Jungle Cruise – Review

Rating: 12A
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt, Edgar Ramirez, Jack Whitehall and Jesse Plemons.
Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra
Written by Michael Green, Glenn Ficarra, John Requa, John Norville and Josh Goldstein.
Length: 127mins

Jungle Cruise, a film inspired by a ride at Disneyland, follows the story of Dr. Lily Houghton (Blunt) who enlists the help of Frank Wolff (Johnson) to take her and her brother down the Amazon river in the search for an ancient tree that holds the power to heal and break curses. With a whole lot of issues popping up along the way, Jungle Cruise throws it’s audiences into a full on, family adventure with plenty of wise cracks and a story full of twists and turns.

The character archetypes in Jungle Cruise definitely mirror those of 1999 movie ‘The Mummy’, with a brave strong hero and a fierce, intelligent, woman as well as an undead enemy and the comedic brother…while vaguely familiar, it works really nicely and adds to the overall feeling that this film is a wild mixture with inspiration taken from the likes of Journey to Atlantis, Indiana Jones, Pirates of the Caribbean and of course, The Mummy. It feels familiar because there are elements that may well have been inspired by other successful movies, yet it manages to maintain a fresh, exciting feel throughout.

Johnson and Blunt are a wonderful pairing, they bounce off each other really well and deliver equally solid performances. Both bring so much fun to this movie and their chemistry really helps move the story along. I’ve seen a lot of people commenting on the lack of chemistry between both Johnson and Blunt, however, I disagree. There might not be an overt sexual chemistry between the pair, but in every other aspect they work perfectly. Perhaps this is a reflection on an audiences need for romance to be the pillar of a relationship between two leading characters? Either way, I think this was a choice, the films primary story is not a romantic one and, in my opinion, it works. Jack Whitehall was the surprise of this film. He really shone and was the perfect casting to play Lily’s brother. A part that required strong comic timing and delivery, which we all know and expect from Whitehall, but also required a sadness and depth that explains his absolute loyalty to his sister.

Jungle Cruise isn’t a world changing film in many respects, but its the perfect opportunity for families to go to a cinema and experience the magic of this exciting story together. To escape from the worries of real life and take a couple of hours to go on an adventure with a strong cast who deliver a witty script perfectly.

Supernova – Review

Rating: 15
Cast: Stanley Tucci, Colin Firth, Pippa Haywood and Peter Macqueen
Written and Directed by Harry Macqueen
Length: 94mins

The story of an aging couple facing the challenges brought on by a cruel disease, ‘Supernova’ has graced the cinema screen quietly, but with warmth and a lot of heart. Led by established performers Stanley Tucci and Colin Firth, it provides a look at humanity in a way you can’t help but empathise with.

Although ‘Supernova’ may not burn as brightly as its titular dying star, Stanley Tucci fills the role of a different kind of dying star with tenderness and precision, in a performance that some might describe as career defining. A small scale story when compared to his previous work, ‘Supernova’ strips back the complexity of expansive casts and extreme dramatics, focussing instead on the deep connection experienced by the films lead characters as they navigate the heartbreakingly difficult process which has come from Tusker’s deteriorating mental state, in a role brilliantly played by Tucci. His approach to such a character can be described as both nothing more and nothing less than human, interacting with loved ones in a manner that seems fitting more for real life than the big screen. As a result, the relationship established both between Tusker and his partner Sam, as well as Tusker and the audience feels completely genuine, as if we are simply distant onlookers in each scene rather than a collective audience searching for a clear story and resolution. His matter-of-fact approach to the unavoidable consequence which he faces is something which any audience will be able to relate to, as Tusker puts on a brave face for the benefit of those around him, only hinting at the type of pain he’s experiencing, rather than showing it in detail – another reason why ‘Supernova’ deserves its praise as human and touching. 

