A New Media Channel. By Fans, For Fans.

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Talking About Fan-Made Movie Trailers | Guest Appearing on The Turtle Stack Podcast

Update: All podcasts are also collected in a Spotify playlist here.

Again, videos and reviews have been a little slow lately because of work, and a lot of the time I would be spending here has been playing with 3d modeling and improvements to this site. So, to try to get back into the swing of things, I'm seeking podcasts to guest on through Reddit

Joanne and I had a great talk on her podcast The Turtle Stack. We talked about fan-made movie trailers, how I got into it, how projects come together, how some don't may come up. Most importantly, we talk about the incredible, collaborative community surrounding them and resources that are accessible to anyone who wants to cut their own trailer or video. 

You can listen here, and there are direct links to Spotify and Apple below.

SpotifyApple Podcasts

For people interested in working with Joanne, she has a page for that here.

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Friday, December 3, 2021

House of Gucci (2021) | Short Review

This movie features beautiful music like The Barber of Seville, passed down to me through Bugs Bunny and The Looney Tunes. I am fucking trash, but so is House of Gucci.

House of Gucci covers the era of the fashion giant that starts with Maurizio Gucci (Adam Driver) meeting his future wife Patrizia Reggiani (Lady Gaga), and it ends around 1995. The movie also stars Al Pacino, Jeremy Irons, Salma Hayek, and an over-the-top, future Razzie-nominee Jared Leto. It is directed by Ridley Scott, as it may have been additionally attached, in error, to the screenplay for The Last Duel. That sounds mean, and several things I've said are, but I do actually think that Becky Johnston and Roberto Bentivegna turned Sara Gay Forden's book into something really fun. Scott just was not the guy to direct it. He didn't exaggerate it with style like Martin Scorsese did with Wolf of Wall Street, and he didn't turn it into a farce. He tried to play melodrama ridiculously straight...with Pacino and Leto. At least, as someone going into the theatre blind, it was unexpected. That, solid pacing, and great chemistry from Gaga and Driver helped keep me engaged. 

If this movie just stretched out the opening, where Driver and Gaga are falling in love and giving off strong Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone in Amazing Spider-Man vibes, I would've just loved it. They basically are playing Peter and Gwen. He's a little bit awkward, and she is able to pursue him and push him out of his comfort zone just a little bit. My favorite part of the movie's opening act is when she asks him to dance. He gives it a go, but he doesn't know what he's doing on the floor. I just wanted that to mostly be the movie. There's a lot of other little areas that could've been explored instead, too.

Adam Driver and Lady Gaga 
Peter and Gwen
Same energy? The top is from MGM (2021), and the bottom is from Sony Pictures (2012)

When the couple discovers the knockoff industry on the sidewalks of New York, she becomes angry that it could damage the brand, but he and others in the family don't see it as a big deal. I really like that the movie doesn't take a hard stance either way, and it's those moments in the story that stuck out more than Maurizio and Patrizia taking control of the family business. 

Another would be the rise of Tom Ford, but hopefully he'll get his own movie or miniseries one day. He actually could write and direct it himself, and Reeve Carney could reprise his role from this movie. 

House of Gucci opens a lot of doors to future projects, like Driver and Gaga becoming a regular duo, and those two other story areas. That's at least something. Until then, watch the two leads in better projects, and, from what I've heard, the director's work in The Last Duel. 

2/5


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Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021)

This review is mostly spoiler free, for people who are avoiding trailers.

Let's get the hard part out of the way immediately. In this movie, one of main characters, Phoebe (Mckenna Grace) makes a new friend at her new school. Here's how that goes:

"I call myself Podcast, because of my podcast." That effectively is Logan Kim's character's name.

I was going to reference that old email hack/leak and say that Amy Pascal and the higher-ups at Sony Pictures haven't learned anything in at least nine years, but it turns out the skateboarding in The Amazing Spider-Man was actually Andrew Garfield's idea. (Give the man an Oscar this year, please.) Plus, the results are the same. Something inserted into the movie to stay trendy actually has some genuine meaning or payoff to it, and the actors and other filmmakers make those things work. Ghostbusters: Afterlife just has a lot of that. There's a conflict just in what the movie is that can be seen and felt. 

