Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore – Movie Review

TL;DR – While there are some moments where it excels, the overall story never clicked with me, leading to many frustrations.    

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Disclosure – I was invited to a press screening of this film

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore. Image Credit: Warner Bros Pictures.

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore Review

When it comes to films that have had been waylaid by the behind the scenes issues, I can think none have been so publicly shown like this since maybe Justice League. Its main star was fired and replaced after one day of shooting. Another was arrested a week out from release, all while the series creator dug themselves deeper into the hole one Tweet after another. It is such a debacle that many of my colleagues are not covering the film, which I respect. But given that we are looking at the movie today, I have to say that now I have seen it, our official opinion is … eh.

So to set the scene, at the end of the last film, Gellert Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelsen) managed to make his case against the muggles and move a lot of Wizards and Witches to his side. One of these was Jacob Kowalski’s (Dan Fogler) love interest Queenie Goldstein (Alison Sudol). Now while Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) and Gellert Grindelwald can’t move against each other, they still make plans. One of which was sending Newt (Eddie Redmayne) out to help a sacred magical animal. However, Credence (Ezra Miller) kills the mother and steals the child, dramatically improving Grindelwald’s position. Unless, of course, there happens to be a pair of twins.

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Movie Review – Polar

TL;DR – This is a film that revels in the tonal whiplash, but aside from an interesting performance from Mads it never quite comes together.     

Score – 2 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Polar. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

One of the things I have been really enjoying the last couple of years is how action films are taking leaps and bounds with their cinematography and storytelling. This has led to some interesting films being made that explore weird and wonderful scenarios. Today we are looking at a film that first came into being as a graphic novel and you can see that DNA all throughout this film. Though while Polar has made the jump from the page to the big screen, or at least as big a screen as you want with Netflix, I am not sure it was a completely successful transition.

So to set the scene, we open in the wilds of Chile where Michael Green (Johnny Knoxville) is very much enjoying the last few days before his retirement, with drugs, booze, and of course women. Just one problem, one of those things is about to kill him, and sure enough, he is not long for this world. Back in America, Duncan (Mads Mikkelsen) is a fortnight away from his own mandatory retirement when he finds out that many of the agents form the hitman company he works for has been killed in recent days. Vivian (Katheryn Winnick) his contact and his handler for Mr Blut (Matt Lucas) lets him know that they have found the person killing all their agents and Duncan is tasked with going to Belarus to send a message. Just one problem, all is not what it seems.     

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Movie Review – Rogue One (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story)

TL;DR – A bit of a mess at times, but any complaints I have are overridden by the strongest ending in the franchise’s history.

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Rogue One (Rouge One: A Star Wars Story). Image Credit; Disney/Lucasarts.

Review
So here we are with Star War’s first attempt at a standalone film (a film set in the Star Wars universe, but not one of the main numbered entries) and a prequel no less, by any measure this was a risky gambit for the Mouse House, because the last thing you want to do to your $4 Billion investment is damaging the brand with a bad movie. Now this coupled with extensive reshoots in a year where extensive reshoots have led to mediocre films like Suicide Squad and outright failures like Fantastic Four had a lot of people concerned, is the prequel curse going to continue? Well, I am happy to say those reshoots must have only improved the movie because Rogue One is a blast. Now is it a perfect film, oh no, it has some real problems, but any issue I could have with it is blasted away by some quality filmmaking. Now we will be discussing the story later in the review, so I’ll put a  Spoiler Warning out before that, but I feel with a property like this, it is important to say, I will be discussing aspects of the film and the characters and you may find that to be spoilery, so you have been warned to continue with caution.

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Movie Review – Doctor Strange

TL;DR – This is visually one of the best Marvel films ever produced, strong cast, overall a great film, though I do have to say these Marvel films are starting to feel a bit safe.

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

P.S. There is a mid and end credit sequence

Doctor Strange. Image Credit: Marvel/Disney.

Review

Well, this Marvel machine keeps on churning, earlier this year we had the fantastic Captain America: Civil War [See Review] which at the time of writing is still on track to be my film of the year, but now Marvel takes a different tack and jumps into the world of the ‘mystical’. In many respects, Doctor Strange is an interesting film because at times it is almost at arms distance from the rest of the cinematic universe, yet also it is almost the most ‘Marvel’ film Marvel has put out.

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