Sharing the current cinema bill with ‘The Father’, another film which excellently dissects the experiences of an older man suffering from dementia-like symptoms, ‘Supernova’ may not receive as much acclaim, but it sets out to tell its story in a very different manner. The film draws you into its ninety minute character study and works to emphasise the excellent performances from Stanley Tucci and Colin Firth throughout, rather than looking to push the boundaries of what filmmaking can be. It’s cinematography, editing and score all benefit the film, but ultimately they’re the distant harmonies which exclusively work to strengthen the leading melody supplied by Tucci and Firth. It may not be a film for the history books, but when the audience are settled in their cinema seats, it’s effect throughout its runtime is undeniably powerful, drawing you into a portrait of two men’s lives who enjoy the same simple pleasures as ourselves, and who are just looking to make the best they can out of a bad situation.

Although it’s subject matter may be heavier than most films showing at the minute, there is so much to be enjoyed within ‘Supernova’. The moments of heartbreak and loss are counterbalanced by the simple pleasures shared between its characters, from looking up at the stars with childlike wonder, to making new memories with the person you care for most in the world. It’s definitely a film to bring some tissues along to, but also one that shouldn’t be missed.

Dream Horse – Review

Rating: PG Cast: Toni Collette, Owen Teale, Damian Lewis, Alan David and Lynda Baron. Directed by Euros Lyn Written by Neil McKay Length: 113mins

Dream Horse is based on a true story of Jan Vokes, a woman from the Welsh Valley’s who organised a community syndicate to buy a racehorse. Toni Collette stars as our leading lady and brings a warmth and determination to the character who managed to rally the locals to chip in a weekly £10 sub to save up to breed a prize mare; who they name Dream Alliance. 

Jan is a woman working two jobs just to make ends meet who becomes interested in raising a racehorse which could be both financially fruitful and fill a hole in her somewhat monotonous life. After buying a brood mare, the foal is born and the audience get to happily sit back and watch a series of nice moments. What follows is a predictable round of victories (the racing scenes are well done, including the high level of risk in the jumps) and mini defeats. The story is often delivered in dialogue which isn’t a surprise with the run time.

This story was always going to be made into a film. Dream Horse fits nicely into a typical, contemporary ‘Brit Flick’ category. It demonstrates small town community spirit, is very predictable and inevitably has a happy ending. Alongside Collette, Owen Teale plays her husband and Damian Lewis plays Howard Davies, a local tax accountant who’s passion for horse racing has created tension in his home life. This isn’t a particularly in depth story, it’s not going to challenge or provoke thought but it’s a really lovely, heartwarming watch. 

While there is nothing particularly remarkable or surprising about this movie, you can’t help but like it. Toni Collette and Damian Lewis give really solid, believable performances which must have been a nice change for the pair who recently have taken on much more gritty roles. I also thoroughly enjoyed the little sing song at the end where we see the actors singing ‘Delilah’ with their real life counterparts. Dream Horse is a bit of fun, and a good way to spend an afternoon, however, if you don’t get around to watching it you’ve not missed anything life changing. 

Another Round – Review

Rating: 12A
Cast: Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Lars Ranthe, Magnus Millang and Maria Bonnevie
Directed by Thomas Vinterberg
Written by Thomas Vinterberg and Tobias Lindholm
Length: 117mins

After releasing almost a year ago in the US, ‘Another Round’ has finally hit the big screen in the UK. A Danish release from one of the founding directors of the Dogme movement, Thomas Vinterberg’s story of four school teachers who decide to maintain a consistent level of alcohol intoxication is a brilliant piece of both comedy and drama.

Led by seasoned performer Mads Mikkelsen, ‘Another Round’ boasts brilliant performances from all four of it’s leading actors. However, Mikkelsen is a particular stand out, bringing his character and the range of emotions he goes through to life in a way that captivates the audience and draws them into the story. There’s a sense of believability  which is maintained throughout, as if there really could have been four teachers who decided they’d keep up a 0.05% Blood-Alcohol Content level just to improve their lessons. Although this authenticity is helped by the directors roots in the Dogme 95 manifesto, a film movement which focused solely on story, and cast aside any special effects or elaborate technology, I feel that it’s the relationship between the performers which truly brings the story to life. The way they both endure hardships and celebrate success is an essential part of ‘Another Round’, and one of the main reasons it’s such a great film.

