Archive for March, 2017


zoo posterWhen you hear the name Antonina Zabinski, most of you won’t associate her with anything.  I certainly didn’t, but after seeing “The Zookeeper’s Wife,” based on the book by Diane Ackerman, it’s a name that will elicit hope in humanity.  The unassuming Zabinski family was the only hope for many captive Polish Jews during WWII.  Starring Jessica Chastain, Daniel Bruhl, and Johan Heldenbergh, the film gives light to a little known story about hope in the face of death and destruction.

Watch the trailer here

Antonina (Chastain) is in her element as she cares for her family and her animals.  It’s evident that she is less comfortable with people particularly as she is introduced to the Berlin leading animal researcher and zookeeper  Lutz Heck (Bthe-zookeeper-s-wife09ruhl).  This initial tension is just the beginning of what’s to come.  Poland’s geographical position and Jewish population made it a heavy target for invasion by Nazi Germany.  The Zabinski’s zoo became a German military camp where the family watched in horror the atrocities of the vile actions against not just people, but  animals and children as well.  As the bombing begins and many of the Zabinski’s friends are captured, it is Antonina and Jan’s (Heldenbergh) resourcefulness and intuitive nature that balance the dark and disturbing nature of war itself.  Rescuing others from the “Ghetto” using deceptive measures and hiding them in underground tunnels and basements using piano playing as a communication device is just a glimpse inside this courage young families endeavors.

I had a chnikicaro2ance to talkwith Niki Caro (“The Whale Rider”), the director of this emotional yet factual film.  Research into the events was pivotal to bring the viewer into the story.  Caro said, “We only looked at documentary evidence…It wasn’t uncommon for me to walk into the office of my colleagues to find people weeping.”  She added, “I think a lot of our war stories on film are naturally from the male point of view, but it occurs to me that war happens to women also and it happens to children and it happens to animals.”  “The Zookeeper’s Wife” brings all of these issues to the forefront, sometimes disturbingly so, but this is a reality of war, of WWII.

The film captures humanity on every level—from its most exalted to its most inhumane.  As the family attempts to rescue more and more Jews held captive in the “Ghetto,” thf78-600x292ey put themselves in more and more danger.  The anxiety this creates is unnerving, yet it gives you hope that people in dire circumstances can do the right thing.  Antonina’s willingness to sacrifice so much, particularly when interacting with Heck, is pivotal in demonstrating her courage.

When I asked Caro about some of the more disturbing scenes, she had this to say, “Ursula, the rape of the child, you never see it…You see the damage done to that child so that she is rendered non-human…[Antonina] uses her instincts to protect her and bring her back into the human race.”  Caro passionately added, “Jessica [Chastain] and I are both extremely trothe-zookeeper-s-wife06ubled by rape scenes in films.  No part of me wants to be gratuitous about this.  Therefore, this is something you never see in this movie, but you see the damage and then you see the healing.”

While there is the horror of war, there is also beauty and cinematically, this film captures every scene beautifully.  We feel the bombing, we feel the love of life; both of humans and animals.  It’s truly a visually striking film, eliciting exactly the emotional reactions necessary to tell a complete story.  While the story seems to lag in some parts, the ability to connect you each of the characters is so strong that you feel invested in them, wanting and needing to know how this small yet important story ends.

Chastain is simply sublime in her portrayal of Antonina.  Her genuine love of animals is evident from the moment she interacts with a lion cub to caressing an elephant’s trunk to reassure it.  Caro stated that there was very little CGI used in this film.  She felt that using fake animals “…would not have worked for me and I don’t believe it would work for the film.”  In fact, Caro added, “…when you see [Chastain] with an animal, she is with the animal.  There is no double for Jessica Chastain…The trust she had in them and they in her, it’s a rare quality and it’s a quality that she shared absolutely with Antonina.”

Johan Heldenbergh’s performance as the sometimes conflicted, but morally bound Jan is equally as powerful as Chastain’s, giving us a realistic picture of Antonina’s husband.  And Bruhl’s exquisite performance found the right balance of humanity as this (d)evolved throughout the film.  The characters could have easily been over-the-top, but in no instance did this occur.  There was a sense of genuineness from all of them, embodying each character and bringing this little-known story to life.

