Movie Review: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018)

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Summary: Grindelwald escaped custody and has set about gathering followers, most unsuspecting of his true agenda. To thwart Grindelwald’s plans, Albus Dumbledore enlists his former student Newt Scamander, who agrees to help, unaware of the dangers that lie ahead. Lines are drawn as love and loyalty are tested, even among the truest friends and family, in an increasingly divided wizarding world.
Pros:
Cast Mostly and some Characters. I don’t find everyone that interesting, or at least not enough for me to be like OH YES, I NEED MORE! But I thought everyone did great jobs in their role. The acting is really good in this movie. Top Marks!
  • Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander. This movie didn’t even really need to follow him but sure. Newt is as he was in the first. Awkward, sweet and loves his animals. In this one, he wants to travel again after getting in trouble from the events in the first film, but the Ministry wants him to be an Auror. That’s not his thing. So, he ends up being called upon by Albus Dumbledore to help him with something because Dumbledore cannot do it himself. Newt agrees and probably didn’t realize that he just might be the first person (but not the last) who Dumbledore uses to do the work to accomplish a goal. Aaaaanyways, most of the movie is Newt running around trying to find Credence while also trying to find Tina because he’s in lub and he misses her. I like Eddie Redmayne and he’s very good as Newt, very likable most of the time.
  • Katherine Waterston as Tina Goldstein. Tina isn’t seen for most of the first half of the movie. I didn’t like her that much in the first one and that hasn’t really changed. She’s also looking for Credence because she wants to save him from whatever Grindelwald might want of him, plus she’s trying to clear her name after the last incident that happened at the end of the first movie. She does a stupid thing and she and Newt are finally reunited. Then they’re pretty much together the rest of the movie, where he tries to explain what she saw wasn’t true and what not. Tina is still headstrong but as the movie isn’t about her, that’s all we really get. Katherine Waterston is again fine in her role.
  • Dan Fogler as Jacob Kowalski. Still a favorite character. So, at the end of the first movie, he loses his memory of what happened thanks to the rain from the Thunderbird. But basically, Queenie finds him and restores his memory but ya know, it’s frowned upon for witches and muggles (I DO NOT LIKE “NO-MAJ”) to be together so that whole thing is pretty much his introduction in the movie. He and Queenie arrive and he’s being all weird. Jacob is as fun supporting character. He’s the audience in how he reacts to the world and I love it. He’s good-natured and pretty much down for the ride. He does have a lot of emotional things happening in this movie, so I’m very interested to see what happens with him in the next one… *rolls eyes* Dan Fogler is funny, and he has some great emotional moments and you really feel for him.
  • Alison Sudol as Queenie Goldstein. Tina’s younger sister who is a powerful natural Legilimens. She fell in love with Jacob even though the wizarding laws forbid relationships with MUGGLES. So, in this movie, she’s really broken up about her feelings for him and what society doesn’t allow. That’s pretty much the bulk of her character in this movie. Her agonizing over this. *sighs* I don’t mind it being something she’s dealing with, but it didn’t have to be her entire storyline because she’s so interesting that it sucks that she’s regulated to that. BUT BUT Alison Sudol is really good as this character and she has some great emotional moments. The scene I dislike the most with her towards the end, is really good acting wise.
  • Ezra Miller as Credence Barebone. Following the events of the first movie, we see that he did not die the way they thought he did. He ran off to the circus. He now seems to have control over his Obscurus which makes him extremely powerful. We don’t get a ton of him in this movie and anytime we do, it’s mostly because he’s trying to figure out who he is and where he comes from. He is close with Nagini and they escaped the circus together. I think Credence is an interesting character, but we don’t see enough of him just yet, so I’m hoping that he gets more development in the third film. I also LOVE Ezra Miller and he’s great at playing the kind of character Credence is, kind of broken down but filled with rage over what he endured, not to mention, someone who is growing into their own man. He’s so good at that lol.
  • Zoë Kravitz as Leta Lestrange. Leta is an interesting character, she went to school with Newt, and he was in love with her. She did something terrible that Newt took the blame for, which is why he’s an outcast in some circles. She comes from a well-known pureblood family who is known for the Dark Arts. She is engaged to Newt’s older brother Theseus and works in the Ministry as an assistant. Outside of what we learn about her from the flashback, we don’t get the chance to really know her to get any emotional attachment to her. But Zoe Kravitz is great as she always is.
  • Callum Turner as Theseus Scamander. He is Newt’s older brother and an Auror. He fought in World War I and is seen as a “War hero”, though he seems too young to be Newt’s older brother, because the actor is in fact younger than Redmayne and it shows physically. He and Newt seem to have an okay relationship, they’re just different personalities, like Theseus is a hugger lol. He spent previous years looking for Grindelwald and he’s engaged to Leta. Theseus was cool, and he seemed to not only care about duty but care about his brother because he must make some decisions that would affect both relationships. I like Callum Turner’s voice lol, but I think he makes Theseus likable because I feel like he would be one of those characters who would toe that line of likability.
  • Claudia Kim as Nagini. She is the main attraction a wizarding circus and freak show called Circus Arcanus. She is a Maledictus, who carries a blood curse that will eventually transform her into a snake permanently. She befriends Credence and becomes a confidant for him. They run away from the circus together in search of his heritage. She seems to be very wary of things in general but that’s about it. I don’t like the fact that she’s Nagini who later becomes Voldy’s snake, I mean whatever, but because of that connection, I just want to know how she met him and what made her want to follow him but not trust Grindelwald. I mean, they’re different but similar. Claudia Kim doesn’t get to do much other than look cautious and worried throughout the film.
  • Jude Law as Albus Dumbledore. Well hey there Dumbledore. He is an extremely powerful and influential wizard in the British Wizarding Community, known in the British Ministry of Magic and throughout the wider wizarding world for his academic brilliance, currently a professor of Defence Against the Dark Arts at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He and Grindelwald grew up together and he had some kind of relationship with him over the summer and it ended badly. It’s already been told to us that Grindelwald and Dumbledore were romantic, or at least it was leading that way but ya know, it fell apart. Dumbledore is the one who brings Newt into the situation because He “cannot move against Grindelwald” for reasons we learn later. Also, the Ministry, as always, is frustrated with him because while he’s on their side, he won’t/can’t do what they want and so he ends up being forced on the sidelines even more. Jude Law was a great choice for Dumbledore. I was kind of shocked at how much I liked him in this role. He manages to have the same presence as those before him while also having swag lol.
  • Johnny Depp as Gellert Grindelwald. He is a powerful dark wizard who caused mass violence, terror and chaos. He wants to create a new Wizarding World Order about wizarding superiority. He doesn’t want to exterminate muggles (like Voldemort) but he wants to subjugate everyone who isn’t a pure wizard. They all have their place he says. He was captured by MACUSA in New York after wreaking havoc, and of course the whole thing when he pretended to be Colin Farrell’s character in the first one. By the way, he’s more powerful than Voldemort lol. Anyways, I think he kills a few people, the wizards who were transporting him and a muggle family but then he just spends the movie talking to people. He wants to “free” their minds to see things his way and he just talks a lot. While I have problems with the scene overall, my favorite scene of his is when they’re in the graveyard with the blue flames. I thought he did great there and seemed crazy while also powerful and intriguing. I can see the pull but not enough to sway me personally. I have always loved Johnny Depp and despite the mess that’s been around about him for some years, I’m glad he got to be in a mainstream movie where he does well with an interesting character. I don’t particularly like how stark his two eye colors were, maybe if the blue wasn’t so vibrant, but perhaps that was the point. But he manages to command the screen whenever he’s on it.
The Costumes. As always Colleen Atwood is great at her job. I recognize her talents lol. I miss Newt’s old blue coat but the coat he wore in this was great too! Albus also had a great look! I mean wow! Leta’s clothes… *Swoons* the costumes are great okay.
Musical Soundtrack. I can’t remember if I liked the soundtrack in the first one, but I think the soundtrack in this one was good, particularly in the emotional scenes like the entire graveyard sequence. I think this soundtrack is superior to the first one. I’ll have to listen again to verify this, but I thought it stood out quite a bit.
Use of Magic. With it being part of a magical world, the use of magic is very important, and I think it’s used in ways that keep the film moving forward. I like the creatures we saw, old and new ones, the designs on them are still great. With the blue flames in the graveyard sequence and how that was used was cool as well. Not to mention, Nagini’s whole transformation thing and how Credence used his powers. If anything, this movie does well, it’s the magic.
Cons:
The Title. WHY IS THIS STILL CALLED “FANTASTIC BEASTS”! It has nothing to do with that. Just because you sprinkle in other magical creatures and the fact that Credence is an Obscurus does not mean that this movie needs to be part of that series. Why couldn’t Fantastic Beasts just exist on its own as well as this movie? It feels so much like a forced effort.
The story is all over the place. It is. End of story.
Nothing Happens in This Movie. All the reveals come at the end of the movie. So, any questions we had from the first movie, get answered at the end. It’s not like we got them throughout the film, or at the beginning and then we now have new questions that are because of good writing, not questions like “What even is this movie?” It just feels like a movie with nothing going on until the last 20 minutes or so. That’s a problem because this movie is 2 hours and some change. I watched people talk and people go places. That’s about it. It’s so much building that it never actually gets to where the building is going towards at least not in this movie. It should be able to stand on its own even if it’s a sequel.
Queenie’s Development. Not happy with what happened with her as I loved her character in the first one but there must have been a ton cut out with her character because she just does so much that seems out of character for her. I don’t understand the choices. By time we get to the end with her big decision, I was like “huh?” Like, I get it on the surface because sure, but how did she exactly reach that decision as if it was the only way? It was a 180 and I did not expect that from her because there was NO REASON AS TO WHY!
Leta Lestrange. Her character was interesting from what we saw in this movie and I thought Zoe Kravitz was great in her minor role. I also do not like how the movie handled her overall because we do not have the chance to get invested in her emotionally. Why should we care about her? They made such a big deal and it didn’t matter. We know the name Lestrange because of Bellatrix, which is fine, but Leta was someone I wanted to know because if you’re going to introduce a new character with connection to someone we’ve known before… then explore it! Especially when we get her backstory. But… I don’t know if they decided she wasn’t important moving forward, or if they wanted something like what we’ve seen in previous HP movies or what, but she was wasted. Not over it.
Credence’s Background. I knew what it was going to be, and I was not thrilled. As a Harry Potter fan, not thrilled at all and completely unnecessary. But that’s not the problem, my problem is that they spend way too much time trying to fake Credence and the audience out by jerking us around with his heritage. It’s not that serious. There was no reason to wait till the end of the movie for us to find out who he is. If Grindelwald wants him on his side so badly, he should have just told him as soon as he got out and got some of his followers back, what’s what. It felt like a waste of my time and I wasn’t happy about the journey nor the ending. Which is shame because I find Credence a very interesting and compelling character but pfft, ruined with that reveal.
Overall, I wanted to like this movie because I love Harry Potter and the Wizarding World. But I think this one is such a disappointment that I was upset when it was over. The first one I enjoyed enough but this one I barely enjoyed. Ugh. The characters are still interesting, and the acting is good across the board. The costumes are beautiful as always and the soundtrack is beautiful. Also, of course, the magic is used very well in the film. Now, there are a lot of issues. The story is all over the place, which means nothing happens in this film because there hardly is a story! The development of certain characters is so bad that I was like UGH! WHY did they do that!? And the title is still stupid… drop the Fantastic Beasts. Jeez. Anyway, it might be worth the watch if you’ve seen the first one but if you don’t really care for them, then I wouldn’t bother.
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars.
Did you see Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald? What did you think about it? Where do you think these movies can continue to go in terms of direction? Are you a Harry Potter fan and do you think these movies are necessary or just fanfiction? Let me know in the comments below and thanks for reading!

