Reviews

‘Cruella’ Review

Everyone’s favorite dog-knapper gets an inventive and fresh makeover. In order to become Cruella, first you got to get a little cruel.

Disney's 'Cruella' gave its puppy-killing villain a catty history in the fashion biz and made it work

A live-action prequel feature film following a young Cruella de Vil.
What causes someone to loath Dalmations so much? Well, watch the first ten minutes of Disney’s new live-action Cruella and you’ll totally understand. Emma Stone stars in the tale of the up-and-coming fashion designer/ master thief who is pseudo out for revenge all while trying to make it in the world.
A young Estella (Cruella) is different, she doesn’t belong in her school, she does things her own way and wants to become a successful fashion designer. When she’s introduced to a world she never knew possible, she sets her expectations on her life just a little bit higher. After a freak accident, she is left alone and makes her way to London where she meets up with Jasper (John Fry) and Horace (Paul Walter Hauser). Together they form a thieving empire, where they let their dogs (Wink and Buddy) do all the heavy lifting. As much as she enjoys the stealing, that’s more for her pals Jasper and Horace.
Even bad people have enemies and Cruella doesn’t know it quite yet, but The Baroness (Emma Thompson) is that person. She’s the most powerful person in London, and Estella’s creative side has caught her eye. This is where the movie gives off a little Devil Wears Prada vibe. From there two worlds will be colliding for what was an entertaining and unexpected fun movie. Disney has been turning out live-action adaptations for almost a decade now, each unique in their own way, but none of which have really blown audiences away. Besides The Jungle Book, I haven’t really been that impressed by any of the live-action films. Maybe it’s just Emma Stone elevating the material at play here, but Cruella just felt and looked different.
We all came for the main event, which is Emma Stone. She’s doing the Lord’s work here, even giving us a homage to Heath Ledger and his unforgettable dinner party scene. This is just a fabulous sequence, followed by a big reveal that officially turns Estella into Curella. This is her origin story, tip-toeing between the lines of good and evil. You can tell she’s having a ton of fun, and I don’t want to say she was born for this role, but it’s hard to imagine someone else playing a young Cruella so well.
Forming unlikely alliances with Artie, an owner of a vintage fashion store (John McCrea), and Anita, a gossip columnist (Kirby Howell-Baptiste). Together they all form Cruella’s entourage and they all have one goal, taking down The Baroness. Cruella and The Baroness have some Zoolander-like runway showdowns. With Cruella always gaining the upper hand, the chemistry and dynamic between Stone and Thompson were terrific. You can see all the inspiration at play throughout the movie, and I think that’s what makes this thing so enjoyable.
Mix in a terrific soundtrack, that really boosts certain scenes. The music is a character of its own. Cruella has both style and substance and it’s clearly what separates it from past live-action adaptations. The movie looks beautiful, with some stunning costumes and set pieces, the movie just looks beautiful.
Overall, it’s a win for Cruella. Perhaps a little long in the tooth, but I have no real complaints about the thing. Disney gets a solid win for this and I wonder if we will see more Emma as Cruella in the future. I mean they set up the next thing at the end, you know with those two famous dogs, Pongo Perdita.
Cruella = 77/100
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‘Last Night in Soho’ Trailer is Insane

Journey through Edgar Wright’s new trailer, which promises fear, delusion, and confusion, in all the best ways.

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When Edgar Wright makes a movie, it’s an event. It’s been a while for fans and his newest project, Last Night in Soho promises to be his most adventurous movie yet. This trailer is beautiful and could be the one that finally breaks the Oscars barrier because this looks incredible.

The story follows fashion designer Eloise (Thomasin McKenzie), who is somehow able to transport herself to 1960’s London. From there she is able to see her idol Sandy (Anya Taylor-Joy), and not everything seems as colorful and cherry as it appears. First of all, we have two of the best young female actors working today sharing the screen together. Monster performances are on the horizon from the pair. That is a certainty, with this being an Edgar Wright film, we know great music and A-Plus cinematography will also be involved. Just look how this trailer looks and catches your eye.