“The Zookeeper’s Wife” is an extraordinary story told with exceptional sensitivity and care.  WWII and war itself is seen from an unusual perspective creating a beautiful sense of the importance of humanity.  In making this film, Caro said, “I don’t know that I will ever be quite the same which is a small gesture in the scheme of things.  The intention was so much to honor those millions who died in the holocaust by celebrating the hundreds that survived and the extraordinary work of Antonina and her husband…People exist who would not have exited.  Children were born who would never have been born.”  And at the core of this film is its message—the healing and the humanity that remain.

To read the interview in its entirety go to FF2 Media




Unknown stories of war heroes, particularly WWII, seldom are unearthed, but the stories of heroines of that era seem to be even more rare.  The name Antonina Zabinski will soon be a recognizable name thanks to the film “The Zookeeper’s Wife,” based on the book by Diane Ackerman of the same name. The film, starring Jessica Chastain as the lead character, Antonina, had an overwhelming number of women at the helm including the director Niki Caro (“The Whale Rider”) with whom I had a chance to talk about her perspective of this historically significant story.


Niki, initially unaware of the higher than average number of women associated with this film, felt that it was “…appropriate given that it is the story of a woman in war time.” However, Caro said, “I hire the best person for the job, always. It just so happens that many of these were women, remarkably.” Recognizing that war films are typically from a male’s point of view, she said, “…but it occurs to me that war happens to women, it also happens to children and it happens to animals.”



Being pregnant isn’t easy.  I know.  I have two kids.  I’ll be the first to admit that I wasn’t a good pregnant person.  I equated it to having an alien sucking the life out of me.  (Love yAlice Loweou, Jon and Kelsey!)    Lowe wrote and directed this gruesome horror flick while she was in her third trimester, but her character Ruth, a widow, takes the hormonal mood swings to a new level.  She receives not just messages, but has complete conversations with this unborn and apparently evil little girl.  The demon from within has quite the imagination as the bodies begin to pile up.


Not since “Rosemary’s Baby” has pregnancy been equated with a horror movie.  And never have I seen comedy and horror together in this situation.  Lowe has exactly what it takes to make this concept work—a dark sense of humor.  Having starred in and co-written “Sightseers” with Ben Wheatley, I knew exactly what kind of an adventure I was in for—and I was looking forward to it!  Lowe didn’t disappoint me as she kept that same dark, edgy humor and blended it perfectly with some rather twisted and gut-wrenching scenes.  I found myself gasping in horror and chuckling at the same time.  That’s not an easy feat to pull off!

Ruth is a widow, but we don’t understand the circumstances under which she has become pregnant and has lost her husband.  The film introduces us to her as she is buying an exotic animal for her son’s birthday, but there’s something “off” with her interaction with the store keeper.  You have a feeling of unease and impending doom for a reason.  The owner isn’t long for this world and the blood starts to pour.  This is just one in the line of many, but what keeps you captivated is the fact that you need to know ‘why’ she is doing this.  The motivation is revealed, bit by bit, as we get flashbacks to an earlier and traumatic event.  The conversations between mother and soon-t0-be daughter reveal some background as well as being quite entertaining.  Every single scene is peppered with ironic humor as well as quite a bit of cheeky sarcasm which balances the situations that are splayed out before our eyes.  It’s this balance that makes the film work.

Lowe is a genius of comedy, dark comedy, I should say.  The characters she creates are as unique as her writing.  From the D.J. in the bar (I still cringe when I think about his fate) to the woman who fights back, you knJo Harlteyow exactly how it’s going to end for them, but it’s the interaction in the middle that makes you almost root for Ruth.  Jo Hartley plays the midwife with whom Ruth has the most consistent interaction.  Her choice of words and Ruth’s responses are simply hilarious; each of them really talking from two totally different perspectives.

Cinematically, this independent film feels like a big budget movie.  The special effects are riveting and disturbing—exactly what a horror film should be.  One of the special camera views that is worth noting is when we are seeing what the unborn baby sees.  The effect is perfect, allowing us to understand the baby’s view.  This attention to detail is what cements the film in all it’s gruesome humor.

“Prevenge” is one of the most unique horror and comedy films, creating a genre of its own.  Under the direction of  Lowe, the film is at once edgy, hilarious, and disturbing.  And I thank her for making me look like an angel while I was pregnant…it’s scary that it took a murderous revenge rampage to do this, though!



