REVIEW: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (2017)

Starring

Emma Watson (Harry Potter)
Dan Stevens (Legion)
Luke Evans (Dracula untold)
Kevin Kline (Last Vegas)
Josh Gad (Frozen)
Ewan McGregor (Christopher Robin)
Stanley Tucci (The Hunger Games)
Audra McDonald (Rampart)
Ian McKellen (X-men)
Emma Thompson (Burnt)
Hattie Morahan (Alice Through The Looking Glass)
Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Belle)

Emma Watson and Dan Stevens in Beauty and the Beast (2017)A beautiful enchantress disguised as an old beggar woman arrives at a castle during a ball and offers the host, a cruel and selfish prince, a rose in return for shelter from a storm. When he refuses, she reveals her identity. To punish the prince for his lack of compassion, the enchantress transforms him into a beast and his servants into household objects, then erases the castle, the prince and his servants from the memories of their loved ones. She casts a spell on the rose and warns the prince that the curse will only be broken if he learns to love another, and earn their love in return, before the last petal falls, or he will remain a beast forever.Emma Watson and Luke Evans in Beauty and the Beast (2017)Some years later, in the small town of Villeneuve, Belle, the book-loving daughter of a music box maker and artist Maurice, dreams of adventure and brushes off advances from Gaston, an arrogant former soldier. On his way to a convention and lost in the forest, Maurice seeks refuge in the Beast’s castle, but the Beast imprisons him for stealing a rose from his garden as a gift to Belle. When Maurice’s horse returns without him, Belle ventures out in search for him, and finds him locked in the castle dungeon. The Beast agrees to let her take Maurice’s place.Belle befriends the castle’s servants, who invite her to a spectacular dinner. When she wanders into the forbidden west wing and finds the rose, the Beast scares her into the woods. She is ambushed by a pack of wolves, but the Beast rescues her, and is injured in the process. As Belle nurses his wounds, a friendship develops between them. The Beast shows Belle a gift from the enchantress, a book that transports readers wherever they want. Belle uses the book to visit her childhood home in Paris, where she discovers a plague doctor mask and realizes that she and her father were forced to leave when her mother succumbed to the plague.Emma Watson in Beauty and the Beast (2017)In Villeneuve, Maurice fails to convince the other villagers of the Beast and Belle’s imprisonment. Gaston, seeing rescuing Belle as an opportunity to win her hand in marriage, agrees to help Maurice. When Maurice learns of his ulterior motive and rejects him, Gaston abandons him to be eaten by the wolves. Maurice is rescued by the hermit Agathe, but when he tells the townsfolk of Gaston’s crime and is unable to provide solid evidence, Gaston convinces them to send Maurice to an insane asylum.Emma Watson and Dan Stevens in Beauty and the Beast (2017)After sharing a romantic dance with the Beast, Belle discovers her father’s predicament using a magic mirror. The Beast releases her to save Maurice, giving her the mirror to remember him with. At Villeneuve, Belle reveals the Beast in the mirror to the townsfolk, proving her father’s sanity. Realizing that Belle loves the Beast, a jealous Gaston claims she has been charmed by dark magic, and has her thrown into the asylum carriage with her father. He rallies the villagers to follow him to the castle to slay the Beast before he curses the whole village. Maurice and Belle escape, and Belle rushes back to the castle.Emma Watson in Beauty and the Beast (2017)During the battle, Gaston abandons his companion LeFou, who then sides with the servants to fend off the villagers. Gaston attacks the Beast in his tower, who is too depressed to fight back, but regains his spirit upon seeing Belle return. He defeats Gaston, but spares his life before reuniting with Belle. Ungrateful and unrepentant, Gaston fatally shoots the Beast from a bridge, but it collapses when the castle crumbles, and he falls to his death. The Beast dies as the last petal falls, and the servants become inanimate. As Belle tearfully professes her love to the Beast, Agathe reveals herself as the enchantress and undoes the curse, repairing the crumbling castle, and restoring the Beast’s and servants’ human forms and the villagers’ memories. The Prince and Belle host a ball for the kingdom, where they dance happily.I was a little unsure of how I would like it. I was a child when the animated movie came out, and you know. Wondering if they would do it justice. But, I was pleasantly surprised. It mixed a bit of nostalgia, with a bit of new. It also gave a bit more depth to Belle, and her father, and I rather liked that. Worth watching. Worth owning.

