‘Beauty and the Beast’ has owned the box office for the last two weeks. This weekend, a live-action anime adaptation and DreamWorks’ latest family flick will try their best to kill the beast, but it’s not likely to happen.
DreamWorks Animation has struggled ever since its distribution moved from Paramount to Fox. Not only has the studio’s quality slipped, its marketing has also been a mess. While ‘The Boss Baby‘ may bring the quality back up, the marketing has been so bad that you’d never know it. Trailers and TV spots make the kids’ movie look like it’s about a baby with corporate attitude, which doesn’t appear to be entertaining in the slightest. Actually, it’s much more than that.
‘The Boss Baby’ is an imaginative allegory about an older child learning to cope with a new sibling joining the family. A seven-year-old boy’s perfect home life changes when his parents have another baby. As soon as the boy sees how much of his parents’ time is demanded by the newcomer, his imagination takes over, allowing him to see his little brother as a smug corporate jerk. Everything that happens is symbolic of the boy wanting things to go back to the way they were, all the while establishing a conflicted personal relationship with this new outsider. With a surprisingly charming and sweet sentimentality, ‘The Boss Baby’ is a whole lot better than it looks. The voice cast includes Alec Baldwin, Lisa Kudrow, Jimmy Kimmel, Steve Buscemi and Tobey Maguire.
The weekend’s big blockbuster hopeful is the live-action remake of the anime classic ‘Ghost in the Shell‘. The multinational co-production has taken a lot of flak for casting American Scarlett Johansson as the Asian lead from the source material. The fact that it’s never addressed or explained in the movie may make some viewers even angrier.
Set in the distant future, human bodies are fully integrated with machines. Almost all people are cybernetically enhanced, some more than others. Johansson plays a cyborg of a new form. After her body was left entirely unsalvagable during an accident, her brain was placed into a fully robotic body. Featuring the best of both worlds – human intelligence and an enhanced body – she’s the perfect weapon. On assignment as a secret agent, she ends up in the middle of something much bigger than she expected. The solid story from the anime is intact, but the problem ‘Ghost in the Shell’ faces is its style. It lacks personality and comes across as vanilla.
Focus Features has a new drama hitting 474 screens theaters that’s looking to tug at heart strings. ‘The Zookeeper’s Wife‘ (which has no connection to Kevin James’ ‘Zookeeper‘, unfortunately) tells the story of the couple who ran the Warsaw Zoo during the Nazi invasion. Much like Oskar Schindler, they used their means to save as many people as they could. From the director of great films such as ‘Whale Rider’, ‘North Country’ and ‘McFarland, USA’, it stars Jessica Chastain and Daniel Brühl.