Fantastic Beasts: A Not-So-Fantastic Film

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald was so confusing.

I have been a Harry Potter fan for most of my life—seriously, I started reading it when none of my friends even knew how to read yet—but I couldn’t have cared less about the first Fantastic Beasts movie. I was therefore very surprised to have enjoyed The Crimes Of Grindelwald… until I went home, actually thought about the movie, and realised it wasn’t that great.

JK Rowling seems to be doing everything she can to keep getting money from the Harry Potter franchise, while simultaneously making all of its loyal fans hate it. Unfortunately for her, it’s a lose-lose situation because the latest movie has been reported as the worst performing Harry Potter movie to date.

It’s sad, because the movie had so much potential, but so many random characters were introduced, too many little details were thrown into the movie, and nothing was explained.

One thing I loved about it (apart from Ezra Miller) was how much it referenced the original series–it made me feel at home.

But even then, they could have at least checked that their little references made sense, and not mentioned people who could not have possibly been there at the time… no spoilers, but if you’ve seen the movie, you know who I’m talking about.

Also, I was waiting for gay icon Dumbledore to shine. In all fairness, there was one scene where someone who already knows he’s gay may see it on screen, but nothing else. If he was so in love with Grindelwald, why not make it a bit more obvious?

I understand more movies will be coming out, which I’m hoping means everything will be explained. But why make such a confusing movie to begin with? Why add so many random things that make no sense? How did they find an actor to play young Newt who looks so much like Eddie Redmayne? And why is Nagini a character? I personally feel like the only use she had was to make me fall in love with the actress.

All in all, I don’t actually think it was as bad as I’m making it seem. I’m just frustrated by all the questions it left me with. If you’ve seen the movie, what did you think? Leave a comment and we can discuss.

Bohemian Rhapsody: A Love Letter to Queen

As a result of the mixed reviews being published about Bohemian Rhapsody, I went into the theatre unsure of what to expect. I had heard the pace was slow, the content was exaggerated, and most of all, that it hid Freddie Mercury’s bisexuality. But for me, those reviews couldn’t have been further from the truth.

Queen is incredibly special to England—if you ask any English person about their taste in music, chances are they will mention Queen. Even if they don’t actively listen to them, they’ll more than likely have an understanding and respect for what Queen means to England.

Their music embodies a sort of rebellion and rise against convention that is often found at the heart of English culture, and Freddie Mercury himself symbolises a defiance against stereotypes in his unabashed existence.

As a result, it would make sense that reviews about Bryan Singer’s Bohemian Rhapsody would be particularly critical, as audiences more than likely went in with very high expectations and had hoped that the film would uphold a certain image of Queen.

As for me, I couldn’t have possibly enjoyed the film more if I tried. It was one of the better movie theatre experiences I’ve had this year.

First and foremost, it is safe to say that Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury was perhaps the role he was always meant to play. This is a constant that most critics seem to agree upon, regardless of overall opinions of the film.

It’s hard to assess whether I judged the film as well as I should have, because I was very invested in Malek’s performance to give a critical eye to other facets of the film. But that truly was one of the most beautiful parts of the film; Malek’s performance was emotional, passionate and fun, and everything else seemed to fall into place around him.

As for the details of Mercury’s sexuality, I believe that it beautifully painted a picture of the events that lead him to becoming the sexually confident rockstar that everyone knew him as. The first half of the film depicted the time where he was married to Mary Austin, while simultaneously questioning his sexuality and attempting to shield his bisexual side.

The second half of the film unabashedly demonstrates his acceptance of his sexuality and his catapult into life as a bisexual man. This half of his life (and subsequently, this half of the film) also shows his diagnosis of AIDS, which critics argue the film didn’t go into enough detail about. However, I appreciate the film for keeping out these details; the specificities of AIDS can often be incredibly gruesome, and most fans of Queen know how much Mercury suffered during this time. The film stood as a love letter to Queen and therefore didn’t feel the need to convey extraneous details of his suffering.

Some critics argue—and I agree—that there was a lot that this film glossed over in terms of the telling of Freddie Mercury’s life. But it’s important to remember that in an 134 minute biopic, there’s only so much that can be told—especially when it comes to Mercury, whose life would need an encyclopedia to tell in full.

Additionally, the film’s main focus is on Queen—it isn’t meant to tell only Mercury’s story. The film shows the audience how Queen came to be, the origins of their music, and the relationship between band members. I would argue that focusing solely on the events within Mercury’s life would be a disservice to Queen as a whole, because the band was made up of so much life. In addition, the members of the band were heavily involved in the making of the film, and specified what they did and didn’t want to be told.

I can’t recommend enough that you see Bohemian Rhapsody as soon as you can—if you get the chance, seeing it in theatres feels like an actual rock concert.

