Fri05262017

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From 16-21 October 2017, Luxembourg will host its first Cybersecurity week, with a number of activities scheduled; this is taking place during the European Cyber Security Month (ECSM).

Cybersecurity is among the greatest challenges of the digital economy, increasingly emerging every day as a field with high potential in terms of new skills, jobs and growth. The Grand Duchy has been considering this area as an opportunity for economic growth for over 15 years, a view further highlighted in the governmental Digital Lëtzebuerg initiative, as well as the announcement, in October 2016, of a competence centre on cybersecurity. Building on this momentum, five players are joining forces to create the Cybersecurity Week in Luxembourg.

ECSM is the EU’s annual advocacy campaign that takes place in October and aims to raise awareness of cyber security threats, promote cyber security among citizens and provide up to date security information, through education and sharing of good practices.

PROGRAMME

Monday 16 Oct 2017
- Le nouveau GDPR: Consumer protection and data protection, by the Commission Nationale pour la Protection des Données (CNDP) @ the Maison du Savoir in Esch-Belval
- MISP Summit, by CIRCL @ Parc Alvisse Hotel in Luxembourg-Dommeldange

Tuesday 17 Oct 2017
- Hack4Kids (skills, education, jobs), by SECURITYMADEIN.LU @ PwC Luxembourg, Cloche d'Or
- Digital Talent Day (skills, education, jobs), by LIDIT @ PwC Luxembourg, Cloche d'Or
- Cybersecurity4Success "To Navigate Safe and Sound Across the digital World!", by the Chambre de commerce, the Ec Representation in Luxembourg, House of Training, SECURITYMADEIN.LU, and the Confédération Luxembourgeoise de Commerce @ the Chambre des Métiers in Luxembourg-Kirchberg
- 13th Hack.lu Day 1, by SECURITYMADEIN.LU @ Parc Alvisse Hotel in Luxembourg-Dommeldange

Wednesday 18 October 2017
- 13th Hack.lu Day 2, by SECURITYMADEIN.LU @ Parc Alvisse Hotel in Luxembourg-Dommeldange

Thursday 19 October 2017
- PwC Cybersecurity Day, by PwC @ PwC Luxembourg, Cloche d'Or. The PwC Cybersecurity Day will offer attendees a unique opportunity to gain insights from the latest global developments in cybersecurity. They will be welcoming distinguished speakers from all over the world, representing a rich panel of thought leaders. They will share the stage with fast growing technology companies, engaging in a pitch competition, that will present how they meet cyber security challenges with next-generation solutions. The event will also cover the findings of the 2018 Global State of Information Security Survey, where they will discuss how it applies to relevant markets in Europe. Attendees will also be able to participate in business matchmaking, join interactive breakout sessions and take part in a networking forum with your peers and industry leader.
- Open Source Security Software Hackathon Day 1 (hacking, coding, jobs), by SECURITYMADEIN.lu @ Parc Alvisse Hotel in Luxembourg-Dommeldange
- 13th Hack.lu Day 3, by SECURITYMADEIN.LU @ Parc Alvisse Hotel in Luxembourg-Dommeldange

Friday 20 October 2017
- Open Source Security Software Hackathon Day 2 (hacking, coding, jobs), by SECURITYMADEIN.lu @ Parc Alvisse Hotel in Luxembourg-Dommeldange
- SecDevOps Day, by Excellium University @ Domaine Thermal Mondorf in Mondorf-les-Bains
- Cybersecurity Week Luxembourg Gala Dinner & Awards Night @ Exit07, Rotondes in Luxembourg-Bonnevoie

For details, see www.cybersecurityweek.lu

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The Chambre de Commerce in Luxembourg-Kirchberg, in close cooperation with the Embassies of Argentina, Chile and Uruguay as well as the Belgian Economic & Commercial Attachés, is organising a countries Seminar on Argentina, Chile and Uruguay on Wednesday 14 June 2107 from 08:30, with a focus on ICT, Logistics, Space, Financial services and Renewable energies.

The main purpose of this seminar is to let Luxembourg companies discover the potential of these three Latin American markets in view of a multi-sectoral trade mission in the first semester of 2018.

Argentina, Chile and Uruguay are part of the Southern Cone. High life expectancy, the highest Human Development Index of Latin America, high standard of living, significant participation in the global markets and the emerging economy of its members make the Southern Cone the most prosperous macro-region in Latin America.

