Review of FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD – Rated PG-13

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This humble opinion is brought to by you T. K. Edwards

FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD

Rated PG-13  – 2 hr. 14 mins

Director by:  David Yates

Cast:  Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller, Zoe Kravitz, Jude Law, Johnny Depp

The second installment of the “Fantastic Beasts” series written by author J.K. Rowling following the adventures of magical zoologist Newt Scamander.

NO SPOILERS BELOW

Right off the bat I’m going to tell you FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD is not at all what you’re expecting it to be.  It’s not a bad movie, but it is more of a “filler” film and there are some very boring moments – in fact the 15 year old teenager sitting next to me actually fell asleep and started to snore half way through the movie…so that speaks for how engaging this movie was.  The problem with FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD is that there isn’t enough action to keep it’s audience fixed on the screen and the characters this time around are not as fascinating as they were in the first film, FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM.  That film is the complete opposite of this new release because I couldn’t keep my eyes off the screen and I didn’t want to blink either because there was sooo much going on that I didn’t want to miss anything. There were loads of these strangely fantastic creatures scattered throughout the film and the special effects were a sight to behold.  Another reason why the first one was so good was because of the character Jacob Kowalski, played by Dan Fogler. He is what my brother and I call our “Scooby-Doo Hero”, which is a character that is thrown into these extraordinary scenarios, wanting at times to get out, but in the end becomes the most courageous character in the story (just like Scooby-Doo and Shaggy).  Jacob Kowalski is a “No-Maj” aka “Muggle” aka a person with no magic that the audience can relate to and follow along with on his journey discovering this new wizarding world and all these new “fantastic beasts”. In a sense, he is our new Harry Potter in these new series of movies, so I was extremely curious how they were going to incorporate him in FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD because at the end of the previous film his mind was wiped clean.  Now don’t worry, I’m not going to spoil anything for this new movie, but what I will say is that all the ways they connected these two movies and their stories were not very…umm…well…what’s the word I’m looking for…oh I know, creative. Which is very disappointing because J.K. Rowling wrote both of them and will be writing the next ones as well. I understand her reasoning behind why though, she wants to bring the main story of Jude Law’s younger version of Dumbledore and his relationship between Johnny Depp’s younger version of Grindelwald to the forefront.  And let’s ALL be honest here…that’s the main reason why we’re really going to these new FANTASTIC BEASTS films now. I’m man enough to admit that’s my main reason for wanting to see these films because it’s a great story and worth telling on the screen, but the problem is J.K. Rowling wrote the first film and Dumbledore wasn’t a part of it. Now that he is perfectly cast by Jude Law, Rowling has the opportunity to add more depth to the story, but must sacrifice at least one film to lay the groundwork and unfortunately it is this current release that has drawn the short straw.  FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD is not the best movie in this franchise and if included with the other HARRY POTTER films would rank very low on my list of which are the best. But it is a part of this series and does have some great easter eggs and Harry Potter lore scattered throughout it, so with that being said…it is with a sigh and a cringe that I must say…go ahead and see this one in the theaters – but only if you’re a fan of the HARRY POTTER books/films. Until next time, thanks for reading.

P.S. – There is no post credit scene.

SHERLOCK GNOMES – Rated PG – 1 hr. 26 mins. 

Sherlock Gnomes

SHERLOCK GNOMES – Rated PG – 1 hr. 26 mins. 

Director:  John Stevenson 

Starring:  James McAvoy, Kelly Asbury, Mary J Blidge, Emily Blunt, Michael Caine, Johnny Depp, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Jamie Demetriou) 

As we venture into London on the heels of what just might turn out to be Sherlock Gnomes (Johnny Depp) biggest case, he, along with his partner Dr. Watson (Chiwetel Ejiofor), are trying to figure out what has happened to all the garden gnomes about town, as they are many of them missing

When Gnomeo (James McAlvoy) and Juliet (Emily Blunt) find themselves moved to a new, yet not some glamorous garden, it is up to them and their fellow family and friends to hastily get their new home into tip-top shape…

But when Gnomeo & Juliet’s family and friends also vanish into thin air, they must team up with Sherlock & Watson, to find their loved ones, and all the other gnomes who are missing, before it’s too late….

