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I'm a HUGE Harry Potter fan. I've read the books, watched the films, bought the video and board games, signed up for Pottermore (proud Ravenclaw here!), and dressed up as Harry Potter one year for Halloween. Don't get me wrong, there are SO MANY more hardcore and diehard fans out there that I could never be on there level. I may be a Ravenclaw, but I probably would have trouble in Potions class (give me Charms or Transfiguration any day!). However, I love being part of this fandom.

When I heard a new movie was coming out for this world, you better believe I was excited. It's been a while since the last Harry Potter film and after finishing the play, I still don't want it to end. Now hearing the latest movie is going to be a trilogy, I'm left wondering what will be introduced and discussed. This review will be unbiased and will review the merits of the film as it is, regardless of any preference to the films/past. The movie I will be reviewing today is the magical adventure: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

The Premise: As creatures and a mysterious force cause destruction in 1920's New York City, British wizard Newt Scamander (played by Eddie Redmayne) is pulled into the adventure to solve the mystery and prevent magic from being exposed to the public. Aiding Newt is former Auror Tina (Katherine Waterston), non-magical Jacob (Dan Fogler), Tina's sister Queenie (Alison Sodul), and Newt's briefcase containing endless magical creatures.

The Good: There is no denying the fact that Fantastic Beasts is beautifully executed. The visual effects and design of the world - from the clothing to the sets to the magical spells - are perfected to every last detail. Simply watching the film and enjoying its appeal is enough to fill the two hour film. The same can also be said to the sheer mythology presented; Fantastic Beasts introduced so many new creatures, characters and background for the magical world that fans/viewers/readers never got to know outside of the British world in the Harry Potter books and movies. I learned a lot about the North American magical community.

Another positive to Fantastic Beasts is the choice of actors and characters selected for the film, for the most part. (I'll dive deeper into this point later on in the review.) I enjoyed following Newt as the main character and his relationships with the rest of the other characters, particularly with Jacob and Tina. Redmayne did a great job and I have no doubt he can lead the next two films; though, he was a bit spacey at times and I'll get into it later on as well. 

The Bad: Now here comes the moment that some fans may debate me as there are some issues to the film. The first being the overwhelming content and information in Fantastic Beasts - A LOT was included. Like I said above, I loved learning all this new bit of information, but so much was introduced that it took a lot to follow everything. I doubt details about certain creatures or characters will be important later on in the trilogy. In fact, unless Jon Voight's side-story comes back into the picture as a main influence, I found these characters and story to be irrelevant and could've been removed to save space.

Let's talk about the acting for a second. I understand that this movie is set in the 1920s and it's a fantasy film, but it at times felt a bit too comical or "in persona" for the era. Queenie's accent was really thick and she came across as too airy/breathless, Tina felt a bit too dorky and earnest for someone who earned the title of Auror, and Newt seemed spacey with his eyes staring into the distance a lot. Since I'm not familiar with the backstory, I'm attributing this to the personality of the characters and I can overlook this. However, it is something I'm going to notice in the next installment if all three return.

The Results: 4.8/5
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is an amazing film. I loved following Newt's adventure and exploring this new world of creatures and magic in North America. The special effects are excellently done; it clearly beats some of the films in the series that have preceded it in the past. For the casual watcher, there IS a lot to take in and you may get confused at times trying to figure out what is going on or who they're talking about. The acting is a bit cheesy at times; though, it may be part of the character's esthetic. This is a perfect film for any Harry Potter to jump right in and enjoy with a bag of popcorn. But for a new or casual fan, I would recommend taking a friend who is familiar or spend some time afterwards learning everything - you'll love being part of this world.

(Photos courtesy of The Guardian, Pottermore, and WB UK.)

We all have our favourite characters - they're the ones we've mastered and tend to go to when it comes time for a match. Whether it's their interesting backstory or fighting style, they're a favourite for a reason. But what about the unlikable fighters?

