Film Review: “Fantastic Beasts : The Crimes of Grindelwald”

 

FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD
Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston
Directed by: David Yates
Rated: PG-13
Running time: 2 hrs 14 mins
Warner Bros.

Is “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” fantastic or criminal? The answer falls somewhere in the middle. This second installment of what is intended to be a series of “Fantastic Beasts” films, all from the mind of “Harry Potter” creator J.K. Rowling, is a long-winded tale that lacks the charm of its 2016 predecessor. The story is predictably darker in tone, but a bulk of the over two-hour running time is a snooze fest.

Set in 1927, “Crimes of Grindelwald” begins excitingly enough as we watch Johnny Depp play the steely fanatical villain Gellert Grindelwald, regarded as one of the two most powerful wizards around, make a daring yet well-planned escape from the British Ministry of Magic. That’s when the story comes to a screeching halt as we are then forced into the world of mild-mannered Magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) as he tries to get his international travel ban lifted.

Not much has changed with our hero since the original – he refuses to take sides, rarely makes eye contact with anyone, and has trouble communicating with the opposite sex. Newt is offered the chance to work alongside his brother for the Ministry of Magic in order to locate the powerful yet troubled Obscurial Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller, “Justice League”), but he refuses. However, he cannot turn down his former teacher Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) so he travels secretly to Paris with his Muggle sidekick in-tow, Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler) who’s fighting with wizard girlfriend Queenie Goldstein (Alison Sudol).

It’s all rather sluggish and overly contrived as we are bombarded with a dizzying array of plot points for not only this film, but also for the “Fantastic Beasts” sequels that are already planned. There is little in the way of suspense even though more and more characters are introduced who are trying to find Credence for a variety of reasons, some more mysterious or nefarious than others. Rowling’s story also tries to rekindle the endearing romance in the first film between Newt and Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston). Unfortunately, Rowling’s screenplay fails as their bumbling stumbling relationship feels like something straight out of a TV sitcom.

The character of Newt ends up becoming a boring, overshadowed distraction instead of a hero as we are left with wanting more of Law and Depp. Both are a treat to watch on the silver screen with Law successfully being able to make his own mark on a character already forged in the minds of “Harry Potter” followers by Michael Gambon and the late Richard Harris. Depp delivers one of his better performances as Grindelwald as he stays away from being overly quirky and gives his character a magnetic solemnity.

The pace is picked up in the last third of “Crimes of Grindelwald” as secrets are revealed, characters die, and those still living chose sides. Plenty of magical special effects abound but none are necessarily ground breaking or spell binding. Maybe it’s a sophomore slump and the “Fantastic Beasts” series will get better, but in the meantime it’s a disappointing pill to swallow.

Prize Pack Giveaway for new mobile game, MAHJONG CRIMES

We are working with Spil Games on their new mobile game called Mahjong Crimes. and looking to giveaway a prize pack, consisting of a $20 iTunes or Google Play gift card and a Rubik’s Cube. Enter a comment below with your favorite murder mystery. Winners will be chosen at random on November 20th, 2017. One entry per person per household. Good luck!

Amsterdam — 9 November 2017: It’s one of a kind. Puzzling out classic, intriguing Mahjong leads you to expose the truth in the world’s most famous murder mystery, Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express.

 

Available for free on iOS and AndroidMahjong Crimes, exclusively combines the classic tile game with the lavish period settings of Agatha Christie’s great detective story.

 

 

The plot thickens

 

In an all-new take on one of the world’s most popular games, 250 levels of Mahjong Solitaire unlock clues as you travel through 5 different scenarios within Agatha Christie’s iconic mystery.

 

As you climb into your elegant compartment aboard the Orient Express, you’ll be faced with 1 of 7 inscrutable varieties of the classic tile-matching game. You may have to beat the clock to reveal a hidden clue. Or the tiles may have letters rather than Chinese characters, and matching those letters spells out an important facet of the case.

 

It is endlessly entertaining and is the only Mahjong game to feature an Agatha Christie murder mystery.

 

“It’s amazing to see Agatha Christie’s story taking shape so brilliantly in this 21st century medium,” says James Prichard, Chairman and CEO of Agatha Christie Ltd (who also happens to be the extraordinary writer’s great-grandson).

 

The facts of the case

•    Mahjong and Murder on the Orient Express: two timeless classics combined into a single great game

•    250 challenging levels, in 5 scenarios from Agatha Christie’s mystery

•    Power up to get ahead in the game

•    Collect unique Mahjong tile sets

•    The game stays fresh with more levels, mysteries and tile sets added regularly

 

Download now on App Store or Google Play.

