Like the bottomless trunk totted by "magizoolologist" Newt Scamander, "Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald" is a mixed bag of wonders.
Newt (Eddie Redmayne) can reach into his suitcase and, like Mary Poppins before him, pull out just about anything. And it sometimes feels as though J.K. Rowling — a screenwriter here for the second time — is similarly infatuated by her unending powers of conjuring. In this overstuffed second film in the five-part Harry Potter prequel series, every solved mystery unlocks another, every story begets still more. Narratives multiply like randy Nifflers (one of the many species of creature in Newt's bag).
The usual problem for spinoffs is their thinness or their unfulfilled justification — especially ones that stretch an already much-stretched tale. (There were eight Potter movies.) But neither are issues in the two "Fantastic Beasts" films, each directed by former "Potter" hand David Yates. Both movies are rooted in purpose. "The Crimes of Grindelwald," especially, is an impressively dark and urgent parable of supremacist ideology aimed squarely at today's demagogues of division. And neither film lacks in density of detail, character or story.
No, the only real crime of "Gindelwald" is its sheer abundance. In zipping from New York to London to Paris (with ministries of magic in each locale), this latest chapter in Rowling's pre-Potter saga feels so eager to be outside the walls of Hogwarts (which also get a cameo) that it resists ever settling anywhere, or with any of its widely scattered characters — among them Newt, the conscientious dark magic investigator Tina (Katherine Waterston), the New Yorker no-maj Jacob (Dan Fogler), Tina's sister and Jacob's sweetheart Queenie (Alison Sudol) and the haunted former schoolmate of Newt's, Leta Lestrange (Zoe Kravitz)
No one does the foreboding sense of a looming battle better than Rowling. Now, it's the rise of Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp), freshly escaped from prison, who casts a lengthening shadow over the land. With a blond shock of hair and a ghostly white face, Grindelwald is Rowling's magical version of a white nationalist, only he believes in the elevation of wizards — "purebloods" — over those who lack magical powers, or "no-majes."
It's 1927 and the dark clouds of fascism are swirling; World War II feels right around the corner. In one the movie's many tricks, Grindelwald drapes Paris in black fabric, like a wannabe Christo.
Despite the gathering storm, the pacifist Newt (Redmayne, cloyingly shy), resists drawing battle lines. When pushed by his brother Theseus (Callum Turner), who like Tina is an "Auror" who enforces magic law, Newt responds: "I don't do sides."
The events of "The Crimes of Grindelwald" will test Newt, just as they will anyone trying to follow its many strands. The hunt is on for at least three characters — the missing Queenie, the on-the-lam Grindelwald and Credence Barebone (Eza Miller), the powerful but volatile orphan who spends much of the film seeking answers to his identity. He's the Anakin Skywalker of "Fantastic Beasts," whose soul is fought for by both sides.
If all of this sounds like a lot, it most definitely is, and that's not even mentioning Jude Law joining in as a young Albus Dumbledore, who turns out to be awfully roguishly handsome under that ZZ-top beard. But our time here with him is short, just as it is with so many characters who — to the film's credit — we yearn for more of (Fogler's Jacob, especially). There is a flicker of a flashback that hints at a long-ago, maybe-sexual relationship between Dumbledore and Grindelwald; it would be the film's most intriguing revelation if it wasn't merely baited for future installments.
Siblings are everywhere in "The Crimes of Grindelwald." Just as in the houses of Hogwarts, Rowling delights in duality and the interplay of light and dark. Even within the Aurors there are competing methodologies of law enforcement to face the growing threat. Newt is carried along like an avatar of sympathy: he believes that every beast can be tamed, that every trauma can be healed.
Rowling's only source material going into the "Fantastic Beasts" films was a slender 2001 book in the guise of a Hogwarts textbook. But she has, with her mighty wand, summoned an impressively vast if convoluted world, one that's never timid in exploring the darkness beneath its enchanting exterior. And, with Yates again at the helm, "The Crimes of Grindelwald" is often dazzling, occasionally wondrous and always atmospheric. But is also a bit of a mess. Even magic bags can be overweight.
"Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald," a Warner Bros. release, is rated PG-13 for some fantasy action violence. Running time: 134 minutes. Two and a half stars out of four.
Dhaka, Nov 8 (UNB) – A five-day Iranian film show will begin in Chittagong, Rajshahi and Khulna cities on Friday.
Iran Cultural Centre, Dhaka and Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA) will jointly orgnaise the film show at BSA premises of district unit.
Films will be screened at 11am and 3pm in Chattogram Shilpalaka Academy and at 5:30pm and 7pm in Golmoni Park of Khulna City.
Three films will be screened at 11pm, 3pm and 5 pm every day in Rajshahi Shilpalaka Academy.
The exhibition will continue until November 13 while audience will be able to enjoy the films without entry fee.
Dhaka, Nov 8 (AP/UNB)- Every Who down in Whoville gets a new Grinch this season. Why, you may ask? The idea defies reason. Does the classic need help from a hot Cumberbatch? Or is this strange union a bizarre mismatch?
The Grinch is the story you learned as an infant, starring a Christmas-hating heel and his doggie assistant. The fuzzy green villain hopes to make holiday gloom. Just like a wicked witch, but without the broom. He targets presents intended for tots. Oh, how horrific is this nasty crackpot.
Seuss never explained what prompted this act. Perhaps the Grinch wore shoes that were too compact? (Or maybe, just maybe, his head had been whacked?) Should he consult a cardiologist chart? The answer is clear: It's because of his heart.
In "Dr. Seuss' The Grinch ," liberties are taken. Some are just padding, some quite mistaken. It's suggested that our old friend the Grinch is an orphan, as though that excuses inflicting misfortune. There's a new sidekick, a plump reindeer named Fred, and the remaking of Cindy's mom as unwed. (Could she be a love for the small-hearted bad boy? Kind of, maybe, but look, this isn't Tolstoy).
Any-who, our Grinch decides to cancel the holiday, or make it as boring as, say, Groundhog Day. He hops inside chimneys to hoover up toys, certain to do it with an insouciant poise. Remember, this guy is the anti-merry — the same one played not long ago by Jim Carrey. Benedict Cumberbatch takes on the part, with an American accent — to give him less heart?
Our narrator here is Pharrell Williams, whose brief days at work likely paid him zillions. Kenan Thompson of "Saturday Night Live" fame, delivers a character who is kind of lame. But Angela Lansbury has a nice cameo (that woman's as priceless as an unearthed Van Gogh).
The Grinch, diabolically, dresses like Santy Claus, in an ultra-evil cloud of guffaws. He beats by a few hours the real Kris Kringle. (No wonder this loner creature never mingles.) But a run-in with Cindy, as sweet as chocolate liquor, makes something grow huge — that's right, it's his ticker.
The Whos down in Whoville don't mind that they're gift-less. They gather together, sing and bear witness. Christmas, they say, isn't about treasure: It's about family, friends and being together. Then they tuck into roast beast. You, on the other hand, may feel fleeced.
Credit goes to the film's visual effects folk, who made fur alive and gave texture to smoke. But retreading this story with a Cumberbatch, should send Hollywood bigwigs into the booby hatch. Before you buy tickets and plan a nice dinner, ask who exactly in Whoville thought this was a winner?
"Dr. Seuss' The Grinch," a Universal Pictures release, is rated PG with "brief rude humor." Running time: 79 minutes. One star out of four.
Dhaka, Nov 2 (UNB) - A 4-day Iranian film show will begin at national music and dance auditorium of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy on Saturday.
Iran Cultural Centre, Dhaka and BSA will jointly orgnaise the film show.