Ghostbusters: Afterlife is a direct sequel to Ghostbusters II. The 2016 reboot is now its own separate thing, and the same can probably be said for the 2009 video game that kinda-sorta was Ghostbusters III until now. So, with all that being said the basic plot of Ghostbusters: Afterlife, from IMDb, is "When a single mom and her two kids arrive in a small town [called Summerville, Oklahoma,] they begin to discover their connection to the original Ghostbusters and the secret legacy their grandfather left behind." It stars Carrie Coon, Paul Rudd, Finn Wolfhard, Mckenna Grace, Logan Kim, and Celeste O'Connor. Since it's a direct sequel, some legacy cast members may pop in. It's directed by Jason Reitman, written by him and Gil Kenan, and Ivan Reitman returns as a producer.

It's probably best to star with Finn Wolfhard because of the Stranger Things/It/80s vibes of his casting. The way this movie grapples with nostalgia is that it knows if it goes all-in people will, for the most part, pissed. So, it's incredibly selective what it brings back in a way where I couldn't tell when the movie took place. Except for a couple lines of dialogue and the timeline having to fit so that somebody could be a grandpa, this could take place in the 80s or 90s. Instead, Summerville is more like one of those tiny towns that time forgot. Like one John Oliver may cover in one of those invisible injustice kind of episodes. So, one of the featured locations is a car-hop diner, and how out of place it looks will vary from viewer to viewer. Wolfhard plays Grace's brother. He's not given as much to do as he probably should, but one of the first big legacy scenes comes from him, and it's pretty wonderful. Drifting in a field in the Ecto-1, with only a learner's permit, is something that dreams are made of. It's even more heartwarming when there's an Ecto-1 in your area that's occasionally in the movie theatre parking lot.

The other great thing from him is that his scenes with Celeste O'Connor give Summerville a lived-in quality that helps explain that clashing feeling in the town's look. You could easily become stuck there. Whether that's really for better or worse is not really addressed, so that leaves the question more open than most movies that bring up the idea. It's actually pretty fitting, since Reitman's movie Young Adult, reviewed here, really dives into that.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife
Mckenna Grace as Phoebe (Right), action hero, and Logan Kim as Podcast (Left), capable sidekick | Copyright 2021 Sony Pictures

Mckenna Grace and Carrie Coon's first experiences in Summerville are on the more mysterious side of things, and they both work really well off of each other and Paul Rudd. 

A lot of the emotional moments of Afterlife come from Grace and Coon learning more about the upbringing they never really had and coping with it. Reitman could, in a lot of successful ways, push this heavily, but instead it's done just enough so that the momentum of the plot, for the most part, doesn't suffer. The movie's editing is a bit choppy in this way, as one discovery is interrupted with a check-in with Wolfhard back at the diner, and it seems like something that could've been left out. It's meant to build up his relationship with Celeste O'Connor, but I think better scenes later on end up doing that anyway.

Finally, there's the humor, effects, and action. Jokes largely do land, and I laughed out loud a few times in the theatre. Most of the time, this was because of Rudd or some visual gag with a ghost, but everyone delivers in some respect. 

A personal favorite, is when one of the kids says they can't even get any bars on their phone, Coon says there better be at least one. This one, luckily, is the only one ruined by Grace pointing out that it's a joke. Just to be clear, both give great performances, and Mckenna Grace is especially phenomenal. If you haven't seen her in Gifted, go check it out. She and Logan Kim are given what could've been two of the easiest roles to forget, if this was bad Ghostbusters movie, but she's given a lot of time to develop Phoebe, and Podcast has a real charm to him.

Jokes are actually a big part of Grace's character, as she's told to use them to break the ice in Summerville, but it could've been handled better. She does some pretty standard stuff out of a joke book, and I wonder if something really funny, but also really weird or awkward, and science-based could've been done instead. What we get is somewhere between wasted opportunities and eye-rolling moments. Early on, I was afraid there'd be more of them and that they wouldn't go anywhere...not that they leave a huge impact in the end. 

