Brilliant. Bad. A little bit mad. Hello, Cruel World. Starting Friday, August 27, Disney+ subscribers will be able to enjoy Disney’s “Cruella.” All the fun, fashion and edge served up by Academy Award® winners Emma Stone and Emma Thompson will be available for streaming again and again, exclusively on Disney+.
Academy Award® winner Emma Stone (“La La Land”) stars in Disney’s “Cruella,” an all-new live-action feature film about the rebellious early days of one of cinemas most notorious – and notoriously fashionable – villains, the legendary Cruella de Vil. “Cruella,” which is set in 1970s London amidst the punk rock revolution, follows a young grifter named Estella, a clever and creative girl determined to make a name for herself with her designs. She befriends a pair of young thieves who appreciate her appetite for mischief, and together they are able to build a life for themselves on the London streets. One day, Estella’s flair for fashion catches the eye of the Baroness von Hellman, a fashion legend who is devastatingly chic and terrifyingly haute, played by two-time Oscar® winner Emma Thompson (“Howard’s End,” “Sense and Sensibility”). But their relationship sets in motion a course of events and revelations that will cause Estella to embrace her wicked side and become the raucous, fashionable and revenge-bent Cruella.
“Cruella” stars Emma Stone, Emma Thompson, Joel Fry, Paul Walter Hauser, Emily Beecham, Kirby Howell-Baptiste and Mark Strong. The film is directed by Craig Gillespie, with screenplay by Dana Fox and Tony McNamara, story by Aline Brosh McKenna and Kelly Marcel & Steve Zissis, based upon the novel “The One Hundred and One Dalmatians” by Dodie Smith. “Cruella” is produced by Andrew Gunn, Marc Platt and Kristin Burr, p.g.a., with Emma Stone, Michelle Wright, Jared LeBoff and Glenn Close serving as executive producers.
Summary: A live-action prequel feature film following a young Cruella de Vil.
Cinema Release Dates: 27th May 2021 (Australia), 28th May 2021 (UK), 28th May 2021 (USA)
VOD Release Dates: TBA
Country: USA, UK
Director: Craig Gillespie
Screenwriter: Dana Fox, Tony McNamara
Cast: Emily Beecham (Catherine/Maid), Maeve Chadwick (Estella (Toddler)), Neil Chadwick (Estella (Toddler)), Grecia De la Paz (Miss Venezuela), Jamie Demetriou (Gerald), Steve Edge (Steven The Jewellery Shop Assistant), Joel Fry (Jasper), Billie Gadson (Estella (Age 5)), Ziggy Gardner (Jasper (12 yrs)), Paul Walter Hauser (Horace), Kirby Howell-Baptiste (Anita Darling), Florisa Kamara (Anita (12 yrs)), Andrew Leung (Jeffrey), John McCree (Artie), Joseph McDonald (Horace (12 yrs)), Kayvan Novak (Roger), Abraham Popoola (George), Sid Sagar (Mark), Tipper Seifert-Cleveland (Estella (12 yrs)), Tim Steed (Frederick), Emma Stone (Estella/Cruella), Mark Strong (John The Valet), Emma Thompson (The Baroness), Tom Turner (The Baron)
Disney have just pulled off one of the biggest surprises of 2021. I was one of those people who was wondering what all the fuss was about when Disney first announced that they were making a film that would explore the beginnings of one of their vilest villains – the dog killer Cruella de Vil. Of course this isn’t the first time that the House Of Mouse have brought out an origins story for one of their villains, in fact as far as fantasy films go I quite enjoyed the original Malificent.
The problem for me really was how could they possibly create a film where I would have any sort of empathy for a character that even my Disney Encyclopaedia refers to as someone who has ‘murderous intentions towards puppies.’ Well not only did Disney make me feel empathy towards Ms de Vil in Cruella they have made a film I fell in love with and am now saying is one of the best films of 2021.
Directed by Craig Gillespie (I Tonya) Cruella shows a very different side to a character that it seems could have been more intriguing on screen over the years. Here de Vil is depicted as a talented fashion designer who can drift between the talented and mild mannered Estelle (Emma Stone – Easy A) and the revenge-fuelled Cruella depending on what buttons of her’s have been pushed.
The film shows her as a young girl witnessing the death of her mother and then finding her way in life by teaming up with petty thieves Jasper (Joel Fry – Yesterday) and Horace (Paul Walter Hauser – Richard Jewell). The three treat each like family and they have a merry existence with small crimes while Estelle does what she can to try and be noticed in the fashion world. Then everything falls together nicely when she is spotted by fashion royalty – The Baroness (Emma Thompson – Love Actually). And that is when the real fun and crime begins.
For me to go into all of the in and outs of the plot would be criminal because part of the magic that I found with this film was going on the journey of twists and turns with Estelle. Every scene is like a Pandora’s box exposing more of the secrets and lies that have surrounded her whole life and the screenplay is written in such a way that you see the emotional strain pushing Estelle closer and closer to becoming Cruella. Yes, to a certain extent some areas of Cruella actually mirror Joker.
