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David Yates

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.

Film Review: ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1’ is the Darkest, Loneliest Potter Film Yet

CHICAGO – While “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1” is the most murky and forlorn Potter film yet, its most grave battle is the internal question between the corporate and creative types.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Kid Thing, The

    CHICAGO – Like the awesome Engine Who Could, the mighty Nothing Without a Company stage crafters have constructed another triumph at their new home in Berger Mansion on Chicago’s north side. “The Kid Thing” – written by Sarah Gubbins – is a terse, convincing and emotional play about fear, identity and breeding, and it is performed by its cast of five with utter authenticity. The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the Berger North Mansion through April 15th, 2017. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Wiz, The

    CHICAGO – When stage theater can cause outbreaks of elation, celebration and joy, then it must be due to Kokandy Productions’ revival of “The Wiz.” The urban reinterpretation of “The Wizard of Oz” story – told through tuneful euphoria and jubilant dance – is ecstatically produced, in every morsel of its stagecraft.

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