TV Review: The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (2018)

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Summary: As her 16th birthday nears, Sabrina must choose between the witch world of her family and the human world of her friends. Based on the Archie comic.
Mild spoilers ahead but nothing that spoils like big plot points or anything like that. This is a late review but this is my LAST SEMESTER OF GRADUATE SCHOOL and I’m trying not to drown. Whooo! lol
Pros:
Cast and Characters. I’m not going to go into super super detail about each character but they’re all pretty great and interesting people and I think all of the actors do a great job in their roles. Some stand out more than others but overall solid cast.
  • Kiernan Shipka as Sabrina Spellman. A half-human, half-witch teenager attending Baxter High, who is just beginning her dark education, while trying to maintain a normal life. She is a sweet girl who loves her family and her friends with a fierce passion and she will do whatever she can to protect the ones she loves. She knows she’s a witch and does a few minor things and there but as her 16th birthday is coming up, she’s really getting ready to be in the thick of things. Growing up she knew of the ritual to come when it came to her birthday and she’s looking forward to it, but at the same time, she doesn’t want to leave her mortal life behind because of the connections she’s made. So, Sabrina has to make the choice of being a mortal or being a witch. Throughout the show she does things with honorable intentions and sometimes things go astray because magic isn’t always predictable and it comes with a price. I think Kiernan Shipka was a great choice for Sabrina, I actually think she is the best for the role and I can’t imagine anyone else in the role right now. She is sweet but passionate and she handles some great emotional moments. She actually made me tear up when she was talking to Harvey in a later episode. I don’t think I’ve really seen her in anything other than her voice over in When Marnie Was There and she was great in that so she can definitely pull off the emotions that Sabrina feels and she’s great!
  • Ross Lynch as Harvey Kinkle.Sabrina’s charming, dreamy boyfriend who is the son of a coal miner and unaware of the dark forces conspiring to keep him and Sabrina apart. I was a little worried about the brown hair look on Ross but as the show went on, it grew on me and I really liked him. He’s sweet and so supportive and I love that he was the nice guy next door, who also liked to draw, who was also a romantic. First him and then Sebastian from The Carrie Diaries, where is MINE!!? He has a hard relationship with his dad, it even borderline on abusive (verbally and emotionally) and he leans on his older brother who he looks up to like no other. I was worried that he was going to just be the love interest, I hate that in general, but he actually had some stuff to do. He had a traumatic experience as a kid which paralyzes him and prevents him from working for his dad in the mines, but he still goes with Sabrina when she has to go in there. That’s what I call love. Then there’s a side plot that deals with a possessing demon and him worrying about if he’s brave enough. I liked his arc but I’m sad at how the season ended with him and Sabrina. Ross Lynch is very likable and I think he kept Harvey likable and not too whiny or annoying because he’s so nice.
  • Lucy Davis as Hilda Spellman. One of Sabrina’s two witch aunts, who has a motherly nature and warm sense of humor and is skilled at brewing potions. I’ve always remembered Hilda to be a bit goofy and the opposite of Zelda which she still is here, she’s definitely the nice one and I love how loving she is. Lucy Davis is super likable and while I think they didn’t know what to do with Hilda after a while she still had some great moments like when she saved Susie in the bookstore. I just hope they allow her to do more in the second season because she is so likable.
  • Chance Perdomo as Ambrose Spellman. He is Sabrina’s cousin from England, who is her partner in crime, but is forbidden from leaving the Spellman home after being placed under house arrest by the Witches Council for attempting to blow up the Vatican. We don’t really learn a ton about him but while he may have done some questionable things in the past he still manages to try and be a conscience for Sabrina. I think he became a missed opportunity as the show went on and like Hilda, they didn’t know what to do with him but he quickly became a favorite character. He wants to be free to do what he wants since he’s been stuck in the house for so long. Chance is so charismatic and likable that I want a lot more of him in the second season. 
  • Michelle Gomez as Mary Wardwell. Sabrina’s favorite teacher and mentor at Baxter High, who becomes possessed by the devil’s handmaiden to become Madam Satan, a cunning manipulator. So, we meet her in the first episode, the regular her and the possessed version and I have to say that Michelle Gomez kills. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her in anything but she is so memorable that I can’t wait to see what they do with her in the second season. Her delivery, the way she moves, all of her clothes and her hair is amazing. She is trying to manipulate Sabrina onto a path to better serve their Dark Lord and she is good at it lol.
  • Jaz Sinclair as Rosalind “Roz” Walker.The brash, empowered and outspoken daughter of Greendale’s minister and Sabrina’s best friend. She is big on equality and for students to be able to read whatever books they want, she is very opinionated but clearly loves her friends. We learn that she has trouble with her eyesight and might going blind which she is terrified of happening but something else might be manifesting because of her losing her eyesight which becomes really important down the line. I like Jaz Sinclair (just don’t do anymore When the Bough Breaksstuff mmkay?) and I think it’s funny that she and Sabrina are friends when they aren’t in the comics. I also like the fact that she is loyal to her friends even when she’s sure they’re not being completely honest.
  • Tati Gabrielle as Prudence Night.A student at the Academy of the Unseen Arts, with a personal grudge against Sabrina. She is the leader of a trio of witches, the Weird Sisters. I LOVE HER. At first, I was like “meh, she’s awesome but I don’t like her but then I ended up really loving her. She’s an interesting character and in ways you really sympathize with her because as far as she knows she’s an orphan and it seems like she tries to be this big bad witch in the school just to make up for that. I enjoyed everything about her, her look, the way she spoke and all of her dialogue was interesting. I don’t think she’s in the comics, at least not that I have seen yet but she’s awesome. Tati Gabrielle is a gem. A GEM.
  • Richard Coyle as Father Faustus Blackwood.The High Priest of the Church of Night and Dean of the Academy of the Unseen Arts. I mean, he’s your basic headmaster who thinks his way is right and he has ulterior motives and is creepy and what not. That’s all fine and dandy and I think Richard Coyle plays it up soooo well. I mean, he looks like the bad guy but it’s up to you to decide if that’s what he is.
  • Miranda Otto as Zelda Spellman.One of Sabrina’s two witch aunts, who is sterner than Hilda and very protective of Sabrina. She is also a member of the Church of Night, devout to the Dark Lord. I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about her in the beginning, she’s always been the sterner of the two aunts but as the show went on, she is pretty great. There is a great scene with her in the episode with the Nightmare monster that was great and some great emotional moments from her. She really wants her family to be safe and do what they’re supposed to do as members of the Church of Night. She does get involved in some things but I think Miranda Otto plays it so well that she manages to hold on to some dignity even though they go through some crazy stuff. I also love her delivery and all of her clothes are beautiful.
Tone of the Show. This goes hand in hand with the next point but I liked the overall tone of the show. It’s dealing with identity and maintaining morality and humanity and choosing the best path for you. Sabrina Spellman is half witch/half mortal which presents an interesting story throughout the season in which she must do things that could sway either side but because she’s both, she thinks she can do whatever she wants and sometimes without consequences. It’s quite interesting. It is a dark show, not all the time but the witches are children of the night which allows for some cool effects or cool connections to “dark magic”. For example, I think Salem is usually a warlock that was cursed into a cat but in this show, he’s a goblin, whose form we only saw once and it was super creepy who takes the form of a cat to be Sabrina’s familiar. There’s also a subplot with a possessing demon and it last for a little while in the show and also creepy.
Horror Factor. The show is creepy like legit. I think it was cool for the most part because when you’re dealing with witches, there needs to be a tone set for what kind of witches they are and when that’s clear, it opens the door for horror elements. In the first episode there is a scene with a maze and a tree, oh boy, I was like O.O, it all works for this show. If this kind of stuff was in the Melissa Joan Hart version it would be weird because it wouldn’t fit. Even the stuff with the demon and Uncle Jesse freaked me out, the comic is also equally creepy.
Sabrina and Harvey. They’re super cute. I remember in the older show that they had a relationship that took forever for them to get together and then it was on and off again but in this, they start off together, they start off in love and it’s really cute. They love each other and normally I make a little fun of 15 and 16-year olds being in love but I think it’s clear they have something pretty special. It was really sweet. Sabrina adores this boy and she always wants him to be happy especially since he doesn’t have the best relationship with his dad. That’s why what happens in the end blew my mind!
Sabrina and her friends. At first, I wasn’t sure how I felt about her friends, but as the show went on, I liked their relationship. I loved the loyalty between them (I’m talking about Sabrina, Roz and Susie exclusively) and while they know Sabrina might be keeping something from them, they don’t get upset because she’s not being honest, I mean they’re a little frustrated but they don’t treat her terribly. I liked how a lot of what Sabrina wanted to do was because she wanted to help her friends, she wanted them to be okay if she was gone at academy. They were supportive of each other and clearly loved each other (which is funny because so far in the comics, Sabrina and Roz are NOT friends lol).
Cons:
Really Dark. By dark I mean the show’s lighting isn’t very good. It may be intentional and in ways I get why it looks visibly dark but there’s a problem when I can’t see what’s going on ON SCREEN! If that’s a production choice then they need to change that in the second season. It’s okay, it can be dark but light enough where I can see what’s going on!
Starts Off Really Slow/Drags in areas. The first episode is really kind of slow. I mean it sets up stuff but it feels like it’s dragging on. I thought I was in the second episode but I was still in the first one lol. I think though once it gets going it’s really easy to breeze through but it does have moments where I’m like “okey dokey, don’t care about this. Back to the real stuff!” but it’s not often but it’s there.
Crossing the line. This isn’t really a problem for me but I wanted to address it because I can imagine it being a problem for some. There are elements in the show that are meant to be the way they are because Sabrina is supposed to make choices to push her down a darker path and what not, but I can see where it can be too much for some people. I thought about this a lot while watching the show and sometimes it made me squirm. It was bold and I commend the show for taking no prisoners but be aware that the witches do go “praise Satan”. I think if you’re firm in your beliefs it’s not going to affect you as it’s just entertainment but be aware.
Overall, I really liked the show, it was really good. I think the first episode may be a little hard to get through because it felt a little slow but once I got past that first episode, I blew through the rest of the show. I think it’s really worth the watch, especially if you’re into stuff like this. I think all of the cast does a really good job in their roles and I think all of the characters are really interesting and I’m curious to see what goes on with them in the second season. I like the tone of the show and what the message is which is that good and evil is not just black and white and you have to find out for yourself who you are. I think Sabrina represents a little bit of everyone without all the magic stuff. I’m not much of a horror person but I think the horror aspect really works for the show and it’s creepy but I could handle it. My biggest issue with the show is that it’s visibly dark in that it’s hard to see a lot of times and that it starts off really slow. I also want people to be aware that it might be a bit too much and not to watch it if it’s going to make you upset. Great show!
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Have you watched Chilling Adventures of Sabrinayet? What are your thoughts about it? Let me know! And if you can, check out the comics at your local library!

