Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them

Fantastic Beasts Poster

Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone worked because we got to see the magic for the first time, we got to see Hogwarts, a man steal light from a street and a cat transform into a woman.  A great hall with candles floating in the air, and all the other things the magical world had to offer.  Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows worked because we had fallen in love with every single person in that movie over a decade and were so invested in them that we had to know what was going to happen and make sure everyone got out alive.  Well mostly, sorry Fred.

Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them fails completely because it is hardly magical, and provides us little in the way of new magical wonderment, while also giving us characters who are terribly boring, and that we would never care about.  I hate to be writing this, but I was terribly disappointed by Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them.  Instead of Hogwarts we are given the streets of New York, and a department of magic that is shown for a few minutes, and is lacking in anything new or magical.  Very little in the way of a magical world, these are magic users in the real world.  It felt so empty.

We have a lead who doesn’t move his face, he feels emotionless and awkward.  He says he cares for the beasts, and they show him caring for the beasts, but he never has that connection that Hagrid did.  He talks quietly and without emotion.  While his female counterpart also is quiet, lacking any feeling or really doing anything of note.  I was just so confused by these characters, why would I want to invest another 4 movies into these horribly boring wizards and witches.

It all felt like the polar opposite of The Harry Potter movies, and maybe that was the intention, but it did not work for me.  The tomato meter is at 86% at the moment for this movie, so I guess I am one of the few who didn’t like it.  I would wait to rent this movie or catch it on HBO.  I would not pay for it, go see Arrival instead.

Arrival Movie review

Arrival Poster

Sometimes a movie comes out and the timing on it is so perfect, you feel like they planned it.  Arrival is one of those movies.  The subject matter and what just occurred in the American election are so perfectly intertwined it feels like the Aliens in the movie must of had something to do with the release date.

I loved Prisoners and Sicario, so you take the director from those movies and add Amy Adams and it is probably a guarantee I am going to like the movie, but I didn’t just like Arrival.  I loved Arrival.  I will say that if you are looking for Alien fights or some huge explosive movie this is not for you.  It is slow, measured and perfect.  It tells a wonderfully perfect story from almost a first person view the whole time and it is perfectly done.

Not only is this just a great movie to watch it also deals with fear.  The fear of the unknown, the fear of the unknown killer that you can see but don’t know what they are going to do, and it feels so on point with what has just happened with the vote.  Fear, mistrust, assumptions, escalation, the movie ratchets up the tension and you feel it, you want to scream out to calm down, everyone chill, take a step back and look at the data, look at the facts.  Arrival is a movie you need to watch this weekend.  An escape, a look inward, and just a damn great movie.  Go as soon as you can.

Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange Poster

Have we hit peak Super Hero Movie?  Who the hell is Doctor Strange?  Why is there a weird looking white bald lady in Nepal that is the supreme sorecerer….why are there sorcerers?  The nerds in the audience were happy about this character that I had never heard of before Marvel Studios started marketing it.  So I guess he is somewhat popular but I was not sold, and I was thinking as I was watching this, do we need another superhero?

If Doctor Strange is that superhero, I think the answer is no.  This movie was rushed and was about as run of the mill as you can get.  A faceless magical super monster is the bad guy.  He has minions who are not very interesting or scary.  It was not a threat that felt real or like something that wasn’t going to be fixed easily.

Doctor Strange learned his powers in about 10 minutes and really didn’t feel like a struggle or that he had learned anything.  It just all felt like a secondary character to a secondary movie that wasn’t inspired at all.  No one felt like they put in the effort to make this movie better than a cash grab.  I would say skip it, but I know you won’t.

The Accountant

The Accountant Poster

Everything about the set up of this movie is wrong.  The trailers are confusing.  The name is one of the worst names for a movie I have ever heard of.  The Accountant, he will balance your sheets, and then shoot you in the face!   It has left everyone very confused about what this movie is about.  Luckily I get to see movies early and tell you all about them, and I am here to tell you that The Accountant is an ok movie.

So first of this movie is pretty long.  Almost 2 and a half hours and with that they tell a far deeper story about The Accountant than what we are led to believe by the posters and the trailers.  It deals with a lot and while the end is predictable, and a little unsatisfying I thought the trip to get to the end was at least worth watching.  Anna Kendrick was cute and a fun break from the heavy subject matter of the lone accountant fighting the good fight.  Affleck was interesting and generally fine.  It did feel like his presence in the movie made for it to feel a bit like The Town or Argo.  Perhaps some collaboration between directors happened here.  This is by no means a masterpiece, but it is not the huge pile of garbage the name would suggest.  It does feel long and it is a little bit of a silly premise, but I had no problems ignoring that for the entertainment.

