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
Meryl Streep is having so much fun playing an ageing rocker that the audience only barely registers that this film isn't nearly as deep as it's pretending to be. There are some very nice observations about the messy ties that hold families together, as well as the fragility of dreams, but the real draw here is seeing Streep tearing up the screen, whether she's singing rock-n-roll classics or indulging in some spirited on-screen drama with her real-life daughter Mamie Gummer.
Streep plays Ricki, who has ended up singing in a shady Los Angeles bar with her on-off boyfriend Greg (Rick Springfield) and their band The Flash. Then she gets a call from her ex-husband Pete (Kevin Kline) saying that their daughter Julie (Gummer) has fallen into a deep depression and needs her mom. So Ricki heads home to Indianapolis, where she also has to face her two sons (Nick Westrate and Sebastian Stan), both of whom feel like they've been ignored by their childish mother and don't want much to do with her. So as she helps Julie cheer up, she's dealing with her sons, clashing with Pete's wife Maureen (Audra McDonald) and wondering why she's so reluctant about settling down with Greg.
None of this is terribly complicated, but the script is by Diablo Cody, who won an Oscar for Juno and also wrote the similarly themed Young Adult. She packs the dialogue with barbed wit that slices right to the core of these characters, bringing out crisp insights and dark emotions. The character interaction is often magical, including Streep's reignited chemistry with Kline (they first sparked together more than 30 years ago in Sophie's Choice). Her scenes with Gummer have an effortless crackle of authenticity, as do her biting chats with McDonald. In fact, the only weak moments are her off-stage scenes with Springfield, who expresses himself better with a guitar in his hands.
Continue reading: Ricki And The Flash Review
Ricki Rendazzo is a rock star who gave up everything to pursue her dream of stardom. But when her ex-husband Pete asks her to visit Chicago and help their estranged, divorced daughter Julie through a difficult time, she's given a chance to make amends with the family she abandoned for a life of fame and fortune. Taking her shot at redemption, Ricki faces the music and tries to make up for lost time. Meryl Streep stars opposite her real-life daughter Mamie Gummer for the third time. They previously starred in Heartburn (1986) and Evening (2007) together.
Ricki Rendazzo is a veteran rockstar as part of her band Ricki And The Flash. She's adored by so many people in the world apart from the people who matter the most; her family. While on tour (as usual) she gets a call from her ex-husband Pete telling her that her daughter Julie has been dumped by her partner Max for another woman. Realising finally that her presence is needed, she drops everything and rushes to her daughter's aid - though, as it turns out, Julie is far from grateful. She and her brother have been forced to spend their most cherished memories without Ricki there, with their stepmother Maureen taking on the role as a proper mother to them. Ricki's son doesn't want her at his forthcoming wedding either, so it seems Ricki has a lot of making up to do if she wants to have a hope of re-connecting with her loved ones.
Continue: Ricki And The Flash - Teaser Trailer
The pair will join the existing cast Emma Watson, Dan Stevens and Josh Gad in the live action re-make, set for March 17th, 2017.
More Disney casting news! The forthcoming live action re-make of the classic Beauty and the Beast will feature Emma Thompson as Mrs Potts and Kevin Kline as Belle’s father Maurice, it was announced on Monday.
A statement released to People by Disney confirmed the addition of yet more high profile names to an already star-studded cast, for what is shaping up to be the most anticipated Disney release in years.
Emma Thompson will become an anthropomorphised teapot in the 'Beauty and the Beast' remake
Every threat of sentimentality and melodrama is averted by a seriously strong cast working from a snappy script. It may be warm and gentle, but the honest humour and twisty plot make sure the audience is entertained rather than manipulated. And there are some startlingly edgy scenes along the way that allow the actors to create spiky, fully formed characters while clearly having a great time in each other's company.
Based on writer-director Israel Horovitz's stage play, most of the action takes place within a vast old flat in central Paris that has just been inherited by Jim (Kevin Kline), who flies in from New York so he can sell it. He's at the end of his rope and needs the cash, so is unnerved to discover that the apartment is a "viager", a quirk in French property law that allows the past owner to remain in the home for the rest of their life. So Jim can't sell the flat as long as 92-year-old Mathilde (Maggie Smith) is alive, and her daughter Chloe (Kristin Scott Thomas) immediately locks horns with Jim, who has already been in touch with a despised developer (Stephane Freiss). As the days pass, Jim is so determined to figure out how to make some money off of this property that he ignores the much bigger things going on around him.
Kline actually manages to make the deeply bullheaded Jim surprisingly likeable, adding a generous charm to the character's overpowering inner misery. So while he dismisses both women out of hand, the audience can see that there might be some substance there. Smith and Scott Thomas are of course terrific as the put-upon women trying to defend their lifelong home. And all three characters must face some unexpected truths about their own pasts in order to plot a course forward. This messy, revelatory plotting is so much fun that the hint of romance between Jim and Chloe feels almost irrelevant.