Movie Review: Sleight (2017)

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Summary: A young street magician is left to care for his little sister after their parents’ passing and turns to illegal activities to keep a roof over their heads. When he gets in too deep, his sister is kidnapped and he is forced to use his magic and brilliant mind to save her.
There might be mild spoilers ahead. 
Pros:
Cast and Characters. There’s really only one character that this film truly follows. However, there are some supporting characters who are involved with the hero’s story and for the most part everyone is interesting enough for this film.
  • Jacob Latimore as Bo. I’m interested to see what else Jacob Latimore does, because so far I’m pretty impressed with him. His character Bashir “Bo” has taken up the mantle of being the parent in his household as his mother died a year before and there’s really no mention of their father. He has given up his future of an Engineering scholarship in order to support his sister. He performs magic tricks on the street and he also drug deals. He’s an interesting character because throughout this movie, he’s just trying to make things better for his sister but he’s not making good decisions in order to do that. Bo is a subdued character, he’s very mild mannered actually, he doesn’t raise his voice ever actually. He carries himself like he’s putting on a front, there’s a scene towards the end where he just breaks down and that was a beautiful moment. He’s trying so hard in the best ways he thinks he knows how. Jacob Latimore does a good job carrying this movie. He did a very good job with playing the various amounts of emotions this character goes through. The love of performing magic and pride he feels when he sees spectators enjoying his tricks. The emotions of feeling like he’s against the wall when he knows he wants to get out of the drug dealer but that life isn’t an easy one to leave. He definitely carries this film.
  • Seychelle Gabriel as Holly. She starts out as the love interest, as soon as he meets her, it’s easy to tell that he is attracted to her. As they get to know each other, they spend a lot of time together and we get to see their relationship grow on screen. I didn’t think it was forced or rushed. She was a good supporting person for Bo, she learned about his life, she cared for his sister whenever Bo had to go off with Angelo, she got invested. She was very loyal. It’s also learned that she has her own battles to face and when Bo discovers them, he tries to be there for her as well. In terms of them being there for each other it’s pretty even, as he offers support for her as well. It’s actually really cute. I thinks she’s fine, she could be replaced with any young actress to be honest, so I don’t think she stood out in terms of her acting but her character was a nice addition.
  • Dule Hill as Angelo. I’ve never seen him in anything but Holes. So anytime I see him I think “I can fix that” lol but this character was intimidating, he was charismatic in a scary way and and Dule Hill did a great job portraying that. He had this little “devil may care” smile going on that he flashed but that did not mean there was a good attitude on the other side of that smile. He was the supplier for Bo’s drugs and at first, he seems like a cool dude until he finds out about another dealer then it just takes a dark turn. He goes to threaten the dude, when the dude doesn’t agree to his conditions, he gets even more extreme, even forcing Bo to do the dirty work. He’s just a terrible scary person. I don’t want to spoil anything but the last 2/3s of the film he turns against Bo (for a reason) and he definitely puts the fear into Bo. Dule Hill was really good in his role, he was able to be larger than life and he was good every time he was on screen.
  • Supporting Characters. Storm Reid plays Tina Wolfe, Bo’s little sister and Sasheer Zamata plays Georgie, a neighbor and they’re both good in their roles as well. Storm Reid is adorable, she loves her older brother (she looks so unlike him that it is a bit jarring lol) but she does her job in loving him, worrying about him and idolizing him. Georgie is fine in that she’s an adult that they need in their lives, she helps out when he needs her, she is an adult voice in this world where Bo is out there on his own, she doesn’t want him to be a drug dealer, she even says that it’s not her place but she doesn’t want him to do this. It’s good for him to have an adult in his life who had a positive hand on his shoulder. Frank Clem as Dr. Granger shows up in the last act of the film as a last resort, Bo goes to him for help and he does his job.
The “Magic”. Okay, so the trailers says this is a mix between Iron Man and Chronicle and that’s not completely wrong. But if you go into this thinking there’s “magic” then that’s the wrong idea. Bo can do amazing things that he puts off as magic which is fine because a magician never reveals their secrets and he only does it twice, to Holly and Dr. Granger (and the audience). It’s pretty cool though. There’s a particular sound that is matched to his movements and abilities. There’s many things we see him do that are really cool, parlor tricks but once you learn how he has these powers it makes you look at it differently.
It’s Low Key/Quiet. This film is a bit chill, the tone is a relaxed one. It’s not over the top, the little bits of violence may be (but the only part that is they don’t show). This film lives and breathes by Jacob Latimore and the film takes it’s direction from him.
An Origin Story. I know these days people are like ugh origin stories but this one is so very different. It focuses solely on Bo and his story, and with the way it ended, it definitely leaves it open for a sequel. It would be interesting to see where Bo’s story goes from here, he created his abilities, what else could he do? I want to know.
Emotional Scene. There’s a scene at the end, it’s after the climax and the film is almost over, Bo handles some business and then gets into a car with Holly and Tina and he just breaks down crying. The girls look at him and they both hug him. I’m a contagious crier and I teared up, but I also felt that. He’s been playing parent for about a year and I assume he’s 19 years old. That’s a lot, to give up everything he had going for him to take care of his sister and in this moment, all of that, plus what he did that night all hit him. It was a great scene.
Cons:
Anti-climatic. It feels like this movie isn’t really building up to anything. It’s just an experience that we’re going on which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but once the second half happens, it kind of amps up and there’s more happening and then the climax happens and while I was wondering if Bo was going to make a bad choice, the whole moment wasn’t necessarily filled with tension. At least not for me. I was expecting a bit more.
The “magic” Details. So it’s shown that Bo is very smart, probably borderline genius when it comes to Engineering. There are pictures of him getting an award, there are trophies, etc. There might be spoilers here, warning. There is something he did to give himself these powers and while he talks about it to Holly, kind of explains why he got into magic, he never actually states how he did this. It’s so interesting to me and while Dr. Granger kind of exposits a few big words of what he needs to do for more power, and they kind of talk about some of the details of what’s there, it’s explained or shown at HOW he did it and that bugged the crap out of me. I wanted to know. Especially with all of the things that start happening at the end, I felt like it needed to be explained.
No Consequences. So Bo does a lot of desperate things, or things out of fear but NOTHING happens to him. Well, maybe one thing that deals with the drug dealer but the other things he does, nothing really happens to him.
Overall, I really liked this film. I wasn’t sure what to expect. The first trailer made me go “meh” and then I kept seeing trailers and I got more and more interested. I liked Jacob Latimore in Collateral Beauty, one of the few things I liked about that movie and he really stood on his own here. He led this movie in such a quiet and understated way. His character is very likable, he makes some terrible mistakes but you want to see him win. The power aspects of this film are really cool, I wish I could have learned how he did it, it’s definitely something I was curious about that I don’t think the movie delivered on explaining. It is a bit anti-climatic at the end, it didn’t need to be grand and it does fit the tone of the film but it feels like a slow burn that didn’t lead up to where it could have. The end did seem to hint at a possible sequel which I am interested in seeing. I can’t wait to see what might happen next.
Rating: 3.80 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Sleight? If so, what did you think about it? If not, are you interested? Let me know in the comments below!
P.S. While I watching this film, I couldn’t help but to think about Jacob Latimore pulling off a pretty good Virgil Hawkins AKA Static Shock. I think it’s important that Virgil is brown skinned, this character reminded me of him, just add a bit more goofiness to him and he was Virgil. I would support that.

