BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

If a description is necessary of Disney’s 2017 live-action re-telling of Beauty and the Beast, let it be this: Moviemaking by committee. Not one frame of this two-hour and nine-minute hollow money grab smacks of personality or identity. Nor does it carry the weight of craft, charm or the unbridled joy found in either the 1991 animated version or the 1946 live-action film from Jean Cocteau. Instead, Beauty and the Beast opts for familiarity, redundancy and unnecessary indulgences that neither expand the world nor reveal uncovered truths. Sticking close to both the ’91 animated telling and the ’94 Broadway musical that … Continue reading BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

Movie Beat – 03.28.14

5 Hour Friends – Timothy (Tom Sizemore) loves to golf. If he could, he would spend every waking moment of every day golfing. But life is not that simple, so Timothy has to do other things, such as work (occasionally), deal with his ex-wife (only when necessary), send money to his son (when he has any), drink (all the time) and pick up women to keep him company. Life is one big juggling act for Timothy, and he has mastered the trick. Kimberlin Brown, Musetta Vander, Dan Hewitt Owens and Leilani Sarelle co-star in this low-budget look at a man … Continue reading Movie Beat – 03.28.14

Movie Beat – 11.08.13

The Armstrong Lie – “Sure I cheated. BUT, I didn’t cheat that one time, and I want credit for it.” Seems like a silly argument to take, but Lance Armstrong was a cheater, what else would you expect? In 2009, director Alex Gibney and producer Frank Marshall set out to make a documentary about Lance Armstrong, the man who overcame testicular cancer and became the poster boy of cycling. Over the course of the lionization of Armstrong, the truth came out, and boy did the subject change course. Documentary out in limited release from Sony Pictures Classics.   At Berkeley … Continue reading Movie Beat – 11.08.13

THE BLING RING

The Bling Ring - Poster

From the opening guitar riff of Sleigh Bells’ “Crown on the Ground” The Bling Ring announces exactly what kind of movie it is going to deliver: loud music (that will no doubt comment on the action), characters walking in slow motion to accentuate their “cool”, and a whole lot of glamour. In a lot of movies, this is trite and unnecessary, but in The Bling Ring it fits perfectly. Here are a group of kids who probably think that their life is worthy of a movie, as long as they are the stars. If they were to walk past a mirror, they would be incapable of not checking themselves out in it. They are byproduct of a celebrity culture gone haywire. Anyone can be famous or they at least can be close to someone who is famous. Twitter connects strangers directly into their hero’s thoughts and Instagram takes those beautiful people down from the larger than life screens and places them in tiny little pictures in our phones. Their pictures there, right next to your photo from last nights dinner and that bottle of wine with the label you couldn’t pronounce. They are practically our friends, and we are practically celebrities, all we need is for TMZ to show up and take our picture. That is validation enough.

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Movie Beat – 06.14.13

20 Feet From Stardom – There isn’t that much distance from the band at the front of the stage, and the singers in the back. Only a twenty foot walk, but, as The Boss puts it, “It’s a bit of a walk.” This documentary follows Merry Clayton, Darlene Love, Claudia Lennear, Lisa Fischer, and Judith Hill, all back-up singers, all trying to break into careers with some sort of success, some sort of identification, something that isn’t so difficult, so heartbreaking, so discouraging. Not having your dreams come true is difficult, but is the difficulty easier or harder when you … Continue reading Movie Beat – 06.14.13