Stories about hollywood

‘Victoria and Abdul’ wittily and poignantly portrays the bond between an authoritative British queen and her Indian-Muslim munshi

Victoria and Abdul, the latest offering by director Stephen Frears, is a cautiously patterned yet realistic biographical drama about the deep friendship between the Queen of England and her Indian-Muslim servant. The story of this rather unbelievable bond is all about reminiscence and loss, making it immensely pleasing to watch a historical narrative presented with such convincing solemnity. Based on eminent author Shrabani Basu’s book of the same name, Victoria and Abdul is set in 1887 against the backdrop of the queen’s golden jubilee – the 50th year of her ascension to the throne of England. Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal), ...

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‘Murder on the Orient Express’ is an unremarkable, conventional and lifeless adaptation of one of the most renowned classics

In an age when cinema and filmmaking is arguably at its biggest, it is surprising that the ‘whodunit’ seems like a genre from a bygone era. While television shows like Twin Peaks, Sherlock and the latest Riverdale have continued to reinforce the classical construct of the genre increasingly well and creatively, only a handful of films, in recent times, have tried to bring the genre back to life. This, again, is surprising because nothing gets ‘butts in seats’ like a good, old-fashioned murder-mystery with a twist. Director and actor Kenneth Branagh likely feels the same way, which can only explain why he decided to adapt Agatha ...

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‘Downsizing’ seems pretty wacky, even for a science fiction movie

Ever since his 1999 sophomore break-out feature Election, filmmaker Alexander Payne has been slowly ascending to ranks of one of the truly great filmmakers of our time. With the release of each film, Payne has shown remarkable command over crafting authentic and introspective character studies of seemingly ill-fated guys that act as dramadies. All of this is set in the backdrop of small-town America. However, with his seventh film, Downsizing, Payne is making his first foray into science fiction with a film that seems very much outside his realm and usual body of work. The wacky premise imagines a world where people – ...

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‘Basmati Blues’ unsurprisingly does what Hollywood has always done – exoticise India’s ‘otherness’

In case you were wondering, the white man’s burden is still alive and well! Even though it is the 21st century, while India is launching US satellites into space and is the world’s fastest growing major economy, the country’s poverty and social ills continue be alluring for moviemakers in the West. Falling back on clichés is a remarkably effortless way to create content for mass entertainment. Every culture offers ready stereotypes, and there are a large number of people in other parts of the world who readily lap up the concocted and twisted narratives. It is not surprising then, that ...

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Why are female celebrities asked shallow and personal questions but the men are asked professional ones?

I’m not going to lie, I’m a fan of red-carpet events. The pretty dresses, the sparkly jewellery, the glitz, the glamour, the hair and makeup – I love it all. Does that make me a bad feminist? I really hope not. I wholeheartedly believe in a woman’s right and choice to celebrate her looks, her body and her sexuality. But at the same time, it also sets me off when the media reduces a woman to merely that – just a pretty face. At the trailer launch for her upcoming film, Mahira Khan was questioned by a few reporters regarding those controversial pictures with Ranbir Kapoor. ...

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7 reasons why Pakistanis should be extremely proud of Kumail Nanjiani

For anyone who doesn’t know who Kumail Nanjiani is, he’s a Pakistani-American comedian, writer and actor. Nanjiani was born and raised in Karachi, graduating from Karachi Grammar School before moving to the United States to attend college. If you’re still reading this, you’re probably wondering, so what? Why do I care? What has he done for Pakistan? Well, he’s doing the impossible – he’s representing Pakistan, in a positive light, in Hollywood. Wondering how? Well, keep reading! 1. A Pakistani hosting Saturday Night Live (SNL)… wait, what?! Your host for the evening: @kumailn! ✨ #SNL pic.twitter.com/5P0RzSiEmn — Saturday Night Live (@nbcsnl) October 14, 2017 For anyone familiar with American ...

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The Hitman’s Bodyguard would have been a clichéd action movie if it weren’t for Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L Jackson

Even when the script they have to work with isn’t quite exceptional, talented actors still have the ability to elevate the mediocre material they’re provided and turn it into an entertaining cinematic experience for the audience. That is exactly what Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L Jackson have done with The Hitman’s Bodyguard, an otherwise middling action comedy that benefits from the chemistry and charisma of its leads. The actors portray two bitter rivals who must set aside their differences and work together to evade countless armed baddies on a journey across Europe. Reynolds appears in the role of Michael Bryce, a ...

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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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Powerful sexual predators like Harvey Weinstein can get away with sexual harassment because our silence is their accomplice

I didn’t know who Harvey Weinstein was till I read the The New Yorker exposé on him. For those of you who live under the same rock as I do, he’s an Oscar-winning producer and the co-founder of Miramax. I read each and every victim’s story and felt disgusted to the core, but somehow I felt as if I had read these stories before, only this time the victims were different. The only common factor was a lecherous and sleazy man, making unwanted sexual overtures. My initial thoughts were, ‘why didn’t these women speak up earlier about these harrowing incidents’? I brought this up ...

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Kingsman: The Golden Circle is a case of too many A-list cooks spoiling a cinematic broth

Filmmaker Matthew Vaughn is notoriously known for opting out of sequels of popular movie franchises that he himself is responsible for creating. The Kick-Ass franchise was the first instance when Vaughn skipped out on directing a sequel to a hugely successful first part. The rebooted X-Men series was next in line to experience Vaughn’s rejection. Now, regardless of how badly these decisions went down with the followers of the aforementioned franchises, Vaughn’s judgment proved to be spot on in both cases. While X-Men: Days of Future Past was almost respectable, Kick-Ass 2 was bashed left, right and centre by both the audience and critics alike. Given his impeccable track record, ...

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