Critics Consensus

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald Could Use a Bit More Magic

Plus, Instant Family is heartfelt, A Private War is a worthy tribute, and Widows is Certified Fresh.

by | November 15, 2018 | Comments

This weekend at the movies, we’ve got a Potterverse sequel (Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, starring Eddie Redmayne and Jude Law), a foster family (Instant Family, starring Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne), grieving thieves (Widows, starring Viola Davis and Elizabeth Debicki), and a relentless reporter (A Private War, starring Rosamund Pike and Jamie Dornan). What are the critics saying?

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018) 36%

Banking on fans of the Harry Potter world to turn up at the theater, 2016’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them predictably made boatloads of cash at the box office and kicked off the prequel franchise with a bang. The twist at the end of the film helped build anticipation for its inevitable sequel, and this week, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald promises to expand on the universe. Having established the pre-Potter world and its magical (and not-so-magical) primary players, The Crimes of Grindelwald finds Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) dispatched by a young Dumbledore (Jude Law) to Paris, where evil wizard Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) is attempting to amass an army to rule over humanity. Critics say The Cimes of Grindelwald is decidedly a step down for the franchise, with only a fraction of the familiar magic and a bit too much table-setting for future installments. It does, however, further the Potterverse lore, and if you’re content to spend some time in the wizarding world following along with Newt’s adventures, there are some surprises in store for you.

Instant Family (2018) 81%

Take a couple of popular, likable actors, pair them up with a cast of kooky supporting characters, and add a few cute kids, and you’ve essentially got a formula for a crowd-pleasing family comedy. Productions like that frequently miss their marks entirely, due to a number of reasons, but thankfully, this week’s Instant Family appears to have avoided most of those pitfalls. Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne star as a childless married couple who decide to take in a trio of siblings as foster parents and find that sudden parenthood is a lot more than they bargained for. Critics say that while the film suffers from some odd tonal shifts between broad comedy and serious drama, it’s still an earnest, heartwarming comedy that benefits from strong performances all around.

Widows (2018) 91%

Steve McQueen has made a name for himself on serious dramas like HungerShame, and 12 Years a Slave, but it looks like the acclaimed director is looking to branch out and explore other genres. The result is this week’s Widows, a crime drama starring Viola Davis as the grieving wife of a murdered criminal who teams up with the widows of her husband’s gang to pull off a heist and pay back the local crime boss (Brian Tyree Henry) their husbands ripped off. Based on a British television series of the same name and co-written by McQueen and Gillian Flynn, the film premiered to glowing reviews at the Toronto International Film Festival earlier this year, and it’s already Certified Fresh. Critics say it’s a pitch-perfect combination of McQueen’s dramatic chops and broader popcorn entertainment, and its ensemble cast — which includes Elizabeth Debicki, Michelle Rodriguez, Colin Farrell, Robert Duvall, Daniel Kaluuya, Liam Neeson, and Cynthia Erivo — delivers spectacularly, right down to its smaller roles.

A Private War (2018) 88%

It takes a special kind of person to risk life and limb to report the news, and it’s easy to forget the dangers some journalists willingly face in the name of a more informed populace. Marie Colvin was one of those people, a war correspondent for British paper the Sunday Times who reported on the Middle East and other conflict-ridden regions before she was killed in 2012 covering the Syrian civil war. In A Private War, Rosamund Pike plays Colvin during the last dozen years of her life, as she battles PTSD and alcoholism, loses an eye in Sri Lanka, and attempts to balance her chaotic work life with her personal one. Critics say A Private War is a worthy tribute to Colvin and a harrowing portrayal of the sacrifices that wartime journalists regularly make, with Rosamund Pike delivering the performance of a lifetime.

What’s New on TV

Escape at Dannemora: Season 1 (2018) 88%

Escape at Dannemora‘s slow pace demands patience, but those willing to wait will be rewarded with a chilling mystery that provides the perfect showcase for its talented cast — especially so for the incredible Patricia Arquette.

