Movie review: Beauty and the Beast

Movie reviews

Hello!

The Disney’s juggernaut Beauty and the Beast has landed in theaters, so, let’s review it!

On a personal note, Belle was always the character I most closely identify with, in that we were both more interested in books than the real world. Also, weirdly enough, Disney fairytales seem to be the only romances I can stomach because l seem to prefer love stories set in a fantasy world rather than real one.

Disney has made quite a fair few of the live-action fairytales: Alice and its sequel, Oz The Great and Powerful, Maleficient, Into The Woods, Cinderella, The Jungle Book, The BFG, and Pete’s Dragon. The re-tellings started dark (almost as a comeback to the original print version of the tales) and have gotten lighter and more faithful to the Disney animated versions. The new Beauty and the Beast film is the most faithful to its animated predecessor out of all of them because the live action movie will also be a musical. While all the other live-action adaptations have featured some variations of the traditional songs neither of the previous movies have been full-on musicals.

Writing

2017’s Beauty and the Beast’s script was written by Stephen Chbosky (The Perks of Being a Wallflower) and Evan Spiliotopoulos (The Huntsman: Winter’s War). I thought that the duo of writers crafted a beautiful and faithful adaptation that was inspired by both the Disney animated version and the original French fairytale (which I, sadly, haven’t read in its original form but have definitely read a few re-tellings). I didn’t notice any big changes from the animated film but I highly appreciated all the additions. I really liked that they expanded Gaston’s character: gave him a war background and made him more cruel and villainous not just empty. I also enjoyed seeing Agatha or The Enchantress taking on a more active role in the story. Similarly, both Belle and the Prince received more development – their family backgrounds were incorporated into the narrative. That really helped The Beast’s character – his vainness was justified by his upbringing and, thus, made him more likable.

Speaking more about the writing for Belle – I really loved the fact that this time around Belle tried escaping from the very beginning and that it was explicitly stated that she find out about the curse. Moreover, I loved that they added the idea that both Belle and The Beast were outsiders and that that helped them reach a common ground.

Finally, to address the issue that a lot of people pointlessly made a big deal of – LeFou being gay or having a ‘gay moment’ in the movie (wtf that even means?). Personally, I loved all the subtle progressive additions to the plot: I absolutely loved the moment with the three musketeers being dressed in the lady’s outfits and one of the giving a positive reaction. The way that moment came into play later, during the final dance with that musketeer and LeFou briefly meeting was also nice. Even though the idea that feminity and homosexuality go hand-in-hand is bit stereotypical, it was still a nice moment and a definite step (even if a tiny one) forward. Additionally, the fact that LeFou realized that he was too good for Gaston was so important! In general, I really enjoyed what they did with the character. I applaud the filmmakers for seeing an opportunity to make a modern and sophisticated alterations/enhancement and taking it. Moreover, the screenwriters still managed to keep the comic relief aspect of the character and even made his jokes more mature and commentary-like instead of the slapstick cartoonish humor of the animation.

Directing and Visuals

Bill Condon, who has a diverse list of movies in his filmography, ranging from Twilight 3 and 4 to The Fifth Estate and Mr. Holmes, directed the picture and did a brilliant job. From the opening shot of the film, the visual were just plain gorgeous. The CGI characters and the backgrounds and the actual physical props blended seamlessly (hats off to both the production design and the special effects teams). The opulent opening sequence acted as an amazing visual set-up and explained the Prince’s greed and vainness effectively. The Sound of Music reference with Belle singing on the hill was also nice. The final action sequence appeared to be elongated and was definitely more suspenseful than the one in the animated version – I can easily see why they did that – even fairytales have to have a big 3rd act action sequence in Hollywood’s mind. My only criticism for the movie was that the second hour before the 3rd act felt a bit slow. And yet, I still understand why they had to slow down – they needed to show Belle and The Beast falling in love. In fact, I actually appreciated that the falling in love montage was longer, and, hence, more believable. In general, the picture had all the right feels – from the heartbreaking sadness to the Disney staple of eternal romance. Lastly, the animated character credits and the French translations for the credits were neat finishing touches.

Musical Numbers

Alan Menken was responsible for the music of the picture and did an amazing job. I felt that all of the musical numbers lasted for a longer time (the movie is half an hour longer than the animated picture) and I also loved the huge scope of them – they had way more extras and dancers than I expected. All the theatricality and drama of the performances was just great as well. All the old songs sounded familiar and yet brand new. I loved all the classics – Belle, Gaston, Be Our Guest, and, of course, Beauty and the Beast. The new songs – How Does a Moment Last Forever, Evermore, and Days in the Sun were also great and fit the old soundtrack well. The fact that the filmmakers got Celine Dion to sing one of the new songs during the credits was also great and a nice reference to her work on the animated film. I also really liked the Ariane Grande/John Legend version of Beauty and the Beast.

