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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – Movie Review

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Movie: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Release Year: 2016                                                                           Country: U.S.A

Language: English                                    Genre: Comedy, Romance, Drama

After the series of Harry Potter Movies that lasted for a decade (2001-2011), we are blessed with another fantasy movie series by David Yates (He directed last 5 movies of Harry Potter series). The Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, is by no means a sequel or prequel of the legendary Harry Potter movies. It is just an extension of the magic world that we saw in Harry Potter. If the Harry Potter was set in England, the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is set in U.S.A, at least its first part is. We are being told that there will be 4 more movies following this one in coming future. The series will last almost a decade.

There are new characters, new magic practices, unknown threats, and lots of twists and turns in this new series. Although, it is also worth noting that Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them has connections to the Harry Potter series. For a detailed account you can read this article on IMDB.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Story-line:

So, here we start with the story of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The film is set in mid-1920s in New York, U.S.A. At the very start of it we come to know that the wizard world exists outside England too (pun intended). Movie starts on a note where a certain dangerous person named Gellert Grindelwald escapes that makes the whole wizard world fearful of his further actions. The city of New York is attacked by some beast and people are scared for lives.

On the other side, a wizard named Newt arrives in New York with a luggage full of “beasts that are beyond anyone’s understanding” and who are mainly perceived as dangerous by the people. Newt  Scamander meets a “No-Maj” (American version for Muggle) named (Mr. Kowalski) in the bank when one of his animals escapes from the luggage and he is seen by  Porpentina ‘Tina’ Goldstein (An Investigator and former AUROR from Magical Congress of the United States of America, MACUSA). She takes Newt Scamander, No-Maj to the President of the association. The president amidst her important meeting asks Tina to leave and never be seen in the office again as she is relieved of her duties.

The situation intensifies when Newt finds out that his luggage is been exchanged with Kowalski’s luggage. He finds out that Kowalski has opened the luggage and the beasts are on the run wreaking havoc in the city.  Tina agrees to give him and Kowalski shelter in her house and find the animals. At Tina’s house we are introduced to a new character called as Queenie Goldstein (Tina’s sister) who develops a romantic feeling for Jacob and posses the skill of  Legilimency (reading others minds).

From here, Newt takes Kowalski to the world of Fantastic Beasts where he tells him that contrary to the popular belief, actually none of these animals are dangerous. We came to see so many different varieties of species here and we also get to know about “obscurus” and “obscurial” (I am not revealing much about it as this will be spoilsport for you guys, go and see it yourself).

We are also introduced to a woman named Mary Lou, a No-Maj who is educating people against the threats of wizards and witches. She has many adopted children. She is cruel towards them specially, the one named Credence. It turns out that Credence is working for Percival Graves (An Auror and Investigator) interested in a child whom he thinks as “obscurial”.

Towards the climax we are shocked to learn that Credence is an Obscurial (None of the Obscurial recorded have survived beyond the age of 10, but Credence has and also have the ability to control it (the obscurus)). Credence takes out his anger by destroying the city, but is confronted by Graves. Later, Newt and Tina too tries to calm him down.

The secret world of wizardry is exposed to humans. Madam President decides to do the cover up as much as she can. The aurors alongside Madam President come to the point and kill Credence (at least it seems that he is killed). Graves opposes them and is exposed by Newt. It turns out that he is actually Grindelwald. He is immediately taken into custody. Grindelwald threatens Newt that gives us a clear idea of what coming parts of this series have in store for us.

Newt Scamander leaves New York not before saying to Tina to meet her again soon and leaving a bag full of silver eggs for Kowalski, who is obliviated along with the whole city of New York (by a bird of Newt).  

Why to watch Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them?

  • Brilliant direction and great visual effects.
  • The perfect recipe for fantasy and adventure
  • Eddie Redmayne has once again steal the show with his performance. Having said that the performances of others too are brilliant in this film.
  • You will learn new magical terms, spells and curses.
  • Surprisingly it has no child lead actors and yet adults as well as children will love Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
  • Even if you are born in post-Harry Potter era or you were too young in that era there’s nothing to stop you from enjoying this magical journey.

My Verdict & Rating:

There’s only one thing that can be said for this movie and that is 10 out of 10. So, grab the tickets at the earliest and enjoy this magical journey of Fantastic Beasts. 

