It's been five years since the last Harry Potter movie, and J.K. Rowling has been busy. Not only has she shepherded her two-part sequel play to the West End, but she has also written the screenplay for this spin-off prequel, which is set some 70 years before Harry was born. The American setting puts a fresh slant on her elaborately imagined wizarding world, and the film has enough lively humour to keep things entertaining, but the movie itself is thin and derivative, never quite engaging the audience with its magic.
In this alternate reality, 1926 America has forbidden all magical creatures out of fear of terrorist attacks taking place around the world. Then an expert in these beasts, the cheeky nerd Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) arrives in New York with a suitcase full of them. He's on some sort of mission, which is immediately interrupted by three escaped critters, drawing in hapless wannabe baker Jacob (Dan Fogler) and witch detective Tina (Katherine Waterston). Joined by Tina's breathy sister Queenie (Alison Sudol), this rag-tag team is trying to recapture Newt's escaped creatures when they run afoul of aggressive wizard enforcer Graves (Colin Farrell), who's working for American's magical President (Carmen Ejogo). But there's something more seriously nefarious going on in the city.
Continue reading: Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them Review
Dan Fogler attending the World Premiere of 'Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them', held at Alice Tully Hall in the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, New York City, United States - Thursday 10th November 2016
Dan Fogler attends the World Premiere of 'Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them', held at Alice Tully Hall in the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, New York City, United States - Friday 11th November 2016
The time is drawing ever closer to the release of Fantastic Beasts And Where to Find, within a short number of days we will finally be able to get a glimpse into the life of a character that author J.K. Rowling so lovingly developed. Even when Newt Scamander was a young Hogwarts student, he always loved the wilder side of magic. If there was a wild beast to nurture, Newt would be the enthusiastic child wanting to find out more.
When he grew up, he became an acclaimed magizoologist and formed his own unique and rather deadly collection of beasts. Any endangered species, Newt would willingly look after and add to his endless list of beasts, all with their own unique powers. After a busy trip collecting more creatures, Newt visits the city of New York and arrives to find that tensions between the wizarding community and a group of powerful muggles (known as the Second Salemers) are battling one another; the Second Salemers goal is to eradicate the wizarding community.
When some of Newt's beasts are accidentally released, he is quickly called to answer questions from the Director of Magical Security at MACUSA (Magical Congress of the United States of America) who presumes Newt is guilty of working with wizard Gellert Grindelwald. The director, Percival Graves, believes that Newt has purposefully released the beasts to expose magic kind in order to stir up tension between and further the war between the muggles (No-Maj) and the wizarding world.
Newt Scamander is a wizard who's always had an interest in monsters and wild, unworldly creatures. Newt inspects as many different species of Beast that he can and keeps some of the rarest ones in order to preserve them and keep them from harm's way whilst also ensuring they themselves don't cause any of the chaos they could so easily cause.
It's 1926 and the wizarding community is under threat. Whilst most muggles (No Maj's) don't have any idea that wizards and witches actually exist, a small yet powerful few are all too aware of them and their powers.
The New Salem Philanthropic Society is headed by a tough woman named Mary Lou Barebone who wants to make sure that all wizarding kind is exterminated.
Colin Farrell has been cast as a wizard in ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’.
Colin Farrell has joined the cast of the upcoming Harry Potter spin-off movie, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The 39-year-old actor will play a wizard in the upcoming film, due to be released in 2016.
Colin Farrell at a screening of Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet in Los Angeles in July 2015.
The most surprising thing about this comedy is that it's not very funny, but then it's not meant to be. This is a trippy odyssey into the mind of a drug-addled guy who thinks the world is falling apart around him. Sure, it's fitfully amusing, but it's also harrowing and utterly bonkers. And there are some moments of sublime emotion in there too.
Dan Fogler stars as Warren, a 33-year-old unemployed graphic novelist who is haunted by dreams about the world ending on 21st December 2012. But there's another date approaching much sooner that has him even more shaken: his wedding to his rather too-hot fiancee Karen (Kelly Hitchinson), who is trying to get pregnant as she plans the big day. Then in a peyote-induced stupor, Warren becomes convinced that he has been given some sort of psychic insight into the apocalypse, and asks his best pal Balance (Yang Miller) to help him make a documentary film about the strange events going on around him. And things get very strange indeed.
Written and directed by Fogler and Michael Canzoniero, the film flickers back and forth between Warren's luridly coloured drug trips and his even more jarring lucid moments. Every scene is packed with existential chatter, like a Woody Allen movie for potheads, while the tone swings wildly between dark drama, broad slapstick and even a couple of zany musical numbers. Which is appropriate for a film set in the mind of a man who isn't always sober. It's not easy to watch this slobby nice guy lose his mind, but there are observations along the way that add strong resonance.
Continue reading: Don Peyote Review
An energetic sense of the absurd helps make this animated romp entertaining, even though the script is almost painfully stupid. But the pace is so brisk, and the stream of deranged jokes so continual, that kids will find it hilarious and grown-ups won't be able to stop smiling. So who cares if the story makes no sense at all?
