Movie Reviews

Cruella (2021)

cruella-movie-poster-review-2021Director: Craig Gillespie

Genre: Comedy, Crime

Runtime: 134 Minutes

Main Cast: Emma Stone, Emma Thompson, Joel Fry, Paul Walter Hauser, Mark Strong, John McCrea, Emily Beecham, Tipper Seifert-Cleveland, Kayvan Novak

Plot: Set in London in the 1970’s. a young Estella is determined to make a name for herself in the world of fashion. Forced to live with two fellow thieves whilst they were all still children, Estella grows up surviving through petty crime until she finally gets herself a job working for the designer she admires most, The Baroness.

My Thoughts: I’m in that small camp of people who are all for these live-action Disney remakes. I’m yet to encounter one that butchers a precious childhood memory and most (I’ll admit, not all) have been fantastic, so no complaints from me here. However, I’m not a fan of 101 Dalmatians. I just didn’t really watch it as a kid, so I don’t have that nostalgic tie to it. I have a soft spot for villains though and I’m OBSESSED with Emma Stone, so I’ve been really looking forward to Cruella. Letting Emma Stone unleash her inner crazy side is always the right thing to do.

The movie has it’s issues. The pacing and the long runtime didn’t work at all towards the end. It felt like the movie had come to a satisfying conclusion with an opening to a sequel and then no, there’s still another 30 mins to go so put that popcorn back down! Also, am I meant to be rooting for Jasper and Horace so much? It’s fun because the henchmen are only ever background noise in most movies and yet they almost steal the limelight here.

Emma Thompson makes an excellent villain here. There’s no good vs evil in Cruella, just one evil vs a bigger evil and oh these girls are on fire. I just can’t. It’s taken over a week to make my thoughts coherent, I might actually love Emma Stone more than Adam Driver at this point. She’s the perfect choice for this clumsy girl just trying to make an impression, and somehow even better with the black and white hair and the outfits and the cane and the “darling” and oh, just simply breathtaking. Give the movie a chance, just for me? And stay for the mid-credits to see what’s coming over the horizon from Disney.

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Best Bit: I enjoyed this from the start, but the movie is at it’s best when Cruella finally takes over Estella and the battle between her and The Baroness truly begins. The outfits just keep getting better and better until that moment of ‘oh no, she didn’t, did she?’

Worst Bit: It’s definitely messed up when I find myself happily watching movies about terrorists or husbands avenging their murdered wives, but watching a movie about a woman who kills dogs for fun gives me pause. I won’t spoil how Disney handled that element to Cruella’s character but I was so tense about it!

Fun Trivia: A popular myth is that filming was delayed due to Emma Stone dislocating her shoulder at a Spice Girls concert in London, where she fell off her friend’s shoulders in June 2019. Stone later explained that the night before the Spice Girls concert she was running in boots on a wood floor, slipped, and broke her shoulder in two places. She went to the concert with her arm in a sling, and didn’t go in for an x-ray until the next day. Filming was delayed while Stone went to physical therapy.

My Rating: I keep going back and forth in my mind about whether this is a 4 or a 4.5, I need something in between those two. But for now, it’s a solid 4.5 circular slices of banana stuck to Estella’s face.

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Movie Reviews

Dolittle (2020)

dolittle-movie-review-2020-posterDirector: Stephen Gaghan

Genre: Comedy, Family, Adventure

Runtime: 101 Minutes

Main Cast: Robert Downey Jr, Antonio Banderas, Michael Sheen, Jim Broadbent, Jessie Buckley, Emma Thompson, Rami Malek, John Cena, Kumail Nanjiani, Octavia Spencer, Tom Holland, Craig Robinson, Ralph Fiennes, Jason Mantzoukas

Plot: John Dolittle, famed doctor and veterinarian with a talent of speaking to animals, turned to a life of seclusion after losing his wife. His peace is disturbed one day when a young boy turns up at his door with an injured squirrel, as well as a young girl summoning him to save the Queen who is on her deathbed.

My Thoughts: Doctor Dolittle (1998) is one of my childhood favourites, so I was always going to be interested to see this remake/reimagining. By the sounds of it, this newer version stays much truer to the original source book. And look at that cast list! I usually chop down the list to just the main, big names, but that’s impossible in this case. How on earth all these names signed up for this movie is beyond me. Some of them are instantly recognisable, like Jason Mantzoukas, very much playing himself…if he were a dragonfly.

Let me get to the point – you’ve probably read a lot of negativity surrounding this movie, and I’m not going to try and change anyone’s mind. I still can’t work out where in the UK Robert Downey Jr.’s accent was meant to be from, but he seemed to struggle with it so much he never expressed a single emotion throughout the whole movie. It feels very much like he’s turning up just to collect his paycheck. It’s all very silly and predictable.

