Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them | Movie Review

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Release date: 18 November 2016 (United Kingdom)
Director: David Yates
Film series: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Film Series
Box office: 812.5 million USD
Screenplay: J. K. Rowling

This is a film that I have been meaning to watch for ages. Literally ages. Because I am the biggest Harry Potter fan and I love Eddie Redmayne so why it has taken me six months to watch it, I have no idea. But a few weeks ago I finally got around to watching it. And I was not disappointed. The film was quite different to what I was expecting, especially in how dark the film went, but I loved it nevertheless. I adored all the characters, particularly Queenie because I could really connect to her on a personal level, because they were all very complex and interesting and had their own individual quirks and backstories. I did think that a little more time could have been spent on the world building because I think that people who aren’t die hard Harry Potter fans may have had a bit of trouble understanding things. However, the visual effects were brilliant and I loved how all the magical creatures were presented. This was a really surprising film for me as it was very different to what I was expecting but I really enjoyed it all the same.

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The year is 1926, and Newt Scamander – played by Eddie Redmayne – has just completed a global excursion to find and document an extraordinary array of magical creatures. Arriving in New York for a brief stopover, he might have come and gone without incident, were it not for a No-Maj (American for Muggle) named Jacob, a misplaced magical case, and the escape of some of Newt’s fantastic beasts, which could spell trouble for both the wizarding and No-Maj worlds.

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Let’s just get this out there – Newt’s a real sweetheart, isn’t he? He is so loving and warm and good-natured but still very determined and protective and I love that a Hufflepuff is getting their chance in the spotlight for once (because yes, I am a Hufflepuff). I thought that Eddie Redmayne did a fantastic job, particularly as he had to work with so much CGI in the film, and really brought this socially-awkward yet very intelligent character to life. I also adored the Goldstein sisters and they are both two of my favourite female characters ever. Tina is so dedicated and hard-working and loyal and I love her relenting resilience that never once wavers in the film. But I also loved that she isn’t stone-hearted and goes through a lot of emotions in the film and isn’t afraid to openly show them; she is human and that’s what I love. I also adored Queenie because I think out of all the characters she is most like myself (though I am quite like Tina too). She isn’t ashamed or embarrassed of her kindness and warmth and actually uses this to her advantage when people underestimate her for being a giggly, dumb blonde. She’s also very funny and protective of her sister and I loved seeing Queenie and Tina’s relationship.

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This film was a whole lot darker than I ever could expected; there are themes of child abuse, discrimination and a level of intense hatred and disgust towards certain groups of people that I certainly wasn’t expecting. There were also several comments towards society which I also wasn’t expecting, seeing as this is a ‘kid’s film’. But it’s no ordinary ‘kids film’, this story tells several very important and deep messages about people’s attitudes and what we do when we tell groups of people to suppress themselves and hide away from society because who they are is unnatural – we create the results and consequences of what that individual then does and the results of that are clearly shown in the story. On a lighter note, I thought all the CGI was done brilliantly and I loved seeing all of the magical creatures and the wizarding world come to life. The plot is quite slow at the beginning with a lot of flitting around between different characters but at the half way point, it really picks up and builds into something fantastic.

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This film was definitely a surprise but it was a welcome surprise because I loved all the different elements and all the sub-plots that wove together to create this historical and moving film that even though it is about wizards, still has a lot of relevance to our society today. This is definitely a film for slightly older children to watch because it does get quite dark but both kids and adults can enjoy it – kids can enjoy the wonderful CGI and humour whereas adults can pick up on the hidden sub-text and the themes that the film is trying to get across.

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Belle | Movie Review

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Release date: 13 June 2014 (United Kingdom)
Director: Amma Asante
Screenplay: Misan Sagay
Music composed by: Rachel Portman
Awards: The British Independent Film Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a British Independent Film

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BELLE is inspired by the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), the illegitimate mixed race daughter of a Royal Navy Captain. Raised by her aristocratic great-uncle Lord Mansfield (Tom Wilkinson) and his wife (Emily Watson), Belle’s lineage affords her certain privileges, yet the color of her skin prevents her from fully participating in the traditions of her social standing. Left to wonder if she will ever find love, Belle falls for an idealistic young vicar’s son bent on change who, with her help, shapes Lord Mansfield’s role as Lord Chief Justice to end slavery in England.

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Quote Me #9

Back again for some more great quotes!

1) Amy: This one says Die Pig. And worst of all, they didn’t put the comma between die and pig. (Brooklyn Nine Nine)

2) Peter Quill: You look like Mary Poppins.
Yondu: Is he cool?
Peter Quill: Hell yeah, he’s cool.
Yondu: I’m Mary Poppins, y’all!
(Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2)

3) Prince: [dancing with her] What? What is it?
Belle: [smiles] How’d you feel about growing a beard?
(Beauty and the Beast)

Mid-May Favourites

Today was my first day of exams so from now until mid-June I’m basically snowed under with revision. That said, I’ve still been finding time to discover a couple of new favourites this month and particularly my film favourite, I am completely obsessed with! That said, this list definitely isn’t up to my usual standards and I’m sorry!