 

About Spil Games:

Spil Games is a fast-growing and agile games publisher and producer, already reaching huge audiences across the web and mobile.  In the last two years, it has ramped up its mobile business to 275 million installs. This growth is mainly organic.   Many recognize Spil Games as an up-and-comer in the mobile gaming industry. For example, Nolan Bushnell, the godfather of video games, is developing his first ever mobile game with Spil Games.  The company is also seeing success with messenger games.  Its Endless Lake on Facebook’s Instant Games has reached close to 40 million unique users to date. It was one of a handful of games Facebook selected for launch and it was immediately — and remains — one of the most popular.  www.spilgames.com

 

 

About Agatha Christie Limited: 

Agatha Christie Limited (ACL) has been managing the literary and media rights to Agatha Christie’s works around the world since 1955, working with the best talents in film, television, publishing, stage and on digital platforms to ensure that Christie’s work continues to reach new audiences in innovative ways and to the highest standard. The company is managed by Christie’s great grandson James Prichard.

 

CD Review: Masked Intruder “Love and Other Crimes”

“Love and Other Crimes”
Masked Intruder
Pure Noise
Tracks: 6
Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Wisconsin based punk rockers Masked Intruder recently released a new EP titled “Love and Other Crimes”. The six track ep which is being released via Pure Noise is the follow up to the band’s 2012 self titled debut which was released via Red Scare and then re-released by Fat Wreck Chords in 2013.

Despite the band being somewhat mysterious due to their identities being hidden behind brightly colored ski masks one thing is certain, These guys know how to have fun! With six songs clocking in at just under fifteen minutes Masked Intruder’s “Love and Other Crimes” wastes no time getting to the point. Each song is brimming over with Ramones like rhythms and comedic lyrics which instantly make the release a fun listen each and every time. Tracks like the albums guitar fueled opener “Take What I Want” the super catchy “Beyond a Shadow of a Doubt” and the tongue and cheek filled “Running from the Cops” are all songs you can listen to time and time again. Even after multiple listens the songs still remain fun and fresh.

Don’t let the bands comedic look and nature fool you as each of the 4 members (Blue, Yellow, Green and Red) show tremendous disciple at their instruments making “Love and Other Crimes” a solid testament to that statement. If you’re a punk rock fan looking for something light and new grab yourself a copy of this release.

Track Listing:
1.) Take What I Want
2.) First Star Tonight
3.) Beyond a Shadow of a Doubt
4.) Running from the Cops
5.) Still Always on My Mind
6.) If Only

Blu-ray Review “Crimes and Misdemeanors”

Starring: Woody Allen, Martin Landau, Alan Alda, Caroline Aaron, Claire Bloom, Mia Farrow, Jerry Orbach, Sam Waterson
Director: Woody Allen
Distributed by: Twilight Time
Run Time: 104 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Release Date: Feb 11, 2014

Film: 5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2 out of 5 stars

I am a big embarrassed to say this but I have never seen “Crimes and Misdemeanors”. I am a huge Woody Allen fan though and I am pissed that it took so long to finally catch this amazing flick. I love how clever the film and witty this is. The cinematography was also a highlight courtesy of Sven Nykvist. It also packs some amazing performances from Landau and of course Allen. The story also had me thinking the entire time trying to figure out how the stories intertwined. This film has never been released on Blu-ray prior to this release and if you are a fan of Allen, this is a must purchase.

Official Premise: Woody Allen’s Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989) is a rare combination of film noir and black comedy, about an esteemed New York ophthalmologist (Martin Landau) whose affair with a flight attendant (Anjelica Huston) puts the careful construct of his life in jeopardy. As he contemplates a permanent solution to his problems, we are also treated to an interwoven story about another kind of moral crisis: a struggling documentary filmmaker (Allen) considers selling out by making a doc about a Hollywood jackass (Alan Alda), with the situation further complicated by the appearance of an entrancing TV producer (Mia Farrow).

This Blu-ray release is an Screen Archives Entertainment Exclusive and is a Limited Edition release with only 3000 copies produced. The 1080p transfer looks amazing for a film that is now 25 years old. The DTS-HD MA 1.0 plays out ok but I noticed that I had issues with some of the dialogue and consistently adjusting the volume. In the special features section, there is not much here. I did enjoy the Isolated Music & Effects Track quite a bit and adds another level to watching the film. Lastly, there is the Original Theatrical Trailer included.