Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them, tomorrow, STV, 7.30pm

Of the several directors who worked on the Harry Potter films, David Yates wasn’t the best or the most exciting – that honour goes to Alfonso Cuaron, who went on to double Oscar glory with Gravity and Roma – but he was a safe enough pair of hands to be asked to take on this 2016 spin-off/prequel, the first in a mooted trilogy. Besides, having directed the final four Potter films he was perfectly in tune with their darker feel, so Fantastic Beasts remains tonally consistent. Like its predecessors in the Potter franchise, it also revels in grandiose world-building and whizz-bang special effects.

The difference is that JK Rowling also wrote the screenplay, her first effort in that direction. It’s based on the book of the same name which is mentioned in Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone and which she produced for real in 2001 – a guide to the magical creatures in Potter-world, as written by one Newt Scamander. So in Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them, he’s our guy. Dumbledore and Hogwarts barely merit a mention.

Newt is played by Eddie Redmayne at his bumbling, doe-eyed best. We first meet him as he arrives in New York off a liner some time during the 1920s lugging a suitcase containing a dazzling array of weird and wonderful creatures. They fit in so easily because the suitcase, being magical, is bigger on the inside than the outside, a plot device of which Yates and Rowling make gleeful good use. Imagine a steampunk Doctor Dolittle channelling Mary Poppins but carrying a suitcase instead of a carpet bag. Keep in mind as well a host of other childhood favourites – Doctor Who, Ghostbusters, Night At The Museum, Bugsy Malone and Gerald Durrell’s novel The Talking Parcel to name just five – because they’re all nodded to or borrowed from at points. It’s a characteristic of the Potter novels that although the influences feel blindingly obvious the end result stills feels fresh and new. The same applies here.

In this version of 1920s America there’s little or no inter-action between wizards and Muggles (though they’re called No-Majes Stateside, short for Non-Magic People) and any No-Maj who encounters a wizard is required to have their memory wiped. Newt is soon in trouble with the local wizarding police in the form of officious Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston), formerly an Auror with the Ministry of Magic until she was demoted. He has also found himself a No-Maj sidekick in aspiring bakery shop owner Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler). Ranged against him, Tina, Jacob and Tina’s mind-reading sister Goldie (Alison Sudol) in a rather convoluted plot are powerful Auror Mr Graves (Colin Farrell) and a shadowy Voldermort-type character known as Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp). Good fun and a decent enough first chapter in this new foray into the Potter universe.

Take Me Somewhere Nice, MUBI

Now streaming

Like many of her generation of Bosnians who were children during the Balkans War, Ena Sendijarević spent a peripatetic childhood in various cities and countries in Western Europe. At one point she lived in Berlin, but by her mid-teens she and her family had ended up in Amsterdam. A decade or so later, having studied film and media at university, she graduated from the Netherlands Film Academy as a fully-fledged director. Now in her early thirties, and with her second short film having screened at the Cannes film festival’s prestigious Director’s Fortnight slot, she has produced her first feature.

Take Me Somewhere Nice follows the adventures, high-jinks and mishaps of Bosnian teenager Alma (Sara Luna Zoric) who has been raised in Holland but who returns to her homeland to visit her estranged father when he is taken into hospital. Her cousin Emir (Ernad Prnjavorac) has been lined up as her guide and helpmate but as he clearly has little taste for the job she falls in with his friend Denis (Lazar Dragojevic). One thing leads to another and soon she and Denis are a couple (sort of) and the three of them have set off on a road trip in Emir’s beaten-up car. Critics have made comparisons with Jim Jarmusch’s cult classic Stranger Than Paradise, partly because Dragojevic and Prnjavorac bear a striking resemblance to that film’s male leads, Richard Edson and John Lurie, the hipster’s hipster. Sendijarević’s film, shot in lurid pastel shades and with an eye for kooky architectural details, is as stylish in its way too, though an equally happy comparison is with Cristi Puiu’s low-budget debut Stuff And Dough, the road movie which kick-started the so-called Romanian New Wave in 2001.