The biopic film “The Most Hated Woman in America” premieres as a Netflix original on Friday, March 24th, starring Melissa Leo, Adam Scott, Juno Temple, and Vincent Kartheiser.  Leo portrays Madalyn Murray O’Hair, the founder of the American Atheist organization and the force behihatednd removing prayer from public schools.  O’Hair challenged and fought the Supreme Court over the First Amendment and won.  Her battle, however, continued as she fought for her life and her family in this little known story.


O’Hair, her son, and her granddaughter are kidnapped, but what unfolds is a horrific tale of brutality and apathy.  We flash back to a younger O’Hair, living with her parents and delivering the news that there will be yet another baby in the house.  Her blunt, abrasive, and unapologetic manner is at first shocking yet this is an attribute that carries her forward in all her endeavors.


Tommy O’Haver

I had the opportunity to talk with the writers, Tommy O’Haver and Irene Turner about the film which O’Haver also directed.  The two had worked together on another strange but true film called An American Crime (2007).  Finding a story like Madalyn Murray O’Hair quite literally fell into their laps.  Producers Elizabeth Banks and Max Handelman  brought them the story to adapt.  O’Haver said, “We dove into the research and we were hooked immediately.”  Turner added, “Here’s a strong, opinionated woman fighting for the First Amendment with incredible family conflicts.  Who wouldn’t want to write her?  And why have I never heard this story before?  Obviously we need to tell it.”

There are two parallel stories running throughout the film as the story flashes back in time to give us a complete picture of this driven and oftentimes grating woman.  Madalyn, Jon, and Robin are missing, but no one seems to care except for a journalist who sees some strange inconsistencies in their disappearance.  The on-going investigation turns up more and more convincing evidence that there has been foul play, but getting Madalyn’s own family to acknowledge this isn’t an easy task.  Meanwhile, we are privy to the dire situation of the kidnapping.  The motivation and the sordid history between Madalyn and David Waters (Josh Lucas), one of the kidnappers and a member of her own organization, is revealed.  That, in and of itself, is a shocking story.

Using a non-linear storytelling style was the initial choice for the two writers.  O’Haver shared, “From the outset, it made sense to tell it that way…to start it with the kidnapping and then flashback through her life so you could have some context and learn who this woman was and what she was doing in this room.”  He continued, “What started to emerge was this tragedy about this family…There was a version where we tried to tell more about the investigation…but it got so confusing.  It was best to just use it as an additional driving force underneath the narrative.”

Leo portrays O’Hair with an undeniably keen understanding of this character.  She truly becomes O’Hair.  Leo was on board to play the part from the very beginning, seven years ago.  O’Haver saw her performance in “The Fighter” and knew he had his ‘Madalyn.’  O’Haver sent Leo the script and she loved the character.  He concurred that her performance was stellar, saying, “…you don’t see her acting in this film at all.  She inhabits this personality.”  Turner passionately explained that it was important that O’Hair’s voice not be “one dimensional.”  Turner said, “She had a lot of facets.  Sometimes she was wrong.  I hope that Tommy and I created a real person and not a cardboard picture of a person.  Often, women in a film can be relegated to supporting a male lead’s vision or they can be blanded out to be heroic and not have bad sides.  Finding complexity for her was really important for both of us; especially me.”

Blending archival footage into the film to paint that clear picture of what happened in the 1960’s and 70’s was an integral part of telling the real story.  O’Haver and Turner worked with several sources and [archival] interviews as O’Hair was very public in her life, both personally and professionally.  Turner said, “There’s so much written about her and she talked about her life so much that we had this voluminous amount of material.”  Using material produced in the actual time period versus a more romanticized version looking backward makes this film more intriguing.

Intriguing is just one way of describing O’Hair.  While this headstrong woman may not have been picture perfect, she did fight for what she thought was right.  The film gives us a multifaceted view of Madalyn Murray O’Hair and her life.  “The Most Hated Woman in America” will keep you on the edge of your seat and give you a greater appreciation for our history and those stories we may not otherwise have known.  Turner said, “As filmmakers, it’s fun to rediscover people.”  And as a viewer, it’s fun as well.

You can stream “The Most Hated Woman in America” to your devices via Netflix instantly beginning March 24, 2017.


“The Levelling,” written and directed by Hope Dickson Leach and starring Ellie Kendrick and David Troughton, is a visually compelling film that pits a young veterinarian’s hopes and dreams against family responsibility.  Clover (Kendrick) returns home for her brother’s funeral only to confront her father, Aubrey (Troughton), about the circumstances of the death and the current state of affairs of the farm.

