Beauty and the Beast

Belle and Book in Beauty and the Beast

If you were a teenager or adjacent to a teenager anytime since 1999, you are likely familiar with writer Stephen Chbosky and his tear-stained book found in the back of many a geometry classroom, “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.” It’s the epitome of teen angst, the coming-of-age story about an introverted boy named Charlie and the events that he goes through — some normally adolescent, some traumatic — during his freshman year of high school. You know, just a great time. The book was adapted into a film by Chbosky in 2012, so if you heard any wailing in the theater next door or saw some disheveled 15 year olds grasping each other by the concession stand, you know what’s up. Now Chbosky (who also wrote Rent) is heading to Disney, where he’ll pen Bill Condon‘s live-action Beauty and the Beast. Sure, it’s a tale as old as time, but in that moment, didn’t you swear that girl from the poor provincial town and the monster prince holding her captive in a mansion full of sentient objects were infinite? The studio’s new vision sees their 1991 Oscar-nominated animated classic directly adapted with music from the Broadway show added. Evan Spiliotopoulos, who penned the recent Hercules (the one with Dwayne Johnson) as well as a number of Disney direct-to-video animated movies, already wrote a draft of the remake, but it’s now up to Chbosky to complete a rewrite.

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Ellen Ripley Alien

It’s one of the most frustrating phenomena in film to watch, seeing someone so clearly correct and potentially wise get shut down by the people around them because their theories or warnings seem too far-fetched. As an audience, we know that they’re right – that monster is ripe for striking the city, that megastorm is about to hit mainland any day now and that kid is up to something suspicious – but our poor, long-suffering protagonists just don’t have the luck of getting their pleas heard in time. If only people had known these crackpots were right all along. Here are 7 cinematic Cassandras.

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HER

I don’t know which critic first suggested Scarlett Johansson deserves an Oscar nomination for Her. That’s too bad, because a statement like that often initially comes from a place of attention-seeking. Not necessarily in a bad way, either. We like to and need to have fresh ideas in this business, and even more than that we like to get credit for those ideas. But it’s also too bad because I’m curious of the true intent behind the statement. It’s one thing to suggest — not in jest but in a way that’s not totally meant to be taken seriously so much as inspire a certain kind of discussion — and it’s another to really champion and campaign for the notion that a voice-only performance should be considered for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. The conversation around the idea reminds me of the one a couple years ago in response to the suggestion that Andy Serkis‘s performance-capture work on Rise of the Planet of the Apes deserved a Best Supporting Actor nomination. It was actually residual build-up following the same idea more than a decade ago about Serkis’s performance as Gollum in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. Interestingly enough, there was no talk of such recognition a year ago when the actor reprised the role as the computer-generated character in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Had everyone just given up? Was it a lesser performance? Definitely not the latter. Perhaps it was that the novelty of […]

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Beauty and the Beast

According to Deadline Hollywood, Disney is attempting to double-down on its classics. The studio is looking to create a new version of Beauty and the Beast with writer Joe Ahearne (Trance, director of several Doctor Who episodes). The goal is to make it live-action and in 3D ala Alice in Wonderland and Oz the Great and Powerful. Those names are notable not just because they represent the model for what Disney is doing here, but also because Disney is maybe the only studio who has figured out how to make fairy tales work on such a massive scale. Still, the question remains as to whether The Beast is a good idea because it steps on its own toes. Of course, maybe their re-release of the animated version was just a litmus test for going forward with this project, but while Disney’s previous successes told new stories in familiar universes, it’s unclear whether or how they’ll set something in the talking teapot-filled world while delivering a different tale (regardless as to whether it’s old as time).

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warm bodies guys

Warning: the following post contains a bit of a spoiler about the end of Warm Bodies. Read on at your discretion. With a decent opening weekend gross mostly attributed to young, female moviegoers, Warm Bodies is supposedly confirming its status as the new Twilight. Of course, the vampire love story made a lot more money and received mainly negative reviews, while this new zombie romantic comedy (or zom-rom-com), is certified fresh at Rotten Tomatoes and received a B+ CinemaScore grade but only earned about a third of what it cost to produce. There’s an expectation for Warm Bodies to have strong legs, however, through word of mouth. And hopefully that buzz extends to more male viewers, who should appreciate that it’s not as sappy as it seems, even though its main message is the cheesiest of cheesy: “love conquers evil.” Sure, we’ve seen the power of love employed as a weapon by The Beatles and to turn Darth Vader and to keep The Princess Bride‘s Westley alive, but over time the idea that “all you need is love” has become corny enough to ruin the ends of Ghostbusters II and The Fifth Element, among others, with too much sentiment.