I give SHERLOCK GNOMES a rating of WAIT AND CATCH THIS FILM ON DVD OR NETFLIX:  In staying to true Sherlock form, Sherlock Gnomes is a “who done it” caper, written and animated, with the little viewers in mind.  And to not make it so difficult for the adults to get through it, they managed to use enough of ELTON JOHN’s music to keep it snappy and jingly the whole way through.  They even managed to get Ms. Mary J Blidge herself to add a tune along the way.  And the voiceovers throughout seemed to be perfectly cast too, as who else but Johnny Depp would be able to perform “the perfect Sherlock Holmes”…oops, I mean Sherlock Gnomes character…along with his dastardly mischievous style J  But, as the little kids around me (4-7) seemed to be intrigued, the larger kids around me seem less enamored throughout the film, as this very sweet and endearing storyline seemed to be moving way to slow for any of them.  Although, I must also share, that my 18-year-old daughter and her boyfriend, said that they liked it too…

So, if Gnomes are your thing, and you enjoy Sherlock too, then by all means grab the fam and head out to a theater this weekend, to catch this film on a big screen near you.  But, if you aren’t too fond of Gnomes, or Sherlock Holmes…then you might want to take my advice and wait and pick up this film on DVD, or when it hits on NETFLIX, as even with its mild-mannered entertainment throughout, I just can’t make you drop the big bucks to catch it on the big screen, with your entire family in tow…

Kathy Kaiser

Murder on the Orient Express – Rated PG-13 – 1 hr 54 mins.

Murder on the orient express

Murder on the Orient Express -Rated PG–13 – 1 hr. 54 mins.

BELOW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS…CONTINUE READING AT OWN RISK

Director:  Kenneth Branagh

Writers:  Michael Green (screenplay by), Agatha Christie (based upon the novel by)

Starring  Kenneth Branagh, Penelope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Josh Gad, Leslie Odom Jr., Michelle Pfeiffer, Daisy Ridley, Derek Jacobi, Tom Bateman, Marwan Kenzari, Olivia Colman, Lucy Boynton, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Sergei Polunin, Miranda Raison

Murder on the Orient Express is the new film directed by and starring Kenneth Branagh.  It is based on the Agatha Christie mystery novel of the same name.  The film follows the brilliant detective Hercule Poirot (Branagh) taking a break from solving impossible crimes by riding on a lavish train called the Orient Express.  While his journey begins very innocent, it quickly turns into Poirot attempting to solve the murder of one of the passengers aboard the Orient Express which is filled with a terrific cast of suspects which include Penelope Cruz, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Josh Gad, Tom Bateman, Derek Jacobi, Leslie Odom Jr., Daisy Ridley, Marwan Kenzari, Olivia Colman, Lucy Boynton, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, and Sergei Polunin.  

Let me first start by saying I can never make my mind up about whether film remakes are good ideas or bad ideas.  You see some that are great like Cape Fear, Ocean’s Eleven, The Fly, King Kong, etc.  But then there are those that are not so great.  The one’s where you hear everyone say, “what were they thinking?” or “why did they remake that one?”; films like Psycho, Arthur, Point Break, etc.  Murder on the Orient Express is not one of those films.  This remake is warranted.  This is a story that deserves retelling.  I think Hollywood should continue remaking this movie every 40 years.  Every time with an updated star studded cast.  Not many people, at least that I have spoken to, knew this was even a remake.  They thought it was just another stand alone film.  I am one of the very few movie goers these days that has seen the original 1974 classic Murder on the Orient Express.  And like the 2017 version, it had a cast of legends including the talents of Lauren Bacall, Martin Balsam, Jacqueline Bisset, Jean-Pierre Cassel, SIR SEAN CONNERY (I’m a huge James Bond fan), Anthony Perkins, Michael York, Vanessa Redgrave, Ingrid Bergman (who won the Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her role as Greta in the picture) and finally Albert Finney as the famous detective Hercule Poirot (who was also nominated for an Academy Award in a Leading Role for the picture).  Now at first, I did find it very hard going into this new version of the film without thinking about the old one.  I wondered if all the details would be the same, but mainly the ending.  Don’t worry, I’m not going to ruin the “who done it” ending…(it was Colonel Mustard with candlestick in the library btw), but as I watched the film I really didn’t think too much about the other movie.  I really think Kenneth Branagh’s version stood on its own and that is due to his performance as Poirot.  He did his own thing with the character and didn’t copy from Finney’s 1974 version of the character.  I love it when an actor can do this.  Take a very colorful charismatic character and make it their own.  For example, the character of James Bond (as I secretly mentioned above) has been played by six different actors (I don’t EVER count David Niven) and all of them have made the character their own in each of their films.  Kenneth Branagh did this and I openly applaud him.