The village of Somerset has been ravaged by floods, creating a sombre backdrop for this story.  Charlie (Joe Blakemore), Clover’s brother, has shot himself, but the question is, was it a suicide or an acci32844986716_e996ff6bdc_m (1)dent?  While communication between Aubrey and Clover has been lacking in the past, the demons that surface along with the truth creates such tension, allowing us to understand each of them clearly.

Finding the truth about the events at hand is not the only thing that is exposed in this rich and complex film.  Finding the truth within oneself is at the core of the story.  Clover’s love of her brother and her ties to this failing farm are evident from the moment she walks slowly through the muddy streets leading to her dilapidated home.  So much has happened during Clover’s absence.  The tension slowly escalates until both she and her father must finally communicate.  It’s a raw yet beautiful portrayal of the complexities of a father and daughter relationship.

Kendrick shines in this role as an intelligent young woman who is struggling from guilt and remorse from within.   She immediately allows you to connect with her, understanding her every emotion and her decisions. In many ways, she is still the defiant teen, not taken seriously.  Going home is always tough and being respected, especially as a woman, is even more difficult and Kendrick allows all of these issues to come to the surface with a simple glance or expression.  Troughton finds a way to exhibit such strength while he is also distraught about where his life has lead him and where it may go.  Together, these two bring such power to their characters that the story propels forward almost effortlessly.

Leach as the director is able to tease out the subtleties necessary with these lead characters.  Cinematically, the film is gorgeous; conveying exactly the tension and emotion needed in each scene.  While the pace is slow, the emotional stakes create the needed investment that makes this film so compelling and relatable.  The story is masterfully layered as little by little, we peel away pieces of information to put the puzzle of life together.

“The Levelling” is a remarkable film depicting a mysterious tragedy, but more importantly, the struggling relationship between a father and daughter.  With complex characters, skilled performances, and deft direction, it’s a film that will captivate you as you reflect upon your own relationships.

You can see this film at the Chicago at Facets Cinémathèque March 24-30.  Get TICKETS

For more information, go to





The South by Southwest Film Festival, part of the larger conglomerate festival known as SXSW, now in its 24th year, takes place in Austin, Texas, and ended on Sunday. This 10-day festival celebrates music, comedy and film drawing more than 72,000 participants. What’s the draw? Well, barbecue, of course, but also world premiere films, A-list movie stars, directors and writers all converging on this bustling little city.


I was lucky to be able to cover this high energy film festival on behalf of the Daily Journal and bring back the highlights for you. Many of the recommended films will be opening theatrically in the coming weeks and months, and others you’ll be able to find on Netflix and other digital platforms soon.

Read the entire article here as it was published in the Monday, March 20th issue of The Daily Journal.


Sitting down to talk with writer/director Jason Headley as well as two of the lead actors, Matt Jones and Eleanore Pienta, in the hilarious new film “A Bad Idea Gone Wrong,” proved to be just as entertaining as the film. While I certainly laughed, I was also put at ease with their willingness to share not just about the film, but about who they are.  After reading the interview, you’ll understand why this film was voted Best Ensemble Cast at the 2017 SXSW Film Festival.

Reel Honest Reviews (RHR):  How do you define the word ‘funny?’

Jason Headley (JH):  I feel like there’s a broadening of comedy that I find sad.  It’s not satisfying.  It’s not based on real stakes.  It’s gotta get bigger and bigger.  I just feel like comedy and drama all come from the same conflict. We tried to play our comedy straight, for the most part.  There aren’t too many moments where it’s like “I’m being funny right now.”  There are lines that are clearly written and delivered in a funny way, but you try to make it all just feel as real life and real stakes as possible.

RHR to Matt Jones (MJ): What did you enjoy most about playing Marlon?

MJ:  I get to play characters that are ignorant to the feelings of others…I like to call it diarrhea of the mouth, just constantly talking and it’s just fun to play in that space.  It’s fun to play the 10 year-old version of myself in an adult body…and just really say the first thing that comes to your mind.  I don’t get to be that person in real life.  So it’s fun to play that!

RHR:  So how much of this was scripted?

MJ and JH:  100%

RHR:  Eleanore, how did you get connected to this film and Jason?

