THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN [R] B
Teen dramedies focus exclusively on the plight of privileged kids who seen to exist and operate in a world that is somehow divorced from the problems and concerns of the adults they share space and time with. Such is the case of poor Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld), the wildly self-absorbed protagonist of writer-director Kelly Fremon Craig’s “The Edge of Seventeen,” which causes much consternation. Via flashbacks, Craig hips us to the idea that Nadine was a handful from the start, precocious and quite willful with a chip on her shoulder and an unhealthy degree of jealousy for her seemingly perfect sibling. Moving into the present, we learn that her best friend Krista (Haley Lu Richardson) has innocently fallen into a relationship her older brother Darian (Blake Jenner); the final straw of a series of unfortunate circumstances that began with the death of Nadine’s father. We watch as Nadine gradually comes to realize how the lodestone of a loss that she has clutched onto so dearly, never really belonged to her alone.
FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM [PG-13] B
Author-turned-screenwriter JK Rowling teams up with director David Yates (who helmed the last four “Harry Potter” movies) for “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” the wizarding spinoff that transplants magic from England to America, but jumps back in time, to the 1920s, detailing the misadventures of Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), a magizoologist on a mission to relocate some fantastic beasts to safer environs. He gets sidetracked, especially once a few of his creatures escape and start running rampant in New York. Rowling and Yates successfully recreate the spellbinding world anew, but deserve real props for doing so with more adult sensibilities on display. There is much to look forward to as “Fantastic Beasts” sets the stage for a gaggle of sequels that will explore intriguing alternate time and character lines in this marvelous universe.