Sameen Amer

Sameen Amer

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

Beatriz at Dinner: An impactful clash between race, social class and ideals

It’s a clash of personalities and perspectives as two very different people end up at the same gathering in Beatriz at dinner. The movie is from an odd but touching drama genre with an impressive cast and a terrific performance by its lead actress. The protagonist is Beatriz (Salma Hayek), a massage therapist and spiritual healer who works mainly with cancer patients at an alternative clinic. One of her private clients is the wealthy Kathy (Connie Britton), the mother of a Hodgkin’s survivor, Tara, who Beatriz helped during her cancer treatment and recovery.   After Beatriz is done with her massage session at Kathy’s posh residence, ...

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Logan Lucky may not be as glamourous as the Ocean’s trilogy, but it is equally slick

Steven Soderbergh makes a triumphant comeback with Logan Lucky, a heist comedy that sees the acclaimed director return to filmmaking after a four-year hiatus from big screen ventures. The movie, his first directorial effort since 2013, follows the adventure of three siblings who are attempting to pull off a daring, elaborate robbery. Things aren’t going too well for the down-on-their-luck Logan family as the film commences. Jimmy Logan (Channing Tatum), a Southern, blue collar construction worker who once had a promising football career that was derailed by a knee injury, is fired from his job “for liability reasons involving insurance”. His brother, Clyde ...

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The Zookeeper’s Wife may not be the most forceful World War II film, but it is heart-breaking and poignant

While Adolf Hitler and the Nazis were busy writing the most harrowing chapter in modern history, several heroic people were risking their lives to save their fellow human beings from brutal extermination during the Holocaust in World War II. The Zookeeper’s Wife is the tale of one such family. Based on real events, the story begins in Poland in 1939 at the Warsaw Zoo, where Antonina Żabińska (Jessica Chastain) helps her husband, Jan Żabiński (Johan Heldenbergh), take care of the animals in a beautiful menagerie. But their idyllic lives are turned upside down when German forces invade Poland. An airstrike ruins their ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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‘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), ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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