Review: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

Wands at the ready! Audiences are walking into a spirited, fantastical, intense and I will say overloaded installment in the newest adventure from J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World dubbed Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.

The sequel to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them picks up a few months after notorious dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald, played by Johnny Depp, is captured, only to escape back to Europe to enact his grand design to place those of magical blood atop the hierarchy of the non-magical community. Newt Scamander, played by Eddie Redmayne, is recruited by one of his old professors at Hogwarts, Albus Dumbledore, played by Jude Law, to find Credence Barebone, played by Ezra Miller, and shield him from the dark wizard and his sinister intentions.

As a long-time admirer of the Harry Potter series, I’ve waited to see this movie for a long time and I can say that I was satisfied with the finished product that is Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald but this movie could have been streamlined with more finesse from writer J.K. Rowling.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald has unexpected twists, surprising tie-ins to the Harry Potter series, and adventure and excitement galore but whilst I enjoyed the film, I felt that the film was more novel than cinema; that is to say that the story jumps from setting to setting and subplot to subplot in a way that the Harry Potter books used to rather than stay grounded in the central action of the story.
Director David Yates, once again is up to the challenge of shaping and giving life and the right sense of scope to the magical realm Rowling has created and I can say that I liked the finished product, but one can definitely tell that this movie tries to do so much and it feels a touch different from the first picture; in the first film Newt’s beasts were at the forefront of the story with Grindelwald in the background and now that there is a reversal in that, the feel of the film is different but it does enough to hook audiences into what is supposed to happen next.
This cast is deep and very good. It’s great to see Eddie Redmayne, Dan Fogler, Katherine Waterston, Allison Sudol, Ezra Miller back in these roles again and the newcomers including Johnny Depp, Jude Law, Zoë Kravitz, Callum Turner, Victoria Yeates, Claudia Kim, William Nadylam and Brontos Jodorowosky are all superb.
Phillipe Rousselot’s cinematography is great, James Newton Howard’s music hits every note, Mark Day’s editing is hindered by the film bouncing between subplots but it is effective, Stuart Craig’s production design is outstanding, the art direction is splendid, the visual effects are dynamite, Anna Pinnock’s set decoration is rich and Colleen Atwood’s costumes are marvelous as always.

We’re two films into J.K. Rowling’s prequel series and Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald has certainly done more than enough to get me on board to find out what lies in store for Newt Scamander, Albus Dumbledore, Grindelwald, and the rest of these incredible characters going forward.


Comic Con Trailer Tracker 2018!

I am time-zones away from what I like to call the biggest nerd fest of the year: San Diego Comic Con. This is the period where I get major announcements for my favorite and anticipated films and television shows for the next 12 months, and I like to take this time to watch all of the trailers and bring them here to you for you, my faithful readers to enjoy. So, let’s take a look at what Comic Con has to offer us, shall we?

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

Directed by: David Yates

Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Allison Sudol, Dan Fogler, Jude Law, Ezra Miller, Carmen Ejogo, Callum Turner, Zoë Kravitz and Johnny Depp

In theaters on November 16, 2018

Godzilla: King of the Monsters

Directed by: Michael Dougherty

Starring: Millie Bobby Brown, Vera Farmiga, Sally Hawkins, Kyle Chandler, Bradley Whitford, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Aisha Hinds, Ziyi Zhang and Ken Watanabe

In theaters on May 31, 2019


Directed by: David F. Sandberg

Starring: Zachary Levi, Asher Angel, Mark Strong, Djimon Hounsou, Jack Dylan Grazer, Marta Milans, Cooper Andrews, Faithe Herman and Natalia Safran

In theaters on April 5, 2019


Directed by: James Wan

Starring: Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Patrick Wilson, Willem Dafoe, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Nicole Kidman, Dolph Lundgren, Temeura Morrison and Djimon Hounsou

In theaters on December 21, 2018

If there are any new developments, I will be sure to put them up as soon as I get them.

In One Year, the Wizarding World Will Witness The Crimes of Grindelwald

Before Lord Voldemort, the world of witchcraft and wizardry was terrorized by a powerful and fearsome wizard named Gellert Grindelwald who met his downfall at the hands of his former friend Albus Dumbledore. In Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the feats of Grindelwald were briefly teased as Newt Scamander scoured 1940s New York City scrambling to retrieve his escaped magical creatures and the film ended with the Dark Wizard in the custody of the MACUSA, or so we thought. Details on the new magical follow-up to Fantastic Beasts has finally come to light including the title: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.

According to Warner Bros., in the new film Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) has escaped custody and will be seen gathering followers to his nefarious cause. This next film will also see Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) enlisted by Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) to try and stop him.