Acting

Emma Watson as Belle. Watson is always going to be Hermione in the majority of people’s minds but I hope that she will also get remember as Belle as she was stunning in the role: sweet but also tough enough. I also thought that she did a good job with the singing. Next step for her career is to star in an awards movie and maybe even snag a nomination for it.Some of her recent films include Noah, Colonia, and the upcoming The Circle.

Dan Stevens as The Beast. He was amazing. I could actually see him through all the motion capture CGI and his singing was also excellent. Steven’s career has had its ups and downs. He first got on everyone’s radar through Downton Abbey, but then he made a decision to leave the show just after a couple of seasons in order to star his movie career Well, that didn’t happen as soon as he probably planned. The role of The Beast is his most high-profile role to date but his performance 2014’s The Guest has also been positively accepted. Interestingly, Stevens also made a decision to go back to TV – be it in a very different role than the Cousin Matthew one – this time playing the titular mutant on Legion.

Luke Evans as Gaston. A perfect casting if I have ever seen one. Evans was just oozing charm as Gaston and even though I wanted to completely despise the character, I just couldn’t. Evans got his big break with The Hobbit movies and Dracula Untold and he was also recently in an indie experimental film High-Rise and The Girl on The Train big screen adaptation.

Josh Gad as LeFou was also brilliant. I really liked actually seeing him on screen after only listening to him in Frozen (he was Olaf for those not in the know).

My favorite voice actors were Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts and Ewan McGregor as Lumière. Thompson just has a motherly sounding voice that was perfect for Mrs. Potts, while McGregor was super funny as Lumière. I can’t really comment on McGregor’s French accent or lack of it, cause I don’t speak French but I know that he had some difficulties with it. Well, I didn’t mind and actually liked how he sounded. It was also nice to hear McGregor singing cause I think that the last movie I heard him singing in was Moulin Rouge more than 15 years ago. The fact that he went from Trainspotting 2 straight to a Disney fairytale is also pretty funny.

Other cast member included Kevin Kline as MauriceIan McKellen as CogsworthAudra McDonald as Madame de GarderobeGugu Mbatha-Raw as Plumette, and Nathan Mack as Chip. All of them did a fine job. Lastly, Stanley Tucci played an original character – Maestro Cadenza. I didn’t really think that the picture needed a new character but his presence didn’t hurt the movie either. That final gag with the teeth and the piano keys was actually quite funny.

In short, Beauty and the Beast is an amazing adaptation of a beloved classic. It’s immensely entertaining and provides a great opportunity for some quality escapism into a fairytale world.

Rate: 4.8/5

Trailer: Beauty and the Beast trailer

KV4K6H3.jpg

Advertisements

5 ideas about a movie: Sing

Movie reviews

Hello!

Welcome to one of the last reviews of this year. Without further ado, let’s start discussing Illumination Entertainment’s latest feature – SING!

IMDb summary: A koala named Buster Moon has one final chance to restore his theater to its former glory by producing the world’s greatest singing competition.

  1. Sing was written and directed by Gareth Jenkins. This was his first solo project after working with Nick Goldsmith on a number of films and music videos. Jenkins made this movie for Illumination Entertainment – a relative newcomer to the animation scene. However, this company has already established itself: they made the successful Despicable Me films and the crazy lucrative Minions movie. Just this summer, they had another huge hit – The Secret Life of Pets. So, Sing has to meet fairly high expectations, both financial and critical ones.
  2. Sing was advertised as an animated musical. We already had a couple of those this year, like Trolls and Moana. Since it focused on singing animals, Sing also made an impression of being Zootopia: The Musical. However, the film surprised me because it had a strong story with organic music number rather than being a straight-up musical that a story had to accommodate.
  3. Thus, the writing for Sing was actually quite good. The story itself wasn’t the most original but it was executed well. It had the emotional appeal (the ‘feels) and was also interesting intellectually because of a varied bunch of great characters. All of them were underdogs but in a unique and different way. I really liked the opening sequence which set up all of their individual plots. In general, the picture both celebrated the love for music and performance but also showed the hardships of show-biz. The film was not as light or childish as I expected it to be.
  4. The musical numbers and the audition ideas of the film obviously tried to capitalize on the success of music competitions, such as The X Factor and The Voice. Nevertheless, the audition montage was still funny and entertaining. The twerking bunnies, as well as the K-Pop group, were my favorite. I also fell in love with Gunter. I want him to be my spirit animal or my best friend. The other funny scene that I’d like to spotlight was the car wash sequence. The final performances were also cute. The short snippet of George Michael’s ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go’ also made me tear up a bit.
  5. The original voice cast was full of Hollywood A-listers. I was only able to hear their voices during the singing performances, as the rest of dialogue was dubbed (the joys of spending the holidays in a non-English speaking country). Nonetheless, I enjoyed listening to the singing performances by Reese WitherspoonSeth MacFarlaneScarlett JohanssonTori KellyTaron Egerton, and Nick Kroll. I would have loved to hear what Matthew McConaughey did with the leading role as well, but as his voice is so distinct, I think I still imagined him speaking in my head. 

