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BEAUTY AND THE BEAST ✪✪✪✪✪ Opened March 23
Beauty and the Beast has been one of my favorite Disney animations over the years and I think as a children's musical the songs are up there with Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Mary Poppins. Disney did a wonderful job in 2015 of reimagining Cinderella and they've done it again. Beauty and the Beast is a sumptuous, gloriously colored and so beautifully detailed film that the experience will not disappoint a single filmgoer, no matter your age.
Hiring Bill Condon to direct was a great move. He's an Oscar winner for the screenplay for Gods and Monsters and his screenplay for Chicago also received a nomination. As screenwriter and director for Dreamgirls and Chicago, he knows his way around big musicals. He also directed the last two Twilight films, but we'll forgive him that.
The voice actors, Emma Thompson, Stanley Tucci, Ewen McGregor, Ian McKellen and others are wonderful and bring such life to the characters. Emma Watson is a lovely Belle and Dan Stevens a perfect fit for the Beast, from the arrogant prince, to the voice of Belle's captor, to the handsome suitor.
Honestly, do not miss this on the big screen. This is something very special and worth every cent you pay to sit there and travel to another one of Disney's magical lands.
Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" is a live-action re-telling of the studio's animated classic which refashions the classic characters from the tale as old as time for a contemporary audience, staying true to the original music while updating the score with several new songs. "Beauty and the Beast" is the fantastic journey of Belle, a bright, beautiful and independent young woman who is taken prisoner by a beast in his castle. Despite her fears, she befriends the castle's enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the Beast's hideous exterior and realize the kind heart and soul of the true Prince within. The film stars: Emma Watson as Belle; Dan Stevens as the Beast; Luke Evans as Gaston, the handsome, but shallow villager who woos Belle; Oscar (R) winner Kevin Kline as Maurice, Belle's eccentric, but lovable father; Josh Gad as Lefou, Gaston's long-suffering aide-de-camp; Golden Globe (R) nominee Ewan McGregor as Lumiere, the candelabra; Oscar nominee Stanley Tucci as Maestro Cadenza, the harpsichord; Oscar nominee Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, the mantel clock; and two-time Academy Award (R) winner Emma Thompson as the teapot, Mrs. Potts. Directed by Oscar (R) winner Bill Condon based on the 1991 animated film, "Beauty and the Beast" is produced by Mandeville Films' David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman, with eight-time Oscar-winning composer Alan Menken, who won two Academy Awards (R) (Best Original Score and Best Song) for the 1991 animated film, providing the score, which will include new recordings of the original songs written by Menken and Howard Ashman, as well as several new songs written by Menken and three-time Oscar winner Tim Rice. "Beauty and the Beast" will be released in U.S. theaters on March 17, 2017.
THE BOSS BABY✪✪✪ Opened March 23
Two animated films on one Sunday is not the ideal for me. Sorry but I'm usually recovering from a busy life on Sundays and those comfy chairs and a darkened cinema spell sleep to my body. However, I do love a witty kid's film and Dreamworks rarely disappoints, so I made the trek to the cinema from 10am until 3pm to see this followed immediately by The Batman Lego Movie. Oh, the price I pay to bring you the best recommendations.
The Boss Baby is a fun film and the concept of how babies are prepared at Baby Inc before delivery to their parents is certainly different. In fact, there were moments in this film where I thought the screenwriters might need some kind of therapy. Some ideas are truly warped but also very witty.
The little kids in the cinema seemed to enjoy, as did the big ones. I checked around and most kids loved it and parents thought it was fun. It's not in the league of Toy Story or Disney animations but definitely not boring.
Alec Baldwin was genius casting as the Boss Baby and the voice talent of Steve Buscemi, Lisa Kudrow and Tobey Maguire add up to making this a worthwhile cinema visit. A fun animation for the whole family.
DreamWorks Animation and the director of Madagascar invite you to meet a most unusual baby. He wears a suit, speaks with the voice and wit of Alec Baldwin, and stars in the animated comedy, DreamWorks' The Boss Baby. The Boss Baby is a hilariously universal story about how a new baby's arrival impacts a family, told from the point of view of a delightfully unreliable narrator, a wildly imaginative 7 year old named Tim. With a sly, heart-filled message about the importance of family, DreamWorks' The Boss Baby is an authentic and broadly appealing original comedy for all ages
POWER RANGERS ✪✪✪ Opened March 23
My boys loved the Power Rangers when they were younger but this film seemed as though it might be now too young for them. We had opted to go see the terrifying bit oh so fun Life, which was on the same night in an adjacent cinema screen to the Power Rangers preview.
So I sent a friend along to see this with her two boys aged twelve and fourteen, while I took her fifteen year old daughter and my son to see Life in the adjacent cinema. Her boys weren't big Power Ranger fans but were in the right age group to appreciate this, more so than my older teenage boys. Their report back was that they thoroughly enjoyed the film, including my adult friend.
Their comments were that the action was fun, the CGI very well done and the film would be enjoyed by kids from the age of about ten or eleven up but might be too scary for the little ones, who would enjoy the PG television show. So just be warned if you have five or six year olds who fancy themselves as Power Rangers.
After hearing the enthusiastic response to the film from my friend and her kids now my sixteen year old wants to go see it. So Power Rangers is in my future.
From a story by Executive Producer Roberto Orci (TRANSFORMERS, STAR TREK, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2) and screenwriters Zack Stentz and Ashley Miller (X-MEN: FIRST CLASS, THOR) comes a modern reinvention of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, a group of ordinary high school kids who find themselves infused with extraterrestrial powers and must harness those powers as a team to save the world. (c) Lionsgate
LIFE ✪✪✪✪½ Opened March 23
You'll read criticism about this film in that it's derivative of Alien and Gravity and, yes, there is that. If we're going to delve into past films, there's The Blob too but are filmmakers not allowed to revisit classics to create something new? Let's judge a film on whether it delivers to the demographic for which it's aimed, then see how the experience stacks up. This is how I review films. Will the story and the production provide entertainment to those who enjoy the genre?
In the case of Life, wholeheartedly yes! This is a thriller almost from the get-go with some A-listers thrown in for good measure. Life is one big beautifully filmed, popcorn-munching, fun and nail-biting ride until the very last frame. My sixteen year old son, a friend's fifteen year old daughter and another reviewer with me, who is female and in her forties absolutely loved it. In fact, the teenage girl said this was probably the best film she'd ever seen.
See Life on Imax or a big screen otherwise you'll miss out on a lot. Man, this is a cautionary tale too. We gotta stop thinking we humans can play with nature. When nature bites it's far more terrifying than vampires.
Life tells the story of the six-member crew of the International Space Station that is on the cutting edge of one of the most important discoveries in human history: the first evidence of extraterrestrial life on Mars. As the crew begins to conduct research, their methods end up having unintended consequences and the life form proves more intelligent than anyone ever expected. STARS: Ryan Reynolds, Jake Gyllenhaal and Rebecca Ferguson (Girl on the Train, Mission Impossible Rogue Nation)
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