A Surprisingly Fun But Frustrating Mess: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

I used to be a big Harry Potter fan. I was gifted the first book by both my aunt and grandma when I was 6, and some of the few happy memories that I have of my family pre-divorce are of my dad reading the first three books to me. Together with the film adaptations being released every few years, I was in love with this universe. At least until 2007. After the books finished, my enthusiasm for the series waned. The story was over, and I found that I didn’t like David Yates’ entries in the film series.

So when Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was announced, I was completely apathetic to its existence. David Yates was back to direct a Harry Potter prequel that Warner Brothers wanted to become a series. OK, whatever. When the first trailer was in front of a number of movies I saw in theaters, I had the same reaction.

Even the reveal that Grindelwald and Dumbledore would eventually be characters in the series didn’t elicit any interest. As for Johnny Depp’s casting… I’ll get to that in a bit.

When I did go to see Fantastic Beasts, I had heard good things from a couple friends and early reviews. So I managed to have a little curiosity by the time the movie started.

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Getting Freaky: An Appreciation of Batman Returns

I rediscovered Batman Returns sometime in the last few months of 2014. This was around the same time I saw Bride of Frankenstein for the first time. And as with Bride, I went crazy for this movie. Out of the original four Batman movies from the 80s and 90s that I had watched as a kid, Returns was the one I had revisited the least. But I never forgot it.

Opening a movie with attempted filicide, following that with a killer circus troupe, and a woman being brought back to life by cats after being pushed out of a window will have that effect on a viewer. Regardless of your personal opinion of the movie, you can’t deny its audacity.

But the most memorable part to me, the part that I never forgot and never stopped loving even as I forgot other parts, was the following exchange that occurs first between Batman and Catwoman, and later Bruce and Selina:

“Mistletoe can be deadly if you eat it.”

“But a kiss can be even deadlier if you mean it.”

There are many many aspects of this movie that I love, but I think this exchange sums up Batman Returns the best. Strange, but beautiful.

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Star Trek Beyond: I Really Wanted to Like This Movie

I’m seriously surprised at how much I didn’t like Star Trek Beyond. As of this writing, I’ve made my way through two-thirds of The Original Series, in addition to two seasons of The Next Generation and all-but-two of the Trek films. I make no claim to be a hardcore or lifelong fan of this franchise/universe, but I love it very much.

Which is why I’m wondering if I saw a different movie than everyone else who has reviewed Star Trek Beyond and sung its praises.

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Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Can We Have Our Heroes Back Now?

Let’s get this first part out of the way: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is an objectively bad movie. Its characters are woefully underdeveloped, with unclear motivation at every turn. The editing is some of the worst ever done for a big-budget Hollywood production. And there are so many dream sequences in this movie, without any attempt at transition or clarification, that at a certain point I resigned myself to not knowing what the reality of this movie would be for the remainder of its running time.

There’s also the Martha scene.

I’m just not touching that. It’s an embarrassment of bad storytelling. Others have dealt with that scene, and its stupidity. I won’t, because I am incapable of giving that scene more attention than it has already received.

Still with me? All right, let’s get to what is really wrong with this movie. And Zack Snyder as a superhero filmmaker.

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The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Edit: This is the first of a few reviews from my tumblr that I will be re-posting here.

I feel bad for Andrew Garfield. (I’m very well-aware that he’s probably very stable financially, and also dating Emma Stone, but that’s not what I am referring to.) I feel bad that he is an actor with a great understanding of the character he plays, has openly discussed what makes the character interesting and what about the character could change, and despite all of this, he ends up with a creative team that does not share this understanding.

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