Beauty and the Beast, Disney’s highly anticipated retelling of the 1991 animated classic, hits theaters March 17, 2017, and the studio has just released its teaser trailer.
Directed by Bill Condon and scored by Oscar winning composer Alan Menken (he won two Oscars for his work in the original), the picture is headlined by Emma Watson (“Belle”) and Downton Abbey vet Dan Stevens (“Beast”). Luke Evans (“Gaston”), Kevin Kline (“Maurice”), Emma Thompson (“Mrs. Potts”), Gugu Mbatha-Raw (“Plumette”), Stanley Tucci (“Maestro Cadenza”), and Ewan McGregor (“Lumiere”) also star in the feature. Condon, who directed last year’s drama Mr. Holmes, also directed Dreamgirls and the first two Twilight features.
The picture will also feature new recordings of the original songs as well as several new songs penned by Menken and three time Oscar winner Tim Rice. Check out the teaser trailer below and tell us if you’re excited for the live action version!
The Angry Birds Movie, the animated film based on one of the most popular app games in history, was the runaway winner over the weekend with a $39 million debut. Captain America: Civil War had another solid outing with a second place finish ($33.1 million) and Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising also finished strong with $21.7 million and third place honors. Unfortunately, The Nice Guys had a disappointing debut, making just $11.27 and limping into fourth. Here’s the top 10:
1. The Angry Birds Movie – $39 million and it’s made over $82 million worldwide. With a $73 million budget, the film should easily turn a profit for Sony.
2. Captain America: Civil War – $33.1 million this weekend. To date, it’s taken in $1.05 billion worldwide.
3. Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising – It’s another hit for Seth Rogen and crew with a $21.7 million showing
4. The Nice Guys – More like “The Average Guys,” as Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling’s star power couldn’t save this box office disappointment. A meager $11.27 million.
5. The Jungle Book – Mowgli is still making money with $11 million
6. Money Monster – Just $7 million for this George Clooney/Julia Roberts thriller.
7. The Darkness – Horror film remains in the dark with just $2.36 million
8. Zootopia – $1.7 million
9. The Huntsman: Winter’s War- Winter came and went, as this movie is one of this year’s biggest flops. $1.2 million
10. Mother’s Day –Julia Roberts and Jennifer Aniston couldn’t save this box office misfire. $1.1 million
Hard Sell is actually a rather easy sell, as coming of age movies featuring a quick witted teenager who learns a thing or two about life from a sexy young woman (think Risky Business) should draw a healthy level of attention. Thankfully, writer-director Sean Nalaboff steers clear of the raunchy sexy comedy business and instead offers an involving comedy-drama filled with solid performances.
Hardy (Skyler Gisondo) is a high school teenager who’s taking care of his mentally ill mother (Kristin Chenoweth) and attempting to find a way to pay for the family dog’s future medical bills. After befriending an ex-stripper named Bo (Katrina Bowden) while volunteering, the pair team up to make a bit of money on the side. Since Hardy’s classmates come from well to do families, the idea is to charge his colleagues for the transitory pleasure of Bo’s company.Whether it’s flashing students in a bathroom or, more importantly, giving them valuable counsel, Bo becomes an overnight hit with the teenagers. With more money in his pockets, Hardy believes he can solve his most pressing problems.
But life rarely works out that way, and Hardy is forced to grow up and rise to his respective challenges. Under lesser hands, the predictable storyline would have us follow Hardy’s growing lust for Bo, who would then teach our protagonist a few lessons in life and sex. Thankfully, this element is absent from Nalaboff’s story, as we follow Hardy’s immediate attraction towards a fellow classmate (Hannah Marks) as well as delve into Bo’s complicated past.
It also would have been easy for Nalaboff to have Chenoweth bring a ton of showiness and scene stealing work as the mother, but this performance, as well as Bowden’s subtle work, is refreshingly grounded in reality. Gisondo, who was previously seen in Vacation and The Amazing Spider-Man, also delivers a charismatic and layered portrayal of a teenager who’s perpetually in a state of flux. Since Bowden and Chenoweth are dependable vets who elevate any given ensemble, the true surprise comes from the chemistry that’s shared between Marks and Gisondo (both actors should have a promising future ahead of them).
