Review / Crimes of Grindelwald ★★½


Directed by: David Yates
Starring : Johnny Depp,  Eddie Redmayne, Jude Law, Zoe Kravitz, Ezra Miller

Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them was a perfectly enjoyable movie, while it did have the charm & development of the Harry Potter franchise, it still worked well enough to provide a solid foundation to the adventures of our magical animal keeper, Newt Scamander. With the news that the Fantastic Beasts series will now span 5 movies, did concern some. Having to span the entire narrative over five films could dilute the end product, and unfortunately, it seems the sequel, Crimes of Grindelwald, is already feeling that influence.

The story picks up following the arrest of our villain from the last film, Grindelwald (Depp), as his transfer to the UK from the States is inevitably botched, and manages to escape to Europe, to start his own uprising. Credence, the estranged yet powerful orphan, managed to survive the events in New York, is the vital pawn in tipping the balance of power towards our villain. It’s down to Scamander (Goodmayne) to track down Credence before it’s too late.

What made the first film such a joy were the vibrant scenes , escapades of Newt, and all the various magical beasts that he interacts with. How he uses the animals to further help his own objectives was a nice change from simply using magic. The hidden world within his suitcase opened us up to a world outside of the iconic Hogwarts. Unfortunately, in this chapter, Newt is pretty much on the bench, and probably down in 4th in order of importance to the plot.  There are far too many subplots all going on in the film, Grindlewald, Credence and Leta (Kravitz) all have far more significance to the grant story. There’s also the Dumbledore, Queenie and Nagiri arcs, which simply creates a convoluted tangle of tales.

Even with all these story lines occurring, and a run time of over 2 hours to fit it all, it all still feels so dull! This has the feel of a political drama, rather than a magical escape. The finale of the film revolves around a political rally, thrilling! The entire Lestrange story really goes nowhere, and it could have been entirely removed, and would make no difference to the overall story. Which raises huge concerns, considering it was a vast chuck on the plot. To cap it all off, the final at the end, raises some serious inconsistencies, which will leave hard core Potter fans dumbfounded.

The interactions between Newt and Jacob (Fogler) are still as great as the first film, their chemistry really gives their characters a likability that a large majority of the cast simply don’t. Their journey and confrontations with the beasts are by far the strongest parts of the film. Sadly, Newt feels like an after thought, playing a support role to the grander scheme. Jude Law as a young Dumbledore is also rather good, and brings some charisma to a role mostly associated with an old respected scholar. The Hogwarts scenes also bring some nostalgic charm to the movie, and reminds us why the franchise is seen so fondly by many.

There is still lot’s of potential left in the series,  the magic and fantasy aspects are still there, and as part 2 of 5, things will drag on in some the films. Now that the ground works are well and truly set, hopefully the next release sees more of the fantasy, and less of the politics!

On Set : In Japan


After spending a week or so, over 9000km away in the land of the rising sun. I thought I would share a few of my holiday photos here. Be it famous locations from movies, or just any movie related snap I happened to take! So enjoy! Maybe we can make this a feature whenever one of us go overseas! 😀

Neon Tokyo, It’s bound to appear in any film that is shot in Tokyo. Shibuya District is area that many film fans will recognise instantly! With all its buildings lit up like Christmas  and the legions of buzzing crowds, it’s synonymous with metropolitan Japan. It’s the go to backdrop for Tokyo nightlife in movies! It’s very prominent in The Fast & The Furious: Tokyo Drift and also appears in Lost in Translation, The Grudge and Kill Bill Vol 1 to name a few. Usually in the ‘staring out the back seat of a taxi’ scenes they love to shoot!


The tower that has been on the receiving end of several attacks from Godzilla & Co. It does get destroyed a lot! The iconic Tokyo Tower is a common sight in the backdrop of any film shot in Tokyo. Like how the Eiffel Tower always appears in any Parisian scene, regardless of where in Paris the film is being filmed!


We found an antiques store in the markets of Osaka, they was selling these posters/scrolls of classical films from back in the days. A lot of Samurai that’s for sure! Loved the vintage feel to these!


Capsule Machines are all the rage over there, found this awesome Harry Potter version! Shame I had no coins on me at the time to get one as a memento! I noticed that the Harry Potter franchise is absolutely massive there.


Some great Star Wars wooden dolls in Kyoto! Frozen also sneaking into the shot! A bit pricey though…………


A cinema! Apart from Girl On The Train, no idea what their showing!!…………

A DC movie stand in one of the many department stores, on the Suicide Squad hype!


Although not the exact location, but the bamboo groves in Kyoto are most definitely reminiscent of the memorable Bamboo forest scene from House of Flying Daggers.


After a couple of hours drive west from the capital, we arrived in Kyoto. The old capital of the county, and filled with so much charm! There’s are no shortages of temples and shrines here. The 2005 film ‘Memoirs of a Geisha‘ had a few scenes in Kyoto, using the majestic Kiyomizu Dera Temple (Top) and the iconic red gate tunnels at Fushimi Inaro Shrine (Bottom)



What’s Out in November?

It’s the start of the month (give or take few days!), so what films should we look out for this month in the UK?

The Light Between Oceans



Directed by Derek Cianfrance

Based on the book of the same name which was released back in 2012, this period drama stars Micheal Fassbender & Alicia Vikander as a couple who live at lighthouse, who one day discover a baby floating in the seas off the coast of Australia. After raising the child, they eventually discover the true parentage of the child, and face a moral predicament on what to do. Also starring Rachel Weisz


The Accountant



Directed by Gavin O’Connor

Following his debut as Bruce Wayne, this film also sees Affleck play a character who is not as he seems. Christian Wolff (Affleck) is maths genius who happens to also work as an accountant for some of the worlds most nefarious criminals. Hot on his trial are the US Treasury Department, who want to see him taken down. If you’re looking for a thrilling action film this month, this is for you! Also starring Anna Kendrick & J.K Simmons


Nocturnal Animals



Directed by Tom Ford

If you’re looking for something a bit more dark and psychological, Jake Gyllenhaal & Amy Adams lead a star studded cast in this melancholic thriller. We follows the trials of Susan Morrow (Adams) who is sent a disturbing novel, by her ex-husband. A book containing violent and threatening material. Also starring Isla Fisher, Aaron Taylor-Johnson & Michael Shannon.



Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them



Directed by David Yates

The massive box office release of the month, and one for the fans of Harry Potter. Based on the spin off novel written by J K Rowling, the HP will continue to grow past the core novels! We cross over the Atlantic, with the film being set in America. Newt Salamander (Redmayne) gets caught up in a conflict in 1920s New York and it’s down to him to save the day! Also starring Colin Farrell, Katherine Waterston & Ezra Miller


Your Name



Directed by Makoto Shinkai

As a fan of Anime, it’s always interesting when I see one get a box office release over here in the West. Unless it’s bound to be a success, they don’t usually get seen over her. Your Name sees two teens, who lead two different lives, having switched bodies overnight. The film follows their journey on finding each other, and how they effect the lives of others. The film has garnered excellent reviews so far in Asia, so it will be intriguing to see how it preforms here.



Directed by Robert Zemeckis

Brad Pitt isn’t a stranger to war films, previously appearing in Fury & Inglourious Basterds. This time, Pitt plays Canadian intelligence officer Max Vatan, who was stationed in Africa. Based on the true story of two people, working for different sides, who fell in love during their time working together in World War 2. Marion Cotillard plays the French fighter who our protagonist falls for. But back home, the French operative faces execution after facing accusations of being a German spy, and it’s down to Vatan to clear him name. Also starring Jared Harris & Lizzy Caplan



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