I think The Accountant is actually worth watching, but you do not necessarily have to go to the theater to see it.  I think you could get away with renting this one for sure, pick up Argo too if you haven’t seen it and make it an Affleck night, but never Dawn Of Justice.

Magnificent Seven

Magnificent 7 Poster

Do you like guns?  Do you like half hour long gun fight battles where there is a lot of shooting and guns?  Then The Magnificent Seven is for you.   Do you want there to be little plot, little character development and a lot of guns?  Then rush out to the theater and get in line for The Magnificent Seven right now.  Do you want Chris Pratt to be the Chris Pratt you fell in love with for about 2 minutes in a 2-hour movie and the rest of the time he shoots guns?  Then The Magnificent Seven is for you.

It is hard to write more than that about this movie.  There is literally about 10 minutes of back story plot in this whole movie and it is 2 hours and 12 minutes long.  It follows a formula that doesn’t surprise you in any way.  It will do everything you expect it to, right down to the very last minute.  It clomps along with its impending super battle scene for sure coming right over the horizon.  Then it is time, for the gun battle that lasts for 30 minutes, pew pew pew pew pew pew pew pew pew pew pew pew pew pew pew pew pew pew.

While entertaining in an action movie sort of way this movie is so without substance that you can get just as much action from any number of old 80’s movies and do not need to pony up the 10 bucks to see this one.  So I think you can skip this one.  It just doesn’t have anything new that would make it worth the trip.

2 Stars

Blair Witch

Blair Witch Poster

I was a big fan of the original Blair Witch Project.  I lived in a wooded area when it came out and the first night when I drove home from the theater I kept thinking I was seeing those little Blair Witch idols everywhere.  I tried to find out as much info as I could about the movie, the story, and the film style which was all new.  It was such a complete and well-done project, as the name suggested, it wasn’t just a movie, and it changed the way movies were made in the future.  I do not even remember the second Blair Witch movie and I think the intention of this third movie was to pretty much forget it all together as well.

So as I am sure you have already heard the new Blair Witch is good, or great, or amazing, or awful, horrible and a waste of time.  Well as a fan of horror and a total fan boy of The Blair Witch story and idea, I can say that I did like Blair Witch.  This is The Blair Witch Project part 2 though, and by that I mean it is almost the same movie.  The idea is the same, the way the movie unfolds is the same, everything is very similar to the original. There is a bit more story and a lot better film quality.  The acting is weak but nothing that makes you think that these people shouldn’t be acting.  There are a bit too many forced jump scares that I think could have been left out.  There were all of these negatives and it was exactly perfect.

The Blair Witch Project was an abomination of filmmaking, and no one cared.  Well, the critics did, as they do here, but it doesn’t matter.  As critics opinions do not.  This movie is god damn fun, god damn scary and totally worth watching in the theater if you are a horror fan.  As a total fan, this movie had enough for me to have a great time watching it in the theater.  Go with someone that loved the first movie and you will have a great time.

4 Stars For Blair Witch

Kubo And The Two Strings Review

Kubo And The Two Strings Poster

You know what I haven’t seen in a long time, an animated action movie, that wasn’t anime.  Thinking back I am having a hard time thinking of one.   I guess Big Hero 6 was one, but it didn’t feel like it.  The Incredibles was for sure.  That was over 10 years ago.   Maybe I am just forgetting, but they seem to be scarce enough that it made Kubo And The Two Strings even more welcome.

I had a wonderful time with Kubo.  Sometimes the stop motion animation can not quite hit on the emotion and the facial features that standard digital animation can, or at least that is what I used to think.  Kubo And The Two Strings did not have this issue at all.  It was amazing looking.  The Animation team did a stellar job and really brought to life these characters.  Better than any previous movie this studio has done.  It was beautiful looking.  Make sure you stay half way through the credits for a little behind the scenes of how they did some of the work.  It really shows the dedication to this movie.

The story was very fun as well.   Japanese culture, action, very cool characters and a good story really made Kubo work on many levels, not just the animation.  I loved the music and the magic that this movie created.  It was fun, funny, and has some very cool scenes.  I really can not get over the art direction in this movie.  This feels like Laika’s masterpiece.  Such a good recovery after The Boxtrolls.

So I think it is pretty obvious that I would recommend seeing this movie this weekend.  It is totally worth paying to see in the theater.  Also for sure skip the 3-D, this movie is darker than most animated movies and the 3-D ruins the beauty of it.

5 Stars for Kubo And The Two Strings




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