The Crimes of Grindelwald Film Review

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Went to see “Fantastic Beasts the Crimes of Grindelwald”. I really enjoyed the first Fantastic Beasts film. That was a lovely film with lots of invention, whimsical creatures and engaging characters. So, when the sequel came a long we decided to go and see it without thinking.

That won’t happen again. I guess the first movie in a series is designed to hook you in. Then the second one has to set up a whole bunch of plot lines that you know are going to run until the very end of the movie sequence, and probably beyond that if the takings go well. What I liked about the first film was that there wasn’t too much of the turgid stuff that weighed down the last few Harry Potter films. This one had the lot though. Including:

  • A “chosen one”

  • An “avenge the death of my father” speech

  • A blood pact between sworn rivals

  • A marginal person who is introduced, bigged up with a dark secret and then killed off just to give everyone something to be depressed about

  • Brothers who fall out and then fall in again

  • A goody that everyone knows is a baddy right from the start

  • A baddy who nobody seems to be able to kill

  • A goody who has turned into a baddy so that they can turn back into a goody in film number four

  • A sneaking into a library/bank/whatever sequence to find out something crucially important that I can’t bring myself to care about

  • Folks waving wands at each other and sparks jumping about

I don’t really think that any of the above counts as spoilers. I suppose in our hearts we were hoping for something more. It was all stuff we’d seen before, in a slightly different order and by less familiar characters. And there was so much potential for whimsical invention and new directions in the first film. By the end I was just waiting for it to end, wondering what “crimes” I was seeing and coming to the unhappy conclusion that I might be the victim of one.

If you like Harry Potter, particularly the final depressing films, you’ll be fine. If you’ve been there and done that, you might like to ponder whether you want to do it again before going and seeing this film.

First Man

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First Man is a movie about triumph over grief. And going to the moon. It shows how Neil Armstrong dealt with every parent’s very worst nightmare by bringing a laser focus to his efforts in the space programme. I was expecting amazing visuals and great acting. What I wasn’t expecting was so much emotion. Ryan Gosling is brilliant as the unknowable astronaut and Clare Foy is even better as his wife.

The realism is amazing. One thing that struck me was the way that the insides of the spacecraft all seemed rather dirty and worn. I was expecting everything to be shiny new, but if you think about they would have spent a lot of time testing and practising in their spacecraft.After all, you wouldn’t want to set out in something that was fresh out of the factory. And if the hardware can’t stand a bit of dirt and wear then it’s not going to much use on the long journey to the moon and back.

You should go and see this film. The rocketry looks great but the emotion on display is very what you will remember. It really brings home is the huge cost of the enterprise, in terms of money and people. The astronauts are under no illusions that their lives are at least as precarious as those of racing drivers of the day and you start to lose count of all the people who fall along the way. But the moonwalk, with the phrase at has entered history, leaves you thinking that perhaps it was all worth it.

Crazy Rich Asians

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Now, don’t spread this around, but I quite like a good Romantic Comedy every now and then. If you all you go to is superhero films you get a bit tired of great slabs of exposition about “Shifting into the Quantum Space and causing the end of the universe” in between huge, choreographed fight sequences. And occasionally it’s nice to see a film in which the none of the laws of physics are broken.

Crazy Rich Asians is about a bunch of people, most of whom are crazy rich. It has all the required rom-com ingredients and it mixes them together really well. For me the biggest star is Singapore, which looks awesome. I was lucky enough to go there a few years back and now I want to go all over again.

If you like a good comedy which is well played and (not really a plot spoiler) a nicely realised happy ending then it is well worth the trip. The exuberance of the cast and the flair of the production are really uplifting. Great fun.

Mission Impossible: Fallout

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Mission Impossible: Fallout is a fun film about atomic bombs. It has just the right amount of jeopardy, wisecracks and jaw dropping sequences to make it work splendidly.

One of the things that I loved was the special effects. It turns out that there are two ways to shoot a "helicopter out of control" scene. One way involves a green screen and a lot of computing power. And it looks a bit fake. The other involves an out of control helicopter with a lot of cameras stuck on it and Tom Cruise sat on his own in the cockpit. And it looks scary real.

Anyone expecting a light romantic comedy, or philosophical musings about the nature of life will be disappointed. For the rest of us, who turn up for thrills, spills and lots of stuff going on will leave very happy.

Go see Incredibles 2

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Went to see Incredibles 2 on my birthday. It's really good, you might even say it's incred...