Edgar is doing something he’s never done before, a horror movie. The trailer is creepy as heck, with a few great scares and just the looks on our actresses’ faces is enough to let you know that this is going to scare a ton of people. He kind of has a Bioshock vibe going with the colors and landscape of 1960’s London, or was that just me? Time travel,  morphing slowly into the thing you love the most, and probably a bunch of psychopaths is a recipe for success.

The trailer is all about our leading ladies, and when you see this trailer you can’t help but want this movie like now. We will have to wait until the fall, but this seems like something truly special, and this is really all we need to see from it. This is the kind of movie you want to know nothing about when you enter the theatre.

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First Look At Chloe Zhao’s ‘Eternals’

The new wave of Marvel heroes is upon us. Chloe Zhao brings it after her historic year and looks to bring her creative eye and immense filmmaking to the MCU.

Marvel's Eternals Trailer Brings Chloé Zhao's Cosmic Vision To The MCU | Movies | Empire

Talk about riding the pine. The Eternals are ready to unleash themselves after sitting things out for a long time. Even with a threat such as Thanos it wasn’t enough to have them decide it was time to help out Earth’s mightiest heroes, but that’s about to change. They’ve been shaping civilization forever and now they want to place their mark on the 21st century.

This cast is STACKED, and it’s way too long to go through the names, but watching the trailer you’ll play the classic game of “I know them.” This movie is kind of a big deal for the MCU for multiple reasons. First and foremost, they have an Oscar-winning director at the helm. Coming off the best director win and best picture win, the world certainly knows her name.

Secondly, they are introducing the next wave of not just heroes, but lore in the MCU. Exploring more of the magical side of things, these people will fit nicely beside Dr. Strange. They are the next team to form and help Earth defeat whatever evil comes its way.

This is a small tease, just introducing us to the characters and showcasing the vast landscapes and tone of the movie. Little action is shown and we don’t really have any idea what this movie is going to be about. All we know is the Eternals are back and they are bringing the pain.

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New ‘The Green Knight’ Trailer Drops!

Any movie with a talking fox is worth watching.

First trailer for The Green Knight presents a trippy take on medieval times

In all honesty, could this be the movie of the year? It feels epic, looks beautiful, and seems to have all sorts of fantastic performances. Now if that isn’t a recipe for success, then I don’t know what is. Dev Patel stars as Gawain who is going on quite the adventure. We got headless monsters, talking animals and giants, oh my!

One of the more beautiful trailers we have received this year and The Green Knight is shaping up to be a serious awards contender, or at least in my books. We have some just breath-taking cinematography happening here, real wide landscapes and all sorts of different settings. This feels like a massive scale movie with giant set pieces across the board.

Joel Edgerton, Sean Harris, Barry Keoghan, and Alicia Vitkander round out the rest of this impressive cast, all really diving deep for this. It seems like a mash-up of King Arthur and Pan’s Labyrinth, which is just the highest of compliments. Even with two trailers, the movie is still shrouded in mystery, which is always a pleasant surprise. Not much has been given away, and that’s exactly what you want when watching a movie.

Hits theatres this summer and again will be shocked if this isn’t some sort of masterpiece.

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‘Venom: Let There Be Carnage’ Is Here

Fans have waited a long time for the first look at the sequel to Venom. It looks to be more of the same, and Carnage sure looks awesome!

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Doesn’t he look cute? Well, that trailer was just kind of meh eh? I would say underwhelming is the best way to describe it. It feels like everyone has been waiting years for a glimpse at this film and then the opportunity finally came, they kind of let us down.

This certainly feels like a proper sequel though, Eddie (Tom Hardy) is still living in his awful apartment and visiting Mrs. Chen every once in a while. The quirky and silly humor that goes on between Eddie and Venom is still present. Something that everyone loved from the first Venom. He’s dealing with the problem that is Venom, still trying to get him under control and eating everyone around him. Now, it looks like he might be crime-fighting which would lean more into the Anti-Hero territory for the character.