 

REVIEW: NOAH

Starring

Russell Crowe (The Nice Guys)
Jennifer Connelly (Hulk)
Emma Watson (Harry Potter)
Ray Winstone (The Gunman)
Logan Lerman (The Three Musketeers)
Douglas Booth (Jupiter Ascending)
Anthony Hopkins (Hannibal)
Marton Csokas (The Equalizer)
Madison Davenport (Sharp Objects)
Frank Langella (Masters of The Universe)
Nick Nolte (Gangster Squad)
Mark Margolis (Breaking Bad)
Kevin Durand (Dark Angel)
Jack Angel (A.I.)

Jennifer Connelly and Russell Crowe in Noah (2014)As a young boy, Noah witnesses his father, Lamech, killed by a young Tubal-cain. Years later, an adult Noah lives with his wife Naameh and their sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth. After seeing a flower grow instantly from the ground and being haunted by dreams of a great flood, Noah takes them to visit his grandfather Methuselah.Jennifer Connelly, Russell Crowe, Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Douglas Booth, and Leo McHugh Carroll in Noah (2014)They encounter a group of people recently killed and take in and adopt the lone survivor, a girl named Ila. Ila is treated for an abdominal wound and will survive, but Naameh determines that she will be unable to have children. Noah and his family are chased by the murderers and seek refuge with the fallen angels known as the “Watchers”, in whose territory Methuselah lives. The Watchers are confined on Earth as stone golems for helping humans banished from the Garden of Eden. Methuselah gives Noah a seed from Eden and tells Noah that he was chosen for a reason. Returning to his tent that night, Noah plants the seed in the ground. The Watchers arrive the next morning and debate whether they should help Noah until they see water spout from the spot where Noah planted the seed. After a forest grows instantly, the Watchers agree to help Noah and his family build an ark.Emma Watson in Noah (2014)After birds fly to the ark, Tubal-cain arrives with his followers and confronts Noah. Noah defies Tubal-cain and remarks that there is no escape for the line of Cain. Tubal-cain retreats and decides to build weapons to defeat the Watchers and take the ark. As the ark nears completion, animals of various species enter the ark and are sedated with incense. With Ila having become enamored of Shem, Noah goes to a nearby settlement to find wives for Ham and Japheth but, seeing the settlers selling their daughters for food, he abandons his effort and begins believing that the Creator wants all of humanity dead. He tells his family that he will not seek wives for his younger sons. After the flood, they will be the last humans and there will be no new human generations.Russell Crowe in Noah (2014)Devastated that he will be alone his entire life, Ham runs into the forest. Naameh begs Noah to reconsider but, when he will not, she goes to Methuselah for help. Ila encounters Methuselah who cures her infertility. Ham, searching for a wife on his own, befriends the refugee Na’el. After it starts raining, Tubal-cain becomes angry that he was not chosen to be saved and incites his followers to make a run for the ark. Noah finds Ham in the forest and forces Ham to save himself, but leaves Na’el to die when she is caught in an animal trap. Noah’s family enter the ark except for Methuselah, who remains in the forest and is swept away by the rushing waters. The Watchers fight off Tubal-cain and his mob of followers, sacrificing themselves and ascending to heaven, their reward for protecting Noah. As the flood drowns the remaining humans, an injured Tubal-cain climbs onto the ark and solicits Ham, playing on anger toward Noah for allowing Na’el to die.Jennifer Connelly and Russell Crowe in Noah (2014)Ila discovers she is pregnant as the rains stop and begs the Creator to let the child live. Noah interprets the ending of the rain to mean he must ensure the extinction of humans and, against his wife’s protests, resolves that, if the child is a girl, he will kill her. Months pass, and Ila and Shem build a raft to escape Noah’s resolve, but Noah discovers and burns it. Ila then starts feeling labor pains and gives birth to twin girls. After Ham calls Noah telling him the beasts are awake and eating each other, Tubal-cain emerges and attempts to hit Noah. Noah and Tubal-cain engage in combat. Shem promises Ila that Noah will not harm their daughters and goes to stop him. He attacks Noah as Tubal-cain falls to the ground only to be knocked out. Tubal-cain eventually forces Noah to the edge of the raft, but Ham kills him with a dagger before he can shove Noah in the ocean. Noah picks himself up and finds Ila and the babies, intending to kill the children, but spares them upon looking at his granddaughters and only feeling love.Jennifer Connelly in Noah (2014)Upon exiting the ark on the new land, a shameful Noah goes into isolation in a nearby cave, making wine in which to drown his sorrows. Ham expresses disappointment for his father’s current state of unseemly drunkenness and nakedness before leaving his kin to live alone. Having reconciled at the behest of Ila, Noah blesses the family as the beginning of a new human race and all witness waves of immense celestial rainbows.Jennifer Connelly, Russell Crowe, Emma Watson, Douglas Booth, and Leo McHugh Carroll in Noah (2014)There is a lot of brutal, gory, violent and disturbing content and some sexuality in this, none of it gratuitous. I recommend this to anyone not put off by it being based on a Genesis account or the fact that it takes liberties with it.

