Criterion and Pixar are collaborating for the first time with the iconic animated film Wall-E now set to join the prestigious Criterion Collection. The collaboration will see Wall-E get its own 4K UHD and Blu-ray special edition release on November 22, 2022, complete with a 4K digital master approved by director Andrew Stanton. Additional features […]WALL-E Becomes First Pixar Film to Join The Criterion Collection —
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Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore is a 2022 fantasy film directed by David Yates from a screenplay by J.K. Rowling and Steve Kloves. It is the sequel to Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018), the third installment in the Fantastic Beasts film series, and the eleventh overall in the Wizarding World franchise. It stars Eddie Redmayne, Jude Law, Ezra Miller, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Callum Turner, Jessica Williams, Katherine Waterston and Mads Mikkelsen. Set several years after the events of its predecessor, the film follows Albus Dumbledore giving Newt Scamander and allies a mission that transports them to Dark Wizard Gillert Grindelwald’s army.
In Bhutan 1932, Newt Scamander helps a Qilin – a magical creature that can see into one’s soul and future – give birth. Gellert Grindelwald’s acolytes , led by Credence Barebone, attack and kill the mother, and kidnap the newborn. Grindelwald subsequently kills the creature to control its ability of precognition. However, unknown to them, the Qilin has given birth to twins, the younger of which Newt is able to save.
Unable to fight against Grindelwald, due to a blood pact, Albus Dumbledore enlists Newt, his brother Theseus, Ilvermony Charms professor Eulalie “Lally” Hicks, Senegalese-French wizard Yusuf Kama and American No-Maj Jacob Kowalkski to defeat Grindelwald’s plan for world domination. Yusuf is marked as a spy in Grindelwald’s inner circle while the rest of the grouo is sent to Berlin, Germany. There, they witness Grindelwald being acquitted of crimes by the International Confederation of Wizards (ICW) and running for the office of Supreme Mugwump. The ICW believes arresting Grindelwald could get him more support, but beating him in an authorized election will lose him support.
Grindelwald’s acolytes; who have gone against the German Ministry of Magic, arrest Theseus and plan to assassinate one of Grindelwald’s enemies, the Brazilian candidate, Vicencia Santos. Dumbledore gives Newt and Lally their next assignments; to save Theseus and and ruin the assassination. While Newt rescues his brother from the secret German wizard jail, Lally and Jacob foil the assassination attempt ; however Jacob is eventually framed and for attempting to kill Grindelwald, and he and Lally barely escape, giving Grindelwa;d an incentive to turn the wizarding world against the Muggle world. Meanwhile, Grindelwald has sent Credence to kill Dumbledore. Dumbledore quickly defeats Credence and he is revealed to be the illegitimate son of Dumbledore’s younger brother, Aberforth Dumbledore. Learning who his father is and being forgiven by Albus, Credence start to question his loyalty to Grindelwald.
The leader of the wizarding world gather in Bhutan, where the new Supreme Mugwump is to be elected by the ancient tradition of being found worthy by a Qilin. who bows to those pure of heart.
Out of the three Fantastic Beasts films so far, this one is better than the second one, but not as good as the first one. It has the magic of the wizarding world Potter fans love, but we learn only a little bit about Dumbledore’s secrets and more time is spent on trying to defeat Grindelwald and save the Qilins. We do learn of Albus’s brother Aberforth, Credence being Aberforth’s son, and Albus’s sexuality, which has been speculated since the early stories in the Harry Potter series, but once all that’s revealed, it’s right back to the Grindelwald Show.
Changing Mads Mikkelsen as Grindelwald from Johnny Depp’s portrayal, was actually a good thing, not just for the deep water he is in right now, but also because Mads puts a less bizarre and more sinister spin on the character, unlike Depp. Johnny Depp will always be a great actor regardless, but Mads fits Rowling’s characteristics of the character far better. Depp is better at weird, but Mikkelsen is better at being frightening.
