“Beauty and the Beast” Pays Fitting Homage to Predecessors, But Can’t Compete with Masterpieces

When remaking a classic, withstanding the inevitable comparisons requires either flawless execution or inspired novelty.  Disney’s latest live-action adaptation has an even greater challenge, as it must compete with two masterpieces:  the studio’s own animated feature from 1991, and Jean Cocteau’s magnificent romantic fantasy La Belle et la Bête (1946).  And though this iteration of the story pays ample homage to both of these predecessors, minor blemishes and stylistic issues prevent the remake from reaching the same heights.  Still, a film should not be judged worthless if it fails to equal titans.  Beauty and the Beast does a great deal right; it simply doesn’t replicate the Earth-shattering experience of its ancestors.

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A Game of Musical Chairs Set Off by Alicia Vikander’s Casting in “Bourne 5”

This whole week has been a whirlwind of casting news, kicked off by the announcement of the new Spiderman. Again, castings that were supposedly set in stone (and reported upon in the movie news) have proven less solid by the time the ink finally dried. In this case, Alicia Vikander has officially been named the female lead opposite Matt Damon in the fifth film of the Bourne franchise. This casting clears out two other roles which Vikander was reported to be very close to signing on for: The Circle, starring Tom Hanks, and the Assassin’s Creed film with Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard. Once Vikander’s name fell from consideration for these roles, the respective producers wasted no time in filling them: Emma Watson will play the role in The Circle, and Ariane Labed has been chosen for the Assassin’s Creed role.
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