In a huge surprise, to someone who follows this stuff, Sony Imageworks didn't do any of the special effects for Afterlife. Companies listed are Double Negative, Instinctual VFX, Moving Picture Company, and Proof. They all did a gorgeous job, especially considering that they had to, among other tasks, update our beloved Mr. Stay-Puft. 

The major action set piece is a chase to capture a Slimer-like ghost. Tailing him in Ecto-1, while using an RC-Car/Trap, it's a good to modernize things. It's not too much, and it fits the established world. 

Having said that, I would like to say that the 2016 reboot had a lot of fun with their gadgets, the Ghostbuster's logo actually being a ghost for a minute was a delightful surprise. That second one is what told me it was more than a cash-grab, at least to some people involved. There was a lot more stuff like that, this time around.

Along with the lived-in world, little character moments, and surprises all its own, there's one I'd like to point out. After the heroes claim their victory, all the ghost are captured, and everything settles down, Podcast meets the sole subscriber of his show. This guy, an occultist himself, on-screen and off, is a big fan of Podcast's podcast, Mystical Tales of the Unknown Universe (MT-double-U).

To find out who this occultist is, if you're staying away from trailers and spoilers, go see for yourself. You'll have a good time, and Ghostbusters: Afterlife may even hit you in the heart a little.

3/5

Also, my area has a Ghostbusters-centered non-profit. Hudson Valley Ghostbusters raises money for a variety of charities that they partner with, while appearing in costume at local events. They have their own Ecto-1 that I've occasionally seen in the area. I think we also have a local Mystery Machine, but I have no clue what that's about.
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Saturday, September 11, 2021

Royal Jelly (2021)

The synopsis for the horror movie Royal Jelly, from Facebook is, "When a shy high school bee enthusiast is taken under the wing of a mysterious mentor, she discovers she's being groomed as a hive's next queen." The thing is, the horror movie and grooming aspects aren't 100% accurate to what Royal Jelly is, at least to me. Still, stuff like that, and little interesting details here and there, make picking it apart fun. Royal Jelly stars, among others,  Elizabeth McCoy (Astar, the bee enthusiast), Sherry Lattanzi (Tresa, the mysterious mentor), and Fiona McQuinn and Jonas Chartock (Astar's parents). It is written, directed, and edited by Sean Riley, the music is by Joe Hodgin, and the cinematography is by Jonathan Hammond. 

So, Royal Jelly's horror elements really come out in the last half-hour or so. It slowly transitions from comedy-drama, to thriller, to bodily horror. This is an approach that makes a lot of sense to build tension up throughout the movie, but it doesn't completely work here. The problem is that the build-up is more like full changes from one mode to the next. It's not jarring, but it is something I felt. This is because a lot of time is spent establishing Astar, but that is done really well. 

Riley leans heavily on costume design and makeup to provide a crash-course on Astar. Band t-shirts, glasses, and dark lipstick work as a quick shorthand, against her less awkward classmates...the awkwardness is something to circle back to, though. This costuming isn't excessive, so it doesn't call attention to itself. It's visual storytelling that luckily is carried throughout the movie, and it's one of several little details and showcases of care and effort. 

Another piece of the movie that's worth noting, mostly early on, is how Hammond shoots it. The opening credits are over the start to finish of a jar of honey, and way McCoy holds it up to the light to get these sparkling glints stands out because it's one of those things that's usually overdone or done like a post-production lens flare. This jar just looks really beautiful, as crazy as that might sound. Unfortunately, the movie doesn't look like this when it becomes a full horror film. At that point everything is dimly lit, and it's hard to make everything out without outside interference, such as changing your screen's brightness and the lights in your room. It's a shame because the blood and creature stuff that's late in the game looks great. At least one moment, with some Nightmare on Elm Street 3 vibes, is done before the full genre shift. Speaking of which, we have to talk about Carrie a little.

