Review: Beauty And The Beast

Director: Bill Condon (Kinsey, Gods & Monsters, Dream Girls)
Remake of 1991 Beauty and the Beast
Screenplay: Stephen Chbosky (screenplay), Evan Spiliotopoulos (screenplay) Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont (Tale By)
Producer: David Hoberman
Starring: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Josh Gad, Kevin Kline
MPAA Rating: PG
Running time: 129 min.



My original posting of this review can be found at


Something unexpected happens when familiar tales are re-imagined for new audiences. Since much of the story is well-known, it allows those gathered to focus less on the story, and more on the voice doing the telling. Plot and prose take a back seat to cadence and inflection, which can bring new life and luminosity to a well-known story…

…or it can screw up the story entirely.

It’s a tale as old as time.

Once there was a young prince (Dan Stevens) who lived a lush life in a grand castle. One night, as he’s holding a lavish ball when disheveled beggar woman comes calling, he mocks her before turning her away. Seeing the vain and uncaring nature of the prince’s heart, the beggar – actually an enchantress – casts a spell on him, his home, and everyone in it.

He is turned into a hideous beast, and his court all household items. So they will stay until their master can learn to love.

Years later, in the town at the foot of the hill, a young girl named Belle (Emma Watson) is the misfit of her town. While other girls her age pine for marriage, she seeks independence. While others slave over the washing, she invents ways of doing chores faster. While others in town drink and gossip, she only has eyes for the pages of her books…and her loving father (Kevin Klein).

When her father takes his wares to sell, his wagon gets lost on the road. After surviving a wolf attack, he seeks refuge in an isolated castle that seems largely abandoned…but for the roaring fire in the hearth. Inside, he meets what has become of the court; Lumiere, now a candelabra (Ewan McGregor), Cogsworth, now a clock (Ian McKellan), Mrs. Potts, now a teapot (Emma Thompson)…and the furry and frightening lord of the manor. The Beast doesn’t take kindly to strangers – especially ones who help themselves to roses growing in his garden, so Belle’s father becomes his prisoner.

After fighting off advances from the beefy and smarmy Gaston (Luke Evans), Belle is alerted to her father’s disappearance. When she makes her way to the castle to search for him, she bargains with The Beast to take his place instead.

The Beast agrees, sends father on his way, and holds Belle in his place. The court sees this unfold and wonders aloud if she might be the one to teach their master to love and break the curse?

But who could ever love a beast?

Would you like to know more…?

Micro Teasers: Ghost In The Shell

After years of false starts and unfulfilled promises, the live-action remake of Mamoru Oshii’s influential animated feature, Ghost In The Shell is coming with Scarlett Johansson in the lead role (and Michael Pitt, Beat Takeshi and Juliette Binoche on support). Throughout a recent episode of Mr. Robot, a series of 6 second micro teasers showed during the commercial breaks, and they have been re-constructed to form a teaser trailer of sorts, and the result is a creepy Under The Skin (ish) vibe going here. Which I quite like.

Trailer: Point Break (remake)

“See you in the next life!”

Remember when the James Bond franchise started taking its cues from the Jason Bourne Franchise? It appears that the remake of Katheryn Bigelow’s 1991 high-testosterone cheese classic, Point Break, is taking its cues from the film franchise that started off as in imitator, The Fast and The Furious. This may not be a complete surprise, as the director, Eric Core, was the cinematographer for the original F&F film from 2001.

An ever increasing set of heists are featured in the trailer look incredibly expensive and excellently staged, and I must admit, Édgar Ramírez is 100% convincing as surf and extreme sports guru, Bodie (originally played at the height of fame Patrick Swayze), and relative unknown beefcake, Luke Bracey strikes a radically different tone that the “Whoa” of Keanu Reeves who originally played undercover FBI agent, Johnny Utah (which outside of Snake Plissken is probalby the best movie name ever). Supporting stalwarts Ray Winstone and Delroy Lindo are on hand to lend a little character actor gravitas to the proceedings. It looks less unhinged (perhaps from lacking Gary Busey) than the original, and seemingly in line with the expensive-and-glossy-but-safe movie world we find ourselves in.

Fan of the original? Leave your thoughts in the comment section.

Occultober – Day 26 – Şeytan

Turkey has a long history of ripping off and shoddily remaking American Blockbusters from the 1970s and 1980s. Titles range from Star Wars to E.T. to Superman to Predator, and the Turkish versions are cult oddities (for those who like watching ineptness of the highest order) in part due their Hollywood counterparts are big budget blockbusters with some of the best filmmaking talent behind them. By comparison, these remakes can only be seen as shoddy product to be consumed by less critical local filmgoers with only vague notions of the original films.

Şeytan was released in 1974, and while it doesn’t follow exactly the plot of William Friedkin’s masterpiece, The Exorcist it borrows the floating bed, the turning head, and many other images. Of course it all looks a bit silly if you don’t have enough talent to get past the threshold of suspension of disbelief. A young girl named Gul, from a well off family in Istanbul plays with an Ouija Board, gets possessed by Satan and requires a psychiatrist and a priest to set her soul free. Silly special effects and hysterical over-acting ensue.

Would you like to know more…?

New Annie trailer lacks dance numbers. Maybe they did it on purpose?


Musicals are not typically my thing but even my coal heart couldn’t say no to the adorableness of Quvenzhané Wallis in the upcoming Annie remake.

Wallis stars as the titular character, an orphan girl living with a mean foster mother, played here by Cameron Diaz, who finds herself at the center of a media circus when a business tycoon and mayoral candidate, Jamie Foxx as Benjamin Stacks, takes advantage of the media’s love with the little girl in order to advance his career.