Although alcoholism is often utilised in the comedy genre to spur characters into more erratic and extravagant situations, there is also a much darker side to the topic which films have been known to explore with a sense of drama and severity which generally brings down the mood of an audience fairly quickly. ‘Another Round’ strikes a balance between these two extremes perfectly, showing both the entertaining and more serious sides of the four teacher’s experiment. Structurally, the film delivers these contrasting moments with great precision, building and releasing tension in a way which captures the audience’s attention, without ever feeling predictable or gratuitous. 

One of the most fitting adjectives for ‘Another Round’ would have to be ‘fun’. Despite dealing with the heavy topics previously mentioned, there are some brilliant moments of humour, as well as dancing and affection shown in a way which almost makes you want to stand up from your seat and join in the celebrations.

Although Vinterberg’s films may not be the most elaborate in terms of cinematography or sound design, everything seen and heard is there for a reason, and works to strengthen the story being told. Despite the school environment having a fairly cold aesthetic, the life that the four teachers bring to their students when beginning their experiment contrasts such a depiction, and reinforces this idea of going against the rules.

Now that ‘Another Round’ is out in UK cinemas and across the world, I would highly recommend giving it a chance. It’s one of the most artfully put together films so far this year, but also one of the most fun. Mads Mikkelsen is as great as ever, and every other part of the film is just as good.

Black Widow – Review

Rating: 12A Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh, David Harbour, Rachel Weisz and Ray Winstone. Directed by Cate Shortland Written by Jac Schaeffer, Ned Benson and Eric Pearson. Length: 133mins

The greatly anticipated Black Widow ‘stand alone’ movie has finally hit our screens after several release delays due to Covid:19. We join Natasha Romanoff inbetween Captian America: Civil War and Infinity War to learn more about her past and what drove her to become the Avenger that so many know and love.

There was a lot to pack into the plot of Black Widow. We uncover more about who Natasha was as a child and her experiences, we discover relationships that the Marvel audience has never seen before which needed a bit of grit  and history in around them to be believable, we have a couple of ‘mini-missions’, the main ‘mission’ and the fact that Natasha is currently on the run from shield to remind our audience of where this film fits into the MCU timeline. I really appreciated how they introduced the new characters of Yelena (Pugh), Alexi (Harbour) and Melina (Weisz). It could have been quite jarring to just announce these characters but with a bit of backstory and intelligent dialogue we get a real essence of who they are and what they do, without requiring a whole load of new introductory movies. The writers managed to acknowledge the world that this film exists in without dwelling on or focussing on the action of the other MCU films, it wasn’t too intense, but gave an appropriate nod to well known characters and situations when necessary. It’s an easy, entertaining watch, scattered with plenty of humour delivered wonderfully by the immovable Florence Pugh and brilliant David Harbour.

In true MCU fashion, this isn’t a short film. As previously stated they do cram a lot in and there were no moments that I found myself checking my watch but, for me, there were certain scenes that seemed unnecessarily long which was frustrating as there are other elements that might have served the story in a different, more impactful way. There was a lot of ‘falling through the sky’, which, although impressive started to get a bit boring after a while. Dare I say it, some of the more ‘explosive’ scenes towards the end of the film, felt like they were trying to match other films rather than embrace their own direction. 

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed Black Widow, and would absolutely watch it again. Obviously, it’s great to have a female hero in this universe and this story will only enhance peoples love for Natasha Romanov. She’s human, she’s flawed, but she’s fierce, strong and passionate and fights for what is right. What else do we want as a role model for children? One thing I would say, as cinemas are still fighting to survive after the massive blow of being shut for over a year, social distancing and limited capacity, please, go and watch this on the big screen. It was made for cinematic release and although some may find it easier to stream and watch it at home, I don’t think you’ll regret the cinematic experience for this movie. 

