GMG - Las Vegas Weekly

2017-03-16 - Las Vegas Weekly

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AABCC THE BELKO EXPERIMENT John Gallagher Jr., Tony Goldwyn, Adria Arjona. Directed by Greg McLean. Rated R. Opens Friday citywide. If a corporation wanted to implant tracking devices in its employees, for their own protection (in the case of kidnapping, say), where do you imagine they would be located? If your fi rst thought was the arm, rather than the base of the skull, you're a lot smarter than the 80 characters in The Belko Experiment, who suddenly fi nd themselves trapped in their isolated Colombia offi ce building one morning. An impassive voice on the intercom instructs them to follow his orders or face "repercussions," which turns out to mean being killed when the "tracking device" in an employee's head explodes. The orders they're required to follow are equally horrifi c. Unfortunately, those orders aren't very imaginative—even though the fi lm's script was written by James Gunn, years prior to Guardians of the Galaxy. (Greg McLean, best known for Wolf Creek, directed.) There are multiple stages to the anonymous voice's sadistic game, but all of them simply require the Belko employees to murder one another, turning The Belko Experiment into an especially gory indoor Hunger Games. A large cast of fi ne actors—including John Gallagher Jr. as the main hero and Tony Goldwyn as the most brutal of the lot—do their best to provide emotional ballast and some fl ashes of dark humor, but there's a grinding monotony to the carnage that's downright clinical. –Mike D'Angelo OFFICE WORKERS GO FOR THE KILL IN THE BELKO EXPERIMENT + Disney likes winning. The studio isn't remaking hits like Beauty and the Beast and The Jungle Book because it's excited by the creative possibilities of bringing animated films into another medium; it's doing it to stack money into mountains for its shareholders. But what if Disney tried making live-action versions of the animated films that underachieved, either creatively or commercially? Could it turn these losses into (CGI-heavy) live-action wins? THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS (1949) A missed opportunity: The short lm that inspired Disneyland's Mr. Toad's Wild Ride doesn't even feature that attraction's namesake car chase. A rollicking action-comedy could be created from this minor classic. THE ARISTOCATS (1970) Produced as the studio tried to nd its footing in the wake of Walt Disney's death, this one isn't as good as you might remember it—the storytelling is at, and there's some straight-up racist stu going on. Do-over. Who doesn't love cat videos? THE BLACK CAULDRON (1985) Bet you've never even heard of this sword-and-sorcery epic, Disney's rst PG-rated animated lm and a massive op. Its bones are good, though, if a bit Hobbit-like. ATLANTIS: THE LOST EMPIRE (2001) If this hand- drawn lm had been made when CGI animation nally caught up with its ambitions, it might have worked. Of all the possible live-action lms on this list, Atlantis could be the most visually dazzling. –Geo Carter DISNEY DO-OVERS SCREEN and a massive op. Its bones are -like. drawn lm had been made when up with its ambitions, it might have worked. Of all the possible could be the most visually L A S V E G A S W E E K LY 0 3 . 1 6 . 1 7 Belle and the beast take in some reading material. (Disney/Courtesy) FOUR FILMS IN NEED OF A MODERN MAKEOVER CUT THROAT COMPETITION

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