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

Songbird (2020)

songbird-movie-poster-review-2020Director: Adam Mason

Genre: Thriller, Drama, Romance

Runtime: 84 Minutes

Main Cast: K.J. Apa, Sofia Carson, Craig Robinson, Bradley Whitford, Peter Stormare, Alexandra Daddario, Paul Walter Hauser, Demi Moore, Jenna Ortega

Plot: The year is 2024, and the world is suffering with COVID-23. Nico (K.J. Apa) is one of the very few who are immune, and works as a courier. When the situation turns dire, he turns to desperate measures to help his girlfriend Sara (Sofia Carson) escape.

My Thoughts: Are we ready for a COVID-related disaster movie? Not really, let’s be honest. Songbird didn’t necessarily want to be the best, but it did want to be first. Sadly there’s a little horror movie called Host (2020) which already owns that title. I’m a sucker for bad movies though, don’t ask me why, and with the situation in the UK what it is I thought it might be nice to escape to a fictional Earth where things are somehow worse, to make me feel better. It achieved that at least, and as much as it wasn’t a good movie, Songbird entertained me enough.

Thing is, when you’re living in a pandemic, you know the ins and outs. So a fictional movie isn’t going to pull the wool over your eyes. COVID-23 is so bad that you’ll actually be shot on sight for leaving your home. Those who are immune have jobs as couriers delivering packages to the rich. The whole time I was asking, yeah but how to people get groceries?! These people have fridges full of alcohol, where are they getting it from? The real villain here though isn’t the virus, it’s the Head of Sanitization. Get ready for the most over-the-top villain you’ve ever seen. I actually expected him to burst into song at one point, it was so corny.

Silliness aside though, give it a few years and we’ll probably have a better COVID movie, like it or not. Think Contagion (2011), but probably starring Dwayne Johnson. Songbird was just clearly thrown together as quickly as possible. There’s some good stuff there, I was intrigued by the Q-Zone. Basically, you get tested every day through an app on your phone and if you test positive, the hazmats take you away to this Q-Zone. We never even got to see it though apart from a few aerial shots from a distance. It’s not a total disaster, but only watch it if you’re up for having a bit of a laugh with it.

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Best Bit: Forget the main love story, I was there for Alexandra Daddario. She instantly makes any terrible movie a whole lot better. Although, she does have in her possession the most useless face mask in history…

Worst Bit: Finally getting around to writing your review for this movie on the same night the Prime Minister informs us of a new, dangerous COVID strain – paving for the way for Lockdown 3, whilst the rest of the world slowly cuts off our tiny, infested island. Sigh.

Fun Trivia: SAG-AFTRA issued a “Do not work” order on Songbird, telling its members to refuse any work on the film.

My Rating: 2 out of 5 Whopper burgers. RIP, Burger King…

songbird-movie-2020-rip-burger-king