‘Beauty and the Beast’ is fresh remake to tale as old as time

‘Beauty and the Beast’ is fresh remake to tale as old as time

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast has received a live-action revamp, brought to life by Director Bill Condon. The result is a fresh remake on a beloved classic: a film that stays true to the original tale while adding character back-story and substance. The story centers on Belle (Emma Watson), a young girl from a “provincial” town who takes her father’s place after he is imprisoned in an enchanted castle. Belle’s captor, the Beast (Dan Stevens), is, in essence, imprisoned as well — a young prince who has been cursed and can only return to his human form if he finds true love. Beauty and the Beast is just the latest project in a series of live-action adaptations by Disney, following Cinderella (2015) and The Jungle Book (2016). Given Beauty and the Beast’s predecessors’ success and the amount of hype in the press leading up to its release, there was a risk that the movie would leave its audiences’ expectations unfulfilled. Fortunately, that was not the case, as the film exceeds expectations. Watson’s Belle is not a damsel in distress but portrays the princess as a fearless heroine. Belle is strong, independent and kind, making her character an empowering role model. Because she displays these qualities and is ambitious (in this version, she is not just a book lover, but an inventor as well), she is deemed odd by the villagers in town. Prior to her imprisonment in the castle, Belle dreams of a way to escape her confined life in the village. While Belle initially plans to escape the castle, she finds herself befriending its enchanted staff, who in turn...
‘Kong: Skull Island’ is entertaining action flick

‘Kong: Skull Island’ is entertaining action flick

Most audiences already know the story of King Kong — there’s a big monkey that walks around smashing things until the lights in the theater turn on, signaling the time to go home. What Kong: Skull Island adds to the story is surprisingly enjoyable. Unlike the original film, which focuses on Kong’s capture, Skull Island elaborates on the life of the island which includes giant spiders, octopi and stick bugs. The adventure follows around big names like Tom Hiddleston, who plays a tracker named James Conrad, and Samuel L. Jackson, who acts as Lieutenant Colonel Packard. Academy Award winning actress Brie Larson joins as Mason Weaver. The cinematography had a rough start, but once the audience adjusted to the film’s style, it was enjoyable to watch. Though the film tried to have serious moments, these moments mostly came off as ironic jokes. Nevertheless, this made it much more entertaining to watch. If moviegoers decide that they want to watch a movie that has no philosophical value yet still manages to keep viewers interested, this is the film for them. Kong: Skull Island is what you expect it to be: full of action, gore and one freaking giant money. So take it at face value. Rating:...
‘The Space Between Us’ emotionally brings audiences together but has space to improve

‘The Space Between Us’ emotionally brings audiences together but has space to improve

The Space Between Us is a heartwarming reminder of the complexity of love, but there are elements in which the film is ultimately lacking. There is nothing shockingly new or overwhelmingly picturesque about the cinematography, and while the soundtrack inspires a feeling of adventure, that’s the best sensation the audience receives from the film. Gardner Elliot, played by Asa Butterfield, is born on Mars after his astronaut mother left Earth unknowingly pregnant. Sixteen years later, all Gardner wants is to return to Earth to find his father and meet a girl he met online named Tulsa, played by Britt Robertson. He returns to Earth, and a breathtaking adventure to find love ensues. The Space Between Us may be the type of feel-good romantic comedy couples will flock to on Valentine’s Day, but the film doesn’t prioritize romantic love as the end-all be-all of relationships. The primary focus is Gardner’s search for his birth father and discovering all he can about his family. Despite the film’s releasing around Valentine’s Day, there is a crucial motif showing that being single is never the same as being unloved. The nature shots are stimulating and immersive, thanks to the beautiful color grading and artistic drone shots. However, if the best shots of the film were the drone shots, that’s not highly redeeming of the cinematography. Warmer color grading is used intentionally on Earth symbolizing the longing and passion represented on the planet. The film mostly showcases the adventurous scenery captured by Barry Peterson, the film’s director of photography. Besides the spirit of adventure, the defining feature of the film is the female characters. So often in films,...
Super Bowl LI preview: best QBs in league go head-to-head