Riley and crew's appreciation for Carrie is explicit, as one of Astar's bullies mentions it by name, and the start of Astar's story is similar in a few respects. What makes this a little tougher, at least on paper is that aspects of it are a bit more relatable. Instead of a religious zealot for a mother, Fiona McQuinn's character is just a crappy stepmother with some selfish tendencies. That comes across really well when she helps herself to an extra serving of dinner, before passing the scraps to her stepdaughter. McQuinn's daughter, played by Raylen Ladner (Drew), is downright cruel in some spots and definitely a fan of Stephen King's work. Royal Jelly is able to do a lot with a little, and that's what I held onto when the acting fell short or a writing convenience was taken. It also made that extra effort mentioned, whether it be the use of a song, a drone shot, or a choir in Hodgin's score, much more noticeable. So, onto the acting and writing shortfalls. 

The acting mostly is just really stiff. Everyone is doing their best, but that really doesn't come across. It's the clearest sign that this is a smaller, indie movie. McCoy is worth bringing up because she is giving a very consistent performance, and she, like many of the actors, is able to fallback on giving a non-verbal performance pretty well. Lattanzi is another story. Her character powers that shift into horror, and her performance is pretty over the top. What could've worked a lot better is if the grooming was stretched out over a significant portion of the movie. What happens is more like trying a few things, and then powering through with someone who's not completely on-board. Stretching it would actually solve a lot of little issues that pop up here and there. There's one I'd like to go into because it's surprising for a movie with a strong start.

Astar and Tresa get revenge on some bullies by egging their house. When they're getting away, the overhead light inside their car is on a lot longer than it should've been, relatively speaking, so they're spotted, and that's why Astar decides to lay low with Tresa for a while, and that's what really kicks things off. It makes sense, but it still feels like a shortcut taken to force the situation. A little script tightening goes a long way, especially in a movie like that. The other thing that helps though, especially in the cases of small movies, is developing movie posters like this that really stand out. 

Two great posters for the movie.

The movie is an interesting watch on its own, but the promise of these just felt like a great note to go out on. The Pan's Labyrinth and original Grimm influence is really felt through these designs, and through the body horror at the tail-end of Royal Jelly itself. That stuff, and the use of blood and makeup in general, is handled well.

A screener of this movie was provided to me by Sean Riley. I was not compensated for this review. 

Royal Jelly is available September 14th on various digital streaming platforms. 

Also, stick around for the post-credits scene. There's a PSA about bees, but it's nicely done in a non-preachy, tongue-in-cheek-ish way that, appropriately feels like it was added as an afterthought to help support bees. 


3/5
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Sunday, August 22, 2021

Iron Man (2008) | Guest Appearing on the Media Buffet Podcast

Update: All podcasts are also collected in a Spotify playlist here.

Videos and reviews have been a little slow lately because of work, and a lot of what I've been doing with the site has involved improving the design of the place with my web designer. So, to try to get back into the swing of things, I'm seeking podcasts to guest on through Reddit

I, and Joe Meyer of The Neutral Ground Podcast, had the pleasure of appearing on Media Buffet. We talked about Iron Man and the many behemoths it kicked off, inside and outside Marvel. We had a really great time talking about the movie, discussing how well it holds up, and Tony Stark's main trilogy of films. With Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings coming out soon, this was a perfectly timed release. 

Media Buffet, and the episode, can be found here, and there's direct links to Spotify and Apple below.


For people interested in working with these guys, I can give you their information. Also, they're serious about their title, as that buffet includes The Olympics, gaming, anime, and more.




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Saturday, July 17, 2021

Space Jam: A New Legacy (2021) | Short Review

I’m sorry, but this one kinda made me angry. So, here’s some quick thoughts. 

The good:
Dom (Cedric Joe) and all the video game design stuff directly related to him was interesting. Hopefully it encourages some people to get into design.
Some extras and animators got to dress up as or work on characters they love, so hopefully they had a fun time.
Some jokes work, and the ball playing has some freshness to it when the awful script allows it. The NBA Street series, last checked, has been dormant for a while. Maybe this’ll change that.

The bad:
The overall writing is just exposition, clichés, and WB trumpeting.
The crossovers are pointless and wasted to the point where it makes me wish DC and other WB subsidiaries were independent entities. 

His performance is ok, but it’s upsetting how the charisma is sucked out of Don Cheadle. It’s replaced with Al-G Rhythm's senseless motivation | Copyright 2021 WB

What I said about Don Cheadle in the caption above can kind of be said of Lebron James, too, but I've also been told it's done in a way that pokes fun at his career and attitude on the court. People who don't watch the NBA may be so far out of the loop, that they feel Lebron, as an actor and character in the movie, isn't approaching things correctly.