Some parts of this film are slow, some are disturbing , some are shocking and some are thrilling. There a several laugh out moments and some very heartwarming moments too. The creatures in Newt’s suitcase are both fascinating and adorable, making you say in your head, “I want one” to them all. Newt’s love and knowledge of the creatures is both sweet and captivating. His quirks can be seen as both strange and cute. Some attribute his quirks to having high functioning autism, Asperger’s syndrome or Autism Spectrum Disorder. J.K. Rowling has stated she created Newt as neurodivergent and Eddie Redmayne has said he thinks Newt has Aspergers, but since the movies take place in the 20’s and 30’s, there was no diagnosis. But ASD or not, his behavioral habits just make him more likable.
This film does tie-in with Harry Potter more than the other two Fantastic Beasts, being it about Dumbledore, but that doesn’t make it any more entertaining than the others. This one is far more slow and too much time is spent on Grindelwald and the Qilin. There is a big chunk of time spent on Dumbledore, but it takes a while before you learn his secrets. Still, not a completely boring film, just not as attention grabbing as the other two or any of the Harry Potter movies. With a run time just over two hours, it seemed this one was crammed with too many characters, too much plot and not enough magic.
This film is supposed to be about Dumbledore and though, a good percentage of it is, the rest seems to be more about rigging Grindelwald’s election and the rare creatures. Still the movie does have some very cute and hilarious scenes that make this one enjoyable, but not nearly as entertaining as its predecessors.
Some of the scenes seemed rushed, others seem too slow, but much of the movie doesn’t seem to flow. Many times the film jumps from one setting to another, never spending enough time in any place, making the story a bit confusing. The acting is superb, as well as the costuming, music and scenery, just like the other two, but at least those had more action and less jumping around. This is still a powerful, fantasy filled film that Potter fans will likely enjoy regardless. BTW: Dumbledore’s gay! 17+ 3/5
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is a 2018 fantasy film directed by David Yates and written by J.K. Rowling. It is the second installment in the Fantastic Beasts series, and the tenth overall in the Wizarding World franchise and is the sequel to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016). It stars Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller, Zoe Kravitz, Callum Tuner, Claudia Kim, Kevin Guthrie, Jude Law and Johnny Depp. Set in 1927, it follows Newt Scamander and Albus Dumbledore as they try to take down the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald while facing new threats in an even more divided wizarding world.
In 1927, the Magical Congress of the United States (MACUSA) moves the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald to Europe to stand trial, but he escapes. Three months later, London, Newt Scamander, visits the Ministry of Magic to appeal his international travel ban, and runs into Leta Lestrange, his Hogwarts classmate and the fiance of his older brother Theseus. The Ministry agrees to accept Newt’s request if he helps Theseus find Credence Barebone, who is still alive in Paris, but Newt declines after learning he must work with the cruel bounty hunter Gunnar Grimmson. Albus Dumbledore asks Newt to track down Credence, believing that he is Leta’s long-lost half-brother, Corvus Lestrange V.
Newt is visited by American friends Queenie Goldstein and Jacob Kowalkski, a Muggle, who has regained his memories that were erased the previous year. Newt is disappointed to learn that Queenie’s sister Tina Goldstein is seeing someone after mistakenly believing Newt and Leta were engaged. After Newts lifts the spell, Jacob refuses to marry Queenie, fearing the consequences she would face. Queenie leaves to find Tina, who is looking for Tina in Paris, followed by Newt and Jacob.
In Paris Credence escapes the Circus Arcanus with captive entertainer Nagini, a Maledictus cursed to turn into a snake permanently. Searching for Credence’s birth mother, the find half-elf servant Irma Dugard, who brought him to America for adoption. Grimmson revealed to be a follower of Grindelwald, kills Irma before she can tell who sent her. Tina meets Yusuf Kama, who is also looking for Credence. Newt and Jacob follow Yusuf to Tina, only to find her being held hostage. Yusuf imprisons them, telling them that he made an Unbreakable Vow to kill his half-brother, whom he believes is Credence. Unable to find Tina, an upset Queenie is brought to Grindelwald; knowing her abilities, he lets her leave while brainwashing her into joining him through her desire to marry Jacob.
