Simply put, Emma Stone is a treasure. Yeah, I know, given her array of riveting roles in a slew of massive movies, that’s hardly a BREAKING NEWS headline. However, with her latest starring role as Estella Miller / Cruella de Vil in the just-released film, Cruella, the award-winning actress delivers arguably her most impressive performance to date.
Directed by Craig Gillespie, Cruella is based on the character Cruella de Vil from the 1956 Dodie Smith novel, The Hundred and One Dalmatians. The third adaptation in the Dalmatians franchise, the film serves as a prequel in the protagonist’s saga.”Shang-Chi et la Légende des Dix Anneaux 2021 Streaming”
Cruella succeeds in quarantining viewers from frame one. It just looks spectacular from start to finish. In fact, nothing plays out on the screen during its two-hour-plus running time that doesn’t demand the audience’s absolute undivided attention.
The storyline — snappy, for sure. A precocious “handful,” young Estella Miller is living on the lam following a traumatic experience that has removed her mother from the picture. As a teen, along with her two male grifter counterparts, Estrella finds herself ultimately in London during the post-glam, pre-punk era of the mid 1970s. While pursuing her passion for fashion design, she lands a “dream” gig working for a notorious fashion mogul — the evil Baroness von Hellman, played famously by Emma Thompson.”Don’t breathe 2 2021 Streaming”
Dynamic drama and tremendous tension between the two unlikely soon-to-be rivals ensues in short order. But as the rather innocent Estrella transforms into the more devious Cruella, lines soon begin to blur, and it becomes unclear who we’re supposed to be rooting for. A great story needs a villain — it also needs a hero.
Cruella endeavors to seek justice and she does reveal a few endearing characteristics along the way. However, her “avenge and revenge” mission statement becomes decidedly more dastardly as the gateway leading into her new abode reads “Hell Hall,” while the Rolling Stones classic, “Sympathy for the Devil” plays on. Hence, we have TWO villains and NO true hero — that is unless Cruella gets a free pass just for being younger and sexier than Hellman and for having her picture plastered across the movie poster. The danger here is that, once again, Hollywood depicts evil as good. And to ensure that message comes across (clearly), it’s pointed out to the audience (proudly) how de Vil also spells, “devil.” Ugh!”Free Guy 2021 Streaming”
But for those who possess the maturity to process the difference between reality and fantasy, these critical observations aren’t deal-breakers. The story is solid. The cast is superb. The largely era-specific soundtrack also sizzles. And as an overall body of work, it’s a breathtaking treat to look at — as is Stone. While the PG13 rating ensures a measure of action-packed street cred, the language takes the high road throughout and there’s zero sexual content — BRAVO!”The suicide squad 2021 Streaming”
Aside from Stone and Thompson’s award-worthy performances, the film also stands tall as a result of an impeccable support cast. Joel Fry and Paul Walter Hauser both are fabulous as Cruella’s sidekick cronies Jasper and Horace. Kirby Howell-Baptiste is wonderful as photo / gossip journalist Anita “Tattletale” Darling and Mark Strong is strong, indeed as Hellman’s confidant, John. However, John McCrea is the secret prize stashed at the bottom of this Cracker Jack box. His performance in the role as Ziggy-inspired fashion store owner, Artie, was well worth the price of my senior discount ticket. And I certainly hope he’s featured prominently in the sequel.”Sans un bruit 2 2021 Streaming”
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