Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

“You’re an interesting man, Mr. Scamander. Just like your suitcase, I think there’s more to you than meets the eye. Kicked out of Hogwarts for endangering human life with a beast, yet one of your teachers argued strongly against your expulsion. I wonder… what makes Albus Dumbledore so fond of you, Mr. Scamander?” Percival Graves (Colin Farrell)
What stands out in Fantastic Beasts are the visuals and effects, they are awesome. Then comes the performances and my favorites are Eddie Redmayne as the young wizard and Dan Fogler as a factory worker aspiring to run a bakery. Dan’s performance as a stumbling, adorable, non-wizard is an ideal antidote to the serious, knowledgeable nerd portrayed by Eddie. Another performance that stood out for me is Alison Sudol who falls for Dan and can also read minds. The rest of the cast are also commendable including a very impressive Katherine Waterson (as Alison’s elder sis and a ‘dark wizard catcher’).
I really enjoyed watching this film. The special effects are beyond belief.

Hacksaw Ridge

Must Go
“Just one more”
WWII American Army Medic Desmond T. Doss, played by Andrew Garfield (Spider-Man), who served during the Battle of Okinawa, single-handedly saving the lives of over 75 of his comrades while under constant enemy fire; and becomes the first man in American history to win the Medal of Honor without firing a shot. Because of the film’s central focus on Desmond Doss and his heroic actions at Hacksaw Ridge, one might be tempted to believe that this was the only battle he participated in. In fact, Doss also served in the Pacific Theater in the battle campaigns of Guam and Leyte Gulf, earning an entire host of citations for his bravery, including the Medal of Honor.
Hugo Weaving (Elrond from the Hobbit) as Pop is fascinating as a WW1 soldier with PTSD back when they did not even know what it was. When he shows up at the court martial you will get misty eyed.
Be advised that the battlefield scenes are rather horrific.

Dr. Strange

“Forget what you think you know.”
…and yet another Marvel super hero. This film is a decent watch for comic book film fans. They got the formula down. Great action sort of leaps right off the comic book page.
Ant-Man was a fun little heist flick and Guardians of the Galaxy is still one of the franchise’s best entries to date.

Here we follow Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) to “The Ancient One” (Tilda Swinton), an ages-old spiritual leader, who offers to help him learn how to harness the power of mind and spirit to become a real- life sorcerer. There is a nifty sequence with the Cloak of Levitation that has chosen to be with Dr Strange.
A good waste of time.

The Handmaiden

One thing needs to be addressed, the film is quite sexually explicit.

Must Go (Korean with subtitles)

Directed by Park Chan-wook. He is basically the Quentin Tarantino of Korea.
The Handmaiden is a triumph on every level. The film is divided into three chapters, all giving different perspective. Despite the run time of 2 hours and 24 minutes, it never gets dull, it’s very evenly paced throughout. I couldn’t look away for a second.

Set in the 1930s Japanese occupied Korea, it’s a story of a young female pickpocket (Kim Tae-ri) who becomes a handmaiden to a beautiful Japanese heiress (Min-hee Kim). However, she must manage to convince the heiress to marry a conman (Jung-woo Ha) who poses as a Count, for which she will get a chance for a better life. She gets into a moral dilemma when she starts developing feelings for the heiress.

The performances are perfect in drawing you into this world of erotica, selfishness, and trickery. Both female leads were fantastic. Min-hee Kim and Kim Tae-ri are amazing with sharing their sexual tension with the audience watching. It’s films like these that are the most memorable. Making you feel how the characters are feeling. Jung-woo Ha and Jin- woong Jo were great as these sexually and financially repressed men who do the most screwed up things to feel the pleasure they so desire.

It will be one of the most unforgettable films of 2016.