Category Archives: Crime

CRUELLA (2021): The Thing I Liked…

Cruella (2021), Emma Stone, Walt Disney Studios
Cruella (2021), Emma Stone, Walt Disney Studios

Cruella, the movie about the rebellious earlier years of one of Disney’s favourite and most stylish villains, Cruella De Vil is quite far from the movie I’d hoped for. 

I enjoyed some well-executed set pieces, visually stunning cinematic moments, and director Craig Gillespie’s film gets a tad better towards the end. Yet, my overall feeling through to the end was one of disappointment.

For me, Cruella has a disappointing air of silliness to it. A quality that I imagine isn’t helped by Emma Stone and Paul Walter Hauser’s over-the-top British accents. And they’re not the only accent offenders; Estella/Cruella’s boss at Liberty of London also did his part to bring home my realisation that so many of the people in the film play like caricatures. 

Given that the ‘this is so disappointing’ reality of the movie hit me soon after the film started, I couldn’t wait for Emma Thompson’s The Baroness character to show up and help proceedings. Thompson did a superb job, as she always does. Still, my growing distaste for Gillespie’s movie remained.

The story edit felt rushed throughout. The early camera work inside Liberty of London proved unnecessarily dizzying. The way the movie deals with mental illness leaves plenty to be desired. And, what nonsense to expect the audience to believe that for a very long time, thanks to different clothes and makeup, none of the characters could see that Cruella is clearly Estella. I know, I know… a very similar thing happens in the Superman/Clark Kent movies. But those movies are actually good.

I’m sure it’s crystal clear by now, but I did not enjoy Cruella. My disappointment led to the very whiny thought: ‘But when will another Disney movie delight and move me the way Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella did? WHEN?!

I wanted Cruella to be more grounded than it is. And a big part of the issues with Gillespie’s Cruella arise because the film never decided whether it was going to be for kids or adults. It went for both in a way that resulted in a movie that I feel failed more than it succeeded. 

Have you seen Cruella? What did you think? Let me know in the comments.

Happy Film Loving

G

STILLWATER (2021): New Trailer From Matt Damon, Abigail Breslin, Camille Cottin…

Stillwater (2021), Matt Damon, Focus Features
Stillwater (2021), Matt Damon, Focus Features

Matt Damon’s latest crime/thriller Stillwater has him as a skilled oil-rig labourer who gets on a plane to Marseille, France, after reciving a call from his daughter. An estranged daughter (Abigail Breslin) who’s in prison for a murder she claims she didn’t commit.

Directed by Tom McCarthy; additional key cast includes Camille Cottin, Deanna Dunagan and Ginifer Ree.

Based ob this trailer, I wasn’t sure about my level of interest in this movie at first. But then I remembered that it’s Damon,. Also, it’s from teh director behind the Oscar winning Spotlight (2015).

There’s also the fact that this trailer reminded me a lot of the real life story of a certain Miss A. Knox; not that I followed that particularly closely. I’m in to see the direction this story takes. Especially since I suspect we may find ourselves quite surprised; at least I hope.

Robert Peters, April Warren, Lena Harmon, Moussa Maaskri, Justin France, Ryan Music, Eric Starkey, Gary Sievers, Thomas Rivas and Leesa Neidel also star.

Stillwater Release Dates: July 30th, 2021 (US); August 6th, 2021 (UK)….

Happy Film Loving

G

THE PROTÉGÉ (2021): New trailer Starring Maggie Q, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Keaton…

The Protégé (2021), Samuel L. Jackson, Maggie Q, Lionsgate Movies
The Protégé (2021), Samuel L. Jackson, Maggie Q, Lionsgate Movies

The Protégé is a new action/crime/thriller with a vengeance story at its heart. One where Maggie Q and Michael Keaton play two of the world’s premiere assassins, a pair who must form an uneasy alliance.

Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Patrick and Patrick Malahide are among the key cast.

As a big fan of well-executed movie badassery, I’ve watched what happens between 18 and 27 seconds into this trailer 6 times. And not once did I succeed at staying quiet as the action unfolded. Clearly when an action sequence looks this impressive, audible displays of appreciation are involuntary.

I can’t wait to see Q do her action woman thing, while being directed by Martin Campbell, the man behind my favourite Bond movie, Casino Royale (2006).

Lili Rich, Ekaterina Baker, Madalina Anea, Ori Pfeffer, Jack Derges, Florin Piersic Jr., George Pistereanu, Gamba Cole and Velizar Binev also star.

The Protégé Release Dates: August 20th, 2021 (US)…

HapPy Film Loving

G

LOCKED IN (2021): The Things I Liked…

Locked In (2021), Mena Suvari
Locked In (2021), Mena Suvari

It’s my curiosity about how thrilling movies set mainly in one location can be, that had me watching crime/thriller Locked In. The other motivation is Mena Suvari (an actress I’ll always appreciate because of American Beauty (1999), one of my favourites.

From writer/director Carlos V. Gutierrez, Locked In has some suspenseful scenes. It’s the suspense-filled moments that had me watching through to the very end. Even though by the halfway point, I’d already given up on the movie being the kind I insist others watch. 

The performances aren’t the problem. Locked In is simply not as clever as it needed to be for the viewing experience to feel worthwhile. There are parts of the film where I had to look away as if to signal to the room (since I was watching the movie alone) that what was happening on screen wasn’t up to standard. 

The suspenseful moments and the satisfying last scene are the parts that made me happy. If you’re especially curious about Locked In, then do what you must. Otherwise, how about Locke (2013)Carnage (2011) or Phone Booth (2002)All three are good movies set either completely or predominantly in one location.

