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Cinderella Review


The thing that makes this Disney live-action remake so wonderful is the same thing that might put off some audience members: it's a pure fairy tale. This time, the studio has resisted the snarky, post-modern spin that threatened to turn previous live-action remakes (Alice in Wonderland and Maleficent) into pointless Lord of the Rings-style action epics. Instead, this is a genuinely beautiful, surgingly romantic, exquisitely made fantasy.

With only a few minor tweaks, this is the classic story of Ella (Lily James), whose widowed father (Ben Chaplin) marries Lady Tremaine (Cate Blanchett). She arrives with her two spoiled daughters Drizella and Anastasia (Sophie McShera and Holliday Grainger), and when she is also widowed, Ella ends up running the household just to keep things from falling apart. But Lady Tremaine and her daughters taunt her with the nickname "Cinderella" and treat her like a slave, refusing to let her attend the ball thrown by the Crown Prince (Richard Madden). He had met Ella before, and is hoping to see her at the ball, but she only gets a chance to go when her fairy godmother (Helena Bonham Carter) turns up with some magic to make that happen. And after dancing with the Prince all night, her sudden disappearance sends him on a desperate quest involving a single glass slipper.

To spice things up, screenwriter Chris Weitz has included a conspiratorial sideplot in which the increasingly wicked stepmother plots with a royal advisor (Stellan Skarsgard) to thwart the Prince's wishes. But otherwise, the film hews closely to both Charles Perrault's 1697 folktale and Disney's 1950 animated classic. This includes lavish sets and costumes that continually take the breath away, giving the characters the same silhouettes as their cartoon counterparts. And within this extravagant design work, the actors are able to create surprisingly textured characters. James' Ella isn't a simple farm girl in need of a man. Madden's Prince is looking for real love. And Blanchett's riveting Lady Tremaine is eerily sympathetic even in her darkest moments.

Continue reading: Cinderella Review

Chris Weitz Reveals Star Wars Films Inspired His Career

Chris Weitz

Chris Weitz was inspired to go into the world of cinema by the 'Star Wars' movies.

The 45-year-old writer has been asked to script the eagerly-awaited 'Star Wars' spin-off movie, and while he remains tight-lipped on specific aspects of the film, Weitz has revealed his deep-rooted love of the sci-fi franchise.

He shared: ''It's a total dream job. The reason I make movies now has a lot to do with having seen Star Wars when I was seven years old. That's the formative movie-going experience of my life. But, I don't think I'm unique in that.

Continue reading: Chris Weitz Reveals Star Wars Films Inspired His Career

Richard Madden Opens Up About Cinderella And Prince Charming's Equal Partnership

Richard Madden Lily James Cate Blanchett Kenneth Branagh Chris Weitz

Richard Madden opens up about just how Cinderella and her Prince Charming get together, and how they rely on each other to free them from the restrictions in their lives in the forthcoming adaptation by director Kenneth Branagh and screenwriter Chris Weitz.

Richard Madden in Cinderella
Richard Madden stars as Prince Charming in Cinderella

It's nice to see modern big screen fairytale re-tellings looking at relationships in a much more equal way. Rather than princesses of late being swept of their feet by proverbial knights in shining armour, they're coming together while fighting for justice in their own lives. You had 'Snow White and the Huntsman', which saw a clear romance forming between the two title characters as they worked together to lead an army, and then there is, of course, 'Frozen' which saw bravery on the part of both Anna and her faithful quest companion Kristoff. Now 'Cinderella' brings together two souls, who must help each other escape the prison of their families.

Continue reading: Richard Madden Opens Up About Cinderella And Prince Charming's Equal Partnership

Chris Weitz To Write Stand-alone Star Wars Movie

Chris Weitz Tatiana Maslany Rooney Mara Harrison Ford Carrie Fisher Mark Hamill

Chris Weitz is to write the stand-alone 'Star Wars' movie.

The 45-year-old director - who's worked on a wide range of high-profile films, including 'About a Boy' and 'The Twilight Saga: New Moon' - is set to script the Gareth Edwards-directed movie, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The screenwriter will replace Gary Whitta, who exited the project earlier this month after finishing a first draft of the script.

Continue reading: Chris Weitz To Write Stand-alone Star Wars Movie

Lily James Finds Her Prince Charming In The Latest 'Cinderella' Trailer [Trailer + Pictures]

Lily James Cate Blanchett Holliday Grainger Sophie McShera Helena Bonham Carter Disney Kenneth Branagh Aline Brosh McKenna Chris Weitz

Finally, Disney has unveiled the first full trailer for Kenneth Branagh's live action rendition of one of the world's most beloved fairytales: Cinderella. And it looks to be one of the most visually stunning fantasy flicks of the coming months.

Lily James and Richard Madden in Cinderella
Lily James stars as the troubled Cinderella

The movie industry has been going crazy with its throwback Grimm adaptations, and it doesn't look like anyone's had enough of it yet. While many movies have opted for the spin-off, original stories - such as 'Sleeping Beauty' adaptation 'Maleficent' and 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarves' comeback 'Snow White and the Huntsman', not to mention forthcoming fairytale omnibus 'Into The Woods' - director Kenneth Branagh and screenwriters Aline Brosh McKenna and Chris Weitz have gone for the more traditional approach with 'Cinderella'. 

Continue reading: Lily James Finds Her Prince Charming In The Latest 'Cinderella' Trailer [Trailer + Pictures]

Downton Abbey Actress Lily James Takes Cinderella Role

Lily James Cinderella Cate Blanchett Chris Weitz Kenneth Branagh David Barron Simon Kinberg Emma Watson Saoirse Ronan Gabriella Wilde

Lily James will play 'Cinderella'.

