Oh man this movie. The first Fantastic Beasts movie wasn’t perfect, but it was fun, and it expanded the Wizarding World in some interesting ways, but Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald flushes that all down the toilet. It takes a fun, wonderous, and exciting world and makes it sad, muddled, and boring.
In the Crimes of Grindelwald, Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) escapes from wizard jail, so he can kill babies and talk to people. Sooo much talking, and it is not just Grindelwald who talks to everyone, everyone wants to hunker down and chat about ‘serious’ things. Oh yeah, Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) and his beasts are here from time to time.
The Crimes of Grindelwald feels like the middle part of a long book where they are introducing new characters and growing old ones, so that the climax will have more meaning. The problem is that they don’t really have time for any of that in this movie, so people just kind of show up and we are supposed to care about them, and then nothing happens and the movie ends because they don’t have time for the climax either.
It was also strange that they replaced Newt with Grindelwald as the protagonist of the film. Newt is just trying to find Tina (Katherine Waterston) and doesn’t really care that much about what is happening until he is forced to. Which means we are forced to watch Jonny Depp growl and snarl his way through dialog as he executes his ‘plan’.
There are so many things wrong with Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald that I could go on and on, but I think you get the idea. It is a real shame too because Edie Redmayne is still great as Newt, and he is a cool character. Had this movie continued to focus on him and his beasts, Warner Bros probably would have had another hit on its hands, but instead we are getting the dark, grim and worst of all boring prequel to the fun stories about The Boy Who Lived. Unlike the babies in this movie. They died.
Some movies don’t deserve to be reviewed. Jurassic World 2: Fallen Kingdom is one of those movies. I am not sure what happened with this movie, but oh man this movie dumb. The plot is dumb, the dialog is dumb, all the character “motivations” are dumb, and whoever thought that a manor basement was a better location than an island is dumb, but even more than that, my mind is still struggling with a dinosaur aiming gun. WHY NOT JUST SHOOT THE PERSON WITH THE @#$%ING GUN!!!!!!!!!!!!
In conclusion, don’t watch Jurassic World 2: Fallen Kingdom. It isn’t even the fun dumb, or so bad it is good. It just isn’t worth your time, and Universal should feel bad for releasing it.
Glass dominated the box-office this last weekend, but because I had not seen Split, I figured I needed to rectify that before going to see the last movie in the Unbreakable trilogy. Split is unquestionably an M. Night Shyamalan movie. With its deliberate pacing and sullen mood. Split takes itself very seriously. I would not say it is one of Shyamalan’s best movies, but it is far from his worst.
Split starts with three girls being abducted after a birthday party. The girls, played by Anya Taylor-Joy, Haley Lu Richardson, and Jessica Sula, are informed that they are to be sacrificed to ‘The Beast’ who is one of Kevin Crumb’s (James McAvoy) personalities. The girls of course will try and escape while McAvoy wears different sweaters and uses different voices to torment them.
All kidding aside, McAvoy gives a great performance. It must have been fun as an actor to play so many very different characters while trying to link them all together. Without his performance, Split would have been a bore. Which is true of most M. Night Shyamalan films. Because of their slow pacing, if the people on screen are not engaging you get the Lady in the Water instead of the Sixth Sense.
The biggest problem with Split is that it is very linear. I am not saying all M. Night movies need a twist, but it is always nice if there are a few turns on a filmic journey. Split is a straight shot. This movie is about three girls in peril because of the actions of a mentally ill creep. Full stop. It is almost as if Shyamalan wanted to prove he could apply the hallmarks of his style without a surprise ending. It mostly works.
Between the mood and the great performances, Split is an interesting film. It is shot well and doesn’t outlast its welcome, so while it isn’t worth running out and adding to your Blu-Ray collection, it is worth a cheap rental or a watch on Netflix or whatever streaming service it eventually lands on. Split has me excited for Glass just to see how this movie fits in to Unbreakable’s universe. Which I guess means I enjoyed myself.
Bird Box has the unfortunate problem that it is the second sense-based monster movie of 2018, so it will be compared to A Quiet Place regardless of the fact it is a different movie with different themes, and that will hurt it because A Quiet Place is a much better movie. Bird Box is not bad, but it also isn’t good. It is held up by a creepy atmosphere, and an excellent performance by Sandra Bullock. It is let down by too many early characters and at least thirty minutes of padding.
Bird Box tells its tale in two timelines. One with a blindfolded Malorie (Sandra Bullock) rowing down a river with two children to hopefully find safety, and one with a pregnant Malorie trying to survive while the world falls apart because everyone is apparently committing suicide.
Both timelines go on a little too long, but the river journey is far more interesting. Sadly, we spend more time with the earlier story of surviving the end of the world. It suffers from a flaw a lot of horror movies have, where they stuff it with too many people we know not to get attached to and sticking around too long once the premise has been established. One thing is common between them though, and that is they are anchored by a Sandra Bullock at the top of her game. Without her this movie would have fallen apart. I don’t know how much they paid her to be in this movie, but she was worth every penny, and I hope she is getting a couple of bonus checks.
Everyone else in this movie is kind of just there. John Malkovich chews as much scenery as he can, but there is only so much he can do with what he is given. Lil Rel Howery is kind of funny, but he doesn’t have enough time to establish himself. Trevante Rhodes only exists so Bullock has someone to have an adult conversation with. I will give props to the two kids, Vivien Lyra Blair and Julian Edwards, they managed to hit their marks and not be distracting.
Bird Box is just an okay movie, and since it is on Netflix, you may find it worth watching. Which I guess is why it is the perfect Netflix film. It is two hours of content that people will not feel bad about watching, and since it is included with their service, I am not going to actively dissuade people from seeing it. I just hope Bullock’s next movie will better utilize her talent.
I have been singing Voltron‘s praises for a while now, so I was intrigued when Netflix and DreamWorks announced a reboot of She-Ra. I was skeptical after the trailer. I wasn’t a huge fan of the new look, but like I said, they had earned a little of my faith, and they largely came through. I wouldn’t say it is as amazing as Voltron, but it is much, much better than the She-Ra of the past.
The basic setups are the same between the old and new shows. Adora is an orphan kidnapped by the Horde, but then she finds a magic sword that lets her turn in to the super strong Princess of Power, She-Ra. A lot of the characters from the old show are in this one as well, but what is different is that you care about all these characters. They have stories and arcs. The entire backbone of this first season is how Catra’s and Adora’s relationship defines and makes them who they are. You know, a real theme and plot!
Not everything is perfect though. While I appreciate that the series is mostly hand drawn, it is not drawn with a lot of depth. You can tell that they did not have a massive budget, and while it is mostly smooth, it can still feel a little cheap. Some of the story beats that do not belong to Catra or Adora can feel rushed or muddled, and Swiftwind is super annoying.
The Michael Bay Transformers broke me, and I never wanted anyone to reboot anything ever again, but then it turns out I just don’t want people to reboot things poorly anymore. DreamWorks and Netflix can reboot whatever they want at this point. However, this shared universe Roald Dahl show sounds like a bad plan, but they have earned my eyes for at least a few episodes because She-Ra and the Princesses of Power is better than I could have hoped for.