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Emma Watson

According to Emma Watson, speaking to MTV, she’ll be shooting Beauty and the Beast next summer. The actress – who is appearing in The Perks of Being a Wallflower and The Bling Ring next – said she’s met with director Guillermo del Toro and seen his conceptual look book for the project. “We met a week or two ago, and we started working on the script, and it’s going to go next summer. It’s so funny; obviously I’ve been doing a lot of other work, and I was nervous. I was like, ‘Is this going to go away?’ And Guillermo is so psyched about it, and he’s, like, been thinking about it so much. “He brought the book. I was like, ‘Ah, this is killing me.’ I’m very excited.” As she should be. As we all should be. Hopefully everything comes together to make this schedule a reality. However, it would mean the proposed summer 2013 start date for del Toro’s take on Pinocchio (which, oddly enough, stars Watson’s Harry Potter co-star Daniel Radcliffe) would be pushed. Or maybe del Toro will attempt to take on a live-action and an animated project at the same time. All of this will shake out, but the core point here is that del Toro is steadily, actively getting the stuff on his plate made, and that’s a glorious thing. I can think of few things better than seeing Pacific Rim in July and seeing del Toro start production on something new a week […]

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If this year is going to be the year of revisionist Snow White tales (what with both Snow White and the Huntsman and Mirror Mirror hitting screens, and that Order of Seven film still getting worked out), then next year is already shaping up to be the year of new takes on Beauty and the Beast. Perhaps it would be wise to mark your calendars for 2014 – which will certainly be the year of Little Mermaid remakes, should this trend continue. Just last week, word from Berlin revealed that Brotherhood of the Wolf helmer Christophe Gans had set Vincent Cassel and Lea Seydoux to topline his new Beauty and the Beast project. With that project, Gans has promised to “keep to a form of storytelling of this timeless fairy tale that is in keeping with the same pace and characters as the original… [and] surprise the audience by creating a completely new visual universe never experienced before and produce images of an unparalleled quality.” Sounds good! The film will also be “based on one of the earliest published variants of the traditional fairy tale, included in Gabrielle-Suzanne de Villeneuve’s 1740’s collection, ‘La Jeune Ameriquaine et les Contes Marins.’” Also, great news! But maybe not so great for Guillermo Del Toro, who has just signed on to direct yet another take on the classic fairy tale. While his film (which he was previously attached to only as a producer) will likely boast Emma Watson as Belle (she’s in final negotiations […]

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Christophe Gans, who first turned heads in the U.S. by making Brotherhood of the Wolf and last gave us Silent Hill back in 2006, finally has another project on the horizon – and it’s a doozy. The French director, perhaps best known for his moody yet kinetic visual style, will be taking a crack at playing around with the classic Beauty and the Beast story, starting this October. Gans told THR, “Although I will keep to a form of storytelling of this timeless fairy tale that is in keeping with the same pace and characters as the original, I will surprise the audience by creating a completely new visual universe never experienced before and produce images of an unparalleled quality,” then added, “Every single one of my movies has presented me with a challenge but this one is, by far, the most exciting and rewarding.” Though I’ve yet to be rewarded by Gans’ new endeavor, I’m certainly already excited about it. But, honestly, it’s not necessarily because of Gans’ involvement, and it’s not even for any particular love of the Beauty and the Beast story. No, the reason my blood is pumping is the quality of the cast that is being assembled. First off, Gans has cast one of the true heavyweights of the acting world, Vincent Cassel, in the role of the beast. From his work in Gaspar Noé’s films, to his starring role in the Mesrine movies, to his role as the ballet instructor in Black Swan, Cassel […]

