Men In Black: International will leave you wishing to be ‘neuralysed’

The 2019 summer movie season isn’t going quite the way film buffs would have hoped. The big budget cinematic offerings so far have mostly been subpar, with very few intriguing exceptions. Men in Black: International, unfortunately, isn’t one of those exciting outliers. The lacklustre spin-off of the Men in Black (MIB) series shifts the setting from the US to the UK branch of the galaxy-defending organisation but doesn’t bother to bring anything new or even slightly interesting to the franchise. Molly (Tessa Thompson), who witnessed the Men in Black in action when she was a child, manages to track down the MIB headquarters ...

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The Secret Life of Pets 2: A disjointed sequel struggling to find a reason to exist

The financial success of a movie pretty much guarantees whether or not a sequel will eventually pop up, as Hollywood studios eagerly try to milk any and every cash cow they can lay their hands on. But not all films actually merit or deserve a sequel. The Secret Life of Pets, for instance, clearly didn’t. The 2016 animated adventure – a peek at what pets get up to when their owners aren’t home – was no masterpiece, but it did rake in a lot of money. Illumination unsurprisingly decided to give the film a sequel, even though it seems like ...

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Dark Phoenix: not with a bang but a whimper

When the X-Men franchise was rebooted in 2011 in the form of X-Men: First Class, many were sceptical as to whether or not it would be able to offer fans something different. Bryan Singer’s original trilogy had pretty much delivered what fans had expected from an X-Men movie. Much to everyone’s surprise though, X-Men: First Class did offer something new, while the sequel, X-Men: Days of Future Past, practically shattered the ceiling for the franchise. The reboot had been a big success both critically and commercially until X-Men: Apocalypse, where you could feel that the wheels were starting to come off. ...

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Murder Mystery: an unexceptional, unmemorable summer movie

After starring together in Just Go With It, Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston have reunited for another comedy outing. But instead of taking the big screen route, this time around they have chosen to bring their adventure to the smallest of small screens. Available on a smartphone, or laptop if you so prefer, near you is the duo’s latest offering, Murder Mystery, the tale of a getaway gone awry. Created in the image of the many mystery movies which have come before it, only with a more comedic slant, this Netflix film focuses on a couple that goes to Europe on ...

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Artemis is one giant leap in the wrong direction for Andy Weir

The massive success of a debut project may propel its creator to global stardom, but it can also have some side effects. Operating under the shadow of an acclaimed first effort while struggling to meet its standards thenceforth can have its downsides, an idea that is conveniently illustrated by the phenomenon of the sophomore slump. Artemis appears to be Andy Weir’s sophomore slump. The American writer’s first novel, The Martian – the story of an astronaut stranded alone on Mars – was one of the most exciting, interesting and compelling science fiction adventures of recent years. Unfortunately, exciting, interesting and compelling are three of ...

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Aladdin: all spectacle and no heart

Disney has been busy churning out live-action remakes of its animated classics, and these revisits have been earning tonnes of money despite the fact that they invariably fail to elevate the original material in any significant way. The studio’s latest remake is Aladdin, a live-action adaptation of the beloved 1992 animated film of the same name. And does it exceed or even match the joy of the original? No. No, it does not. The storyline is all too familiar. With his pet monkey and partner in crime, Abu, by his side, Aladdin (Mena Massoud), a street urchin and petty thief, meets and ...

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Godzilla: King of Monsters is not great but delivers what it promised: monster action

Cinematic universes are all the rage these days, and staying true to this enduring trend of our times, Legendary Pictures has brought two of America’s most well-known movie monsters, King Kong and Godzilla, under one roof in what they call the MonsterVerse. Now most cinematic universes tend to get stale with the progression of each inter-connected film due to the heavy-handed interference of studios themselves, who care too much about uniformity, marketing and selling the film like a product. The MonsterVerse – which till now has given us Godzilla (2014), Kong: Skull Island (2017) and now Godzilla: King of ...

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What/If: Defying the norms of conventional television

It is no secret that modern day television has become more mainstream than it is creative. Unappealing stories, poor writing and constant recycling of antiquated ideas for TV have pushed away viewers who seek something unique and out of the blue for their entertainment. This is where the new Netflix neo-noir thriller What/If comes in, for it defies the norms of conventional television. Based on what I believe to be the concept of opportunity cost – something to lose, something to gain – the premise centres on the notion of power used by the privileged as an effective tool to manipulate the disadvantaged. Academy-award ...

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Chhalawa: Don’t waste your eidi or your time

What happens when you announce a film with the leading lady of the Pakistani film industry, who has also recently been honoured with a Tamgha-e-Imtiaz? Expectations are bound to skyrocket. With a comparatively newer cast alongside box office superstar Mehwish Hayat, Wajahat Rauf’s latest film Chhalawa released yesterday. Azfar Rehman will be seen playing a leading role for the first time here; he was last seen on the silver screen alongside Hayat in Punjab Nahi Jaungi in an extended cameo. Will Rehman be able to make it big with Chhalawa? Can Hayat carry an entire movie on her shoulders? Let’s find ...

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A simple yet grand Eid feast: rice-stuffed chicken and finger-licking Znoud el Sit

Eidul Fitr is almost upon us. Keeping in line with tradition, it is time to iron those shalwar kameez and new lawn outfits. Time to buy colourful bangles, matching jewellery and prepare for the arrival of guests. But those are not the only traditions. Another very important tradition is the Eid feast. This year I decided to ditch the usual chicken karhai/qorma and sawaiyan (gasps), and try something different. Something that is simple to make, yet looks grand on the table. So let’s get to it! Rice Stuffed Chicken My inspiration for the main course was a Middle Eastern delicacy of stuffed lamb ...

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