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New Releases Round-up 3/13 – 3/17

Title: Beauty and the Beast

Director: Bill Condon

Distributor: Disney

The newest live-action re-telling of a classic animated Disney film arrives this week with director Bill Condon’s Beauty and the Beast remake. With recent 90s-nostalgia revival pieces like Jurassic World paying major dividends at the box office, this reimagining of the 1991 film could very well be an even bigger success than Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella and Jon Favreau’s Jungle Book, both major moneymakers for the studio. Condon’s previous directorial work doesn’t exactly scream “let me make a CGI-heavy musical,” (with the arguable exception of Dreamgirls) but the talent in front of the camera has the potential to draw crowds of various tastes and ages. Emma Watson and Dan Stevens lead the titular duo of the film, with the rest of the human race (Ewan McGregor, Luke Evans, Ian McKellen, Josh Gad, Emma Thompson, Stanley Tucci) filling out the supporting cast. An intriguing detail has been revealed by Condon in the promotional run-up to the film in the playing of Josh Gad’s Le Fou as an openly gay character, with the implication being that the film will be making the subtextual homoeroticism between Le Fou and Gaston an explicit point. Seeing how this (hopefully) bold choice plays out could be worth the price of admission alone. In theaters Thursday, March 16th.

Title: Review (season 3)

Network: Comedy Central

The little-seen and much-loved series returns for an abbreviated final season this week, with comedic wunderkind Andy Daly’s put-upon protagonist Forrest MacNeil reviewing life one last, assuredly painful time. For those unfamiliar, Review is a remake of an Australian show of the same name wherein we track, in a serialized format snuck beneath the mockumentary guise of reality TV, the gradual dismantling of the life of a man who has promised to review life experiences submitted to him by viewers. These suggestions, which he cannot refuse (save for a few precious vetoes per season) have included being buried alive, being racist, getting a divorce, and eating 15 pancakes. The array of horrifying and hilarious circumstances the character has been subjected to in the short run of the show is truly something to behold, and fans and newcomers with a taste for cringe comedy (think Comedy Central’s own Nathan For You or the most painful moments of The Office) should tune in to see if they can somehow outdo themselves with Forrest’s last outing. Premieres Thursday, March 16th, 10 PM.

Title: Spirit

Artist: Depeche Mode

Label: Columbia

One of England’s premiere electronic groups, approaching 40 years of activity, appears to be taking no prisoners with its newest album Spirit. The group, setting an example for advocacy that bands of their age should take note of, launches attacks at establishment targets and issues a call for action on “Where’s The Revolution,” their new single. Their status as an international act makes their somewhat oblique jabs (“they manipulate and threaten / with terror as a weapon,” and “you patriotic junkies”) applicable to a variety of opponents guilty of jingoism at home and abroad in the States, but don’t think they aren’t capable of calling their enemies out by name. Prominent white supremacist and literal punching-bag Richard Spencer referred to Depeche Mode as “the official band of the alt-right” in a befuddling recent statement, which prompted the group to respond by clarifying that Depeche Mode has no ties to Richard Spencer or the alt right and does not support the alt right movement.” Enthusiasts of solid synth-pop and calling-out of bigots and/or fearmongers should be looking forward to Spirit. Out Friday, March 17th.