Also Opening This Week In Limited Release

  • The Last Race (2018) , about a decades-old stock car race in Long Island, is at 100%.
  • Family in Transition (2018) , a documentary about a family in Israel dealing with the father’s sudden announcement that he’s transgender, is at 100%.
  • Shoah: Four Sisters (2018) , Claude Lanzmann‘s documentary telling the stories of four women from different Eastern European countries, is at 100%.
  • Cam (2018) , a psychological thriller about a webcam porn performer who discovers she’s been replaced by a replica of herself, is Certified Fresh at 95%.
  • Jinn (2018) , a drama about a teen whose life is upended when her mother converts to Islam, is at 92%.
  • Under the Wire (2018) , a documentary about war correspondent Marie Colvin and photographer Paul Conroy’s final mission into Syria, is at 88%.
  • Of Fathers and Sons (2017) , a documentary charting two years in the lives of a radical Islamist family in Syria, is at 88%.
  • Green Book (2018) , starring Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen in a based-on-true-events drama about the friendship that develops between a black pianist and his hired driver in the 1960s, is at 87%.
  • The Clovehitch Killer (2018) , a thriller about a teen who discovers his upstanding father may be his town’s infamous serial killer, is at 80%.
  • Anchor and Hope (2017) , about the relationship between a London lesbian couple and the male best friend whose help they’ve enlisted to have a baby, is at 79%.
  • At Eternity's Gate (2018) , starring Willem Dafoe as Vincent van Gogh in a unique look at the painter’s life, is at 77%.
  • Jonathan (2018) , starring Ansel Elgort in a sci-fi drama about a man with two personalities living inside him who both fall for the same woman, is at 60%.
  • Mobile Homes (2017) , about a young couple living in poverty with an 8-year-old son who find refuge in a mobile home community, is at 59%.
  • 55 Steps (2017) , starring Hilary Swank and Helena Bonham Carter in the story of Eleanor Riese, who fought in court for the right of mental patients to refuse anti-psychotic drug treatments, is at 50%.
  • Speed Kills (2018) , starring John Travolta in an action thriller about a speedboat racer who moonlights as a drug trafficker, is at 14%.

