(Theaters and Amazon Prime)
A modern take on the traditional tale of Cinderella, the over-the-top campy romantic musical comedy is wildly entertaining.
Although Cinderella (Camila Cabello) lives in the cellar and is subservient to her stepmother Vivian (the excellent Idina Menzel) and her silly stepsisters (Maddie Baillio and Charlotte Spencer), she’s not the kind of girl who is waiting for Prince Charming.
She designs clothing and dreams of being an independent woman someday. Still, whose head wouldn’t be turned by the handsome Prince Robert (Nicholas Galitzine)?
Pierce Brosnan is well cast as the stuffy King Rowan, who wants the prince to marry a woman who will expand the kingdom. Minnie Driver portrays Queen Beatrice, who longs to tell her husband “no.”
This feminist-slanted tale includes Tallulah Grieve as progressive Princess Gwen. Billy Porter is a hoot as Fab G, Cinderella’s fairy godparent who supplies the magic, including the glass slippers.
What sets the latest incarnation of this story apart would have to be the music and the large scale dance setpieces. Although “Cinderella,” which is written and directed by Kay Cannon, will be available on Amazon Prime, the movie is better on the big screen because audience members laugh and applaud when they hear the first few notes of a number of well-known tunes.
Prince Robert does justice to Freddie Mercury’s “Someone to Love,” and Menzel, Baillio and Spencer sing and dance to Madonna’s “Material Girl.” Other recognizable hits include Janet Jackson’s “Rhythm Nation” and J-Lo’s “Let’s Get Loud.”
SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS
The first Marvel superhero film to feature an Asian lead (Simu Liu) and an Asian director (Destin Daniel Cretton), this impressive martial arts-filled origin story offers a rapturous and rollicking visual experience.
Liu, who portrays Shang-Chi, is well cast as the son of Wenwu, the Mandarin (Tony Leung), fighter extraordinaire and trainer of the assassins of the Ten Rings. B
But Shang-Chi rebuffs his legacy and escapes to San Francisco’s where he works as a valet, with the film’s outstanding addition — Awkwafina as Katy. The actress offers comic relief and brings a fresh dimension to the special effects-laden fantasy.
Meng’er Zhang portrays Xilaing, Shang-Chi’s sister, who also escaped from their father. Shang-Chi and Xilaing’s late mother, Jiang Li (Fala Chen), served as the guardian of the mystical Ta Lo. Jiang Li’s sister Nan (Michelle Yeoh) took over as the protector of the hallowed land.
The film noir sci-fi film, written by Bryan Edward Hill and directed by Andrew Baird, is set in the future with private eye David Carmichael (Guy Pearce) channeling Sam Spade as he searches for a missing young woman named Melissa, the daughter of Marlon Veidt (Travis Fimmel), the creator of artificial humans.
The humanoids live in a colony, a city of robots called Zone 414. Humans can visit this area if they can afford the high price of interacting with a robot.
When he learns that Melissa was last seen in Zone 414, Carmichael attempts to find out what happened to her. High functioning A.I. Jane (Matilda Lutz) helps Carmichael with his investigation.
Although the performances are fine, the plot remains less than compelling because of several contrivances such as Carmichael’s tentative trip to save Jane from Veidt’s brother Joseph (Jonathan Aris).
2 and 1/2 Stars
Alice Reese is a member of the Dallas Fort Worth Film Critics Association. She reviews movies, arts and entertainment for the Herald-Banner and for KETR.