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Thanksgiving Weekend Ushers In A Feast Of Films


Now that the Thanksgiving turkey leftovers are nearly done and the Black Friday crowds are subsiding - or sort of, there's one thing left to do this holiday weekend. It is time to head out and catch a flick. To get the latest on what movies to watch this weekend, we spoke with Washington Post Express arts and culture columnist Kristen Page-Kirby. We talked to head of the holiday starting with a film that's highly anticipated by fans of J.K. Rowling and her "Harry Potter" series.


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: (As character) ...Lewis, what is that?

SINGH: That is "Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them" and that one seems like a great way to escape reality for a couple of hours, right?

KRISTEN PAGE-KIRBY: Oh, absolutely. And what's special about it is that you do not need to be a "Harry Potter" fan to enjoy it. Now, it helps, but it's very much - it's a prequel to the "Harry Potter" series so you don't need to know anything else about it. But it's a wonderful story about a man named Newt Scamander who comes from Britain - he is a wizard - comes from Britain to New York in the 1920s. And he has a magical case full of creatures which gets opened. And then he has to obviously track them down. And then a bunch of other wizarding stuff happens.

But Eddie Redmayne plays Scamander, and he is just adorable. "Harry Potter" fans - some are thrilled to know that this is the first "Harry Potter" film that features a member of the Hufflepuff house in a lead role. So Hufflepuffs are finally getting their due with Mr. Scamander and his creatures.

SINGH: I always felt they should get their due.

PAGE-KIRBY: You know, they are a charming house.

SINGH: I have heard that like the later "Harry Potter" films "Fantastic Beasts" is a little bit dark, might be scary for the younger crowd. What's your take on that? Do you think it works still?

PAGE-KIRBY: Oh, absolutely. And I think a lot of kids will enjoy it. There are a couple of jump scares, and there is kind of a darkness underlying in that there are people out there that do not have the witches and wizards' best interest at heart. But I think as long as we're looking at above 7 years old, I think you'd be fine.

SINGH: What's your pick for a family with younger kids then?

PAGE-KIRBY: Well, the big one is "Moana" which is the newest one from Disney that opens on Thanksgiving Day. It's probably the most beautiful film that Disney has ever made. It's great characters. A lot of music is from Lin-Manuel Miranda who is behind "Hamilton" who is having quite a year. And it really is just - it's just an enjoyable film.

SINGH: Well, here's something I'll never get sick of which is Dwayne Johnson aka The Rock singing. Let's hear a little clip of that.


DWAYNE JOHNSON: (As Maui, singing) What has two thumbs and hold of the sky when you were waddling yea high? This guy.

SINGH: A bit of departure from "Fast And Furious," right? So you recognize that one, Kristen?

PAGE-KIRBY: I do. Yes. Dwayne Johnson voices Maui who is a demigod, a shapeshifting demigod, and he helps a young princess named Moana whose island is dying. And she sets out to right this wrong, and hopefully bring life back to her island. But he is her helper. She is the center of the story. She's a wonderful character. I really can't imagine anyone who won't enjoy this movie.

SINGH: Well, this is also the time of year that we have more serious films starting to flood the big screen, so any other dramas we should keep a lookout for that you like?

PAGE-KIRBY: "Nocturnal Animals" which is directed by Tom Ford who was a fashion designer. And it's got Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal. It is very dark, but it is very beautiful. So if you're the kind of family who wants to discuss a movie, really unpack it and talk for hours and hours after it, that would be a good choice.

SINGH: OK, well, we'll keep a lookout for that. But definitely won't put it on the list of holiday, cheery family movies, right?

PAGE-KIRBY: Right. Again, if you want, you know, to see a family who is under more stress than your Thanksgiving dinner is maybe putting you under, then, you know, maybe you would have some sort of shared pain there.

SINGH: You're having a worse time than we are kind of thing?

PAGE-KIRBY: Exactly, exactly.

SINGH: OK. All right so what about for those folks who are too full of turkey or tofurkey, depending on whether you're vegan, vegetarian, to make it out of the house? This is the age of Netflix and chill after all. So what should we binge watch?

PAGE-KIRBY: "Gilmore Girls A Year In The Life." Now, I did not watch "Gilmore Girls" when it was first out, but I had some surgery in May, had a lot of time, needed something my husband would not be interested in and watched the entire show over the course of the year. And I got to tell you, I am very, very excited to see Lori - Lorelai and Rory again. And also, I am team Logan.

SINGH: Well, Kristen, I'm sure that'll mean a lot to people who actually follow "Gilmore Girls." I am not one of them, but I'm feeling a little left out, so I'm going to have to play catch up, right?

PAGE-KIRBY: Absolutely.

SINGH: You'll forgive me.

PAGE-KIRBY: Absolutely.

SINGH: All right. Thanks. And that was Kristen Page-Kirby, arts and culture columnist for The Washington Post Express. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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