Super Bowl LI preview: best QBs in league go head-to-head

Ageless wonder Tom Brady, coming off one of his best seasons, faces likely-league MVP Matt Ryan in Super Bowl LI. The matchup between Ryan, who statistically performed better than any QB in the league, and the experienced Brady should be one of the better Super Bowl QB matchups in recent memory. The Falcons’ Super Bowl inexperience won’t permit an easy upset over the perennial-favorite Patriots. With both the Falcons’ and the Patriots’ high-scoring offenses and best quarterbacks in the league, the game will come down to strong defensive strategy and some offensive creativity. Brady, widely considered by many to be the best quarterback of all time, has taken the Pats to seven Super Bowls total, winning four. In the AFC Championship against the Steelers, head coach Bill Belichick won his 11th conference championship game, the most in NFL history. With Brady having a 384 yard day against the Steelers, the Patriots’ offense will continue to excel in the matchup against the Falcons. In the Patriots’ past five games, dating back to Week 15, they’ve won by an average of 21.8 points, and with Brady at the helm since Week 5, they have won 13 of their last 14 games. Expect Brady to do what he’s done all season — not make many mistakes.  QB Ryan leads the Falcons, earlier picked by some experts to finish towards the bottom of their division this year, into the Super Bowl with a high-flying offense. With a plethora of weapons at his disposal, Ryan has thrown at least one touchdown pass to 13 different receivers, his favorite target being Julio Jones, who has...
A Dog’s Purpose amid controversy during opening weekend

A Dog’s Purpose amid controversy during opening weekend

A Dog’s Purpose, directed by Lasse Hallstrom is a film based on the novel by W. Bruce Cameron. The movie follows Bailey (voiced by Josh Gad), a lovable and spirited dog who finds himself being reborn again and again. As Bailey discovers something new with each life experience, he begins to wonder what his purpose is in life. The film, which also stars Dennis Quaid, Britt Robertson and Juliet Rylance, is rated PG even though it contains several jokes that only the older viewers will catch. Be sure to bring a box of Kleenex for this film. Since Bailey goes through many different lives, each one has to end for the next to come. The Golden Retriever also spends time as a German Shepard named Ellie and a Corgi named Ellie, among others. The best part of the movie has to be the connection between Bailey and one of his owners, Ethan. Their relationship carries on throughout the movie and is an essential part to making the story come full circle. It also highlights one of the main themes of the movie: the unbreakable bond between owner and pet. While the plot line is at times sappy, the film succeeds in its purpose of engaging sentimentality in its viewers. Intertwined with several different stories, some pleasant and others sorrowful, each section inspires a variety of emotions in the two-hour run time, as Bailey the dog goes on his journey. Rest assured, Bailey does discover his purpose, and when he does, you’ll be happy you packed that Kleenex. Unfortunately, the film’s touching story has not been what has made headlines...
‘Sherlock’s’ ‘The Final Problem’ leaves viewers questioning if it’s the series’ finale

‘Sherlock’s’ ‘The Final Problem’ leaves viewers questioning if it’s the series’ finale

Many flocked to theaters nationwide on Monday evening to view the season four finale of the popular BBC television series, Sherlock. The show, which is a modern take on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s detective series, follows the beloved, sociopathic detective, Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch), and his sidekick and best friend, Dr. John Watson (Martin Freeman), as they tackle case after case in present-day London. While the “The Final Problem” aired on TV screens Sunday night, the show is offering viewers a unique opportunity to see the series’ latest episode on the big screen, including 15 minutes of bonus behind-the-scenes content on Monday, January 16 and Wednesday, January 18. Whether you watched the show since the very beginning, binge-watched it over winter break or are viewing it for the first time, “The Final Problem” serves as a mini-movie that is easy to follow for all viewer types. If you are new to the series, the bonus content that airs prior to the showing offers a mini recap of prior events to catch you up on the latest case Sherlock and co. are attempting to solve. As for the actual episode, be prepared for an emotion-inducing thrill ride that will have you still trying to wrap your mind around everything that happened as the credits roll. Show creators Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat promised season four would have a much darker tone than previous years, and that was certainly the direction it went, with tragedy and heartbreak occurring in the very first episode of the season, leading into what is arguably the most emotional episode of the series in the season...