REVIEW: “CRUELLA” (2021) DISNEY STUDIOS/DISNEY+

Estella or Cruella… This new offering of the old traditional story from Disney, definitely delves into a completely different outlook on this once cute story of a villainess and her adorable Dalmatian puppies. This prequel from director Craig Gillespie, is quite possibly the “CRUELLA” we didn’t know we needed, until we actually did. Continue reading REVIEW: “CRUELLA” (2021) DISNEY STUDIOS/DISNEY+

Animated April: Spotlight on Merida from “Brave”

Merida from Pixar’s “Brave” (2012) is perhaps one of Disney’s most overlooked princess. Which is strange considering she’s one of the best role models and her existence is one of the biggest milestone achievements of the whole group. “Brave” is set in the Scottish Highlands and follows a young princess who would rather practice her archery than listen to her mother’s lessons. She defies their customs and refuses a betrothal, leading her to make a deal with a witch to change her mother. But when her mother is actually changed into a bear, she sets about reversing the spell and fixing their strained relationship. Merida is voiced by Kelly Macdonald, while Queen Elinor is voiced by Emma Thompson. Continue reading Animated April: Spotlight on Merida from “Brave”

GFF Exclusive Review: How to Build a Girl

Closing the 2020 Glasgow Film Festival is Coky Giedroyc’s adaptation of Caitlin Moran’s “How to Build a Girl” (2019). With a festival that has produced so many great new films by female filmmakers and has advocated diversity in cinema since its inception, it’s appropriate to have the closing film concern the journey of a maturing young woman – the building of a girl if you will. The end result film that is flawed, but nonetheless mature and fun.

Beanie Feldstein is one of the most delightful people walking the earth right now, and her role in this film continues to prove this. Putting on a surprisingly good Warwickshire accent, she is Johanna Morigan, a sixth former who aspires to great things, looking to her wall of heroes – including Jo March, Maria von Trapp and Karl Marx – for guidance. A skilled writer, she submits a review for the “Annie” soundtrack at a weekly music magazine to buy back the family TV. Though initially baffled by this, the magazine eventually hires Johanna where Johanna dons the pen name Dolly Wilde to take her sudden new career to new, and life learning, heights. Continue reading GFF Exclusive Review: How to Build a Girl

Review: “Last Christmas” (2019) Universal

f Emilia Clarke was looking to step out and reinvent herself after eight years as Game of Thrones’ Daenerys Targaryen, then “LAST CHRISTMAS” would be that vehicle. Along with her character choice of Kate, a wayward and dysfunctional wanna-be actress in her 20’s, who spends her day working as an Elf selling year round Christmas monstrosities – well you couldn’t be further removed from the queen of dragons herself with this one.

Her boss, in what is sure to be London’s gaudiest Christmas store, conveniently goes by the moniker “Santa” (Michelle Yeoh), constantly admonishes Kate for her shortcoming, and there are many of them. As a matter of fact, Kate is simply just the worst. Her nights are devoted to getting plastered, trying to find one in the endless array of couches to crash on – and mornings, well mornings are spent trying to recall the who/what/where of the previous evening shenanigans. Continue reading Review: “Last Christmas” (2019) Universal

ITOL Top 50 Films of the Decade, Entry 38: Brave

A young girl has extraordinary skill in the defensive arts. She is independent, smart, humorous; in short, everything a mythic heroine should be. “Brave” (2012) captures the lush countryside of ancient Scotland in vibrant tones of green, brown and blue. We anticipate an epic journey for our heroine worthy of Joseph Campbell in the great tradition of Celtic folklore but are ultimately disappointed by a pedestrian plot that was clearly so much more at some point but has been reduced to clichés and confusion.

At the heart of the film is the relationship between teenage Merida (Kelly MacDonald) and her mother Elinor (Emma Thompson). Like so many others in a Disney/Pixar production, Merida is a princess on the cusp of being married. Continue reading ITOL Top 50 Films of the Decade, Entry 38: Brave

ITOL Top 50 Films of the Decade, Entry No.50: Late Night

Given how much the late night talk show has been revitalised in recent years with the advent of online video, it’s shocking it has taken Hollywood this long to make a modern comedy set within that world. After all, there’s nothing more tantalising for a comedian to write than a movie about the nature of comedy. But with “Late Night”, the filmmakers have gone beyond merely dramatising the ins and outs of putting on a show and made something of a landmark to the current state of media; an encapsulation of everything both great and terrible about it, and a clear vision of how we can make it better.

“Late Night” hits a lot of the expected beats of the workplace comedy: the fresh-faced newstart comes in, the veterans are dubious of them, they make their early mistakes but learn the ropes, they bring fresh ideas to the table, and eventually gain the trust of their new colleagues. However, getting past the formulaic structure, it’s clear that the filmmakers are using the familiar platform as a building block to share topical ideas. Continue reading ITOL Top 50 Films of the Decade, Entry No.50: Late Night