Runaway

“Do you trust me?”
Jade looked back to this boy, his golden brown eyes sparkled with excitement but she wasn’t sure if she could, should trust that look. He stood on the ledge of his “window”, she wanted to look and see how high up they were, was he going to make her jump? The footsteps were getting louder and the boy looked insistent. With a deep breath, Jade grabbed his hand, he hauled her up to the ledge, his other arm around her waist to steady her.
“What about Fox?”
Alijah glanced at his dog, whose eyes were on them before barking and taking off down the stairs.
“He’ll find me. Always does.” They slipped out of the window just as the guards burst into the room. The big men always ransacked his place, looking for something that was never there, something to get him into trouble as usual. Everything he had, were things people threw away or didn’t miss. It was never enough for them but enough for Alijah.
Jade held tightly to his hand, it was warm, firm and steady. He knew what he was doing as he led her across the thin ledges of the old buildings. Alijah grabbed a hanging piece of fabric and tugged on it.
“Will that hold?” He shrugged. “You’re not sure?”
He turned to her with a grin but Jade was not impressed. Alijah’s grin never faltered.
“It’s better than making a jump for it right?” His fingers grabbed tight onto the fabric and he pushed himself off the ledge, his feet keeping him steady against the side of the building. “Come on, I’m right below you. Try not to fall.”
Jade watched Alijah make his way down the fabric. It wasn’t long enough. It didn’t touch the ground and she’d never done anything like this before. It was ludicrous… but he was doing it without problem. You wanted to be here. So be here. With a deep breath, the young princess followed suit. Her stomach dropped to her toes feeling her body fall from the ledge but she held tight to the fabric.
“Hold on tightly.” His voice said from below. “Don’t look down.”
“Stop talking!” She hissed. She heard light laughter reach her ears and for a second it sounded like the best thing in the world but she had to focus. Focus Jade! She felt hands against her legs.
“Let go, I have you.”
With a shiver of hesitation, Jade released the fabric and while Alijah did have her, his footing caused them to stumble backwards. Jade dug her feet into the dirt hoping to prevent the fall, but with Alijah tumbling backwards and his grip against her, they couldn’t stop. They hit the hard ground hard, Alijah released a pained grunt.
“I thought you said you had me.”
“I did have you, I just didn’t have myself.”
They sat up, Jade turned to face him, catching the light from the sun as it descended behind the buildings. It shone across his face, Jade couldn’t help but to blink owlishly at him. The sun browned his skin more, caused his eyes to flicker from golden brown to a deep golden green. It shocked her. Who was this boy? She could see his freckles. Where did he come from? She had to know.
“Can you stand?” She nodded, still a bit dumbfounded but allowed him to pull her to his feet. “They will have to go all the way around to get back here, by then we’ll be long gone.”
Alijah glanced at her for a moment, her hood had fallen in the escape, she didn’t seem to notice. She was beautiful and he stared. Her deep brown eyes watched him. They watched each other. Silence hung in the air before he reached up, her eyes hardened at the motion, but he pulled her hood forward to cover her face again before turning to lead the way.
They walked as the sun completely disappeared, washing the back alleys of the kingdom in long shadows. Alijah felt Jade grab his hand, he grinned and squeezed it. Today wasn’t such a bad day after all. They walked in silence, but the kingdom was abuzz with the sounds of night. Songs from crickets, laughter coming from children on the streets, sounds coming from candle lit windows… it was different from the quiet sounds of the palace.
Alijah paused in front of a building, he glanced around, and knocked. Jade stood quietly next to him, wanting to know where they were but she chewed her lip instead. She was naturally curious, now that she was out of the palace, her curiosity grew and it was killing her not asking but obviously he had his secrets.
“Where are we?” she whispered. She couldn’t help herself. He didn’t answer. Candle light flooded the side street as the door opened. A woman with long dark hair that fell in waves down her back stood before them, her grey eyes shifted between the two before a smile appeared on her face.
“Hey there handsome,” her eyes shifted to Jade, suspicion crossed her features.
“We need a place to hide for the night Maria. Can we stay here?”
The woman’s eyes never shifted from the young girl, who narrowed her eyes in return. Jade was never one to back away from a fight, especially one as brazen as this. Maria’s eyes glanced down to see Alijah’s hand entwined with this mysterious hooded figure but she moved aside to allow them in. Alijah pulled Jade in with him before releasing her hand and putting an arm around her waist. She tried to keep her reaction subdued but it hardly mattered, the surprise at his movements was quickly masked by what she saw.
There were scantily clad women in various areas of the room. The building was two stories, obvious by the stairs near the back. There were women in rooms covered by beautifully colored curtains, women dancing about, perfumes filled the air, it was warm and Jade’s eyes widened. Alijah paid no attention to the surroundings. He followed the woman in the impressive purple dress in front of them. However, the tightness of his arm around her waist showed her he was in fact paying attention.
“This is where I can put you for the night,” She led them into a room on the top floor near the back.
“Maria is this your bedroom?” Alijah asked finally releasing Jade’s waist. Jade’s stuttering heart began to slow to a normal pace. Maria turned towards the two, her hair whipping around.
“Just… stay quiet and do not touch anything.” Her eyes flickered to Alijah before turning back to the girl. She then swept out of the room.
“This a brothel.” Jade’s voice shook with surprise. Alijah pushed the curtains back against the windows, checking for the guards.
“Mhmm.”
This is a brothel. I had no idea we had these in the kingdom.” He released the curtains and turned to her. She spoke so strangely. Where does she come from? She willingly pulled her hood from her head, her hair all but released from the bow she used to try and contain it. Seeing the dark thick curls, Alijah had to turn away. Something about her was familiar but he could not put his finger on it. She didn’t belong here, the smoothness of her hands, the way her hair curled, the way she spoke and carried herself. This world wasn’t for her, it may suit her though.
“Yeah. I think you’re pretty naive to this whole thing.” He pushed away from the window.
“Obviously. But why are we here?” She carefully sat on the edge of the bed, mindful to not touch anything. Alijah tried no to laugh at her rigid movements.
“Maria looks out for me. When I was younger, some older boys beat me up for stealing from them-” She arched an eyebrow and he rolled his eyes “-it was a toy for Fox. But they didn’t like it so they beat me up. So Maria on her way back here, found me and fixed me back up. Simple.”
Just on cue, the door opened and Fox trotted into the room. Maria shook her head before closing the door once more. Alijah greeted his dog, Jade smiled but it faded at the uninterested look Fox gave her before jumping onto the bed and curling up.
“I don’t think he likes me.” Alijah shrugged and sat on the floor against the wall. He pulled his hair from his tie, it fell against his shoulders and Jade’s breath caught. There was something so sincere and genuine about this boy. Why couldn’t the suitors her parents wanted her to meet be like him?
“Fox is hard to please. It’s been just us for so long. We’ve never had to take care of anyone else.”
“You’re not taking care of me.”
“If you say so.”
He ran a hand through his dark brown hair and smiled at her. He was comfortable with her, but the nagging in the pit of stomach told him he would never see her again.

