The legendary Shirley MacLaine stars in a charming but flawed “The Last Word”.
It’s great to see Shirley MacLaine still scoring lead roles at 82, but “The Last Word” could have been an even better vehicle for her than it is. The story of a cranky senior citizen worried about her legacy and working with the local newspaper’s obituary writer (Amanda Seyfried) to improve it has many charms, but the script misses the potential to be so much more unique. Her character’s sterling ad career isn’t explored deeply enough, considering that is where most of her legacy would be, nor is her estranged relationship with an adult daughter given its due. Instead the story settles for clichéd road trips, hip old granny jokes, and questionable “white savior” themes. Surely, the words of this script could’ve done more for such a legendary actress.
The new “Beauty & the Beast” honors the original Disney classic while deepening its story.
If you’re going to remake a beloved classic, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better adaptation than director Bill Condon’s superb live action update of the 1991 animated “Beauty & the Beast.” He and his screenwriters clearly adore the original and vividly recreate the spirit of its story and render songs like “Be Our Guest” and “Gaston” with eye-popping 2017 detail. They also deepen the tale as old as time along with wonderful touches of modernity. Belle (Emma Watson) is now feistier, the casting is diverse, and even the villains are given more complexity. Who says you can’t teach an old beast new tricks?