Continue reading: My Old Lady Review
Mathias (Kevin Kline) is penniless and pretty down on his luck in New York despite having come from a wealthy family. In what seems like a fortunate turn of events, he inherits a sensational apartment in Paris which could land him a lot of money on selling. However, when he travels over to check the place out and set the selling in motion, he meets an elderly tenant named Mathilde (Maggie Smith) who explains that the apartment is 'viager' - a French real estate system which means Mathias must pay a monthly sum to Mathilde until her death before he can gain possession of the property. The pair make a deal allowing Mathias to stay with her at the property, and it's then he meets her daughter Chloe (Kristin Scott Thomas). Chloe's not happy about Mathias' plans to gain ownership of her home but the pair soon bond over their own childhood troubles - things get even more complicated for Mathias when he discovers some deep truths about his father's relationships.
Continue: My Old Lady - Trailer Trailer
An almost ridiculously strong cast and a witty script by the writer of Crazy Stupid Love make this silly film a lot more entertaining than it should be. As it playfully explores long friendships and the struggles of ageing, it turns into a four-sided bromance. So even if the film feels a little under-powered, it's still thoroughly charming.
At the centre are four lifelong buddies who are determined not to grow old. Paddy (De Niro) is trying to recover from grief over his wife's death, while Archie (Freeman) is tired of being fussed over by his son (Ealy) and Sam (Kline) hates living in a retirement community with his spirited wife (Gleason). So they jump on the chance to travel to Vegas for a stag weekend for their pal Billy (Douglas), who is marrying a woman (Blair) in her 30s. And getting together sparks their youthful sense of mischief as they plan a lavish party. Especially when two of them begin to fall for lounge singer Diana (Steenburgen).
Having five Oscar winners in the lead roles gives considerable oomph to the whole project, as these seasoned veterans bring out engaging details of their characters. Douglas has the safest role as a hapless lover-boy, while De Niro does the emotional heavy lifting and Kline endures the cheapest jokes (because his wife has given him a "free pass" for the weekend). Meanwhile, Freeman is clearly having the most fun: cool and relaxed with a naughty glint in his eye. And Steenburgen provides some badly needed female feistiness.
Continue reading: Last Vegas Review
Robert DeNifo, Michael Douglas and Kevin Kline - Last Vegas Afterparty held at Haze Nighclub inside Aria Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, NV on 10-19-2013 - Las Vegas, NV, United States - Saturday 19th January 2013
Kevin Kline, Mary Steenbergen, Morgan Freeman, Robert De Niro and Michael Douglas - Cast members from CBS Films' 'Last Vegas' attend the presentation to the cast of a ceremonial key to the city of Las Vegas outside the the Bellagio Fountains - Las Vegas, Nevada, United States - Friday 18th October 2013
Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas and Kevin Kline - CBS Films LAST VEGAS Special Screening After Party and Red Carpet Arrivals at Haze Nightclub at ARIA - Las Vegas, NV, United States - Saturday 19th October 2013
Billy, Paddy, Archie and Sam may well be getting on in years physically but, on the inside, they haven't changed in 40 years, so when Billy announces his engagement to a woman half his age, it's only right that they should celebrate with one hell of a party trip. They take to Vegas in what they hope is a wild weekend on the Strip; they were kids once, they understand how it's done, right? Well, things have changed a lot since 1959 and they're about to be outdone for the first time in their lives by a new, younger generation of party animals - or are they? This bunch of retirees may yet surprise you!
'Last Vegas' is like a wonderful reversed coming of age story that really hammers in a great message that young people and older people have a lot more in common than they think. It has been directed by Jon Turteltaub ('National Treasure', 'While You Were Sleeping', 'The Kid'), written by Adam Brooks ('Practical Magic', 'Definitely, Maybe', 'French Kiss') and Dan Fogelman ('Crazy, Stupid, Love', 'Cars', 'Tangled') and features an Oscar winning main cast of veteran stars. It is set to hit UK cinema screens on November 8th 2013.
When 60-something-year-old Billy finally announces to his best friends Paddy, Archie and Sam that he's going to tie the knot once and for all, he is determined that his last days as a single man will be as wild as 1959. On a mission to raise the roof with an epic bachelor party, they land in Las Vegas where partying hard is law. However, the city is not how they left it; things have changed a lot since they were kids and they are about to be outdone by the youth of today as they embark on a riotous weekend that will test themselves, their friendships and how they see the world. On the other hand, age verification will unlikely be necessary.
Continue: Last Vegas Trailer
Date of birth
24th October, 1947
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