Oh, and don’t forget to stay until the end of the credits…

The Father – Review

Rating: 12A
Cast: Anthony Hopkins, Olivia Colman, Mark Gatiss, Olivia Williams, Imogen Poots, Rufus Sewell
Directed by Florian Zeller
Written by Florian Zeller and Christopher Hampton
Length: 97mins

Led by the established and brilliant Anthony Hopkins, with recently-untouchable Olivia Colman following in his great footsteps, ‘The Father’ tells the story of a man suffering from a rapidly declining mental health which has caused severe confusion and memory loss. A difficult story to tell, with the perception of such an illness contrasting from person to person, director Florian Zeller does an incredible job – with the help of co-writer Christopher Hampton –  adapting his own stage play for the big screen.

Firstly, and perhaps the most discussed aspect of the film, it almost goes without saying that the performances within ‘The Father’ are excellent. Anthony Hopkins stole both the show and the Academy Award for his performance, with his onscreen presence feeling completely natural throughout the entire film. Taking on the role of a person suffering from such an extreme illness, any other performer being cast may have led to some uncertainty about their ability to fulfil such a role, but with Hopkins there was never any doubt about the quality of his acting. A completely natural onscreen presence, his ability to change the momentum and mood of a scene through the simplest of gestures or expression captures the audience’s attention and doesn’t let it go until the credits roll. Furthermore, Olivia Colman is also not one to be forgotten about, playing her part as a supporting character excellently. In recent years she has only shown herself as a greater and greater performer, and the patience and humanity she shows towards Hopkins’ character feels completely real.

Many films have sought to tell the story of mental illness and dementia before, with the impact it has on people’s lives often making for compelling and devastating stories. However,  ‘The Father’ stands out from this crowd by utilising the freedom which filmmaking allows to place the audience within the mind of the victim of such a cruel disease. The titular ‘Father’, Anthony, is almost exclusively the character followed by the audience throughout, with moments of confusion within his own mind reflected in the purposefully inconsistent narrative, setting and characters delivered by the filmmakers. By telling the story in this way, director Florian Zeller is able to provide just a small insight into the way the mind works when struggling with such illness, driving home a greatly impactful message about the treatment of those who suffer and the way in which they should be cared for. Seeing through Anthony’s eyes, we are able to sympathise with those who care for him, strongly dislike those who are skeptical and cruel, and ultimately wish the best for the lead character himself, as the confused role he plays within his own life is one which could be taken on by any one of us.

Adapted from Zeller’s own stage play of the same name, watching ‘The Father’ you can see just how the characteristics of theatre are carried across to the world of film. Minimal characters and settings define Anthony’s world, creating a sense of instant familiarity for the audience which only delivers greater heartbreak when they start to become confusing for our lead character. A story which needed telling on a greater scale than just the theatre, the conversion from stage to screen is excellently done.

Though not an easy watch, I highly recommend going out to see ‘The Father’. There’s a reason it’s been so well received amongst critics and audiences alike, with brilliant performances, writing and editing all ultimately contributing to an unmissable film.

In the Heights – Review

Rating: PG Cast: Anthony Ramos, Corey Hawkins, Leslie Grace, Melissa Barrera and Olga Merediz. Directed by Jon M. Chu Written by Quiara Alegria Hudes and Lin-Manuel Miranda Length: 143mins

Lin Manuel Miranda’s first, deeply personal, broadway musical explodes onto our screens, full of passion, exuberance and joy. In the Heights, directed by Jon M. Chu and led by the formidable Anthony Ramos, is finally hitting the big screen after it’s initial release date in summer 2020 was pushed due to Covid 19, and this is definitely a great film to return to if you haven’t been to the cinema since they’ve reopened.