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The Grey

Once again Liam Neeson stood up to the January graveyard slate of movies, and once again Liam Neeson took charge. The Grey took top honors this weekend, proving that the combination of Neeson and good, adult action is the way to go when you want to make some decent coin. It wasn’t up to the standards of films like Taken ($24.7m opening weekend in 2009) and Unknown ($21.8m opening weekend in 2011). Considering the R rating, the lack of star power outside of Neeson (Dermot Mulroney isn’t what he used to be, and the wolves themselves don’t have a great agent yet), and Joe Carnahan not being the golden boy when it comes to box office returns, The Grey‘s $20m is still a respectable debut. Neeson isn’t losing clout as quickly as Katherine Heigl, whose One For the Money came in at #3 with $11.7m. That’s slightly lower than expectations, but looking at Heigl’s track record, her opening numbers seem to be whittling down further and further. Since Killers in 2010, Heigl’s opening numbers have progressively gotten smaller and smaller, dropping from $15.8m to $14.5m for Life As We Know It in 2010 and $13m for New Year’s Eve early last month. A change of pace for Heigl might be in order, or, when all else fails, the DVD/Blu-Ray and VOD market is not a bad option to take.

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The Reject Report - Large

It’s a big weekend here at the Reject Report. Lots of excitement out there competing for you movie dollars. We have vampires battling werewolves, ace pilots taking on the World War II skies, and Gina Carano punching and kicking everything that moves and looking amazing doing it. Throw in the returning champs of Mark Wahlberg and 3-D Disney, and we’re sure to be seeing moneymakers all around town. The vampires have a slight edge, but there could be one or two surprises out there waiting to take the top spot. We could settle this with a flex-off between Wahlberg and Carano, but the demographics might be a bit skewed. Let’s take a look at what each of these movies has to bring to the box office instead.

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The Reject Report - Large

Mark Wahlberg stared the Beast, the whole IMF team, and Dolly Parton down, and he told them to all say hi to their mothers for him. Contraband surprised everyone who thought Disney was just cashing in on easy blockbuster numbers with their 3D re-releases, and the action drama ended up taking the top spot by a nice sized margin. It’s not Wahlberg’s biggest opening to day. Far from it. But Contraband was able to serve up a number that is considered sizable especially considering its mid-January release. It also is a reasonable opening as a vehicle for Wahlberg, who has only had four films in his career open higher than $30m, The Happening ($30.5m opening), The Other Guys ($35.5m opening), The Perfect Storm ($41.3m opening), and Planet of the Apes ($68.5m opening). Needless to say, all four of those films were summer releases. While Disney didn’t match the success they had with The Lion King‘s re-release in 3-D, they did pull in some expected and flattering numbers this weekend with Beauty and the Beast. At this point, they’re just covering the conversion and re-release cost, so most of the $18.4m it made this weekend is icing on top of an already well-made cake. Disney has many more well-made cakes lined up to get their own layers of sweet stuff with Finding Nemo next up in September this year. Also, in the long run of things, Beauty and the Beast is sure to continue pulling in remarkable numbers all throughout its […]

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Kevin Carr

This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr recovers from his colossal failure in getting any of his votes in the Critic’s Choice Movie Awards to count (except for A Separation for best foreign film, but who didn’t think that would win?) by engaging in therapy via multiplex. Unfortunately, it’s January, and his only choices were Marky Mark and the Smuggling Bunch or Queen Latifah going mano-y-mano with the robot Dolly Parton. He opts for the action film, but he may have also fallen asleep during it. How soon until good movies are released again?

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This was a hell of a year in The Criterion Collection. Between films about phantom carriages, angry jurors, beasts and beauties, stranded astronauts, international revolutionaries, and great dictators, Adam Charles and Landon Palmer found their wallets empty and their cinephilic obsessions sated. Here are their eleven favorite releases and upgrades of the year…

