The Lion King first reactions praise a 'breathtaking,' 'beautiful' visual masterpiece'. Tuesday night marked the premiere of The Lion King, director Jon Favreau's next photorealistic CGI approach to a Disney classic. With the first screenings came the first wave of reactions from press, and they all overwhelmingly bowed down to the new king. "I think (I think) it's the most beautiful effects movie I've seen," UPROXX's Mike Ryan writes on Twitter. "Like next level, the game has changed kind of thing." For The Wrap's Beatrice Verhoeven, The Lion King, featuring the voices of Donald Glover as older Simba and Beyonce Knowles-Carter as older Nala, is "a visual masterpiece that will leave you smiling and crying the whole time." BuzzFeed's Adam B. Vary called the film "a landmark visual experience," but teased, as an emotional experience, "lions can't really emote." Mashable's Angie Han writes that it's "a beat-for-beat remake of the original" with "impressive animation," while IGN's Terri Schwartz remarked, "Beyonce and Donald Glover are fine if underused but honestly I thought the comedians and especially young Simba JD McCrary stole the goddamn show." In The Lion King, J.D. McCrary voices young Simba, Shahadi Wright Joseph voices young Nala, James Earl Jones again voices Mufasa, Chiwetel Ejiofor voices Scar, Alfre Woodard voices Sarabi, John Kani voices Rafiki, John Oliver voices Zazu, Billy Eichner voices Timon, and Seth Rogen voices Pumbaa. Featuring songs, like the classic "Can You Feel the Love Tonight," the film retells the story from the Disney animated original of Simba's uncle Scar orchestrating the death of his father, Mufasa, and casting the lion cub out into the wilderness so he can rule the animal kingdom at Pride Rock. As an older lion, it takes guidance from a carefree meerkat and warthog, and a push from old friends, for Simba to return home and claim the throne as its rightful heir. The Lion King will open in theaters on July 18. (Entertainment Weekly)

Donald Glover's Son Can't Wait to See The Lion King But Not Because of His Dad. Donald Glover's son, Legend, is a big fan of The Lion King -- but not for the reason you'd expect. The 35-year-old actor recalled his son's hilarious reaction to being asked to see the film on Tuesday's episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live!. Glover's son loves the classic Disney film and is a huge animal lover. "He can run faster on all fours than two feet," the Atlanta star recalled while wearing a lion onesie. "That's not a joke." So, he decided to avoid ruining any movie magic and not tell him he played Simba in the new remake. Considering Glover's son doesn't watch any television -- and therefore wouldn't see any trailers for the film -- he thought this would be easy. "I'm just going to play it super cool," he recalled. But as the premiere date approached, the father of two decided to see if his son was interested in seeing the movie. "And he was like, 'Oh sure. Beyonce's in it, right?' And I was like, 'How did you know that? But also, daddy's in it. I'm in it, too,'" he said. In fact, the rapper said he's still puzzled by how his son knew Queen Bey was in the film. "I'm just saying, Beyonce has people who haven't even seen television loving her," he said. Glover is a fan of the "Singles Ladies" star, too -- so much so, in fact, that he joked he didn't want to be in the same room with her for the recording of the song "Can You Feel the Love Tonight." "I did not want to be looking into Beyonce's eyes while doing this," he quipped, later noting they recorded separately due to work commitments. He even got a little starstruck when he visited Beyonce and Jay-Z's favorite pizza place and actually saw the power couple there. "[My partner and I] talked for like about 10 minutes," he recalled. "We're like 'Are you going to say something? Go say something. No, you say something. You're the famous one... ' It was like 10 minutes and then you go over, and you're like, 'Oh hey!' And then you're like, 'What are you doing here? I didn't see you.'" The Lion King roars into theaters July 19. (Eonline)

