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7 Movies Like Steven Spielberg’s ‘West Side Story’ to Watch for More Emotional Romances

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7 Movies Like Steven Spielberg’s ‘West Side Story’ to Watch for More Emotional Romances

West Side Story is one of the most well-known musicals in Broadway and film history. The book-turned-musical has been a Broadway staple since 1957 and received a movie adaptation in 1961, which went on to win a record number of 10 Academy Awards. Both incarnations garnered all praise and acclaim any story could ask for, and even all these years later, visionary director Steven Spielberg has reinvented the tale for modern audiences.

2021’s West Side Story is one of the year’s best, and it only adds to the long list of romantic musicals. If you’re longing for more mesmerizing movie musicals or romance films that will make your heart melt, look no further. Here are seven movies to watch after West Side Story.

Related:How Steven Spielberg’s ‘West Side Story’ Made Riff Sympathetic Without Dulling His Edge

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Beauty and the Beast (1991)

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is a revolutionary film and boasts one of the best movie scores to this day. A prince and his servants are cursed when visited by a sorceress. The prince is transformed into a hideous Beast, his servants turned into household objects, and he can only break the spell once he learns how to love and be loved by another. This tale is as old as time, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth revisiting.

The movie is a timeless classic because it’s beautifully animated and has characters you fall in love with. Beast (Robby Benson) is rough and scary, but you see his softer side breakthrough. Belle (Paige O’Hara) is a wonderful, caring, and compassionate person, but not without her own flaws. Then there’s the villain, Gaston (Richard White), who might have the best villain song in all of Disney history.

Beauty and the Beast is a heartwarming love story that features great music and amazing characters. It’s not only one of the best-animated musicals but one of the best films ever made.

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Titanic

Director James Cameron’s hit movie Titanic is an epic that defined a generation. The doomed historical ship is the backdrop for a touching and heartbreaking romance between the upper-class Rose (Kate Winslet) and our lowly artist, Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio). The budding romance between Jack and Rose is just the tip of the iceberg (pun intended) when it comes to Cameron’s masterful work.

He creates a touching emotional drama that leaves the viewer enamored by the film’s grand scale but still devastated by the heartbreaking tragedy. Titanic is a film that hits you on every single level. The cast, score, and scope make it one of the greats that stands the test of time. James Cameron and Steven Spielberg are two of the most beloved directors in Hollywood, mainly for their contributions to the sci-fi and adventure genre. However, Titanic and West Side Story show that the two legends can deliver iconic stories in any genre.

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West Side Story (1961)

The first film adaptation of West Side Story is an obvious choice when looking for films similar to the 2021 film. However, the reason we suggest the 1961 version is for comparison’s sake. The 1961 film was directed by Robert Wise and starred Richard Beymer as Tony, Natalie Wood as Maria, and Rita Moreno as Anita, with dance choreography by Jerome Robbins. The film features the iconic songs and incredible dance numbers we’ve come to love, making for one the stables in movie history.

With that said, the film is also extremely dated and is a product of its time. A film about Purto Ricans moving to America features only one person of Purto Rican descent in its entire cast. Steven Spielberg took creative liberties and updated the film for modern audiences. Still, the 1961 film is a part of movie history and helped push the genre forward, even if it is problematic by today’s standards.

Related:How Steven Spielberg’s ‘West Side Story’ Fixes “I Feel Pretty”

Romeo and Juliet (1968)

If you didn’t know, West Side Story is based on William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. A romance between two lovers caught in the middle of a war, leading to conflicts within their families. Featuring Nino Rota‘s (The Godfather) incredible score, Romeo and Juliet captures the tone and atmosphere of Shakespeare’s original play.

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The film was shot on location in Italy, and that bolsters its beauty. Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey both star as our titular characters and deliver solid performances. This Shakespearian drama is one of the best on-screen retellings of the iconic story.

La La Land

Damien Chazelle’s Award-winning musical is an instant classic. Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) and Mia (Emma Stone) are two aspiring artists who fall in love. Seb is a musician who wants nothing more but to keep jazz alive, while Mia is an actress trying to make a career out of her passion. The two are the perfect pair but struggle to balance both their personal life and their ambitions.

La La Land is a film about people trying to live as one while also chasing their dreams and the sacrifices that must be made to pursue those dreams.

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Featuring Justin Hurwitz’s Oscar-winning score and songs written by John Legend, Benj Pasek, and Justin Paul; Chazelle’s direction pulls this film together to create one of his best musicals in the modern era.