The strong point of this film is the ambience of it. There is a strong Gothic English feel that is further enhanced by a look and feel that is normally reserved for a Wes Anderson film. That dark ambience then crosses over into the brash feeling of a Sex Pistols video clip as Cruella comes to life and embraces the alternative fashion of the period alongside her new-found friend Artie (John McCrea – Dracula).
Adding to the wild vibe of 1970s London is an amazing soundtrack that consists of tracks by The Clash, David Bowie right through to Doris Day and everything in-between. The soundtrack is seriously so good that I had added it on Spotify before I even made it back to the car after watching the film.
Bringing everything into place though is the cast. Emma Stone shines in a role where she gets to embrace both good and evil, she is reminiscent of Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman, and plays well opposite Emma Thompson’s portrayal of the mean-spirited and cruel The Baroness. Joel Fry and Paul Walter Haueser also steal the scenes they are in while Mark Strong (Shazam!) once again comes to the fore as the film’s tough guy.
I may have gone into Cruella sceptical about the film but I came out of it completely in love. This is an absolute Gothic spectacular that I sincerely hope comes to the stage one day. Tome the film felt like a brilliant cross-between the original Oliver Twist and Joker and the result is one of Disney’s best ever films. I can’t wait to experience it again.
Summary: Two young British soldiers during the First World War are given an impossible mission: deliver a message deep in enemy territory that will stop 1,600 men, and one of the soldiers’ brothers, from walking straight into a deadly trap.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 9st January 2020
Thailand Cinema Release Date: 30th January 2020
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Country: United States, United Kingdom
Director: Sam Mendes
Screenwriter: Sam Mendes, Krysty Wilson-Ciarns
Cast: Benjamin Adams (Sergeant Harrop), Gabriel Akuwudike (Private Buchanan), Andy Apollo (Sergeant Miller), Daniel Attwell (Captain Sandbach), Elliott Baxter (Private Singer), Jacob James Beswick (Lance Corporal Duff), Anson Boon (Private Cooke), Pip Carter (Lieutenant Gordon), Dean Charles-Chapman (Lance Corporal Blake), Bradley Connor (Sergeant Gardner), Samson Cox-Vinell (Orderly Dixon), Benedict Cumberbatch (Colonel McKenzie), Josef Davies (Private Stokes), Claire Duburcq (Lauri), Elliott Edusah (Private Grey), Justin Edwards (Captain Ivins), Colin Firth (General Erinmore), Tommy French (Private Butler), Kenny Fullwood (Private Rossi), John Hollingworth (Sergeant Guthrie), Luke Hornsby (Private Pinewood), Gerran Howell (Private Parry), Adam Hugill (Private Atkins), Michael Jibson (Lieutenant Hutton), Taddeo Kufus (Soldat Baumer), Jonny Lavelle (Orderly Byrne), Spike Leighton (Private Kilgour), Merlin Leonhardt (Soldat Muller), George MacKay (Lance Corporal Schofield), Richard Madden (Lieutenant Joseph Blake), Daniels Mays (Sergeant Sanders), Richard McCabe (Colonel Collins), Joe Mendes (Private Willock), Ryan Nolan (Private Malky), Jamie Parker (Lieutenant Richards), Billy Postlethwaite (NCO Harvey), Nabhaan Rizwan (Sepoy Jondalar), Michael Rouse (Captain Rylands), Jonah Russell (Captain Morahan), Adrian Scarborough (Major Hepburn), Andrew Scott (Lieutenant Leslie), Jack Shalloo (Private Seymour), Mark Strong (Captain Smith), Paul Tinto (NCO Baker), Chris Walley (Private Bullen), Ian Wilson (Sergeant Wright)
Running Time: 119 mins
Classification: MA15+ (Australia) TBC (Thailand)
OUR 1917 REVIEWS & RATINGS:
Dave Griffiths Review:
Over the years the cinematic world has been blessed with some pretty amazing war films. Think of the sheer emotional nature of films like Schindler’s List and Hacksaw Ride or the epic sale of films like Saving Private Ryan and Pearl Harbor. It feels like it is the war genre when some of the truly great filmmakers of our generation have really had a chance to show us what they are capable of an that legacy certainly continues with 1917.
As a filmmaker Sam Mendes has certainly proved himself to be one of the most ‘intense’ of the modern generation. That intensity has been delivered with powerful drama and dialogue in films like American Beauty and Revolutionary Road while it also returned through the power of stunts and action with his trip into the Bond universe with Skyfall and Spectre. With 1917 Mendes manages to fuse both of his skills in drama and his style of action together in a way that results with a unique film that will go down as one of the finest in 2020.
Plot wise 1917 is quite basic. It is set during World War I in France and General Erinmore (Colin Firth – A Single Man) receives word that an Allied attack is going to be walking right into a trap set by the Germans. In a desperate bid to stop the annihilation of 1600 men he gives Lance Corporal Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman – Game Of Thrones) and Lance Corporal Schofield (George MacKay – Peter Pan) a near impossible task. He asks them to go through the front-line and go behind the enemy line to deliver a letter that should stop the attack from ever happening.
