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This version of the classic tale is from Brotherhood of the Wolf director Christophe Gans and is a sumptuous telling of the story. French film has a merchant (André Dussollier) escaping a band of ruffians and wandering through a snowstorm into the castle of The Beast (Vincent Cassel). The creature commands he must stay, but will allow him one night to say goodbye to his family. When he returns home and relates his tale, his youngest daughter Belle (Léa Seydoux) sneaks out and goes to the Beast’s castle and offers herself in her father’s stead. The Beast is enchanted with her and thus begins a relationship that turns from fear and defiance to love…a love that may be The Beast’s only hope of becoming the man he once was. But, there is trouble ahead for Beast and Belle as her brother Maxime (Nicholas Gob) has offered up the riches of Beast’s castle to the gang leader Perducas (Eduardo Noriega) as payment for his debts.

Directed from a script by he and Sandra Vo-Anh this is a visually spectacular interpretation of the classic story and has a much welcome dark edge to it. It is entertaining and only looses it’s grip somewhat in a very CGI heavy last act when Perducas and his thugs raid Beast’s castle and he defends it with colossal moving statues and the local flora and fauna and it gets a little overindulgent. Belle’s disdain turning to love also could have been handled better as it happens a bit too quick, though her dreams of how The Beast came to be are well done and very effective. The costumes and make-up are elegant and the sets and FX are top notch and the cast all seem to fit and play their roles well, especially Vincent Cassel, who plays beast and prince equally well and the enchanting Miss Seydoux as Belle. It may be a bit of a flawed telling, but still very enjoyable and if nothing else, a visual feast for the eyes.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 star rating







Last Stand arrives on blu-ray today so, I thought I’d post my review of Arnold’s return to leading man status!

I’ll start off by saying it was fun seeing Arnold Schwarzenegger back in action and I liked the fact that he didn’t try to hide that he is in his 60s and isn’t quite John Matrix anymore. The film surrounds him with a likable cast such as his fellow officers “Figgy” and Sarah (Luis Guzman and Jaime Alexander) and a goofy local who collects historical firearms (Johnny Knoxville). The story however is quite generic and cliche. An escaped cartel drug lord (Eduardo Noriega) is going to try to make for the Mexican border right through Sheriff Ray Owens’ (Arnold) rural little town and his band of thugs are going to make sure he succeeds. Owens and Co. have other plans. Director Jee-woon Kim who directed the mesmerizing “I Saw The Devil” gives us a nice pace and some fun and furious action but, sadly the script is weak and the villains are extremely bland. Even the usually unsettling Peter Stormare is dull as main thug Burrell and Noriega’s cartel lord is equally bland and right out of an old Miami Vice episode. And to make a film like this really work, you have to have strong villains for our hero to face and it’s only their sheer numbers that make them a threat. And let’s not forget Forrest Whitaker who seems bored as an FBI agent who let’s drug lord Cortez escape on his watch. Despite the energetic action, overall the film would be quite forgettable if a lesser leading man was cast. It’s great to see Arnold blasting and beating up bad guys again but, once the credits roll the film doesn’t leave any more of an impression then seeing the Austrian Oak back on the screen in a lead role again. And coming from one of the greatest action icons ever and the director of one of the most intense and disturbing thrillers in recent years, it’s a bit of a let down after all is said and done.

2 and 1/2 bullets

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