Argentina is the eighth largest country in the world and the third largest economy in Latin America, with a GDP of 583 billion USD and 43 million inhabitants. Due to the high qualification of its workforce, it also has the 2nd highest GDP per capita in Latin America. The country is a founding member of MERCOSUR, South America's most important trade bloc, and a G-20 member. It has signed 58 bilateral investment treaties (BIT), including one with the Belgium–Luxembourg Economic Union. Even though there are still some macroeconomic imbalances to be tackled, the new administration's leadership to manage an inherited complex situation and the introduction of important structural reforms to liberalise trade and attract investment flows are positively viewed by the international business community and other stakeholders.

Chile is a safe place to do business as confirmed by risk ratings agencies which have increased or maintained their high ratings for the country, highlighting its low level of public debt, the health of its financial system and its solid institutions. Its competitive edge and solid economic foundation makes Chile OECD’s first and only South American economy. It is a nation that breathes a dynamic business culture and displays the highest GDP per capita in the region.  Chile is one of the world’s most attractive countries for investment in non-conventional renewable energy projects (NCRE), after USA, China and India. More than 60 multinational companies have chosen Chile as a platform from where to export services to their clients worldwide.

Uruguay is a reliable country to do business in one of the most economically attractive regions in the world. It offers a favorable business climate with social and political stability. The country has a BBB investment grade ratings from the main credit rating agencies (Standard & Poor´s, Fitch Ratings,…). Investors distinguish Uruguay´s world class telecom infrastructure and excellent quality of life. Uruguay´s attractive tax system for services exports, including free trade zones, investment law, free port and airport; qualified and multilingual talent (Spanish, English, and Portuguese); competitive costs, as well as its regional trade agreements, make it one of the best Latin America’s business gateways.

This event will be enhanced by the presence of HE Pablo Grinspun, Ambassador of Argentina, HE Raúl Fernández Daza, Ambassador of Chile and HE Carlos Pérez del Castillo Artagaveytia, Ambassador of Uruguay. It is open to all sectors of activities. The programme of the countries seminar will include presentations of the business opportunities for Luxembourg companies, tips on the cultural and business approach, a testimonial of a Luxembourg company already active in the region, as well as a brief introduction to the support programmes of Eurochambers for European companies active in Latin America (ELAN Network/IPR Helpdesk) and a panel discussion about the Southern Cone region. Also, as part of the programme, companies will have the possibilities to meet both the Ambassadors and the Belgian Economic & Commercial Attachés for bilateral meetings, upon request.

PROGRAMME

08:30 Arrival of the guests - Welcome coffee and breakfast
08:55 Group picture of all the speakers and signature of the Golden Book
09:00 Welcome address: Carlo Thelen, Director General, Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce

1st part: Argentina
09:05 Opening speech about Argentina: HE Pablo Grinspun, Ambassador of Argentina to Belgium and Luxembourg
09:10 Business Opportunities in Argentina with a focus on ICT, financial services, space and renewable energies: Pablo Castagnino, First secretary, Embassy of Argentina to Belgium and Luxembourg
09:25 Cultural & business approach of the Argentinian market: Martin Cardoen, Economic & commercial Attaché, AWEX, Buenos Aires

2nd part: Chile
09:40 Opening speech about Chile: HE Raúl Fernández Daza, Ambassador of Chile to Belgium and Luxembourg
09:45 Business Opportunities in Chile with a focus on Global Services and Energy: Susana Véliz, Commercial Representative, Prochile, Brussels
10:00 Cultural & business approach of the Chilean market: Liliana Herrera, Economic & commercial Attachée, AWEX, Santiago

10:15-10:30 coffee-break

3rd part: Uruguay

10:30 Opening speech about Uruguay: HE Carlos Pérez del Castillo Artagaveytia, Ambassador of Uruguay to Belgium and Luxembourg
10:35 Business Opportunities in Uruguay with a focus on logistics, financial services and ICT: Fiorella Bafundo, Business Services Specialist, Uruguay XXI, Uruguay Investment and Export promotion agency
10:50 Cultural & business approach of the Uruguayan market: Jimena Villar, Economic & commercial Attachée, Brussels Investment & Trade, Montevideo
11:05 The support programs of Eurochambers for European companies in Latin America: ELAN Network/IPR Helpdesk: Nicoletta Favaretto, Senior Project Officer, International Affairs, Eurochambers
11:25 Testimonial of a Luxembourg company active in Latin America: Marc Tkatcheff, Senior Associate, in charge of the Luxembourg-LatAm desk, Avocat à la Cour, Allen & Overy, Buenos Aires
11:40 Panel discussion and Q & A session: “Why should the Luxembourg companies be interested in the Southern Cone region? What are the usual misconceptions about the region?...”: Moderator: Jeannot Erpelding, Director, International Affairs, Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce
• HE Pablo Grinspun, Ambassador of Argentina to Belgium and Luxembourg
• HE Raúl Fernández Daza, Ambassador of Chile to Belgium and Luxembourg
• HE Carlos Pérez del Castillo Artagaveytia, Ambassador of Uruguay to Belgium and Luxembourg

