Critics Consensus

Beauty and the Beast Is Beautiful But A Bit Too Familiar, and Iron Fist Is a Marvel Misstep

Plus, The Belko Experiment is gleefully brutal but uneven, and T2: Trainspotting and Trial & Error are Certified Fresh.

by | March 16, 2017 | Comments

This week at the movies, we have Disney’s latest live-action fairy tale (Beauty and the Beast, starring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens) and a really bad day at the office (The Belko Experiment, starring John Gallagher Jr. and Adria Arjona). What are the critics saying?

Beauty and the Beast (2017) 71%

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. And if you do succeed? You can add a few new ingredients to the mix and try again anyway — as Disney’s ongoing streak of live-action remakes makes clear, the odds are pretty decent that you might hit another home run. With this weekend’s Beauty and the Beast, the studio is out to breathe fresh box-office life into the tale (as old as time) of a cursed prince whose castle becomes a young girl’s prison — and whose, ahem, beastly appearance hides a heart she can’t help falling for. With Bill Condon in the director’s chair, a cast that includes Emma Watson and Dan Stevens as the titular lovebirds, and some of the same songs that helped captivate audiences during the animated classic, all the ingredients seem to be there for another irresistible romance — and if this pass at the story doesn’t quite reach its predecessor’s lofty heights, critics say it gets close enough to make it worth a watch. Fans of Disney’s original Beauty may feel it suffers by beggaring comparisons to its predecessor, but if you haven’t seen that version — or can temper your expectations accordingly — this remake should make for a suitably sweet night out at the movies.

The Belko Experiment (2016) 55%

If you like your action (or your horror) high-concept, The Belko Experiment dangles what might seem like an irresistible premise: an office full of Americans working in Bogotá suddenly finds their building under lockdown — and under the command of mysterious figures demanding that they either kill their coworkers or be killed themselves. It’s a nifty setup, and one whose on- and offscreen pedigree suggests great things; with a script by James Gunn and a cast that includes John C. McGinley and Michael Rooker, the genre thrills should flow as freely as the B-movie gore. Unfortunately, that isn’t quite the case — critics say that while this isn’t exactly a failed Experiment, it’s neither as gonzo as it could be nor as smart as it thinks, which undermines its attempts at satire and makes it harder to enjoy as a straight-up action thriller. A mixed bag not without its moments, Belko could still be worth checking out… but unless you’re really into this stuff, it might be best to wait for the rental.

What’s New on TV

Trial & Error: Season 1 (2017) 86%

Trial & Error hilariously parodies the true-crime genre with consistent laughs, irreverently funny “stupid humor,” and animated characters who populate the show’s dependably entertaining narratives.

Marvel's Iron Fist: Season 1 (2017) 20%

Despite some promising moments, Iron Fist is weighed down by an absence of momentum and originality.

Also Opening This Week In Limited Release

  • Tickling Giants (2016) , a documentary about Egyptian political satirist Baseem Youssef‘s journey from heart surgeon to public figure, is at 100 percent.
  • Betting on Zero (2016) , a documentary probe of the multi-level marketing corporation Herbalife, is at 100 percent.
  • After the Storm (2016) , about a creatively adrift author at a crossroads with his estranged family, is at 97 percent.
  • The Devil's Candy (2015) , about a dream home that becomes a paranormal nightmare for an artist and his family, is at 92 percent.
  • Mean Dreams (2016) , starring Bill Paxton as a corrupt cop whose double dealings get tangled in his teenage daughter’s love life, is at 83 percent.
  • Frantz (2016) , about the unlikely bond that develops between a veteran and a young woman grieving over the death of her fiancé, is at 78 percent.
  • T2 Trainspotting (2017) , director Danny Boyle‘s belated sequel to the 1996 classic, is Certified Fresh at 74 percent.
  • Song to Song (2017) , a Terrence Malick drama about life and love among musicians in Austin, is at 56 percent.
  • They Call Me Jeeg (2015) , about a criminal on a quest for vengeance after obtaining superpowers in an accident, is at 50 percent.
  • Atomica (2017) , about a safety inspector who encounters strange goings-on at an isolated nuclear power plant, is at 14 percent.

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