Fantastic Beasts The Crimes Of Grindelwald: J.K Rowling Is No Screen Writer

2/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Grindelwald, played by Johnny Depp, breaks out of prison and begins his reign of terror.

There is just so much wrong with this film. There are far, far too many characters for a start most of them do nothing and add very little to the film existing either as background colour or to advance one very specific plot point before fading into obscurity.

Eddie Redmayne’s Newt is again not needed here, really what these films should have been is firmly centred around a young Dumbledore and telling the tale of his love affair and eventually war with Grindelwald, there was no need to make these films about the beasts other than to sell toys. Newt could be removed entirely from this film and very little would change one way or the other.

I thought both Jude Law as Dumbledore and Johnny Depp as Grindelwald gave good performances and tried desperately to inject this film with some life and substance, sadly it was all too little too late.

Overall, there is no reason for this film to exist, it tells a tale that doesn’t really need to be told with about one hundred characters too many.

Pros.

Law

Depp

Cons.

Redmayne

It is too long

There are too many needless side characters

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Fantastic Beasts The Secrets Of Dumbledore: Surprisingly Progressive For Hollywood

3/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A love story between two wizards, wherein the drama is turned up to the maximum.

I will preface this review by saying that I did not want to see this film, I have issues with the removal of Johnny Depp and the casting of Ezra Miller, however, a friend of mine bought us tickets to see it and really wanted me to go so out of a sense of obligation I went. I want to put my bias right up front there.

However, despite going in expecting the worst the film was actually not bad. I was impressed with the romantic intimacy WB gave Dumbledore, played by Jude Law, and Grindelwald, played by Mads Mikkelsen, in that they felt like a real couple. Rather than just force in a same sex kiss for the sake of appearing progressive this film actually built the characters and went for it.

Again I think this film owes a lot to Law and Mikkelsen, with both adding a lot to the project. In the case of the former he brings an easy charm to proceedings but also a dramatic weight when required, and in the case of the latter he brings a strong villainous presence as well as the petulance of someone broken hearted and looking to spite their ex.

I think where the film falls down is once again in the fantastic beasts department. Newt, played by Eddie Redmayne is again fine, but nothing more than that and he basically acts as a passenger within his own film. Moreover, the magical creatures felt quite redundant to this film for the most part with the only exception to this being a few scenes towards the end wherein they are forced in for plot reasons.

In addition, I did not like how kill happy this film was with its magical creatures. They are CGI I know, but some of the scenes especially early on in the film wherein creatures are killed in quite graphic ways on screen just feels needless and done to try and appear edgy.

Overall, not as bad as I was expecting but certainly not great either.

Pros.

Committing to the Dumbledore Grindelwald relationship

Folger

The sense of scope and adventure

Cons.

The graphic creature death

Redmayne

It doesn’t need to exist and doesn’t justify itself      

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The Lost City: Daniel Radcliffe Continues His Journey Into Strange

3/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A romance novelist, played by Sandra Bullock, and her cover model, played by Channing Tatum find themselves deep within the jungle, on an Indiana Jones like adventure.

Honestly I enjoyed the trailer for this film more than the film itself, which is sad as I had been eagerly awaiting this film for some time. I thought a lot of the film’s best jokes were wasted on the trailer, leaving the actual viewing experience as devoid of humour, with me laughing maybe once or twice at most.

I thought for the most part this was a deeply generic adventure film though it had its moments. I enjoyed the romantic connection between Bullock and Tatum, I thought they had great chemistry and were a very strong on screen pairing. Moreover, this film is a strong return to form for Tatum and marks yet another good step in his return to the big screen following on from a great performance in Dog. Likewise, Daniel Radcliff continues his journey as one of the most versatile and strangest performers in Hollywood with his character being a highlight of the film, whenever he came on screen the film seemed to pick up.

However, on the other hand this was a very by the numbers performance for Bullock, and Brad Pitt was barely in this film, again all his best bits were used in the trailer, clearly they couldn’t afford his day rate.

Another big issue I had with this film was its tameness, clearly in the beginning this film was supposed to be raunchier than it is, but was then made tamer to appeal to a wider audience in my mind this was a huge mistake.

Overall, entertaining but disappointing in the long run.

 Pros.

Tatum

Radcliffe

It is very watchable

Cons.

Pitt

A lot of the good jokes were spoiled by the trailer

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The Kid Who Would Be King: The School Play Version Of King Arthur

2.5/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A new retelling of the King Arthur legend.

