"Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" turns out to be a hyperbolic name for a pretty so-so movie -- one with entertaining passages, but which mostly feels like a big-budget prequel to the better, more cohesive film that's yet to come.
From its provocative opening images, "Nocturnal Animals" feels as much about tone and mood as story -- perhaps no surprise, given that it's the second film from designer turned writer-director Tom Ford. While the movie sustains interest by weaving together familiar elements in an enticing way, the noir-ish journey proves more satisfying than the payoff.
Kenneth Lonergan has earned a reputation for finely drawn character studies, and the writer-director outdoes himself with "Manchester by the Sea." Featuring Casey Affleck in an Oscar-caliber performance, it's a deeply affecting little gem of a film, which should gently sweep filmgoers up in its melancholy tides.