12:30-14:00 Networking lunch in presence of the 3 Ambassadors

Afternoon: Time for individual bilateral meetings upon request with the Ambassadors of the 3 countries, together with the respective Economic & Commercial Attachés. Meetings will be organised on a “first come, first served” basis for the companies, which will be requested to ask their questions in advance. Those bilateral meetings should last +- 30 min, depending on the number of requests the organisers will receive.

To attend this conference to discover the potential of these three countries of the Southern Cone, register by 12 June online at http://bit.ly/2qWnD2c

For further information, contact Mrs. Violaine Mathin/Sabrina Aksil (Teurl: 423939-481/374) or E-mail: latinamerica@cc.lu

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Hiscox, the British arm of a US insurance company, which has its UK base in Colchester, has confirmed that its Brexit planning strategy includes setting up a continental Europe subsidiary in Luxembourg.

While none of the company's 1,200 jobs in the UK are expected to be transferred/lost, the thinking behind the strategy is to enable the company to establish an EU subsidiary in the Grand Duchy to allow it to conduct retail business throughout the EU. It is expected that the company would look to hire circa 10 staff initially, in compliance, risk and internal audit; this is to complement the 350 jobs the group has in 7 EU Member States at present.

The company's business in the UK is primarily in underwriting general insurance (house, motor, business liability, etc.), with its EU services including liability cover against risks such as terrorism and kidnapping as well as cyber crime.

It is understood that the company chose Luxembourg over Malta as the base for its new EU hub.

The company's statement read "Today we announce that we will establish a new European subsidiary in Luxembourg in response to Brexit. All Hiscox retail business in Europe will be written through this new EU subsidiary. Our existing European business, which comprises over 350 people across seven of the EU 27 countries, will continue to operate without interruption. In Luxembourg a team covering core functions such as compliance, risk and internal audit will be recruited to complement our existing structure. The process of establishment will begin immediately. Subject to regulatory approval, we expect to complete the restructuring well in advance of March 2019 in order to ensure a seamless transition for our customers, brokers and business partners. Luxembourg was selected for its pro-business position, strong financial services experience and well-respected regulator, and is close to many of our major markets."

In a statement on 9 May, Hiscox Europe performed well, growing gross written premiums by 12.2% in constant currency to €99.0 million (2016: €88.2 million). "This was driven by very strong performance in Germany and Spain. Hiscox France is also back in growth after a challenging 2016. Cyber insurance in Germany and Benelux, specialty commercial in France, management liability in Spain and our direct and partnerships divisions have all experienced solid growth in the first quarter."

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In addition to a number of other players in the financial sector, JP Morgan has confirmed that it will be relocating a number of staff to Luxembourg, as well as to Dublin and Frankfurt, in lieu of the UK's decision to leave the European Union.

Treasury services are likely to move to Luxembourg, custody services to Dublin and investment banking to Frankfurt, with between 500 and 1,000 staff affected initially. American insurance company AIG confirmed recently that it will open an operation in Luxembourg due to Brexit.

Prior to the UK referendum on 23 June last year, JP Morgan CEO had told employees in the UK that as many as 4,000 could be relocated in the event of Brexit.

The reason for the move is to preserve easy access to the EU Single Market, particularly in the absence of any UK-EU passporting deal, with Daniel Pinto, JP Morgan's Head of Investment Banking, stating that the US-headquarterd bank is going to use the three banks they already have in Europe as the "anchors for our operations". He confirmed that the bank "will have to move hundreds of people in the short term to be ready for day one, when negotiations finish, and then we will look at the longer-term numbers".

JP Morgan employs circa 500 staff in Luxembourg. Last September, it announced 105 projected redundancies following the relocation of a part of its fund accounting and transfer agency activities to Edinburgh and India. In October, following union negotiations, this number was reduced to a maximum of 93, mainly through internal redeployment.