In a lot of ways the style Mendes uses to tell the story is very similar to what Peter Jackson used with The Lord Of The Rings. The film itself entirely surrounds the impossible journey that the two embark on yet somehow Mendes stops the film from every becoming boring at all. Around every corner he places a new task and obstacle in the way of the pair and his idea of using a one-shot technique means that the audience is right there amongst the action. Whether it be urgently pushing past soldiers in the trenches, battling to swim against a raging river or coming under heavy enemy fire Mendes has the audience right there beside the heroes which only further enhances the suspense and intensity throughout the film.
Surprisingly the screenplay which Mendes co-wrote with Krysty Wilson-Cairns (Penny Dreadful) also keeps the dialogue to the bare minimum. For a lot of the film the pair either use silence or brief but powerful dialogue to get some in-depth points across. At one point Blake and Schofield debate whether war medals really mean anything or not, and while some writers would let it take up five minutes of the film Mendes and Wilson-Cairns let both characters make their point within a minute. Likewise anything we learn about the two men is fitted nicely into some of the most natural dialogue you will ever hear on the screen.
Such is Mendes’ maturity as a filmmaker that he never allows the action sequences to ever take anything away from the drama of the film. Plane crashes and enemy fire occur in real time and while it does have the audience on the edge of their seat Mendes never allows it to over-shadow the film’s major storyline or detract from it.
I have heard some people suggest that the film would have been further enhanced if the two leads had been more recognisable actors, but I fail to see how that would have helped. Chapman and MacKay put in absolutely brilliant performances and there could be very little more asked of them. The two share some very poignant scenes together and in all honestly they carry the film throughout as the camera never leaves them. Very few young actors could pull off such an intense acting performance but these two seem to do it with ease.
1917 is one of those films that leaves you in complete stunned silence as you watch it. Mendes never allows his audience to rest, instead he takes them on the journey with his two heroes using camera angles we haven’t seen since The Children Of Men. Yes at times 1917 feels utterly claustrophobic but it is also a visual delight that will find its audience going through a range of emotions as they view it. This film is a true classic that will be savoured by true movie lovers.
Summary: A mathematician and logician, Alan Turing, helps crack the Enigma code during World War II.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 1st January, 2015
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Country: USA, UK
Director: Morten Tyldum
Screenwriter: Graham Moore, Andrew Hodges (book)
Cast: Jack Bannon (Christopher Morcom), Matthew Beard (Peter Hilton), Miranda Bell (Margaret), Winston Churchill (himself), Benedict Cumberbatch (Alan Turing), Charles Dance (Commander Denniston), Matthew Goode (Hugh Alexander), Ilan Goodman (Keith Furman), Tom Goodman-Hill (Sergeant Staehl), Adolf Hitler (himself), Rory Kinnear (Detective Robert Nock), Keira Knightley (Joan Clarke), Alex Lawther (Young Alan Turing), Allen Leach (John Cairncross), Tuppence Middleton (Helen), James Northcote (Jack Good), Scott Stevenson (Bletchley), Mark Strong (Stewart Menzies), Jack Tarlton (Charles Richards), Steven Waddington (Superintendent Smith)
Summary: ZERO DARK THIRTY is a military term meaning half past midnight – the timing of the actual mission to locate and eliminate the world’s most dangerous man, Osama bin Laden. The term also refers to the secrecy that surrounded the decade long mission to track him down.
Deemed the greatest manhunt in history, ZERO DARK THIRTY chronicles the declassified true story of the relentless pursuit by an elite team of intelligence and military operatives, working in secret across the globe.
Director Kathryn Bigelow reteams with her writer/producer from The Hurt Locker to reveal the intricate details behind the gripping chase, culminating with the now infamous raid on May 2, 2011 that ended bin Laden’s reign of terror.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 31st January, 2013
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Screenwriter: Mark Boal
Cast: Scott Adkins (John), Lee Asquith-Coe (Sean Cohen), John Barrowman (Jeremy), Kyle Chandler (Joseph Bradley), Jessica Chastain (Maya), Jason Clarke (Dan), Jessica Collins (Debbie), Mike Colter (Mike), Mark Duplass (Steve), Joel Edgerton (Patrick), Nash Edgerton (Nate), Jennifer Ehle (Jessica), Homayoun Ershadi (Hassan Ghul), Fares Fares (Hakim), Siaosi Fonua (Henry), James Gandolfini (C.I.A. Director), Tarick Hadouch (Khalid), Noureddine Haijjoujou (Abrar), J.J. Kandel (J.J.), Reda Kateb (Ammar), Taylor Kinney (Jared), Daniel Lapaine (Tim), Fredric Lehne (The Wolf), Yoav Levi (Abu Faraj al-Libbi), Tushaar Mehra (Abu Ahmed), Callan Mulvey (Saber), Harold Perrineau (Jack), Chris Pratt (Justin), Edgar Ramirez (Larry), Lauren Shaw (Lauren), Phil Somerville (Phil), Christopher Stanley (Admiral Bill McCraven), Jeremy Strong (Thomas), Mark Strong (George), Eyad Zoubi (Zied)