Beauty and the Beast Review: Enchanting and absolutely wonderful

Adapted from the animated Disney film of the same name, Beauty and the Beast tells the story of a young prince (Dan Stevens) who after an encounter with an Enchantress, gets imprisoned in the form of a Beast. Alongside his caretakers and staff, who have all been transformed into household items; they all await the day that they can be freed from the curse by true love. An only opportunity arises when Belle (Emma Watson) visits the castle in search of her father, Maurice (Kevin Kline).

Okay, despite naysayers, haters and fence keepers of the film, I must say that I absolutely loved it. I watched this film twice (once in IMAX) and still couldn’t get enough! Though a remake with several differences, the plot was still closely similar to the animated film and the songs were so much fun to sing along to.

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“You can’t read that, can you?” ©Walt Disney Pictures

The casting team should give themselves a pat on the back because everyone was perfect for their roles. Bear with me as I’m about to go into the reasons why for the main four.

I know of some who would disagree with Watson playing Belle but given the age of the character, there really isn’t anyone else. And though I know her voice sounded flat at times, I thought it wasn’t too bad. With the question about Belle’s Stockholm Syndrome in the air before the film opened in cinemas, I’m happy to see that Watson took on the character in a different way. Her version of Belle seemed a lot more tomboy-ish and despite her wardrobe being slightly underwhelming, it still had elements from the animation while still staying practical for everyday use. In terms of her personality, she stands up for herself and decides to make her stay here as unpleasant for the Beast as possible. This actually helps to make her relationship with the Beast more believable as compared to the animated film.

Charming audiences as Matthew Crawley in Downton Abbey, Stevens returns to charm audiences as the Beast. I particularly enjoyed the song they had composed for the Beast to sing, solely because we’ve never heard how he felt about Belle before. It was both moving and sweet – which kinda showed how much Belle had changed him. This also felt like a tailor-made role for Stevens as he does have some dreamy baby blues.

Film Review Beauty and the Beast
“You’re either with me, or against me.” ©Walt Disney Pictures

There is no one who could have taken on the role of Gaston as flawlessly as Luke Evans. Besides being able to sing (quite similarly) like the animated Gaston, Evans embodies that arrogant swagger without breaking a sweat. During the scene where he incites the mob, it was almost hard to remember that this horrible man doesn’t exist. Evans’ effortless attempt at being bad really made it so easy to think that he probably is Gaston in real life. But of course, that’s not true. He’s a sweetheart – did you see that instagram post with his mom?

An already Disney familiar, Josh Gad takes on a new character in the Disney Universe as LeFou. Although there had been several negative responses to LeFou being gay, I actually thought it didn’t matter as much as people thought it would. There wasn’t any scenes that would have been deemed unfriendly for children and let’s be honest – this new aspect of LeFou helped to make scenes witty and enjoyable. Gad’s ability to steal scenes with his expressions definitely made him the easiest to cast and I liked that he added a bit of conscience into his character, especially when faced with Gaston’s decisions.

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“Trade you these flowers for your book?” ©Walt Disney Pictures

As a huge fan of musicals, I really liked that they added in new original songs for the film. It helped to tell the story a little especially when the words depict the emotions in the scene or moment in the film. Though I felt Ewan McGregor’s rendition of Be Our Guest was a little flat, the visual made up for it especially with Cogsworth in a turban.

This is by far one of my favorite movies of 2017 and it’ll probably be my next obsession once the film comes out in DVD. Excuse me while I replay Gaston for the hundredth time.

Rating:

starstarstarstarstar

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Kong Skull Island Review: Man, what a roller-coaster ride!

On an expedition to explore an uncharted island in the Pacific, a diverse group of scientists, soldiers and adventurers come face-to-face with the largest inhabitant of the island, Kong. Almost immediately depleting their numbers in group by more than half, their exciting adventure into the unknown suddenly becomes a survival of the fittest.

As an action-packed film, it is safe to say that Kong Skull Island didn’t have much plot. While that in itself is not a detrimental factor, it did leave quite a few plot holes which I had hoped were filled by the end of the film.

The star of this film was definitely Kong himself, who through the wonderful effort of CGI artists, became a creature that looked so realistic that I got jealous when Brie Larson’s character touched his face. The creation of Kong’s foe was also quite intricately done though I can’t say I’m a fan of the regurgitating bit. Because of the amazing CGI done, the fight scene between these two creatures was definitely the highlight of the film.

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“Game face on everyone.” ©Warner Bros.

I actually liked that the film generally didn’t care much for it’s human characters and who played them. I was quite surprise to see the quick demise of characters played by veteran actors, whom I had assumed would have survived till the end of the film. It was no surprise that Samuel L Jackson reprises yet another character that doesn’t take crap from nobody – even if it is a 100 foot ape. Brie Larson and Tom Hiddleston didn’t really create much of an impression for me as I kinda see them as playing themselves. I did particularly enjoy John C.Reilly’s portrayal of World War II vet, Hank Marlow. Though some would view him as the comic relief, his character was easy to warm up to and became quite endearing after a while.

