Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them

Image: Warner Bros. Pictures

Years before Harry, Ron, and Hermione graced the halls of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the wizarding world was already in full swing. In this newest addition to JK Rowling’s repertoire, we are introduced to one Newt Scamander. Mr Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) is a young English wizard (and a Hufflepuff) with a fascination for all magical creatures under the class of beast. His travels take him to 1926 America. Through a series misfortunate occurrences, Newt has the great opportunity of meeting witch sisters Porpentina ‘Tina’ (Kathrine Waterson) and Queenie Goldstein (Alison Sudol), and nomaj (the American term for a muggle), Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler).

Eddie Redmayne is positively adorable in his portrayal of Newt. With his long blue coat, bowtie, and pleasant, if quiet, mannerisms, Newt is a stereotypical English gentleman. His character is all the more obvious when stood alongside Dan Fogler’s Jacob. Jacob, while still a gentleman, is much more outwardly confident and talkative. In one scene, Jacob’s charisma and Newt’s honest curiosity are beautifully displayed in their body language as they carry a conversation; Jacob making sure that Newt is still there and interested, while Newt is constantly angled towards his friend, showing undisrupted attention and interest.

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Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

Image: Paramount Pictures

From Washington D.C. to a New Orleans Halloween parade, Jack Reacher will go wherever he needs to find the truth behind this latest conspiracy.

When Major Turner (Cobie Smulders) finds herself framed for espionage, her new contact Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise) must dive back into the world of the military to help her uncover the truth.

Action, violence, cars, guns, you should know the drill by now. It all adds up to lots of noise and cringing when that particularly hard hit lands. One thing that is a little different is that our hero really gets his butt handed to him a few times. Yes, he’s a highly trained MP (sorry, ex-MP), but so are the people he’s up against. They are trained to fight and to kill. So it stands to reason that Reacher will get as good as he gives.

If you haven’t seen this film’s predecessor, fear not. While the main character is returning, you don’t lose out on any of the story line if you start here.

Inferno

Image: Columbia Pictures

As time goes on, the population of the earth has been and continues to expand exponentially. There is a theory that with overpopulation we are destroying the human race’s chances of survival. What happens when an individual decides to take action against that?

Director Ron Howard returns for this third film based on the books by Dan Brown. When symbologist Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) finds himself in hospital being treated for a head wound and no memory of the past 48 hours, it becomes a race against time and people unknown to find out what he had been working on.

With the assistance of Dr Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones), Langdon has to crack the puzzle leading to the next plague as the future of the human race hangs in the balance.

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The Girl on the Train

Image: Dreamworks Pictures

Piece by piece this tale of deceit, misdirection, adultery, and murder builds together.

Based on the bestselling novel by Paula Hawkins, The Girl on the Train is the story of three women; Rachel (Emily Blunt), a divorced alcoholic, Anna (Rebecca Ferguson), the new wife of Rachel’s ex-husband, and Megan (Haley Bennett), nanny to Anna’s daughter. When Megan goes missing we are drawn into the spiral.

The story itself starts relatively slow, building and layering upon itself. I personally started to get a slightly unsettled feeling the longer I watched, largely in part to the feel that you’re an outsider looking into somebody else’s life. While you are told the story from the points of view of the three leading women, it’s still difficult to feel like you belong.

As the story progresses, its jumps from person to person, forward and back in time, gradually form a puzzle. The longer you watch, the more of the picture you can begin to fill in for yourself.

While the movie on its own isn’t necessarily spectacular, the acting from the main cast is quite outstanding. Emily Blunt in particular is a stand out figure. Her portrayal of an alcoholic, emotionally unstable woman who can hardly trust what her own memory is telling her will have you on the edge of your seat.

If for no other reason, Blunt’s performance makes this film one to see.

Alice Through the Looking Glass

“The only way to achieve the impossible is to believe it’s possible.”

Join Alice as she is, once again, drawn into the magical insanity that is Wonderland to accomplish the impossible. When the Mad Hatter becomes ill, it’s up to Alice to take on Time himself in an effort to save her truest friend and his world.As Lewis Carroll’s world is brought forth from its pages, his characters given fresh life, it’s hard not to feel a sense of child-like wonder. The colour, magic, and all-round brilliance that made Wonderland so spectacular in the first movie is well and truly back again.

Of course, Wonderland would not be complete without its unusual inhabitants. Johnny Depp and Helen Bonham Carter are just as outrageous as the first time they brought the Mad Hatter and the Queen of Hearts to the screen.

Sacha Baron Cohen is a new addition to the cast with his amusingly quirky role of Time. It’s an unusual role to see him in as it is both a typical character of his while being unlike his usual crass personas. Whatever you opinion of his other movies, this is definitely a role to check out.

Attempting to change the past changes Alice’s perceptions of the future, and her time in Wonderland affects her life in our world. So it’s time to go down the rabbit hole again, or rather, through the looking glass as we join Alice and her friends as things get curiouser and curiouser on this wonderfully hectic adventure. 

Allegiant

The last installment of this dystopian series opens with one very important question. What’s the point of riding your world of evil if the new powers that be are no better? Were the people of this post apocalyptic Chicago better with the devil they knew?

Even with the factions disassembled, there are still strong rifts between the people. Eventually Tris, Four and the rest of our heroes are driven to abandon their home in the hope of finding help.

After the urban decay that is the main setting of the previous two films, we are treated to a different view; the desolation that lays outside the wall. The planet outside the wall is little more than a nuclear wasteland; giving a different angle to post-apocalyptic earth.

With such highly trained soldiers, as is expected of former members of Dauntless, the symmetry of the fight scenes is pretty spectacular. There’s no brawling with these guys and girls. It’s all well thought out action where every move counts.

In the end, this movie does leave you with a little to think about. It’s scary to see what has happened to what was once our planet and its populace. But whether it’s the repercussions of our actions and the future of our planet or the battle between good and people who think they’re doing right that you want to watch, Allegiant has something for you. 

The Jungle Book

Forget about your worries and you strife with this new adaption of Rudyard Kipling’s classic novel, The Jungle Book. Director Jon Favreau’s use of modern animation is truly mesmerizing as he builds this story and world around young Mowgli (Neel Sethi).

At times, it’s hard to believe the world laid out before you is, in fact, the product of computers. The beautiful scenery shows the diversity of the jungle and creates homes for the multitude of animals residing there. The amount of detail put into each individual tree and animal works toward building a decidedly realistic world.

Along his journey, Mowgli finds help in the form of Bagheera (Ben Kingsley), a by the rules, regal, black panther, and Baloo (Bill Murray), a big, lovable, lazy to a fault, bear. While Bagheera stands firm with the law of the jungle, Baloo mixes things up. While the panther seeks to instill in Mowgli the importance of knowing the rules and following them, our bear does this a little different. While singing about “The Bare Necessities” Baloo goes about his life aiming to do the least amount of work possible amount of work to achieve his desired outcome.

No story is complete without its villain. Idris Elba gives voice to Shere Khan, the tiger with a taste for man-cub. While attempting to avoid Shere Khan, Mowgli comes across none other than King Louie who, voiced by Christopher Walken, treats us to a new rendition of the classic song “I Wan’na Be Like You”.

While still following the story of the Disney movie many of us loved as children, the 2016 Jungle Book takes on a slightly darker style of adventure that is sure to enthrall you.