BUT. This movie wasn’t made with most of us in mind. It’s a movie for children. And I’m sure children will love watching a dog in glasses dragging its butt across the floor, a gorilla kick a tiger in his private parts, a grown man pulling objects out of a dragon’s ass, and a polar bear complaining about being cold all the time. There are a few adult jokes scattered throughout to keep the parents chuckling, and I’m sure it’ll be a hit this half-term in the UK.

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Best Bit: In the credits, they show a shot of each of the animals along with the name of who voiced them, and my friend Steph and I turned to each other at the same time when Chee-Chee the gorilla came up and went “THAT WAS RAMI MALEK?” It’s almost enough to need to see it again.

Worst Bit: I’ve already mentioned it but seriously, what accent was that? I’d decided it must have been Scottish, and then I read someone else’s’ review where they said it was Welsh! I should know, shouldn’t I? And yet I’m clueless.

Fun Trivia: Nicolas Cage turned down the role of King Rassouli.

My Rating: 2 out of 5 bagpipes which were retrieved from…well, I think you can guess where.

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Movie Reviews

Last Christmas (2019)

last-christmas-2019-movie-review-posterDirector: Paul Feig

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance

Runtime: 103 Minutes

Main Cast: Emilia Clarke, Henry Golding, Emma Thompson, Michelle Yeoh, Jade Anouka, Patti LuPone, Rob Delaney, Lydia Leonard, Sue Perkins, Rebecca Root

Plot: Kate’s life changed for the worse when she was seriously ill a couple of years ago. She sleeps on the couch of a friend’s house each night until they tire of her and kick her out, she refuses to speak to her mother, and her boss at the Christmas store she works at has all but given up on her. That is, until she meets Tom, whose optimism turns her life around.

My Thoughts: I’ve loved every Paul Feig movie I’ve seen, and Christmas is my favourite time of year, so I was so excited when the trailer for Last Christmas finally came out. Then I saw on Twitter a lot of tweets about the trailer giving too much away and I kind of steered clear just in case. I mean, the main character suffered a huge trauma and the movie itself is called ‘Last’ Christmas so I knew it would be a weepy one, but I didn’t want to find out the entire plot via Twitter.

That said, I’m marking the rest of this post as SPOILER TERRITORY. Go and watch the movie first, unless you’ve already seen Twitter or Reddit, because I looked just, and sure enough, the internet worked out what happened. You clever lot, you. Anyway, I adored this movie. Emilia Clarke is a national treasure. She can say more with her eyebrows than with words, I’m telling you! And Henry Golding? Swoon. I knew something was off straight away, though. You’re telling me someone in 2019 doesn’t have a phone? To be honest, I just assumed he was a figment of Emilia’s imagination…some sort of Christmas spirit that turns up only when she needs him. I guess I wasn’t far off.

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And then the twist. My bestie Steph was with me at the time. When Emilia went back to Henry’s place to find out no one had lived there for ages? Steph worked it out just like that and told me…and then cue the uncontrollable sobbing. We were literally sat there crying and wiping our eyes in sync…we were a right mess! After that, it felt like it should have all been so obvious…garden and bench included but…ugh.

Best Bit: Just when I thought I would never smile again, it was Christmas Day, and Emma Thompson made a comment about lesbian pudding. Can we please protect Emma Thompson at all costs? She is legendary in whatever role she’s playing!

Worst Bit: I come to the cinema to forget how terrible the world is, our little island in particular. Did you HAVE to stick Brexit into this?!

Fun Trivia: Paul Feig was originally not interested in doing another Holiday-comedy, after his previous entry, Unaccompanied Minors (2006), was a critical and commercial failure. However, after reading the script, personally sent to him by Emma Thompson, he was convinced.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 ugly tree decorations that Santa would proudly display in her store!

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Movie Reviews

Men in Black: International (2019)

men-in-black-international-2019-movie-reviewDirector: F. Gary Gray

Genre: Action, Sci-Fi, Comedy, Adventure

Runtime: 114 Minutes

Main Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, Liam Neeson, Rebecca Ferguson, Emma Thompson, Rafe Spall, Kumail Nanjiani, Jess Radomska, Kayvan Novak

Plot: After a childhood encounter with an alien changed her life, Molly has spent years trying to find the Men in Black in order to join their ranks. Once she succeeds, she is thrown right into the deep end as it is discovered there’s a mole within the organisation.