Eleanore Pienta (EP):  The first film I ever did was called SEE YOU NEXT TUESDAY.  It’s based on this character that I made up.  I used to and still do make up characters and then photograph them and explore them through videos.  My friend saw this photograph of this character “Mona” and he said, ‘I want to make something with you with this character”…Most of my acting work comes from that project.  It’s a crazy character and it’s a performance that doesn’t know what not to do.  It goes for it.  I think it’s very good.  It’s the thing that I’m most proud of in terms of performance.

JH:  Other than this!  That film SEE YOU NEXT TUESDAY was…the one that I saw of hers and I was like, this lady’s impressive!

RHR:  Matt, how did you get connected?

MJ:  Through our agents.  The production did not have someone to play my part and three or four days before shooting and everything was on fire and they were terrified and I saved the day!

JH:  We had set the shoot dates …and then we got going and we were down to the wire and if Matt didn’t come on, we were going to have to push, and if we had pushed, there’s a decent chance it would have pushed into infinity the way these things do. I was really happy when he said yes, because we got to make the movie.  I’m really happy the way it turned out and I’m so happy I got to make it with him.  He did a really bang up job.

MJ:  (Laughs)  You almost sounded sincere there!  I’m just kidding…a nice moment and I ruined it.

RHR:  Eleanore, are you at all similar to your character of Darcy?

EP:  She’s a strong lady and I’m a strong lady.

RHR:  What’s the deal with the Niagara Falls theme?

JH:  You look back on relationships that didn’t work and the moment, if you’re doing your forensics, everything was ok there… then everything wasn’t ok.  For Leo it’s just this place and time, it was his happiest moment, and it was a time where he felt safe and loved.  And obviously the character Jessica felt that, and it was the best they were.  I liked having that and then working into the prop.

RHR:  OH!  I thought it was an homage to an Abbott and Costello episode!  You know, “Slowly I turn…”

No one seemed to have a clue as to what I was referring to, but then….

JH:  I grew up on Abbott  and Costello.  I forget that one.  I did a whole Abbott and Costello tribute.  I do these little shorts called AT THE BAR.  I did one [called] “A One and A Two.” It was a full-on tip the hat.  Sunday mornings I’d go to church with my mom and I’d come home and I’d watch Abbott and Costello with my dad.  They were the two alters at which I worshipped when I was a kid.

RHR:  Matt, do you have any mentors?

MJ:  Mentors?  I come from a very strange background.

RHR:  You can’t just say that and move on.  Explain that one.

MJ:  Long story short, 12 brothers and sisters, some were adopted. My mother married a Southern Baptist minister when I was three.  My momther was a teacher and I grew up in L.A.  I come from a very Christian family and then I’m now like the black sheep, not in a bad way…nobody in the history of my family has been in entertainment industry in any way.  I’ve been completely flying blind for 18 years now.  Other mentors have been comedians who have taken me under their wing and helped me out from time to time and given me jobs and given me good and terrible advice.

RHR:  What was the terrible advice?

MJ:  Mainly about women was the bad advice!  [But]  I had a lot of people who took a chance on me and helped me out.

RHR:  How about you, Eleanore?

EP:  I currently have high respect for Marin Ade who is the filmmaker who made Toni Erdmann.  I love her voice.  I love that I was crying and laughing at the same time. That’s the shit that I love.  It had these really beautiful and poignant moments.

RHR:  Is it difficult being a woman in this industry?

EP:  I came up in the comedy world and ‘women are not funny.’  I love men. I love working with men, so there’s only a problem when there’s no respect.  And that’s beeen the case in a couple projects, but never on this project.  I always felt like every person had my back. But there was going into a nervousness about being the female.  In the script, she’s the love interest, but not the LOVE insterest.  She’s grounded in her own story.

JH:  I rmember being hyper-sensative about that.  It’s all for the sake of the story, but you’re in your underwear when they find you.  I remember the wardrobe people were asking what kind of underwear do we get?  Ask Eleanore what kind of underwear that girl wears!

EP:  The ones that cover up the most!  I was so happy that there’s that shot of [Matt] up on the dryer of his bare legs and ass.  That was so refreshing to me because it was

MJ:  A beautiful butt!

JH:  Guaranteed that’s the first time you’re butt’s ever been called refreshing!

MJ:  It’s ususally a shot you see of a woman

EP:  When I first saw it, it was like this is great.  It’s not normally the case!  Equal butt time.

RHR:  Tell me about something that happened behind the scenes that we viewers would never have known happened.

MJ:  The woman that owned our location…she was great and one day she and the whole crew made cookies together…and some of the people from props were helping and they were all making cookies!

