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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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Mag Review: Warcraft 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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Man vs Invading Fantasy Creatures In a (dud) Fantasy World

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By Mohammad Kamran Jawaid

In the first few minutes of the motion picture adaptation of the massively popular fantasy-strategy game Warcraft, we are briefly introduced to who may be the audience’s most relatable character: an Orc chieftain named Durotan (who has Toby Kebbel’s voice) – a brawny, pony-tailed ogre-looking warrior, with deep sad eyes and family values. His wife (voiced by Anna Galvin), is pregnant, and their world is ravaged and infertile. To his, and other Orc tribes, there is one way for the future – to invade another realm. And so, with this prologue, begins one of the most incomplete, half-explained movies you’ll see this summer.

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Mag Review: Alice Through the Looking Glass 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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Alice Is Bonkers Again! – She’s Talking Women’s Lib and Time Travel

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By Mohammad Kamran Jawaid

I underwent a mild shock (well, actually, more of a “hmm…how odd” expression) after watching Alice Through the Looking Glass, and going over to the popular movie review aggregator site Metacritic. The overall critic’s score of there is at a paltry 34% average. Far worse films have far better reviews.

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MAG Review: Aksbandh by Kamran Jawaid

The post is the updated copy of the review published in Mag the Weekly on May 28, 2016.

In ‘Aksbandh’, a Lot of People Will Die (Sometimes Laughing)

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By Mohammad Kamran Jawaid

Aksbandh is a far better title for a found footage film, let me tell you. The last one, Paranormal Karachi Nights, sounded a tad off, especially because the movie is set on a rest house deep in the woods around Drigh Lake – which is quite a bit of walk away from the city (well, approximately a 77 hour walk, if you trust Google maps). The goofier aspect of the previous title, however, is still embedded in the story.

Actually, calling the event a story, would be giving the movie too much credit; a much better word would have been “incident”.

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Mag Review: X-Men: Apocalypse by Kamran Jawaid

The post is the updated copy of the review published in Mag the Weekly on May 28, 2016.

And For Our Next Show, We Bring (Humdrum) Apocalypse to the Screen — Again

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By Mohammad Kamran Jawaid

In the heart of X-Men: Apocalypse – the latest part of the second X-Men trilogy that sounds both as ominous and dreadful as its title – there is a small gem of an action sequence with Quick Silver. Like in the last movie – X-Men: Days of Future Past, perhaps the second most memorable X-Men movie of all time – the speed-demon mutant, played by Evan Peters, zips across the location (this time the X-Men’s mansion), saving a lot of students, some in the nick of time, while having a bit of fun in the process. Sprightly written, and well executed, the sequence comes to us with an important message: even if the title bodes of evil, if the movie is having fun the audience will have fun.

Now, if only the filmmakers – director Bryan Singer and screenwriter Simon Kinberg (with story guys Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris), took this advice, it would have been wonderful day at the movies.

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Feature: A FAQ on Today’s Pakistani Cinema

This post is the unedited copy of the feature/analysis published in MAG the Weekly on 21st May, 2016

MediocreMediocre Movies, Creativity and the Box-Office – F.A.Q on Today’s Cinema

By Mohammad Kamran Jawaid

Filmmaking is a dangerously creative field. From it comes works of awe-inspiring, soul-lifting wonder, spanned across time, genres and audience tastes. From it also emerge personal convictions, arguments and career destroying egotistical wars, billions in trade, politics and the gnawing need to be in the spotlight. It’s a wonderful, disastrous high.

One of the biggest problems in movie industry is the narcissistic grudge-match between the audience, the filmmaker, and the critic. The maker, regardless of aptitude or skill-level, cares little of the audience (on certain passion-projects), and reviewers, who are (sometimes) rightly labeled as faultfinders with inadequate knowledge of making movies, point them out as the guardian of audiences tastes.

The concept of this feature sprang from such a conversation, a few weeks back, at a meeting with Mag – The Weekly’s editors. Presented below are some basic FAQ’s on the most basics of differing opinions.

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MAG Review: Mah-e-Mir by Kamran Jawaid

This post is the unedited and updated copy of the review published in Mag the Weekly, on the 13th May, 2016.

In ‘Mah-e-Mir’, Apparently, Failure to Communicate Is an Option

By Mohammad Kamran Jawaid

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There is a horrifically big, fantasy full-moon out every night in Mah-e-Mir, the pompous, all-over-the-place, drama fit for a stage-play.

The moon is so big, (and so badly composited over clouds), that it defies convention, comprehension – and lest I forget, laws of gravity and direction. This moon, popping up, down, left and right, is its own entity, and no matter how overly-dramatic, it is one of the good things I got for the price of my ticket.

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MAG Review: Captain America: Civil War by Kamran Jawaid

This post is the unedited copy of the review published in MAG-The Weekly on 13th May, 2016.

 

To Fight the Good Fight – for Peace, Justice and a Differing Point of View

By Mohammad Kamran Jawaid

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In Captain America: Civil War, a line-up of do-gooder heroes, most of whom are thoroughly introduced movies ago, face off against each other because of a difference of opinion. Anyone who believes that issues can be handled without conflict and a body-count (mostly bruises here, because these heroes are, of course good guys), has to be kidding. Peaceful negotiation is a job for the United Nations – a body that would, generally, take a long-time, to come to come to a point of mutual understanding.

Such balderdash, thankfully, doesn’t bother movie-dom – unless, of course, when it makes sense.

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