“Scream” (Horror/Thriller: 1 hour, 54 minutes)
With: Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, David Arquette, Mellissa Barrera and Jenna Ortega
Directors: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillet
Rated: R (Heavy bloody violence, profanity and sexual references)
Movie Review: Horror movies are decidedly formulaic. The producers don’t want to interfere with what the audience should expect. The latest “Scream” provides running commentary on itself and other slasher films. The result is something typical but entertainingly humorous.
A new Ghostface emerges in Woodsboro and begins killing people, primarily a group of close friends. The murders once again unite Sidney Prescott (Campbell), news anchor and writer Gale Weathers-Riley (Cox), and former sheriff Dewey Riley (Arquette). They join a group of close friends as they try to figure out who the new Ghostface is.
Writers James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick weave in clever comedic bits about other horror greats while ridiculing their characters’ antics. They do this by asking the characters to critique “Stab,” the horror movie in that movie, and its characters’ mistakes. The writing works to resonate with audiences who see “Scream” characters make the same mistakes.
Faces old and new come up with questionable action in this fifth film in the franchise that began with “Scream” (director Wes Craven, 1996). However, their on-screen personas’ flaws are what make this popcorn movie fun, even if the actions are commonplace.
“Scream” creates new material from its long-running franchise themes that work. The characters created by Kevin Williamson prove that the antagonists they keep killing off, the protagonists can keep coming back, again and again.
Grade: B- (The laughter eclipses the screams.)
“Belle” (Animation/Adventure/Drama: 2 hours, 1 minute)
With: Kano Nakamura, Ryo Narita, Tina Tamashiro and Shôta Sometani
Director: Mamoru Hosoda
Rated: PG (thematic content, violence, language and brief suggestive material)
Movie Review: A dazzling drama and adventure, “Belle” is a gripping story with sweet visualizations. He follows Suzu (Nakamura). While still a child, she lost her mother. Suzu still mourns her mother as an older teenager.
The shy high school girl finds a new life in a virtual world called “U”, where she is the gorgeous singer known as Belle. She finds her voice as Belle, but her new life has consequences.
“Belle” creates characters worth following. Director-screenwriter Mamoru Hosoda richly develops the journey of his characters. As this narrative continues, Hosoda’s storyline creates characters that create an emotive atmosphere. He wants you to care about these people and one to care about, especially Suzu.
Think of this anime feature as a cross between the tale “Beauty and the Beast” and the 1940 movie “Fantasia.” The combination is a good one. Hosoda’s story develops in a way that keeps its audience guessing as the story unfolds with awe-inspiring twists and turns that stick to its characters as their lives unfold with artistic background.
The plot has a lot to think about. It could easily be two films, each richly developed. Instead, Hosoda manages to blend well by the conclusion to create a classic movie tale.
Hats off to Hosoda and his team for this attractive feature. It’s a great addition to Japanese animation at its best.
Rating: A- (“Belle” is aptly named – gorgeous.)
Adann-Kennn Alexxandar has been reviewing movies in the South Georgia area for over 20 years.