This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to give the story a photo-realistic sheen. The addition of more songs makes it feel much more like a big movie musical. And the use of real actors adds quite a lot of detail and subtext in the character interaction. But basically, this is still the same romantic fairy tale: lovely to look as it makes the audience swoon and sigh.
It's set in a French village, where Belle (Emma Watson) is looked at with suspicion by her neighbours for her empowered-female ways, reading books, expressing her opinions and running the farm where she lives with her single dad Maurice (Kevin Kline). It's no wonder that the vain soldier Gaston (Luke Evans) pursues her, since she's the only girl who isn't chasing him. Then one day Maurice and Belle have a fateful encounter with a castle hidden in a deep woods under a curse. Imprisoned by its beastly master (Dan Stevens), Belle befriends the staff, who have been transformed into household objects like a lampstand (Ewan McGregor), clock (Ian McKellen), teapot (Emma Thompson), harpsichord (Stanley Tucci) and feather duster (Gugu Mbatha-Raw). All of them conspire to help Belle fall in love with the Beast, which would break the spell.
Director Bill Condon (who made Dreamgirls and the final Twilight movies) makes the most of the live-action cast, allowing them to stir all kinds of undercurrents into their roles, which adds weight and interest to the rather predictable storyline. The film still looks largely animated thanks to an extensive use of digital backgrounds and characters, but the actors add an earthy tone that breaks the surface, bringing in some more textured emotions and sharper humour. The whole cast is excellent, with particular scene-stealing energy coming from Evans and Josh Gad (as his super-faithful sidekick LeFou), who are both funny and villainous at the same time. And Kline is also a standout for a surprisingly thoughtful performance.
Continue reading: Beauty And The Beast Review
Take a closer look at the cast of 'Beauty and the Beast' in the final trailer for the forthcoming live-action Disney re-boot. Gaston loves himself more than Belle, Belle loves books more than boys, and Maurice loves his daughter more than anybody else. Meanwhile, the Beast hates everything and everyone equally, but that's about to change when Belle volunteers herself as his prisoner in exchange for her father's freedom. She has much pity for the Beast and wants to make the best out of a terrible situation, especially when he presents her with the library of her dreams. He's relying on her love to rescue him from the curse that binds him in his monstrous form, and to rescue his friends and servants from their furnitural guises. But together they have an important lesson to learn about love and companionship.
Continue: Beauty And The Beast Trailer
Since its true story is still so timely after some 150 years, we can forgive this film for being somewhat dull in the way the events are recounted. Solid acting helps give the characters some soulfulness, and the issues are things society is still grappling with. Writer-director Gary Ross (The Hunger Games) may struggle to maintain the momentum of the story with his fragmented script, but he recreates the period beautifully and makes sure that the ideas resonate.
It's set in 1862 Mississippi, as the American Civil War is in full force and medic Newton Knight (Matthew McConaughey) finds it increasingly difficult to serve in the Confederate Army. In addition to the rampant racism, he realises that this is little more than a class war: poor men fighting to help the rich maintain their wealth. So he abandons his post and returns home, where he assembles a ragtag militia from escaped slaves and deserters. Together, they claim that Jones County is a free state. Their battles with military forces and angry locals continue long after the war ends. But Newton and his second wife Rachel (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) keep fighting against the state's blatantly racist laws.
This story is intercut with another series of events 75 years later, as a descendant of Newton and Rachel fights a courtroom battle in which he's criminally charged with marrying a white woman, even though he's only one-eighth black. This sideroad has nothing to do with Newton's story, other than to connect it loosely to America's civil rights protests in the 1960s, so it drastically slows down the entire movie. There's a lot happening with Newton, but filmmaker Ross never quite lets a scene build up some momentum before cutting away to something else.
Continue reading: Free State Of Jones Review
Mike Lassiter finds himself being put on trial for the murder of his father. The Lassiter's are a rich family and Mike lives with his mother Loretta and father Boone. The body of Boone is found with a knife still in the fatal stab wound that killed him, Mike's fingerprints are on the weapon and when he is interviewed by the police he admits to stabbing his father.
With an incredible amount of evidence, the police arrest and charge the teenager with the murder of his father. Mike's mum, Loretta, recruits her attorney friend Richard Ramsay to defend her son and as Richard begins to develop his case more and more facts come to light about that night and Boone Lassiter.
