Stories about filmmakers

Annabelle: Creation is better than it’s sequel yet brings nothing new to the horror genre

Annabelle: Creation is the latest installment to be released in the Conjuring universe. The series was initiated after James Wan’s The Conjuring witnessed massive success at the box office in 2013. Since then, a sequel, a prequel and now a pre-prequel to both The Conjuring and 2014’s Annabelle have been produced. Set in the early 60s, Annabelle: Creation follows the story of a former toy maker Sam Mullins (Anthony LaPaglia) and his wife, Esther (Miranda Otto). Following the tragic death of their young daughter, the pair has gone 12 years without a child. That is, until they happily welcome a nun and six orphaned girls into their California farmhouse. However, ...

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The untold story of what made ‘Among the Believers’ an Emmy-worthy documentary

In the summer of 2014, I was living in New York when I met Hemal Trivedi. She told me she was making a film about Pakistan and wanted me to join her and the other director, Mohammed Ali Naqvi, to help them craft the narrative authentically. I had seen dozens of films about Pakistan that were made by foreign filmmakers and honestly, most of them were horribly inaccurate. I felt it was a story worth telling which is why I decided to take the job. The first step of editing any documentary is to familiarise oneself with the raw footage by ...

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Rings: The utterly lifeless sequel no one asked for

Rings, the latest franchise horror sequel, has very little reason to actually exist. It arrives 15 years after 2002’s The Ring, and feels both forced and unnecessary in every facet. It also has very little connection to the first two films, made evident by the fact that none of the major stars of the first two films turned up for this one. Rings also conveniently ignores the events of 2005’s much maligned, The Ring Two.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NFB4eZSVgBE Now, one of the best and most original things about The Ring was how it used VHS tapes to create a genuinely scary premise. With ...

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La Haine should definitely be on your bucket list

La Haine is a french film, written and directed by Mathieu Kassovitz. The film was released in 1995 and has rapidly grown in popularity in the world of cinema. La Haine was released at a very defining moment in French Cinema where the mantel of Jean-Luc Godard, Francois Truffaut and Claude habrol was being replaced by the up and coming filmmakers who were not particularly influenced by the likes of Alfred Hitchcock or Orson Welles, but more by new American cinema like Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Roman Coppola, and Spike Lee. Vincent Cassel in La Haine (1995).Photo: ...

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If you thought Lollywood was booming, let 2016 remind you why it’s not

Compiling a list of the worst Pakistani movies of 2016 is a daunting task, and not only because it is guaranteed to increase the number of one’s enemies in show business. It is a real challenge because keeping the list down to 10 items is a formidable task when the number of the year’s bad films is much larger. Much, much larger. A total of about 30Urdu films were released in 2016. A few, such as Mah-e-Mir, Ho Mann Jahaan and Actor-in-Law, were actually good but the vast majority failed to deliver on the promise of the resurgent Pakistani film industry, whose revival is the subject ...

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Will Mirzya turn out to be just another version of Mirza Sahibaan’s folklore?

Filmmaker and screenwriter, Rakesh Omprakash Mehra, waited a couple of years after the release of his award winning biopic, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (2013), to entice filmgoers with another mystic drama film. This time, Mehra has placed the genre of the socio-political story in the form of a charismatic folklore to present a war-action filled romantic anecdote – Mirzya. Photo: IMDb   Mirzya is based on the epic love story of Mirza Sahibaan, one of the most poignant Punjabi folktales. It is about the courage and distress of a woman who sacrificed her love to avoid bloodshed. The idea is touching and has attracted numerous filmmakers ...

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Pink: No, she does not want to have sex with ‘you’!

How do you break a woman who has the audacity to have a spine to stand up for herself? What does it take to knock her down if she has the gall and gumption to fight against all that’s wrong? How do you shut a girl who has the temerity to have a rational mouth on her? Well, you can’t! And B-Town has finally manifested the point in all its cinematic mightiness. In the prevailing culture of putrid patriarchy, if a female refuses to submit, it is considered as an attack on the male ego. You label her a slut, ...

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The struggle has paid off – the Pakistani film industry is finally awake

There is certain redemption in resurgence. A feeling of hope and of renewal, of things starting anew, of setting the old wrongs right. Pakistani cinema has come up by leaps and bounds in the last few years. From a struggling franchise engulfed in out-dated ideas desperately clinging on in order to survive and become a booming industry reminiscent of the golden days and a slight peek into the wondrous possibilities that lie ahead. Pakistani cinema has finally arrived and as a keen devotee of this resurrection it is apparent that the film industry is here to stay. Although the current situation resembles ...

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A spooky treat: Pakistan’s first believable found-footage film, Aksbandh

Aksbandh, Lollywood’s first-of-a-kind horror movie, which has been inspired by the found-footage format in American supernatural horror movie series Paranormal Activity, hit cinemas on May 20, 2016. The movie, which is also similar to the Final Destination series, was made in partnership with Hum TV, Urdu1 and Express News, and has been directed by Emram Hussain and co-written by Ayaz Samoo. The story revolves around a group of amateur college-going film-makers who wish to make a movie of their own. To shoot their project, they decide to go to the Mangrove forests of Larkana (Sindh). The group starts its adventure in a frenzy of excitement. However, as they go further onto ...

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The verdict is out: Presenting Bollywood’s most popular versus most impactful movies from 2015

2015 was a mixed bag of a year for Bollywood. On one hand, we saw a lot of new-age filmmakers come up with some really off-beat stuff, while on the other, we were subjected to some same old, regressive, masala films. The classic confusion that every movie critic faces in picking the top films of the year is whether to go with flicks that have Box Office tills ringing or go with movies that set one’s own heart fluttering. I have simply avoided the whole dilemma by including both. So without any further ado, here are the top five popular movies ...

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