Our hero is a scrawny turkey named Reggie (voiced by Wilson), who's an outcast on his farm because he's both smart and naive. When he's accidentally pardoned by the US President on Thanksgiving, he's living the high life until the meathead turkey Jake (Harrelson) kidnaps him, ranting about a mission to travel back in time to stop the pilgrims from starting the Thanksgiving turkey tradition to begin with. Sure enough, they find a time machine and off they go to 1621, where they team up with a colony of native American turkeys led by Broadbeak (David) and his feisty daughter Jenny (Poehler). But they're also being pursued by a relentless human hunter (Meaney).
The screenwriters conveniently ignore the fact that more turkeys are eaten globally at Christmas than at America's Thanksgiving, but never mind. They also pack the script with a continuous stream of riotously warped gags, random movie references and crazed action sequences. Although even a 5-year-old will be confused that 17th century pilgrims are rendered more like 19th century cowboys. This continual sense of incoherence gets even more annoying later, when the plot abandons even its own tenuous sense of logic. But by then we have realised that it's pointless to resist.
Continue reading: Free Birds Review
Josh Duhamel and Dan Fogler become stranded in the desert.
Scenic Route has finally been released on DVD in the USA after enjoying a limited, but well-received summer cinema outing. This Michael and Kevin Goetz, Josh Duhamel-starring indie premiered at the South by Southwest Film Festival last March, which means you may have missed this surreal psychological thriller the first time round.
Josh Duhamel & Dan Fogler Are Two Friends Whose Roadtrip Goes Awry.
Here's why you shouldn't let it pass you by now: Josh Duhamel and Dan Fogler star in a movie of two halves. A man with a seemingly perfect life embarks on a roadtrip with one of his lifelong friends but their desert drive takes a darker turn when they break down in the middle of nowhere with no phone signal.
Mitchell seemed to have the perfect life with a beautiful wife, a family, nice house and a successful career. However, he finds himself missing old times from his youth and so embarks on a road trip with a friend who has known him his whole life, Carter. During the long trip, their pickup truck breaks down in the middle of a desert road leaving them stranded with no signal on their cell phones to call for help. It's not too long before a supposed stroke of luck, though, when another car stops to help them. In a strange turn of events, Carter waves the other driver away insisting that they hadn't actually broken down, and admits to a furious Mitchell that he took a wire out in a bid to have a catch up with his old friend. They do talk, but as the frozen desert night air overcomes them, tensions arise as they begin to criticise each other's lives - an argument that very quickly turns nasty.
Continue: Scenic Route Trailer
Josh Duhamel just made the best movie of his career. Well done, Josh Duhamel.
Poor old Josh Duhamel. He's the Hollywood hunk husband of Stacy Ferguson with a credits list that ranges from average to truly and inexplicably awful. But there's a light at the end of the tunnel for old Josh, it's called Scenic Route.
Duhamel's past few years in film haven't been good to him. Actually, they've probably been rather good to him financially, with a slurry of fluffy rom-coms and bad comedies ripped apart by critics, though guzzled down by the cinema-going masses. There was Safe Haven, with Julianne Hough. There was Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Or how about Movie 43?
The latter was a film that Mark Kermode commented, "[To say Movie 43] wasn't funny was a staggering understatement. But much worse it was something far creepier than not funny, it was a film that actually made you suspect there was a conspiracy involved to get all these people in this movie," adding, "The problem wasn't reviewing it, the problem was simply how to describe it without overstepping the lines of taste and decency." There was also New Year's Eve, Life As We Know It and others.
A bracingly original approach to both science-fiction and the found-footage genres makes this eerily realistic thriller well worth a look. Director Cordero may indulge in a variety of gimmicky and manipulative tricks, but he keeps everything grounded, as it were, and his expert cast makes sure that we are drawn into the story as it progresses. Which makes the conclusion startlingly intense.
After six months in space, the feed from the Europa One mission suddenly went blank, leaving Earth to wonder what was happening in humanity's first deep-space voyage. Unknown to the mission commander (Davidtz) in Houston, the six-person crew has continued on course to Jupiter's moon Europa, where they plan to explore whether there are conditions that could support life. When they arrive, their landing doesn't go quite as planned, and their experiments reveal things they couldn't possibly have expected. They also finally get a chance to send their video footage back to mission control.
What we're watching is an assembly of this footage, taken both inside and outside the ship as they travel, intercut with the commander's comments. Cordero directs all of this exactly like scenes we've seen from Space Shuttle missions, so it looks all too real, complete with a crew of complex experts. Marinca is terrific as the soulful pilot, with the charismatic Camargo and the curious Wydra as scientists, and the cheeky Copely and the intriguingly shaded Nyqvist as mechanics. This cast of acclaimed actors really raises the bar, adding layers of interest without ever seeming to act at all.
Continue reading: Europa Report Review
It's been five years since the last Harry Potter movie, and J.K. Rowling has been...
The time is drawing ever closer to the release of Fantastic Beasts And Where to...
Newt Scamander is a wizard who's always had an interest in monsters and wild, unworldly...
Long before Harry Potter - or his parents - took up residence at Hogwarts, there...
Long before the time of Harry Potter, wizards and witches still lived their lives in...
The most surprising thing about this comedy is that it's not very funny, but then...
An energetic sense of the absurd helps make this animated romp entertaining, even though the...
Mitchell seemed to have the perfect life with a beautiful wife, a family, nice house...