A comic with Batman (DC) and the Ninja Turtles (IDW) proves that not everything has to be under one roof for a crossover to work to at least some degree. With iron-clad ownership, a segment like Bugs and Batman fails in every respect because, in this case,  it's part of such an overstuffed project and they don't develop any real screen time together.

Something similar happens with Lola (Zendaya) that is interesting. She's just kind of there. That's better than how she was treated in the original movie...but then why cast such a phenomenal actor for a nearly do-nothing role?

When it comes to the writing, just about everyone involved should feel a little crappy about their work.

2/5

If you already have HBO Max, watch this after you've exhausted the extensive library HBO Max Space Jam: A New Legacy is pushing on you. 

Note: That section about James was added after listening to a review of the movie on Black Men Can't Jump [In Hollywood]. For another take on the New Legacy, and black-led cinema, check them out. 
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Friday, July 2, 2021

America: The Motion Picture (2021) | Short Review

From Netflix, "a chainsaw-wielding George Washington teams with beer-loving bro Sam Adams to take down the Brits in a [raunchy,] tongue-in cheek riff on the American Revolution." It has a strong cast, as noted below, it's written by Dave Callaham, directed by Matt Thompson, and two of the producers are Phil Lord and Chris Miller. One of the actors in it is Bobby Moynihan. Unfortunately, I misspelled his name when modifying the poster. Sorry, Bobby. 

 
Impressive credentials | Copyright 2021 Netflix, but modified by me using Inpaint and Gimp

This could've been really good, if it was a series of shorts, or if the humor and world stuck to some ground rules. The running gags could've been a great start to that, since they were some of the funniest parts of the movie. This is overselling it, but the use of Bible verses is best explained as inspired. 

If the jokes and story were as scattershot as the movie's world, this would be an unsalvageable, non-sensical mess. Instead, the whole movie can be sized up in the first couple minutes. Simply put, it's very dumb fun that should be watched after a really crappy day. To say more could potentially spoil some jokes.

The animation is by Combo Estúdio. It's worth bringing up, since this is a Floyd County production, and I was wondering if it was the same studio that animates Archer. It's not, that's Fox Television Animation and Radical Axis, but these guys have also done Super Drags for Netflix. Standing still, the art style looks a little blocky and reminds me of Venture Brothers or the new Batman: The Long Halloween. It moves pretty smoothly though, and this is the kind of movie where an unappealing art style might've been on the table during production. Even if the characters ended up not looking quite right, America still gives us Imperial Walkers that look like double-decker buses, and you can't beat that. 

2.5/5

Plus.5/5if this attracts a wide conservative audience. They may see something in America: The Motion Picture that speaks to them, and, if it happens, I'd love to know what that is. Also this most likely has no sequel plans, but it's set up for an equally enjoyable second round.

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Sunday, June 6, 2021

Cruella (2021)

Cruella by Jansumalla
From Disney+, "Emma Stone stars in Disney's Cruella, which explores the rebellious early days of one of cinema's most notorious - and notoriously fashionable - villains, Cruella de Vil...The movie follows a young grifter named Estella and reveals the series of events that cause her to embrace her wicked side and become the raucous and revenge-bent Cruella." The movie co-stars Emma Thompson, Joel Fry, Paul Walter Hauser, Emily Beecham, and Kirby Howell-Baptiste. It is directed by Craig Gillespie (I, Tonya). Based on the book by Dodie Smith and Disney classic by Bill Peet, the winding road of events that change Estella was plotted out by Aline Brosch McKenna, and Kelly Marcel & Steve Zissis, and it was transformed into a script by Dana Fox and Tony McNamara. After watching the movie, that must've been a journey in its own right.

