Hitting Screens, Week of March 13, 2017

MV5BMTUwNjUxMTM4NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODExMDQzMTI@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,674,1000_AL_Relatively few adaptations are currently in theaters, but this weekend sees the opening of one of biggest of the season, the live-action version of one of Disney’s most beloved animated films, Beauty and the Beast, which in turn is based on the Grimm fairy tale. It’s another reminder that one of the fiercest copyright enforcers takes full advantage of public domain material.

The film stars Emma Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens as the Beast. Luke Evans, Kevin Kline, Josh Gad, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Audra McDonald, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Ian McKellen, and Emma Thompson also star.

Press coverage has been heavy with features in Entertainment Weekly and a Vanity Fair shoot for Watson.

Reviews range from praise to pans. USA Today says “Here’s some Disney magic for you: The new Beauty and the Beast actually improves upon the animated classic.

The NYT says “Its classicism feels unforced and fresh. Its romance neither winks nor panders. It looks good, moves gracefully and leaves a clean and invigorating aftertaste. I almost didn’t recognize the flavor: I think the name for it is joy.”

Entertainment Weekly is not as glowing, giving it a B- and writing “It’s fine and funny and sweet and lush and some of the songs are infectious, but I still don’t completely understand why it exists — and why they couldn’t do more with it.” New York Magazine calls it “Lifeless.”

There are multiple tie-ins, including Beauty and the Beast Novelization, Disney Writers (Hachette/Disney Press). For more see the listing of tie-ins.

MV5BMTU2NTA0NDM0MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDMzMTQzMTI@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,666,1000_AL_Another film that captured the imagination of a generation, although in a quite different way, is also getting a second pass at the silver screen. T2 Trainspotting opens on March 17.

The original 1996 film Trainspottingepitomize[d] an era” says the LA Times. “The film captured the growing consumerism, heroin-chic and Cool Britannia of the time … As it followed the exploits of Renton, Sick Boy and other on-the-margin types in Edinburgh, Scotland … [it] took on landmark status.”

The original cast stars again, including Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller, Robert Carlyle, and Kelly Macdonald. Director and screenwriter return as well, Danny Boyle and John Hodge.

Both films are based on novels by Irvine Welsh: his debut novel, Trainspotting (Norton, 1996; OverDrive Sample), and its sequel, Porno (Norton, 2003; OverDrive Sample). Norton released the new film tie-in, on March 7: T2 Trainspotting, Irvine Welsh. The cover says “Previously published as Porno.”

However, the book connections are a bit complicated. The NYT says “Although the second film uses elements from Porno … Mr. Boyle said the story was largely a development of ideas from the original book.”

Thus far reviews are mixed. Neither the Hollywood Reporter nor Variety are impressed. THR says “Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be” and calls the film “disappointingly redundant.” Variety says “a shinily distracting but disappointingly unambitious follow-up to 1996’s feverish youthquake of a junkie study, which reunites its quartet of older, none-the-wiser Edinburgh wretches to say simply this: Middle-aged masculinity is a drag, whether you’re on smack or off it.”

The Guardian disagrees, calling it “a vibrant and welcome reunion.”

MV5BMTkwNDgxNjYxMF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMjY5OTMzMTI@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,674,1000_AL_Hap and Leonard, Season 2 returns to Sundance TV on March 15 in a six-episode run.

Based on the books by Joe R. Lansdale the second season will draw on events from the second novel of the print series, Mucho Mojo (PRH/Vintage Crime/Black Lizard, 2009;Brilliance Audio; OverDrive Sample).

Stars James Purefoy, as Hap, and Michael Kenneth Williams, as Leonard, return.

Entertainment Weekly says the show, which has a notoriously high body count, has “reinforced [Season 2] with a number of new actors, including Brian Dennehy as a lawman named Valentine Otis, Irma P. Hall as local matriarch MeMaw, Dohn Norwood as charismatic preacher Reverend Fitzgerald, Cranston Johnson as Detective Johnson, and Tiffany Mack as Leonard’s lawyer, Florida Grange, who, together with Hap, attempts to clear Leonard’s name after he is arrested for a murder he didn’t commit.”

Deadline Hollywood reports the first season was “the network’s highest-rated original series.”

There is no tie-in.

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