‘The Crimes of Grindelwald’ – a witness for the defense

Ugh. When you have enough characters to do a big photoshoot like this — just, ugh. It’s all so slimy. Images courtesy Warner Bros.

4/10 In 2016, audiences were generally pleased and relieved to return to an Americanized version of the wizarding world, but Paul and I were dissatisfied with its length and general lack of direction. Now, the sequel, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, is being met with critical derision, but I’d like to stand up for it, if only half-heartedly.

A year or so after the first movie, Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) has escaped imprisonment and is hiding somewhere in Paris, searching for Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller), who apparently survived being completely fucking obliterated in the first movie. Wizarding authorities now suspect Barebone is actually Corvus Lestrange, the last in a long line of pure-blood wizards who was thought to be lost at sea as a child. Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) cannot fight his former lover Grindlewald, and sends Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) to Paris in his stead. Scamander is joined by U.S. auror Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston) and Leta Lestrange (Zoë Kravitz), who would be Barebone’s half-sister if authorities are correct, as he searches for Barebone.

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Decent ‘Overlord’ fails commercially

Images courtesy Paramount Pictures.

5/10 Overlord is a quiet little action/horror movie about Nazi zombies that passed through theaters without much notice, failing spectacularly to stronger intellectual properties like Dr. Seuss and Harry Potter.

Overlord follows Private Ed Boyce (Jovan Adepo) and demolitions expert Corporal Ford (Wyatt Russell), two members of a paratrooper squad sent to destroy a German radio tower in an old church to prepare for the D-Day invasion. When they get there, Boyce discovers gruesome Nazi experiments on the French locals surrounding the apparent distillation of a zombie serum.

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Sony is a terrible company that makes bad decisions: a ‘Girl in the Spider’s Web’ story

Images courtesy Sony Pictures Releasing.

2/10 In 2011, Sony released its English-language adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, directed by David Fincher and starring Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig, and it was a huge success. It pulled in $232.6 million worldwide for the studio on a $90 million budget and was pegged as one of the year’s best films, earning five Academy Award nominations, including a win for best editing. Fincher said the same creative team was planning to adapt the next two books of the Millenium series back-to-back.

Unfortunately, Sony is a terrible company that makes bad decisions, and so, for reasons that remain a mystery – seriously, by all accounts they got a script written and then, just, didn’t shoot it – The Girl who Played with Fire and The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest simply didn’t happen. In 2015, Sony announced it was “rebooting the series” – the “series” here being just one reasonably successful and critically acclaimed film that released only four years prior.

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Once again, Disney loses tens of millions to bring you a terrible film

Images courtesy Walt Disney Motion Picture Studios.

3/10 In 2010, Alice went back into Wonderland to discover an ungodly amount of money, the kind of money that, at the time, could put a movie into the upper stratosphere of all-time projects. Disney would send her back in 2016’s Alice Through the Looking Glass to find the well had almost completely dried.

Now, they’ve sent another clever girl into a more Christmas-themed Wonderland to discover that, no, really, there’s not much money in there anymore.

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‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ is incoherent, over-produced nonsense

Images courtesy 20th Century Fox.

1/10 The more I learn, the more I realize Bohemian Rhapsody is a vicious, intentionally revisionist insult to Freddie Mercury, the history of rock-and-roll, the very concept of film as an art form and the hundreds of thousands killed in AIDS crisis, but before it is any of that, it is a damn bad movie.

Bohemian Rhapsody is the completely fabricated true story of Queen, from the fictionalized formation of the band, around the mostly made-up tension over its signature song “Bohemian Rhapsody,” through its break-up that never really happened and up to its Live-Aid performance in 1985, which is still considered one of the single greatest rock performances by a band in any context. It centers around the band’s legendary frontman Freddie Mercury (Remi Malek), but completely erases everything that makes him an enduring icon and reduces his 1991 AIDS death to an afterthought.

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