As a fan of the first Fantastic Beasts picture, I’ve been eagerly looking forward to the new adventures of Newt Scamander for some time now, especially since this film will feature a young Professor Dumbledore. I was wondering if this film will explore the dynamic relationship between Jude Law’s Dumbledore and Johnny Depp’s Grindelwald and how magizoologist Newt Scamander finds himself in the middle of the feud between them again.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald stars Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Allison Sudol, Ezra Miller, Johnny Depp, Carmen Ejogo, Jude Law, Jessica Williams, Callum Turner, Claudia Kim and Zoë Kravitz. David Yates is returning to direct and the film is written by none other than J.K. Rowling. The magic arrives in theaters on November 16, 2018.

Review: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

The magical genius that is J.K. Rowling has captivated readers and audiences the world over with her enchanting tale of boy wizard who lived in a closet under the stairs who would grow to legend. The story of Harry Potter is finished, but that hasn’t stopped Rowling from introducing audiences to a new era of magic that occurred long before Harry was born.


Image by Warner Bros.

Inspired by one of Harry’s textbooks while he was enrolled in Hogwarts, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them takes place in 1926 New York, a time of great upheaval and struggle thanks to an infamous dark wizard before Tom Riddle took on his preferred name and rose to power. The story follows magizoologist Newt Scamander who arrives in the Big Apple to conduct his research on American magical creatures but his plans go awry when his magical briefcase is accidently switched with a briefcase belonging to Jacob Kowalski, a No-Maj (the American term for Muggle or non-magic folk if you prefer).

Long story short: several of Newt’s beasts escaped and are roaming free in Manhattan, causing chaos and significantly raising the threat level of exposure of the American wizarding community. It’s up to Newt, Kowalski, ex-Auror Pompetina Goldstein and her sister Queenie to dodge the community of witch-hunters, The Second Salemers, stay a step or two ahead of MACUSA, the Magical Congress of the United States of America, and bring Newt’s escaped creatures back into his magical briefcase and out of harm’s way.

As a fan of the books and the films, I must say that nothing and I repeat NOTHING will ever come close to the marvelous Harry Potter franchise but I do admit that Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a very good start to a new era of magic from J.K. Rowling and director David Yates.

The most magical aspect of this picture has to be the protagonist, portrayed very comfortably by Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne. Newt is a character that audiences can relate to very easily because going into this film, for people who’ve read the Potter series and watched the films as I have, they enter with a considerable degree of knowledge and familiarity with the subject matter but the audiences explores this new terrain with Newt; he and audiences are exposed to the American wizarding community and its customs while taking a crash course in magical creatures like Nifflers, Thunderbirds, Occamies, Demiguises, Bowtruckles, Erumpants, Obscurials and so much more! I think that this character and how he develops in this film is an amazing testament to the genius of Rowling expanding her already extraordinary universe.

Rowling’s writing and Yates’ direction were undoubtedly exceptional and the acting by the cast was pretty solid. Redmayne was obviously the star, Dan Fogler was funny, Katherine Waterston and Alison Sudol were very good, the rest of the cast including Ezra Miller, Colin Farrell, Carmen Ejogo, Jon Voight, Ron Perlman, Jenn Murray, Faith Wood-Blagrove, Samantha Morton, Ronan Raftery, Josh Cowdery, and the surprise late addition of Johnny Deppall chip in a significant piece to this story.

James Newton Howard’s score was as magical as ever, Phillipe Rousselot’s cinematography was solid, the editing or Mark Day was precise, Stuart Craig and James Hambridge’s production design was remarkable, the art direction was astounding, the visual effects stole the show, but I may complain about the sound quality; there were times when the sound of dialogue felt a tad muddled and I would have liked to see that aspect of the film cleaned up more prior to release.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a very good start to a new era of magic in J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world and I was thoroughly entertained from start to finish. I encourage fans of the Harry Potter franchise to venture out and see this film because this movie opens the door to new worlds that transcend that of the Boy Who Lived and perhaps has a hand in shaping it in the films to come. We’ll see!

Movies of the Week: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Manchester by the Sea and Nocturnal Animals

That’s right! Another triple feature for this weekend and I am going to be busy with one of my most anticipated films of the year and two potential favorites for next year’s Oscars.

A wizard arrives in 1920s New York, a stranger to the American magical community and shortly after his arrival, a Pandora’s Box of magical proportions is opened, figuratively. Actually, an enchanted suitcase filled with magical creatures is pried open for a split second, and beasts are roaming around the city causing chaos. It’s up to magizoologist Newt Scamander to find and recapture his magical creatures before the wizarding world is exposed. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them headlines my weekend.