Though very much a film riddled with unanswered questions, Kong Skull Island is very much like a ride at Universal Studios; especially if you catch it in IMAX 3D. Just remember to stay till the end of the credits for a surprise link to another beloved creature that we’re all pretty familiar with.

Hint: His name starts with a G.

Rating:

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Logan review: This is how you say good-bye

In 2029, Mutants are near extinct and Logan (Hugh Jackman) takes it upon himself to assimilate into an ordinary life in order to keep Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) hidden and safe. His life is turned upside down when Gabriella (Elizabeth Rodriguez), a Transigen nurse who turns up calling him by his mutant name seeking his help for a little girl named Laura (Dafne Keen). Despite being able to shake the nurse off, he is approached by Donald Pierce (Boyd Holbrook), the head of security at Transigen, who suspects Logan’s involvement. An unexpected incident following the meet with Pierce thrusts Logan reluctantly into helping Laura get to safety.

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“There’s still plenty of other opportunities out there after this!” ©Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

I’d have to say that this is hands-down the best Wolverine-centered film to date. It not only brought the character of Wolverine to a whole new level; it ended the Jackman era of Logan perfectly.

The plot for Logan was fast-paced and pulled no punches when it came to being brutal and gory. I winced every time he put his claws through someone’s skull, and pulls them out blood-stained. It definitely had bits of Western flavor in it but that didn’t affect the movie in anyway. Though Logan had been action-packed like the other films in the franchise, I felt that it had more heart as there were more dramatic scenes that helped Logan confront his fears and hesitations.

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“That’s for calling me small, you buttface!” ©Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

For a young actress like Keen, it was an impressive role that she played. As most of her scenes didn’t have her engaging in a dialogue, it was crucial for her expressions and behavior to be expressed at the right timing. It was great to see her balancing the toughness of the mutant side of her character as well as the innocent side of the child her character was. Gone are the days where Stewart and Jackman had prim and proper looks. Having aged the characters, it was strangely endearing to see Charles Xavier as a 90-year old grandpa. His quirky mannerisms and smart comebacks even reminded me of McAvoy’s Xavier in several scenes. As for Jackman’s aged Logan – it was truly hard for me to see the unbeatable Wolverine suddenly
become lesser of the man and mutant he used to be. What I really liked about this side of Logan was the raw emotion he seemed to experience as he slowly breaks the shell he’s built around him. Having played this role for 16 years, Jackman definitely did justice as he took the screens as Wolverine for the final time.

All in all, Logan was an enjoyable last installment to Wolverine’s franchise though I’m pretty sure a reboot is currently up for discussions. I won’t be surprised if this isn’t the last time we see the group of kids from Transigen either, since their escape to Canada as they’re basically a new group of X-Men.

So what’s next, 20th Century Fox?

Rating:

starstarstarstarhalfstar

The Woes of Being a Wallflower

Wallflower: Someone who sees and knows things but is typically out of the limelight because, well, they’re shy.

I’m from an all-girls Catholic primary and secondary school (elementary and high school). I spent about 11 years of my life in a trendy blue-and-white uniform surrounded by dozens of popularity-hungry girls as I navigated through the academic chapter of my childhood.

My decision to become a Wallflower came when I was about 9 years old.

I had been a Regina George in primary school with a haughty attitude to match. Many of my classmates started spreading rumors about me being a bossy person and pretty soon, schoolmates whom I’m not even acquainted with were judging me. Because of this sudden blow, I had started to re-program my attitude while building a way of blending into the background. It worked so well that even my teachers started to notice less and less of me in a classroom setting.

Don’t get me wrong – being a Wallflower has its perks. Teachers think of you as quiet and obedient, while mean girls generally can’t see you. It’s a win-win situation if I might say so for myself. But even with its upside, there is a down-side.

And that is: You almost always turn out socially awkward.

My Wallflower abilities had developed so well that I even had an issue with keeping eye contact in a conversation. It plagued me for 6 years until I turned 14 years old and figured that talking to a future employer’s forehead was grounds for permanent unemployment.

I’ve never been in a relationship nor do I have any close guy friends. My closest friends are females but unlike me, they’ve had no trouble approaching the opposite sex. My mom had always told me that I’d eventually make more male friends when I started teen Catechism but the Wallflower side of me still prevailed. I skipped social gatherings which included church camps and field trips even though it would have been the perfect place to make a friend or two.

I’m 26 now and being a Wallflower is still in my nature. Social settings have gotten less awkward but the cautious Wallflower side of me still keeps an eye on the situation and the coziest corner away from the life of the party. I’ve started using dating apps to break out of my socially awkward shell but though the profile has been set up a week ago; I’ve not initiated a like on any prospective male profile.

At this rate, I’m starting to think that I might just end up with a house full of dogs named after celebrity men who I’ve dated in my dreams. Good boy, DiCaprio!