Okay, I feel like this one isn’t that good but I had an idea for my Aladdin thing and I went with it. But this is probably the last Aladdin piece I’m going to write since this is about to become an actual story.
By the way: I pictured Alijah to be Anthony Ramos (with the longer hair). Freckled face cutie.

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Princess Jade is harder to find someone to represent her. But her hair is very much like this in terms of length and texture.

2015 Summer TCA Tour

The Muffled Silence

(another part from what will become an “Aladdin” story).

She swung the double doors open of her father’s study, she flung the royal purple curtains away from the opening revealing herself to her father, who sat at his desk, his quill still moving furiously across the parchment. His dark eyes glanced up for a moment before turning back to his work. Jade frowned before swiftly walking over to his desk.
“Yes Jade?”
“I need to speak with you.” He nodded his head indicating he wanted her to continue. She blew out a sharp breath. “Father I-“
“I’m glad you’ve returned to us unharmed my dear.” It was the lilting voice of her mother, she swept into room like she was floating on air. She stood next to Jade’s father, her hand resting on her father’s shoulder. He paused in his writings to squeeze her hand.
Jade watched them both. Part of her still fuming over what transpired a mere hours ago and the other part falling in love with her parents’ love.
“-as I was saying,” her mother gave her a sharp look, causing Jade to glance away for a moment “I, uh-“
“Do not stutter dear.” Her mother interrupted again. Jade squeezed her hands into fists trying to reign in her anger. They both acted so unassuming or indifferent at times and she wondered why. They were royalty, they were the king and queen, they were her parents, they should be interested in what she had to say. They are, you’re just being a baby. No I’m not.
“There was a boy in the market, he saved me and cared for me while I was there. Just this morning, we left our shelter and the guards swooped in like a swarm of black bats and they arrested him! They had no right!”
Her father tilted his head to the side, his eyes focusing on his daughter, it made her want to squirm but she didn’t move. Her mother didn’t react.
“Dearest, Nazar handles the arrests-“
“Exactly! They said he was the reason why they wouldn’t release him when I demanded it.”
“You need to speak with him. If their orders came from Nazar, perhaps he can shine better light on the situation. I know nothing of this boy you speak of. He may be a well known thief if Nazar has the guards actively searching for him.”
“But he did nothing wrong. He helped me!”
Her mother moved from behind the desk and came to Jade’s side. She took her hands in hers, the look in her face allowing Jade to know her mother was on her side. Neither woman liked Nazar but he was the king’s best friend. They grew up together in the palace. Her father a noble prince and Nazar, the son of the king’s royal advisor. Her father trusted Nazar more than he probably should. He allowed him to handle issues he may not be able to get to himself, such as petty thieves on the streets and the poor.
“Chinelo.” Her mother’s firm voice said. The king frowned, he pushed away from the desk and stood, his tall frame moved gracefully towards the women he loved the most.
“Jade. Just, speak with Nazar. You’ll find he has reasons for the things he does.”
She knew this wasn’t going to be a conversation that would end in her favor. With an annoyed but resigned sigh, the young princess pushed her curls from her face before giving a quick nod. She pulled herself from her parents hands and slowly moved towards the door. Fine. He wanted her to speak with Nazar, then she would. She would get the answers she wanted.
It didn’t take her long to find him. He seemed to just appear in the large ballroom. Jade always wanted to know where he went, he must have secret passages but she could never find them, nor could she ever catch him escaping or entering one. One of these days.
“Nazar.” Her voice echoed in the large room, his dark eyebrows lifted as he approached the young princess. Jade met him in the middle of the room, her jade skirts moving quickly against her legs.
“Ah princess, how may I be of serv-“
“The guards took a boy from the market this morning, they said they were ordered by you to imprison him.”
Nazar’s face gave away nothing and it infuriated her. He was tall, with long limbs, his eyes were cut sharp, with intense dark eyes, his skin was not as dark as her father’s, unlike her father he wasn’t bald. He always wore dark colors, today it seemed a dark purple was his choice. The bird on his shoulder squawked loudly at the girl, causing Jade to startle just a bit, but she only scowled back. The bird was horrid but it didn’t frighten her. At least, not all the time.
“Ah yes, the street rat. They were operating on my orders, the boy is a criminal.”
“What was his crime?”
“Why, thievery, kidnapping, disorderly conduct, disturbing of the peace. The list goes on majesty.”
“Kidnapping? He never kidnapped me, I ran away.”
Nazar raised his eyebrows in surprise. Feigned surprise. The princess before him held a haughty and irritated expression and he couldn’t help but to inwardly smirk. The brat truly worried about his prisoner. The boy was of use to him, he was of no use to the princess. He touched his hand to his cheek, scratching at his dark beard, shaking his head.
“Oh dear. I wish I had known that before.”
“What have you done?”
The bird on his shoulder bristled at her tone, but with a gentle touch to its chest from Nazar, it calmed. Jade noticed the reaction and frowned. That bird… so strange.
“The boy has been sentenced. His death was only an hour ago.” His tone was indifferent but his expression help sorrow for the princess. Jade crumpled. No. He can’t be… 
“W-what?” Tears begin to well in her eyes, she tried to hold them to not cry before this man but it was painful. That boy, she didn’t even learn his name, but he was kind, handsome and she liked being in his presence. He was full of life. Life she wanted. She stumbled away from him.
“Princess-” He reached out for her but she slapped his hand away from her.
“Do not touch me, you-you monster! He was just a boy!” She turned away so fast, that she was worried she might fall. But she was a princess, she would never fall in front of watchful eyes. Nazar watched her run from the room, her jade skirts swishing behind her, her long dark curls bouncing behind her. Her muffled sobs faded into silence. The bird squawked. Nazar nodded.
“Yes my dear. The princess’s attention has been diverted. She will mourn the boy, but it matters not. He is of use to us and she will never see him again.”

Alijah sat, his back against the dank stone walls of the royal dungeon. Manacles were attached to each wrist, both manacle attached to lengths of chain that barely gave him enough room to move them.
The princess. He was so angry with himself for not knowing. But how could I have possibly known? No one has ever seen the princess’ face. Anytime the royal family paraded through the town, Queen Kamaria and Princess Jade’s faces were always covered. Hot sun.
“Idiot.” He mumbled to himself. Alijah rubbed his wrist, wanting to scratch the itch he couldn’t reach. She probably thought he sounded stupid, all of his stories, his tricks of surviving the street, he thumped his head back against the wall, wincing only slightly at the pain. Then she had to see him be friendly with Maria and her brothel. He could die right now and not even be bitter about it.
It didn’t matter anymore. They arrested him without telling him what he did. At least that time. He was sure it was something about the melons but they never said and they weren’t even in the marketplace when he stole the melons, or the apples. It was impossible for them to have known.
“Street rat-” He perked up hearing the scraping of the prison door. It was too dark to see who entered but from the dark mass and the gravelly voice, it was the head guard. Kondo.
“The princess, is she alright? Did she make it back home safely?” Deep laughter sounded and Alijah frowned. What was amusing? It was a serious question. “It’s a serious question.”
“The princess is no longer your concern ingrate. You will never have to worry your criminal head again.”
What? Alijah frowned at those words. Was that a threat? His brown eyes narrowed at the man as he came into the moonlight streaming into the iron bars. It’d been a long day, he’d been down there since morning and he was tired. This was no time for games.
What do you mean?”
Kondo stood down before Alijah, just enough out of reach that if the boy attacked, the chains would prevent him from touching.
“Midnight tonight, you will receive your punishment. All these years of stealing-“
“It’s only been food. To live, to feed my dog. I’ve never stolen anything important. Just food and trinkets people will never miss.” Those people didn’t care about their wooden carved camels, their broken beaded necklaces, or old worn shoes and their small balls he gave to Fox for enjoyment. Kondo grabbed the front of Alijah’s shirt, yanking him forward, fear flickered through the boy’s brown eyes but he refused to give him the satisfaction.
Kondo continued like he was never interrupted. “-lying and running from us is going to end. That stupid mutt will be without it’s master. You’ve been allowed to avoid this for far too long. That ends tonight.”
He flung the boy away from him, Alijah colliding with the stone wall. He stood a bit too gracefully for such a large man and he swept out of the dungeon. Alijah breath caught in his throat. This wasn’t his first time being caught by the guards, it wasn’t his first time spending time down here, it wasn’t the first time he’d been threatened with death or roughed up a bit but this was the first time that threat was eminent. What was he going to do? The silence around him seemed crushing and it took everything in him not to break.