In short, Sing was a great animated film, perfect for the holiday season. It had a lovely narrative at its center, while the equally nice musical numbers occupied a secondary role.

Rate: 4/5

Trailer: Sing trailer

sing-one-sheet-566b27010f4eb-1

American Music Awards 2014

Music

Hi!

I have previously covered a few award ceremonies on my blog, like EMAs, VMAs and Movie Awards, and now decided to do the same for AMAs which happened last night.

Let’s start with the host of the show – Pitbull. If I remember correctly, this isn’t a first time that Pitbull is hosting the ceremony and I got to say – he was a safe choice. He even made jokes about being here because music industry needs diversity and he is a white Latina – best of both worlds when it comes to making money. I wish they would have brought a new, fresh face to get the show going.

Back when I discussed EMAs with you, I had a huge problem that a lot of big celebrities weren’t attending that show. Well, this show was pretty start-studded event. Even One Direction finally climbed out of their cage and were attending. JB wasn’t there but that’s no surprise – is he even out of jail yet? Newcomers like Ariana, Iggy, Sam Smith, 5SOS ruled the show, however, the elite artists like Rihanna, Beyonce, Katy Perry, GaGa wasn’t there once again.

There weren’t many surprising wins, I was pleased when 5SOS took home the award for Best New but that was about it. Let’s face it – this award ceremony isn’t about the awards but about the show and the performances. Since I am a pop/rock music fan, most of the performance which I loved were performances by pop artists. (Don’t judge my mainsteam’ness).

I liked theatrical opening act by Taylor Swift because I love her new song Blank Space (video). Plus, the whole tribute to her and the award for excellence was a pretty sweet moment and I believe that she deserves everything she  has achieved.

Taylor’s friend and my other childhood favorite – Selena Gomez – performed her new song The Heart Wants What It Wants (video). She was extremely emotional, real and raw on stage and I was happy to see her back in action once again. There were rumors, or actually even facts, that after Stars Dance album she was going on a break from music and would be focusing on her acting career. But, I guess, since her acting career isn’t working out that succesfully, she decided to continue pursuing music. Actually, her greatest hits album For You which consists of a couple of new song and of a few old ones which were made new (remixed) will be released or might have already been released today (Nov 24th).

Lorde sang the theme song from Mockingjay Part 1 (review of the movie). Her performance was powerful and energetic (video). I loved the first row of girls (Lorde, Taylor, Karlie Kloss and Selena) and how supportive of each other they were. One Direction’s new song was nice but didn’t blew me away, I might have grown out of their music (video).

Jessie J, Nicki and Ariana sang BANG BANG once again (video). I still hate the message of the song but I have no other choice but to enjoy the actual song and the beat of it because you just cannot escape it. It’s everywhere!!! Sam Smith’s performance was also quite nice (video), I am not a fan of his music but I am interested to know more about him.

The artist that grew on me throughout this whole year is Iggy Azalea. I never liked rap music and rapping women seemed a bit odd to me. But I actually am starting to enjoy her music and the way she carries herself and isn’t afraid to speak her mind (I’m talking about Eminem and controversial lyrics of his song and the way Iggy handled the situation). Her style is also quite nice, loved the suit she wore while accepting the awards. I am not her fan yet but I am on a journey to becoming one.

IMG_2470.PNG Iggy performes Fancy: video

Ladies that made my Best Dressed List:

IMG_2467.PNGBecky G

IMG_2463.PNGFergie

IMG_2465.PNGKarlie Kloss and Taylor Swift

IMG_2464.PNGSelena Gomez

IMG_2468.PNG

Zendaya – I love a risk taker who has taste. Her disco style outfit with a touch of Bolivud fashion looked cool to me.

And damn those pants, Ansel Elgort?!?!

459478250

Photos: Getty Images, PopSugar, The Hollywodd Reporter, Perez Hilton

MTV European Music Awards 2014

Music

Hi!

