Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)

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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a prequel to the Harry Potter films about Newt Scamander’s adventures in 1920s New York. I was not very excited for this movie and did not see it in theaters, even so I was disappointed. The plot is scatterbrained, the twists can be seen coming from miles away and there is just too much CGI. The sole writer of the film is J.K. Rowling, an author not a film-writer, that shows heavily, the plot and the over-use of CGI wouldn’t have been a problem if this was a book instead of a movie. The characters don’t have much chemistry and the music almost never works with the scenes. Overall Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them spends too much time setting up its 4 sequels and showing off its special effects and not enough time being a coherent and entertaining story.

Kids over the age of 9 should be able to handle Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Available on iTunes and Amazon.

John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017)

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John Wick: Chapter 2 is the action/crime/thriller followup to 2014’s John Wick, I’m not going to reveal the plot because I went in knowing practically nothing and I loved it. The action is just as well if not better choreographed than in the first film and it’s all shot with very few quick cuts, shaky cam, or even stunt doubles, Keanu Reaves does 95% of his own stunts in this film, and that definitely shows. John Wick: Chapter 2 feels a lot more like part of a trilogy or the middle 3 episodes of a Netflix series than the pretty self-contained John Wick, this is definitely not a bad thing though because it makes the story feel broader and richer while setting up the third movie. This movie shows that the organization of assassins shown in John Wick is just the tip of the iceberg by expanding this new universe of impressive action films. I highly recommend seeing this if you’re a fan of the first one but if you haven’t seen it than you MUST watch it before seeing the equally if not more excellent sequel.

There is lots and lots of violence shown without cutaways unlike most action films as well as some brief nudity so I’d say 14 and up can watch John Wick: Chapter 2.

TV Review: A Series of Unfortunate Events (2017-)

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Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events is an extremely unique and whimsical self-aware story about three siblings orphaned by a deadly fire uncovering dark family secrets and it is based on the book series of the same name. Neil Patrick Harris and Patrick Warburton are great, the child actors are pretty good and I really loved the soundtrack. The story is told/narrated by Lemony Snicket (Patrick Warburton) in a way that gives a feeling of peculiarity and freshness to the show. I highly recommend trying A Series of Unfortunate Events on Netflix because you have without a doubt never seen anything like it, at first it will seem very strange and unusual but you will quickly get used to it’s unique atmosphere and learn to embrace it by the time you finish season 1.

Although intentionally dark and despairing, this series is actually kind of lighthearted, kids 9 and up can probably watch it without a problem.

Available on Netflix.

Arrival (2016)

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Arrival is a hard science fiction film about mysterious spaceships suddenly appearing around earth and revolves around the linguist who is selected to communicate with the alien visitors. I was a little bit underwhelmed by this film because it had been over-hyped to me but it is a great movie with really good production design. Arrival is a slow burn but it pulls it off very well, If you enjoy the hard sci-fi genre then you will no doubt like this film.

Kids 10 and up should be able to watch Arrival but some may find it boring.

Available on iTunes and Amazon.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (2016)

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Directed by Tim Burton, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (based upon the novel of the same name by Ransom Riggs) is about boy named Jacob who discovers a secret home for peculiar children (children with strange abilities). I was actually really enjoying the first half of this movie but the moment you see Tim Burton’s face in his cameo, everything goes very downhill. I really liked Chris O’Dowd’s scenes and Samuel L. Jackson wasn’t half bad, but Asa Butterfield’s acting however was not that great. I didn’t really feel for any main characters and the music doesn’t work with the film at all, especially during a certain scene involving cotton candy in which not a single element of the movie blends together, resulting in the worst few minutes of Tim Burton’s filmography that I have seen. If you’re a fan of the books then don’t expect a completely faithful adaptation. The 1st act is quite enjoyable, the 2nd act not so much, and the 3rd is not good at all, so unless you really like Tim Burton-isms, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will probably disappoint.

This film is a little creepier than most family movies but 12 and up should be able to handle it.

Available on iTunes and Amazon.

TV Review: How I Met Your Mother (2005-2014)

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How I Met Your Mother is a sitcom told almost entirely through flashbacks about a man recounting to his kids the very long story of how he met their mother. It’s fairly entertaining throughout but the last season goes downhill, especially the last episode, which does a pretty bad job of wrapping up the story. Easily the best part of this show is the running gags of which there are many. If you need a nice 20-minute show to binge for a while then maybe give How I Met Your Mother a try.

Kids 13 and up should be fine watching this.

Available on iTunes, Amazon, and Netflix.

TV Review: Colony (2016-)

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Colony is a fairly unique sci-fi drama series that takes place in the near future and centers around a family trying to stay together in an occupied Los Angeles. The show was created by Carlton Cuse (Lost) and Ryan J. Condal, it stars Josh Holloway (Lost) and Sarah Wayne Callies (The Walking Dead). The acting and the characters are decent but what I really liked about this show is the mystery of how Los Angeles came to be the way it is, which keeps you coming back for answers. Overall Colony isn’t amazing but it’s solidly entertaining and has a fresh story so I suggest trying season 1 on Netflix if you haven’t already!

Most or all of the content in Colony is appropriate for kids 13 and up.

Available on iTunes, Netlfix, and Amazon.