REVIEW: ‘Cruella’ constricted by tonal imbalance

Hero. Antihero. Villain. Can a protagonist be all three? “Cruella” attempts to find out.

Emma Stone stars as Estella in this supposed prequel to the “101 Dalmatians” story. Estella, born with white and black hair, is a girl who was orphaned at a young age when her mother fell from a balcony during a party. Following the death, Estella finds her way to London and meets Jasper and Horace. The three become friends and pull schemes together to make money in order to survive.

Eventually, though, Estella gets her chance to leave her life of pick-pocketing and get her dream job as a fashion designer. Eventually, she gets to work for London’s top fashion individual, who simply goes by The Baroness (Emma Thompson). The more she works there, though, the more Estella finds reason to let out her true self, Cruella, and conquer the fashion world.

Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Cruella’ constricted by tonal imbalance”

REVIEW: ‘Maleficent 2’ is more mediocre than marvelous

That mouse just can’t quit with this live action train, huh. Can’t really blame Disney when the first “Sleeping Beauty” story adaptation made nearly $70 million in its opening weekend and grossed $758 million worldwide.

In this follow-up to the 2014 hit, Angelina Jolie returns to the role of Maleficent, a powerful fairy who now looks after her goddaughter and acts as the main defender of the Moors Kingdom. Queen of that kingdom is Maleficent’s goddaughter Aurora (Elle Fanning), who now rules a united kingdom including both humans and mystical creatures.

Along with leading a nation, Aurora has fallen in love with Prince Phillip (Harris Dickinson), who’s from another kingdom. The two are looking to get married, and with some convincing, Maleficent becomes at least open to the idea. However, Phillip’s parents, especially his mother Queen Ingrith (Michelle Pfeiffer), are less than welcoming, viewing the mystical residents of Aurora’s kingdom, including Maleficent as a threat. Her prejudice eventually causes a strain between Aurora and Maleficent.

Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Maleficent 2’ is more mediocre than marvelous”

Looking at Live Action: Ranking the Disney Remakes

The release of a new “Lion King” adaptation has marked about 10 years into Disney’s adventure in remaking many of its animated pictures into live action versions. OK, technically, the new “Lion King” is a fully animated picture, but it’s more or less a de facto live action movie.

With nearly a decade to look back on, plus some others from years past, here is my ranking of the Disney live action and/or life-like remakes of animated classics.

Continue reading “Looking at Live Action: Ranking the Disney Remakes”