have been more nuanced and relatable

In her second movie, What Will People Say, Pakistani-Norwegian filmmaker Iram Haq tries to relay the experience of a teenager who is caught between the fairly conservative background of her family and the liberal atmosphere of the country she calls home. The film – which is apparently inspired by the director’s own life – is centred on the story of 16-year-old Nisha (Maria Mozhdah), who is a typical Norwegian girl when she’s out with her friends but forced to conform to her parents’ strict rules when she is at home. After being caught fooling around with her boyfriend in her ...

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Darker and drearier, ‘Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle’ lacks its bare necessities

Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle, the latest live-action cinematic take on Rudyard Kipling’s story of a boy raised by wolves is a peculiar beast. It’s the old familiar tale but with a dark, gory spin. Mowgli (Rohan Chand), an orphaned infant, grows up in an Indian jungle after being rescued by the panther Bagheera (Christian Bale) and adopted by a family of wolves. The pack offers him protection from Sher Khan (Benedict Cumberbatch), a fierce tiger who killed the child’s parents and now wants to devour the man cub as well. The young boy is mentored by the bear Baloo (Andy ...

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Ralph broke the Internet and with it our expectations

Six years after charming us with the thoroughly entertaining Wreck-It Ralph, Disney revisits the world of the much loved 2012 tale in Ralph Breaks the Internet, a cute but uneven adventure that reunites us with familiar characters from Disney’s many franchises. Instead of sticking with the original setting of arcade video games, the action has now moved to the Internet. After their attempt to have a new adventure within Sugar Rush goes awry and leaves the game unplugged, Wreck-It Ralph (John C Reilly) and Vanellope (Sarah Silverman) have to go off into the Internet via the arcade’s newly installed WiFi router ...

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Are Disney and Tim Burton about to ruin our childhoods with Dumbo 2.0?

The trailer for the upcoming Dumbo makes me rue the day Disney figured out they could make a killing simply by turning their animated classics into live-action adventures. It’s a shrewd strategy – recycling tales that have already proven to be popular, cashing in on the nostalgia they invoke, and reselling the same product all over again in new packaging. It’s also a strategy that has generally brought in a lot of dough for the House of Mouse, so obviously the studio has doubled down on the idea and decided to reimagine everything they can possibly think of (looking at ...

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The Grinch: A memorable story’s unmemorable (and uninspired) adaptation

Illumination Entertainment clearly has a thing for anti-heroes. The animation studio has practically established itself on the popularity of Gru and the minions, making billions by telling tales of the lovable super villain and his endearing helpers. And now, their love affair with sympathetic villains continues in The Grinch, yet another adaptation of Dr Seuss’s well-known Christmas classic. Based on the 1957 book How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by the ever-popular children’s author, the movie retells a story that has already made its way to the screen twice before – in the form of a (beloved) 1966 animated television holiday special and a ...

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