Cruella (2021): Movie Review
Like “Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)”, does the “Cruella (2021)” character need an origin story? Nevertheless, it’s not a bad movie.
To begin with, I had low expectations for Cruella (2021), even with an excellent cast and remarkable director on board, because of Disney’s horrible history with live-action movies (“Mulan” review). But Cruella surprised me, with high fashion, darkly humorous tone in the rock punk era, and an excellent performance by both Emma’s; Cruella is worth watching for Disney fans if you can bear bad pacing, awful CGI dogs.
“Curella (2021)” is an invented origin story of Cruella DeVille, the character from 101 Dalmatians (1961), who is a symbol of evil and greed, known for kidnapping 100 dogs for their fur to make costumes. Set in London during the punk rock era of the 1970s. Estella (Emma Stone) is a young and clever rebellious child who soon becomes an orphan after a tragic incident. She befriends two street thieves named Jasper (Joel Fry) and Horace (Paul Walter Hauser). Three of them build a life for themselves in the streets of London. Estella, who aspired to be a fashion designer from childhood, gets a chance after ten years to make a name for herself in the fashion world. She got the opportunity to work for the fashion legend Baroness (Emma Thompson). However, Estella embraces her wicked side to become the raucous, evil, and revenge-bent Cruella in the turn of events.
To the question, does Cruella need an origin story? Even so, does the movie feel like an origin story to Cruella? The answer is no. The plot feels like it was taken out from the old shelves, which has similarities to “The Devil Wears Prada (2006)”, and altered the character name. In short, the plot never feels original nor exciting, like their previous dazzling adventure “Raya and the Last Dragon (2021).” What’s interesting in the movie is the costumes, not only in the fashion battle, everything Emma wore from underdog criminal to fashion designer to Cruella is magnificently beautiful added with her beauty. Jenny Beavan, the two-time oscar-winning costume designer, is widely known for her work in “Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)”, “The King’s Speech (2010)”, and “Sense and Sensibility (1995)” nailed every design in Curella.
Emma Stone is always compelling, whether in character pursuing dreams (“La La Land” review) or in cunning, villainous roles (The Favourite 2018). Here she does a great job of embracing the wickedness but not impressing to buy the ticket. Because of the poorly written character, the characterization of Estella, the transition from Estella to Cruella is forced and cringe. In the end, the character never feels like Cruella; the wickedness, psychotic, is missing from the character. On the other hand, the Baroness character, excellently played by Emma Thompson, more feels like Cruella. The chemistry between both Emma’s is fun to watch. Director of “I Tonya (2017)”, “Lars and the Real Girl (2007)”, Craig Gillespie did his best, but the atrocious and cruelly long messy script didn’t help him anyway. And the use of CGI dogs, classic songs for every 10 minutes, and pointless narration are disastrous.
The movie is darkly humorous and enjoyable to the target audience (if it’s for kids). To the rest, it’s cruelly long, banal script and dreadful characterization and is let down to splendid high fashion costumes put into the film. My Rating 5.5/10.
The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (2021): Capsule Review
As a drama film, “The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do (2021)” is satisfactory, but the movie went down the tubes as a horror film. Definitely missed James wan’s direction.
“The Devil Made Me Do (2021)” is the third film in the Conjuring franchise. This time the stakes are very high. In 1981, paranormal investigators Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga) attempted to perform an exorcism on an eight-year-old boy, David (Julian Hilliard), who was possessed by a demonic spirit. To save the boy, family friend Arne Johnson (Ruairi O’Connor) invites the spirit to take him instead. Before the curse takes more lives, Warrens must investigate the devil behind it and break the curse. Do they succeed?
I am not a fan of the horror genre because most of them rely on cheap jump scares, gibberish all over the top storylines, and poor acting. Putting aside the question of whether the story is fictional or real, I moderately enjoyed the Conjuring series mainly because of James Win’s execution. To my first disappointment, James Wan did not direct this film; Michael Chavez took over the chair as director. He had previously directed The Curse of La Llorona (2019), which was terrible. To his credit, from Llorona to Conjuring 3, the improvement in Michael’s direction is appreciable, and the movie never felt tedious, but that doesn’t nearly enough to put the movie in the decent horror movie category. It’s definitely the weakest in the series.
“The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do (2021)” is the most exciting case of Warren’s; the foe they are dealing with, is the most powerful they faced in their career, yet the movie doesn’t feel that way. Every build-up of horror scenes went flat; the tension we experience in horror movies is not there and misses many nail-biting moments. As a horror film, the movie went down the tubes. Although the screenplay is not as refined as the first two movies, the movie never lost my attention because of the well-built lead roles from previous films and the chemistry between Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga. My Rating 5.5/10.
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