I was vaguely curious about the project because of Rose Byrne’s involvement and the fact that it’s directed by Will Gluck, but beyond that, I had no interest in Annie pre-trailer but now that I’ve seen Wallis being all cute and big haired and charming and stuff, I can’t help but think that this might be really sweet. Still not sure it’s for me but boy, that Wallis sure is adorable.

Annie opens December 19th.

Cinecast Episode 341 – The Pleasure Port

Perhaps the reboot of RoboCop (beware of SPOILERS!) isn’t quite as horrible and unnecessary as we all feared. Perhaps it’s chock full of good ideas updating its presence for the new millennium… or perhaps not. Matt Fabramble crosses international borders to join the Cinecast this week to discuss. We also Lynch the sci-fi fantasy cluster-feck that is Dune, in our ongoing 1984 project. “True Detective” keeps on trucking as well and continues to excel. Kurt and Andrew tackle the nature of time itself and the various dark dimensions swirling about humanity. The Watch List includes a whole lot of debauchery with sex masters and gigolos, hot Helen Hunt, crying on the inside and the best looking black and white film ever made. Oh, and apparently we’re not done hashing out LEGOgate. We’ve done it before and we’re destined to do it again. And again. And again. And over again.

As always, please join the conversation by leaving your own thoughts in the comment section below and again, thanks for listening!



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Full show notes are under the seats…
Would you like to know more…?

Review: RoboCop (2014)

RoboCop poster

Director: Jose Padilha (Elite Squad, Elite Squad: The Enemy Within, Bus 174)
Screenplay: Joshua Zetumer,
Producers: Marc Abraham, Brad Fischer, Eric Newman
Starring: Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, Abbie Cornish, Samuel L. Jackson, Jackie Earle Haley, Michael K. Williams
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running time: 108 min.

As with any original property that is beloved by fans the world over, the idea of remaking RoboCop was not one that was going to be met with rapturous applause. But unlike a lot of remakes, especially from the ’80s – that most fondly remembered of entertainment eras – there’s actually nuggets of ideas in there that could very well work as a modern update.

And that’s where the RoboCop remake at least partially succeeds at what it sets out to do; update this technology-driven high concept to the modern day, or rather almost a decade and a half into the future, when the idea of robotic limbs and Artificial Intelligence is no longer just science fiction.

Would you like to know more…?

Friday One Sheet: HUD

The original Robocop was not the first film to make significant use of the Heads Up Display on screen (James Cameron’s The Terminator came a few years earlier) but it certainly made very effective use of it, particularly in the ‘resurrection of Murphy’ sequences at OCP. I do not know if the reboot of the film will be any good, but you’ve got to hand it to the marketing department for putting out some eye catching posters for the film. You can’t go too wrong with this much red in the palette, can you? Also, kudos for using the 4 operating directives verbatim as the text here, which work well as taglines, now that I see it in this fashion.

Trailer: We Are What We Are


We are big fans in these parts of director Jim Mickle (who was even kind enough to guest spot on the cinecast), the director previously made dramatically driven genre pictures, Mulberry St. and Stakeland, films that paid very close attention to keeping ‘the family unit’ close together. So Mickle was perhaps an obvious choice when it came time to do an English remake of the Jorge Michel Grau’s We Are What We Are, a film about a family of cannibals dealing with the future after the death of their patriarch and possible discovery in the aftermath. Featuring a superb cast led by Mickle regular (and regular co-writer) Nick Damici, as well as Michael Parks and Kelly McGillis, the remake played Cannes and Sundance and is showing up on VOD at the end of September. Until then, the original is on Netflix Instant.

Check out the trailer below.

Trailer: Unforgiven

I was holding out that we might get an English subtitled version of this trailer a short while after it went up unsubbed at Twitch on Friday, but such is not the case. It’s too long to wait to so here us the gorgeous first look at the Sang-il Lee’s Japanese remake of Clint Eastwood’s 1991 classic Unforgiven. Even if the Zhang Yimou’s Chinese re-envisioning of Blood Simple as A Woman, A Gun and A Noodleshop didn’t quite pan out, I fully expect the awareness of Ken Watanabe (Inception, The Last Samurai, Batman Begins, Letters from Iwo Jima) as well as the source material (and a bit of a hunger for well produced samurai films), to get this a sizeable North American theatrical release at some point. Satô Kôichi and Jun Kunimura co-star.

Trailer: Spike Lee’s Oldboy

Here comes Spike Lee’s remake of Park Chan-Wook’s crazy, ultra-violent comic book flick Oldboy. The fans of the original are legion, for many it was a key introduction to South Korean cinema in the early 2000s, and there has already been a fairly large debate as to what this remake can amount to. But never count out Spike Lee, whose only truly straight-up genre picture was 2006’s Inside Man, which is a feat of filmmaking par excellence. Unsurprisingly, when drunken ad-man Joe Doucett (Josh Brolin) gets mysteriously locked in a cell for two decades, Lee chooses to dwell on major American emotional and political beats on TV. Already, I see them taking a slightly different approach with the daughter (Elizabeth Olsen) and the jailer (Samuel L. Jackson) but they also seem to be keeping the original films signature set-piece, a lengthy fight with a hammer. I expect the rest of the film to be interesting with Lee at the helm, perhaps even better than Scorscese’s remake of Hong Kong genre-film touchstone Infernal Affairs. Time Will tell.

Have a look at the first Red-Band trailer for Spike Lee’s Oldboy, below.