It's uncovered that Boone is a vicious man who could be 'exceptionally cruel' and Mike witnessed events of abuse carried out on Loretta by his father - he'd even threaten his son. As the case proceeds, Richard asks another attorney to come on board and help keep Mike out of prison. Janelle is a young yet enthusiastic lawyer who believes that Mike is protecting his mother from the crime that she committed. It's possible either of the two family members could've killed Boone and what starts out to be a clean cut case for the prosecution soon becomes more convoluted.
Continue: The Whole Truth Trailer
Filmmaking siblings Lana and Andy Wachowski never do anything by halves. The Matrix was a genre-changing blockbuster followed by two head-scratching sequels that ramped everything up a bit too much. Speed Racer was simply too much eye-candy for most viewers. And Cloud Atlas' intertwined storylines left audiences both exhausted and exhilarated. Now they've taken on the space action adventure with unfettered gusto, creating an utterly bonkers story that can't help but keep us thoroughly entertained.
So it turns out that Jupiter (Mila Kunis), an immigrant cleaner in Chicago, is actually the recurrence of a powerful matriarch whose empire runs the universe as a big business. Her three children (Eddie Redmayne, Douglas Booth and Tuppence Middleton) are tussling over control, because their mother's re-appearance changes their inheritance rights. Chased by bounty hunters, Jupiter is rescued by Caine (Channing Tatum) and his cohort Stinger (Sean Bean), who help her navigate the complex galactic society to claim her genetic rights. But each of the three children has plans for her. And as she zips back and forth across the universe, Jupiter realises that she's going to need to rise to the occasion if she wants to save herself. And Earth.
The Wachowskis clearly understand that the story is far too complicated to make much sense, so they only provide enough information to hold the audience's interest. Large plot threads and characters pop up and disappear at random, while Jupiter's own journey lurches through a series of contrived set-pieces and tense encounters that feel oddly unresolved. But none of that really matters, because the film is infused with a sardonic sense of humour that makes it enjoyable. Even the bad guys are intriguing; there's not much Redmayne can do with his leather-trousered grump, but at least he goes for it. Kunis has a great time with Jupiter's continual sexy costume changes, while Tatum performs a series of action scenes with his shirt off for no real reason. All of the cast members dive in without hesitation, using sheer charisma to make the characters a lot of fun to watch.
Continue reading: Jupiter Ascending Review
Datari TurnerNoni Jean has always been an immensely talented singer and performer, winning local talent competitions at a very young age with the encouragement of her pushy mother Macy. Needless to say, she quickly becomes a world famous popstar as she hits her teens, playing to crowds of thousands every night and jetting all over the globe. As much as this may seem like any young girl's dream, Noni just wishes she could stop for a minute and also that she could escape the often degrading and frequently pressured life of stardom she leads. She reaches breaking point eventually, planning to jump to her death from a multi-storey building, but she is saved mid-jump by a caring officer named Kaz Nicol who she immediately connects with. He wants to protect her from the pressures of her chaotic life and gives her the strength to take control of her world once again.
Continue: Beyond The Lights - Alternative Trailer
Keanu Reeves has replaced Daniel Craig in the courtroom drama 'The Whole Truth.'
Deadline are reporting that Keanu Reeves has replaced Daniel Craig in the courtroom drama The Whole Truth. Craig had been cast as a defence attorney fighting to acquit a teenager standing accused of murdering his rich family. The British actor had unexpectedly departed the project in April just a few days before filming was due to begin, leaving producers high and dry. Film-makers have spent the past two months searching for a replacement for Craig, eventually settling on Reeves.
Keanu Reeves has replaced Daniel Craig in the courtroom drama The Whole Truth
Reeves will join the cast, which currently includes Renee Zellweger, Belle’s Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Kings of Summer actor Gabriel Basso. TheWrap has reported that The Wolf of Wall Street actor Kenneth Choi has been cast as the state prosecutor.
Continue reading: Keanu Reeves Replaces Daniel Craig In Courtroom Drama 'The Whole Truth'
The plot feels like a Jane Austen novel infused with a hot-potato political issue, but this is actually a true story. It's been somewhat fictionalised, but the central facts are accurate, and while the production is perhaps a bit too polished for its own good, the solid acting and filmmaking make the story involving and provocative. And its themes feel just as relevant today.