I am very mixed on this one, on one hand I enjoyed that it felt like a fresh take on the King Arthur legend apart from all the other adaptions of the story, it also had an incredibly distinct British charm and sensibility to it that I thought added a lot to the film. Moreover, it featured Patrick Stewart and I find it hard to not like something with Stewart in it.

However, on the other hand this film lacked any fun or imagination it needed to really come to life. There are some sections in the film that feel imaginative and well-executed perhaps even Harry Potter esque, but then they end and the film replaces them with a long drawn out beige scene in which the film progresses but doesn’t make you feel anything whilst doing so.

Additionally, what may be the greatest crime of this film is that it wastes Rebecca Ferguson in a villain role wherein she is given nothing to do and is kept off-screen for most of the film. This is an incredibly baffling decision as Ferguson is an incredibly strong performer so by not including her the film shoots itself in the foot.

Overall, it has potential but does nothing with it.

Pros.

The British feel to the film

A number of imaginative scenes

Patrick Stewart

Cons.

It doesn’t execute on its potential

It splits into dull

It wastes Rebecca Ferguson

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Sonic 2: Idris Elba Redeems Himself For Cats

4.5/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Sonic, voiced by Ben Schwartz, returns this time caught up in a chaotic adventure centring around the Master Emerald, an object of cosmic power that ties back to Sonic’s origins.

This is everything you would want from a Sonic sequel, it is more of the same fun from the first film, it has a lot of heart and warmth to it and it introduces a bunch of new characters which will be very familiar to all those who have played the games.

In that vein, I really liked what this film did with both Tails, voiced by Colleen O’ Shaughnessey and Knuckles, voiced by Idris Elba. I thought both new characters were introduced well and given an importance to justify them being there rather than them just feeling forced in for the sake of it. Knuckles turn from villain to hero was blindingly obvious, especially for those who have played the games, but you don’t mind it because once he joins the team him and Sonic have a really good back and forth.

Moreover, Jim Carrey kills it once again as Dr Robotnik, stealing almost every scene he is in and having what looks like a lot of fun doing it. If this truly is Carrey’s last film then he is going out on a high note, though it is a shame as if this film gets another sequel it would feel as though it was missing something if Carrey didn’t make an appearance.

The James Marsden human sub-plot has its moments and does build to something resembling relevancy, however, it is the weakest part of the film for sure and definitely goes on for longer than it needs to.

Overall, just as good as the first film if not better. Strongly recommend.

Pros.

Tails and Knuckles

Carrey

The heart

It is a lot of fun

The post credits scene, which you definitely need to stick around for

Cons.

The wedding side plot drags on for far too long

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Plunder Quest: In Search Of Whiskey

4/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Searching for a lost bottle of prohibition era whiskey Thomas Waters, played by Jake Fallon, goes on the adventure of a life time.

This film was a lot of fun, definitely one of the best adventure films I have seen in a while.

The score of this film is easily one of the best things about it, whoever designed such a well put together piece deserves a pat on the back as this really is top notch. Not only does the score capture the pirate life spirits of adventure of this film but also its rogue like sense of charm.

Moreover, the cast of this film all also do a really good job, with no one letting the side down: a rare treat indeed. I thought everyone got their time to shine here, but none shone as brightly as Fallon who really does his best to create a lead that is not only capable but also likeable too.

Furthermore, the film kept me guessing which I greatly appreciated and never went in a direction I was expecting it to, which kept me solidly engaged throughout.

Overall, a very fun film to watch.

Pros.

The cast

The score

The writing

The fun

Cons.

Pacing issues

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Uncharted: Tom Holland Can’t Act

2/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A child, played by Tom Holland, tries desperately hard to prove himself as an action man and reminds us all why video game movies don’t work.

Well, I hate to say I told you so. I remember many people had an issue with me saying Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg were totally miscast as Drake and Sully and told me to wait and see the final thing before I commented, well I have seen it now and yeah I was right.

This film is not bad hence it not getting lower, but it is aggressively average and dull. It tries desperately hard to supply gamers with member berries, even bringing back the Nathan Drake voice actor for an extended cameo, but even this is not enough to give it a personality or soul.

Wahlberg is playing Wahlberg and Holland is playing Holland. It will win me no fans to say this but this film proves my point about Holland once again, he is a fine Spider-Man, but taken out of the MCU he has all the range of someone in a high school play. Holland better hope they keep needing him to play Spidey as outside of the MCU he will quickly be forgotten about as a non-talent.

The two try and have some banter together, which feels like an attempt at MCU style comedy, this mostly doesn’t work and misses the mark sometimes even being groan inducing.