Now, the reason why this movie has the reputation it does, Carnage! Woody Harrelson appears that he’s going all-in with the role. Just like his counterpart, Hardy and Harrelson look like they are both having so much fun! Andy Serkis is stepping into the director’s chair and I hope he brought his expertise of motion-capture for some of this because that would take this to the next level.

We get a tease of the Daily Bugle (please let there be a Spider-Man cameo) and what even looks like a tiny spider at one point. Naomie Harris shows up quickly and it’s obvious she is playing Shriek!

If you are a fan of the first, this will be right up your alley. With the addition of Carnage, fans will get just about everything they would want from a Venom shared universe. Toss in that swinging webhead at the end of the movie and everyone will be losing their minds.

Hits theatres on September 24th!

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Final Trailer For ‘A Quiet Place 2″ Arrives

After a year on hiatus, A Quiet Place 2 is finally coming out this month, and the final trailer is here!

A Quiet Place 2' Release Date Delayed Over Coronavirus | IndieWire

One of the long-forgotten movies of the Pandemic, being lost in the shuffle, with this originally suppose to be released in March of last year. The Abbott family is back and looking to avenge the death of one of their own.

The first movie was one of the tensest theatre experiences anyone has really ever encountered, and the sequel promises to be no different. We will get our look at day 1 of the initial invasion and I think that will be something eerie and surreal to watch unfold. It’s also a genius maneuver to get John Krasinski back into the movie. He’s back in the director’s chair, but we know what happens to his character at the end of the first movie.

The final trailer gives us more of the same, with a little longer look at day 1, but nothing really pops out from the previous trailers. Creepy monsters, absolute silence, and just a fantastic cast. This isn’t a movie you want to watch on your laptop or on your phone, these are the kinds of movies you want to be sitting in a theatre for and I hope everyone gets to do just that.

They have built something unique here with A Quiet Place and this sequel could be just as great as its predecessor. I expect Emily Blunt to go full Ellen Ripley here trying to protect her children and that alone is reason enough to see it.

Reviews

‘Mortal Kombat’ Review

The definition of a mixed bag. Mortal Kombat doesn’t come without its flaws, but overall a solid foundation for what’s to possibly come.

MMA fighter Cole Young seeks out Earth’s greatest champions in order to stand against the enemies of Outworld in a high stakes battle for the universe.

Everyone remembers their first fatality. It was almost a right of passage for any young gamer. Mortal Kombat has been part of our lives for a long long time and people have been clamoring for a suitable live-action adaption of this beloved franchise. Fans waited almost 25 years since the colossal disaster that was Mortal Kombat: Annihilation for another shot at immortality and to be crowned the winner of the ultimate tournament. When the first trailer dropped, jaws hit the floor because this promised to be bloody and brutal and after seeing the film, some of those promises were kept, but we got a small taste of what could be a very fun new franchise.

Fans are divided, some are happy with the finished product and others wanted more. The characters we all love are present and some stick out more than others and we get that solid R rating that showcased some awesome gore and unforgettable fatalities. I just felt that what we got was satisfying but in the smallest possible way. Seeing all the characters look amazing, most notably Kabal (Daniel Nelson) Jax (Mehcad Brooks), and the cousins Liu Kang (Ludi Lin) and Kung Lao (Max Huang). The show stealing Kano (Josh Lawson) who legit steals almost every scene he is in. Points in my books for all of his popular culture references and his dirty Aussie mouth. That’s a guy I would hang out with. His comedy was something that everyone is talking about and something that almost carries the film when it felt a little slow. His BFF Sonya Blade (Jessica McNamee) is a worthy advisory for Kano and they worked really well together. Even the new addition of Cole Young (Lewis Tan) works. Being a new character in the lore of MK I would have liked a little more backstory and character development for him, but hopefully, we get that in the future.

