David Yates

Film Review: ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’ Goes Deeper into Harry Potter World

CHICAGO – “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” is like the “Joey” of film franchises, a spinoff which only exists because of its tangential connections to a better (and more beloved) property. But since this is our only current filmed connection to the “wizarding world of Harry Potter,” it’ll have to do.

Film Review: ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ Relies on Second-Hand Wonder

CHICAGO – It’s been five years since the last Harry Potter film, and for fans eager to scratch that itch for a dreamworld of magic again “Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them” will probably suffice. It’s this story’s tangential connection to the Harry Potter universe that is its biggest asset – but the film unfortunately can’t muster up much wonder on its own.

Blu-ray Review: Stellar Release For ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows -- Part 2’

Harry Potter 7b

CHICAGO – The Blu-ray release for “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2” is one of those wonderful circumstances in which this critic finds the home release more remarkable than the theatrical. I had some issues with the final film, although would still certainly recommend it, especially if you’ve made it this far, but that doesn’t mean I can’t recognize that the Blu-ray is among the best of the year.

Film Feature: 10 Most Controversial Moments in ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’

Deathly Hollows Feature

CHICAGO – Taken as one complete film, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” is easily the best installment of the series. By splitting J.K. Rowling’s spellbinding final book into two parts, director David Yates and screenwriter Steve Kloves had much more time to pace each sequence and develop each character to the best of their ability. The added minutes have enabled them to deliver a rousing finale to one of the greatest franchises in history.

Interview: Matthew Lewis Reflects on Neville Longbottom, ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2’

CHICAGO – Late in 2001’s “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” Albus Dumbledore reads off the House points earned by four heroic students. Three of them are easy to guess (Harry, Ron and Hermione), but the fourth comes as a shock: Neville Longbottom. The mousy, roly-poly boy had undergone the difficult task of standing up to his friends, not realizing that he would be rewarded for it.

Film Review: It All Ends With Satisfying ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2’

CHICAGO – So this is how it ends – not with a whimper but with a big, magical bang. After a decade of captivating movie audiences worldwide, will “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2” appease the fans who have been eagerly anticipating the end of the saga of the boy who lived? It almost certainly will. It’s hard to imagine fans leaving the final “Potter” film with deep disappointment in this satisfying conclusion. But “satisfying” is not the same as captivating, magical, or spectacular. “Deathly Hallows” is none of those things. It’s a well-executed slice of fantasy entertainment that nonetheless fails to rise to the level of true classic.

Film Feature: Harry Potter and the Legacy of a Franchise

CHICAGO – For readers and moviegoers who have come of age with boy wizard Harry Potter, it’s impossible to look back on J.K. Rowling’s immortal series and not be engulfed in a bottomless Pensieve of memories. I wasn’t much of a fantasy buff when I began reading the books. My sister was a fervent fan, and she guaranteed that I would be hooked after the first few chapters.

Blu-Ray Review: ‘Harry Potter’ Ultimate Editions For Fifth, Sixth Years

Phoenix

CHICAGO – The J.K. Rowling series may be over but Harry Potter mania continues unabated. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. The legend of ‘The Boy Who Lived’ seems to be growing as fans stream through the amusement park, await every bit of news from Rowling herself about what she’ll do next, and, most of all, count the days until “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2.” Until then, catch up with the fifth and sixth films in the their cash cow, complete with collectibles and new special features. Clear some shelf space.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • It's NOT ALL About You John Michael

    CHICAGO – John Michael epitomizes the art of the monologue. The Chicago transplant, by way of Dallas, is moving on (he says temporarily) from the city that inspired his last show, “Meatball Seance,” after notorious and successful runs of his other one-man shows, “John Michael and the Order of the Penix” and “Dementia Me.” His farewell performance is his latest, another laugh riot, “It’s NOT ALL About You John Michael,” and will take place at Mary’s Attic in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood on March 1st, 2019. Click here for details, including ticket information.

  • Soccer Player in the Closet, The 2

    CHICAGO – Connecting to the theater collective Nothing Without a Company means a couple of things. One, you may visit parts of Chicago you’ve never seen before – in this case a plant store in an industrial area south of Humboldt Park – and two, you will see some daring and outside-the-box stagings. “The Soccer Player in the Closet” is their latest production – a World Premiere – and it provides what the title implies and beyond. The play runs through March 17th, 2019. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

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