Slaugherhouse Rulez: But Does It? A Two-Sided Review

Note: this review is not spoiler-free.


Shannon Moyer: Pro

If you’re looking for a fun, slightly-scary romp, then Slaughterhouse Rulez is a good movie for you. With Simon Pegg and Nick Frost as both executive producers and characters in the movie, the film harkens back to the “Cornetto Trilogy” of films featuring the duo.

Slaughterhouse Rulez follows Don Wallace (Finn Cole), a teenage boy sent to the renowned Slaughterhouse boarding school, and his roommate Willoughby (Asa Butterfield) as they navigate the popularity contest that is a UK public school.

Along the way, characters befriend Don and Will, including the brainy Kay (Isabella Laughland) and the stereotypical blonde love-interest Clemsie (Hermione Corfield). While not groundbreaking, this cast of characters are interesting, likeable and push the movie’s plot forward.

The movie touches on important issues, but never stays there too long. Slaughterhouse’s headmaster, played by Michael Sheen, orchestrated for a company to start fracking on the school grounds. That could be the focus, but then a group of protesting hippies appear, and then monsters are introduced—and so on, and so forth.

Some may find this off-putting; on the other hand, I enjoyed the quick pace of the movie. It kept me alert and guessing in a way that many movies don’t.

Slaughterhouse Rulez is also enshrouded in hushed discussion of teenage suicide from the first 10 minutes of the movie. If you want to avoid spoilers, stop here.

Midway through the film, Don stops Will from committing suicide by barging into their dorm room right after Will tried to hang himself. The scene that follows is one of relief, and then this suicide attempt is pretty much ignored for the rest of the movie.

Some might not like how the movie handled this, or call it sloppy writing that the attempt was never circled back to. However, I thought it displayed honesty about how suicide attempts in young adults go—a heartbreaking conversation about life doesn’t always follow. Sometimes, the attempt is foiled and the person just… moves on, like the film does.

Will is alluded to be gay, which isn’t explored in the film—which is okay. I don’t need every film to prove a character’s sexuality to me, especially when it just doesn’t feed into the overall plot. It was just a character point, like him having black hair, and I really liked that.

This movie is fast-paced, a bit chaotic, and full of the clever and subtly humorous writing that is a staple of a Frost/Pegg movie. It made me laugh, kept me on the edge of my seat, and made me genuinely care about whether or not the on-screen cast would survive until the end.

In all honesty, this movie isn’t groundbreaking—and that’s okay. This was 1 hour and 45 minutes of my time that I enjoyed, was glad to see in theatres, and will likely buy when it is released.

It won’t be a blockbuster movie, as indicated by its current 41% on Rotten Tomatoes (as of 7/11/18). But, it’s a campy Pegg and Frost movie that’s entertaining, full of a few laughs and scares, and worth paying the ticket price for.


Cassidy Anthony: Con

If you’re anything like me, then you love Simon Pegg and Nick Frost’s “Cornetto Trilogy” of films. So, when you heard that the two were executive producing and starring in their new film, Slaughterhouse Rulez, you probably ran to the theatre with dreams of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz floating in your head.

If you subsequently then left the theatre in disappointment and a slight twinge of cinematic anger, you’d still be just like me—because that’s exactly what I did!

I was so excited to love this movie. I came in with extremely high expectations because I love Pegg and Frost’s work. As the movie started, I had the biggest smile on my face, but as it progressed, I could feel it fading quickly.

This film clearly had lots of ambitious ideas. They wanted to make the film fun and exciting, so they absolutely bombarded it with action. From the beginning of the film, we are introduced to characters, settings, events, motivations, and so much that left my head spinning.

This is one of the elements of the film that proves it didn’t know what it wanted to be—rather than intertwining multiple storylines fluidly, it feels like multiple movies were ungracefully mashed together.

Instead of trying to mislead us that clever way that many scary films do, it ended up just leaving us confused.

Slaughterhouse Rulez tried to be clever with its utilisation of constant tropes: the attractive main character, the suicidal best friend, the hot main female character, and so on.

In other parodic films by Pegg and Frost, tropes are usually executed well. However, this film falls victim to these tropes instead of making a commentary about them.

For example, the main female character, Clemsie, has a run in with a weird alien thing (which, by the way, is never really addressed again) which—of course—ends up in her having to take off her button-down shirt and spend the next several scenes in her bra.

This scene adds absolutely nothing to the plot. The “shirtless female” trope is in countless films, and exists only as a wink to the men in the audience.

Had this film not being promoted as a “Simon Pegg film” and I hadn’t gone in expecting Cornetto Trilogy-level cinema, I might have had a different viewing experience. But when a film rides on the coattails of an already incredibly successful trilogy as a way to fill the seats, that film had better deliver—and it simply didn’t.


Have you seen Slaughterhouse Rulez? Let us know what you thought about the film in the comments!