Disney’s Beauty of a Casting Fail
What is Disney thinking? They’ve just announced the cast of a new live-action screen version of Beauty and the Beast, to be released next year, including Ewan McGregor as Lumiere the candlestick and Ian McKellan as Cogsworth the clock. That’s fine, but fond as we are of Emma Thompson, we can’t think of one good reason why Mrs. Potts the teapot shouldn’t once again be voiced by the glorious Angela Lansbury, who is still in fine voice at age 90. Ironically, she was also the belle of the ball at a recent 25th anniversary celebration of the original film.
EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Memorial Day at the Movies
With all the TV ads for grills and cars, it’s easy to forget that Memorial Day is the most solemn day on the U.S. civic calendar. It’s not about picnics or vacation. It’s not even about honoring veterans. It's about The Fallen. These classic films, while refusing to glorify war, nevertheless pay tribute to the men and women who paid the ultimate price for their country.
New in Theaters
* Designates a Movies for Grownups Editors’ Choice
Loud, chaotic and utterly alien to the quiet whimsy of Lewis Carroll, this awful sequel to 2010’s slightly-less-terrible Alice in Wonderland once more stars Johnny Depp as a strangely morose Mad Hatter. FULL REIVEW
Nicolas Cage stars as Charles B. McVay, captain of the torpedoed ship that sank in the closing days of World War II, leaving nearly 1,000 men floating in the ocean at the mercy of the sea, sun and sharks.
Okay, now we’re confused. Are these the ones who hang out at Iron Man’s house? They all wear tights, right?
New at Home
The story of Olympic champion Jesse Owens — the African American runner who exploded Hitler’s myth of Aryan superiority — is faithfully captured in this often-thrilling biopic starring Stephan James (Selma) as Owens and SNL alumnus Jason Sudeikis as his coach. FULL REVIEW
Officer Casey Affleck has been shot by a group of crooked Atlanta cops trying to create a distraction so they can pull off a heist across town. The bad news — for them — is that the targeted cop doesn’t die.
Still Out There
* Designates a Movies for Grownups Editors’ Choice
They’re birds. They are angry. OK, got it!
Tilda Swinton plays a rock singer coping with the ripples of certain life decisions in this sensuous mystery set in a lavish Italian seaside villa. Along with beautiful peeps Ralph Fiennes and Dakota Johnson, she encounters passion, jealousy and insecurity. But mostly passion.
This duckbilled platypus of a movie is ungainly and slapped together, but giddy good fun to behold. The grownup stars include Robert Downey Jr., Don Cheadle, William Hurt, Hope Davis, Marisa Tomei and Alfre Woodard. FULL REVIEW
Returning to his district on the Maine coast, a congressman (Treat Williams) gets a rocky reception from his constituents. George Hamilton pops up in a fun supporting role, and Elizabeth Marvel (House of Cards) is a delight as the politico’s refreshingly grownup love interest.
Helen Mirren stars as a British commander who must decide whether to take an innocent life in a drone strike on a terrorist meeting site. The superb players include the late Alan Rickman in his final film role. FULL REVIEW
Director-star Jason Bateman probes the dark corners of family bonds in this story of siblings (Bateman and Nicole Kidman) enduring an uneasy homecoming with their performance-artist parents (Christopher Walken and Maryann Plunkett). FULL REVIEW
Make no mistake: This live-action version of the 1967 Disney cartoon is as removed from Kipling’s literary classic as Angry Birds is from Audubon’s Birds of America. Still, the computer animation is jaw-dropping, and Bill Murray is fun as the voice of Baloo the Bear.
Ewan McGregor plays both Jesus and Satan in writer-director Rodrigo Garcia’s speculative account of what happened during The Man from Galilee’s 40-day desert ordeal.
Think it’s tough being single? In this dark futuristic comedy, single folks must find a mate in 45 days — or be turned into animals. Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz and John C. Reilly are among those racing the clock.
Hmm, a laff riot from Jane Austen? Kate Beckinsale stars as a scandalous 1790s British noblewoman who, on a visit to her in-laws, sets out to score a husband for herself — and a rich aristocrat for her comely daughter (Morfydd Clark). FULL REVIEW
Julianne Moore is a hoot in this latter-day screwball comedy. She plays Georgette, the wife of a philanderer (Ethan Hawke) who leaves her for Maggie (Greta Gerwig), a clueless home-wrecker. Fast-forward three years, and Maggie wants to give the hubby back. But does Georgette accept returns?
Susan Sarandon shines as the overinvolved mother of a TV writer (Rose Byrne). She smothers the poor girl with attention — until she catches the eye of a charming ex-cop (J.K. Simmons) who rides a Harley and raises chickens. FULL REVIEW
George Clooney is host of a TV financial show, Julia Roberts is his producer — and Jack O’Connell is the desperate viewer who hijacks the show after losing everything by taking their advice. Directed by Jodie Foster. FULL REVIEW
The cast of the 2002 original is back, as boisterous and big-haired as ever. Michael Constantine and Lainie Kazan shine as 70-somethings who learn their 50-year marriage was never sanctified. Don’t you just hate it when that happens? FULL REVIEW
This slam-bang buddy-cop flick harks back to the best of them (think Lethal Weapon or 48 Hrs.). In 1977 L.A., Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling are mismatched detectives searching for an MIA porn star. The jokes are just one form of the rapid-fire killers here. FULL REVIEW