Sameen Amer

Sameen Amer

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

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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Can Disney live up to its own fantasy standards with ‘The Nutcracker and the Four Realms’?

Over the decades, Disney has mastered the art of recycling popular stories and fairy tales and turning them into either animated or live-action cinematic adventures that charm audiences while also dominating the box office. After all, some of their highest grossing ventures, such as Frozen (2013) and Beauty and the Beast (2017), have been inspired in a similar fashion from existing works. Their latest foray into the fantasy adaptation is The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, a live-action reimagining of a Christmas classic. Directed by Swedish filmmaker Lasse Hallström, the movie is based on both, ETA Hoffmann’s story The ...

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We tried to hate ‘Mamma Mia!’ but ended up singing and dancing to its tune – Can the same be expected from ‘Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again’?

Meryl Streep – widely regarded as one of the best actresses in the world – has starred in some terrific films. And, presumably to balance things out, she has also starred in Mamma Mia!, a shoddy jukebox musical that was basically little more than an attempt to cash in on the nostalgic draw of the popular 70s Swedish band ABBA. Based on the stage musical of the same name, the 2008 movie had a flimsy storyline, uneven direction, and a cast that couldn’t even carry a tune, and yet it brought us so much campy, nonsensical joy that despite its many ...

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Pixar reclaims its place atop the animation throne with its powerful and emotional ‘Coco’

A string of wonderfully creative and thoroughly entertaining films in the ‘00s helped establish Pixar as an animation powerhouse that was creating some of the finest family-friendly animated movies of the decade. But the studio was unable to maintain its momentum as it developed a disappointing case of sequels. Instead of coming up with interesting new releases, the Disney subsidiary chose to build its franchises by revisiting its most popular ideas. This resulted in the making of films that admittedly weren’t bad by any measure but simply lacked the imagination and spark that had made the studio’s best work so ...

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Can the biopic ‘The Mercy’ do justice to Donald Crowhurst’s intriguing story of travelling around the world in a boat?

In October 1968, amateur sailor Donald Crowhurst set out to compete in a non-stop, single-handed, round-the-world yacht race. Eight months later, the fascinatingly shocking details of his journey would come to light and end up causing a public sensation. Now, nearly half a century later, his story – just as intriguing today as it was almost 50 years ago – is being brought to the big screen in the upcoming British film The Mercy. The official trailer for the movie shares a few scenes from this drama while shedding light on its overall narrative. Colin Firth portrays the film’s protagonist, a struggling ...

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Did Disney just ruin our childhood with its adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time?

If you read Madeleine L’Engle’s fantasy novel A Wrinkle in Time as a child (or even as an adult for that matter), then chances are that your mind’s eye probably didn’t conjure up an image of Oprah Winfrey in a blonde wig whenever the character of Mrs Which appeared in the story.  And if you were to come up with a fantasy casting for a movie adaptation of the 1962 classic, then once again, blonde Winfrey probably wouldn’t have been the first person you pictured in that role. Photo: IMDb But that somehow is exactly what we’re getting in the ...

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