Movies: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

beasts

Set in 1926, pre-Harry Potter, Newt Scamander arrives in New York after traveling the world to find unknown magical creatures in the wild.  But this New York is not the same as the one we all studied in grammar school.

It has an excellent cast including Eddie Redmayne, Colin Ferrell, Katherine Waterston, Erza Miller, Jon Voight and a quick cameo by Johnny Depp.

While there was non stop special effects and lots of unexpected twists and turns the story felt crowded, leaving this viewer exhausted trying to process everything that was going on.

That said, it was often funny, clever, and fresh material for the eyes and ears.

Rated PG-13, but we were surprised how few children were in the theater, mostly adults on a rainy Saturday afternoon.  Listed as a Fantasy/Action film and a heafty 2 hours 14 minutes.

Rating 3 globes

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

billy-lynn

The movie is based on the novel by Ben Fountain and is directed by Ang Lee.  It tells the story of Bravo Squad, a group of celebrated heroes from the Iraq war and their victory tour while on leave back in the States.

I think the intent was to demonstrate the disconnect between the public’s perception of today’s war heroes with the brutal reality of modern war and the impact on its soldiers.

This film only partially succeeds.  The acting was generally believable with solid performances by Joe Alwyn, Kristen Stewart, and Vin Diesel.  The critics have not been too kind.  Some, however, have been applauding the 3D version as the “sharpest focus ever”.  We did not see this movie in 3D.

Rated R for violence, language and alcohol abuse.  Listed as Drama/History. Running 1 hour, 50 minutes.

Rating 2 globes

Loving

loving

Every once in a while a movie comes along and just shines.  So often they are true stories such as this one.  Richard and Mildred Loving fell in love and got married in 1958.  Interracial marriage was illegal in their State of Virginia.  And that was the beginning of their story and this movie.

What makes this a special movie is the grace and simplicity of the storytelling.  Joel Edgerton plays the husband, Ruth Negga the wife, and a long list of perfectly cast others seem naturals in their roles.

Director Jeff Nichols brilliantly weaves the then socially charged issues of the day into scene after scene with finesse and surgical skill.  Ultimately it is a touching reminder of times past, although not really so long ago.

Rated PG-13 as a Drama/History film, running 2 hours and 3 minutes.  Oscar worthy in several categories.

Rating  4 globes

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