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Paterson; Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them; The Edge of Seventeen and more – review

 

Jim Jarmusch’s lovely Paterson looks for poetry in the everyday, while a Harry Potter spin-off is all style and no substance

Last week it was World Poetry Day, and if such randomly appointed occasions carried much meaning beyond a trending Twitter hashtag, I’d say it’s an apposite time to be releasing Paterson (Soda, 12) on DVD. Cinema has a patchy record of encapsulating other art forms, but something like a poet’s soul runs through Jim Jarmusch’s lovely, languid study of being. It’s not just in the elegant, surprisingly credible verse (courtesy of the venerable Ron Padgett) supposedly written by its protagonist, a peaceable New Jersey bus driver, exquisitely etched by Adam Driver, living for his lover, his art and, contentedly, not much else. Paterson works up strikingly little conflict as it follows his daily circuit around the faded, resting city with which he shares a name. It invites us, like its shy hero, to locate the rhythm and sometimes broken rhyme in everyday existence.

As frantically busy as Paterson is bemusedly calm, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Warner, 12) offers viewers such a generous, gold-plated array of sheer stuff to consider – from its expensively depressed, steampunky production design to its Oscar-winning wardrobe of swishy overcoats to, per the title’s gasping promise, a digital menagerie of incredible magic beasts in New York – that you might not notice or care how little it ticks beneath the surface. Shortly after seeing it, I could tell you that this JK Rowling-scripted Harry Potter spin-off stars Eddie Redmayne as “magizoologist” wizard Newt Scamander, and that at one point, in a bewildering highlight, he performs a mating dance to a mutant rhino – but what the film is actually about is a more elusive detail. Returning from the Potter franchise, director David Yates has set up an elaborate story world, but it’s more world than story at this point.

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Source: Guardian

By Max Schindler