I previously did a review of VMAs 2014 and MTV Movie Awards 2014, so, I decided to review EMAs as well. Especially, when it’s the only award’s show that happens almost in my time zone and I don’t need to get up at the middle of the night to watch it live.

This years show was the 20th anniversary of the EMAs and it was held in Glasgow, Scotland. Fun Fact: on Monday, at OneRepublic concert in Vilnius, they said that when asked what crowd was the best, they used to say that Glasgow’s crowds were always crazy. Of course, then they also praised Lithuania’s crowd as “one of the most insane ones”.

MTV EMAs started with a kick-off show in Miami with Fifth Harmony and Jake Miller. The red carpet event was also broadcast live before the actual award ceremony. Let’s talk about fashion, shall we?

Best dressed to me were:

Actress Jena Malone in a cute A-line dress, model Jourdan Dunn in a white mini dress with deep V-neckline and Ariana Grande in her stunning black gown and NO PONYTAIL. She looks amazing with her hair down.

rs_634x1024-141109111403-634.Jena-Malon-MTV-VMA.jl.110914 rs_634x1024-141109112724-634.Jourdan-Dunn-MTV-EMA.jl.110914 rs_634x1024-141109103540-634.Ariana-Grande-MTV-VMA-Awards.jl.110914

The award’s show was hosted by Nicki Minaj and I really liked almost all of her costumes. Her jokes were so-so (for my taste).

I also liked that they included social media stars like Jerome Jarre which I only recently discovered through Casey Neistat (other YouTube content creator) and Lily (Super Woman).

Plus, I enjoyed Kiesza’s and Charli XCX’s performances. The 360 shot of Charli looked cool. Nicki’s Anaconda performance was vulgar as usual. That song is catchy as hell but I still hate the message it conveys. Alicia Keys’s closing performance was powerful and brought a serious message to this ‘pure entertainment’ type of event.

Moreover, I was super excited to see Ed Sheeran and Enrique Iglesias at the event. I am going to see them both live soon! Enrique at the beginning of December and Ed on February the 15th.

The backstage footage and all the interviews were more interesting to me than the actual show. I would love to work as a backstage host one day or as a producer of this kind of show. This year’s bbackstage host Laura did a great job, I loved that she always knew what to ask and when to stop asking. 360 backstage cam was also an interesting addition to the ceremony.

I was the most happy that 5SOS won a few awards (Best New and Best Push), that 30 Seconds To Mars picked up Best Alternative and that Katy Perry got quite a few awards too.

The last point I would like to mention is that this year’s EMAs had little to no really big current celebrities.(Ozzy Osbourne isn’t a current celebrity, he is a legend). Katy wasn’t attending, Miley, Taylor, Beyonce, Rihanna wasn’t there as well. 1D never attends any shows nowadays and their thank-you video message sounded not as genuine as it used to (even Justin Bieber sounded more thankful). I know that this is European Music Awards and all of the big stars are based in the US or touring around the world, but still it would be nice to see some big names come to this side of the pond.

Photos: uk.eonline.com

See more info about the show and full list of winners here: MTV EMA

Collection: Magazines

Beauty&Fashion

Hi!

I have previously shared my nail polish collection and posters/quotes collections with you. This time, I will show you my magazine collection and boy; I do have a lot of magazines.

My collection consist of 71+ magazines, most of them are fashion and art journals, but there are also a few lifestyle ones. If you look closely, you might find couple of political magazines as well.

Lithuanian magazines:

Cosmopolitan Lithuanian version – I usually buy these if a celebrity I like is on the cover.

L’OFFICIEL – a Lithuanian version of a popular French fashion magazine – I get them cheaply at a book fair in spring. Of course, they are a couple of months old, but I get all the latest fashion news from other sources, so it’s nice to flip through them even if they are out of date.

MADA (Fashion) magazine – well, these magazines should belong in a museum, because they are from 2007-2009. They were the predecessors of L’OFFICIEL magazine in my country. My old school’s library actually gifted them to me for volunteering there.

10716111_958441530849343_776323410_n

1061473_958441494182680_593528237_n

10654150_958441527516010_580255557_n

American magazines:

Teen Vogue – about two years ago, my aunt gifted me the subscription of this magazine and I have been a loyal subscribed for 2 whole years and I am currently waiting for the first issue of my third year as a subscriber.

Seventeen – the same story as with Teen Vogue. However, I grew out of this magazine (and I only turned 17 like two months ago); it repeats a lot of the same themes and features the same stars on the cover.