REVIEW: HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE

 

CAST

Daniel Radcliffe (Horns)
Rupert Grint (Cherrybomb)
Emma Watson (This Is The End)
Robbie Coltrane (Flash Gordon)
Michael Gambon (Sleepy Hollow)
Ralph Fiennes (In Burges)
Brendan Gleeson (The Smurfs 2)
Jason Isaacs (Peter Pan)
Gary Oldman (Red Riding Hood)
Miranda Richardson (Sleepy Hollow)
Alan Rickman (Alice Through The Looking Glass)
Maggie Smith (Clash of The Titans)
Timothy Spall (Vanilla Sky)
Frances de la Tour (Into The Woods)
David Tennant (Jessica Jones)
Bonnie Wright (Before I Sleep)
Mark Williams (Agent Cody Banks 2)
Robert Pattinson (Twilight)
Tom Felton (The Flash)
Katie Leung (One Child)
Matthew Lewis (Happy Valley)
David Bradley (Game of Thrones)
Warwick Davis (Leprechaun)
Ian Whyte (Game of Thrones)

Harry Potter dreams of Frank Bryce, who is killed after overhearing Lord Voldemort discussing plans with Peter Pettigrew and another man. Harry attends the Quidditch World Cup with the Weasleys, but after the game, Death Eaters terrorise the spectators, and the man who appeared in Harry’s dream summons the Dark Mark.

At Hogwarts, Albus Dumbledore introduces ex-Auror Alastor “Mad-Eye” Moody as the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher. He also announces that the school will host the legendary event known as Triwizard Tournament where three magical schools are going to compete against each other in a very deadly competition by facing three dangerous challenges. The champions are selected by the Goblet of Fire: Cedric Diggory of Hufflepuff is chosen to represent Hogwarts, Viktor Krum will represent Durmstrang Institute, and Fleur Delacour will represent Beauxbatons Academy of Magic. The Goblet unexpectedly chooses a fourth champion: Harry Potter. Dumbfounded, Dumbledore is unable to pull the underage Harry out of the tournament, as the Ministry official Barty Crouch Sr. insists that the champions are bound by a contract, and therefore, Harry is invited to compete. This makes Harry’s best friend Ron Weasley jealous of him.

