Beauty and the Beast Review

And so, in the year 2017, in the most expensive musical ever made with a budget of 160 million dollars, starring Emma Watson and… some guy off of Downtown Abbey,  all the debate surrounding the classic tale of a young girl coming to grips with her inner furry via the time honored medium of Stockholm Syndrome has been about the character of LeFou who is the first ever officially gay character in a Disney film.

And I do mean all the debate, In Russia,Duma member Vitaly Milonov (who has previously compared homosexuality to bestiality) agitated the culture minister for banning of the film, but instead it was given a 16+ rating (children under the age of 16 can only be admitted to see it in theaters with accompanying adults). Additionally, a theater in Henagar, Alabama will not screen the film because of the subplot In Malaysia, the Film Censorship Board insisted the “gay moment” scene be cut, prompting an indefinite postponement of its release by Disney, followed by their decision to withdraw it completely if it could not be released uncensored. The studio moved the release date to March 30, to allow more time for Malaysia’s censor board to make a decision on whether or not to release the film without changes and will be released on the said date with a PG-13 rating but with no cuts. In the end, the Malaysian Censorship Board decided not to ban the film.

But what shocked me the most though, was that China who usually have a ‘no gays ever, under any circumstances’  policy on films . And that’s probably because there’s not really anything there. I mean I wasn’t exactly expecting him to stomp around the set waving a rainbow flag and I did find him a bit too Smithers’y for my taste but there was no line or moment that I haven’t seen before in a Disney film. The charterer of Hades from Hercules comes to mind.

But in a way i’m glad for this pointless controversy because what else is there to say? Have you seen the original? Good, stop there and save yourself the hassle because you have seen this film. And the singing is better. And it’s a mere 81 minutes instead of a bloated 129 minutes and the servants actually look kind of cute instead of horrifying nightmare fuel.

I did like that a plot aspect from the Broadway show – that the servants are becoming more mechanical with every petal that falls, the songs that apparently come with it? Not so much. Just because a song works within the limitations of a stage doesn’t mean it’s going to work in a film adaptation!

Beauty and the Beast is the latest in the baffling live-action adaptation faze that Disney seems to be going through. It passed the time well enough but it’s bland, forgettable and in dire need of the editors scissors.

My Score- If Nothing Else 

Advertisements

Does Elsa ‘Need’ A Girlfriend?

I’ve never managed to see Frozen, the one time I tried to watch it my laptop insisted that I watch a rather good 2010 survival horror film of the same name instead.

However, it must have done something right- it it the highest grossing animated film  of all time after all.

And now, inevitably it’s getting a sequel which is due to be released in 2018 and there’s a campaign to make  the lead character Elsa come out as gay and acquire a girlfriend.

Now I’m going to sidestep the potential Elsa is a strong independent woman and therefore must be a lesbian debate.’ Much as i’m going to sidestep that Frozen to make has always looked like a bit of an X-Men rip-off to me. Instead i’m going to focus on LGBT representation in Disney products.

Because there isn’t any.

Not in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (Marvel is owned by Disney)

Nor in the Star Wars universe (Ditto)

Nor (as far as I am aware) in any of the millions of films Disney has released, stretching all the way back to Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs 

And that’s ridiculous.

I understand that to make Elsa (or indeed any other character) gay would cause some controversy, but we live in a world in which Zootopia was released and if Disney can released something as ‘adult’ as that, how can making a character gay hurt?

Indeed, the people that would be upset about this ‘revelation’ have already tried to make this controversial and failed completely. And I honestly feel that it wouldn’t affect ticket sales in a negative fashion. Most people have gay friends/family and the world hasn’t ended. And it would be good for children struggling with their sexuality and feeling isolated to know that they are not alone and that there are other people out there like them.

Because now that I think about it, I really can’t think of any gay characters in films or TV aged at children.

Can you?

Freeheld Review

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Julianne Moore Julianne Moore
Ellen Page Ellen Page
Michael Shannon Michael Shannon
Steve Carell Steve Carell
Luke Grimes Luke Grimes
Todd Belkin
Gabriel Luna Gabriel Luna
Anthony DeSando Anthony DeSando
Toohey (as Anthony De Sando)

Review- 

Where is the hype for this film?

Where is the awards buzz?

Where is the LGBT community embracing it as a film showing a landmark movement in the race towards equality?

Where is a cinema actually screening the damn thing?

No, Seriously. It took me forever to rack this down (I still can’t believe I had to actually pay for a ticket.) But when I did I was really glad that I did.

In 2005,  police officer Laurel Hester (played flawlessly by Julianne Moore- atoning for Seventh Son) was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. Whilst trying to get her death benefits assigned to her partner she runs into a problem. As her partner is a woman (Ellen Paige who still looks about 12), her request is denied. And so a battle that really shouldn’t have to have been fought is about to begin.

On the side of right is a slightly cartoonish Steve Carell as an LGBT activist and her police officer partner Michael Shannon who has some of the films best lines about the absurdity of the situation “Hell! If you and I got married tomorrow, *I’d* be entitled to your benefits.”

The main reason that I adored this film (and was attacked by an onion cutting ninja towards the end) was that I believed completely in the love story that was being presented here. That the characters (with the slight exception of Steve Carell) behaved like human beings.

I loved this film even if at times at does seem a little bit made for TV (which you can attribute to the meager 7 million dollar budget) and have no hesitation in rating it

My Score- SEE IT NOW 

Carol Review

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Cate Blanchett Cate Blanchett
Rooney Mara Rooney Mara
Kyle Chandler Kyle Chandler

Plot- Set in 1950s New York, a department-store clerk who dreams of a better life falls for an older, married woman.

Review– Discovering that Carol got a standing ovation at Cannes didn’t surprise me in the slightest. This is a film genetically designed to win critical applause, awards and convince audience goers that haven’t merely seen a “film” they have been witness to a work of “art.”

In that vein, Carol is beautiful to look at, with impeccable performances from Kate Blanchett (going for an Oscar) and Rooney Mara (Hoping to absolve herself after Pan). Every frame is a painting and it’s clear that a lot of effort has gone into making the film look amazing. The soundtracks pretty good as well, if your into that sort of thing.

Unfortunately, someone decided it would be a good idea to hire the person who wrote the dialogue for The Lobster and team them up with Christopher Nolan meaning that not only is the dialogue on the nose, its also very cold and seems nothing like anything that would be said by actual humans.

There’s also very little chemistry between Mara and Blanchett which the woeful dialogue really doesn’t help.

Unfortunately, because of the way it’s shot, the film feels glacially slow. According to IMDB it only lasts 118 minutes but it felt much much longer to me.

And because of the woeful dialogue and spectacularly awful characterization I was unable to  become immersed in the storyline. Which meant, when something did happen it barely registered as I checked my watch again, trying to work out if it was broken or I really was checking it that often.

And given the subject matter and casting, this should have been an amazing and powerful film about the struggles of being gay back in the 1950’s, the secrets, the lies, the double life weighing down on our two protagonists with innocent people getting dragged in and destroyed. Instead, it all seems flat, cold, and contrived.

Adapted from the novel The Price of Salt, this is a gorgeous to look at, slow, piece of art, that should have been so much more.

My Score- Poor