Other major banks to consider relocating some staff to other EU financial centres are Standard Charter (Frankfurt), Deutsche Bank, Barclays (probably Dublin) and Goldman Sachs.

Thursday, 04 May 2017 16:16

David Goldrake Realises Las Vegas Dream

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Luxembourg illusionist David Goldrake has confirmed that his dream of bringing his Imaginarium show to Las Vegas is to become a reality; having started his career 18 years ago in 1999, he has been based in Luxembourg and has performed in various european countries as well as in the US at the renowned Magic Castle in Hollywood.

David Goldrake, also known as the "International Man of Mystery", has announced a residency at the Tropicana in Las Vegas starting from this summer, in which he will include mentalism, escapology, music and choreography blending with modern 3D mapping technology.

Aaron Rosenthal, VP and General Manager for Tropicana Las Vegas, stated “We are absolutely thrilled to welcome David Goldrake to the Tropicana family! Having inspired audiences all over the world, Goldrake is the perfect addition to our all-new entertainment line-up. Goldrake has performed his grand illusion spectacles to standing ovations in over 20 countries and with his artistic versatility, this show will truly wow the audience night after night – offering a new dimension to entertainment on the Las Vegas Strip.”

I am excited to start this new chapter in my life, here in Las Vegas at the iconic Tropicana Las Vegas,” said David Goldrake. “I have performed all over the world and I couldn’t be more thrilled to be setting up my first residency in Las Vegas in the heart of The Strip.”

The creative team behind the show will consist of:
- Director/Choreographer: Doriana Sanchez (previously Cher’s director and choreographer for more than 20 years)
- Costume Designer: Topaz, (previous worked with Katy Perry, Madonna, Oprah and Michael Jackson)
- Set Designers: EDC (previous worked with Barbara Streisand)
- Visual Content: Drop the Spoon (previous worked with Céline Dion, Le Rêve, Lido in Paris and Franco Dragone)
- Lighting Designer: Jeff Johnson (previous worked with Siegfried & Roy)
- Illusion Creator/Designer and Writer Jim Steinmeyer (previous worked with David Copperfield, Siegfried & Roy, Lance Burton, Disney and Broadway productions).

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The Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce, in close cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, is organising the ASEAN Day, which will take place on Monday 8 May 2017 at the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce in Luxembourg-Kirchberg, from 09:00 - 18:00.

The European Union (EU) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are the two most advanced regional integration processes in the world. Both are committed to addressing issues through a multilateral approach, and both see regional integration as the most effective way to foster stability, build prosperity and address global challenges.

The year 2017 is a milestone in many ways – it marks the 40th Anniversary since the establishment of EU-ASEAN Dialogue Relations and 50 years since the establishment of ASEAN.

The ASEAN Day aims to bring together ASEAN Ambassadors, ASEAN Trade Attachés and experts in Europe and ASEAN capitals with private sector representatives from Luxembourg.

This day will contribute to the celebrations of the 40th Anniversary of the EU-ASEAN relations and provide a platform for ASEAN countries and Luxembourgish companies to exchange information and to explore business opportunities in the areas of digital technologies, financial, transport and logistics connectivity.

The EU is the world’s largest trading bloc, the biggest importer and exporter, and the biggest investor and recipient of foreign direct investments. The commercial and political ties between the EU and its partners in Southeast Asia have existed for centuries and have grown into what is today one of the most important exchanges of goods, services and investment in the world. Thus, the EU is today ASEAN’s second largest trading partner, while ASEAN ranks third among the EU’s top trading partner outside Europe.

In terms of population, the rapidly expanding middle-class consumers represent a strong purchasing potential for ASEAN’s future trade relations. With an average GDP growth rate of 5.3% it stood as the world’s third fastest growing economy, only behind China and India.

ASEAN and the EU, with their own dynamics, objectives and contexts, are probably the two most ambitious regional organisations in the world. This makes them natural partners with a lot to share and learn from each other’s experiences and approaches. The conclusion of bilateral free trade agreements (FTA) and eventually of an EU-ASEAN FTA will create new opportunities for both regions.

