Friday, November 16, 2018

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

My ViewFantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald  (2018)  PG-13   After Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) help apprehend the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp), Grindelwald makes good on his promise and escapes. Grindelwald sets about to find followers in his plot to take over the world from all non-magical beings. Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) convinces Newt to take on Grindelwald once again. I loved the first film which was filled with wonderful beasts of all types. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about this film. There are so many characters which take forever to develop, and it takes so long to get going, the film feels like it’s four hours in length. The first film was fun, this one is just tedious, and unlike the original film, this one doesn’t give us enough new beasts. A couple of characters that I loved in the first Fantastic Beasts, Jacob, the sidekick of Newt and Jacob’s love Queenie, are just lost in this film filled with characters. Once again, Johnny Depp sleepwalks through another performance. Can Hollywood quit giving him jobs he longer deserves? The film feels like one long setup for the next film and has a horrible, anticlimactic ending. There are no closing credit scenes in this film, but I suggest you just skip the whole thing.   My Rating: Cable   Fantastic Beasts Website
My ViewInstant Family  (2018)  PG-13  A couple (Mark Wahlberg, Rose Byrne) want to adopt and fall in love with an adorable kid. To their surprise, if they want that child, they have to adopt the kids two siblings. Can the couple survive this ‘Instant Family?’ I can’t believe I am saying this about a filmmaker who gave us the Daddy’s Home series, but I adore this film. It’s funny, warm, sweet look at a foster family trying to figure out the dynamics of it all. Yes, the film can get a little silly at times, but this film is full of heart and writer/director Sean Anders (who has fostered kids in his own family) is passionate about this subject, and it shows. The film was shot in Atlanta, and many of the kids in the movie are actual foster kids in real life. Go see this fantastic film. You will laugh and shed a few tears along the way.   My Rating: Full Price   Instant Family Website
My ViewWidows  (2018)  Their husbands have died in a botched heist, and a drug lord is demanding the money that was stolen from him, three of the widows plan to rob a local politician. Academy Award winning director Steve McQueen and writer Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl) gives a heist movie like no other. The film has plenty of twists and turns (one I unfortunately saw coming from a mile away) and moves at a quick pace. The cast is top notch with Viola Davis giving another outstanding performance that only she can give. This isn’t a perfect movie, I have a few problems with some of the plot, but it is worth seeing because of the incredible acting of the cast.  My Rating: Full Price   Widows Website
IndiefestThe Ballad of Buster Scruggs  (2018)  R  An anthology film comprised of six stories taking place in the old west. So let me tell you that this is a Coen Brothers movie and it acts like it. The film is six stories tied together by a storybook that we see when each story starts. The film is part comedy, part drama that is at times funny, other times sad or even scary. The story I enjoyed the most was the first one of the film, a play on the singing cowboy films of the 30s and 40s. The singing cowboy is played to perfection by Tim Blake Nelson, a cowboy who plays guitar while riding his horse and is the best gunslinger in the west. The ending of the story has a big payoff that I really enjoyed. Not all the stories worked, but there is enough in this film to satisfy any viewer. I will warn you that there is quite a bit of violence and death in this film, some of it comedic, some of it incredibly heartbreaking and poignant, so don’t be fooled by the trailer thinking that the whole movie is a comedy. I am a big fan of westerns, so I really enjoyed this film and its variety of tales that it told.   My Rating: Full Price   The Ballad of Buster Scruggs Website
My ViewThe Front Runner  (2018)  R  American Senator Gary Hart (Hugh Jackman) was in the driver’s seat for the Democratic nominee for President in 1988. His career and campaign are ruined when it’s discovered that he has been having a scandalous love affair. This film explores the campaign of Hart that literally fell apart in just three weeks. It was the beginning of when mainstream news reporting became tabloid news. Jackman gives an excellent performance as the man who thought his personal life wasn’t anyone’s business.  This film is more about how the alleged affair (Hart and the woman he was caught with to this day deny that slept together) affect the people in the campaign and his family, especially his wife played by the incredible Vera Farmiga. I am guessing that the film left out one of the most famous photos of all time, Donna Rice sitting on Hart’s lap in front of the ‘Monkey Business’ boat due to copyright issues but by not being in the film, it sits out like a sore thumb. I liked this film, but I just don’t thank any aspect of this movie is Oscar quality.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee    The Front Runner Website
Indiefest:  Green Book  (2018)  PG-13  An Italian-American bouncer, Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen) is hired to drive an African-American classical pianist, Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali) across the deep south on tour in the 1960s. This is a highly enjoyable movie with two great actors who have unbelievable chemistry together on the screen. This road-trip film about two people with nothing in common moves at such a quick pace that the movie feels more like an hour long than its two-hour length. This is a funny, touching and often moving film that explores how we may think we are vastly different from each other but in reality, we have a lot in common. My favorite scene, which is near the end of the film, is where the two men go to a bar and Don gets up and plays rock and roll with the house band while the whole bar goes nuts. I think you will love this film as much as I did.    My Rating: Full Price   Green Book Website
My ViewA Private War  (2018)  R    One of the greatest war correspondents of our time, Marie Colvin (Rosamund Pike) is devoted to getting the story at all costs. Its always hard to make a story about a person you don’t like, but director Matthew Heineman and screenwriter Arash Amel pull it off. Colvin was a reporter that went to some of the worst war-torn areas of the world and did insightful and often moving stories about how war was affecting the civilians in that part of the world. Pike, in a demanding role, makes us root for Marie even though she was a problematic, self-centered person that certainly suffered from Post-traumatic stress disorder. The supporting cast is exceptional with Jamie Dornan standing out as a photographer that teams up with Marie. A Private War is not a perfect film as the story lags a bit in the middle  but it does give you an inside look at what reporters go through in war.  My Rating: Full Price
Forgotten Film:  All the Real Girls  (2003) Paul (Paul Schneider) is what we call a womanizer, a guy who sleeps with any woman he can seduce, only to move on from her when he has slept with her. His world changes when he meets his best-friends sister, Noel (Zooey Deschanel), an 18-year-old who has just come back home from boarding school. Looming large in the relationship is that Noel is a virgin. What I love about this movie is the film isn’t about Noel’s virginity, it’s about Paul trying to have a healthy relationship with the first woman he has let into his heart. The dialogue is sharp and feels real. If your type of movie is about falling in love with the right person for you, then this is a perfect film for you.    My Rating: Full Price   All the Real Girls Website

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald: Support Staff for Johnny Depp

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:   Ralph Breaks the Internet  (2018)  PG  Ralph, and his pal Venellope go on a search on the internet for a new joystick for Ralph’s game. If they don’t find the joystick, Ralph’s game will be turned off. I loved the first film, and the trailer for this film looks like the filmmakers have found magic once again.    Ralph Breaks the Internet Website
Until Next Time!

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