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Posts Tagged ‘Movie Review’

Blu-ray Review: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

March 8, 2019 | by Herija Green | Comments (0)
The Crimes of GrindelwaldGrindelwald shows he’s one of the most dangerous wizards in history.

After sending the Harry Potter franchise hurtling back some 60-plus years into the past with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, creator J.K. Rowling and director David Yates have returned with the second of five planned films in the series, The Crimes of Grindelwald. Time to find out if the “Wizarding World” still has plenty of magic left in it. Accio review!

THE PLOT

We pick up roughly a year after the events of the first film with Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) still in custody. When the Ministry attempts to move him from America to England for his trial, however, Grindelwald escapes. With the dark wizard once again on the loose, a young Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) approaches Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), who is barred from traveling internationally, to intervene.

Scamander initially wants to remain neutral, but when he learns Tina (Katherine Waterston) has gone to Paris to search for Credence (Ezra Miller), the same person Grindelwald is looking for, he packs up his things and heads to France with muggle friend Jacob (Dan Fogler) in tow. Tina soon locates Credence but is unable to apprehend him. Newt follows shortly thereafter and sets to work finding Tina.

Eventually the pair reunite, but all is not well as Grindelwald holds a rally, bringing both his followers and dozens of Aurors, including Tina, Newt’s brother Theseus (Callum Turner) and fiancee Leta Lestrange (Zoe Kravitz), as well as Credence, who wants to know who really is, and Newt. With so much magical power on both sides of the law converging in one place, it appears the time for a showdown is at hand.

THE GOOD

Although this is still Redmayne’s movie, expanding the roles of accomplished actors Jude Law and Johnny Depp brings more star power to the film, something we felt was lacking in the original with Waterston, Fogler and Alison Sudol (Queenie) getting a lot of screen time. All three have had their roles scaled back this time around, and while there are definitely some issues that arise from having so many characters it’s a net win for Crimes.

Crimes of Grindelwald may not advance things very far chronologically, but there are far more tie-ins to the Harry Potter films in the sequel. Beyond just the progression of Dumbledore’s part of the story, we also meet future Voldemort horcrux Nagini (Claudia Kim), a very young Professor McGonagall and ancient alchemist Nicholas Flamel, the owner of the Sorcerer’s Stone from the first HP story. Meeting familiar characters helps in a film that also has plenty of heretofore unseen ones running about.

As you’d suspect, the special effects are really strong, and there are some excellent sequences that show off how far technology has come since we first met Harry. Sure, there’s some of the same feelings here that we had with the Star Wars prequel like “why don’t they use that spell in the future?,” but you just have to roll with it. Creature design is also more impressive this time with the Zouwu the coolest of the bunch. Also, nifflers.

THE BAD

Even at more than two hours, Crimes ends up feeling muddled and a bit rushed at times. Some characters are introduced and then never brought back, such as Newt’s assistant Bunty, and other arcs move too quickly (see: Queenie). There’s just a lot going on in a relatively short amount of time, and looking back at it the film probably would’ve benefited from less “magic for magic’s sake” effects and more storyline development.

As it stands, there are too many relationships to track: Newt and Tina, Credence and Nagini, Theseus and Leta, Dumbledore and Grindelwold, Jacob and Queenie, Newt and Leta, and so on. Obviously some of these will evolve as we progress, but right now it creates confusion because there’s just not enough time to do them all justice. In that way, it lacks the focus of the HP films, which were about Harry, Ron and Hermione, and everything else intersected with that trio.

THE BONUS FEATURES

More than an hour of extras can be found here, including a talk with Rowling, a look at the casting of Law as Dumbledore, and a surprisingly interesting piece where Ezra Miller and Evanna Lynch (who played Luna Lovegood) watch scenes and react as fans. A number of in-depth looks at sets and scenes is also good viewing for Harry Potter fans. Fifteen minutes of deleted scenes round things out, but those offer little in terms of interesting content.

OVERALL

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is visually impressive and advances the story in some interesting ways. At the same time, however, it feels like it tried to bring too many elements into a two-hour film, resulting in an unfocused narrative.

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Blu-ray Review: Ralph Breaks the Internet

February 21, 2019 | by Herija Green | Comments (0)
We usually save the phrase “world design” for video games, but the folks behind Ralph deserve a lot of credit for taking the internet and turning it into a physical realm. The manifestations of pop ups, spam blockers, search engines, websites and more are really clever, and it ends up making the world of the internet the star of the movie, much more so than Ralph or Vanellope.
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Blu-ray Review: A Star is Born

February 15, 2019 | by Herija Green | Comments (0)
We really enjoyed the way things were filmed and presented, particularly the concert performances. There aren’t any tricks here. These are the real people on stage in front of real crowds with a cameraman or two circling them as they perform. That’s it. Cooper also uses a lot of unique framing and angles during the quieter times, and the result is a film that’s visually interesting from start to finish.
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Blu-ray Review: Bohemian Rhapsody

February 10, 2019 | by Herija Green | Comments (0)
Unsurprisingly, Malek’s performance is the best thing about the film, hands down. The way he looks and carries himself just exudes stardom, and he owns every scene he’s in — and he’s in just about all of them. We haven’t seen all of the other nominees, but Malek would be a worthy winner, and this is sure to be a launching point for his career in films.
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Blu-ray Review: Overlord

February 7, 2019 | by Herija Green | Comments Comments Off on Blu-ray Review: Overlord
Beyond the performances, Overlord does an effective job of building suspense in the early going and then transitioning to some good action set pieces later on. The film is judicious with its green screen usage, keeping everything feeling gritty and real. Plus, when the time does come for CGI it’s really well done.
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