Matt Neglia, of the Next Best Picture Podcast, said it pretty well when talking about Cruella. When Disney just takes a few characters and lets them do their own thing, these remakes and new origin stories are able to breathe and come out better. That's what happens, after a lot of references are painfully front-loaded into the film. Estella/Cruella (Emma Stone, and Billie Gadsdon and Tipper Seifert-Cleveland as a kid and pre-teen, respectively) is born with her signature hair color, teased for it, and she, naturally, retaliates. The many, many marks on her grade school permanent record that are caused by that and other acts of rebellion, create a dalmatian pattern. Luckily, she quickly changes schools. It's absolutely an eye-rolling intro, and I have a bit more to say about why later, but Seifert-Cleveland is doing great work with what she's given, while Gadsdon has, unfortunately, just has one of those front-loading scenes. Cruella's brilliance is quickly shown through Seifert-Cleveland's brilliance, as the early indications of artistic talent and brawling street smarts are mixed with a lot of heart and some deeply buried sorrow. The whole cast really is fantastic. 

Cruella by jansumalla
Cruella, by Jansumalla

A lot of people are saying that if the Golden Globes were airing next awards season, there's a good chance we'd see Emma Stone accepting an award for her performance. I couldn't agree more, as she commands the screen with a blend of wit, energy, and versatility that was quite unexpected. It's not unexpected because of Stone herself. She's always been great, and actions like taking a business card with her teeth shows that she's up for anything, but because of that winding road the movie takes. Her stealing from her boss's private stash before going on a "fashion bender," and later celebrating a victory over a rival designer, The Baroness (Emma Thompson), with a few notes of "I Wanna Be Your Dog" were a few of my favorite moments because they're a couple of the smaller ones in the movie. Stone, the cast, and the crew are able to be a little more loose, although this is always Gillespie's vision.

Emma Thompson's performance benefits the most from that winding road I keep mentioning. The comparisons between The Baroness and Meryl Streep as Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada aren't cut-and-dry. As the movie goes on, and plots change, Thompson is asked to tap into her own range and become more of a monster than expected. If she started out as a complete cartoon, a large chunk of the movie would fall apart. Instead, she begins as just the right amount of cut-throat. When she accidentally nicks Estella when altering one of Estella's designs, she asks fabrics if that red is a possibility. Maybe it's the paper cuts and hangnails I was suffering from that week because of filing, but it instantly sold me on the character.

A few other people of note are Cruella's henchmen Horace (Paul Walter Hauser) and Jasper (Joel Fry), and The Baroness' right-hand man, John (Mark Strong).  Paul Walter Hauser stole the show in I,Tonya as  Shawn Eckhardt, the "mastermind" who baselessly claimed to be working in counter-terrorism and kept re-parking his car to appear less suspicious to people. Give that character a lot more brains and compassion, but keep a tiny pinch of the self-interest, and you've got one of the best comrades around. Fry also plays a great friend, and I look forward to checking out his other work. The romantic angle between him and Stone is handled really well, as it can be explored down the line in a number of ways that all work. Plus, he doesn't have that pinch of self-interest, and that creates a great dynamic between him and Hauser. Actually a completely different movie where one is the henchmen for the other would be a lot of fun. Mark Strong is an odd case. He's given very little to do outside of delivering some exposition. Because his role is so small, it seems like he was miscast, and he stuck out in the crowd. I really just wish he was given more to do. There are plenty of opportunities, as the story evolves. 

Cruella is a long movie, at about 135 minutes, and to sustain that runtime, it changes plots a couple times. It's a heist movie twice, and it's The Devil Wears Prada once. Now, each change is clear and makes complete sense, but a lot of unexplored character gets sidelined because of it. Some have even said that it's a huge problem because it means that Cruella's mental health isn't properly addressed. I wouldn't go that far. To me, she's just temporarily overtaken by a combo of grief, guilt, and obsession. The reasons why are clear in the opening. I don't think there's anything wrong with what's being said about her, it's just that not a lot is being said in general. For all the great character work, and just work, Cruella is more, but not all, style over substance. That's a real shame. On this subject though, a character named Artie (John McCrea) is under some scrutiny for being an attempt by Disney to pat themselves on the back for being inclusive. McCrea's role is basically to be Cruella's stereotypical gay best friend. McCrea is great in the role, but considering that Disney should've caught up by now and moved past a cookie-cutter portrayal already, it's two steps forward and one step back. Artie runs a second-hand boutique and helps Cruella with her designs. Speaking of designs...

