Beauty and the Beast – Something there that wasn’t there before

Bonjour, bonjour! BONJOUR! It feels like we’ve been waiting for Disney’s live action Beauty and the Beast (Condon:2017) for FOREVER, and it’s finally heeeere! (Cue the party poppers and champagne corks. And throw in a firework or two if you feel like it.) After the success of the live action remake of Cinderella (Branagh:2015) a couple of years ago, which I thought was just magical, I waited with baited breath in the darkened cinema to see possibly my all-time favourite Disney film burst into new life.

**SPOILER FREE POST**

It was beautiful. The visuals were stunning, the story was touching (which we knew already), the new arrangements of the music were gorgeous. The choreographed sequences were enchanting, and the design of the whole production was magical … Have I thrown enough compliments at it yet? I promise there is more to say though.

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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – I’ve got a good feeling about this

Yesterday, the latest film in the mighty Star Wars franchise was released, entitled Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Edwards:2016). Prior to its release, we knew next to nothing about it, other than it’s placement in the series between Episode III and Episode IV. From that, and some tasty trailer snippets, we gather it focuses on the rebels and the formation of the Death Star. But that was pretty much all we had.

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It turns out, the story revolves around Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), who is sent out on a mission by the rebels, to capture the plans for the Empire’s ‘planet killer’ – the Death Star. Though what she signed up for and what she ends up with, are not exactly the same thing.

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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – Step back into the magic

Alright so now that you’ve had a few days to get out and see the long-anticipated addition to J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Yates:2016), I think it’s safe for me to say my piece. And if you haven’t seen it yet, get yourself out to a cinema and watch it. Please. I’ve already had time to see it twice, what have you been doing?

Rowling’s wondrous world transports us back to New York in the 1920s, where one Newt Scamander arrives, armed with his precious case. A case filled with magical creatures. But how can you keep all those creatures in a case, I hear you ask? The answer is, you can’t, even with a little bit of magic, as Newt finds out when they begin to escape. Chaos ensues as Newt and co. try to round up all of his creatures before something happens to them, or anyone else.

**SPOILERS AHEAD**

Yeah, we know all that from the trailer, can we talk about the film now? Well, it would be my pleasure…

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John Wick – Style before story

So this was a film that had been recommended to me as an action thriller fan, and when I saw it was recently added to Sky Movies, I was quick to snap up the opportunity to watch it. The poster looked promising, and the plot summary sounded enticing. But it didn’t live up to what it promised – needless to say, it wasn’t exactly Keanu Reeves’s finest hour.

I mean, it had promise, but somehow didn’t live up to that. The film began pretty well – with your kick-ass assassin protagonist returning to the game for vengeance, your typical villains who established themselves as little more than two dimensional arseholes within about 10 minutes, and it was all set up for the odds to be stacked completely against John Wick. But it didn’t really go anywhere from there. I’m all for re-using a formula if it’s been proved successful, but John Wick (Stahelski:2014) seemed to rely too heavily on this formula to let the story take off, and I wasn’t thrilled by it.

**SPOILER FREE POST**

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Strange Magic – Everything I never knew I needed

Well … so maybe that title is a slight exaggeration of the truth. But the point is, this little film was exactly what I wanted it to be, without me even realising it. I didn’t know how much I needed a film like this until last night. Okay, let’s start at the beginning (a very good place to start).

The film Strange Magic (Rydstrom:2015) first came to my attention as a recommendation from my aunt, and I’ll admit I was a tiny bit sceptical about it, having not long watched a film she hated that I really rather enjoyed. And I’m pretty sure she only watched it because her 6-year-old daughter wanted to. But that’s beside the point. What I need to tell you about is how bloody fantastic this film is. It’s magical and uplifting and fun. But more than that, it’s refreshing.

**SPOILER FREE POST**

All based around the almighty Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, though not too closely I might add, the story revolves around Marianne, an independent young fairy after coming off the back of heartbreak, and her flirtatious sister. As the Bard once said, “The course of true love never did run smooth,” and chaos ensues with the introduction of a powerful love potion, all backed by a glittering soundtrack.

But wait. Don’t turn your nose up just yet. Not just because it’s a family adventure film.

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Deadpool – How to please your audience, a lesson by Marvel

Marvel have become one of the biggest film producers on the planet over recent years as the superhero genre has really taken off, and love them or hate them, you’ve got to give them credit for the quality and sheer popularity of their films. Unsurprisingly, Deadpool (Miller:2016) was no exception to this.

**SPOILER FREE POST**

The quick-witted, bad-mouthed, smart-ass super reaches Marvel’s teenage and young adult audience, while remaining open to an older audience too, now they can be promised a somewhat more realistic, and perhaps more relatable, representation of a modern superhero. A LOT of hype surrounded this film preceding its release and I’ll admit I was a little sceptical abut exactly how good it would be, and whether it would be worth the hype. Don’t get me wrong, I never expected that I wouldn’t like it (I’m quite a fan of Marvel’s films), I was just wary of expecting too much.

I needn’t have worried.

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The Danish Girl – Power in simplicity

Beautiful. Spine tingling. Insightful. Uplifting. Heartbreaking. Just some of the words I would use to describe The Danish Girl (Hooper:2015). Now, I don’t normally preach about what films people “have to watch” because, what gives me the authority to assume that my opinion is higher than yours? Frankly, it’s not. But having said that, I really do think this an important film that everyone should, at very least, consider watching. It’s one of those films where it just shows how powerful cinema can be, and how it can reach so many people. Especially with a film as slick as this one. Everything it did, it did to a colossal standard.

**SPOILER FREE POST**

The casting, first and foremost, was simply magical. Eddie Redmayne gave a spellbinding performance, as Einar slowly succumbed to Lili, treating the story with care and great emotion. Though for many, the issues presented in The Danish Girl are not ones that are easily relatable, Redmayne made that easier by giving Lili a voice, a face, a humanity.

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