Film:
Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 (2017)
Director: James Gunn

Obviously, if anyone knows me, I am going to be obsessed with the newest Marvel release. I know that the majority of people love this film, though some people are sitting on the fence, and I am firmly in the camp of absolute adoration. This film was quite different in tone from the first one and was definitely more emotional and moving but was still full of brilliant songs, amazing characters and the humour that all Marvel films are jam-packed with. This film was so engaging and enjoyable and I encourage everybody to go and see it!

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Book:
Six of Crows (2015)
Author: Leigh Bardugo

I can’t believe that the first time I picked this book up I couldn’t even get through the first five pages because now I am fully obsessed with this book. I love all of the characters because they’re so complex and engaging and are characters that I’ve never read about before. This world is so vivid and dark and gritty that I just want to discover more about it and the plot was perfect – who doesn’t love a good heist novel? I can’t wait to read the sequel!

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Album:
Grease Live Soundtrack (2016)

After becoming absolutely obsessed with the Hairspray Live soundtrack, I figured I should give Grease Live a shot as well. Now, Grease isn’t actually one of my favourite musicals (with is a very unpopular opinion) but I’m pleased to say that I absolutely adored it. Aaron Tveit, Vanessa Hudgens and Jordan Fisher are incredible in this and I have been listening to every single song on repeat.

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The Be, Room, Cliff Tag #4

I haven’t done one of these tags for quite a while and seeing as I love celebrating strong female characters, I thought I’d do another!

1) Agnes Towler (Mr. Selfridge) v Lysandra (Queen of Shadows) v Elektra (Daredevil)

This is quite a hard one because each of these characters goes through a lot of terrible stuff in their lives but I think ultimately I’d…

Be: Agnes Towler – that way I get my hands on an attractive Frenchman and get to work at Selfridges
Room: Lysandra – she’s such a badass and I’d also get to interact with all the other Throne of Glass characters
Cliff: Elektra – she’s great but I’d never be able to fully trust her.

2) Morrigan (A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas) v Karen Page (Daredevil) v Elle Woods (Legally Blonde)

Man, this is hard! I love all these ladies so much! Grr…I don’t know! This is too difficult…*cries*…okay, fine…

Be: Morrigan – I’d get to have magical powers and hang out with Rhys, Feyre and Azriel (swoon) even though I’d have suffered through some horrendous things
Room: Elle Woods – I love her so much! She’s so fun and strong-willed and doesn’t let anyone stand in her way and I think having her as a best friend would be pretty incredible.
Cliff – I’m so, so sorry Karen! I love her determination and her resilience and the way she always views the best in people. I’m sure that Matt would save her though…right?

3) Nina Zenik (Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo) v Tina Goldstein (Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them) v Josie Mardle (Mr. Selfridge)

Again, this is a super tough one because all of these ladies are incredibly strong and powerful and don’t let anybody stand in their way. Hmm….okay…

Be: Nina Zenik – Nina is my favourite character out of Six of Crows and I love her to pieces and I would love to have her abilities and get to hang out with Matthias (swoon)
Room: Tina Goldstein – Tina would always have my back and be looking out for me as well as being really fun to hang out with.
Cliff: Josie Mardle – I refuse to believe that Josie would die in the fall because she’s survived so much hardship in her life that she would probably kill the cliff on the way down!

4) Andie (An Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson) v Amren (A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas) v Inej Ghafa (Six of Crows)

Okay, so this one is pretty easy…

Be: Amren – Not only would I get to hang out with the crew, I’d also get to be whatever majestic creature she really is.
Room: Inej Ghafa – Inej is such a strong and intelligent character and I just love her.
Cliff: Andie – Sorry Andie! But you just don’t live up to the others!

5) Gamora (Guardians of the Galaxy) v Belle (Beauty and the Beast) v Queenie Goldstein (Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them)

Aah, this is so hard! I love these ladies all to much…

Be: Belle – She’s my joint favourite Disney princess and one of my favourite characters ever so I have to be her, don’t I?
Room: Queenie Goldstein – I adore Queenie and I think she’d be a joy to live with!
Cliff: Gamora – Let’s face it, it would take more than this to kill of Gamora!

6) Palmer (An Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson) v Uhura (Star Trek) v Christine (Dr. Strange)

Okay, this is another easy one to finish…

Be: Christine – I love Christine and how strong and intelligent she is and I’d also get to hang out with Stephen (swoon)
Room: Uhura – While I might not be a fan of heights, I’d put up with them for Uhura because she’s such an amazing character.
Cliff: Palmer – Okay, I love Palmer but she sadly just doesn’t live up to the others!

And that was the Be, Room, Cliff Tag! I hope you enjoyed it and tell me what some of your answers would have been!