Do You Trust Me?

(This one is long… but I couldn’t stop writing once I got started)
He ran through the streets, his brown eyes darting around as he tried to make sure no one was following him. He understood that people had to make their livings but he also had to eat. The young man spotted a dark alleyway and twisted through the oncoming crowd to hide. His chest heaved as he leaned against the faded brick wall, he let his head rest against the brick blowing a hard breath. That was so close though. Alijah clutched his bag close to his chest and glanced at the streets, no one seemed to even care about him so he slipped into the crowd. Woof! Woof! The dark haired young man looked over his shoulder, a large grin plastering his face. His beagle friend came bounding over, his brown ears flopping and his pink tongue hanging out.
“Fox!” he knelt down to pet his little dog, Fox’s tail wagging happily. “I was worried I lost you.” The dog yipped and Alijah grinned. “Yeah, I should know better by now right? You’ll always find me.” He held up his bag, Fox barked excitedly, his strong nose smelling what his friend stole for them today. Alijah stood and they both walked off to their humble abode.
It wasn’t anything special. A hole in the wall place to be honest. It was a ramshackle old building, no one lived there anymore. He wasn’t sure what the building used to be but he’d been living there for at least eight years, it served its purpose and it was home. They climbed the dark and corroding steps. He walked over to the bowl he found and poured the water into the bowl for Fox, who lapped happily. He couldn’t help but to smile at his friend, Fox made his sorry life bearable. He plopped down on the large ratty pad he used for a bed and pulled the bits of fruit he stole, as well as the loaf of bread. Once Fox finished his water, he trotted over picking over the fruit Alijah left for him.
“I would say I’m sick of this Fox,” the dog glanced up, his head tilting to the side “You know, stealing to survive, living here. I mean I’m glad we have a place but…” he shook his head, his curly ponytail shaking against his neck.  His voice trailed off. This happened at least once every few months, where he wished his life was more than it was but there was no changing it. He would be a street rat for the rest of his life.
“Look at the view Fox.” He pulled the tattered curtain back from the hole in the wall he called a window. In the far distance sat the most beautiful place he’d ever seen. The palace was beautiful, with its curved arches and beautiful yellows and golds perfectly reflecting from the colors of the sun as it descended behind the mountains. “One day.”

Jade sat in her bedroom, a book open next to her as she was reading but tired of it. It was all she did every day. Lessons, reading, lessons, reading, perhaps a bit of free time and conversations with her beautiful white cat Nyla.
Her light brown eyes followed the intricate details of her bedroom ceiling before she closed them out of frustration. She grew tired of her schedule, of her nonstop everything. Why couldn’t she have just a bit of freedom? Of a bit of leeway? Perhaps a day to something that she chose to do? She was passionate about wanting her freedom, of wanting to do something she chose for herself. Her arms hung over the large bed and she started feeling soft fur at her fingertips. She rolled over, seeing her cat rubbing against her fingers. Jade couldn’t help but to smile. Nyla always pulled a smile from her full lips. The turkish angora jumped to the bed, purring gently against Jade’s cheek.
“Hey girl.”
“Jade.” The young woman sat up on her bed as her parents walked into her bedroom. Her mother tall, slender with beautiful brown skin, long dark curly hair, full lips and dark eyes stood with a kind expression, whereas her father, with his dark skin and dark eyes stood looking grim. Her father was the one who spoke.
“Yes?”
“We need to speak darling,” her mother came gracefully to the bed, sitting next to her, her hands resting against her shoulders. Her father stood awkwardly stiff, Jade knew he appeared to be intimidating and while he was, he was her father and she knew this wasn’t his true nature. Eventually, he relaxed and slumped on her bed on the other side of her.
“Dearest, you are seventeen, soon to be eighteen…”
“Not for another year father.”
“…yes but this is something we need to begin speaking of. You will be preparing to take the throne and you need to find a proper suitor…” Jade pulled away from her parents with exasperation. She climbed off her bed, her elegant and light skirts moving with her.
“I thought you promised not to talk about this anymore.” The ONE thing she thought she was able to do for herself, they were taking away. When she turned sixteen, her parents began speaking with her about marriage, about her future as queen of their small kingdom and while she was prepared to speak about her duties, she did not want to be forced into anything.
“Yes but it’s been a year my darling.” Her mother said softly. Jade’s eyes narrowed completely irritated with her parents now. What if she just wanted to be Queen without having to marry? That law was stupid and outdated. “The law clearly states-“
“But you are the King father. You can change the law.”
“I cannot change a law my ancestors put into place just because you throw a tantrum every time we speak of it.”  Ugh, she was NOT throwing a tantrum. This wasn’t fair! She already had no control over her life, couldn’t this be the one time she did? She threw open the large doors to her balcony and tried not to stomp out to the rail. She rested her hands on the brass railing, her eyes taking in the sights of the kingdom. “Jade-” she felt large, warm hands on her shoulders but she remained tense.
“No.” She snapped but she didn’t move.
“Tomorrow, suitors are to be arriving for you to meet. You must choose one. It is your duty, as the princess.”
Maybe I don’t want to be a princess anymore. But she didn’t say it. She heard the steps fade and she knew they were gone. She blinked the tears from her eyes. No. She wasn’t going to go through with this. This peacock parade… no. This was the last straw. Her eyes zeroed in on the marketplace that wasn’t far… they would never find her there.

