Let the magic begin! Beauty and the Beast has stormed to theaters with a force of heart, nostalgia and new faces. Your invitation awaits here, while we return back to the castle as familiar guests.
You’ve seen this all before, nevertheless; a “Tale As Old As Time” continues its legacy as the magical gem it has come to know and be. Like clockwork, Disney continues their effort to remake all of their original animated classics into live-action features. Over the years, there have been highs (Cinderella and The Jungle Book) and there have been lows (Alice in Wonderland and Maleficent) with the remakes. Luckily, director Bill Condon (Dreamgirls and Mr. Holmes) retelling of the tale comes out as a high. Condon doesn’t overdo it with the CGI here and instead focuses more on the musical score and character development in this newest adaption.
The little ones will be widely entertained for the full 129 minutes, as will the adults. Now, of course, the live-action remake will never succeed the heights of the original animated classic that soared to theaters over 25 years ago. Back in 1991, the animated version broke a record with begin the first and only animated film to receive a Best Picture nomination. The film also won two Oscars for Best Music, Original Song and Best Music, Original Score. Likewise, 2017’s live-action remake has broken five box office records over its opening weekend. This includes: top domestic opening of all time for a film rated PG, No. 7 launch of all time for any movie, biggest debut of all time for a female-fueled film, biggest domestic bow in almost a year and biggest opening for this genre of Disney live-action remakes.
Condon’s film has already taken in $750 million worldwide and is currently eyeing the billion-dollar club. But enough talk about records, let’s shift our focus to the music and performances. No doubt, that the musical score transcribed wonderfully over and I am pleased to say that all of the performances done by the cast (live and voice) did an outstanding job. While Emma Watson’s Belle is no Paige O'Hara, fear not; Watson continued to show us her fierceness and the range of her singing chops. Dan Stevens (former Downtown Abbey star) does a fantastic job fitting into the beast’s shoes. I saw a lot of “Matthew Crawley” mannerisms expressed in Stevens' emotions throughout.
Josh Gad plays a quirky/gleeful LeFou (no controversy here), while Luke Evans steals the show as the egotistical Gaston. Evans’ version of Gaston was spot on and his acclaimed performance stole the spotlight for me in almost every frame. Lastly, the voice cast (Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson, Audra McDonald and Stanley Tucci) filled in the rest of the cracks for the film. Their voices were flawless as the cursed furniture wooing Belle with “Best Our Guest” and many more delightful songs.
The visuals will stun you, as will the costume design full of piazza and wonder. Beauty and the Beast may fault on familiarity, but it’s one that offers a faithful retelling to the beloved source of material. The enchanting cast with beautifully crafted songs are a glitter to one’s eye. Song likes “Belle", "Gaston", "Be Our Guest", "How Does a Moment Last Forever", and "Evermore" will steal your heart to the very last beat. In the end, Beauty and the Beast’s re-invitation has been well received.
Beauty and the Beast is rated PG (Parental Guidance). For some action, violence, peril, and frightening images.
Logan: A Heartfelt Swan Song
At Last, we have finally reached Hugh Jackman’s final outing as the claw-shredding hero. In Logan, we get that final goodbye helmed through blood, sweat and tears.
Jackman returns in a final outing as a beaten and bruised Logan wondering the deep south in 2029. This near future dystopian gives us a glimpse in the mutant barren world, as we follow Logan (the never better Jackman) and Professor Charles Xavier (the mesmerizing sir Patrick Stewart). Logan’s claws don’t work like they use to and his healing powers are getting slower by the minute. While, Charles has grown older and wearier in his telepathic abilities.
Charles is also suffering from Alzheimer's disease, which is making his telepathy ever more dangerous. Make no mistake, Logan will tear through your heart and bring tears to your eyes as we see our beloved heroes pain be revealed on screen. Earning every right of a hard 'R' rating, Logan is a bloody, brutal and bleak depiction of life. Director James Mangold (3:10 to Yuma and The Wolverine) returns for the third chapter in The Wolverine series, delivering a grand superhero experience that redefines the genre.
Loosely inspired by the Old Man Logan comics, Mangold’s movie feels more like a superior western film, filled at the center with heart and soul. As we continue in isolation, Logan is drinking his days away in a hideout on a remote stretch of the Mexican border, picking up petty cash as a driver for hire. His companions in exile are the outcast Caliban (a fantastic Stephen Merchant) and an ailing Charles. But Logan's legacy abruptly ends when a mysterious woman appears with an urgent request--that Logan shepherd an extraordinary young girl (newcomer Dafne Keen) to safety. The plot then sets the time-worn warrior on a path toward fulfilling his destiny.
As many ups and downs that the X-Men franchise has been through in the last 17 years, Logan marks as a franchise high for the series. It’s the most real, raw and brutal force superhero film you’ll seen on the big screen. The dialogue is crisp and the action is razor sharp. Emotions running deep through your veins, director Mangold’s film plays like a road-western high running off into the sunset. Hugh Jackman came, saw and conquered the man with claws right down to the very last frame. Sadly, like every hero realizes their time is short and all have an end. In Logan, we get just that and a fulfilling conclusion to the Wolverine.
Logan is rated R (Restricted). For strong brutal violence and language throughout, and for brief nudity.
Quick Review: John Wick: Chapter 2
John Wick: Chapter 2 continues the series winning streak of more gut-punching fun.
Full of thrilling non-stop action and grand choreographed fight scenes, John Wick: Chapter 2 comes to the theaters with a bang! Director Chad Stahelski (John Wick) returns to the director’s chair for another explosive outing. Alongside him is actor Keanu Reeves who plays Wick and has never been better. Legendary hitman Wick (the fantastic Reeves) is forced back out of retirement by a former associate, Santino D'Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio), plotting to seize control of an underground international assassins' guild. Bound by a blood oath to help him, John travels to Rome to square off with some of the world’s deadliest killers. John Wick: Chapter 2 does what any action sequel should, double down on the escapism and fuel it with stylized violence. In the end, Wick is here to stay and will have every action junkie out there applauding by the very last frame.
John Wick: Chapter 2 is rated R (Restricted). for strong violence throughout, some language and brief nudity.
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