For the tournament’s first task, the champions must each retrieve a golden egg guarded by a dragon. Harry succeeds after he summons his broomstick to retrieve the egg, which contains information about the second challenge. Shortly after, another event known as the Yule Ball dance takes place, during which Harry’s crush Cho Chang attends with Cedric, and Hermione Granger attends with Viktor, which makes Ron jealous of Viktor. During the second task, the champions are instructed to dive underwater to rescue their mates. Harry comes out in 3rd place but is placed second behind Cedric due to his “moral fiber”. Afterwards, Barty Crouch Sr. is found dead by Harry. Harry visits Dumbledore at his office, and while waiting for him, he discovers a Pensieve, which holds Dumbledore’s memories. Inside it, Harry witnesses a trial in which Igor Karkaroff (Durmstrang Institute’s Headmaster) confessed to the Ministry of Magic names of other Death Eaters, after Voldemort’s defeat. He named Severus Snape as one, but Dumbledore defended him; he then named Barty Crouch Jr. Barty Crouch Sr. was left devastated, and his son was taken to Azkaban. After exiting the Pensieve, Harry deduces that the man he has seen in his dreams with Voldemort is Barty Crouch Jr.

In the third and final task, the competitors are placed inside a hedge maze and must reach the Triwizard Cup. Viktor, under the influence of the Imperius Curse, incapacitates Fleur. After Harry saves Cedric when the maze attacks him, the two claim a draw and grab the cup together, which turns out to be a Portkey and transports the two to a graveyard, where Pettigrew and Voldemort are waiting. Pettigrew kills Cedric with the Killing Curse and performs a ritual using a bone of Voldemort’s father, Pettigrew’s flesh and Harry’s blood, which rejuvenates Voldemort, who then summons the Death Eaters. Voldemort releases Harry in order to beat him in a duel to prove he is the better wizard. Harry is unable to defend himself, but tries the Expelliarmus charm at the same moment Voldemort attempts the Killing Curse. Their wands do not work against each other, and Voldemort’s wand is forced to disgorge the last spells it performed. This results in shadow impressions of the people he murdered appearing in the graveyard, including Harry’s parents and Cedric. This provides an ample distraction to Voldemort and his Death Eaters, allowing Harry to escape with Cedric’s body by grabbing the Portkey.

Upon his return, Harry tells Dumbledore that Voldemort has returned and is responsible for Cedric’s death. Moody takes a devastated Harry back to his room to interrogate him about Lord Voldemort, where he inadvertently blows his cover when he asks Harry whether there were “others” in the graveyard, despite Harry never saying that he was transported there. Exposed, Moody reveals that he was the one who put Harry’s name in the Goblet of Fire, and that he had been guiding and manipulating Harry throughout the tournament to ensure that he would win, so Voldemort would take Harry’s blood to return. Moody then tries to kill Harry, only for Harry to be saved by Dumbledore, Severus Snape, and Minerva McGonagall. The teachers force Moody to drink Veritaserum, a truth telling potion where it is revealed that he isn’t Moody, and that the real Moody is imprisoned in a magical trunk. The false Moody’s Polyjuice Potion wears off and he is revealed as Barty Crouch Jr., working for Voldemort. Crouch Jr. is sent back to Azkaban, from which he had escaped.

In the morning, Dumbledore reveals to the students that Voldemort killed Cedric, although the Ministry of Magic is against this. Later, Dumbledore visits Harry in his dormitory, and apologizes to him for the dangers he had to go through. Harry reveals that he saw his parents in the graveyard; Dumbledore names this effect as “Priori Incantatem”. Dumbledore acknowledges that even though Harry’s parents appeared through Voldemort’s wand, no spell can awaken the dead. Dumbledore reminds Harry that he is not alone. Soon after, Hogwarts, Durmstrang and Beauxbatons bid farewell to each other.For fans of the books, you should find this adaptation a commendable reflection of Rowling’s tale. Naturally, some parts had to be modified or cut entirely – there’s no way to avoid that without making it a 10 hour movie – but the parts that were cut were either not critical to the story line, or will be easy to account for in the films to come. Unless you’re an obsessive nitpicker about every last detail, you should find this a satisfactory film version of Goblet of Fire.