Shakespeare in Love

Set in 1593, Shakespeare in Love is a film by director John Madden. The movie follows a young William Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes) trying to pen his next story, Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate’s Daughter. Viola de Lesseps (Gwyneth Paltrow) attempts to land a role in his play disguised as a male actor. Inspired by Viola, Shakespeare scraps his original play and gets to work on a new story, Romeo and Juliet.

While not a musical in its own right, Shakespeare in Love is a film that takes us into the heart and mind of the legendary playwright and the same story that inspired West Side Story.


An American in Paris

An American in Paris is inspired by George Gershwin’s musical piece of the same name. The film stars Gene Kelly in the leading role of Jerry Mulligan, a World War II veteran who is trying to establish a career as a painter. He falls for Lise Bouvier (Leslie Caron), but the two might not be meant to be together.

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The film is based on Gershwin’s work and features his music, including An American in Paris. The music, dance numbers, and the feel-good nature of the film make An American in Paris a delight. It, like West Side Story, is a Hollywood treasure.

Keep Reading:Every Live-Action Movie Musical of 2021, Ranked


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Review: SAMARITAN, A Sly Stallone Superhero Stumble

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Review: SAMARITAN, A Sly Stallone Superhero Stumble

Hitting the three-quarter-century mark usually means a retirement home, a nursing facility, or if you’re lucky to be blessed with relatively good health and savings to match, living in a gated community in Arizona or Florida.

For Sylvester Stallone, however, it means something else entirely: starring in the first superhero-centered film of his decades-long career in the much-delayed Samaritan. Unfortunately for Stallone and the audience on the other side of the screen, the derivative, turgid, forgettable results won’t get mentioned in a career retrospective, let alone among the ever-expanding list of must-see entries in a genre already well past its peak.

For Stallone, however, it’s better late than never when it involves the superhero genre. Maybe in getting a taste of the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) with his walk-on role in the Guardians of the Galaxy sequel several years ago, Stallone thought anything Marvel can do, I can do even better (or just as good in the nebulous definition of the word).

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The property Stallone and his team found for him, Samaritan, a little-known graphic novel released by a small, almost negligible, publisher, certainly takes advantage of Stallone’s brute-force physicality and his often underrated talent for near-monosyllabic brooding (e.g., the Rambo series), but too often gives him to little do or say as the lone super-powered survivor, the so-called “Samaritan” of the title, of a lifelong rivalry with his brother, “Nemesis.” Two brothers entered a fire-ravaged building and while both were presumed dead, one brother did survive (Stallone’s Joe Smith, a garbageman by day, an appliance repairman by night).

In the Granite City of screenwriter Bragi F. Schut (Escape Room, Season of the Witch), the United States, and presumably the rest of the world, teeters on economic and political collapse, with a recession spiraling into a depression, steady gigs difficult, if not impossible, to obtain, and the city’s neighborhoods rocked by crime and violence. No one’s safe, not even 13-year-old Sam (Javon Walker), Joe’s neighbor.

When he’s not dodging bullies connected to a gang, he’s falling under the undue influence of Cyrus (Pilou Asbæk), a low-rent gang leader with an outsized ego and the conviction that he and only he can take on Nemesis’s mantle and along with that mantle, a hammer “forged in hate,” to orchestrate a Bane-like plan to plunge the city into chaos and become a wealthy power-broker in the process.

Schut’s woefully underwritten script takes a clumsy, haphazard approach to world-building, relying on a two-minute animated sequence to open Samaritan while a naive, worshipful Sam narrates Samaritan and Nemesis’s supposedly tragic, Cain and Abel-inspired backstory. Schut and director Julius Avery (Overlord) clumsily attempt to contrast Sam’s childish belief in messiah-like, superheroic saviors stepping in to save humanity from itself and its own worst excesses, but following that path leads to authoritarianism and fascism (ideas better, more thoroughly explored in Watchmen and The Boys).

While Sam continues to think otherwise, Stallone’s superhero, 25 years past his last, fatal encounter with his presumably deceased brother, obviously believes superheroes are the problem and not the solution (a somewhat reasonable position), but as Samaritan tracks Joe and Sam’s friendship, Sam giving Joe the son he never had, Joe giving Sam the father he lost to street violence well before the film’s opening scene, it gets closer and closer to embracing, if not outright endorsing Sam’s power fantasies, right through a literally and figuratively explosive ending. Might, as always, wins regardless of how righteous or justified the underlying action.

