(Credit: Hogwartsite.net)

Cinematically Speaking: David Yates to Direct 'Harry Potter' prequel

The Harry Potter franchise has simply made too much money to leave it alone. Fortunately, to save us all from the “reboot” treatment, JK Rowling wrote the prequel Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them. It takes place in New York 70 years before the events of the Harry Potter books. According to Variety, it’s set to open November 18, 2016, and it’ll be directed by David Yates, who directed the last four Potter movies.

It’s the first in a planned trilogy, so that’ll put Warner Bros. out to 2020 or 2021 with Potter titles. What do you think? Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone reboot around 2025? Or maybe a new set focussed on his son Albus?

2016 will be quite the year for Yates. He’s also directing Tarzan, set to open that June. It stars Alexander Skarsgard (True Blood), Margot Robbie (The Wolf of Wall Street), and Django Unchained co-stars Christoph Waltz and Samuel L. Jackson.

Now Playing -

magicinthemoonlightMAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT (★★) – When we first hear the old-timey music and see the Windsor font for the credits, we know we’re watching a Woody Allen movie, but that’s about all it guarantees. Woody’s as hit-and-miss as anyone else, but at least we know we’re going to watch good actors stretch their legs with interesting, chatty characters. Colin Firth and Emma Stone are the stars here, he a grumpy atheist magician in 1928, she an ingenue claiming to have psychic powers. He sets out to expose her as a fraud, but the more he tests her, the more it looks like her powers might be real.

This seems to be going for the same period light-heartedness of Midnight in Paris, but it winds up being more like Scoop. It’s broad in its humor but it’s rarely funny. I sat there wanting to laugh at something, but it doesn’t warrant more than the occasional half-smile.

Firth is 53, Stone is 25, so it follows the Woody tradition of older men and younger women. It also upholds the tradition of the man at some point telling the younger woman what books she should read.

In Other Movie News -

- Benedict Cumberbatch is going to lend his voice as Shere Khan in Andy Serkis’s live-action/CGI Jungle Book: Origins. His is the first casting announcement for that project, scheduled to open October 2016. The other Jungle Book movie, directed by Jon Favreau and featuring Idris Elba as Shere Khan, will open October 2015.

- Dwayne Johnson is going to be in the Shazam movie, but he hasn’t decided if he’s going to play the title character, or the main villain Black Adam.

Catching Up on 2013 Movies -

THE WAY WAY BACK (★★★½) – This pleasant little coming-of-age summer romance is reminiscent of Adventureland or Little Miss Sunshine. It’s centered on a sullen boy (Psych‘s Liam James) who goes with his mom (Toni Collette) and her boyfriend/fiance (Steve Carell) to stay as said fiance’s summer house. His future stepdad’s a jerk, but he finds solace hanging out at the local water-park. Nat Faxon & Jim Rash, the writing team behind The Descendants, wrote this and also made their directorial debuts, and they do a nice job balancing the laughs and the emotions. I hope those who missed it in theaters track it down.

What I’m Watching on TV -

AMC’s Hell on Wheels – It’s never been an even show, but in its fourth season, Hell on Wheels seems to have found its stride. It still hasn’t recovered from killing Lily in season 2, but life moves on for the railroad, and Bohannon has a new, fearsome enemy in John Campbell (Jake Weber), the new territorial governor of Wyoming, who intends to use government power to get whatever he wants. Anson Mount is now so comfortable in Bohannon’s skin, it’s hard to picture him playing anything in the 21st century. And Christopher Heyerdahl’s Swede is one of the great, creepy characters on all of television.

Tags: Andy Serkis Benedict Cumberbatch Black Adam David Yates Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them Harry Potter Hell On Wheels Idris Elba JK Rowling Jon Favreau Jungle Book Magic In The Moonlight Shazam! Tarzan The Way Way Back Woody Allen

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