“The Lion King”
The latest in the Disney remakes. You really can’t call it live action – it’s a computer simulation but the animals are amazingly real and the African scenery is just breathtaking. It’s almost completely a by-the-book remake, but the scenes were stretched out to make this a close to 2-hour movie. It’s too scary for little kids. Remember, it’s not a cartoon anymore.
Seth Rogen and “Parks & Recreation” star Billy Eichner steal the movie as “Pumbaa” and “Timon.” They are hilarious. Plus, hearing Seth sing with Beyoncé (who plays “Nala”) was just crazy. You could hear how much fun he was having. The young “Simba,” voiced by 12 year old JD McCrary was much more effective than the grown-up “Simba,” voiced by Donald Glover. “12 Years a Slave” star Chiwetel Ejiofor was fine as the evil “Scar.” James Earl Jones is the only actor to lend his voice in both versions of the movie as he is the only person who could or should play “Mufasa.” Beyoncé is getting trolled for her subdued “Nala” but I thought she handled it with enough ‘tude.
Overall, I just loved this film, once again disagreeing with close to half my colleagues. Director Jon Favreau made it too dark to take the whole family and that’s really a shame. It’s a hard PG.
“David Crosby: Remember My Name”
What a great doc but so sad with Crosby being an absolute open book with producer/interviewer Cameron Crowe. Part of its brilliance is all the early footage- even seeing the very house and kitchen window where CS&N was born after just 40 seconds of performing together. It’s so sad to hear David admitting he now has no friends he ever worked with and how he expects to die of a heart attack at any time. The film includes CSN’s last off-key, painful appearance at the National Christmas Tree lighting during the Obama administration. It was a performance of “Silent Night,” which could not be more fitting.