Happy Film Loving

G

WEST SIDE STORY (2021): New Trailer From Steven Spielberg, Starring Ansel Elgort, Rachel Zegler, Ariana DeBose…

West Side Story (2021), Ansel Elgort, 20th Century Studios
West Side Story (2021), Ansel Elgort, 20th Century Studios

Starring Ansel Elgort, Rachel Zegler and Ariana DeBose; Steven Spielberg brings us an adaptation of 1957’s West Side Story. A musical that explores forbidden love and the rivalry between two teenage street gangs of different ethnic backgrounds.

Just as I’d started to think that these days, Lin-Manuel Miranda is the only big name attached to hit musical movies; Steven Spielberg brings us a remake of West Side Story, the 1967 Oscar winning musical.

I watched the older movie in high school and I don’t recall disliking it as much as I do most musicals. For that reason and general curiosity, I’ll be watching this one. I also just love all the bright colours in this trailer.

David Alvarez, Rita Moreno, Mike Faist, Curtiss Cook, Brian d’Arcy James, Corey Stoll, Ezra Menas, Ben Cook, Sean Harrison Jones, Patrick Higgins, Paloma Garcia Lee and Maddie Ziegler also star.

West Side Story Release Dates: December 10th, 2021 (US & UK)…

Happy Film Loving

G

NOBODY (2021): The Things I Liked…

Nobody (2021), Bob Odenkirk, Universal Pictures
Nobody (2021), Bob Odenkirk, Universal Pictures

From the writer of John Wick (2014), Derek Kolstad; action/crime/thriller Nobody is a movie that has some notable scenes. Yet, overall… unpopular opinion warning… I didn’t find it as good/fun as John Wick. Instead, Nobody felt more like a John Wick ‘spinoff.’ Only it’s less cool, less stylish, less fun, and unfortunately a lesser story.

Even with the moments I felt stood out most, specifically the opening song, the brief but cool scene involving Bob Odenkirk’s character’s seated father, and the dialogue plus set-up during the all-important meeting at the Russian club, Nobody still had me feeling far from satisfied.

Director Ilya Naishuller’s vengeance story about a man who is forced to return to his past dangerous activities isn’t exactly new. Furthermore, the way the story is written/delivered didn’t leave me feeling emotionally connected enough to all that was happening. I’d hoped that once the fight sequences began, at least they would be so cool and fun – the way much of John Wick is. I was wrong.

Watch Nobody if you’re curious. It looks like a lot of people enjoyed it. Just don’t be surprised if you like John Wick more. I consider Keanu Reeves’s movie to be more impressive in every way that matters… to me. 

Happy Film Loving 

G

ARMY OF THE DEAD (2021): nEW trailer From Zack Snyder, Starring Garret Dillahunt, Dave Bautista, Ella Purnell, Omari Hardwick…

Army of the Dead (2021), Dave Bautista, Netflix
Army of the Dead (2021), Dave Bautista, Netflix

The new trailer for Zack Snyder’s zombie outbreak in Las Vegas movie, Army of the Dead has landed, and it’s looking like a lot of fun.

Omari Hardwick, Dave Bautista, Ella Purnell and Garret Dillahunt are among the key cast.

I find myself far more excited than I expected to be. Unsurprising with such a good trailer edit and well-chosen music. I particularly can’t wait to see the ways that this new age of zombies are smarter, faster, etc.

I’m also very interested in the unexpected cast. There are so many faces I hadn’t pictured together, but suddenly it all seems to make sense. 

Lastly, doesn’t it feel just right that the movie title is about the smart zombies and not the other guys? I guess it’s about time we had a smart, extra capable bunch of the undead. Full disclosure, I’m speaking as someone whose experience of zombie films largely starts and ends with the rather impressive Train to Busan (2016). So, feel free to correct me. 

Ana de la Reguera, Tig Notaro, Nora Arnezeder, Lora Martinez-Cunningham, Samantha Win, Matthias Schweighöfer, Lyon Beckwith, Theo Rossi, Michael Cassidy and Raúl Castillo also star.

Army of the Dead Release Dates: May 21st, 2021 (US)…

Happy Film Loving

G

F9 (2021): New Fast & Furious 9 Trailer Starring John Cena, Charlize Theron, Vin Diesel, Helen Mirren…

F9 (2021), Ludacris, Tyrese Gibson
F9 (2021), Ludacris, Tyrese Gibson

F9, the latest instalment in the Fast & Furious franchise finally has a release date that looks as though it’s going to stick. And to celebrate, a new trailer starring John Cena, Vin Diesel, Charlize THeron, Helen Mirren and many more has been released.

I’m mostly curious about the Cena/Diesel dynamic, and maybe a little of the far from realistic action and stunt sequences.

Also, it only just occurred to me how much the Fast and Furious movies seem to feature the kind of action you might expect when two four/five year old boys are playing together with all their toy cars. I’m not saying the stunts are terrible, mind you. Just that the sort of vehicular activity in this trailer is very reminiscent of my brothers and cousins happily playing when they were five.

Lucas Black, Jordana Brewster, Nathalie Emmanuel, Michael Rooker, Finn Cole, Cardi B, Michelle Rodriguez, Ludacris, Jim Parrack, Tyrese Gibson and Anna Sawai also star.

Fast & Furious 9 Release Dates: June 25th, 2021 (US); July 8th, 2021 (UK)…

Happy Film Loving

G