Author JK Rowling co-wrote the screenplay for “Dumbledore” and David Yates directed the film, his seventh in the Harry Potter franchise.
FANTASTIC BEASTS: SECRETS OF DUMBLEDORE
One of Dumbledore’s secrets is not well kept. He’s gay. This has been hinted at before and became public knowledge long before the reveal at the start of this movie. Her former lover? the evil Gellert Grindelwald. Jude Law returns as a young Dumbledore. His beard and his years still have ways to catch up to the iconic Hogwarts mentor. Play Grindelwald: Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen who replaced Johnny Depp. He got the call on a Friday and flew to London on Monday to respond, and he’s great.
But Grindelwald, the character, isn’t interested in playing nice. The word wizard is in turmoil, it has risen through the political ranks and poses a bigger threat since last time. So Dumbledore calls on his team of loyal wizards and hatches a plan to stop him from taking all of his power. Among these friends, Eddie Redmayne, back as the eccentric “Newt”. It always has some cherished creatures in tow, but the new, perhaps most mystical of them all, might also be the most treasured. I can see the plush merchandise now! Dumbledore also brings in a popular muggle from the last film. Fan favorite “Kowalski” has his own wand! And, yes, the object of Kowalski’s infatuation, “Queenie,” continues to melt his heart.
Author JK Rowling co-wrote the screenplay for “Dumbledore” and David Yates directed the film, his seventh in the Harry Potter franchise. I enjoyed it like I have the other “Beasts” movies. The special effects don’t disappoint, and it retains its charm. But unlike the Potter movies, I felt a bit like an outsider looking inside, having not read the books. ‘I guess I’m just a muggle.
(Warner Bros. Rated PG-13. Running time 2 hrs 22 mins. In theaters only.)
A little story to share. When I traveled to Los Angeles, I attended the same church as Mark Wahlberg. Speaking of “Father Stu,” he shared that the monsignor of that church, who I remember well, told him the real story of Stuart Long and said that Wahlberg should make a movie about him. Far from Marc’s idea of disappointing the good priest!
Wahlberg, himself, plays a priest in the film, but it was a long journey for Stu to get there. He started out as a boxer, then moved to Hollywood with acting dreams. Eventually, after a motorcycle accident nearly took his life, he found his calling. He ended his relationship with a Sunday school teacher and gave his life completely to God, his faith soon being tested by a progressive muscle disorder. Wahlberg put on 30 pounds in a matter of weeks to take on the latter Stu. His dedication to the role is reminiscent of his personal faith. Playing Stu’s alcoholic father, Mel Gibson (they previously starred as father and son in “Daddy’s Home 2.”) Jacki Weaver plays his mother. Both handle their supporting roles well.
Wahlberg says he wants to make more meaningful films these days. If you’ve seen 2020’s “Joe Bell” you know what he means, and “Father Stu” is definitely another step in that direction. Wahlberg believed in the story so much that he funded it himself. It’s hard to say anything negative about such a passionate project. A vision experienced by Stu at the time of his accident is a bit too literal, and things happen so fast in the film, it’s sometimes hard to believe. But it’s true, it’s real (even salty language), and a second chance at life can be a beautiful thing!
(Sony Pictures. Rated R. Running time 2 hrs 4 mins. In theaters only.)