The inaugural session will be held at 3:30 p.m, public relations officer of Iranian Cultural Centre Sayeed Islam told UNB.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s media adviser Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury will be present as the chief Guest while charge d' Affaires of Iranian Embassy in Dhaka Ebrahim Shafiei Rezvani Nejad and eminent actor and film director Syed Hasan Imam will be present as special guests.
Director, Film and Cinematography Department of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy Badrul Anam Bhuiyan will preside over the meeting.
Organiser also said that a film is scheduled to be screened on the inaugural day while two films will be screened from 11 am to 1 pm and from 3 pm to 5 pm everyday .
Besides, another five-day Iranian film show is also going to be arranged in 3 different cities of the country from November 9.
The five-day exhibition will be organized at Shilpakala Academy auditoriums in Chittagong, Rajshahi and Khulna cities.
The exhibition will continue until November 13.
Tokyo, Oct 31 (AP/UNB) — Godzilla is stomping back into theaters as a fire-breathing animated character, though the movie chosen to close this year's Tokyo International Film Festival is more focused on human drama than the monsters that have made the franchise famous.
The two directors of "Godzilla: The Planet Eater" acknowledge that their film is so different it might turn off hard-core fans. But they say that's an intentional attempt to reach out to new audiences.
"We welcome getting bashed by the traditionalists," Hiroyuki Seshita, one of the directors, told The Associated Press last week. "That proves more than anything we succeeded in creating something different."
A mutation caused by nuclear testing, the first Godzilla emerged from the ocean in a 1954 film directed by Ishiro Honda. Godzilla flattened much of Tokyo as crowds fled in terror, and went on to become an eternal symbol of human fallacy in the atomic age.
The latest film completes a three-part animated saga that began last year. It premiers Nov. 3, Godzilla's official birthday, the date the first film was released.
Seshita and co-director Kobun Shizuno said that rather than simply transferring the well-known tale into a computer animation, they have focused on what they call Shakespearean "human drama." They tackle complex issues, including the meaning of religion, in a futuristic post-apocalyptic universe.
While Godzilla still has its screech and menacingly gigantic shape, it hardly engages in battles with other monsters, a trademark of the mega-series from Toho Co.
"We kept all that is Godzilla-like — its design and how it's portrayed on film. We have kept its essence," said Seshita, who has served as art director of the "Final Fantasy" movies.
Although some viewers may find the story rather complicated, Seshita said the film chose to interpret the Godzilla saga as what he called "a kind of animism," or a godlike force that is bigger than human existence, a perspective he said was integral to Japanese culture and storytelling.
The hero is a doe-eyed, rock-star-like Japanese man who is selflessly determined to reclaim planet Earth, which has been left in shambles from Godzilla's havoc.
Humans have been relegated to wandering around in space, surviving in a gigantic spaceship that's factory-like and sterile, unlike the lush greenness that was once home.
"I'm not a Godzilla expert and so I simply made a film I thought would be enjoyable," said Shizuno, who has also directed the "G.I. Joe: Sigma 6" and "Detective Conan" animation series.
Yet the film is scattered with tributes to Godzilla, according to the directors, who declined to disclose too many specifics. For one, the hero's name is Haruo, the same as the actor Haruo Nakajima, who was inside the rubber Godzilla suit in the original 1954 film. Nakajima died last year.
Toho has made 29 Godzilla films, not counting the animation trilogy. The last work, released in 2016, used an actor skilled in traditional Japanese theater known as Kyogen, whose movements were interpreted into computer graphics that brought a terrifying Godzilla to life.
There are two Hollywood Godzilla films, the most recent in 2014. A third is promised for next year.
Ryota Fujitsu, an expert on Japanese animation, said the animated trilogy was commendable for its visual beauty, as well as for tackling Godzilla as a science fiction movie.
"So much has been tried in the long-running series that taking a new approach was inevitable," he said, noting the work explores the dilemma between civilization and the individual. "This work is facing the Godzilla theme head-on."
The first two films of the animated trilogy are available on Netflix.