Tag Archives: Emma Watson

Beauty and the Beast (2017)

Beauty_and_the_Beast_2017_poster

The animated Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is great and bookish Belle is a classic Disney heroine. So the live action adaptation of the Best Picture nominated movie has a lot of expectations behind it. Can it enchant a new audience?

Belle (Emma Watson) is an outcast among the people in her village, and longs for something more in life. She soon gets her chance when her father (Kevin Kline) is held prisoner in a mysterious palace for stealing a rose (the fiend!) and swaps herself in his place. However the prince of the palace is an enchanted Prince (Dan Stevens) who will remain under a beastly appearance unless someone can see beneath th beast and fall in love with him. Who could that be?

It can come across as Beauty and the Beast Karaoke as the live action film follows the same plot, characters and songs as the animated version. But considering how popular that movie is the studio would be crazy to change too much and most of the changes are to enhance characters (such as making Belle an inventor) or explain plot holes from the animated movie (such as why no one knows about the big freaking castle nearby). Most of these changes are welcome addition however it’s a shame the new songs don’t shine as much as the classics.

After the new prologue feature Dan Stevens in pre-Beast get up the film properly gets going as we follow Belle around her village set to the song ‘Belle’. From then on the audience is easily drawn into the story all over again. It has to be said the sets and costumes are a feast for the eyes, and while they can’t match the gorgeousness of the animation there’s still something striking about seeing this all come to life in live action.

Emma Watson is wonderful as Belle, bringing warmth, intelligence and modern sensibilities to Belle. At first I wasn’t sure about Dan Stevens’ Beast however the more interaction he had with Watson’s Belle the more I was drawn to his character. The stand out character though has to be Luke Evans’ Gaston who looks as if he was ripped out of the animated movie to play the dastardly villain. Evans strikes the right balance of humour, menace and over the top theatrics to bring Gaston to life. His and Josh Gad’s LeFou have a great rendition of the song ‘Gaston’ and is one of the many highlights of the film.

Theres been much made about Disney’s first openly gay character being present in this film and the ‘gay moment’ will have most people saying “is that it?” However on reflection it is still a big step in Disney history and the fact that Disney knows their box office will be restricted because of this (with some countries rating it adults only or banning it outright altogether) means it’s a brave move on their part. As this movie is also the first to feature an interracial kiss, one can hope Disney can continue taking further steps towards diversity in its future films.

Beauty and the Beast is an easy film to be swept away and charmed with, and with everything that’s going on in the world its nice to whirl yourself into a world where kindness and inner beauty shines through.

Rating 4/5 – sure to be a new family favourite, allow yourself to be their guest at a cinema near you

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The Bling Ring

The fifth film directed by Sofia Coppola surrounds the true life story of 5 privedged, fame obsessed teenagers who burgled the homes of Hollywood stars, stealing clothes, jewellery and other personal items to emulate their idols. It’s a kind of black comedy/crime drama, where the victims include Lindsay Lohan and Orlando Bloom.

We follow the teens as they talk about celebrities, start their first attempts at breaking and entering and how a quick look on Google escalates into several break ins into Paris Hilton’s house. Fair play to Hilton for making a cameo and allowing Coppola and co to film in her actual house.

It can be hard to set a story around characters that you know aren’t going to be likeable-the closest we get is insecure, new kid Marc (Israel Broussard) who is desperate to belong. However the story itself is so interesting that this isn’t a problem. Coppola’s films tend to centre around lost girls (and boy in this case) and these teenagers are no exceptions. These characters base their own identities around celebrities, looking good and what can make them famous. Although I don’t have much sympathy for them it is sad that they think that this is all there is to life.

Coppola has assembled a great cast. Emma Watson plays Nikki, a self obsessed home schooled girl whose’s mother teaches lessons based on The Secret. Nikki is based on Alexis Neiers, and anyone who has seen Neiers in her reality show Pretty Wild on E! (no just me?) knows that Watson’s performance is spot on. Watson impresses with a role thats a world away from her Harry Potter days. With this kind of verssatility Watson is destined to go far.   I even think Watson could be in with a best supporting actress nod.

The lesser known actors are also great, especually Katie Chang as the ringleader Rebecca and Broussard as the insecure Marc. The other actresses fade into the background a bit more but in group scenes the cast play well off each other.

Coppola seems to be growing in confidence with each film. There are some great sequences in the film, such as the break in to Audrina Patridge’s house, done in one wide scale shot as we seem them go through the entire house. It’s as if we are outside the house watching this happen (like one of these celebrity obsessed teens). The film successfully opens up debate about todays obsession with celebrity without blugoning us over the head with any message. Coppola just allows the story to speak for itself.

Rating 4/5-Sofia Coppola’s most accomplished film yet.

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