Director: David Yates

Screenwriter: J.K. Rowling

Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Colin Farrell, Alison Sudol, Zoe Kravitz, Ron Perlman, Ezra Miller, Jon Voight, Carmen Ejogo and Johnny Depp

My expectations: as a big Harry Potter fan-a Slytherin and a Pukwudgie according to Pottermore-I go into Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them with high expectations and I want to be satisfied by this new story from the genius who gave the world Harry Potter more than a decade ago. I want to love this movie and what’s in store for after.

This will be my first film from writer and director Kenneth Lonergan but his name may be heard repeatedly in the next few months if Manchester by the Sea is as big a hit as expected. This is a tale about a man who undergoes a life-changing experience after his brother dies. Lee Chandler becomes the sole caretaker of his nephew and with this newfound and unexpected responsibility comes newfound and unexpected complications.

Director: Kenneth Lonergan

Writer: Kenneth Lonergan

Cast: Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler, Lucas Hedges, Tate Donovan, Matthew Broderick and Tom Kemp

My expectations: From what I’ve heard, this movie features great performances, great writing, and exemplary execution and is heralded as one of the best films of the year. I’d like to see for myself if Manchester by the Sea is worth all of the praise it has earned for itself thus far.

I’ve heard Tom Ford’s name in film circles years ago when A Single Man was released. I didn’t take the opportunity to see it but now the opportunity has come for me to see Ford’s latest picture, Nocturnal Animals. When a woman named Susan receives a book manuscript from her ex-husband, Tony, she perceives the story as a possible framework for exacting revenge upon her.

Director: Tom Ford

Screenwriter: Tom Ford

Cast: Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Isla Fisher, Arnie Hammer, Laura Linney, Andrea Riseborough and Michael Sheen

My expectations: Nocturnal Animals looks like a very stylish and intricate thriller. I would like my first film from Tom Ford to leave an impression that can linger until the end of the year. Maybe I don’t know what to expect but maybe that is a good thing because I can be taken by surprise more easily. Here’s hoping!

Johnny Depp joins Fantastic Beasts Sequel

Later this month, audiences around the world will return the wizarding world when Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them arrives in theaters. Set half a century before Harry Potter became a household name to the wizarding community, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them follows a magizoologist named Newt Scamander, who travels to New York for research only to clean up a mess of magical proportions when his enchanted case filled with magical creatures is briefly ajar and creatures great and small run amok, threatening the exposure of the magical community to the Muggle World.

A few weeks ago, J.K. Rowling announced that Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them would be the first of a five film franchise and she has already completed the screenplay of a sequel. What will come of that sequel remains to be seen yet, who is attached is starting to unravel and the charms of J.K. Rowling’s writing has bewitched Johnny Depp to join the franchise in a mystery role.


Image By Papazzi in premiere “Trasenceder” in LA California. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

He’s been a pirate, a throat-slitting barber, a man who can trim hedges with his fingers, an off-his-rocker haberdasher who looks like he’s been drowning in makeup, the man who created a boy who didn’t grow up, an eccentric businessman who owns a chocolate factory, two of the most notorious gangsters in American history and now he may or may not be a man who can wave a magic wand! Depp is without doubt one of the most versatile actors in the industry who is looking to put a tumultuous 2016 behind him both professional and personal. There is even speculation that Depp may appear in the Fantastic Beasts film for a small cameo.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them arrives in theaters on November 18, 2016. Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Alison Sudol, Colin Farrell, Ezra Miller, Carmen Ejogo, Dan Fogler, Zoe Kravitz, and Ron Perlman. David Yates, who directed the final four Harry Potter films will direct, following a screenplay courtesy of J.K. Rowling herself. The sequel to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is set to arrive in theaters in 2018.

God Bless Comic Con! Why? TRAILERS!!!

I just knew that I would be blogging something today. Didn’t know how, but I knew. At first I thought I would throw up a surprise review on Star Trek Beyond, which IMO wasn’t all that; I’m not a Trekkie, I fail to see the appeal in Star Trek but I’m being honest, fans of the franchise will get a kick out of Justin Lin’s addition to the franchise and its attempt to appease its audience with classic nostalgic tones but for those non-Trekkies like myself: meh.

In case it hasn’t dawned on you: San Diego Comic Con is underway. It is in this time where fellow nerds, pop-culture enthusiasts, comic-lovers, practically people I can get along with confluence together to ooh and ahh all of the new grounds being broken in the worlds of comics, video games, television, films in the coming weeks, months or years even. You can always count on Comic Con to deliver something to wet your pop-culture appetite. While I was distracted by Star Trek Beyond, I returned home to catch up on what I’ve missed and I have missed much!

