KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Is the new "Beauty" a "Beast?" "Sense of an Ending" a sensible choice? FOX 4's Russ Simmons and Shawn Edwards have the answers in this week's Popcorn Bag Movie Reviews!
1) BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (PG)
It’s a tale as old as time, but when Disney goes back to the well it’s usually worth the trip. The 1991 animated classic “Beauty and the Beast” gets a rousing ‘live-action’ reboot, although I use the term “Live-action” loosely when there’s this much computer animation involved.
Yes, the term Live-action is a bit misleading. But it is a solid remake. And why not? People love the familiar. The animated version was a classic so instant nostalgia kicks in. And it's extremely fun to watch.
The terrific music by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman is mostly well delivered, but the addition of some unnecessary new tunes by Menken and Tim Rice slows things down, ballooning the running time from the original’s 85 minutes to two hours and nine minutes. Still there’s plenty of movie magic and heart-tugging sentiment in this $160 million 3-D extravaganza.
It is a bit bloated. Emma Watson is terrific as Belle. But the real scene-stealer is Luke Evans as Gaston. He's having a blast and purposely jamming it up to perfection. Josh Gad, whose character is openly gay is fun as well. Can't believe this stirred a manufactured mini-controversy. He's such a playful character. No harm. No foul.
While it doesn’t live up to the standard of the Oscar-winning original, this new “Beast” has a “Beauty” all its own.
It's really difficult to compare this version to the animated classic. Instead it's a lot easier to compare it to other recent Disney remakes. Not as strong as "The Jungle Book" but better than "Cinderella" and less spastic than the to Alice in Wonderland movies. "Beauty and the Beast" is solid entertainment designed to do nothing more than put a smile on your face.
RUSS: 4 Popcorn Bags
SHAWN: 3 Popcorn Bags
2) THE SENSE OF AN ENDING (PG-13)
Can a youthful mistake be amended in one’s old age? What if the memory of it is unreliable? These are the central questions behind the British art house entry, “The Sense of an Ending," starring Oscar winner, Jim Broadbent.
While the movie never quite mines the depth it seeks, it’s an interesting effort that’s impeccably acted.
RUSS: 3 Popcorn Bags
Click here to receive weekly emails full of FOX 4′s entertainment news!
What’s our criteria for reviewing a film and awarding the popcorn bag ratings? Click here to find out.