But then you might not. However, the action is great, there are some lovely touches and the dialog is spot on. I want to go and see it again. You should see it at least once. 

However, for me the show peaked during an advert at the start for Disneyworld. On the screen in big letters it said "Where nobody has to grow up." And then on the bottom of the screen in tiny letters it said "Height restrictions apply".  

The new Paddington movie is better than Star Wars

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Before Christmas we went to see the new Star Wars movie. Lots of bangs, crashes, people turning to the Dark Side (or not - who cares), more bangs, more crashes. The end. It was OK. 

On Wednesday we went to see the new Paddington Bear movie. It was awesome. A tale of a bear always trying to do the right thing, striving to see good in everyone and managing to find it in a variety of beautifully realised situations.

I've got nothing but warm memories of this film. I'm finding it hard to remember much of the Star Wars one. Paddington rules. Go see.

This would have been a film review

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The blog post editing interface for Squarespace, my blog host of choice, is deeply ropey, browser dependent and very annoying. But I've reached the point where I can smell when it is going to fail on me, and this time I managed to grab a screen capture just before it fell over completely. Sorry if it's a bit hard to read, but I'm darned if I'm going to type it all again just because someone can't write JavaScript properly. 

Baby Driver is a great film

Baby Driver is a great film. Perhaps a bit more driving would have been nice, but not really necessary. It has shades of Reservoir Dogs, Cape Fear and Hot Fuzz. All in a good way. Snappy direction, driving music and even a happy ending (spoiler alert - too late...). 

We managed to track down a screening last week. It might be a bit harder to find now, but it is well worth seeking out. 

Spider-Man: Homecoming = good film

After yesterday's web picture, today finds us at the Spider-Man: Homecoming movie.

It's a good film. Probably the best Spider-Man film I've seen. Maybe it's the hyphen. But then again maybe it's Marvel, who seem to have a knack of creating slick tales with just he right amount of mayhem, slow bits, plausible (ish) baddies and plot twists. 

Everyone involved delivers and the Marvel universe is looking quite a nice place to be at the moment. 

See the Lego Batman Movie

The Lego Batman movie is way, way better than it needs to be. Hanging off two solid franchises (the clue's in the name) it could confidently expect to make a fortune just by showing up. At least for one episode at least. 

However, it is very, very, good. Just the right balance of action, story and knowing self-reference to keep everyone happy. I don't think I've laughed out loud at a film so many times for a while.

Very strongly recommended.

Guardians of the Galaxy 2

Guardians of the Galaxy films seem to use a different set of colours from other science fiction films. They seem to use all of them.

If you like your action bold, incredible and full of snappy comebacks then you'll like this latest instalment of the franchise. Just as you would have liked the first one.

I was talking to someone who had stayed out 'till after midnight to see the first showing of the new film and he was a bit "Meh" about it, but I reckon the film is lot better than "Meh".

The characters develop a bit. We get some new ones. An old one is killed off to make for a bit of pathos. And Sylvester Stallone makes an appearance. What's not to like?

Fast and Furious 8

I've no idea how we ended up in the audience at one of the first showings of Fast and Furious 8 tonight. I think a Meer cat with some half price cinema tickets had something to do with it, but even so....

Anyhoo, it is a fun film. With some jaw dropping car sequences and a fantastic sequence involving a child in a baby seat plus a bunch of gunmen. And the usual mix of former enemies joining together to face a larger foe. Etc etc. It seems to me that this time the franchise has turned its attention to the GI Joe style of movie, with cyber crime and super soldier antics on top of the car mayhem. 

If you're a fan of daft films made in a universe where the laws of physics don't actually apply properly, and you like a big helping of cheese with your dialogue then you'll love it. 

Rogue 1: A Star Wars film

We went to see Rogue One: A Star Wars story today. 

It's a good film. I really enjoyed it. Bearing in mind that we went in knowing the story in advance (stealing the Death Star films to set up a movie made forty years ago) they did a very good job of making the film fresh and interesting with some great characters. 

If you like Star Wars you'll love it. It you don't care much about Star Wars, this might give you cause to start caring a bit more. 

Fantastic Beasts and where to Find Them

We went to see Fantastic Beasts and Where to find Them today. It's set in the Harry Potter universe, but based in New York in the 1920s. It's very good. If you like Harry Potter, you'll love it - which I guess was the idea. he movie has the air of the start of a franchise, so there will be more films, toys, wallpaper, cuddly toys and maybe even books.