My Thoughts: I think I’ve only seen the original MiB movie but I liked it a lot. It was funny, the action scenes were cool and it had aliens! What more could younger me want? With all the reboots and remakes lately, I guess a new MiB movie was inevitable, and honestly I’ve felt like the only person around who was actually excited to see it! If nothing more, we get Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson team up again, which is bound to be fun.

Surprising no one, I set myself up for a fall. I enjoyed Men in Black: International, more than most by the sounds of it, but it wasn’t what I was hoping for. It just took itself too seriously most of the time and the jokes weren’t coming fast enough. The plot is really messy, and the ending was just a bit…sad, really. Still, there were plenty of things to enjoy. I’ve decided that every movie needs an Emma Thompson cameo. After Bridget Jones’ Baby and now this, I just want her to turn up and be sassy and sarcastic in everything I watch!

There are a few appearances from some familiar non-human characters, but I kind of wish we got to see a little more of them. There’s also a brilliant, tiny new character who I’ll get into in a moment, but he’s a show-stealer. All in all, there are definitely worse ways to spend 2 hours, but if you’re going to watch a silly action movie in which cool people clad in suits shoot at aliens…you’re probably better sticking with the original.

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Best Bit: Pawny! Or Steve, as he called himself. He’s a little alien who was also a pawn on a chessboard protecting his queen, who sadly was murdered. Left feeling hopeless, Agent H convinced him to serve Molly, Agent M instead, and every time he popped up he made me laugh. I’m hoping Funko are putting in a rush order of figures of him so I can get one for my dashboard soon…

Worst Bit: Spoiler alert here! After watching the trailer, and scoffing at my excitement, my husband announced ‘It’s obvious – Liam Neeson is going to be a bad guy’. How it was obvious, I don’t know, but I spent the whole movie unable to get the thought out of my head and curse him, he was right. He’s so annoying. He did the same with Gossip Girl, he’s got a plot-twist radar!

Fun Trivia: The film was originally going to be a “Jump Street” – “Men in Black” crossover with Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill reprising their roles from the franchise. However, plans fell apart, so it became a spin-off with Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson.
[ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN AMAZING.]

My Rating: 3 pairs of standard issue black glasses that you’ll need to wear so you don’t forget all about this movie. On second thought…you don’t want to wear them, do you?

men-in-black-international-review-glasses

Movie Reviews

Missing Link (2019)

missing-link-movie-review-poster-2019Director: Chris Butler

Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy, Family

Runtime: 95 Minutes

Main Cast: Hugh Jackman, Zach Galifianakis, Zoe Saldana, Stephen Fry, Emma Thompson, Timothy Olyphant, Matt Lucas, David Walliams

Plot: Sir Lionel Frost is desperate to join the Adventurer’s Guild and gain the respect he deserves. Mr Link is the last of his kind and longs to find his long-lost relatives in Shangri-La. Together, the two team up to help each other with their dreams.

My Thoughts: I’ve always had a soft spot for animated movies, and a fascination for stop motion. It absolutely blows my mind the amount of work and effort that goes into it, and when technology is at a place now that a similar effect could probably be created digitally, it’s a blessing that Laika Studios still make their animations this way. Hours and hours of work just to create a couple of seconds of footage! Anyway, let’s talk about Missing Link.

After falling head over heels for their last movie, Kubo and the Two Strings (2016) I was dead excited to see Missing Link, especially with that voice cast! Sadly the movie didn’t have many showings at my local and I doubt it’ll even be in the cinema very long in the UK, despite the marketing effort. It was a great movie, but it doesn’t beat Kubo for me, mainly because that gut-punch of emotions was missing.

Still, Missing Link has one of those stories that is simple enough for the younger audience with enough jokes for the adults to enjoy too. Don’t expect anything too deep and just enjoy the adventure and you’re bound to have a good time! Laika are on an absolute roll, and I can’t wait to see what they make next.

missing-link-hugh-jackman-zach-galifianakis

Best Bit: I loved how Mr Link took everything Frost said literally. “Throw this rope over the wall”. He throws the entire lot, grapple hook included, over the wall and as stupid as it was it just tickled me and I laughed embarrassingly loudly. There’s also the scene where Mr Link gets to pick his own name, and that was just as funny!

Worst Bit: You can probably tell by now I loved this mostly for the animation. But what didn’t sit right with me was the look of Adelina’s character. She just didn’t seem to quite fit in with the style of every other human character in the movie and it was kind of distracting at times.

Fun Trivia: Missing Link is the first Laika film to feature an all adult cast, where the last four films, all the lead roles have been performed by children.

My Rating: 4 out 5 green tweed waistcoats which Mr Link can just about squeeze into. Those poor buttons!

missing-link-review-tweed-jacket-waistcoat