The only silver lining I have for this film is that Sophia Ali is actually quite capable as Chloe Frazer and is an interesting character in the film. I found Ali to capture the duality of the character well, as she is able to convey her as both an ally and a possible betrayer. Sadly, Chloe isn’t given much to do.

Overall, Sony’s big bet on Tom Holland is widely a bust and so ends yet another needless videogame adaption.

Pros.

Ali

It is watchable

Cons

Holland and Wahlberg

It is boring

It never justifies its existence    

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The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey: Greed Is Not Limited To Dragons

3/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

The Lord Of The Ring’s disappointing cousin.

As some of you may know The Lord Of The Rings is one of my favourite trilogies ever, so much so that I may never review them: as even the concept of having to think critically about something I care so deeply about seems hard. However, the Hobbit and it’s various sequels are fair game.

Like many people when I watched An Unexpected Journey in the cinema for the first time I was mixed, and then in the short term afterwards I grew more negative towards the film. However, with time I found within me a fondness for this trilogy so I decided to go back to it, and after all these years I can honestly say that this film was okay, not great, not terrible.

This film has a lot going for it Tolkien’s fantastic world, strong source material and a good cast with the likes of Martin Freeman, Aiden Turner and Richard Armitage and for the most part these factors stop the film from being awful and even create positive feelings towards the Hobbit trilogy, then you get to the ending and yeah…….. Then you remember why everyone dislikes the Hobbit films.

The rather obvious issue with these films as many have pointed out in the past is the pacing. Now I have nothing against the long run times of these films, but I do take umbrage when I feel the audience is being exploited, as in to take a short story contained within one book and then turning it into three films. When we reach the end of the film and realise that we aren’t even going to see Smaug basically at all, it feels as though you have been cheated. It feels like a smack in the face and an executive laughing at you saying, ‘oh better come back for the sequel’.

This clear mentality is what I think really harms this film and its sequels.   

Overall, exploitative but not without promise.

Pros.

The cast

The world

There is fun to be had

Cons.

The pacing

The unmistakable feeling of corporate greed

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The Ice Age Adventures Of Buck Wild: The Day Blue Sky Studios Died

1.5/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

None of the original Ice Age voice cast wanted to return, bar Simon Pegg, and Disney needed to do something with the franchise, why not send out a minimal effort picture to litter the empty halls of Disney + ?

Mark this moment dear reader,  for it is not only the moment Ice Age died but also Blue Sky Studios, which is a shame as I was hoping for Rio 3. There is so much wrong with this film that it will be hard to condense down into a breezy review for you.

I think the most glaring issues is that this film looks like it was made on a budget of a few dollars, with the quality of animation not only looking worse than any of the other Ice Age films but also any other animated film you are likely to see this year.

Moreover, the film as a whole feels like it is missing something, this could easily take the form of Scrat the series mascot or as I previously mentioned the entire voice cast of the previous films. Simon Pegg as always gives it an admirable go, but even he can’t save this rather obvious cash in.

As you watch the film you can’t escape the sense that there is no good reason for it to exist.

Overall, more trash for Disney +.

Pros.

Simon Pegg is trying his best

It is watchable

Cons.

It feels like a knock off

The animation is awful

Scrat

It doesn’t need to exist

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Pirates Of The Caribbean Dead Men Tell No Tales: It Is Sad To See The Series Go Out Like This

2/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Jack, played by Johnny Depp, takes seemingly one last jaunt around the Caribbean for no real reason at all.

It now seems like this is the last film in the Pirates Of The Caribbean series, yes there is talk of doing some kind of spin-off with Margot Robbie but no one wants that, and if it ever does come out no doubt it will kill the series off for good, or at least until they reboot it. With that it is sad to reflect that it has come to this.

Depp seems like he is going through the motions here, not really able to tap back into the Captain Jack we all knew and loved, instead becoming an imitator of his former self. I think in many ways here Jack is upstaged by those around him, particularly by Kaya Scodelario’s Carina who is most likely the shining star of the film, Scodelario is doing her best to save this mess.

Moreover, whoever thought that audiences wanted to see a de-aged Johnny Depp looking every bit as well done as a videogame cut scene from a decade ago was sorely mistaken. Another baffling decision comes in the form of the film’s villains which are a rather blatant copy of the first film’s ghost pirates which further show the desperation on display here.

Overall, it is sad to see a once great franchise go out like this.

PS. Don’t stay for the end credits scene, it is just desperate.

Pros.

Scodelario

It is watchable

Cons.

The villains

The de-aged Jack Sparrow

Depp   

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