Aladdin

Aladdin 2019: Full movie Will Smith Moments is an Adventure, Comedy, Disney’s New Live Action Movie Is Much Better Than Its Trailers It can be debated whether live-action–or CGI/live-action hybrid–adaptations of Disney’s animated classics are needed. The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, The Jungle Book, and the rest of the studio’s library of iconic cartoon films typically stand the test of time.

They’re inevitable at this point, though, thanks to the money they earn at the box office. Given that, though, they should at least be good, right? That’s the mindset I had before screening the studio’s latest adaptation, Aladdin, fully expecting to hate it.

The trailers for Aladdin have not been kind, making it look like a pale imitation of a nearly 30-year-old film. Thankfully, though, the picture they paint isn’t accurate. Aladdin is, by and large, a good movie. If you love the original, it does more than enough to tickle your nostalgia bone, while adding more depth to the characters and giving some of them a bit of a modern spin.

All of your favorite songs are there, a lot of the jokes remain, and the cast does more than their fair share of singing and dancing, along with acting. What’s more, Director Guy Ritchie (King Arthur: Legend of the Sword) has recreated several visuals from the animated film in a way that makes them even more breathtaking in live-action.

The Cave of Wonders, as seen in the trailers, is incredibly designed, as is the kingdom of Agrabah.Of course, the biggest worry from the trailers was Genie, who was originally voiced by Robin Williams in the animated film. Will Smith plays the character in the live-action Aladdin, and what was shown of him in the trailers wasn’t great. The CGI was hit-and-miss, and he didn’t seem to spend much time in the character’s signature blue form. It just didn’t seem right.

However, you’ll be happy to know that Smith’s take on the character works. He’s not trying to capture the essence of Robin Williams in playing Genie, but instead relies on his comedic sensibilities–something we don’t see nearly enough from the former Fresh Prince of Bel Air. He also delivers big on song numbers “Friend Like Me” and “Prince Ali.” And if you’re worried about it, Genie also spends a lot of the movie with blue skin.

The only real knock against Smith is how much bigger his character is than anyone else in the film–physically and charismatically. Then again, that’s the same problem the Aladdin animated film had with Williams’ take, so it’s not a bad problem to have.Still, the cast of Aladdin is mostly well-suited for their roles. Mena Massoud is easy to love as the homeless thief Aladdin, and the friendships he forges with Genie and the magic carpet–as well as his relationship with pet monkey Abu–are fun to see develop.

Naomi Scott, meanwhile, elevates the role of Jasmine beyond standard Disney princess fare–and the chemistry Scott and Massoud share makes the love story between Aladdin and Jasmine work well. Jasmine’s story features the most important changes to the Aladdin story. In this adaptation, she has a sense of ambition and wants to follow in her father’s footsteps to lead her people and become the next Sultan of Agrabah, even if tradition doesn’t allow it.

When it comes to Disney remaking its movies, it’s these changes that make the new adaptations a useful tool. While 1992’s animated Aladdin featured a Jasmine who was eager to reject the idea of an arranged marriage to find a new sultan, the new film exploring the princess’s own ambition to lead her people is a wonderful change to make.

Booksmart

Booksmart : Booksmart is a 2019 American coming-of-age comedy film directed by Olivia Wilde (in her directorial debut), from a screenplay by the writing team of Emily Halpern and Sarah Haskins, Susanna Fogel, and Katie Silberman. On the eve of their high school graduation, two academic superstars and best friends realize they should have worked less and played more. Determined not to fall short of their peers, the girls try to cram four years of fun into one night.

The opening moments of Booksmart, the directorial debut of actress Olivia Wilde, present a question, just by force of viewing habit: What kind of cinematic high-school girl type is this?

Played by Beanie Feldstein, Molly begins her day listening to affirmations about achieving greatness. She goes off to school, where she’s class president. She suffers no fools, gladly or otherwise. From these hints, you might guess that in the world of high school movies, she is an Election Tracy Flick type: driven, insufferable, unpopular. But you also see her dance like a goofball with her best friend Amy (Kaitlyn Dever), and then you think … maybe not. Maybe she is a warm and likable nerd, the underdog type. And at some point, it comes into focus: Neither she nor Amy is any cinematic type at all.

