Cruella - Film Review
Let me start out by saying: This ain't the Cruella you know.
That is something I loved about this: It's fresh! Yes, Disney has a knack for reinventing movies and intellectual properties of their own, but this was worth it. Opening in theaters and on Disney+ at the same time this weekend, I want to also say you should see this on the big screen.
The movie is larger than life and tiptoes on the fantasy realm that Disney lives in. Like, I believe this version of London is the same one that Peter Pan and Mary Poppins visits, albeit a much darker side. Emma Stone does a great job of showing us that she borders on genius and madness and early references calling her "Disney's Joker" does not go unwarranted, especially after watching this film. It's actually fairly similar to Joker, but of course in the Disney universe. Let's also be honest, Cruella, is not a character for kids to look up to. The PG-13 rating is warranted for sure and the film is dark in subject matter and esthetically as well. I might even call this the most Tim Burton-esque movie he never made.
The other standout in all of this is Emma Thompson's character, Baroness. I could watch a movie all around her character all day long. Needless to say, the two Emma's chemistry was electric and they sparked off of each other perfectly. The fun part of this movie is it's rewatchability. There's a lot of scenes where you get quick glimpses of the the hundreds, if not thousands, of costumes used. I never thought I'd want to go back and watch a film again to simply admire it's art direction, but it's that good. Again, the reveals of some of Cruella's outfits are needed on a proper silver screen, not Disney+'s at home experience. There of course is a connection to 101 Dalmatians, but it surprisingly doesn't come until the "mid credit" scene, so STAY!
So if you're worried if you think your kids might not "get it," go see it without the kids and you're going to have a good time regardless. Then if you decide to watch it again with them, you'll be happy to do that too. She is so bonkers, you'll love going on the journey with her, and even be rooting for the baddie! I want another movie! I'm just so worried about those puppies...
Well, it's Memorial Day Weekend in 2021 and the movies are back!
A Quiet Place Part II opens in theaters and before the movie is run, writer, director and star, John Krasinski, appears to greet guests and welcome them back to the theaters and welcome them. In a recent interview he said that A Quiet Place Part II had it's premiere last year, two day before the lockdowns, and now "it's not about our movie. Sure, we hope you come and see our movie, but at this point in time it's about movies in general."
If you saw the 2018 original A Quiet Place movie, then you know that this movie is something that I don't want to spoil. So I won't give away anything that you haven't already seen in the trailers. The original was a very much a novel horror film and the sequel builds on it successfully. In fact, like a true "Part II" it takes place immediately after the first one ends. Well, right after they have a "flashback" sequence of what they call "Day One." We get more insight into relationships the family had with the townspeople before the monsters arrive, and gives us crucial context to relationships that come later.
The movie, much like its successor, has it's main success in it's horror and tension in it's superb sound editing. There is no difference in terms of looks of sets, or the world the characters inhabit (other than the kids are obviously two years older). The storyline is something that goes off of the major plot development at the end of the original film and with great affect. It's something that at the end of the first one we are thinking, "Oh, I can't wait to see them kick these monster's asses now." But as we see in this movie, it's not that easy.
There are plenty of scares and moments that will make you gasp. There's a lot more dialogue in this movie than there is in the first one, so we're losing the novelty of a film where there's almost no dialogue, but again, it is a seamless bridge from one movie to another. You could play these movies back to back, take away the credits, and you would have a hard time spotting the split.
Wrapping up this spoiler free review, I have to say that there were two performances that are of big note. Young performer, Millicent Simmonds, is amazing in being able to perform with just a look. You can get such a feeling from her subtleties in her performance that makes it so genius, and is ultimately what makes you believe the terror happening around her. The other standout is Cillian Murphy, who is no stranger to apocalyptic monster movies, a la 28 Days Later. But here he is transformed into someone who you are both afraid of and sympathetic for, he's real. So if you're picturing him from any Christopher Nolan film or the Peaky Blinders series, you won't recognize him here. I will say I feel that Emily Blunt maybe did this role to appease her real life husband, Krasinski, as she is actually only in about half of the movie and has no major developments throughout the movie. The ending is also a bit sudden and is reminiscent of the first film's ending by not giving us the traditional happy ending. And dare I say it? I'll dare. I can't wait to see "Part III."
This movie is honestly, one of the best ones to go back to theaters to see, and see it with people! There is a honest tension that is palpable in the audience and it's that experience that you really should have. After watching movies at home for a year, I can safely say, it's not the same. It's not. Go to the movies, and check out CinemaSafe, which helps show how theaters are being responsible with re-openings. You won't be disappointed.