And the Oscar Goes To… Not a Clue

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Quickie Review: Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore

This has to be a quickie review because I don’t want to get into trouble with the Wizarding World and all you muggles out there who pay close attention to all things related to Harry Potter. I’m merely an occasional visitor to the Potter universe and have not (gasp!) read the books. So I view and review these films through the lens of a casual observer with limited insight into the interwoven subplots and backstories that take place over the course of many decades. The Secrets of Dumbledore is the third film in the “Harry Potter” prequel series, following Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016) and Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018). There may be a fourth, and even a fifth depending on how the sci-fi fantasy fanbase takes to this latest adventure sprung from the mind of outspoken, best-selling author J.K. Rowling. If I had to take a ‘wild’ guess, I’d predict more Beasts ahead.

Review: Another Round

Thomas Vinterberg (The Celebration, Far From the Madding Crowd) directed Mads Michelsen in The Hunt back 2013. In it Mikkelsen played a kindergarten teacher accused of a horrible crime he didn’t commit. In their latest collaboration Mikkelsen again plays a teacher, but this time he’s an older and more tired high school history teacher named Martin. One evening at his friend’s 40th birthday party, he and three of his fellow teachers who’re also stuck in a rut decided to test a theory about the benefits of controlled drinking to increase “social and professional performance.” It’s a strange and uncomfortable premise that somehow makes for an engaging dramedy.

Doctor Strange

Fanboys and Fangirls will certainly make an appointment to see Marvel’s Doctor Strange, and they won’t be disappointed. The superhero movie du jour features a character I was completely unfamiliar with, but it turns out he’s a rather engaging bloke, in an ‘Avengers meets the mystical world’ sort of way. I still love my Avengers more (Iron Man, Captain America, Thor…), but Doctor Strange is a solid, entertaining action-adventure sci-fi fantasy, especially for fans of the Marvel universe, where bad stuff happens and the heroes win out, without all the intense violence, darkness, and brooding that has come to characterize the DC Comics’ caped crusaders (Superman, Batman, etc.).

The Hunt (Jagten)

The Hunt is not a happy movie. And it is a story I feel like I have seen before, though it is all in the telling. The draw here is Mads Mikkelsen (Casino Royale, Hannibal), frequently cast as the cold Scandinavian killer. He took home the best actor award at last year’s Cannes for his portrayal of this film’s lead character, Lucas, a divorced father and kindergarten teacher who is trying to connect with his teenage son and adjust to single life. And it is going pretty well, that is until he suddenly finds himself accused of molesting a little girl.