For every new addition in a video game fighting roster, there's bound to be one or two other characters that fail to make a mark. The Mortal Kombat series is a polarizing one for one. I love the series! It's one of my favourite fighting series, but more often than not, I've scratched my head (or yelled) at certain characters who I've had to play as simply to get their final ending. Similar to what I've done in the past for the TEKKEN and Resident Evil series, I've creating another Top 10 list. This one, however, is least favourite characters.

Note: As with any ranked list, this is my opinion and chosen based on my thoughts for their story, fighting style and design. You may have your own opinions and choices.

10. Jarek
First Appearance: Mortal Kombat: Special Forces

Jarek is a generic Kano clone to me. In fact, he was actually designed that way! He was essentially created as a substitution for the villainous character to fight alongside (then against) Sonya Blade and Jax. Even his ending during Mortal Kombat 4 is less to be desired. He has nearly the exact same moves, attitudes and character backstory. Let's just say I wasn't exactly heartbroken when he didn't return for any of the future selective character rosters.

9. Darrius
First Appearance: Mortal Kombat: Deception

Darrius isn't a bad character; he has his (very tiny) moments in Deception. The problem is that he doesn't stand out from all the many other Mortal Kombat characters - and there are a lot of them in this series! His one note character design, generic fighting moves, and barely-there backstory make him a forgettable character in comparison. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if he was only created to serve a point for one of the other realms introduced in Deception. However, from the characters on this list, I think with a little reworking and updating, he could be a better fighter/character in the future.

8. Meat
First Appearance: Mortal Kombat 4

What do we know about Meat? He's a character who was a failed creation of Shang Tsung and he's completely skinless. That's it! Meat looks and fights like a character that was quickly slapped together because the designers needed to add another fighter to the roster. His fighting is average at best and there is no distinction to him that makes him stand out as who he could've been. If I ever had to describe him, he is a background/peripheral character getting his story told but not worth your time. It's harsh, but it's true. 

7. Dairou
First Appearance: Mortal Kombat: Deception

Meh. Dairou is an average and mediocre character in comparison to some of the more fleshed out fighters. There is little explained about him except that he is a mercenary and was jailed for killing the man who murdered his family. While I enjoy a bit of his special attacks and fatalities (particularly the "Tombstone Drop"), he falls flat everywhere else. Similar to others on this list, he is completely forgettable.

6. Hsu Hao
First Appearance: Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance

Two words: generic minion. There's nothing about Hsu Hao that stands out above more developed characters. It's no surprise Deadly Alliance was his only main entry into the series, with exception to Armageddon where everyone returned. In a video game where all the main starring characters were retired, Hsu Hao felt like a filler character mean't to support another character's, and organization's, backstory. What a waste...

5. Ermac
First Appearance: Mortal Kombat 3

"Ermac?!" I know, you must be scratching your head wondering why I even included him. He's not here because of his fighting moves, character design or backstory. In fact, I quite like his villainous nature and his inclusion in some fighting rosters - he's a powerful fighter. But that's why I also don't like him: he's too powerful. This is of personal preference completely, and I understand that I will get flack for this, but I detest fighting against/with Ermac. I like a challenge, but some players have used him to death to get the easy win. We can't all agree on certain fighters.

4. Shujinko
First Appearance: Mortal Kombat: Deception

Shujinko is a debated character for me. His fighting style is a combination of moves from different Mortal Kombat fighters; it makes him unique from other copycats but yet he doesn't feel original. We go on this adventure with him and see his story progress; though in the end, it's like we know nothing about him. I do have sympathy for him being manipulated by a more powerful and strong-willed evil. However, if he wasn't so insufferable from the moment you start the campaign, I wouldn't have found so much pleasure at getting the chance to stop using him the second the story mode was over.

3. Liu Kang
First Appearance: Mortal Kombat (Original)

I detest Liu Kang. Ever since the original Mortal Kombat game on Super Nintendo, I find him to be so generic as a character. He's written as the "be-all-end-all" fighter who is the only one that can stop the villains. It even makes him sanctimonious, like his attitude at the end of the Mortal Kombat reboot. He's (more or less) been in every Mortal Kombat video game and nothing has changed about him - at least the other main characters have grown. His flying spinning kick and fireball deliver too much damage for one character; I find him frustrating to fight whenever I compete against him online. Some gamers absolutely LOVE Liu Kang (he is a main star, after all) but, in my opinion, not having him in Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance felt like a breath of fresh air.