The 'Downton Abbey' star is set to portray the iconic princess in Disney's live action adaptation of the traditional fairytale, joining the lines of Cate Blanchett as the princess' evil stepmother.

The film - penned by Chris Weitz and pitched by Aline Brosh - will be helmed by 'Thor' director Kenneth Branagh, who is to be joined by 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire' producer Allison Shearmur, 'Jack Ryan' producer David Barron and Simon Kinberg.

Continue reading: Downton Abbey Actress Lily James Takes Cinderella Role

Kenneth Branagh To Direct Cinderella?

Kenneth Branagh Mark Romanek Cate Blanchett Chris Weitz Simon Kinberg Tim Burton Johnny Depp Brandy Norwood Whitney Houston Whoopi Goldberg

Kenneth Branagh is reportedly in talks to direct 'Cinderella'.

The actor and 'Thor' director has been linked to Disney's latest remake of the classic fairytale just weeks after original director, Mark Romanek, departed from the project.

The filmmaker is said to currently be in negotiations with the studio, with filming scheduled to begin in London later this year for a 2014 release - website Vulture reports.

Continue reading: Kenneth Branagh To Direct Cinderella?

'A Better Life' World Premiere Gala Screening During The 2011 Los Angeles Film Festival At Regal Cinemas L.A. LIVE

Chris Weitz and Ana de la Reguera - Chris Weitz and Ana De La Reguera Los Angeles, California - 'A Better Life' World Premiere Gala Screening during the 2011 Los Angeles Film Festival at Regal Cinemas L.A. LIVE Tuesday 21st June 2011

Chris Weitz and Ana De La Reguera
Chris Weitz and Ana De La Reguera
Chris Weitz
Chris Weitz

The Cinema Society & D&G Screening Of 'The Twilight Saga: New Moon' At Landmark's Sunshine Cinema - Outside Arrivals

Chris Weitz Thursday 19th November 2009 The Cinema Society & D&G screening of 'The Twilight Saga: New Moon' at Landmark's Sunshine Cinema - Outside Arrivals New York City, USA

Chris Weitz
Chris Weitz

UK Fan Party Of The 'Twilight Saga: New Moon' Held At Battersea Evolution.

Chris Weitz Wednesday 11th November 2009 UK Fan Party of the 'Twilight Saga: new moon' held at Battersea Evolution. London, England

Chris Weitz

The Golden Compass Review

That New Line Cinema did so well with the Lord of the Rings trilogy is both a blessing and a curse. After supporting Peter Jackson's fine work, it's a natural assumption that the company has the means and access to the appropriate talent to develop strong adaptations of youthful fantasy materials (ignoring Dungeons & Dragons, of course). It is, in fact, quite difficult to discuss another such type of film without comparing, but doing so threatens to tarnish some of the shine that The Golden Compass deserves.

I should note that I have read the original Philip Pullman books that this trilogy will be based on. Like Tolkien, Pullman creates a multi-layered world to journey through, but he tends to be tighter with narrative style than Tolkien. What he lacks in verbosity he makes up for in texture, and this may be where some problems will lie for an audience, as he is comfortable not sharing useful character and cultural details immediately. Over the course of this film, some information does get left out to respect the audience's time in a theater, but it in no way affects the enjoyment of watching Lyra's (Dakota Blue Richards) story unfold.

Continue reading: The Golden Compass Review

World Premiere Of 'The Golden Compass' After Party Held At Tobacco Dock

Chris Weitz Tuesday 27th November 2007 World Premiere of 'The Golden Compass' After Party held at Tobacco Dock London, England

Chris Weitz

Nutty Professor II: The Klumps Review

I don't expect much from Eddie Murphy these days. For the past four years, the gods of cinema--or the expansive payrolls of studio conglomerates--have allowed him to make one bad movie after another. Such films as Metro, Doctor Dolittle, Holy Man, Life, and Bowfinger have reduced a once great comedic persona to a living and breathing washed-up hack performing as a studio puppet for 20th Century Fox and Universal Pictures. The biggest shame to fall on his shoulders is his newest film, Nutty Professor II: The Klumps.

The Klumps once again revisits the life of Sherman Klump, an overweight university science professor looking for love in all the wrong places. Sherman has just invented a new "youth drink" that enables man or beast to become younger for a short period of time. Janet Jackson is the love interest who chooses the lovable Sherman for a soul mate rather than excel at her career as a university professor (and for the most ridiculous reasons). With love on his mind, Sherman is determined to rid himself of his alter ego, Buddy Love from the first Professor, who still resides with vigor inside his psyche and causes Sherman to act like a bad imitation of Vince Vaughn from Swingers. With some convoluted mumbo-jumbo about DNA extraction, Sherman extracts the "Buddy Love" link in his DNA and smartly deposits Buddy into a handy-dandy lab beaker. But one night, the beaker is knocked over and Buddy Love is regenerated... because every movie like this needs an unnecessary villain to thwart the good guy.

Continue reading: Nutty Professor II: The Klumps Review

Antz Review

Every ant has his day. At least, that's what Woody Allen would have you think, in this twisted animated version of Annie Hall meets Brazil. Starting with a moody grass-scape of what turns out to be a quiet corner of Central Park, voiced-over by Allen's "Z", a hapless worker ant who feels the weight of the colony--so to speak--on his back, Antz tracks a lot like any Allen flick.

In fact, if it wasn't for all the formula-driven bad guys, perilous situations, and narrow escapes, Antz would be exactly like any other Allen film. But this is animation, and that means kid-pleasing effects must plaster the screen. Sadly, this hurts the story to the point where Antz will quickly get lost in the shuffle of animated films coming out over the next year, despite its unique touches. To make matters worse, some of the more gruesome scenes, including an ant-termite battle that would leave Private Ryan wetting himself, are decidedly not for children.

Continue reading: Antz Review

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