Costumes were designed by Jenny Beavan (Mad Max: Fury Road and Room with a View), cinematography was by Nicolas Karakatsanis, and hair & makeup was designed by Nadia Stacey. With Gillespie, they all work together to build one hell of a picture, over and over again. Cruella is intensely beautiful, and, naturally, it's at its best when a signature outfit is on display. Most of these '70s-inspired ensembles are worn by Stone, while some that go back to the '60s, according to Beavan, adorn Thompson and were chosen to show her slightly aging instincts. It's those small details that keep the movie freshly in-mind nearly a week after a first viewing.  Hopefully, Beavan's is rewarded with more than only award recognition, since, according to VarietyDisney is officially licensing a Cruella collection with her designs without additionally compensating her. Even smaller details are the ways the camera moves, like when it follows one of the dogs, Wink, as he's exiting a bus. It's such a tight shot, that it seems like it couldn't have been easy to film. The effort was appreciated, as long as the dog had a good time, of course. Plus, there are grander versions of this kind of movement throughout the film. Tatiana S. Reigel assembles these pieces pretty well as the movie's editor, overlooking a couple of hiccups. 

That opening sequence, again, is one of them. The moment young Estella, Horace, and Jasper meet is just very choppy as it just quickly cuts to whatever lines will finally get us onto the real show. This sequence is capped off with a transition to the present that was done much better in Sam Levinson's Euphoria. The shot has purpose, but that's not enough to sell an, excuse the excessive harshness and on-the-nose term for a second, a knockoff. 

The other hiccup in editing is the use of newspaper text and headlines filling the frames in a couple of sequences. It looks good, but there isn't a whole lot of new or necessary info being delivered. It has no real purpose, the shots already look great without them, and time and money possibly could've been put into other parts of the film. That's the unfortunate thing about the movie as whole, it doesn't say much because of the pieces it's cut into.

Each plot and each heist, or heist-like plan, could be an entire incredible movie, and I'd like to see each of them because of the depth that the writers and Gillespie are only able to hint at with a line or short scene. The The Devil Wears Prada part of the movie could stand on its own thanks to Stone, Thompson, and the fresh setting of '70s London. Maybe Disney could remedy that? Fox made The Devil Wears Prada, and Disney bought them, so maybe they could at least arrange a round-table with Stone, Thompson, and Streep, in-character and out, and with some other costume designers and creatives from both movies? At least it's a nice thing to think about and maybe create some fan-fiction around. Cruella will definitely open up some minds that way. It worked on me.... 

Made after watching Birds of Prey and DC's Harley Quinn (Season 1 and Season 2)

Re-skinned after watching Cruella. The morning star was also made along with the original two. Does anyone else want Emma Stone to play an alt-universe Harley?

3.5/5

Plus.25/5 for the artistic inspiration it gave me and has given others. Please scroll up and take another look at those depictions of the character by Jansumalla. She's selling prints of it, by the way. While the audience of kids in my theatre got remarkably quiet after the previews started playing, it wouldn't be a surprise to find out years from now that a fashion designer, or hair or makeup artist, maybe one of them, was sparked by Cruella, and that's all that really matters.

Dog Cane
Last one. This was kinda quickly put together after the review was written. The materials are from BlenderKit, and the head is part of a full model by pomilecrown

One last thing, the soundtrack. I have it. I tried to put it on my phone when I left the theatre but didn't have wi-fi. I tried to stop somewhere with wi-fi on my way home but instead had to drive back in silence. It's great. It may overwhelm some people, but the songs were just right for me. The worst song choice, the last one, isn't on there, so there's no risk of reliving that moment. Instead, for example, you're treated to Ike & Tina Turner's "Whole Lotta Love." The power of it, to someone who grew up on classic rock, cannot be overstated. Stone's celebratory rendition of "I Want To Be Your Dog" comes after a different John McCrea's full performance, and it's literally a showstopper. Nicholas Britell's score doesn't get equal treatment, but the times it's allowed to shine, like when Estella's making her first dress for the Baroness, give the movie a little more grounding. 

Update: This movie continues to inspire. 

My Cruella Cosplay
Halloween 2021
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