2. Motaro
First Appearance: Mortal Kombat 3

Let's get this out of the way - Motaro is no Goro or Kintaro. His creation and addition to the series is somewhat of a joke. A centaur with overpowered attacks and a larger than necessary character design? Please no. While he had to return for the reboot of the series, I won't deny that it was a joy to see him quickly dispatched from the storyline. The concept might've sounded original in the beginning, but the execution just didn't work.

1. Mokap
First Appearance: Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance

Rounding out the best of the worst is Mokap. Can someone honestly say Mokap is their favourite character? (Or even a good idea?!) He is the epitome of last minute, filler characters. His character is supposed to be an average motion capture human actor with martial arts and fighting skills who is continually pulled into the world of Mortal Kombat. To sum all that up: he's the low-rent Johnny Cage. I hate wasted opportunities and filler spaces in a complex fighting roster; we only get so many spots to play as a character to hear their backstory, whether main character or secret. To think of all the potential characters who could've made their introduction to the series...but we got stuck with Mokap. I'm not having any of it. Mokap earns the title of the worst Mortal Kombat character.

Agree or disagree with the rankings? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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The tale as old as time has found its release date and first official trailer. This is amazing news because I love Disney movies! I grew up during the time of Aladdin, Lion King and other films during the Disney cartoon resurgence - it's always had a special place in my heart. When Disney started to create live-action remakes of their films, I've been a bit mixed on the subject. Some have been enjoyable (Cinderella) while others missed the mark (Maleficent). Beauty and the Beast is one such film I've eagerly waited for since I heard it went into production.

For those unfamiliar with the tale, Beauty and the Beast is a remake of the cartoon with the same name. It follows the story of Belle (played by Emma Watson) who becomes a prisoner of the Beast (Dan Stevens) and their growing infatuation for each other as he learns to love again and she looks beyond his appearance. The original cartoon is still one of the only Disney cartoons (or any cartoon, in fact) to be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards.

The movie is going to be released March 17, 2017 - which means a lot to me because it is near a special day for me. You can check out the trailer below to get a look at the official trailer.

November is going to be a busy time for me (but when is it never busy?). While new posts on this blog have become few and far between, it doesn't mean I've stopped writing. Neither have I given up on this blog - I will, always will be, City Boy Geekiness.

As I mentioned in previous blog posts, I've been building out my freelance writing and journalism career with news, entertainment and geeky articles. I've updated the section on this site so that you can follow along with all the new pieces I'm creating online. I'm no longer with EW's The Community, but I'm still creating ongoing content for The Young Folks. In addition to that, I've joined two new places: One as a freelance contributor and the other as a Staff Writer.

I don't want to give any hints for the contributor site just yet. However, the first post for the Staff Writer position is now up. I'll be covering Salem for TV Fanatic! Here is the link to the article: HERE. I hope you follow along.

Don't fret! I'll be scheduling a few more posts for this site during this weekend. Stay tuned!

Happy Halloween!

I love this holiday. Everything from dressing up to the scary movies to the overall feel of the day. Yesterday's Halloween celebration ends a weekend of costumes and horror movies. As a geek I should like creating costumes, like for Fan Expo, but I only do it for Halloween. I'm not sure why...

This year, I went as The Riddler from Batman. For those unfamiliar with the green Batman villain, The Riddler is the inquisitive Edward Nygma, who loves to challenge the Dark Knight with life-threatening puzzles and games marked with his iconic green question mark. I've dressed up as a few heroes and characters over the years; it's nice to try a villain once again (my last villainous Halloween costume was as the puppet from Saw).

Even though Halloween is over, there's always movies like Hocus Pocus and The Nightmare Before Christmas to keep me entertained. You can also watch this old CollegeHumor video to enjoy a quick laugh!