FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM – REVIEW

REVIEW – Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a Harry Potter-themed Pokemon Go for people too lazy to play Pokemon Go.

Following a sex change operation and a bout of Motor Neuron Disease, Eddie Redmayne is back. This time he’s off to New York with a suitcase of magical creatures which he accidentally lets loose. After bumping into a baker. With the help of a magical police woman Porpentina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston) and her telepathic sister, he and Kolawski (Dan Fogler) the baker hunt down the magical creatures while a anti-magic zealot and Colin Farrell vaguely threaten. Jon Voigt turns up and no one looks happy.

There’s something exhausting these days about going to see a film, assured there are four more of these assholes to come. It’s not only do I like this one, but can be bothered watching the others? Short answer: no. Never has magic been more dull, magicians so annoying and a quest, so literally like a walk in the park. JK Rowling can take more blame than usual ass the screenwriter and producer. Also Redmayne is one of the most over-rated actors currently working. His smirking, gurning and blinking oddball is a charisma-free hole where an actor ought to be. Fogler is okay but is asked to do the same thing time and time again. And poor Colin Farrell is shunted aside in a final twist that reveals he was another actor who you’d apparently much prefer to see. At least before he started beating up his wife.

The franchise machine churns on and the sequels are probably already shooting. But this overlong, tedious, unfunny monster hunt fills me with dread. Dread and a wish to die.

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INHERENT VICE: REVIEW

INHERENT VICE: REVIEW – Paul Thompson Anderson remakes the Big Lebowski, but without the wit.

First things first: Paul Thomas Anderson is one of those directors who – any movie of his I’m watching, that becomes my favorite movie, his Alien Vs Predator movies aside, which are bafflingly poor.  Magnolia is a masterpiece; Boogie Nights, a masterpiece; There Will Be Blood, obviously a masterpiece; Punch Drunk Love, a small quirky masterpiece and The Master is so much a masterpiece he even put half the word in the title. So what the f*ck is Inherent Vice?

Oh, and an addendum to that, I also love Thomas Pynchon and think V is a masterpiece; Gravity’s Rainbow is a masterpiece… okay? Yeah, you follow me. So again what the f*ck is Inherent Vice?

It’s not bad, it looks handsome and sounds fantastic, the performances are all good, Wacky Phoenix a likable comic lead. And PTA does TP justice, but that might just be the problem. Pynchon’s dialogue in the novel is a gag filled delight, taking from Chandler both plot and raison d’etre and giving us Marlowe played by Elliot Gould via the ‘Dude’ Lebowski, with Wolverine’s sideburns. But in PTA’s adaptation, the scenes are simply too long and too similar; one feels he’s too in love with his source material. More bothered about being true to it than creating a good movie.

At the behest of an ex-girlfriend Shasta (Katherine Waterson), private investigator ‘Doc’ Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) investigates a pair of linked disappearances. Doing so, Doc comes across a parade of semi-crazy characters from a hopped up dentist (Martin Short) to a flat top cop called Bigfoot (Josh Brolin). The lugubrious narration is given by a beach babe astrologer Sortilège (Joanna Newsom) not so much to clear up the intentionally complicated plot, but to read out chunks of the novel. Pynchon’s prose is good, cinematic even, but it does not need to be here. Just as his wise-cracking dialogue crackles on the page but burns up way too much screen time. What should be snappy comes across as gassy. And people tells us too much that sounds more interesting than what we are seeing. A dentist dies in weird vampiric trampoline accident? Let’s see it.

Again Inherent Vice is not bad. It’s just – and it pains me to say it – not a masterpiece.

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