Tag Cloud

venice Hulu Hallmark DC Comics YA transformers cooking TIFF supernatural Stephen King Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt teaser reboot Image Comics RT21 cancelled television Universal Shudder President 4/20 Esquire MSNBC Watching Series comic books Certified Fresh MGM singing competition crime thriller Comic-Con@Home 2021 Tokyo Olympics reviews halloween tv theme song women New York Comic Con USA MTV twilight E3 book adaptation SXSW YouTube Red posters BBC America adenture royal family worst movies obi wan wonder woman PBS GIFs police drama dexter critic resources cancelled 21st Century Fox screenings Podcast Trivia superhero Ellie Kemper WGN disaster Indigenous legend cartoon Best Director South by Southwest Film Festival Netflix crime drama kaiju Paramount Network Character Guide Travel Channel TCA Awards Freeform First Reviews saw Best Picture king arthur Thanksgiving casting HBO satire Animation 45 Fox Searchlight Cannes movies comics Writers Guild of America Epix natural history festival BET prank name the review Song of Ice and Fire crime Family cats Rom-Com Fantasy directors NBC Best and Worst Nickelodeon razzies thriller cops vampires Heroines The Arrangement A24 Extras USA Network Best Actress Comic Book Marvel Studios GoT A&E ratings popular Masterpiece DC Universe Nominations Trophy Talk Fall TV VOD Pacific Islander spanish language ESPN Cosplay justice league revenge Pirates Binge Guide finale video politics Pet Sematary CBS Hallmark Christmas movies japan 20th Century Fox lord of the rings witnail Mindy Kaling spinoff Film FXX Interview chucky Calendar Endgame Comics on TV 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Native Pride Month cancelled TV shows Comedy DirecTV Shondaland comic book movies travel PaleyFest TCA 2017 romance 007 new york spain Apple emmy awards rotten Opinion Emmys child's play fast and furious ViacomCBS historical drama streaming 1990s FX on Hulu scene in color Brie Larson films Nat Geo Star Wars Celebration based on movie dogs 71st Emmy Awards The Walking Dead Martial Arts Lifetime Premiere Dates Bravo political drama composers TLC TV renewals Grammys book LGBT Trailer mutant TruTV Sneak Peek toronto french cars hispanic Anna Paquin 2017 Disney Channel Tags: Comedy El Rey ABC APB Creative Arts Emmys social media telelvision psycho romantic comedy video on demand television PlayStation Kids & Family DGA blockbusters scary batman MCU Emmy Nominations rt labs critics edition renewed TV shows scorecard nfl war anthology sequels zero dark thirty Set visit anime TV One Mary poppins docuseries Geeked Week medical drama Mary Poppins Returns Fargo Prime Video BET Awards Sundance Now godzilla Valentine's Day aapi game of thrones Horror stoner tv talk TV sitcom AMC science fiction Television Critics Association HBO Max Tumblr Comedy Central Pixar japanese Dark Horse Comics Women's History Month Lifetime Christmas movies hidden camera sequel elevated horror target scene in color fresh Drama Rocketman Toys Logo Lucasfilm critics summer TV preview pirates of the caribbean 73rd Emmy Awards See It Skip It nbcuniversal comiccon Video Games 2020 jamie lee curtis high school Spectrum Originals Turner binge broadcast 24 frames Musicals HFPA Black Mirror strong female leads dragons Rock true crime comic Marvel Television jurassic park Turner Classic Movies Best Actor cancelled TV series BAFTA new zealand Oscar mission: impossible National Geographic new star wars movies period drama E! slasher dceu spider-verse children's TV black comedy CNN sports VH1 biopic summer TV canceled archives Ghostbusters mob Lionsgate serial killer blockbuster Food Network Classic Film unscripted SundanceTV rotten movies we love basketball scene in color film series Disney streaming service marvel cinematic universe Schedule CMT debate Tarantino discovery biography Apple TV Plus Year in Review Amazon Prime franchise parents facebook james bond blaxploitation marvel comics foreign San Diego Comic-Con quibi Quiz richard e. Grant indiana jones south america Hear Us Out Teen Sony Pictures First Look RT History latino boxing boxoffice art house 2019 dramedy YouTube Premium Awards History 90s green book Reality Competition Box Office Sundance TV Red Carpet Holidays die hard Elton John scene in color series slashers Marathons talk show Ovation a nightmare on elm street Oscars Wes Anderson halloween mockumentary all-time hispanic heritage month obituary BBC Sci-Fi Academy Awards trophy TBS Chernobyl WarnerMedia Discovery Channel free movies Reality Apple TV+ genre docudrama space VICE Music Crackle feel good Mystery Showtime streamig comic book movie golden globes dark Black History Month Britbox 94th Oscars rt archives TV Land live action The Purge ID Marvel Acorn TV best toy story DC streaming service robots CW Seed 2016 concert TCA Winter 2020 Amazon Studios mcc ghosts king kong international aliens diversity streaming movies Countdown spider-man Film Festival Funimation Spring TV movie werewolf Western LGBTQ adventure ABC Signature Sony Pop Summer Tubi Amazon TCA Peacock scary movies Rocky 93rd Oscars kids 2018 Mudbound classics Star Trek christmas movies Starz Disney+ Disney Plus OneApp IMDb TV screen actors guild independent young adult rt labs OWN zombies Paramount dreamworks know your critic stop motion Winter TV Superheroes Netflix Christmas movies crossover suspense criterion Syfy monster movies worst Alien Sundance Arrowverse miniseries ABC Family Exclusive Video Walt Disney Pictures australia animated golden globe awards cults hist ITV news Holiday harry potter Musical Disney cinemax American Society of Cinematographers Instagram Live nature Mary Tyler Moore doctor who Pop TV GLAAD dc stand-up comedy The Academy Fox News deadpool Super Bowl Columbia Pictures heist movie Hollywood Foreign Press Association NBA SDCC Winners HBO Go Legendary hollywood Cartoon Network Avengers comedies Captain marvel psychological thriller 72 Emmy Awards FX The Witch festivals versus documentaries TNT football SXSW 2022 trailers 2015 TCM Photos remakes action-comedy black Biopics spy thriller gangster Star Wars zombie Paramount Plus Tomatazos Country AMC Plus documentary Focus Features laika Paramount Pictures NYCC Amazon Prime Video Crunchyroll game show Spike summer preview kong series 79th Golden Globes Awards Disney Plus FOX universal monsters Superheroe Baby Yoda Neflix leaderboard what to watch Broadway joker 99% Infographic CBS All Access Television Academy The Walt Disney Company YouTube breaking bad rom-coms Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Adult Swim asian-american Action TV movies Polls and Games Warner Bros. IFC Films IFC italian olympics Awards Tour target vs. award winner live event BBC One canceled TV shows sopranos superman Christmas 2021 X-Men Universal Pictures spanish technology The CW sag awards indie adaptation Election interviews Vudu