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MAG Review: Jack Reacher: Never Go Back by Farheen Jawaid

The post is the unedited copy of the review published in Mag the Weekly on the 12th of November 2016. Copy of the published version is at the end of the post.

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Jack (Or Tom): Run Man Run, Just Not Alone This Time

By Farheen Jawaid

Stars - Mag 3.5Jack Reacher (2012), the prequel to Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, was one of those movies that was okay in most parts, rose to something better by the time the end credits rolled, and when it came on TV elevated to a solid four-star entertainer.

Why you ask? Jack Reacher has an old done-right Hollywood action-thriller feel to it. It is a creeping feeling that warms up with time. Its story was generic, but the actors and the execution made it intricate, maybe even sophisticated. Like an onion with its layers – even if there is nothing new at the core, it’s a delight to see something with depth (the film, not the onion).

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MAG Review: Trolls by Farheen Jawaid

This post is the unedited copy of the review published in Mag the Weekly on Friday, 18th of November 2016. Published copy will be updated at the end of the post.

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Trolls: Singing, Dancing, Much Romancin’…Oh, erm…

By Farheen Jawaid

Stars - Mag 2The creepy looking dolls that made a splash on the pop-culture from the 60s till 90s got a movie of their own – and that just shows how marketing and sales can make one do most anything they want, besides making it a big hit, which is something only a select few from the industry can do. Bless commercialism.

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MAG Review: Lahore Se Aagey by Kamran Jawaid

This post is the unedited copy of the review published in Mag the Weekly on Friday, 18th November, 2016. The published version’s jpeg will be updated by Tuesday.

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Wholesale ‘Be Fiqriyan’

By Mohammad Kamran Jawaid

Stars - Mag 3In Lahore Se Aagey, the sequel to last years’ hit Karachi Se Lahore, time, space and relevance are dispensable assets that may have everything – and yet nothing – to do with the film. Regardless of their utter disregard, Lahore Se Aagey is a quick-release enterprise – a revved-up ride that factors fun above everything else. Fun, of course being the film’s imperative impulse, which greatly – and at instances, roaringly – resonated with the audience.

When the sound of laughter drowns senses, sensibilities are politely escorted out of the cinema hall.

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MAG Review: Jeewan Hathi by Kamran Jawaid

The post is the unedited copy of the review published in Mag the Weekly on the 12th of November 2016. Copy of the published version is at the end of the post.

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Jeewan Hathi – Or No Wonder Why Elephants Are Going Extinct

By Mohammad Kamran Jawaid

Stars - Mag 2 In Jeewan Haathi, a perplexingly made long-form short film of about 60 minutes, that is also for some reason also a socio-comedy, we see mass-corruption of a string of characters. The perplexing part is not that there is mass-corruption, or that it chooses to play the ever-so-popular “pin-the-blame-on-the-media” game and call itself a socio-comedy. No, the fact is that it wants us to believe that it is a feature film.

At about an hour’s mark, the film, written by the can-do-most-everything-wrong screenwriter Fasih Bari Khan (and I am talking in context to this film only), the characters reach a zenith of senseless awkwardness, and the end credits, strangely, start rolling by. My fault actually, because, first of all, I didn’t check to see what the running time was, and secondly, unlike most feature films, I was definitely looking forward to what directors Meenu and Farjad had to offer.

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Feature: India Vs Pakistan – Friendly (Media) Fire

The post is the unedited copy of the feature published in MAG the Weekly, on the 15th of October, 2016. Published copy below.

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India Vs Pakistan: Friendly Fire – Why Bollywood Will Always Sell, and Why We Can Never Be ‘Reel’ (and Real) Friends

By Mohammad Kamran Jawaid

Flashback: 1997. I was young, and incurably enamored by Bollywood (after Hollywood, of course); the Pakistani film industry was near comatose – done in by its own hands. Across the border, there was mesmerizing music, lush cinematography (that is, frames of high-contrast and brighter colors), and star-power. Cable television and unauthorized Indian television channels assisted in the familiarization process, and, personally speaking, as a consequence, I knew more about Indian political shenanigans than meeker upheavals at home.

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MAG Review: Mechanic: Resurrection by Farheen Jawaid

The post is an unedited copy of the review published in Mag the Weekly, on the 8th of October 2016 and can be found here.

