It looks like Vin Diesel has bested Dwayne Johnson in at least one arena, clocking in at number one on Forbes’ list of the highest-grossing actors of 2017 — and throwing a little more fuel on that Fast & Furious feud (say that five times fast). Thanks to The Fate of the Furious and xXx: Return of Xander Cage, Diesel edged out his Fast co-star / arch-nemesis, and with fewer 2017 releases under his belt.
When special effects do their job, they create an illusion so seamless we forget we’re looking at something that’s not really there. The Beast in Disney’s hit live-action retelling of Beauty and the Beast is such an impressive work of motion-capture technology that it can be easy to overlook the amount of effort, energy, and looking incredibly stupid in a giant gray unitard required to turn Dan Stevens into a feral creature.
In the second act of The Circle (a film so poorly structured that it feels like it has five acts instead of three), Emma Watson’s painfully earnest protagonist Mae Holland decides to go “transparent” and have her entire life live-streamed around the clock, save for the occasional three-minute bathroom break. Throughout these sequences, CGI text boxes appear on screen to display viewer comments in “real-time,” with half-baked thoughts ranging from “I just ate cheese from last year” to “My girlfriend dumped me.” Those comments, often irrelevant and ineloquent, are the only part of The Circle that feels remotely relevant or clever…or entertaining. The rest, like the titular shape, is hollow.
Although the tale (as old as tiiiime) of Beauty and the Beast is a self-contained one with no existing basis for continuation, that hasn’t stopped Disney from considering the possibilities of a follow-up to their recent live-action reimagining — especially now that it’s earned over $1 billion at the box office, breaking a previous record held by the seemingly untouchable Star Wars. But while Disney has been mulling a potential spinoff or prequel, Emma Watson would rather see a direct sequel, and she’s already come up with a good starting point.