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SPOTLIGHT | 'West Side Story' gets some Spielberg spin; a (very) big red dog hits our screens

Star writer Tony Kushner helps reimagine the beloved musical about forbidden love in NYC, while oversized canine Clifford provides fun for the whole family

Spotlight is our entertainment bite-sized snapshot featuring new entertainment releases in SA, exclusive film trailers and much more. New episodes are out every Thursday here and on YouTube, plus you can follow Spotlight on Facebook.

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Click here to find previous episodes of Spotlight with all the movie news you need and follow Spotlight on Facebook for all the latest news and giveaways

In this week’s episode of Spotlight, we headline celebrated director Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of West Side Story, which originated as the classic stage musical in 1957 and was later filmed in 1961. With a screenplay by Pulitzer Prize and Tony award-winner Tony Kushner, this formidable team has taken the Romeo and Juliet-inspired story of young lovers torn apart by a climate of hate and intolerance to another level. 

The storyline explores forbidden love and the rivalry between the Jets and the Sharks, two teenage street gangs of different ethnic backgrounds. This reimagining of the beloved musical stars Ansel Elgort, who plays Tony, and Rachel Zegler as Maria. Early reviews have unanimously hailed West Side Story as one of the front-runners for the upcoming Golden Globe Awards and Academy Awards. This cinema release, from December 10, is not to be missed.

A well-known children’s story making its way to the big screen is Clifford the Big Red Dog, so we take a closer look at this family adventure-comedy. Based on the canine hero of the American hit series of 80 children’s books, the film tells the story of a young girl’s love for a tiny puppy named Clifford, which makes the dog grow to an enormous size.

Faced with a nearly 4m tall hound in her small New York City apartment, Emily and her uncle set out on an adventure that takes a bite out of the Big Apple. With a cast that includes Jack Whitehall and John Cleese, audiences agree that it is the young Darby Camp and Isaac Wang as her friend Owen Yu that truly shine in this film. This fun for the whole family will be at cinemas from December 10.

We also join the Spider-Man: No Way Home costume tour in Johannesburg, and get to meet Spidey himself at Movies@ MonteCasino! Our friendly neighbourhood web-slinger is unmasked as we talk all things Spider-Man: No Way Home.

Don’t miss next week’s episode, when we look at the season of royal family sagas, with M-Net rerunning the documentary Diana: The Interview that Shocked the World, at 7.30pm on December 16, just in time for the cinema release of Spencer, starring Kristen Stewart.

For full interviews, breaking news, trailers, clips and competition details, visit our Spotlight Facebook page. See you at the movies!

Presenter Collette Prince is dressed by Kalea Collective.

Win a 'Spider-Man: No Way Home' hamper

This week, you stand a chance of winning a fantastic Spider-Man: No Way Home hamper.

To enter, visit Spotlight SA on Facebook for all the details

Terms and conditions apply.

Winners will be drawn randomly and notified by SMS after the competition has closed.  Entrants’ personal details will not be retained for marketing purposes. Winners have to provide proof of age (ID/driver’s licence) and cover their own travel and accommodation expenses. By entering participants agree to have their names published on TimesLIVE, SowetanLIVE and Spotlight SA on Facebook. Employees of Arena Holdings and their family members are not eligible to enter.