Molly and Amy are best friends who love each other more than anything, who are about to graduate from high school and head off to college. They have both — Molly especially — focused on school, believing (or perhaps telling themselves?) that they were not partying much, not getting too wild, not having the wrong kind of fun, because they were academically driven. But then, Molly learns that some of the kids she’s always thought she wouldn’t want as friends because they don’t care about school are about to go to colleges as good as hers. This shakes her. Perhaps high school, she realizes, is not a choice between academic success and social immersion. Perhaps she has abstained from much of party life for no real reason.

That sets off the main section of the film, which grows out of Molly and Amy’s decision to have a lot of fun on their last night of high school before graduation, to make up for all the things they thought they had to skip.

This somewhat surprising swerve, in which the script from four women (Susanna Fogel, Emily Halpern, Sarah Haskins and Katie Silberman) rejects the idea that smart kids are un-fun and fun kids are un-smart, proves critical. Molly and Amy are not really victims of a social pecking order. They have largely isolated themselves unnecessarily, and the insight here is that that, in fact, is many people’s great high school regret. It’s not the things you couldn’t have, but the things you thought you couldn’t have.

For Amy, the stakes are particularly high, because Amy is a lesbian who’s been too shy to date. Molly keeps trying to get her to take some risks, but she doesn’t want to, and who can blame her? The story of Amy’s queer-kid journey is wonderful in that it is both a specifically and assertively queer-kid story and a story that anyone shy, anyone uncertain, can understand. Diana Silvers (most recently credited in Glass as “Cheerleading Girl”) is dynamite as Hope, an unfriendly girl whose precise connection to this story takes a while to develop, and skateboarder Victoria Ruesga — in her first acting job — is perfectly, cheerfully inscrutable as Ryan, the object of Amy’s crush and one of her reasons for venturing out at Molly’s suggestion.

(A note: Ruesga, like the rest of the ensemble, was cast by the superb casting director Allison Jones, whose resume is long and celebrated, including Freaks and Geeks, Parks and Recreation, Superbad, Eighth Grade, Lady Bird, Veep, Bridesmaids … there’s a decent argument to be made that few people have been more important to the last 25 years of American comedy. The cast here, full of unknowns and little-knowns, is one of her best.)

At heart, Booksmart, while it looks like an examination of high-school social survival, is about the profound bond between these two girls and how nervous they are about getting by without each other. Underneath the story of Amy’s crush on Ryan is Molly’s overbearing “support” of her queer friend. And then underneath the story of that support lies Molly’s frustration that she winds up responsible for making all the decisions for her less adventurous friend. They are not only feeling the strain of a looming separation as Amy heads off for a trip to Africa; they are feeling the strain of adjusting to adulthood and figuring out what their friendship will look like when they’re not joined at the hip in a way that tends to paper over conflict.

Feldstein and Dever are just sublime at giving these girls the depths of feeling as well as the comic flair that they need. While it is a relationship film, Booksmart also functions as a one-crazy-night comedy, and it benefits from wonderful touches like a fine and weird performance from Billie Lourd as a mysterious classmate who somehow is both everywhere and nowhere. And for a party movie, it also makes some marvelously creative cinematic choices, including an underwater sequence involving Amy and an argument between the two girls that wisely conveys that it is not just what is said in this moment that matters, but the feel of it. It matters how everything explodes at once, and you realize you can learn how these girls fight without even knowing every word they’re saying.

The writers, the cast, and Wilde have made a film that’s a celebration of teenage girls, of teenage best friends, and even of popular kids who would rather not be thought of as meatheads and airheads simply because they like to go to parties. It’s a humane and heartfelt film without a mean bone in its figurative body, truly, and Feldstein and Dever are not even the only ones in the cast who deserve to be called revelations.

The comedy “Booksmart” follows two soon-to-be high-school graduates, Molly and Amy (Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever), who have spent too much time studying and no time partying. They’re correcting that in one wild night before graduation. This scene has them arriving at a party they’ve been trying to find for much of the film.

Molly spots her school crush, Nick (Mason Gooding), and the scene transitions into a fantasy musical sequence showing Molly’s inner thoughts. In her narration, the director Olivia Wilde discusses using classic Hollywood musicals as inspiration, what it took to pull off this sequence in one shot, and how she and her choreographer, Denna Thomsen, got great work out of Gooding, who hadn’t danced before this.