Reviewed by: Absar Ahmad

“Mistress America” Movie Review – From Boring Start To An Eventful End.

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Movie: Mistress America                                                               Release Year: 2015

Country: United States of America                                               Language: English

Genre: Comedy

Mistress America Review:

Directed by Noah Baumbach, Mistress America is a movie that feels boring in the start before gradually gripping your interest. It stars Lola Kirke and Greta Gerwig in lead roles with Heather Lind, Matthew Shear, Michael Chernus and, Jasmine Cephas Jones in supporting roles. The film has some nice cool music score and the direction is great. Screenplay is written by Noah and Greta herself which looks nice with no fumbles.

Lola and Greta they both have looked extremely good in Mistress America. I am watching them for the first time and it’s difficult for me to tell who was better than the other. But, I slightly feel Lola (the chief protagonist) of the film has been fantastic with her body language and looks (of a college going girl with lonely life).

Storyline:

Tracy (Lola) is a college student and lives a low life that’s not exciting rather boring and dull. One day she gets a call from her mother who tells that she is soon going to marry with some man. The man has a daughter named Brooke Cardines (Greta), a confident self-sustaining and stylish women who is in early 30s.

Tracy decides to meet Brooks and after spending a night with her and knowing her aspirations and lifestyle becomes very influenced with her. Brooks want to open a restaurant for which she is getting investors. But, all of a sudden her whole plan is jeopardized as one of her partners pulled out of the plan. At this juncture Brooke has no other option but to seek help from her ex-fiance (Dylan) who is married to her best friend (Mamie).

Meanwhile, Tracy has written  a short story titled “Mistress America” for her college’s literary society. Tracy helps Brooke to reach Connecticut with her friends Tony and Nicolette. Things were on course before Brooke receives a call from her dad stating that he is no longer marrying Tracy’s mother.

Mistress America Movie
Tracy & Brooke Looking For Solutions of Their Problems…

The newly formed bond between the “stepsisters to be” is further shackled when Brooke finds out that Tracy has written a story on her life. Tracy explicitly denies that it is written after her rather says it’s a work of fiction “inspired” by Brooke. Something Brooke doesn’t agree to and the two break up.

The story gets published in the journal and Tracy is happy and confident now. On thanksgiving she visits Brooke and asks her to spend the occasion with her which she agrees. The movie ends here with two sitting in a restaurant and enjoying the evening together. As written in Mistress America, Brooke’s dream of having a restaurant never gets fulfilled as she pays her debts off and decides to move West to Los Angeles. As for Tracy, things look pretty optimistic as she leaves her old literary society and decides to start her own one.

My Verdict & Rating:

Mistress America may not be a memorable piece of cinema but it is nonetheless worthy of watching. The film makes you laugh and think at the same time. It is not that typical “haha hehe” comedy movie but a carefully crafted one that uses humor as a supporting element to the overall theme. Mistress America gets a flat 8/10 from me.

Bad Moms – Movie Review

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Movie: Bad Moms                                         Year: 2016

Country: USA                                                Language: English

Genre: Comedy

Bad Moms Movie Review:

With the entertaining trailer and successful team behind it, I went to watch Bad Moms with great expectations and realized that it is a little stale, unrealistic and much less funny mom version of The Hangover.

The lead Mila Kunis is trying her best to be a good mother. One day she snaps and decides she’s done making her kids’ childhood magical. And this is just the beginning of one hundred and fifty-seven clichés in the film!

Bad Moms Story-line:

The movie starts great and you do feel sorry for Mila Kunis’s character and pity her for having ungrateful kids and a useless husband. The school bully is someone we have seen before and Christina Applegate slipped into her character effortlessly. The sidekicks are stereotypical too, but have acted well, however, Kathryn Hahn is more annoying than funny at some places. Most of the jokes and situations are over the top and are not always laughable. It is supposed to be a feminist movie but it was offensive at places. Dancing pregnant moms, dancing hijab wearing moms, Indian mom saying Mila Kunis ‘looks foreign’ are all supposed to be jokes that I didn’t quite get.

