Alex Pettyfer and Vanessa Hudgens star in “Beastly,” last weekend’s number three box office draw. courtesy of CBS Films, Inc.

The Adjustment Bureau

Rating: PG-13

Runtime: 99 min.

At the film’s end, my guest commented, “It was… cute,” in the same lame manner most of us muster up an, “It was… interesting” after an unsatisfying experience. I, on the other hand, enjoyed “The Adjustment Bureau,” Matt Damon’s newest thriller that answers the question, do we control our destiny, or do unseen forces manipulate us?

Damon stars as senator-wannabe David Norris, who falls for the beautiful dancer Elise, played by Emily Blunt. Love diverts David’s attention away from politics, something the agents of fate can’t have.

The film suffers from an average story line and lack of visuals, which could have and should have blown us away given the agents’ ability to pass through doors into unknown territory. However, the on-screen chemistry between Damon and Blunt engaged me. I gave it a “cute-plus.”


Rating: PG-13;

Runtime: 86 min

The same person who viewed “The Adjustment Bureau” also joined me for “Beastly.” This time they called it “cute” but meant they liked it, they really liked it. I was less enthralled but nevertheless entertained by this remake of “Beauty and the Beast.”

The latest version features Alex Pettyfur as the impossibly good-looking but shallow Kyle. Entirely captivated and empowered by his own physical appearance, Kyle humiliates Kendra (Mary-Kate Olsen), a witch masquerading as a high school student. She transforms Kyle into the “beast,” who is ostracized even by his own father, an equally shallow news anchorman.

There’s nothing Oscar-worthy here, but “Beastly” is campy. Take, for example, Olsen’s over-the-top performance as the Goth witch. There was also humor in Kyle’s beastly tree tattoo, which marks the seasons of his yearlong transformation.

You won’t be happy if you pay nighttime admission, but “Beastly” is worth a rental. 


Rating: PG

Runtime: 107 min

If you like Johnny Depp and classic westerns, you’ll like “Rango,” the first full-length animated feature by Industrial Light & Magic. Depp voices Rango, a sheltered chameleon living as an ordinary family pet who accidentally winds up in the gritty, gun-slinging town of Dirt. The animation is sharp and colorful, just what you’d expect from ILM. The characters themselves are a bit too dark – visually and personality-wise – for youngsters, but adults will appreciate the homage to the rough and tumble icons of classic and spaghetti westerns.

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