The next morning Alijah climbed to the top of the melon stall. This man was one of the worst, his name was Bernard and Alijah affectionally called him “Bernie” which the man hated. Any time he could get the chance to steal from the man, he would and this was one of those days. It was all planned. Fox would create the diversion and Alijah would steal a couple of melons.
“Alright Fox.” He whispered, if he could nod, the dog probably would before he ran off barking loudly towards Bernie’s stand. The older man began fussing with the quick moving dog, Alijah couldn’t help but to watch the spectacle for a moment, his stomach hurting from laughing so much. The other vendors tried to help catch the animal but Fox was too quick. Being sure to not be seen, he wrapped his legs around the pole that held up Bernie’s sign, and hung upside down to grab a melon. As Bernie was still distracted, he grabbed two more, he couldn’t be greedy. Putting the melons into his bag, he climbed off the stall and into a nearby window. He sat on the sill and waited for his friend to join him. It wasn’t long before Fox trotted up the stairs of the building and nosed the door open. His dog was like a monkey, he could easily climb and jump but Alijah wanted him to not show off today.
“Woof.” Alijah cracked open a melon and sat it down for his dog.
“Good job Fox. Now we eat like kings!”
Jade walked through the marketplace. It was nothing she’d ever seen. It was loud, it was brash, parts of it smelled and she loved it. She wore a long dark maroon cloak to cover her long curly hair, that she pulled back into a ponytail and clothes. While she tried to find the less royal thing she had, it still was more than what she saw on the streets. Plus, the sun seemed so much hotter here, perhaps it had to do with the small amount trees that were around compared to inside the palace walls.
It was so loud! Her eyes were wide with awe, people were selling their items, people were trying to barter the prices lower, children ran through the stalls, small dogs chased after them and she couldn’t help but to smile. She loved it. She’d never been outside the palace walls and now she wasn’t sure if she ever wanted to return.
“Watch it!” She gasped feeling someone knock into her, Jade stumbled gracelessly backwards, she threw her hands out trying to catch herself to not fall. Her hip slammed into the side of an apple stall, some of the apples dislodging from their pyramid structure. She grumbled in pain but no one came to her aid. She was almost shocked. You’re not a princess here Jade, they have no idea who you are. Her hood fell back, her hair almost dislodging from her bow, she pulled herself to her feet and quickly covered her hair back up being sure to push any stray curls back. She hoped no one saw, but someone did.
Alijah paused in the digging of his melon at the commotion he didn’t cause outside. He leaned slightly off the sill to see a girl, wearing a maroon cloak fall into Maggard’s apple stall but the man was busy arguing with the woman trying to barter against his ridiculously high prices. The girl’s hood fell back and his eyes widened seeing her face.
“Wow.” He muttered watching her. She was beautiful. Brown skin, obvious curly black hair she tried to pull back, brown eyes, long elegant fingers… he knew everyone but he’d never seen her before. Who was she? He felt Fox’s cold nose nudge his leg but he ignored him, his eyes only on the mysterious girl.
Jade glanced around, a young boy scrambled over to one of the fallen apples. His tiny hands trying to grip the ruby red fruit. It rolled out of his hands, so Jade plucked one from the stall. “Here you go. No need to eat one off of the ground right?” The boy looked at her with wide eyes, he smiled a grin, a few teeth missing before running off. She rubbed her sore hip and began to walk away.
“Stop thief.” She felt a large hand fall against her shoulder. It made her entire body buckle from the force. She tried to jerk away but the man held tight.
“Unhand me. I am no thief.”
“You stole an apple from my cart. You must pay.”
“Pay?” Jade’s eyes furrowed in confusion. She didn’t understand. What was he talking about? She didn’t steal, the boy wanted an apple and she gave it to him, it was a good thing. “You mean with money? B-but, but I don’t have anything.”
Maggard released her shoulder and grabbed her arm, jerking her towards his stall. Fear began to boil inside of Jade, maybe this wasn’t such a good idea. She didn’t know what to do. “Thief!” He shouted loudly. She looked around frantically but no one was going to help her. Those who looked on, just watched curiously, or with pity and the others ignored it. Did this happen often? Was this a normal occurrence in her kingdom and she didn’t know? “Do you know what we do to thieves!?”
“No! No please, I’m sorry. I could get money from the king! Please I didn’t know!” The man refused to listen and he slammed her arm down on the free space of his stall, he was prepared to remove her hand. Jade pulled with all of her strength but he wasn’t going to release her. What would she tell her parents when they saw her left hand gone?
“Now now Maggard, that’s hardly necessary.” Alijah slipped up next to the two, pulling the sharp dagger from Maggard’s hands. “She doesn’t know any better, she hardly gets out of the house.”
“You-you know this urchin?” The man demanded, his dark eyes still focused on the girl. Alijah could see the fear mingled with confusion in her eyes, he winked and she blinked, the confusion slipping away and being replaced with intrigue.
“Unfortunately. She’s my sister and she suffers from delusions. I didn’t realize she managed to get away from our mother, poor thing must be worried sick.” The young man stabbed the dagger into the side of the stall to prevent the older man from using it. Jade felt her anger rise at his words, she felt like reprimanding him for his insolence. He’s just trying to help. 
“She took an apple from my cart. She also said she knew the king.” Jade inhaled sharply but the young man didn’t miss a beat. He gave the man a wide grin, his face brightening and his eyes twinkled.
“She thinks our dog is the king. She talks to him all of the time.” The beagle’s ears twitched as Jade glanced down to him before she took note and dropped to her knees in front of the door.
“Your majesty” she said massaging behind the dog’s ears. She could pretend too. Alijah smiled at her quick thinking. While Maggard watched on, his brow furrowed and the murderous look gone from his eyes, he managed to slip an apple from the stall behind them, before pressing it into Maggard’s hands.
“No harm done.” Alijah took Jade’s hand and pulled her to her feet. “Come on now, let’s get you home before mother comes screaming through the market.”
“She’s in the trees.” Jade said with a dreamy expression and tone for extra measure. She heard a soft chuckle from the young man.
“No, she’s at home. Come on your majesty.” Fox made a snorting nose, an apple in his mouth as he trotted after the couple. Maggard turned back to his stall noticing a few more apples missing. His dark eyes swung around as he saw the two teenagers run through the crowd. He’d been swindled!!
When they were out of the bustling marketplace, Alijah couldn’t help the loud laughter that escaped his mouth. He led the girl through the back ways of the kingdom, to prevent being seen.
“Where are you taking me?”
“You look like you’re trying stay out of sight. So I’m just helpin’ you.” Fox trotted ahead of them, Alijah kept a gentle hold on her hands. Unlike his they were soft, no calluses, she’s never worked a day in her life but he didn’t mind that. It was nice.
“You really don’t have to do that. I can take care of myself.”
“I know. But you should let me help you. Come on.”
He led through dark alleys, they climbed over fallen trees and roofs. It was hard going but she adapted and he couldn’t help but to steal glances back at her every time. He could still see her face through the hood but he wanted it to fall back like it did earlier. When they got to his home, he paused before turning to her. The hood had fallen back slightly, her skin seemed to glisten with sweat, her eyes wide as she breathed heavily.
“This is it.”
They walked up the steps, through the opening that no longer held a door. He muttered warnings at the low hanging beams, and the broken steps but she made easy work of it. Alijah heard a intake of breath and he felt horrible for bringing her here.
“I love it.” She whispered. Surprised, he turned to face her. She took in everything, the little trinkets he’d stolen over the years, the ones that caught his eye, the things he kept from his childhood. He watched as she moved around the small room, Fox watching curiously as well from his old pillow. “It’s so… lived in.”
“Yeah-” he chuckled scratching his head “-it’s home. But all of that stuff isn’t the best part.” He hopped over the items littering the floor and pulled back the tattered curtain showing her the view he so loved. Jade’s smile faded seeing what she was sure he was smiling about. “Isn’t it beautiful?”
“Yes… beautiful.” She turned away from the palace and sat on the ground, crossing her legs under her cloak. Alijah’s eyes stayed fixated on the palace.
“Imagine living there. Lots of trees, new food and clothes every day. Servants waiting on you hand and foot.”
“Yes, everyone telling you what they think you should do with your life. Lessons and reading, not even the books you’d want to read.” Her tone was flippant but he didn’t notice.
“Sweet smells, warm beds, cool air from tall ceilings. I mean it has to be better than living here.”
“But you’re free here.” She turned to him, he looked at her. “You can live your life the way you want. You don’t have to submit to any rules.”
“But that’s not freedom, having to run from the guards if I’m caught stealing. Not having a real home for me or for Fox. Having to go hungry some nights, freezing when it’s too cold, dying from heat when it’s too hot.”
“You can make your own choices.”
“Maybe but I- I don’t want to live like this anymore.”
Jade stared at the boy. He leaned against his window, she finally decided to give him a good look. He was tall, with an athletic build, with golden brown skin, his hair seemed to be long and curly but he kept it back with a ponytail. You don’t understand. She wanted to say but instead she asked him his name. He pulled an apple from his pocket and tossed it to her, he seemed to avoid the question.
“Where did this come from?”
“Maggard’s stall.”
“You stole it?”
“Well, after all of that fuss he was giving you, I figured why not. Besides, I’ve never liked him anyway.” Fox barked lightly and Alijah tossed one his way “You already had one Fox. Greedy.
Jade laughed “Why is his name Fox?” Alijah plopped down next to her, taking a bit from his own ruby red apple, his lips quirked into a grin. That grin seemed to be his default expression.
“When I was thirteen, I found this old crumbled and moldy box. I was going to leave it but it moved and I heard a noise. So, I looked and inside was this tiny runt of a dog.” Fox bounded over, jumped into Alijah’s face and licked his cheek. “I could barely feed myself, so I was going to leave him but he followed me. He was so small he could fit in my hand but he followed me back here. He couldn’t make it up the stairs but somehow he made it halfway.” He shrugged and petted his friend “He was so quick and silent that I didn’t even know he was there until he got tired and whined halfway up. Foxes are quick and clever. It seemed to fit the best.”
“I have a cat back home. She’s a white turkish angora.”
“Why’d you leave her and your home? You don’t seem to get out much. Your hands are really soft and smooth.” As soon as it was out of his mouth, he blushed. “Uh, I mean-“
Jade laughed and rubbed the smooth apple in her hands, her eyes focusing on the beautiful fruit.
“I was tired of being told what to do with my life. I didn’t want to leave Nyla but I couldn’t very well bring her with me. I was only able to grab a few things to eat but I must have lost my pack somewhere in the mayhem of the marketplace. I wanted to see what it was like away from home. Besides, my parents wanted me to choose a husband so when I turn eighteen, I can marry and-“
“Marry? But why?” She didn’t answer. So he changed tactics. “What do you think of today so far?” She shook her head trying to figure that out. She said it wasn’t what she thought but it’d only been one day. It was his turn to laugh. “Yeah, but a day should be enough, especially if you ain’t used to it.”
“Well I’m not going back.”
“You don’t have to. You can stay here.”
Jade turned to him, her eyebrows raised in surprise and Alijah’s eyes widened in shock at his declaration. That just came out. He was much closer than before, she could see a splattering of freckles on his tanned face and she felt a flutter in her stomach. It wasn’t long before there was a noise down the stairs, it was heavy footfalls and angry shouts. They both jumped to their feet.
“They’re after me,” Alijah said fearfully. This wasn’t the first time the palace guards came to his home, accusing of him something he may or may not have done. Fox began to bark, Jade faced the boy her eyes narrowed.
“Why would they be after you?” She demanded nervously. No one saw him steal the other apples. Her father must have sent them after her. Freedom was going to be snatched away before she even got to have more than a day. Alijah ran to his window, his eyes narrowed as he took in the area, he always had a quick getaway but he never had to worry about another person before. “What are we going to do?”
“Do you trust me?” Jade turned back to him, his eyes held an excited glint.
“What?”
“Do you trust me?”
Hearing the guards get closer, Jade knew she had to make a choice now. It was now or never.
“Y-yes.”