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The Return of the Mechanic: He Fixes Villains – Not Your Car!

By Farheen Jawaid

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While not much is expected from action movies as a whole, few things are mandatory besides the action, and that is a kind of attachment with the leading hero or heroine. It can be done with a background story, revealed through dialogues, or the way they live, or a reveal that describes them as master of one’s art, pushed against their will into a situation, or normal people who become heroes when faced with life threatening situations, amidst a string of other generic ideas that makes an action hero, an action hero.

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MAG Review: The Magnificent Seven (2016) by Kamran Jawaid

The post is an unedited copy of the review published in Mag the Weekly, on the 8th of October 2016 and can be found here.

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The Magnificent Seven: Or, a Remake, of an Inspiration, of an Original.

By Mohammad Kamran Jawaid

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As child of the 80’s, I doubt if the cinemas in Pakistan had shown a re-run of The Magnificent Seven (1960) in my time. The original, which officially acknowledges its inspiration from the far-superior Seven Samurai (1954) by master Akira Kurosawa, was an adequate time-filler that had a lot going for it. The chief of these was a spectacular score by Elmer Bernstein – whose bits one can pick up in the remake by Antoine Fuqua.

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MAG Review: Zindagi Kitni Haseen Hay by Kamran Jawaid

The review is the unedited copy of the version published in MAG the Weekly on the 23rd of September 2016.

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Zindagi Kitni Haseen Hay – A Question? A Statement? Definitely Something to Ponder About!

By Mohammad Kamran Jawaid

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There is an oft-said line in the beginning of Zindagi Kitni Haseen Hay (ZKHH), directed by Anjum Shahzad, where a producer played by Nayyar Ejaz – with his over-played tones – says that television directors shouldn’t direct motion pictures. I kept thinking what Mr. Shahzad meant – was he, with his considerable television experience, targeting himself, or was he indicating a superficial ego, labeling himself a notch above his contemporaries.

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MAG Review: Actor In Law by Kamran Jawaid

The review is the unedited copy of the version published in MAG the Weekly on the 23rd of September 2016.

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An Actor’s Gotta Do, What a Filmi Lawyer’s Oughta Do!

By Mohammad Kamran Jawaid

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It is relatively easy to pin-point where director Nabeel Qureshi gets inspiration from. The tell-tale signs are so out-right open that only someone blindfolded by gush and enthusiasm would miss them.

Mr. Qureshi is Bollywood-struck – from Om Puri, (whose inclusion doesn’t hurt nor elevate the movie), to the obviously laid out background score, to the one-too-many nights of Rajkumar Hirani movies (right down to the high-contrast color-grading), and a song that has the mark of Vidhu Vinod Chopra (Mr. Hirani’s producing partner), the movie is a roughly-conjured chimera. At one point, early in the movie, Shaan Mirza (played by the always magnetic Fahad Mustafa), dresses up as Amitabh Bachchan’s “Shahenshah” for a “galli-ka-nukkadh” corner-function for another “Quaid” (no, not the-e-Azam kind).

Are these negatives in a full-on commercial social satire? Heavens no. But they certainly do distract. Maybe a teensy-bit.

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MAG Interview: Hassan Waqas Rana by Kamran Jawaid

This post is the unedited copy of the review published in Mag the Weekly, on 18th of June 2016.

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Hassan Waqas Rana – An Insight On the Man & Big Budget Cinema of Pakistan

By Mohammad Kamran Jawaid

A few years ago when WAAR came, I was one of the most vocal of its critics. So impassioned was my review (with due reason, of course), that the director himself voiced his opinion in the comments. One of my strongest arguments were the problems with the screenplay. Now years later, when I had an opportunity to have a long detailed conversation with WAAR’s producer Hassan Waqas Rana, he himself admits that the screenplay was at fault; he was, as he points out, a first time screenwriter. Although we talked about WAAR is detail, most of my conversation was about Mr. Rana’s next big – evidently far more extravagant – venture Yalghaar, set to come out this year.

Talking about WAAR, Mr. Rana says that “I didn’t write Dr. Zhivago”, later adding that critics should understand what they are writing about. “It had the philosophical context of a bloody axe”, he adds to the genre of his first film.

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