In 1769 London, a young half-black girl named Dido Belle is taken by her soldier father (Matthew Goode) to live with his uncle, the Lord Chief Justice Mansfield (Tom Wilkinson). With his wife (Emily Watson) and sister (Penelope Winton), he is already caring for another niece, and the two girls grow up as inseparable friends. Hidden from society, Dido (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) inherits a small fortune from her father. And while Elizabeth (Sarah Gadon) is penniless, her white skin makes her a more suitable spouse. Then family friend Lady Ashford (Miranda Richardson) foists her son James (Tom Felten) on Elizabeth. To their horror, his brother Oliver (James Norton) falls for Dido. But she's more interested in an impoverished law student (Sam Reid).
Along with these rather standard period-movie romantic shenanigans, there's a major subplot about Lord Mansfield's imminent ruling in the first court case to take on the slave trade, which could destabilise the entire British Empire. And this is where the film jolts into something significant: the UK's top judge had an adopted mixed-race daughter who probably influenced the first landmark decision against slavery. Meanwhile, director Amma Asante also vividly portrays the gritty realities of this young black woman's precarious position in society.
Continue reading: Belle Review
Tom Wilkinson stars in 'Belle'
UK cinemagoers! Stuck for something to see at the cinema this weekend? Look no further than Tom Wilkinson's new movie Belle - inspired by the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle, the illegitimate mixed race daughter of Admiral Sir John Lindsay.
Raised by her aristocratic great uncle Lord Mansfield (Wilkinson) and his wife (Emily Watson), Belle is forced to watch on as her cousin Elizabeth chases suitors for her marriage, leaving her to wonder whether she will ever find love. After meeting a young vicar's son hell belt on changing society, he and Belle help shape Lord Mansfield's role as Lord Chief Justice to end slavery in England.
Continue reading: Tom Wilkinson's 'Belle' Is The Best Movie Out This Week (Probably)
After Van Helsing, the first G.I. Joe and the Mummy movies, filmmaker Stephen Sommers just about keeps his excessive action instincts in check for this offbeat supernatural comedy. There are still aspects of a thriller here, but the characters have a surprising depth that adds to the humour and drama, providing both strong laughs and moving emotional moments.
Yelchin plays the title character, who isn't sure if his given name is just missing a first T or whether it was prophetic. As Odd grows up, he discovers that he can see dead people who need help solving their murders. The police chief (Dafoe) in his small desert town believes him because he gets every case right. And now Odd's girlfriend Stormy (Timlin) helps him piece together clues when it becomes apparent that something hugely horrific is about to happen. Odd also turns to his psychic friend Viola (Mbatha-Raw) as he grows increasingly worried about the rising presence of deathly creatures that swarm around people who are about to die.
Sommers sets this up with a wry wink, letting Yelchin play Odd as a nerdy nice guy who can't quite believe he has such a hot girlfriend. We like him instantly, so are happy to go along with the fantastical story. And the witty dialogue keeps us chuckling with its snappy commentary and absurd sideroads. Yelchin gives Odd a terrific sense of physical energy, which helps him develop sharp chemistry with everyone else on-screen. With his visions of something momentous on the horizon, the film feels like a comical variation on Donnie Darko.
Continue reading: Odd Thomas Review
Date of birth
30th June, 1983
This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...
Take a closer look at the cast of 'Beauty and the Beast' in the final...
To outsiders, the castle which sits on the outskirts of a small town is just...
Elizabeth Sloane is a lobbyist and often finds herself facing off against some of the...
Since its true story is still so timely after some 150 years, we can forgive...
Mike Lassiter finds himself being put on trial for the murder of his father. The...
Disney have released the new teaser trailer for the remake of the much-loved animated film...
The brutal reality of war is those who often die and put their lives on...
Filmmaking siblings Lana and Andy Wachowski never do anything by halves. The Matrix was a...
Datari TurnerNoni Jean has always been an immensely talented singer and performer, winning local talent...
The plot feels like a Jane Austen novel infused with a hot-potato political issue, but...
After Van Helsing, the first G.I. Joe and the Mummy movies, filmmaker Stephen Sommers just...