The two superstars of the franchise; Scorpion (Hiroyuki Sanada) and Sub-Zero (Joe Taslim) really kick off the movie with a pretty terrific first ten minutes. We came for a few showdowns between the two and we get exactly that. They look amazing and really got the sense they enjoyed playing these characters. Sub-Zero is probably the coolest character in the movie because I felt like his powers were on display the most and HELLO – he freezes and breaks Jax’s arms off like a pair of toothpicks. Looking forward to seeing these two fight in the near future.

Now, on to the things that just didn’t work for me. In a movie called Mortal Kombat we want brutal fights. Yes, we get some gruesome fatalities but the fights themselves seemed rushed and not impactful enough, we wanted to see some brutality to these things and that just wasn’t the case. Feeling the weight of punches and these characters feeling a little more human and less superhuman. Also, I’ve never been a fan of quick cut editing and that’s all that’s happening during these fights. Let’s get some long drawn-out edits for our fights for the sequel, something that feels more a fight and less than a montage. Another letdown was the leaders of Outworld and Earth Realm. Raiden (Tadanobu Asano) and Shang Tsung (Chin Han) were weak. Barley having anything to do and we didn’t even get to see them throw down. Sure, we get the classic soul-suck from Shang Tsung but at the end of the day, these are two massively important characters that felt so bland. King Goro himself, who was a massive upgrade from ‘95, was WASHED! He didn’t even have a speaking part or a scene to explain who the heck he was for people who don’t know the character. Sure, he was amazing to look at, but he’s King Goro, put some respect on his name. Now, he will be back for the sequel, or at least I think he will be.

Overall, I think Mortal Kombat was solid enough to warrant a sequel. Things need to change, maybe find a new director and better writers. Simon McQuiod might have bit off a little more than he can chew. Being his first major studio movie, it felt that way with some of the decisions being made. Look, we had to wait over two decades for a new movie, this isn’t a hot commodity and I do think there were more positives than negatives, but the negatives perhaps outweigh those positives.

I’m excited for what this franchise could be. With the right direction behind it, fixing the mistakes and listening to the criticisms from fans. There’s a bunch of good ingredients here, they just need to find the right recipe. We should know pretty quickly if we will be getting a sequel within the next few years. Hope we do.

I’ll leave it on this. When a man uses a hat as a buzzsaw to cut someone in half, obviously I’m going to enjoy that movie.

Mortal Kombat = 71/100

 

 

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First ‘Shang-Chi: Legend of The Ten Rings’ Trailer Hits

The next new wave of MCU heroes is upon us and it starts with Shang-Chi.

When the star of the movie Simu Liu is surprised on his own birthday by the release of the first trailer, it’s just something you love to see. The upcoming MCU flick promises action like we’ve never seen before, with some fabulous and color action shots.

A lesser-known hero has never been something the MCU has ever shied away from. In fact, they almost love a challenge and with Shang-Chi on the horizon, expect a lot of people Googling that name to find out what will be in store.

The trailer is a mixed blend of realism and fantasy marital arts. With almost boss battle-type fights going on. It all looks fantastic and a breath of fresh air for the MCU. Expect Simu Liu to have plenty of foes to go up against including Big Nasty himself Florian Munteanu.

We have been patiently waiting for this new wave of heroes to enter the MCU. The new blood is arriving and it will all start in the fall when Simu Liu and his Shang-Chi steals our hearts.

Reviews

Looking Back At ‘Mortal Kombat’

We are a week out from Mortal Kombat coming back into our lives. So I decided to review the 1995 movie and see if it lives up to the nostalgia hype.

