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

1917 (2019)

1917-movie-review-poster-2019Director: Sam Mendes

Genre: War, Drama

Runtime: 119 Minutes

Main Cast: George MacKay, Dean-Charles Chapman, Mark Strong, Andrew Scott, Richard Madden, Claire Duburcq, Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch,

Plot: 1917 is the retelling of a real mission given to two young British soldiers during the First World War, to deliver a message deep within enemy territory to give the order to stop a planned attack which would lead to the death of 1,600 men, as well as one of the soldier’s brother.

My Thoughts: Phew. It’s taken me days to get around to writing down my thoughts on 1917, it’s taken me that long to get over it. War movies aren’t my usual go-to, but I loved Dunkirk (2017) and Hacksaw Ridge (2016) and 1917 is on everyone’s minds right now so I definitely wasn’t going to miss it. I didn’t realise until the day before that it was shot/edited to look like one continuous take, the last time I saw that technique was in Birdman (2014) and it was so, so effective, so I was genuinely really looking forward to it!

Oh boy, though. I mean, you’re really just thrown into the situation with those two soldiers. It’s such an effective way of telling their story. What was so great was that our screen was almost full, so everyone was gasping and jumping at the same moments. Yes, that scene in the bunker with the tripwire? I don’t think I’ve jumped that badly during any actual horror movie. The guy next to me? I swear I saw his arse come out of his seat!

It’s a tough movie on your emotions. It’s no spoiler to say there are moments (one big one in particular) that are quite gut-wrenching, and I definitely needed a hug and a good nights sleep afterwards! I think it’s going to do really well at the BAFTAs next month, my money is on it winning Best Picture but we’ll see!

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Best Bit: The scene set in the town left mostly in ruins was the standout for me, forgive me for not remembering its name. It was stunning, the darkness of the sky with the contrast of the fires? Honestly quite breathtaking. Every fibre of my body was tensed up during that scene, not knowing when a gun was going to be fired, or when someone would leap out from the shadows. I was a nervous wreck!

Worst Bit: That feeling when you remember that everything you just watched actually happened in real life. Also, having to watch a struggling baby crying in a cabinet drawer as a makeshift bed. Anything involving sad babes or children just sets me off now. I’m weak!

Fun Trivia: Over 5,200 feet of trenches were dug for the film (just under one mile).

My Rating: 4 and a half giant rats, twice the size of our British rats!

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Movie Reviews

Shazam! (2019)

shazam-movie-poster-review-2019Director: David F. Sandberg

Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy

Runtime: 132 Minutes

Main Cast: Zachary Levi, Djimon Hounsou, Mark Strong, Jack Dylan Grazer, Asher Angel, Marta Milans, Cooper Andrews

Plot: Whilst searching for his long-lost Mother, 14-year-old Billy Batson is summoned before ‘The Wizard’ to receive the powers of Shazam. His attempts to learn his superpowers (and profit from them) draws the attention of Thaddius Sivana, enraged with envy and out for revenge against Billy for taking what was his.

My Thoughts: I know next to nothing about Shazam, apart from the fact he used to be called Captain Marvel (what a confusing coincidence!) and to tell you the truth I wasn’t sold by the trailer. It didn’t give much away, but it looked goofy as hell and I couldn’t work out if it was intentional or just…terrible. I got the chance to see it a week early though and that was a chance I couldn’t pass up. Maybe it was my low expectations, but I loved the hell out of this movie!

Shazam strips everything back from modern superhero movies. There’s obviously still CGI involved but it isn’t flaunted in your face every 2 seconds. It can’t get away with simply looking great, it relies on a good storyline, which it has. Billy’s story is really quite heartbreaking, and he has flaws just like any other person. The bad guy actually has a decent backstory and genuine motives for being evil. To top it all off, it’s actually really funny, which for a DC movie is a rare sight!

And yes, it’s goofy. But it’s supposed to be, that’s all part of the charm. Adult Shazam acts like a 14-year-old with superpowers…because he’s a 14-year-old with superpowers. He’s irresponsible with them. Think of him as a family friendly Deadpool, which sounds like an insult but I mean it with the highest praise. DC even manages to make fun of itself a little, whilst still having some serious plot lines. Okay, I’m a little gutted they missed out on a legit chance to call Billy’s mother Martha, but maybe that would have been one step too far.

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Time will tell whether I’m on my own in the Shazam! fan club, but for now I’ll quite happily hold my hands up and say it’s the best DC movie made in recent years.

Oh – and is it just me or is Asher Angel (Billy Batson) secretly Arya Stark’s twin brother?!

Best Bit: When Billy and Freddy are trying to skip school by fooling the security guard. It’s such a small moment in the movie but I laughed so hard, and so did everyone around me. I won’t ruin it for you but keep an eye out for it!

Worst Bit: As well-developed as the bad guy was, I can’t help but feel like involving the 7 deadly sins was a bit of a waste. Apart from envy, the others don’t really serve any kind of purpose and they may as well have just been ordinary monsters.

Fun Trivia: Both DC Comics and Marvel Comics have a hero called Captain Marvel, whose films star Djimon Hounsou and release in 2019. However, both are different: Shazam! (2019) is a male teenager who received godly powers and a superhuman form. Captain Marvel (2019) is a female superhero who received alien powers.

My Rating: 4 and a half cases of your finest beer, thank you!

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