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BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

“GREATER LOVE HATH NO MAN THAN THIS . . . ” * * * 1/2 (out of four) “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Or a woman, as the case may be. This age-old truth continues to resonate through Western culture, with touching acts of self-renunciation in such classics as “Beowulf” and “Huckleberry Finn” -- plus more recent titles like “Star Wars,” “Gran Torino” and “The Dark Knight.” And here it is again in “Beauty and the Beast”; occurring repeatedly throughout the story, it’s one of many virtues in this terrific movie. Others include acting, singing, music, choreography, dialog and production design -- all coalescing into what is quickly becoming anoth

KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD

LEGEND OF THE LEADEN LIFELESSNESS * (out of four) The age-old Arthurian myth cycle has given rise to countless poems, stories, novels, plays and movies -- not to mention operas, paintings and at least one obscure rock album. But the new Guy Ritchie film was, shall we say, uninspired by it. And I do mean “uninspired.” In the first place, “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword” makes a radical departure from this well-known body of tales, bearing almost no similarity to any of it. Worse yet, it’s among the most tedious, insipid, brain-deadening movies I have ever seen. More than once I had to exert herculean will-power not to simply get up and walk out. This is surprising in an era when it’s custom

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