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

SPOTLIGHT

What makes Spotlight — the latest film from Tom McCarthy — such a strong piece of work, is that it is about the work. The time it takes to produce solid journalism. To knock on doors, read court documents and endless ledgers. To pester legal counsel and file motions until you get what you want. Spotlight is a movie about the Catholic sex scandal and the cover-up that followed, but it is also about the amount of time and work it took to bring that scandal to light. While that scandal is well-known in 2015, in 2001 — when the majority … Continue reading SPOTLIGHT

Movie Beat – 06.27.14

Archipelago – Another week, another movie from writer/director Joanna Hogg. This time out Hogg takes us to a remote English location to explore the quiet desperation in the lives of others. An archipelago is a collection of small islands in a vast sea, a perfect descriptor for this family who is waiting for Father to arrive. Smacks of Beckett and Antonioni, but in the best possible way. Starring Tom Hiddleston, Amy Lloyd, Christopher Baker, Kate Fahy and Lydia Leonard. In limited release from Kino Lorber.   Begin Again – Dan (Mark Ruffalo) is an ex-record executive who is drowning his … Continue reading Movie Beat – 06.27.14

Movie Beat – 03.07.14

300: Rise of an Empire – The Greeks and Persians are at war again in Frank Miller’s latest graphic novel, Xerese. The battle has moved from land to the sea, and the warriors have increased from 300 to a hell of a lot more. Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton) is leading the Greek army against mortal turned God, Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) and the fierce general of the Persian Army, Artemisia (Eva Green) who has a score to settle. Supporting cast includes, Lena Headey, David Wenham, Andrew Tiernan and a horde of digital fodder all moving in varying speeds of dramatic slow motion. … Continue reading Movie Beat – 03.07.14

Movie Beat – 02.21.14

3 Days To Kill – Kevin Costner is an agent assigned to killing, torturing and blowing-up parts of Paris. I wonder what on his resume landed him the job? He wants out, but his boss (Amber Heard?) wants him to take one last job. He does. Bad idea. His family gets involved, badder idea. He takes his teenage daughter (Hailee Steinfeld) along with him. Baddest idea. What will his wife (Connie Nielsen) think? Directed by that three-lettered Charlie’s Angels guy, McG, and in wide release from Relativity Media.   Almost Human – Two years ago, Mark (Josh Ethier) was abducted … Continue reading Movie Beat – 02.21.14

Movie Beat – 12.13.13

American Hustle – It’s all about the con, not the con-artist, but the con. Every business, every transaction, every dream levied is a con in one way or another, and director David O. Russell is out to show everyone how deep the con goes. Christian Bale and Amy Adams are the con artist, Jennifer Lawrence is his ex-wife, Bradley Cooper is the FBI agent needing a little help, Jeremy Renner is the politician who is conning everyone, and Eric Singer and David O. Russell are the writers who concocted this whole shebang. Out in limited release from Sony Pictures.   … Continue reading Movie Beat – 12.13.13

Movie Beat – 11.22.13

Bettie Page Reveals All – She was the original pin-up girl. That magnificent cocktail of beauty, innocence, naughty and nice. What was so compelling about a picture of Betty Page was her joyous approach to sexuality. Anyone looking at her picture would immediately let their mind wander to possibilities and what a good time it would be. Of course, the notorious Mrs. Page came along in a very reserved and conservative time, and she disappeared from view, but her image and legacy lived on. Writer/producer/director Mark Mori found Mrs. Page and got her to narrate her life story, and here … Continue reading Movie Beat – 11.22.13

Movie Beat – 10.18.13

2 Jacks – A modern and comic spin on a classic Leo Tolstoy story, “Two Hussars” set in Los Angeles. The Jacks are both movie directors, with the son following in the father’s footsteps whether he likes it or not. It’s a cutthroat business, this movie business, and it takes a cutthroat individual to make it happen. Danny Huston plays Jack Sr., Jack Huston is Jack Jr., Sienna Miller and Jacqueline Bisset play the girl, and Billy Zane and Rosie Fellner add to the cast. Bernard Rose directed and Breaking Glass Pictures gives this one a limited release.   12 … Continue reading Movie Beat – 10.18.13

Movie Beat – 04.05.13

André Gregory: Before and After Dinner – Most people know André Gregory from My Dinner With Andre, a filmed conversation on life with his close friend and collaborator Wallace Shawn. Others know of his extensive work in the theater, some may know of his brief stint in Hollywood. But only one person knows the whole story, and it’s not Gregory, it’s his wife, director Cindy Kleine. This is a look back in the life of one man, who became a bit of a cultural icon. Never one to shy away, Gregory offers plenty to his fans, but for those who haven’t yet … Continue reading Movie Beat – 04.05.13

Movie Beat – 03.01.12

21 And Over – Jeff Chang (Justin Chon) is a straight-A student who is trying to get into medical school. In fact, he has an interview for said school tomorrow morning, but tonight, tonight he is twenty-one. It would be a real shame to let such a historic moment go by, and one beer won’t hurt, right? One wouldn’t have, but Casey (Skylar Astin) and Miller (Miles Teller) show up and put that idea to bed. Jeff Chang has one hell of a night: drinking, stripping, mayhem, and chicks. Written and directed by the duo that brought you The Hangover (Jon Lucas … Continue reading Movie Beat – 03.01.12