This is a long one but I wanted to try my hand at an “Aladdin” story. I was going to try and make it modern but that requires more thought than I thought, I may still actually write that but for right now… here lol.

Movie Review: Now You See Me 2

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I have to say, I’ve been excited for this movie ever since the sequel was announced. I thoroughly enjoyed the first one and while it’s not the best movie out there, it’s definitely a thrill ride and an enjoyable experience. If you have seen the movie and agree, please share your thoughts in the comments below, if you don’t agree, please feel free to do the same. Short review, just some thoughts.
Summary: The Four Horsemen return in this sequel with new tricks, new plans, new thrills and reveals. They’ve been in hiding for a year and now a new villain has come to force them to use their “Robin Hood” like tricks to help him get what he wants.
Pros:
  • The Cast and Characters. The main characters/cast have some great chemistry. It seems as if they’ve been working together for a time, at least enough to know and understand each other’s tricks. However, there is also plenty about each other they don’t know, they’ve only know each other for maybe three years now. Then you have Dylan who is the “fifth” Horseman who is a leader/father like figure who seems to still be on the outside in a way.
    • Jesse Eisenberg as J. Daniel Atlas. Atlas is a control freak and arrogant illusionist. In this movie he is searching for validation. In the first movie, he was more or less the “leader” of the Horsemen and now with Dylan in the picture, he struggles with not being the one to lead as well as being kept in the dark.  I really like Eisenberg period, and I think his “schtick” works well for this character. The little things he does with his fingers, the eye twitch, it’s almost like if Atlas didn’t find his passion in magic, he would be a crazy person.
    • Woody Harrelson as Merritt McKinney. A hypnotist, mentalist, and a self-proclaimed psychic. He is also the oldest of the group but he is charismatic, funny. In this film, Merritt doesn’t seem to be as confident as he was in the first. Harrelson also plays the twin brother of Merritt which was still so weird but he definitely made them two different people. I can’t say that Merritt had much of a development here, at least nothing memorable. There is more learned about what happened to him that placed him where he was in the first but I can’t say it did anything for him in the end.
    • Dave Franco as Jack Wilder. A sleight of hand illusionist, street magician, and a talented impressionist of other people’s voices. He is also a pickpocket, and is able to pick locks. He is my favorite and I feel like his character got the short end of the stick in the first movie, his death was of course faked but still! His part is a bit larger in this movie but still not enough. In my head canon he grew up on the streets, he looked up to Atlas with his magic but once he got to meet him, he still admired him but felt like the little kid and that they treated him like a child. In this movie, he seems to have shifted his admiration to Dylan, who he also seems to view as a “father figure” which infuriates Atlas. Jack still wants to be viewed as an adult and to stop being sidelined (I want that for him too lol) and throughout the movie, it seems like he tries to assert his presence but the script doesn’t let him.
    • Lizzy Caplan as Lula May. An illusionist, has a thing for Jack. She is funny, often speaks out about being the “female Horseman” and talks a lot. Lula was a nice addition to the movie, she was more developed with a personality than Henley was which is a plus. I enjoyed her but it’s understandable if she’s found annoying.
    • Mark Ruffalo as Dylan Rhodes. Revealed to be the son of Lionel Shrike from the first film. He is still an FBI agent and uses his resources to throw the FBI off of the Horsemen’s trail even if they have been dark for a year. He is their “leader”, keeps a lot of secrets but is very protective of his group. I loved that we got to see a bit more into his psyche and get a lot more development from him. His unresolved issues with his dad, the way he tries to protect the Horseman from the FBI, how he thinks he’s moved on from Freeman’s character, trying to lead the Horseman knowing they’re restless and his fear of actually finding out the mystery surrounding his father… there’s a lot going on with him and he’s probably the character who gets the most development.
  • Daniel Radcliffe. Harry Potter!! I support my HP cast and I thoroughly enjoyed him. First, he’s so small it’s so cute watching him be evil but he also did a pretty good job. He’s a standout in the film because he’s fresh, I think his motivations were a bit rocky though only because it was over something so minor and he was trying to accomplish it with something so big. Which I guess made since for his character. However, I wish he was the only villain in the film, there were like three and a half and that was too much. He could have had his personal agendas but it should have only been him.
  • Simple Story. I think this is also a “con” at least in comparison to the first because this story was a lot simpler, it was all the consequences of what happened from the first but it was very cut throat and dry. It didn’t contain a lot of the mystery surrounding the first one, which I honestly thought was a good thing to an extent. The first one, while intricate, also could get very confusing, whereas this one just kept it moving without trying to force confusion on the audience at every turn. You still have to try and figure certain things out, but it’s not making you scratch your head in annoyance.
  • Looks good. This movie looks really good. When it’s dark it doesn’t ever look like you can’t see what’s going on, it’s shot with wide angles, and in the scene with the card (you saw it in the trailer) the camera follows the card and it’s really cool. It’s not as nice looking as the first one but it’s kind of shot like a heist film instead of a film dealing with magicians which I guess was the point.
  • More fun. While the first one had a different sort of sophistication to it, the sequel is more fun in allowing it’s characters to be people, especially as a group, we didn’t really get to know the Horsemen in the first movie (especially Jack and Henley) but this time around, we get to see more of who they are. It allows the characters to enjoy what they do and have fun doing it, even if it’s nerve-wracking for them and watching them handle it.
Cons:
  • The romance development. The romance itself I didn’t have a problem with, it was actually kind of cute because the two characters were very similar and I think it’ll be a nice thing. However, I think it’s kind of obvious that they kind of sped it up due to Henley’s character being gone. In the first movie, Atlas and Henley had a past romance, which didn’t turn out well, throughout we got a hint of why they broke up and the possibility of it happening again due them having to work together. They never actually got together but I’m sure it would have been something continued in this film. However, with Henley gone, Lula’s character replaced her and the romance was shifted to Lula and Jack. Which again, I didn’t mind but it was underdeveloped. She had a thing for him, which is understandable, and while he appreciates the attention, he feels he isn’t ready for a relationship due to his past failure (stealing their stuff lol) and throughout she flirts but he never really reciprocates until a few scenes towards the end. I think if the movie was a little longer, maybe it would have allowed for a few more scenes between Jack and Lula where they can actually… talk. There was only one. I know it’s not a romance but if you’re gonna have it in there, even as a side plot, let it be developed.
  • Not as “magical” as the first. The magical elements were a bit toned down in this film and it’s a good thing and a bad thing, it’s a good thing because it doesn’t distract from the story HOWEVER it’s a bad thing because it’s a movie about magicians. It should be over the top and as magical as possible. It doesn’t have to be gaudy but it’s using “misdirection” against it’s audience and when you get to the conclusion, you probably already figured it out and kind of wished they didn’t try to hard to get to that moment. This is the flip side of the “simple story”.
  • Henley’s Absence. It’s kind of talked about but not really and it seems so out of character for what she apparently does to quit. She was underdeveloped in the first film but it didn’t seem like something she would do due to what we saw of her. Henley was shown to butt heads with Atlas, independent and can handle her own but… it just seemed so random.
  • Merritt’s twin brother. First of all, like I said, he’s funny sometimes but wow totally a useless character. Like I said, Radcliffe’s character should have been the only villain, Chase I think his name was smart in terms of magician stuff and for making his brother uncomfortable but he could have been taken away and it would have been fine.
  • Morgan Freeman’s Involvement. I wonder if this was the plan with his character from the beginning because if it was, it wasn’t surprising and it seemed forced.
  • The Name. COME ON! Missed opportunity! Not so much a con but it makes me upset! Not really though. It should have been called “Now You Don’t!”!
  • The Eye. Okay, so I know it’s a secret organization and what not, but what exactly is it? Is there going to be a third movie explaining the inner workings more? They recruit magicians to do what exactly? Too many questions surrounding The Eye that they weren’t answered here. I read there is going to be a third one so maybe it’ll be answered there but there could have been more given to us then what we got.
  • Too long. I think if there was more going on, character development, discovery, or using that time to really sit into the movie instead of a lot of  exposition or silent spaces, I think the length would have been acceptable.
Overall, I really enjoyed the movie. I have no idea if it’s better than the first, I probably will need to redo this review if I see the movie again because it almost seems like I need to experience it again to make sure my thoughts on it are concrete. I think it could have been better, it takes moments from the first movie and makes them better such as: developing Lula and Jack, having a simpler story that keeps the audience from scratching their heads too much but it also falters in the length that makes it feel stagnant and boring, it’s also predictable. However, the fun and magical elements are objective, it will probably vary from person to person as these tricks are not meant to “trick” but misdirect. It could have been better. Now, I want origin stories for the characters!
Rating. 2.5 out of 5