Chance the Rapper Has a Role in The Lion King Thanks to Donald Glover. From Donald Glover to Beyonce, The Lion King's cast is full of celebrities. Now, fans can expect to see one more big name listed in the credits: Chance the Rapper. After attending the remake's world premiere in Los Angeles on Tuesday, the three-time Grammy winner took to Instagram and revealed he's in the film. The 26-year-old artist posted a picture of his name on the silver screen along with several shots of him celebrating the movie with his wife Kirsten Corley and daughter Kensli. He also shared a few snaps of him enjoying the night with his fellow cast members, including his co-star Beyonce and her daughter Blue Ivy. The night was clearly a special one for the rapper. In the caption, he explained how he grew up being "obsessed with all things related" to The Lion King and how the "original film was immensely impactful" on his music and overall life. Needless to say, he was completely thrilled when his "big bro Donald" got cast as Simba and did "the coolest thing ever" -- tell director Jon Favreau to call him in as a consultant to help "keep the original flavor." "So, for about a year I would go to the [LA] studio and see early animations, scenes, music direction or assemblies and they'd always be out-of-this-world amazing," Chance continued. "One day I'm there Jon asked me to do some singing stuff, another day he asks me to do some lines. It's all a blur, but I'll tell u it's one of the best blurs of my whole life. I am so blessed to know people like Donald and Jon man. Amazing film, amazing cast and an amazing [night] last night. God bless and long live the king." As the photo of the credits show, Chance plays a bush baby. However, he told Access he originally "tried out for the role of Simba" but "didn't get it." Still, it looks like he -- and his family members -- are excited about the movie. "My daughter loves the movie -- she's seen it," he told the outlet. "She knows that I have a really really small part, so she's not going to be let down." The Lion King hits theaters July 19. (Eonline)

Valentina Cortese, Academy Award-Nominated Grande Dame of Italian Cinema, Dies at 96. An icon of Italian cinema of the 1940s, Cortese she considered the last of the Grande Dames of cinema. Academy Award-nominated actress Valentina Cortese died Wednesday in Milan. She was 96. Cortese, born in 1923, was one of the leading ladies of Italian cinema of the 1940s, first gaining fame with the role of Lisabetta in the 1942 film La cena delle beffeby Alessandro Blasetti. Her screen presence earned her international acclaim. She starred as both Fantine and Cosette in the 1948 Italian version of Les Miserables, with Gino Cervi and a young Marcello Mastroianni. After starring in the 1949 British film The Glass Mountain, she starred in numerous American films of the time. In 1948, she signed with 20th Century Fox, joining films including Thieves' Highway (1949), The House on Telegraph Hill (1951), and The Barefoot Contessa (1954). She continued to work in Europe, starring in Michelangelo Antonioni's Le Amiche (1955), Federico Fellini's Juliet of the Spirits (1965), Franco Zeffirelli films including Brother Sun, Sister Moon (1972), the miniseries Jesus of Nazareth (1977) and Sparrow (1993), as well as Terry Gilliam's The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988). In 1975, she received an Academy Award best supporting actress nomination for her role as Severine in Francois Truffaut's Day for Night. Cortese was also nominated for a Golden Globe, and ultimately won a BAFTA Award for the role. Ingrid Bergman, who ultimately took home the Oscar for Murder on the Orient Express, announced her shock and dismay that she had won over Cortese. "She gave the most beautiful performance that all we actresses recognized because, after all, we have all forgotten our lines and always open the wrong doors, and it was wonderful to see her do it so beautifully," said Bergman in her acceptance speech. "Here I am and I'm her rival and I don't like it at all. Please forgive me, Valentina. I didn't mean to. Thank you." The Grande Dame was also a fashion icon throughout her life. As a young girl, raised in a farming family, she wore scarfs around her head to protect herself from the sun. She resurrected this fashion trend in the latter part of her life, almost always photographed with an elaborate headscarf. In 2017, the Venice Film Festival celebrated Cortese with Diva! a documentary film by Francesco Patierno that honors her life and career. Eight contemporary Italian "divas" were cast to tell her story. Cortese had one son, actor Jackie Basehart, during her nine-year marriage to American actor Richard Basehart. Jackie Basehart's death preceded hers, passing away in Milan in 2015. (Hollywood Reporter)


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