Entertainment

Spielberg’s side story is great, and it’s better than the original

STORY OF THE WEST

(12A) 156 minutes

★★★★★

SING it from the Roof: one of cinema’s greatest living directors, Steven Spielberg, is back with a remake of West Side Story. And it’s even more magnificent than the original.

Veteran filmmaker is about to turn 75 but his new movie is fresh, exciting and fun.

A musical set in Manhattan, written for Broadway in 1957 with music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by the late Stephen Sondheim, first hit the big screen in 1961.

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A musical set in Manhattan, written for Broadway in 1957 with music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by the late Stephen Sondheim, first hit the big screen in 1961.Credit: Alamy
Spielberg's version focuses on two stories: Aggressive gangs and interstellar lovers

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Spielberg’s version focuses on two stories: Aggressive gangs and interstellar loversCredit: Alamy

The musical in Manhattan, written for Broadway in 1957 with music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by the late Stephen Sondheim, first hitting the big screen in 1961.

It is widely regarded as one of the greatest cinematic musicals of all time and has earned the TEN Oscars well-deservedly.

But while the original feels a lot like being shot on an indoor set, Spielberg’s version is completely free and sweeps the streets, parks, balconies and desolate ruins of buildings New York Housing Authority.

There, the poor white and Puerto Rican communities living in the area were about to be moved out, causing ethnic rivalry.

They became the gang of men: Sharks and Jets. They do what boys usually do and have brutal violent wars over the ruined area.

The leader of the Puerto Rican Sharks, Bernardo (David Alvarez), and the leader of the Jets Riff (Mike Faist) are sworn enemies.

So it certainly doesn’t matter that Riff’s best friend and former Jet Tony (Ansel Elgort) falls in love with Bernardo’s sister Maria (Rachel Zegler) as soon as he sets his eyes on her during a dance at the club. local.

And it was a dance. I defied the harshest of hearts to not feel moved by the romance when Tony and Maria first met.

Color is cleverly used throughout the film, with the dull sepia of the Jet being drowned out by the liveliness of the passionate Sharks.

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Color is cleverly used throughout the film, with the dull sepia of the Jet being drowned out by the liveliness of the passionate Sharks.Credit: Alamy

Spielberg’s version focuses on two stories: Aggressive gangs and interstellar lovers.

Just like Romeo and Juliet – whose tragic romance provided the original inspiration for West Side Story – you know the purity of their love will be marred by war.

Color is used skillfully throughout the film, with the dull sepia of the Jet being drowned out by the vibrancy of the passionate Sharks.

The cast is all great, but the standout star has to be Ariana DeBose, who sensationally plays sassy Anita.

Her signature America Number movie, with its dazzling costumes and breathtaking choreography, is sure to make its way down the hall of fame.

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DON’T LOOK UP

(15) 145 minutes

★★★ ☆☆

In disaster movies about an impending apocalypse, there’s often instant hysteria and a relentless fight to save the planet.

But in writer-director Adam McKay’s film, people do nothing. They continue to tweet, care about Hollywood breakups, and share memes.

The all-star cast, including Mark Rylance, Ariana Grande, and Timothee Chalamet, make this satirical enough entertainment that you won't take it lightly.

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The all-star cast, including Mark Rylance, Ariana Grande, and Timothee Chalamet, make this satirical enough entertainment that you won’t take it lightly.Credit: Alamy

Kate (Jennifer Lawrence) is an astronomy student who discovers a giant comet heading towards Earth. With the help of her professor Dr. Mindy (Leonardo DiCaprio), they calculate it will be successful in six months’ time.

Kate and Mindy race to the White House to inform the US President (Meryl Streep), but are told to wait.

Finally, when the pair inform her – and her hyperactive, tattooed son as her Chief of Staff (Jonah Hill) – they realize that she only cares about how it will affect her. How about her polls. So Kate and Mindy try to spread the word through the media, bringing us a brilliant parody of Cate Blanchett and Tyler Perry’s US TV hosts.

After a quick and funny start, the pace drops to an hour or so. The jokes are tortured and the movie claims it’s funnier than it really is. But the all-star cast, including Mark Rylance, Ariana Grande and Timothee Chalamet, make this satirical enough entertainment that you won’t take it lightly.

CLIFFORD THE HUGE DOG

(PG) 97 minutes

★★★ ☆☆

The Clifford The Big Red Dog series of children’s books is much more loved in the United States than it is here.

But when this live-action film starring comedian Jack Whitehall hits cinemas, a lot of British kids will demand some soft red merchandise.

There are a few jokes for the grown-ups, with comic book legend John Cleese in a sweeter rather than comical role.

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There are a few jokes for the grown-ups, with comic book legend John Cleese in a sweeter rather than comical role.Credit: Alamy

What’s not to love when a mischievous puppy the size of an elephant causes mayhem in New York?

Of course, it was a ridiculous idea that a little girl could keep such a large animal in a city apartment.

But this movie makes good sense to keep running with silence. Clifford chases human hamster balls, swerves through traffic, and somehow evades detection by his fastidious homeowner.

Whitehall is almost as rebellious as the dog, happily taking on the role of the unreliable uncle to Emily, Clifford’s owner, played by Darby Camp.

Unfortunately, this isn’t Paddington, in part because Clifford’s inability to talk means that all the funny stuff is left to humans.

And there are few jokes for the grown-ups, with comic book legend John Cleese in a sweeter role than a comedic one.

But after watching Clifford, there’s no way you feel green.

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Huynh Nguyen

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