10717662_958441524182677_983403103_n

10708227_958441510849345_536668743_n

10715740_958441504182679_1549581931_n

  1. British magazines:

VOGUE UK – the first issue of Vogue was actually a gift from my friends for my 15th birthday because, back then, my biggest dream was to work in that magazine and one day I wished to become the editor-in-chief of it. Good old days when I knew what I wanted to do.

ELLE UK and Harper’s Bazaar UK and InStyle UK– I buy them if I am interested in the life and work of the celebrity who is on the cover. As you can see, I love Jennifer Lawrence, Amanda Seyfried, Candice Swanepoel and Emilia Clarke.

Glamour UK – I pick this one the same way I pick Elle or InStyle. However, I really enjoy the articles which they publish and how you can always relate to the problems which are discussed.

10714681_958441520849344_2056137923_n

10717827_958441517516011_2113770552_n

10717743_958441500849346_1387834715_n

10711552_958441514182678_891773262_n

  1. Miscellaneous magazines: I haven’t taken a photo of them because they are just so random.

Between them, you might find a STAR magazine from 2005 (found it at a flea market and picked it as a joke), special collector’s issue of People’s magazine featuring One Direction (a friend brought this magazine from South Korea). The last interesting item is Citizen Today magazine about politics, economics and health care – don’t even ask me where I got it.

I hope you liked this little glimpse in one of few of my obsessions. Teen Vogue is definitely my favorite fashion magazine because it’s the most age appropriate for me.  When I need fashion advice, I always open it and find an inspiration to dress the way I like. For a quick life cheat – Glamour gives the best solutions and brings a smile to my face. Have a great week! Bye!

MTV Video Music Awards 2014

Music

A while ago, I did a short review of MTV Movie Awards and decided to do the same for VMAS 2014. I was planning to do review of Teen Choice Awards 2014 but there was just too much drama surrounding TCAs and Team Internet and I thought that my blog post would just turn into an angry rant.

I wasn’t amazed by this award show, I don’t say it was bad but I still had a lot of problems with it. First of all, there was nothing new – they are saying that they will shock us but it is the same show every year. Might be that I have seen just too many shows like this and I am not easily surprised.

Second of all, I had a huge problem with the outfits of all stars and overall image that they are creating. Man and women are putting so much on sexiness that it turns into raunchiness. Females in particular present themselves as these over sexualized beings that think that nudity equals sexiness. (Not just in performance outfits but in red carpet dresses as well) Beyoncé, Miley Cyrus, Nicki Minaj, Iggy Azalea are just a few of them. Even Ariana Grande, who used to be this cutesy good girl, now turned into …I don’t even know what to call her. Her red carpet look seemed very tacky and not classy at all. At least the signature pony tail is still there. However, I agree that in this way all of these stars are showing their confidence and encouraging young women to dress however they like and be proud of who they are. Nonetheless, I believe that there are other ways to do that. You don’t need to walk around almost naked to feel confident and love yourself.

Favorite performance – Taylor Swift’s first live performance of her new song –Shake it off. At first, I wasn’t a huge fan of the song but now it grew on me. I will probably be blasting it out loud half of autumn. I also liked Beyoncé’s performance because she is freakin’ Beyoncé, that why. But I wish she would put less attention to sexiness as well. Her whole new album is about that, except Pretty Hurts – that is the song with an amazing message. I loved how Jay Z brought Blue Ivy on stage and presented Beyoncé with an award – it was heartbreaking in a good way to see Beyoncé tear up on stage from joy of that moment.

Also, did you see Nicki Minaj’s wardrobe malfunction? She did not have enough time to change from that jungle outfit into black dress and had to use her hands to cover herself. I wish she would have put that black dress on properly because I wanted to see it whole– it looked kinda nice to me, sexy but not too much.

I also like to mention that I love that they are including Team Internet more and more. Some youtubers are working on the red carpet (Tyler Oakley and Ingrid Nelson) and others are also attending.

Miley Cyrus also did a good job with her acceptance speech. Huge difference since last year’s VMAs.

Best dressed:

Females: I liked the looks of Becky G, Holland Roden and Kesha – stylish but not too revealing.

2014 MTV Video Music Awards - Arrivals 2014 MTV Video Music Awards - Arrivals 2014 MTV Video Music Awards - Arrivals

Males: I liked the style of Greg Sulkin (can’t wait for Faking It to be back) and my queen Tyler Oakley.

2014 MTV Video Music Awards - Arrivals 2014 MTV Video Music Awards - Arrivals

Also – did you see Katy Perry’s nod to the past? It was super fun to see her embracing the denim

2014 MTV Video Music Awards - Arrivals

I am sorry that this post is so long, I guessed I had a lot to say. Have a great last week of summer wherever you are!