The other players of this film were very entertaining to watch too, but no one really stood out as a must see.  I really wasn’t waiting for any of the characters to make an appearance.  They were all introduced so subtly, that I was constantly thinking to myself, “Oh there’s Josh Gad.  Oh there’s Penelope Cruz.  Oh Michelle Pfeiffer is in this too.  By the time Willem Dafoe made his appearance I completely forgot he was in it; which made for a pleasant surprise (LOL).  Please don’t misunderstand, I don’t want to take anything away from any of them.  I love watching them all in everything they do, but this movie was clearly the Kenneth Branagh Show.  He took the cake and everyone else in it were the sprinkles on top of that cake.  The only person you’re really waiting to see what they do is Johnny Depp.  But let’s face it, you’re always waiting to see what Johnny Depp does.  He’s such a great actor and I think the character he plays in this film was a quietly risky choice on his part.  It felt like he was tapping into his John Dillinger Public Enemies roots, which is fitting because this film is set in the 1930s.

Now getting to the film itself.  I thought it was very good and shot beautifully.  I don’t want to go into too many details in the film, but there was a scene with Willem Dafoe that made me grin from ear to ear with what they did with the camera and the scene.  I loved it.  Probably my favorite shot of the film.  Kenneth Branagh’s use of the camera in his films has gotten so much more creative and daring when he’s telling a story.  That’s how you know you’re watching a good director.  Their style adapts and changes for the better with each film they make.  Don’t believe me?  Go back and watch some of Branagh’s earlier films and you’ll see my point.  Watch them in this order:

 

  • Dead Again
  • Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
  • Hamlet
  • Sleuth
  • Thor
  • Cinderella
  • Murder on the Orient Express

 

Each one of these films are very good and worth watching at least once, but you can tell with each one that he’s adapting his craft and “changing with the times” to make the best picture possible.  As for his latest film, Murder on the Orient Express, my suggestion is go see it in the theater if you’re a fan of the 1974 original film or just a Kenneth Branagh fan, otherwise wait for it to watch at home.  Either way, this one is definitely worth seeing.  

Until next time, thanks for reading.

this humble opinion was brought to you by: T.K. Edwards

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES Rated PG-13 – 2 hrs. 9 mins.

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PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES

Rated PG-13 – 2 hrs. 9 mins. 

Starring Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Javier Bardem, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Brenton Thwaites, Kaya Scodelario and Sir Paul McCartney

As we venture into the 5th Installment that Producer Bruckheimer has brought to life…its seems that many a year has passed, and young Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites) is longing for his father to return, even though his present destiny is that of living out life at sea…  

When young Turner attempts to find the one, the only Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), to assist him in finding the Trident of Poseidon, it seems that they both need this artifact to save someone they love, as Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem) and his ghostly crew, are wanting to rid this world of Jack Sparrow, once and for all!  

Enter the fan favorite, Captain Hector Barbossa, who has a few tricks up his own sleeve too, as he assists Sparrow and Turner in their quest, and to live out his own good fortune at sea… 

I give PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES a rating of MUST SEE ON THE BIG SCREEN and in 3D! Talk about exciting, I was so pumped to see that this film truly harkens back to the feel and swashbuckling adventure of 2003’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” as I had read in the notes about the film, thus allowing both new and seasoned viewers a film to behold! Depp is still channeling Sparrow as fab as he ever could, and him reuniting with Rush, Bloom and Knightley was the much needed boost that this franchise needed, as PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES seemed to be just one big ol mess when it was all through! Bardem is exceptional as well, playing the mean and nasty Captain Salazar, thus adding another Pirate that you will love to hate! Youngsters Thwaites and Scodelaria round out the cast rather nicely this time around too, bringing these new characters to life, and adding some much needed new blood to this ever-evolving tale. PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES is an absolute MUST SEE for any Pirate loving gent or lass within your family over the age of 13! And if possible, I suggest you see this film in 3D too, as you want to experience it, and all its Pirate MADNESS in multi-dimensional magnificence, the whole way through!

Kathy Kaiser

JOHNNY’s BACK!!! ~ CHECK OUT the NEW TRAILER for DISNEY’s PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES – Hits theaters May 26

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Johnny Depp returns to the big screen as the iconic, swashbuckling anti-hero Jack Sparrow in the all-new “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.” The rip-roaring adventure finds down-on-his-luck Captain Jack feeling the winds of ill-fortune blowing strongly his way when deadly ghost sailors, led by the terrifying Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem), escape from the Devil’s Triangle bent on killing every pirate at sea—notably Jack. Jack’s only hope of survival lies in the legendary Trident of Poseidon, but to find it he must forge an uneasy alliance with Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario), a brilliant and beautiful astronomer, and Henry (Brenton Thwaites), a headstrong young sailor in the Royal Navy. At the helm of the Dying Gull, his pitifully small and shabby ship, Captain Jack seeks not only to reverse his recent spate of ill fortune, but to save his very life from the most formidable and malicious foe he has ever faced.

“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” also stars Kevin R. McNally as Joshamee Gibbs, Golshifteh Farahani as the sea-witch Shansa, Stephen Graham as Scrum, David Wenham as Scarfield and Geoffrey Rush as Captain Hector Barbossa.

Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg are directing “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” with Jerry Bruckheimer producing. The executive producers are Mike Stenson, Chad Oman, Joe Caracciolo, Jr. and Brigham Taylor. Jeff Nathanson wrote the screenplay. “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” drops anchor in U.S. theaters on May 26, 2017.

CHECK OUT THE NEW TEASER TRAILER FOR PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES -HITS THEATERS MAY 26, 2017

 

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Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is in theaters May 2017 in 3D, RealD 3D and IMAX 3D! Watch first look. #APiratesDeathForMe

Johnny Depp returns to the big screen as the iconic, swashbuckling anti-hero Jack Sparrow in the all-new “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.” The rip-roaring adventure finds down-on-his-luck Captain Jack feeling the winds of ill-fortune blowing strongly his way when deadly ghost sailors, led by the terrifying Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem), escape from the Devil’s Triangle bent on killing every pirate at sea—notably Jack. Jack’s only hope of survival lies in the legendary Trident of Poseidon, but to find it he must forge an uneasy alliance with Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario), a brilliant and beautiful astronomer, and Henry (Brenton Thwaites), a headstrong young sailor in the Royal Navy. At the helm of the Dying Gull, his pitifully small and shabby ship, Captain Jack seeks not only to reverse his recent spate of ill fortune, but to save his very life from the most formidable and malicious foe he has ever faced.

“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” also stars Kevin R. McNally as Joshamee Gibbs, Golshifteh Farahani as the sea-witch Shansa, Stephen Graham as Scrum, David Wenham as Scarfield and Geoffrey Rush as Captain Hector Barbossa.

Espen Sandberg & Joachim Rønning are directing “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” with Jerry Bruckheimer producing. The executive producers are Mike Stenson, Chad Oman, Joe Caracciolo, Jr. and Brigham Taylor. Jeff Nathanson wrote the screenplay. “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” drops anchor in U.S. theaters on May 26, 2017.

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ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS – Rated PG

Alice_Through_the_Looking_Glass_(film)_poster

ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS ~ Rated PG – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

Starring Johnny Depp, Mia Wasikowska, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway and Sasha Baron Cohen

As we venture 6 years from the last time we saw Alice (Mia Wasikowska) in her wonderland, she is now captain of her late father’s ship, having made her way as a seamen…

When she returns to harbor after many years away, it seems that her friends from beyond are in much need of her return, as her best friend, THE MAD HATTER (Johnny Depp), is in deep mourning for his family…

With a quick hop back to her favorite fantasy world, Alice finds the White Queen Mirana (Anne Hathaway), with wisdom she needs, as she must seek out Father Time (Sasha Baron Cohen), to undo what has already been done. But, as time ticks fastly by, can Alice save her dear friend, before its too late, or will the Red Queen Iracebeth (Helena Bonham Carter), finally have the last laugh???

I give ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS a rating between MUST SEE ON THE BIG SCREEN and WAIT AND CATCH IT ON DVD ~ Having rated 2010’s film not quite so kindly, I was expecting more of the same with this new titled adventure. But, I found that I liked this sequal extremely more, than what was put out for us on the big screen by Disney before. From the storyline of new, to its inclusion of explanation of what transpired before, this Alice intrigued me much more pleasantly, for sure. Nare I say, Depp is perfect reprising his role, Waskikowska is too, as this Alice has more dimension in every way, shape and form. Plus hearing Alan Rickman on screen brought a tear to my eye too. But my negative reaction I must share, just the same, as I found Hathaway’s characterization of the White Queen just annoying…as it truly began to just plain ol’ bug me…but even with this little hick up in a few places, I still must suggest that if your family loves fantasy and 3D too, then you must grab them all up and make haste, to a theater near you. But if this genre isn’t your favorite, then you’ll be okay too, catching this film in the comfort of your own home later as well…

Kathy Kaiser

CHECK OUT THE NEW TRAILER FOR DISNEY’S ALICE IN WONDERLAND SEQUEL ~ ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS – Hits theaters May 27, 2016

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“Alice Through the Looking Glass” reunites the all-star cast from the worldwide blockbuster phenomenon, including: Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Mia Wasikowska and Helena Bonham Carter along with the voices of Alan Rickman, Stephen Fry, Michael Sheen and Timothy Spall. We are also introduced to several new characters: Zanik Hightopp (Rhys Ifans), the Mad Hatter’s father and Time himself (Sacha Baron Cohen), a peculiar creature who is part human, part clock.

Presented in Digital 3D™, Real D 3D and IMAX® 3D, Disney’s “Alice Through the Looking Glass” opens in U.S. theaters on May 27, 2016.

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