Outfitted as a teen comedy with sexy undertones, Hard Sell is an evocative look at a teenager who, when faced with life’s inevitable tragedies, continues to push forth, searching and hoping for a better day.
Hard Sell is now playing in select theaters and is available on VOD and iTunes.
***To hear my further take on Hard Sell, check out the Hollywood Outbreak/Cold Cockle Productions podcast CinemAddicts below:
On this week’s CinemAddicts, we start off the program with Manhattan Night, an intriguing thriller headlined by Adrien Brody and Yvonne Strahovski.
Based on the novel Manhattan Nocture, the movie centers on Porter Wren, a talented yet tabloid driven journalist who always manages to get to the bottom of a story. A mysterious, beautiful woman named Caroline (Strahovski) immediately catches his eye, and Porter’s investigation of her filmmaker husband’s (Campbell Scott) death leads him down dark terrain that may cost him his sanity and his family’s (Jennifer Beals plays his wife) safety. Strahovski is first rate as the story’s femme fatale, and director Brian DeCubillis’ love for Brian De Palmasuspense thrillers (Body Double, Blow Out) and film noir is on full display in Manhattan Night.
Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, which features the additions of Chloe Grace Moretz and Kiersey Clemons, is actually an improvement over the original hit comedy, and though it has its share of gross out moments, the picture has a ton of heart. The documentary Art Bastard, which centers on the life of New York based artist Robert Cenedella, is also covered.
For our streaming picks of the week, I discuss my love for the new indie comedy Hard Sell, a coming of age story featuring solid performances from Skyler Gisondo and Kristin Chenoweth, and Anderson discusses 24 Hour Party People, a flick directed by Michael Winterbottom.
To enter our CinemAddicts giveaways (the winners are announced at the end of the program), please rate and review the show on iTunes.
If one were to jump to conclusions, the assumption behind Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising was it would be a rehash of the original and an innocuous cash grab from Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, and company. Thankfully, that’s not the case, as the sequel actually brings a fresh take to this suburban adults versus energetic college kids scenario.
Though weed is still a prominent part of their household, Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne) are actually setting into their roles as parents, as their daughter Stella (Zoey Vargas) seems to be a well adjusted kid (even though she’s always using her mother’s vibrator as her own play toy). With another baby girl on the horizon, the couple’s current house is now in escrow as they’ve purchased a newer home in Georgia. Their fraternity nightmares with Teddy (Zac Efron) and his fellow college buddies is long over, and things are definitely looking up for the loving couple.
Trouble comes in the form of freshmen Shelby (Chloe Grace Moretz), Beth (Dope star Kiersey Clemons) and Nora (a scene stealing Beanie Feldstein), three ladies who are sick of pledging for sororities that depend on fraternities for most of their social activities. These independent minded women want a sisterhood of their own, where they can throw their own parties, and thus they form Kappa Nu and instantly gain popularity thanks to the re-emergence of Teddy.
As much as Mac and Kelly support girl power, Kappa Nu’s noise level is a bane on their neighborhood and could lead to a failed escrow. Meanwhile, Teddy is still in search of a place to belong and to be valued, so helping them form Kappa Nu is his temporary calling. When they eventually separate from Teddy due to creative differences on how to run the sorority, Teddy teams up with his former enemies to take down Kappa Nu.
The movie opens with Kelly throwing up all over Mac during a lovemaking session, and gross out humor fans should be satiated with some of the comedy’s most lowest common denominator moments (a Zac Efrondance scene that goes south comes to mind). Much of the film’s lasting appeal, however, comes from the likable appeal of Moretz and the women that inhabit Kappa Nu. These ladies want to create a sorority that enables each member to express themselves in whichever manner they choose, and it’s hard not to pull for them when their goals come from a pure place. Credit also goes to writer/director Nicholas Stoller for injecting a ton of humor that seems to actually come from real life (for example, Mac and Kelly’s continuing neurosis about being good parents) rather than simply low brow, raunchy humor.
One of the wonderful surprises behind Neighborswas witnessing the maturation of Teddy from a two dimensional frat boy to a caring friend (Dave Franco, who plays Teddy’s best bud Pete, is also back), and thankfully Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising gives Teddy even more space to grow as a person.
There’s a ton of humor to keep you laughing in Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, but there’s also a bit of heart and substance thrown in for good measure. As sequels go, this movie absolutely hits the mark and it’s actually an improvement over the original.