Newt and Tina invade the Ministry of Magic for documents to confirm Credence’s identity, but are found by Leta and Theseus. Tina and Newt make up after he explains that he was never engaged to Leta. Their search leads them to the Lestrange family tomb, where they find Yusuf confronting Credence and Nagini. Yusuf reveals that he is carrying out his father Mustafa’s wish to seek revenge towards his mother Laurena, who was kidnapped by Corvus Lestrange IV, using the Imperial Curse and died after giving birth to Leta.
The group follow a crowd to a rally for Grindelwald’s followers, where Queenie is attending and Jacob is looking for her. Grindelwald shows a vision of a future global war, and rallies against laws that prohibit them preventing such a tragedy.
This film has the magic that Potter fans enjoy, but the story isn’t nearly as strong as the other ones. The movie has plenty of plot twists, action and fantasy, but feels a lot like one character chasing after another. It is entertaining, but it seems like there is more time spent battling between good and evil than telling the actual story. The special effects, costumes, scenery and music are great. The acting is superb, but the story goes from one thing to the next far too fast, and there isn’t much about the background of the characters. It seems there is more rescuing of other characters than just slowing down and telling of the story.
At times the film seems rushed and some scenes are rather slow, but it is not boring by any means. It is still action packed, filled with thrills, fantasy, superb acting and a fantastic storyline. There are humorous, romantic, shocking and heartwarming scenes as well. Is it as good as the first Fantastic Beasts film or any in the Harry Potter series? No, but it’s not terrible. Perhaps if this movie relied less on its bizarre and wonderful creatures and more on giving audiences the feeling of being transported, it would have been a nearly perfect motion picture like its predecessors.
You have many of the same beloved and hated characters from the first Fantastic Beasts film, but they don’t really change much it seems in this one. Newt is still a smart, quirky magizoologist, Jacob is still in love with Queenie and Grindelwald is still the second of the “Most Dangerous Wizards of All Time.”
All the special effects, action and period costuming and scenery, doesn’t make this film outstanding, but wildly entertaining it still is. 13+ 3.5/5
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a 2016 fantasy film directed by David Yates and written by J.K. Rowling. It is the first installment in the Fantastic Beasts film series and the ninth overall in the Wizarding World franchise, being a spin-off and prequel to the Harry Potter film series, inspired by the 2001 book of the same name by Rowling. The film stars Eddie Redmanyne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller, Samantha Morton, Jon Voight, Ron Perlman, Colin Ferrell and Jude Law.
In 1926, British wizard and “magizoologist” Newton “Newt” Scamander lands in New York City. He notices Mary Lou Barebone, the non-magical (“No-Maj” or “Muggle”) head of the New Salem Philanthropic Society, preaching that witches and wizards are real and dangerous. Striving to retrieve a Niffler that escaped from his suitcase of magical creatures, Newt meets No-Maj Jacob Kowalski, an aspirant baker, and they unknowingly swap suitcases. Porpetina “Tina” Goldstein, a demoted Auror of the Magical Congress of the United States (MACUSA), arrests Newt for breaking magical law. Since the suitcase he has only has Jacob’s baked goods, Newt is released. At home, Jacob opens Newt’s suitcase, freeing several creatures into the city.
After Tina and Newt find Jacob and the suitcase, Tina takes them to her apartment and introduces them to Queenie, her Legillmens sister. Jacob and Queenie are both attracted to each other, though American wizards are forbidden to have any contact with No-Majs. Newt takes Jacob inside his suitcase, magically enlarged to keep various creatures.