Kong: Skull Island

When Godzilla roared his mighty roar, someone at Warner Bros. and Legendary must have realized that this could be the beginning of something truly extraordinary but the creatures Godzilla faced did not pose enough of a challenge for the giant! Who could possibly stand against such a foe? The answer: KONG! An expedition led by Captain James Conrad, takes a team of explorers onto an island laden with danger and reigning over this treacherous-loaded-paradise is a creature who has existed long before the time of man but formidable and fearsome enough to hold dominion over his world and he won’t bow before anyone who dares stand in his way! Behold the trailer for Kong: Skull Island!

Kong: Skull Island is written by Max Borenstein, Derek Connelly, John Gatins and Dan Gilroy and is directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts. The film stars Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, Toby Kebbell, John C. Reilly, Corey Hawkins and Jason Mitchell. Kong becomes King on March , 2017.

Doctor Strange

Just when I FINALLY calmed from seeing that ridiculously trippy trailer from Doctor Strange, they set this on us! I’m not complaining it looks spellbinding all the same! BY THE EYE OF AGAMOTTO ENCHANT US!

Starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Mads Mikkelsen, Rachel McAdams, Tilda Swinton, Michael Stuhlbarg and Scott Adkins, Doctor Strange is written by Jon Spaiths, directed by Scott Derrickson and will land in theaters by November 4, 2016. WOW!

The LEGO Batman Movie

I confess, I regret not giving The LEGO Movie a chance while it was in theaters. It did prove to be quite the delightful adventure. The film went on to enjoy a LOT of success in 2014, and in typical Hollywood fashion success usually equals sequels or spinoffs and in The LEGO Movie’s case, both. While the sequel is a ways off, a spinoff starring one of the films most popular characters is completely put together and fans are eagerly awaiting for the unveiling of The LEGO Batman Movie.

Chris McKay is the director guy in charge of assembly, who co-wrote the film with Seth Grahame-Smith and Eric Sommers, with the assistance of Jared Stern and John Whittington. Will Arnett will lend his voice to Batman, and rounding out the cast is Ralph Fiennes, Rosario Dawson, Michael Cera, Zack Galifianakis and Mariah Carey. The LEGO Batman Movie will hit theaters with excellent reflexes on February 10, 2017.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Harry Potter’s magical age has come and gone but renowned literary genius J.K. Rowling has started a new story about a new magical hero. Famous magizoologist Newt Scamander’s arrival in 1950s New York City has coincided with strange happenings within the American wizarding community and these bizarre events have involved some form of magical beast or two. Scamander must put his expertise to the test to remedy the problem before the fallout falls onto the non-magical population. This is the latest trailer for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is written by J.K. Rowling, directed by David Yates and stars Eddie Redmayne, Colin Farrell, Ezra Miller, Katherine Waterston, Jon Voight, Ron Perlman, Carmen Ejogo, Dan Fogler and Samantha Morton. A new age of magic begins on November 18, 2016.

Wonder Woman

One can say she made her long-awaited debut in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, many can argue that she stole the show in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Either way, whether you liked Batman v. Superman or not-I didn’t-Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman was a revelation and a statement; badass heroes don’t have to be men. Before she stepped back into the light in that intense battle, she had a story and this trailer is a preview of said story about how Princess Diana of Thymiscara set foot onto the world of men, guided by Steve Trevor.

Directed by Patty Jenkins and written for the screen by Geoff Johns and Allan Heinberg, Wonder Woman stars Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Connie Nielsen, Robin Wright, Lucy Davis, David Thewlis, Danny Huston, Saïd Taghmaoui and Florence Kasumba. Wonder Woman rides into battle June 2, 2017.

 Justice League

Perhaps no movie will be under no greater scrutiny than the follow-up to Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Judging by this trailer, Justice League is saying and doing all of the right things but trailers have been deceiving before. Essentially, Batman is recruiting a team of meta-humans including Wonder Woman, The Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg. This team of extraordinary individuals with great power will combat a coming threat. Justice League is coming together.

Zack Snyder directs, Chris Terrio contributes the screenplay for this superhero ensemble piece starring Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher, Amber Heard, Jesse Eisenberg, Amy Adams, J.K. Simmons, Willem Dafoe, Jeremy Irons and Henry Cavill. Justice League bows into theaters on November 17, 2017.

I have never attended Comic Con before but one day I hope to go and be a part of so much nerdgasmic excitement! Any more trailers come out, I’ll bring them here for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy and GOD BLESS COMIC CON!