Philip Martin

Columnist: Philip Martin

Jennifer Christman

Weekend Editor, Columnist: Jennifer Christman


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MOVIE REVIEW: Charming 'Beauty and the Beast'

Live-action Beauty is a visual feast and enchanting modernization of classic tale

To quote a lyric from one of the songs in Beauty and the Beast, "there may be something there that wasn't there before." The familiar elements are all in place, of course. It's Beauty and the Beast, for goodness' sake: a fairy tale as old as time, a song as old as rhyme and all that. And there are inspired flights of nostalgia as well, visual evocations of the predigital glory of Busby Berkeley, Ray Harryhausen and other masters of fantastical craft.

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Lyricist's Beauty on display in film

Disney's version of Beauty and the Beast may be a "tale as old as time," but the man who made the 1991 animated movie died when he was only 40.

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My Scientology Movie

Documentarian Louis Theroux looks like John Oliver, host of HBO's Last Week Tonight. But before you assume Theroux -- son of famous travel writer Paul, nephew to novelists Alexander and Peter, and cousin to screenwriter-actor Justin -- is somehow capitalizing on his physical resemblance to the comedian/news reader, consider that he has been conducting awkward interviews and investigating curious subcultures since the '90s when he was a correspondent for Michael Moore's TV Nation series. He has explored the Westboro Baptist Church, American neo-Nazis and ultra-Zionists in Israel for the BBC.

About those things watched on an iPad

A friend was telling me about a screenwriting class he spoke to recently. At one point he asked the 20 students how they watched television most of the time. Seventeen of them said they watched it on their iPads or other mobile device. The three remaining -- relative Luddites -- admitted they still watched most of their programs on computer screens.

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Home movies

Elle, directed by Paul Verhoeven

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Kong is No. 1, stomps Wolverine

In the box office war among beasts, Wolverine was no match for the return of King Kong.

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The Belko Experiment

A pull quote on a poster announces that The Belko Experiment is Office Space meets Battle Royale. That's not praise so much as a declaration of fact. Since the 2000 Japanese film about teens forced to kill each other in a government-sanctioned murder game, there have been many a riff on that cult classic -- The Condemned, The Tournament, and most notably, and similarly, The Hunger Games. It's a story format with which we've become familiar: Unwitting civilians are placed in a controlled environment where they are compelled by a Big Brother type to kill each other or be killed themselves. The variable is always the why.

Coming movies

CHiPs, R The latest recruits for the California Highway Patrol in Los Angeles, forced to work together and clashing instead of clicking: Jon Baker (director Dax Shepard), a professional motorbike rider trying to put his life and marriage back together, and Frank "Ponch" Poncherello (Michael Pena), a cocky, undercover FBI agent investigating a multimillion dollar heist that may be an inside job. With Rosa Salazar, Adam Brody, Kristen Bell, Vincent D'Onofrio, Maya Rudolph, Jessica McNamee. March 24


Beauty and the Beast

Helpful Hints

DEAR HELOISE: We are retired and spend two weeks a year in hotel rooms. I am an early riser; my wife is not. This causes a problem with the lighting in hotel rooms.

Horoscopes by Holiday

Happy birthday. You'll make the first move often this year and the second one, too. Then the universe answers with move No. 3 and soon all the world seems to be moving either for you or out of your way. The road forks in May. Money comes in lump sums in August and October.

On Christianity

DEAR REV. GRAHAM: Our pastor just announced that he's retiring in a few months. He is greatly loved and respected in our church and community (he's been here over 30 years), and I don't see how we'll ever replace him. Why is God doing this to us?

Super Quiz: Americana

1. Who provided Charlie McCarthy's voice?