EP:  Sugar cookies.  It was all just very sweet.

Yes, this is an amazing ensemble cast on and off the set.  You might even describe them all as sweet, just like those sugar cookies.




Jessica (1) miaowang_beijingtaxi-775x1024 laura2

Female filmmakers have always been better represented at festivals than in mainstream Hollywood and SXSW this year is no exception. What is exceptional, however, are the three women who have given us outstanding films at the Austin, Texas film festival: Laura Terruso (“Fits & Starts”), Miao Wang (“Maineland”) and Jessica M. Thompson (“The Light of the Moon”).  The films, all very different from one another, create captivating stories to both entertain and enlighten us.

I had the pleasure to see and connect with these talented women to discuss their films and what motivates them.  TO READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE AS IT IS PUBLISHED IN FF2 MEDIA, CLICK HERE




Jason Headley writes and directs his first full-length feature film, “A Bad Idea Gone Wrong,” starring Matt Jones (“Mom”-TV Series) and Will Rogers (“Bridge of Spies”) as two hapless thieves who stumble upon the wrong house to rob.  Eleanore Pienta rounds out the small yet powerful ensemble cast to give us a tale of tables turning and an unlikely love story all while making you laugh out loud.

Marlon (Jones) and Leo (Rogers) are hapless losers wanting to make a quick buck without having to really work for it.  Scheming for weeks, they find just the right heist— a home robbery ofbadidea a wealthy family on vacation.  Leo appears to be the “brains” of the operation and the two devise a plan that spirals out of control from the very beginning.  Once inside the home, the two arm the alarm (yes, you read that right) and they are now stuck inside the home.  But that is just one of the problems they encounter.  Darcy (Pienta) is the other problem.  Staying in the house while the family is away, Darcy is now taken hostage.  When each of the three reveal their true motives behind what brought them to this house, the story becomes wonderfully rich and entertaining.

Marlon and Leo are best buddies; it’s quite evident with their natural rapport and their wonderful conversations that make us privy to their past as well as their aspirations.  Marlon is consumed by a radio show contest and Leo is heartbroken.  The two are simply pathetic little puppy dogs that you want to take home and help, even if they are up to no 1-o4hOqHX6YoLUJsO1pqY-dAgood.  Darcy, on the other hand, is strong, smart, and independent, but she’s not as hardened as she lets on.  The antics that occur among the three of them are ridiculously fun, particularly as Leo and Marlon “brainstorm” ideas to get them out of the mess they’ve made.

The energy and pace of this film is fast and fun,  never a dull moment.  The actions and reactions are unexpected, creating an equally unexpected connection to these quirky characters.  Rogers and Jones compliment one another like Mutt and Jeff as we route for them to somehow succeed in escaping their situation.  Jones seems to truly embrace his character who has no verbal edit mode and Rogers brings a sweet demeanor to “Leo.”  It’s Pienta that seems to be the glue that pulls them all together to give us a well-balanced ensemble that is a true joy to watch.

Headley creates a fast-paced and hilarious story that will capture your heart as he finds a way to make you connect with the “bad guys.”  It’s a classic story of one bad decision leading to many more, but each situation is full of comedic joy.  Headley has a long and successful career ahead of him if “A Bad Idea Gone Wrong” is an example of his deft direction and creative writing skills.

“A Bad Idea Gone Wrong” is a fun romp in the life of three misfits who find a common goal while they figure out life.  It’s a fast-paced, energetic film that will engage and entertain you as you laugh out loud.  And thanks to this film, I will never see the time 11:11 the same way again!  Everything has gone right in creating this comedic gem.

(Check back for the interview with Headley, Jones, and Pienta at the SXSW Film Festival!)


3 1/2 out of 4 stars


A remake Disney would be proud of


The 1991 animated version of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” has been magically recreated in live-action form as only Disney could do. Written by Stephen Chbosky and Evan Spiliotopoulos and directed by Bill Condon, the story keeps the charm of its predecessor, updates some dialogue, creates a few new characters and still retains the beauty of this familiar love story.

Emma Watson (Belle), Kevin Kline (Maurice), Dan Stevens (Beast) and Luke Evans (Gaston) star in the film, making it seem as if the characters were written with their faces and personalities in mind. It’s a fresh take on a magical classic.

To read the review in its entirety as it was printed in the March 17th issue of The Daily Journal, go  HERE