The film had some great dialogues that I could relate with as a mother. Mom-fantasy of having a quiet breakfast, the fear of screwing up every day, or finding someone who can fix a car-seat in 2 seconds hot are so typical. There was so much that could be done with a subject like this but I feel the film got derailed because it became increasingly unrealistic. There are too many extremes – jerk of a husband, unreasonable boss and too nice and perfect Mila Kunis, too much drinking and raunchiness. I find it hard to believe that someone who has been a mother for 12 years can’t find more ways to feel liberated. When everything in her life is falling apart – job, marriage, kids – the lead is focused on fighting an ego battle against the bully and trying to get laid.

And at the end, everything magically falls in place. Mila Kunis’s life and kids are perfect, the timid learns to boss around her dominating husband, bully becomes a friend and the slutty one even wears decent clothes AND packs a lunchbox for school! It’s way too perfect. The end credits however are awesome. The camera captures real life moms of the crew talking about their motherhood fails. Its adorable and makes you go awww!

Final Verdict on Bad Moms:

Overall, the movie is not great, but it’s fun if you don’t go with high expectations… or your brains!!

Review By: Aparna Kunal Jain

She manages a Facebook Group called The Movie Club…!

Hollywood So Far In 2016 – Expectations & Reality

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Hollywood So Far In 2016 – Expectations & Reality

Like every year this year too there were a lot of Hollywood releases which had high expectations, but couldn’t deliver. While few movies which were initially thought to be as low key affair, unexpectedly made it big at the box office. As far as the collections are concerned till now, the top 5 highest grossing movies of 2016 are:

Hollywood So Far In 2016 - Expectations & Reality
Captain America Civil War 2016 Movie
  1. Captain America – Civil War
  2. Zootopia
  3. The Jungle Book
  4. Batman vs Superman – The Dawn of Justice
  5. Finding Dory
Hollywood So Far In 2016 - Expectations & Reality
Batman vs Superman Poster

Among the above mentioned films, “Batman vs Superman” received a negative review from the critics as well as the viewers. But, still it was able to earn more than 3 times of its budget. Mostly, due to the “hype” created around the movie. On the other hand “Captain America – Civil War” not only crossed $1billion mark, but also ruled the hearts of the people worldwide.

One movie that crossed the expectations given its budget is Ryan Reynolds starring “Deadpool”. The film was supposed to earn around $850 million world over and so far it has made around $780 million. With a budget of just under $60 million Deadpool has earned more than 12 times of its budget. The film holds an 8.1 rating on IMDB with almost half a million votes currently. “Zootopia” too was expected to gross $850 million internationally has surprisingly crossed $1billion. The movie got 98% on Rotten tomatoes which is a testimony of its commercial as well as cinematic success.

Hollywood So Far In 2016 - Expectations & Reality
Deadpool Poster

Now, talking about the films that disappointed us. Among the foremost are “Zoolander – 2” & “My Big Fat Wedding – 2”. Both the films have couple of things common between them. These sequels are released after more than a decade of their first part. They both were highly anticipated movies of 2016 and they didn’t live up to the expectations. Although, they made more than their budget, but still were not accepted by the audience in general. One more “sequel” that hit the screen in 2016 was “The Huntsman – Winter’s War”. Despite an experienced and powerful cast and all the marketing and media hype created around this film it can only be considered as “below par”. In general, we can say year 2016 wasn’t good for sequels. Except for few of them, all the sequels were either rejected by the audience or couldn’t make the impression that was expected from them.

Hollywood So Far In 2016 - Expectations & Reality
Zoolander 2 Poster

“Independence Day – Resurgence” couldn’t even make the half of what was predicted out of it. Likewise, “Now You See Me – 2” although did a “modest” job in theaters, but by no way surpassed its first part commercially as well as popularity wise. Similarly, “Ghostbusters” couldn’t even cross its budget till the time this article was written.

Now, here are my top 5 movies that are yet to hit the screens in 2016 and what we can predict for them in revenue worldwide.

  1. Dr Strange – $700million
  2. Moana – $700million
  3. Suicide Squad – $712 million
  4. Rogue One: A Star War’s Story – $900 million
  5. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – $1 billion
Hollywood So Far In 2016 - Expectations & Reality
Fantastic Beats And Where to Find Them Movie Poster

It would be interesting to watch and see what these movies can bring to us and whether they will make their way into the Top-grossing movies of 2016 by the end of the year or not. Till then take care and enjoy watching movies…!