15 Things I Just Learned About the 1995 Mortal Kombat Movie – We Minored in Film

Three unknowing martial artists are summoned to a mysterious island to compete in a tournament whose outcome will decide the fate of the world.
Release Date. August 18th, 1995. Director. Paul W.S Anderson. Box-Office. 122.2 Million
This movie kind of gets you amped up and ready to go from the very get-go. The epic and I mean epic opening intro, you know – MORTAL KOMBAT! At the time movies that had been based on video games didn’t have the best track record, hell they still don’t. Even 26 years later, this is still regarded as one of the best video game movie adaptations of all time. I’m not sure if that’s saying a lot or saying very little.
I’ll say this, the movie is fun. It’s 26 years old, clearly, the movie will feel very ’90s, and since then the lore and mythology and love for all things MK has only grown. We were dealing with an IP that was still kind of a baby. That being said, in everything we get, I do feel like there was a real heart behind this project. Just at this time, studios didn’t want to pour a ton of movies into a video game movie film.
Personally, the casting is almost flawless. Liu Kang (Robin Shou), Sonya Blade (Bridgette Wilson-Sampras), Johnny Cage (Linden Ashby), Raiden (Christopher Lambert), and Shang Tsung (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) couldn’t be more perfect in their respected roles. I think that’s what really drives this movie forward because without proper casting we all know what happens – I’m looking at you MK Annihilation (which I won’t be reviewing). The only characters that needed to be properly cast and flushed out were Scorpion and Sub-Zero. At the time, they looked cool but they are almost meant to be low-level side characters and they are anything but that. The new movie looks to revolve around them and their history, so we will have come a long way from them being very disposable.
The fights feel like 1995 fight scenes, nothing special but some very memorable moments. Most notably Johnny Cage versus both Scorpion and Goro. Probably the highlight of the film, great one-liners and at the time Goro was King Shit. That will be one of the bummers from the new movie the absences of Johnny Cage and it will be interesting to see if maybe he shows up during a post-credit stinger.
We can’t really talk about this without blessing Robin Shou because he is the embodiment of Liu Kang. His incredible flow, his awesome moves, and the fact he was the only big three cast member to come back. It would be great if some of these OG cast members popped up in the new MK, I guess we will know soon enough.
The film works, it’s got some great set pieces, a fun cast, and some enjoyable fight sequences. It’s aged pretty well and as far as video game movies go, it’s near the top of the list. It set the bar pretty high in the ’90s.
Memorable and hasn’t been forgotten. Mortal Kombat showed fans what could be done with video game properties and we have waited well over two decades for the next chance to see these beloved characters in action. I can’t wait for the new movie to drop, GET OVER HERE!
Mortal Kombat = 68/100
Reviews

New ‘F9’ Trailer is Wild!

Strap in folks, the fast team is heading to space

Fast and Furious 9': Official Title and First Trailer - Variety

One of the most remarkable achievements in cinema is the Fast & The Furious franchise. It started as a semi ripoff of Point Break, only to evolve and become one of the biggest and most successful movie franchises we have ever seen. This is installment nine people, and it looks like there’s really no slowing down for Dom and his family.

Speaking of Dom, he is a full-on superhero now. No one and I mean no one would be shocked if he shot laser beams out of his eyes at some point. That’s what makes these movies so unique and so much fun. Remove your brain from your skull before you walk into the theatre because there’s no critical thinking here, it’s all about fun. These are blockbusters, and they are here to stay.

One thing this franchise knows how to do is reinvent itself. They added Dwayne Johnson when the franchise felt stale and he injected his charisma and charm and turned this whole thing around. Now they are adding another wrestler turned actor with John Cena. He looks like trouble and doesn’t seem to have a hard time buying into the Fast cheese.

The trailer is straight-up insane, with so many crazy things going on, it’s hard to pinpoint just one. But fans have always teased that the team would go to space, and the last 15 seconds of this trailer certainly teases that premise. What’s not to love, everyone involved is having so much fun, there’s no reason we all shouldn’t do the same. The assembled cast is one of the best in movies right now, and what this franchise promises are twists and no one is ever truly dead.

They would be fools not to bring back Gal Gadot at this point.