As connectivity is becoming a building block of Europe-Asia relations, Luxembourg, as one of the most open economies worldwide, wants to play a bigger role in establishing links between ASEAN and the EU. Luxembourg therefore aims to extend its connections with ASEAN, which already cover a wide range of sectors, ranging from industry to finance, fintech, logistics, information and communication technologies and many other channels of connectivity that contribute to the prosperity of our populations.

Those interested in participating in Luxembourg's ASEAN Day 2017 can register (on or beofre Friday 5 May) at http://bit.ly/2qHFbeH. For the full programme, see http://bit.ly/2p0cVao

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This Saturday 6 May, the Luxembourg national rugby team will play against the Czech Republic in the Rugby Europe Conference 1 North match, at the Stade Josy Barthel, kick-off at 16:00.

Up against the divisional leaders, this will be a tough game for the Red Lions as they have yet to win a game in this division, with losses away to both Latvia and Lithuania, and a home defeat to Sweden. The Czech Republic, meanwhile, have amassed 14 points with three wins out of three games, away to both Latvia and Lithuania, and at home to Sweden; in two of those games, the Czech Republic amassed 50+ points.

At the end of 2014, Luxembourg recived a special mention in World Rugby's year-end report as it recorded the highest jump in world rankings throughout 2014, rising from 93rd to 76th in just 12 months. Currently, Luxembourg sits at #63. The tide has turned and the Red Lions have not tasted success for a while.

Following the success of the past few years - last May, Luxembourg won the European Nations Cup Division 2C with a win in their final game against Slovenia - Luxembourg's national rugby team has found the going much tougher in this division. This has coincided too with a change in personnel off the pitch too, with new Head coach of the national team, Jonathan Flynn, replacing Marty Davis - who had returned to his native New Zealand - in September 2015.

Entry €10/person (U18s free).

Wednesday, 26 April 2017 08:04

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: Film Review

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Directed and written by James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1; plus various tv series and short films) and starring Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1; The Magnificent Seven; Jurassic World; Delivery Man; Moneyball), Zoe Saldana (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1; Avatar; Star Trek Into Darkness; Infinitely Polar Bear), Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1; Spectre; The Man with the Iron Fists; Heist), Kurt Russell (Stargate; The Hateful Eight; Vanilla Sky; Escape from L.A.; Forrest Gump), Bradley Cooper (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1; Silver Linings Playbook; American Sniper; The Place Beyond the Pines; American Hustle), Sylvester Stallone (Rocky; Rambo; The Expendables; Cliffhanger; Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over) and Karen Gillan (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1; Doctor Who; The Big Short).

Fantasy adventure; 136 mins; 12+

In some films, the sequel is better than the first, and this is certainly the case here. When James Gunn brought out Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1 in 2014, it was different, it was raw, it was fun, and audiences loved it. with a combination of a super script, an incredible soundtrack, interesting and lovable characters and great special effects, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 ticks all the right boxes for a great family film.

Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) who likes to be called Star-Lord and his motley crew of Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) and Baby Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), they escape the clutches of a friendly planet they double-crossed when being mercenary and, in the process, gaining custody of Nebula (Karen Gillan), aka Gamora's sister - they have a shared loathing for each other.

On the run, they flee to Ego (there's a clue in the name) of a god who claims to be Peter's father. Peter remembers his mother dying from cancer and leaving him an audio cassette of her favourite (80s) music. While there, the Guardians of the Galaxy, as they are known, meet Peter's father and share a series of adventures together.

They fight to keep their family together. Former foes become new allies and favourite characters from the classic Marvel comics come to our heroes' aid in the inter-galactic thrilling adventure which is as humorous as it is exciting.

Kurt Russell and Chris Pratt lead the acting performance which are closely followed by Zoe Saldana and Dave Bautista and others too, with each character's personality bring humour and emotion, ensuring that, together, the Guardians of the Galaxy, are even bigger than the sum of their parts. And there are a number of cameo appearances too, from David Hasselhoff, and Sylvester Stallone plays a significant secondary character too.

Friday, 21 April 2017 08:51

Kong: Skull Island: Film Review

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Directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts (The Kings of Summer; various tv series) and starring Tom Hiddleston (The Night Manager (tv series); High-Rise; Thor: The Dark World; Midnight in Paris), Brie Larson (Room; Trainwreck; 21 Jump Street; Scott Pilgrim vs. the World), Samuel L. Jackson (Pulp Fiction; Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children; The Legend of Tarzan; The Hateful Eight; Kingsman: The Secret Service; Django Unchained), John Goodman (10 Cloverfield Lane; Patriots Day; Transformers: Age of Extinction; The Monuments Men; Inside Llewyn Davis; Trouble with the Curve) and John C. Reilly (Chicago; The Aviator; The Lobster; Guardians of the Galaxy).

