Movie Review: “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”

Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterson, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Colin Farrell, Ezra Miller, Samantha Morton
David Yates

J.K. Rowling dreamed up the entire Harry Potterverse, and there isn’t a person on the planet who understands these characters better than she does. She has probably written a back story for Mrs. Norris the cat. However, when it comes to the much-anticipated “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” she is making her screenwriting debut, and it is clear that she still has much to learn about writing a script versus writing a novel. What made the film adaptations of her Potter books so successful was that she packed her stories to the gills with details and allowed an experienced screenwriter (usually Steve Kloves, who is an executive producer here) to pare them down, making them leaner and better. Rowling does not appear to have written a novel of “Fantastic Beasts” that she could then dissect like Kloves did her books. In retrospect, that feels like a mistake.

Seventy years before Harry Potter’s story begins, magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) is wandering the streets of New York City with a suitcase full of trouble. (Think of it as a zoo inside a suitcase-shaped TARDIS.) When one of the suitcase’s inhabitants escapes in a bank, Newt inadvertently picks up someone else’s suitcase, causing aspiring baker Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler) to bring home, and subsequently release, several of Newt’s magical creatures. This comes at a time when the city is already dealing with a dark force that is scaring the muggle population (or ‘no-maj,’ as they’re known in America), which has given birth to a witch hunt movement by a group calling themselves the New Salemers. Newt needs help, and he gains some at-first reluctant assistance from Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston), a federal agent of magic, and her mind-reading sister Queenie (Alison Sudol).

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Movie Review: “The Lobster”

Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Léa Seydoux, John C. Reilly, Ben Whishaw, Olivia Colman, Ariane Labed
Yorgos Lanthimos

There was a time when married people used to be envious of their single friends, but dating in the 21st century has become such a weird and awkward process (dominated by superficial dating platforms like and Tinder) that being single isn’t as attractive as it once was. Director Yorgos Lanthimos explores that strangeness along with the social pressures of marriage with his English-language debut “The Lobster.” Bizarre, refreshingly original and darkly comical at times, the movie is unlike anything you’ve seen before, but while it starts out as a sharp satire on the horrors of dating, “The Lobster” stretches so far into absurdity that its various eccentricities overshadow the point it’s trying to make.

Set in a dystopian future where it’s illegal to be single, the film follows a recently divorced introvert named David (Colin Farrell) as he checks into a mysterious seaside hotel and is given 45 days to find a new mate or be turned into an animal of his choosing. His brother Bob has already been through the hotel and now accompanies him as a Border Collie, a constant reminder of the threat of failure, and David has prepared himself for a similar fate by electing to live out his final days as a lobster due to their long lifespans and his affinity for the ocean.

Though he quickly makes friends with some fellow bachelors (John C. Reilly and Ben Whishaw), David has no luck finding a female companion, and with his deadline fast approaching, he decides to take his chances outside the hotel with a rebellious group of singles in the woods. Led by a cold anarchist (Léa Seydoux) who’s trying to bring down the whole oppressive system, the so-called Loners live by their own set of strict rules and punish anyone who so much as flirts with another person. But when David meets his perfect match in Rachel Weisz’s Short-Sighted Woman (none of the characters are given names apart from David), the two risk everything in order to be together.

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Three Days in LA: A 2013 ESPY Awards adventure

LA 106

I knew it was going to be an interesting trip to Los Angeles when I met actor Colin Farrell at LAX baggage claim upon arrival. Minutes later, I bumped my shoulder into Olympic legend Michael Phelps’ tightly toned torso while wildly retrieving my luggage from the baggage carousel.

Here is the actual transcript of our meeting:

“Whoa. Hi Michael, excuse me. That bag kinda got away from me there for a second.”

“No problem, how are you?”

“I am good, nice to see you.”

Turning my attention, and body, towards the exit, I again saw Farrell, this time attempting to lay low in the shadows as people began to recognize him as “that one guy from ‘SWAT.’”

Suddenly, five punky paparazzo exploded off the elevator and surged towards the helpless Farrell, who was now pacing back and forth, alone, waiting for his luggage, while having a conversation on his cell phone that was going nowhere. He was adamant about needing a ride immediately, but his urgency was neither acknowledged nor reciprocated.

A pair of 50-something (but don’t tell them that) Latinas spotted him, exclaiming with glee to everyone within earshot that Farrell was, in fact, “right by them.”

The ladies bum rushed him and made their jerky husband take several pictures while they posed, Farrell maintaining a state of disinterest throughout the experience. 30 people stood around and watched, mouths agape.

Metaphorically, Farrell was naked in front of his high school assembly, with no publicist or agent in sight to deflect or protect, and the verbal potshots began to pile up.

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A chat with Colin Farrell (“Dead Man Down”)

Colin Farrell was first introduced to American audiences in Joel Schumacher’s “Tigerland” in 2000, and he’s managed to leave a lasting impression in each film he’s done. With leading man good looks and acting chops to match, the former bad boy’s onscreen intensity is sometimes enough to make up for some questionable script choices. Whether giving life to an underrated supervillain in “Daredevil,” or starring in the 2012 reboot of the iconic “Total Recall,” Farrell is as talented as he is fearless.

In almost an extension of “Total Recall,” where the main character Douglas Quaid is trying to remember his past, his latest role as Victor in “Dead Man Down” is about a man using revenge to come to grips with his. We recently had a chance to speak to Colin about his preparation for the role, working with co-star Noomi Rapace (“Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”), and his upcoming slate of films, including the animated film “Epic,” featuring the voices of Amanda Seyfried and Beyonce, and “Saving Mr. Banks,” where he plays the father of “Mary Poppins” author P.L. Travers.

BE: The film raises the interesting question of “How far would you go?” So how far would you go?

COLIN FARRELL: I have no idea. It’s never good to answer in “what ifs.” I think it’s horseshit. I don’t think any of us have an iota of how we’d really respond to most situations.

BE: Do you ever leave the set wondering what you would do in a character’s situation?

COLIN FARRELL: When you’re doing a film, once you start asking “What would I do?” you start getting the distance greater between yourself and the character or you’re bringing the character to you, which is self-serving in the wrong way. I think it seems that the idea is to bring yourself to the character.

BE: Were you able to relate to the character?

COLIN FARRELL: Well, you know, it’s fiction. I don’t even have to do that. It’s in you already. You just treat the fiction as reality, kind of. Ideally, you read a script so often and you think about the context of the scene so much that you begin to dream. You’re in pretty good shape if you begin to dream the character and certain conventions of the story. Noomi started having earlier dreams than I did. (laughs)

BE: How are you feeling, outside of the role?

COLIN FARRELL: I’m was doing good. I’m fairly healthy. Sometimes, you come home from work and you’re just tired and you wouldn’t want to see anyone and just be on your own. Consciously, you kind of look after yourself, whatever that may be. Whether you go out for a few drinks and dinner or just hit the couch and watch TV, or go to the gym or yoga class. Just be aware that there’s the potential for you to be in it and respecting wherever you find yourself, so I was fine.

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“Dead Man Down” Trailer Starring Noomi Rapace and Colin Farrell


Watch the trailer above for a perfect combo of suspense and action. “Dead Man Down” tells the story of a New York City enforcer who becomes wrapped up in a web of violent revenge when he seeks to atone for the death of his wife and daughter. This film marks the American theatrical debut of the director behind the “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” trilogy – Niels Arden Oplev – and co-stars Academy Award nominee Terrence Howard and Dominic Cooper.

“Dead Man Down” hits theaters March 8th, 2013. Check out and for more info.