After they retrieve two of the three escaped beasts, Tina returns the suitcase to the MACUSA, but they are arrested, as officials believe one of Newt’s creatures is responsible for killing Senator Henry Shaw Jr., who actually attacked by a different Obscurus. The Director of Magical Security, Percival Graves, accuses Newt of conspiring with the infamous dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald, and decides to to demolish Newt’s suicase and obliviate Jacob’s recent memories. Newt and Tina are sentenced to death. Queenie senses this, rescues Jacob before his memory is taken and, then helps Newt and Tina escape and retrieve Newt’s suitcase. Advice from Tina’s goblin informant Gnarlack leads the four to getting the last of the escaped creatures.
Graves comes to Credence, Mary Lou’s adult adopted son, and offers to free him from his abusive mother in exchange for helping find the Obscurus causing destruction to the city. Credence finds a wand under his adopted sister Modesty’s bed, which Mary Lou assumes is his; when Credence is about to be punished, the Obscurus kills Mary Lou and her oldest daughter Chasity.
Newt finds Credence hiding in a subway tunnel, but is attacked by Graves. Tina who had tried to protect Credence from Mary Lou, tried to calm him, while Graves tried to convince Credence to listen to him. As Credence returns to human form, MACUSA President Seraphina Picquery and the Aurors counterattack, killing the Obscurus. However, not seen by anyone but Newt, a single piece of the creature flees the scene. Graves admits he planned to unleash the Obscurus to expose the magical community to the No-Majs and to frame Newt for the incident.
This movie is filled with superb special effects, fantastic costumes, makeup and scenery, perfect music and outstanding acting. It has the feel of a Potter film, though it is a sequel or prequel to the HP series. Some of the characters like Newt, Jacob, Queenie and Dumbledore are very likeable and others, of course, or not. Jacob is the funny, naive, No-Maj, Queenie is the sweet Auror, Newt is the awkward creature lover with a big heart and Dumbledore is the Hogwarts headmaster who is always willing to help others. Other characters like the abusive mother Mary Lou Barebone and Gellert Grindelwald are evil are meant of course, to be unliked.
This film has drama, thrills, romance, fantasy and heart. It goes from dark to light throughout the movie, so you find yourself going from “aww…” to “Oh no!” Not once is the film predictable or boring. It is pretty intense for a PG-13 rating. The film not only has darkness but also funny little parts here and there that make it much more entertaining than if it were just all sinister.
Rowling knows how to capture light, dark, humor and heart in all her stories, making her the best fantasy writer since J.R.R. Tolkien. Her stories are so captivating, you don’t want them to end and you keep going back to them time after time.
This film is the perfect distraction from the negativities of today’s real world. It takes you on journeys to other worlds, scary ones, fun ones, but equally fascinating. The film may not be quite as good as any in the Harry Potter series, but it is still wildly entertaining and deserving every award it wins.
The main character Newt Scamander is an odd one. His mannerisms, or quirks, make him weird, unique, special and overall, lovable. Newt seems to have characteristics of high functioning autism or Asperger’s syndrome, though Rowling has yet to comment on that, Redmayne who plays Newt seems to think that Newt has Asperger’s, but being that the films take place in the 1920’s and 1930’s, there was no diagnosis, but the resemblance of the character to a person with ASD is pretty uncanny and it is nice to see characters that those kind of people can relate to.
Overall, a thrilling and heartwarming film that both fantasy and Potter fans will enjoy. It has every element of a great fantasy film. 13+ 4.5/5
Cinderella or The Glass Slipper is a folk tale with thousands of adaptations and no one really knows where the story comes from or when it was first written. The protagonist is a young woman living in poor circumstances that are suddenly changed to surprising serendipity. There are many different origin stories about this story, all claming to be the real one.
The story is often said to be a folk tale for children, though many versions are anything but child friendly. In many versions of the tale, Cinderella is a teenager with fairly wealthy parents. First her mother dies of an illness, then her father remarries and suddenly he dies, but we are left questioning whether he died of a disease or if his second wife murdered him. In the Grimm Brothers’ Aschenputtel, which came out in their fairytale compilation in 1812, Cinderella goes to her mother’s grave every day and weeps, but remains pious and good, despite her circumstances. It has the same story of her stepsisters ripping her homemade ball gown to shreds and her godmother giving her a new one and telling her to go and have fun at the ball, but the spell is broken at midnight, but with darker parts.
