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This week at the cinema - November 14, 2018

Times of Malta takes a look at the latest big screen releases

Amandla Stenberg stands up for justice in The Hate U Give.

Amandla Stenberg stands up for justice in The Hate U Give.

The Hate U Give (2018)
Genre: Drama
Director: George Tillman Jr
Starring: Amandla Stenberg, Regina Hall, Russell Hornsby, Anthony Mackie, Issa Rae, Common
Duration: 133 minutes
Class: 12A
KRS Releasing Ltd

The 2018 drama is based on the bestseller novel by US first-time author Angie Thomas which was released only last year.

The plot follows a high school student, Starr Carter (Amandla Stenberg, The Hunger Games) who is constantly switching between two worlds: the poor, mostly black neighbourhood where she lives and the wealth, mostly white private school she attends.

The uneasy balance between these worlds is soon shattered when she witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friends at the hands of a police officer. Facing pressure from all sides of the community, Starr decides to stand up for what is right.

The film, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, won critical acclaim and Stenberg was showered with praise for her performance.

Jim Famurewa of Empire wrote: “A sophisticated adaptation of a hugely important book that adeptly handles its daunting themes, and provides a platform for a star-making performance from Amandla Stenberg.”

He further comments: “At each turn, Stenberg is utterly magnetic, able to nimbly hop from sitcom lightness to wrenching emotion.”

Peter Travers of Rolling Stone magazine was similarly impressed. He said: “It is impossible to over-praise Stenberg’s incandescent performance, a gathering storm that grows in ferocity and feeling with each scene.”

And the critics’ consensus on Rotten Tomatoes reads: “Led by a breakout turn from Amandla Stenberg, the hard-hitting The Hate U Give emphatically proves the young adult genre has room for much more than magic and romance.”

The $23 million film, released in the US on October 5, has so far grossed $28.8 million worldwide.

Ratings
IMDB: 6.8/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 96%
Empire: 4 stars

Eddie Redmayne faces some unexpected dangers in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.Eddie Redmayne faces some unexpected dangers in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018)
Genre: Fantasy
Director: David Yates
Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller, Jude Law, Johnny Depp, Zoë Kravitz
Duration: 134 minutes
Class: TBA
KRS Releasing Ltd

In the sequel to J.K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016), Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) enlists his former student Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) to help him thwart powerful Dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald’s (Johnny Depp) plans of raising pure-blood wizards to rule over all non-magical beings.

Newt accepts, unaware of the dangers that lie ahead.

The Warner Bros film, which is being released internationally (including Malta) on Friday, earned mixed reviews, with the movie pleasing some critics and disappointing others.

Caryn James of The Hollywood Reporter wrote: “The sequel has better and at times galvanising special effects, a darker tone and a high-stakes battle between good and evil. Best of all, its characters are more vibrantly drawn, and tangled in relationships that range from delightful to lethal.” Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian noted: “J.K. Rowling’s creative imagination is as fertile as ever, and newcomers Law and Johnny Depp impress, but the second film in the series is bogged down by franchise detail.”

Andrew Barker of Variety remarked: “Most of the surface pleasures of filmic Potterdom have survived intact, but real magic is in short supply.”

Also on a negative note, Manohla Dargis of The New York Times commented: “It’s an embarrassment of riches, and it’s suffocating.”

Ratings
IMDB: 8.4/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 56%
Empire: 3 stars

The Grinch is back to ruin Christmas.The Grinch is back to ruin Christmas.

The Grinch (2018)
Genre: Animation
Directors: Yarrow Cheney, Scott Mosier
Voices of: Benedict Cumberbatch, Cameron Seely, Rashida Jones, Pharrell Williams, Angela Lansbury
Duration: 86 minutes
Class: U
KRS Releasing Ltd

Dr Seuss’s 1957 book How the Grinch Stole Christmas gets its second big screen adaptation after Ron Howard’s live action film, starring Jim Carrey, in 2000.

This time, Benedict Cumberbatch lends his voice to the green creature who hatches a sneaky scheme with his trusted canine Max and his new pet reindeer Fred to ruin the Christmas plans of the residents of Whoville.

The film earned average reviews. Simran Hans of The Guardian wrote: “Benedict Cumberbatch voices a less sinister version of Dr Seuss’s green meanie in a festively feel-good animation.”

Owen Gleiberman of Variety was also quite pleased with this adaptation. He said: “Benedict Cumberbatch voices a persnickety but more relatable Grinch in a new version that (unlike Jim Carrey's) stays true to the Seussian spirit.”

The film, made on a $75 million budget, has grossed $80.6 million since its release in the US last Friday.

Ratings
IMDB: 6.3/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 55%
Empire: 3 stars

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