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Cinderella Review


Excellent

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

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

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]

American Reunion [aka American Pie: Reunion] Review


Weak
Call this a missed opportunity. While there's plenty of scope to have fun with these characters as they hit 30, this script is simply not up to the job. It's never very funny, has no sense of momentum and only comes to life due to the endearing characters and the likeable actors who play them.

It's the class of 1999's 13th reunion (huh?), so the entire gang returns to East Great Falls. Jim and Michelle (Bigs and Hannigan) now have a 2-year-old son, which has interrupted their sex life; Oz (Klein) is a B-list TV star with a supermodel girlfriend (Bowden); the now-married Kevin is worried about rekindling his high school romance with Vicky (Reid); Finch (Thomas) is a world traveler who clicks with Michelle's band camp pal Selena (Ramirez). And then there's party-boy prankster Stifler (Scott), who hasn't changed at all and leads them into all manner of trouble.

Continue reading: American Reunion [aka American Pie: Reunion] Review

Chris Weitz and Santa Barbara Film Festival Friday 3rd February 2012 27th Annual Santa Barbara Film Festival - Virtuosos Award Ceremony at the Arlington Theater

Chris Weitz and Santa Barbara Film Festival
Chris Weitz and Santa Barbara Film Festival

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

A Better Life Trailer


Carolos Galindo, an illegal immigrant and single parent, moved to the U.S. to chase the American Dream, bringing his teenage son, Luis, with him. Carolos spent what little money he had to work as a gardener and hopes to make a career out of it and eventually pay off his debts. He also hopes to make a better life for himself and Luis, by enrolling him in high school and keeping themselves out of poverty.

Continue: A Better Life Trailer

A Single Man Review


Excellent
As you'd expect from a designer, every frame in this film is visual perfection, capturing settings and characters with artistry that packs a real wallop. And if the overall film feels a little icy, it's also remarkably involving.

In 1962 Los Angeles, George (Firth) is a university professor whose boyfriend (Goode) has died in a car crash. Unable to cope with his grief, or to show it to anyone, he tries to go through his day as usual. His next lecture derails into a message about fear in society, and he decides to put his life in order before committing suicide. But a last evening with his boozy best friend Charlotte (Moore) and the attentions of a Spanish hunk (Kortajarena) and a bright-eyed student (Hoult) test his resolve.

Continue reading: A Single Man Review

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

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


Excellent
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

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


Weak
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


Very Good
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

In Good Company Review


OK
It's one of those nightmare scenarios of which feel-good stories are made: Dan Foreman (Dennis Quaid), middle-aged family man and top sales guy at a big, Sports Illustrated-like magazine, gets thrown for a loop when his company is bought and he gets demoted to make room for Carter Duryea (Topher Grace), some whiz kid half his age. Oh, and his daughter wants to transfer from SUNY to the much more expensive NYU. Oh, and that night when he gets home, his wife tells him she's pregnant. At first it seems that In Good Company is not going to go for the feel-good resolution in which lessons are learned, lives are improved, and everybody fades into a happy sunset... but then it does, and it's hard not to feel cheated.

Whatever else may be said, this film is the work of consummate professionals, and that doesn't mean it's soulless but competent hackwork. Writer/director Paul Weitz showed with his wonderful, glowing adaptation of Nick Hornby's About a Boy that he could tell heartwarming stories that didn't insult the mind and could inject just enough acidity into a romance to keep a movie from flopping into a messy, Love, Actually-style mess. The directing and writing here are superbly crisp, and one really couldn't ask for better performances, both from the stars and supporting cast.

Continue reading: In Good Company Review

Chris Weitz

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Chris Weitz Movies

Cinderella Movie Review

Cinderella Movie Review

The thing that makes this Disney live-action remake so wonderful is the same thing that...

American Reunion [aka American Pie: Reunion] Movie Review

American Reunion [aka American Pie: Reunion] Movie Review

Call this a missed opportunity. While there's plenty of scope to have fun with these...

A Better Life Trailer

A Better Life Trailer

Carolos Galindo, an illegal immigrant and single parent, moved to the U.S. to chase the...

Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist Movie Review

Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist Movie Review

Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist is a high school fantasy for indie rock nerds.Imagine if...

The Golden Compass Movie Review

The Golden Compass Movie Review

That New Line Cinema did so well with the Lord of the Rings trilogy is...

American Dreamz Movie Review

American Dreamz Movie Review

There's a peculiarly painful sensation one gets when witnessing a comedy build toward its big...

Nutty Professor II: The Klumps Movie Review

Nutty Professor II: The Klumps Movie Review

I don't expect much from Eddie Murphy these days. For the past four years,...

Antz Movie Review

Antz Movie Review

Every ant has his day. At least, that's what Woody Allen would have you...

American Wedding Movie Review

American Wedding Movie Review

That wacky American Pie crew is back -- er, a handful of them, anyway --...

American Pie Movie Review

American Pie Movie Review

This is certainly the year for comedy, with South Park, Austin Powers 2, and now...

In Good Company Movie Review

In Good Company Movie Review

It's one of those nightmare scenarios of which feel-good stories are made: Dan Foreman (Dennis...

About A Boy Movie Review

About A Boy Movie Review

Prepare to meet the male version of Bridget Jones, as Hugh Grant turns in one...

Chuck & Buck Movie Review

Chuck & Buck Movie Review

Forgiveness is a thing most people long for in their lives. Forgiveness represents a...

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