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Disney’s limited engagement re-release of a 3D-ized The Lion King is poised to cross the $80m mark today, which means the latest news from the studio is essentially of the “what took you so long?” variety. Disney and Pixar have announced that they will give the 3D re-release treatment to (at least) four more titles over the next two years. You can start swinging your Nemo plushie around in a plastic bag right about now. And you want to put on your Ariel wig? Should I wait for you to sprout legs, too? Fine, I’ll wait. Disney and Pixar have picked Beauty and the Beast, Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc., and The Little Mermaid as their next titles to get an added dimension and a return to theaters. Beauty and the Beast will dance into theaters first (anthropomorphic tableware and all) on January 13, 2012. It will most likely demolish its mid-January competition, just like Simba snapped right through September. Pixar will join in on the re-release mayhem with Finding Nemo swimming back to theaters on September 14, 2012, followed by Monsters, Inc. on January 18, 2013. The long-awaited prequel to Monsters Inc., Monsters University, will open (in 3D!) later that year, on June 21. Disney will then re-release The Little Mermaid on September 13, 20123. As a kid, The Little Mermaid was tied with 101 Dalmatians as my favorite Disney flick, so the six-year-old in me is hysterically screaming on the heels of this news. All of the films will get […]

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At a party over the weekend a deliciously nerdy debate broke out about two things. One, what cartoon is the sexiest of all? And two, whether it is acceptable or creepy to find animated characters sexually attractive? Fueled by strong margaritas, a battle against the rising sun, and too many active imaginations on one patio, the group came to the unanimous decision that sexy animated characters are just an added bonus from the directors to our awaiting eyes. These characters are generated to appeal to both children and adults, and just like in tradition film the actors need to be attractive enough to keep us locked in. But what does our animated crush say about us?

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In a perfect world, projects like this would be handed all the money the need and shot out of a cannon toward the public. In the real world, producer Denise Di Novi still has a long way to go before the “Beauty and the Beast” project she’s working on with Guillermo del Toro will actually see the light of day (if it ever does see the light of day). But with del Toro’s creative involvement and the actor attached to the project, someone should really pick this ball up and run with it. According to Coming Soon, Emma Watson has signed on in what can only be a starring role (my guess is as the “Beauty” part of the equation, but I’ve been wrong many times before). This is a great combination, a concept that seems both commercial and satisfying on a story level, and could be a massive experience with the right director. Which is the next question. What director should take on a retelling of a pixie cut-owning Beauty who meets her Beast? Hint: Daniel Barnz isn’t it. Another great question: who will play the singing teapot? There’s gotta be a singing teapot, right?

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr gets an added dose of tiger’s blood and Adonis DNA to make it through all the movie-watching he endures. He bats about .500 in his screenings, really liking some but struggling through others. After a visit to the wild west of Rango, he finds his fate adjusted by a mysterious fleet of men with stylish hats. Then, he realizes how ugly Number Four really is before staying out all night, drinking with Topher Grace and Teresa Palmer… who looks a lot like Number Six.

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Whether you’re trying to avoid the releases this week or augment them with even more movie, Your Alternate Box Office offers some options for movies that would play perfectly alongside of (or instead of) the stuff studios are shoving into the megaplex this weekend. This week features a cursed trust fund baby, Matt Damon in a killer fedora, a gawky video rental store employee trying to get the girl, and Hunter S. Thompson in lizard form.

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You’ve stumbled upon Circle of Jerks, our sporadically published, weekly feature in which we ask the questions that really matter to our writers and readers. It’s a time to take a break from our busy lives and revel in the one thing that we all share: a deep, passionate love of movies. If you have a question you’d like answered by the FSR readers and staff, send us an email at editors@filmschoolrejects.com. What character do you see yourself the most in? Thanks. – Donald B.

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This Week in Blu-ray

The winds of change are blowing here in Austin, Texas. With Fantastic Fest over, a tad-bit of emptiness has washed over the land and left me yearning for more great genre experiences. Which brings me to this week’s selection of Blu-ray releases — one that includes a few unique genre flicks and one lovable turd that reminds me of a documentary that was launched into the stratosphere by the film community here in Austin. Also, there’s this animated movie from the Mouse House that will absolutely blow your mind on Blu-ray. It’s as if the cosmos has looked down upon us in our post-Fantastic Fest haze and said “hey, here are some good movies to satiate your need for the good stuff.” It’s a week full of releases that are delivered right on time, just as the leaves start to change and Halloween begins to peek its head around the corner. Time to spray blood on the walls and fall in love again with a tale as old as time, or some other confused multi-metaphor. It’s another round of This Week in Blu-ray.

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published: 12.23.2014
B+
published: 12.22.2014
C-
published: 12.19.2014
A-


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