It’s what superhero audiences want, apparently, and what Samaritan uncritically delivers via a woefully under-rendered finale involving not just unconvincing CGI fire effects, but a videogame cut-scene quality Stallone in a late-film flashback sequence that’s meant to be subversively revelatory, but will instead lead to unintentional laughter for anyone who’s managed to sit the entirety of Samaritan’s one-hour and 40-minute running time.

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Samaritan is now streaming worldwide on Prime Video.

Samaritan

Cast
  • Sylvester Stallone
  • Javon ‘Wanna’ Walton
  • Pilou Asbæk

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Matt Shakman Is In Talks To Direct ‘Fantastic Four’

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According to a new report, Wandavision’s Matt Shakman is in talks to direct the upcoming MCU project, Fantastic Four. Marvel Studios has been very hush-hush regarding Fantastic Four to the point where no official announcements have been made other than the film’s release date. No casting news or literally anything other than rumors has been released regarding the project. We know that Fantastic Four is slated for release on November 8th, 2024, and will be a part of Marvel’s Phase 6. There are also rumors that the cast of the new Fantastic Four will be announced at the D23 Expo on September 9th.

Fantastic Four is still over two years from release, and we assume we will hear more news about the project in the coming months. However, the idea of the Fantastic Four has already been introduced into the MCU. John Krasinski played Reed Richards aka Mr. Fantastic in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The cameo was a huge deal for fans who have been waiting a long time for the Fantastic Four to enter the MCU. When Disney acquired Twenty Century Fox in 2019 we assumed that the Fox Marvel characters would eventually make their way into the MCU. It’s been 3 years and we already have had an X-Men and Fantastic Four cameo – even if they were from another universe.

Deadline is reporting that Wandavision’s Matt Shakman is in talks to direct Fantastic Four. Shakman served as the director for Wandavision and has had an extensive career. He directed two episodes of Game of Thrones and an episode of The Boys, and he had a long stint on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. There is nothing official yet, but Deadline’s sources say that Shakman is currently in talks for the job and things are headed in the right direction.

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To be honest, I was a bit more excited when Jon Watts was set to direct. I’m sure Shakman is a good director, but Watts proved he could handle a tentpole superhero film with Spider-Man: Homecoming. Wandavision was good, but Watts’ style would have been perfect for Fantastic Four. The film is probably one of the most anticipated films in Marvel’s upcoming slate films and they need to find the best person they can to direct. Is that Matt Shakman? It could be, but whoever takes the job must realize that Marvel has a lot riding on this movie. The other Fantastic Four films were awful and fans deserve better. Hopefully, Marvel knocks it out of the park as they usually do. You can see for yourself when Fantastic Four hits theaters on November 8th, 2024.

Film Synopsis: One of Marvel’s most iconic families makes it to the big screen: the Fantastic Four.

Source: Deadline

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Dan Aykroyd, Chevy Chase Star in ‘Zombie Town’ Mystery Teen Romancer (Exclusive)

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Dan Aykroyd and Chevy Chase have entered Zombie Town, a mystery teen romancer based on author R.L. Stine’s book of the same name.

The indie, now shooting in Ontario, also stars Henry Czerny and co-teen leads Marlon Kazadi and Madi Monroe. The ensemble cast includes Scott Thompson and Bruce McCulloch of the Canadian comedy show Kids in the Hall.

Canadian animator Peter Lepeniotis will direct Zombie Town. Stine’s kid’s book sees a quiet town upended when 12-year-old Mike and his friend, Karen, see a horror movie called Zombie Town and unexpectedly see the title characters leap off the screen and chase them through the theater.

Zombie Town will premiere in U.S. theaters before streaming on Hulu and then ABC Australia in 2023.

“We are delighted to bring the pages of R.L. Stine’s Zombie Town to the screen and equally thrilled to be working with such an exceptional cast and crew on this production. A three-time Nickelodeon Kids Choice Award winner with book sales of over $500 million, R.L. Stine has a phenomenal track record of crafting stories that engage and entertain audiences,” John Gillespie, Trimuse Entertainment founder and executive producer, said in a statement.

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Executive producers are Trimuse Entertainment, Toonz Media Group, Lookout Entertainment, Viva Pictures and Sons of Anarchy actor Kim Coates.  

Paco Alvarez and Mark Holdom of Trimuse negotiated the deal to acquire the rights to Stine’s Zombie Town book.

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