Movie review: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald
This second of five planned Harry Potter spin-offs is meant for Potterheads.
Those who have yet to watch the first film, from 2016, or are ignorant about the Harry Potter universe, won't have a clue about what is going on.
Crimes Of Grindelwald boasts more fantastical creatures, more spectacular and magical action, and most importantly, more elements from the beloved Potter lore.
Sadly, this dark, ambitious and polished sequel is crammed with too many convoluted plotlines that will leave even a Potterhead like myself puzzled.
There are many mind-blowing moments, but not all of them are positive.
Taking the story back to Hogwarts and giving us insight into Dumbledore and Grindelwald's relationship are pluses.
But just when you are getting to know these characters and their intertwined destiny, another story is shoved in your face.
There are at least four major plotlines going on. By the time you get to the big revelation at the end, you might not really care for it.
To J.K. Rowling's credit, she truly knows how to spin her yarn, and Potterheads will want to see how she develops this series to the ultimate Dumbledore-Grindelwald face-off.
A major letdown is the casting of Johnny Depp.
Grindelwald is supposed to be one of the greatest wizards, yet you don't feel any threat or malice from the actor, or buy into his cause for The Greater Good.
There are only that many gimmicky performances I can tolerate. Thankfully, his scenes are brief.
Some of the other supporting characters fare better.
Zoe Kravitz adds tension to the awkward relationship between her Leta Lestrange, Newt (Eddie Redmayne) and her fiance Theseus (Callum Turner), who happens to be Newt's dreamy older brother.
Law was born to play the young Dumbledore, bringing much warmth and charm to this darker instalment. There's also a sense of mischief about him that makes Dumbledore such a beloved character.
Potterheads won't be disappointed by the lovely Easter eggs, such as Quidditch and a fleeting glimpse of the Philosopher's Stone, littered throughout the 134-minute film.
If Rowling's mission is to solicit repeated viewings, then her objective has been met.
MOVIE: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald
STARRING: Eddie Redmayne, Ezra Miller, Jude Law, Johnny Depp, Zoe Kravitz, Callum Turner
DIRECTOR: David Yates
THE SKINNY: Dark wizard Grindelwald (Depp) is gathering pure-blood wizards, particularly Credence (Miller), in his cause for wizarding domination. Standing in his way is magizoologist Newt (Redmayne) who, under the request of his former Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher Dumbledore (Jude Law), must reach out to Credence before Grindelwald does.
Movie reviews: Pokemon The Movie, Iceman: The Time Traveler
POKEMON THE MOVIE: THE POWER OF US (PG)
The sequel to last year's Japanese animated Pokemon The Movie: I Choose You! takes place in Fura City, where everyone worships the legendary Lugia and his wind powers.
Ash, Pikachu and his new friends get wrapped up in a series of setbacks and have to save the small town before it's too late.
Rather than being at the centre of every conflict, Ash shares the limelight with an ensemble of local townsfolk this time.
A lot of time is spent exploring each character's motivation and background, putting a refreshing spin on the usual Pokemon movie formula.
The interpersonal conflicts take up the focus for the majority of the film rather than the main plot, and rightfully so as each character's personal story resonates with audiences most.
Those expecting to see Lugia for more than a few moments may be disappointed, especially since the build-up surrounding it is consistent throughout.
Still, Power Of Us is one of the most successful attempts at telling multiple stories within the same Pokemon film. - NUR SYAHINDAH ISHAK
ICEMAN: THE TIME TRAVELER (PG13)
Of all the poorly-written Chinese action flicks I've watched, this is regrettably - and laughably - the worst.
Following a showdown on Tsing Ma Bridge, Ming dynasty warrior He Ying (Donnie Yen) and sidekick Sao (Wang Baoqiang) fall into the sea and go missing.
After finding them, their nemeses Yuanlong (Simon Yam) and Niehu (Yu Kang) head for Beijing with He Ying hot on their heels, to search for the Golden Wheel of Time which allows them to travel 400 years back to the Ming dynasty.
A sequel to 2014's Iceman, this should have been kept frozen forever.
I had walked in with zero expectations, and somehow, still left disappointed. Continuity issues, lack of chemistry between cast members, low effort put into the acting, incoherent dialogue - need I say more?
The sole redeeming quality is seeing Hong Kong action star Yen show off his moves at the age of 55, and the only reason you should be watching this is if you are in desperate need to laugh-cringe. - MAVIS WONG
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