In one scene, one stepsister cuts off her toes to make the glass sipper fit. Also the stepsisters and stepmother are more than just verbally abusive to Cinderella, they are also physically abusive and only feed her enough to keep her alive enough to abuse more. In the scene where Cinderella marries the prince after the slipper fits her, she rides off in the carriage to the castle with her new husband and though the stepsisters and stepmother are invited to the wedding, the birds claw their eyes out, pull their hair and rip up their clothes and scratch their faces bloody as well. How is this a children’s story?
In the Chinese version, the godmother is replaced by a fish and Cinderella doesn’t mope around waiting for her happily ever after, she is actually a witch who can disappear. Charles Perrault’s Cinderella, is the closest to what we know and what Disney used as the basis for the 1950 animated movie. But Grimms read his tale and added their own twists of Germanic folktale tradition and came up with an equally weird and more disturbing version.
But there have been arguments for decades and centuries about whether Cinderella is weak, strong, a feminist character, or not. In the Perrault version of the story and Disney films, she is nineteen years old and maybe that was still considered a child in that day and age, but by today’s standards, that’s legally an adult. Actually eighteen means you are finally legally an adult in today’s society (at least in America). So if that had been case and she were legally a grown up, why didn’t she get her share of her parents’ money and get her own place? Why did she choose to stay behind with her evil stepmother and stepsisters? Why did she allow them to abuse her? Why didn’t she stand up for herself? Why didn’t she run away when she had the chance?
If she was legally still a child, I guess she didn’t legally have a choice, orphanages didn’t exist then, so she couldn’t have just gone and gotten adopted by a hopefully loving family. I guess living with her steps was better than being homeless, at least she got a roof over her head, a bed, food and water. But even if she was rightfully a woman, women in her time had little to no rights. Only men could be lawyers, judges, rulers of kingdoms and oftentimes married first. Women usually did whatever men told to them do without question. Men also made more money. Women seemed to only be there to be wives and mothers, maids, seamstresses or governesses. Cinderella maybe valued herself more or just had no choice but to stay at home with the three devils.
Oftentimes Cinderella is said to be strong and a role model character for females. But how is she a role model if she doesn’t even stand up herself and/or fight back or go get herself some help? What screams heroine about her? She just stands there taking all their mistreatment of her, she is pretty much a human punching bag. Either she was weak, stupid or both. She doesn’t enjoy the treatment she goes through, but does nothing about it. It makes no sense at all, because a real hero doesn’t take crap from anyone, but she does.
She accepts sleeping in a cold dirty attic without a bed, no soap, only freezing cold water to bathe with, eating scraps and doing chores all the time and being taken advantage of badly. I’m sure, had she gotten out of that situatuation, someone would have taken her in and given her a better life. But I guess the strong can come from how she takes all the abuse and still remains strong, nice and hopeful. But can she be both fierce and weak? In my opinion she is. She remains tough through the daily bullying she receives, but doesn’t do a damn thing to stop it at the same time.
Cinderella isn’t exactly a positive role model, especially for girls and young ladies, but she isn’t exactly the worst either. She’s not one that I would want my daughter, granddaughter, niece or even friend’s daughter to be like. I’d want them to not take any crap from anyone. I’d want them try and avoid abuse and if they can’t to get help immediately. There are positive messages that come from the story we know of Cinderella, like being positive and staying strong, but there are negative ones too like, it’s okay to be miserable and do nothing about it and you can only find true love when you’re dolled up, because they won’t love you any other way.
Overall, this story is not one that should be used as a teaching lesson in staying strong, feminism or finding your soulmate, but can be used cautiously to teach being positive. Don’t use her full blast since she does let herself get hurt 24/7, until her fairy godmother comes along. But why then, why wasn’t the godmother there earlier? Why just for the ball and why just until midnight? Who knows. This is another twisted folktale that makes little sense. Is Cinderella strong, weak, or both? What’s your opinion?