Sunday, March 26, 2017

Beauty & The Beast

★★★★★ - A Review by Cameron Kanachki

"You have to help me. You have to stand." That's a great quote from Emma Watson in Beauty & The Beast, an absolutely amazing remake of the classic Disney animated film. Watson plays Belle, an avid book reader living with her widowed father, Maurice (played by Kevin Kline) in the French village of Villeneuve. Gaston (played by Luke Evans), a former soldier, wants to marry Belle, but she is repulsed by him. One night, Maurice & his horse, Philippe, end up at a castle seeking refuge. Maurice is eventually imprisoned there by The Beast (played by Dan Stevens) as punishment for taking a rose from the garden. Belle eventually goes there & asks to be imprisoned in Maurice's place, to which The Beast agrees.

Belle is eventually met by some of the objects in the castle: Lumière (played by Ewan McGregor), a candelabra; Cogsworth (played by Ian McKellen), a shelf clock; Mrs. Potts (played by Emma Thompson), a teapot; Chip (played by Nathan Mack), Mrs. Potts's son & also a teapot; Maestro Cadenza (played by Stanley Tucci), a harpsichord; Madame de Garderobe (played by Audra McDonald), Maestro Cadenza's wife & a wardrobe; & Plumette (played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw), Lumière's lover & a feather duster. They explain to Belle that they, along with The Beast, were transformed from humans into objects (or in The Beast's case, a beast) as punishment for not taking in a poor beggar from the cold. After The Beast (who was a prince) refused to let her in, the beggar transformed herself into a beautiful enchantress, who realized that The Beast was ignorant. She then transformed The Beast from a prince into a beast, & also turned the people who lived in the castle into objects. The enchantress also left an enchanted rose. To break the spell, The Beast must love someone & receive their love in return before the last petal of the rose falls. If that doesn't happen, he will remain a beast forever, & the objects will no longer be sentient & become regular objects.

Belle eventually grows to care for The Beast. But time is running out, & Gaston, along with his sidekick LeFou (played by Josh Gad), are planning to kill The Beast. Now, Belle must show her love for The Beast & stop Gaston from killing him.

The cast is amazing. Bill Condon's direction is amazing. The screenplay by Stephen Chbosky & Evan Spiliotopoulos is brilliant. The cinematography by Tobias Schliessler is breathtaking. The editing by Virginia Katz is excellent. The costume design by Jacqueline Durran is amazing. The production design by Sarah Greenwood is beautiful. The makeup & hairstyling is amazing. The film score by Alan Menken is amazing. And the visual effects are excellent. This is one of the best Disney live-action adaptations yet, & it actually improves on the animated masterpiece that it was adapted from.

Sunday, March 5, 2017


★★★★★ - A Review by Cameron Kanachki

"The world is not the same as it was, Charles." That's a great quote from Hugh Jackman in Logan, the best film in the X-Men franchise. Jackman reprises his role as James "Logan" Howlett, AKA Wolverine. Set in 2029, Logan is now a chauffeur. He is aging extremely fast because the adamantium in his body is poisoning him, & his healing factor is depleting as a result. He also hustles for prescription drugs in Texas. No new mutants have been born in 25 years. Logan, along with albino mutant Caliban (played by Stephen Merchant) care for Professor Charles Xavier, AKA Professor X (played by Patrick Stewart), who is suffering from dementia & devastating seizures. Logan is offered a job by Donald Pierce (played by Boyd Holbrook), chief of security for Transigen, but he refuses.

One day, Logan is asked by a nurse named Gabriela (played by Elizabeth Rodriguez) to escort her & her 11-year old daughter, Laura (played by Dafne Keen) to Eden, a place in North Dakota. After Logan reluctantly agrees, Gabriela is murdered. Logan, Xavier & Laura escape, but Caliban is kidnapped & used to track Logan, Xavier & Laura. Logan learns that Transigen was breeding mutant children in Mexico born from the female employees from the X-23 project. Upon completion of the X-24 project, the children were rendered unnecessary & were to be killed. Gabriela & Laura escaped. Now, Logan must fulfill his promise, as Laura is just like him, & take her to North Dakota.

The cast is amazing, especially Dafne Keen, who gives one of the best debut performances I've ever seen. James Mangold's direction is excellent. The screenplay by Mangold, Scott Frank & Michael Green is amazing. The cinematography by John Mathieson is breathtaking. The editing by Michael McCusker is excellent. And the film score by Marco Beltrami is amazing. This is one of the best superhero films ever made.