Fantasy Takes Many Forms


What to Watch in the Theater:
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (PG) is in theaters now. Loaded with lavish scenery, costumes and CGI, this story walks the fine line between an homage to the original Nutcracker story and beloved ballet and the invention of something new and original.  This story takes Clara on a much bigger journey, where she plays a more active role in the new lands she discovers. The visuals are stunning and the cast is captivating, but Disney took a big risk with this film’s overblown budget. We found the blend of old and new to be just right for a new take on a very old tale, with strong female characters and important messages.
Our rating: 3.67 out of 5


Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (PG13) opens today. This sequel has a bit more action and fewer creatures than the original, with Newt and friends almost taking a backseat to the larger characters of Dumbledore, Grindelwald and Hogwarts itself. There are even more players, all searching for Creedence and his origin, which makes it difficult to tell who’s on which side. The set up for a sequel is more obvious with this one. And although we liked the first better, we look forward to seeing what’s next, and hope to spend more time in Newt’s magical suitcase next time.
Our rating: 4.17 out of 5

What to Watch at Home (Or Not):
Daphne and Velma (G) is available on DVD. This prequel shows us how the female half of Mystery, Inc. came to be. It’s fun to celebrate the brains and ingenuity of these two, as their partnership (and friendship) develops. There’s something strange happening to the smartest kids in school, and Daphne and Velma have to work through some of their own issues before they can solve the mystery. It’s a fun origin story, without a lot of the stereotypical Scooby Doo stuff (other than the girls’ outfits).
Our rating: 3.5 out of 5

Hotel Artemis (R) is available on DVD. This is the story of a fictional hotel, where criminals have memberships that allow them to stay and receive medical attention, while laying low. Jodie Foster and Dave Bautista are perfect as The Nurse and Everest, respectively, the only staff at the hotel. An interesting group of characters fills out this very violent story, as we learn how they are connected to each other. It’s a compelling premise that would make a good episodic.
Our rating: 4 out of 5

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