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Harry Potter

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018)

DIRECTOR: David Yates

CAST: Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Alison Sudol, Dan Fogler, Ezra Miller, Zoe Kravitz, Jude Law, Johnny Depp

REVIEW:

In my review of 2016’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, I said that it was an enjoyable stand-alone adventure, but that its status as a franchise-launcher was in doubt.  Unfortunately, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald has no allayed those concerns.  An overstuffed mess as unwieldy as its title, this is as good an example of any as a “middle chapter” that suffers from obsessing over set-up and moving all the pieces into position on the chessboard to the detriment of actually telling much of a story.  There’s also unfortunately a little of “George Lucas Star Wars Prequel Syndrome” creeping into J.K. Rowling’s screenwriting, as well as falling prey to the overindulgent excesses of when Peter Jackson returned to the Middle Earth trough with his laboriously expanded and drawn-out Hobbit “trilogy”.  It’s possible that when all is said and done (there are supposedly still three more films to go in this Harry Potter spin-off series), The Crimes of Grindelwald may be perceived more favorably in hindsight, but as things stand now, the idea of three more movies of this feels more laborious than exciting. Continue reading

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)

fantasticDIRECTOR: David Yates

CAST: Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Colin Farrell, Ezra Miller

REVIEW:

WARNING: THIS REVIEW MAY REVEAL “SPOILERS”

With any franchise as enormously popular and financially lucrative as Harry Potter, it’s not surprising that Warner Bros. would return to the watering hole sooner or later even if the story of Harry and companions told over seven books and eight movies was concluded (though that didn’t stop author J.K. Rowling from tacking on a follow-up, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) and now, with Rowling cutting out the middle man and directly penning the screenplay herself, we have returned to the wizarding world, not in a continuation or direct tie-in with the Harry Potter series, but in a stand-alone installment (albeit intended to serve as the start of a new film series) set in the same “universe”.  Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, taking its unwieldy title and basic concept from one of Harry’s schoolbooks briefly-mentioned in the original series, is an enjoyable stand-alone adventure, but its status as a franchise-launching starting pad is more uncertain. Continue reading

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)

DIRECTOR: David Yates

CAST:

Daniel Racliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Ralph Fiennes, Alan Rickman, Michael Gambon, Maggie Smith, Evanna Lynch, Bonnie Wright, Tom Felton, Helena Bonham Carter, Jason Isaacs, Helen McCrory, Jim Broadbent, John Hurt, Warwick Davis, Ciaran Hinds, Robbie Coltrane, Emma Thompson, Miriam Margoyles

REVIEW:

All things must come to an end.  After ten years and eight movies, one of the most successful fantasy series ever committed to page or screen has reached a solid and satisfying conclusion with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. Continue reading

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010)

DIRECTOR: David Yates

CAST:

Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Alan Rickman, Ralph Fiennes, Helena Bonham Carter, David Thewlis, Robbie Coltrane, Brendan Gleeson, Rhys Ifans, Bill Nighy, Bonnie Wright, Evanna Lynch, Jason Isaacs, Tom Felton, Helen McCrory, Imelda Staunton, Natalia Tena, Timothy Spall, John Hurt, Richard Griffiths, Fiona Shaw, Harry Melling, Jamie Campbell-Bower, Miranda Richardson, Toby Jones (voice of Dobby), Simon McBurney (voice of Kreacher)

REVIEW:

The seven book Harry Potter series is now nearing its end with this seventh of what will be eight movies. From a financial standpoint, Warner Bros.’ decision to split the seventh and final book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, into two films is a surefire financial win. Continue reading

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)

DIRECTOR: David Yates

CAST:

Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Michael Gambon, Alan Rickman,Jim Broadbent, Tom Felton, Bonnie Wright, Maggie Smith, Robbie Coltrane, Jessie Cave, Evanna Lynch, Helena Bonham Carter, David Thewlis, Helen McCrory, Dave Legeno, Timothy Spall, Warwick Davis

REVIEW:

Following in the wake of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix , which elevated the series to another level, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince has managed the impressive feat of ascending another notch higher. Continue reading

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)

DIRECTOR: David Yates

CAST:

Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Michael Gambon, Ralph Fiennes, Gary Oldman, Robbie Coltrane, Maggie Smith, Alan Rickman, Brendan Gleeson, Imelda Staunton, Jason Isaacs, Emma Thompson, David Thewlis, Tom Felton, Katie Leung, Evanna Lynch, Helena Bonham Carter, Robert Hardy, Richard Griffiths, Fiona Shaw, Warwick Davis

REVIEW:

Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix is one of the longest novels in J.K. Rowling’s seven book series, but this fifth installment of the cinematic adaptation is one of the shortest movies, clocking in at only a little over two hours. Continue reading

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)

DIRECTOR: Chris Columbus

CAST: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Sir Richard Harris, Robbie Coltrane, Maggie Smith, Alan Rickman, Ian Hart, Warwick Davis, Zoe Wanamaker, Richard Griffiths, Fiona Shaw, Tom Felton, John Hurt, John Cleese

REVIEW:

J.K. Rowling’s seven-book Harry Potter series is unquestionably the most popular fantasy series of its time, and beyond its genre it is a cultural phenomenon approaching the level of the Star Wars saga. And while some dismiss (in my opinion, underestimate) it as kids’ stuff, its appeal transcends age. Continue reading

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