Action drama, 118 mins, 12+

Following on from the original 1933 classic film starring Fay Wray, and the original remake in 2005 starring Naomi Watts and Jack Black, one question is at the tips of many tongues: why another remake? Simply put, Kong: Skull Island is a great adventure film that stands alone, with the backdrop of a giant gorilla, Kong.

Set in the 1970s, James Conrad (Tom Hiddleston) is a monster hunter who convinces the US Government to finance an expedition to an unexplored island in the South Pacific. With a team travelling under the guise of geological research, they travel to "Skull Island" and come across a number of enormous creatures, including dinosaurs and, of course, Kong. Their arrival and interference upsets the delicate balance of nature that exists on the island and, yes, Kong is smitten by the gorgeous Mason Weaver (Brie Larson) - but certainly not in the the same way or extent as in the previous Kong films. The pretext in this film is almost credible.

In among the stunning scenery and the deadly creatures, this action adventure does not fail to deliver, and does so in leaps and bounds, with a fact-paced storyline helped by the characters of Hank Marlow (John C. Reilly), Bill Randa (John Goodman) and Preston Packard (Samuel L. Jackson). Mayhem ensues with some making it out alive...

This blockbuster is helpedworth the ticket price and should not be missed.

Friday, 21 April 2017 08:22

Beauty and the Beast: Film Review

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Directed by Bill Condon (Chicago; Mr. Holmes; The Fifth Estate; The Twilight Saga) and starring Emma Watson (Harry Potter...; The Colony; Noah; The Perks of Being a Wallflower), Luke Evans (The Girl on the Train; High-Rise; The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies; Fast & Furious 6), Ian McKellen (The Lord of the Rings; The Hobbit; Mr. Holmes; X-Men: Days of Future Past; The Golden Compass; The Da Vinci Code), Emma Thompson (Sense and Sensibility; The Remains of the Day; Love Actually, Nanny McPhee), Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey (tv series); Night at the Museum 3; The Fifth Estate), Ewan McGregor (Trainspotting; Star Wars; Our Kind of Traitor; Salmon Fishing in the Yemen; Angels & Demons; The Island), Kevin Kline (A Fish Called Wanda; The Pink Panther; Cry Freedom; Fierce Creatures) and Josh Gad (Frozen; The Angry Birds Movie; The Internship).

Family fantasy adventure, 129 mins, 6+

Set in a small town in France, Belle (Emma Watson) lives with her father, Maurice (Kevin Kline) and is an intelligent, carefree yet fearless character who loves reading and has a loving personality. Of course there is the villian / ruffian in the village who wants Bella for himself, but she wants noting to do with Gaston (Luke Evans), a soldier, and his side-kick LeFou (Josh Gad). One day her father does not return from the market and she goes out in search for him, discovering a castle hidden from the world and hiding a dark secret.

A live-action remake of the 1991 animated classic, this Disney production has divied the critics, with many panning the close-up CGI in particular. Nevertheless, this film is a wonderful escape into fantasy in which the musical score carries the audience, both young and old alike, on a journey for which there can really be only one, inevitable outcome, one of the "happily ever after" variety. Along the way, however, the audience is treated to a myriad of characters, both in the village and in the castle itself, not to mention the primary characters themselves. Straight from the opening scene involving high-tempo singing anf dancing, it is the colour of the village and villagers which create a platform from which the story evolves.

The fairy tale continues with Belle finding her father and meeting the Beast (Dan Stevens) and discovering the numerous characters who inhabit the crumbling castle, including Lumière (Ewan McGregor), Cogsworth (Ian McKellen), Mrs. Potts (Emma Thompson) and many others besides. While they know the background to their current state - humans trapped in this fantasy world - they know deep down that they cannot let Belle know that the prince had been cursed and monstrously deformed and cannot nbe released from the spell until someone loves him.

Belle initially resists the Beast's aggression and demands, and discovers the castle's massive library of books, a love for which they both share. By reading they come closer. Yet she manages to escape the castle and his clutches, but is trapped by the wolves which live deep in the forest; The Beast comes to her rescue and then she has to care for him when he is wounded, and so on...

This is certainly a film for all the family, featuring a young heroine and a typical underlying message about love not being superficial

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