Doctor Strange | Movie Review

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Release date: 24 October 2016 (United Kingdom)
Director: Scott Derrickson
Box office: 677.4 million USD
Budget: 165 million USD
Music composed by: Michael Giacchino

If you know anything about me, then you know that I am an absolutely massive, humongous Marvel fanatic. This film came out at the latter end of last year and, come the middle of March, I was still yet to see it. And this didn’t sit right with me and I desperately needed to give it a watch, so I did. And while it may not be my new favourite Marvel film, it still made extremely enjoyable viewing and was definitely a very different film to what is currently out in the Marvel universe. I really loved the main character Stephen Strange and his partner in crime Christine and the bantering, almost sibling-like relationship like they had with each. The visual effects were also stunning and, as per usual, there was plenty of humour as well as some really deep and powerful messages about time and the meaning of life. This was a really fun, moving and unique film with some strong scientific elements that I think is a must-see for any movie fan.

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Dr. Stephen Strange’s – played by Benedict Cumberbatch – life changes after a car accident robs him of the use of his hands. When traditional medicine fails him, he looks for healing, and hope, in a mysterious enclave. He quickly learns that the enclave is at the front line of a battle against unseen dark forces bent on destroying reality. Before long, Strange is forced to choose between his life of fortune and status or leave it all behind to defend the world as the most powerful sorcerer in existence.

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Going into this film I was slightly apprehensive about Benedict Cumberbatch playing the main role. This wasn’t because I doubt him as an actor – I think he’s an absolutely fantastic actor – but I was slightly wary if he would be too famous and well recognized from other roles such as Sherlock for me to be fully immersed in his portrayal of Stephen Strange. But I really had nothing to worry about because within the first five minutes I was completely engaged in his character. I think that his American accent helped too for me to be completely immersed in the character of Stephen Strange. He is at the beginning of the film an arrogant idiot but he goes through a lot of character development throughout the film and by the end he still has his incredibly sarcastic humour that is part of his character but is a much nicer guy. My favourite character in the whole film was probably that of his partner-in-crime Christine who, at least in my opinion, deserved a heck of a lot more screen time. She was really kind and considerate but was definitely not a pushover and wasn’t afraid to stand up to Stephen and was probably the most realistic character in the film. I really enjoyed their chemistry because it was believable and still very entertaining.

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As I’ve already said, this film was very mind-bendy and that is the only way that I can really describe it. There are so many colourful special effects that are quite overwhelming at first, mainly because it is very unlike the rest of the Marvel films that are currently out there, but once you get into the film and understand the tone and style of the film then it’s something that really makes this film stand out. The plot of this film was fairly straight-forward and not exactly original but it was executed very well and particularly the end third of this film is extremely action-packed and fast-paced. It wouldn’t be a Marvel film if it wasn’t jam-packed with humour and this film certainly was, with lots of sassy comments and pop-culture references as well.

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This definitely isn’t your typical Marvel movie but did a great job of setting up some future movies with a little bit of history and backstory. It was engaging and entertaining, while maybe being a little too crazy for some viewers, but I immensely enjoyed myself regardless.

Mid-April Favourites

This month was a pretty productive month for me and particularly because I managed to consume a lot of different stories and discovered some new ones that I am wholly and completely obsessed with.

Film:
Beauty and the Beast (2017)
Director: Bill Condon

Was it ever going to be any other film? This film was basically made for me: it includes all of my favourite actors, it is a musical, it’s set in France and it is based of my joint favourite Disney film of all time. So there was no question that this was my most anticipated film of the year and I absolutely adored every single second of it. It’s now my favourite film of all time (was there any question about it?) and I can’t stop thinking about it. I know that I am rather biased seeing as I have such a strong childhood connection to this story but I think that if you see one film in the cinema this year, make it this one.

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Song:
Mama, I’m A Big Girl Now (2016)
Artist: Original Television Cast of Hairspray! Live

If you guys know me at all, then you know that I am full-on obsessed with musicals and am also full-on obsessed with Hairspray. So, naturally, I am in love with Hairspray! Live. And this month, this song has been constantly stuck in my head and I’ve been playing on repeat. This isn’t even one of my favourite songs in the musical of Hairspray! but for some reason I was just obsessed with it this month.

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Book:
A Court of Mist and Fury (2016)
Author: Sarah J Maas

I fancied reading some Sarah J Maas this month so I decided to re-read the first two books of her A Court of Thorns and Roses series. And while I like the first book a lot more now I can see Sarah J Maas’s true intentions (those who have read both books will not what I mean), I like the characters from the second book a lot more and I loved having the chance to re-read it again.

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TV Show:
Mr. Selfridge (2013)
Creator: Andrew Davies

This is a show that I started a very long time ago but then for reasons that I don’t wholly know stopped watching it. But I decided to remedy that this month, having a random spark to start it again, and I’ve been absolutely loving it. I’ve been flying through episodes and I’ve become completely swept up in the story and I love all of the characters, particularly Agnes, Henri and Miss Mardle.

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Album:
Beauty and the Beast Official Soundtrack (2017)

As I said, I’ve been having something of an obsession this month so it should come at no surprise that this is my most listened to soundtrack of the month. All of the actors can sing amazingly well and the modern adaptations really add another layer to the classic songs that everybody loves so much.

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