The story is somewhat three pronged; our leading man, Usnavi, navigating rising costs and running his bodega in Washington Heights with his young cousin as he dreams of returning to the Dominican Republic to spark life into the beach side bar his father owned before coming to New York. Nina, the brilliant student returning from Stanford facing the pressure of being the ‘one who made it out’ and representing her community in an environment that doesn’t treat her with any kind of respect and Vanessa, the girl with big dreams who is itching to get started. All three stories intertwine with one connecting factor. Community.

If you’ve seen the trailer, you’ll know to expect fireworks. This film is big, it’s colourful, its loud and it’s unashamedly a translation from stage to screen. Chu hasn’t tried to mould this musical into a hard hitting movie. It manages to carry the energy that was something that made the Broadway show so incredible and drop it into our cinemas letting the fun of musical theatre to do it’s thing all while bringing attention to the themes of unity, representation, community and love to the forefront. Now if you’ve seen or heard any of Miranda’s songwriting then you’ll be aware that his style doesn’t fall into a classic ‘razzle dazzle’, jazz hands musical theatre genre. He uses rap as much as ballad and I’m aware that this might put people off but I highly recommend that you give it a go. The first 10 minutes of the film take a bit of adjusting, your thrown into quite a long rap, a few location jumps, actors looking down the camera lens…it’s quite a lot. But if you allow yourself to settle down, accept what is on your screens and get to know the characters and the stories in front of you then you’re likely to find yourself deeply invested as well as shimmying in your seats. 

Now as a film, it’s not perfect. It’s a long movie which is fine if you can buy into the world but I appreciate that the 2hrs23mins run time might be somewhat off putting. There’s very little character development which I think is part of the transition from stage to screen, it requires it’s audience to take it at face value and just hop on with the situation as it is. Had this not been a musical, you can see where film makers might explore the backstories of some focal characters; I personally didn’t mind the lack of deep characterisation but again, appreciate that others might find it a little jarring.

This feels like an important film. Not only is it bringing attention to an under represented group of highly skilled, brilliant people from the Latinx community, but it is a film for the dreamers. There’s been a lot of discussion around representation within this film, on which I am not really the right person to be commenting, but one thing that I think is so important in this movie is that it highlights people. It highlights community. It highlights friendships. It highlights family. It represents the dreamers. The bottom line is that the style of this film will not be to everyones taste, but, it speaks to more than ‘taste’. If you watch it with an open heart I truly believe that there is something that everyone can take from it.

“With patience and faith we remain unafraid”

First Cow – Review

Rating: 12A
Cast: John Magaro, Orion Lee, Toby Jones, Ewen Bremner, Scott Shepherd and Gary Farmer
Directed by Kelly Reichardt
Written by Kelly Reichardt and Jonathan Raymond (Original Novel)
Length: 122mins

‘First Cow’ tells the story of two men trying their best to get through the hardships of everyday American life in the early 1800’s. One a chef and the other a Chinese immigrant looking for any opportunity of wealth, their misfortune turns when they begin to run a successful bakery trade at the local market, which is hindered only by their dependency on the stolen milk of local landowners’ prized cow. Directed by seasoned indie filmmaker Kelly Reichardt, there’s a charm to ‘First Cow’ which is unlike anything else I’ve seen on the big screen recently.

Completely unrecognisable in his role as ‘Cookie’, when compared to the rest of his filmography, John Magaro brilliantly fulfils the role of the unassuming chef who simply wishes to get by in the world. His own anxieties towards the threat those around him pose, as well as the questionable ethics which his and Lee’s bakery trade are grounded in are reflected in the feelings of the audience, creating a character who we feel pride for when triumphant, and empathy towards when defeated. Without a great amount of dialogue, Magaro provides a powerful physical performance to embody the role of ‘Cookie’ brilliantly, showing his emotions rather than telling.

Toby Jones is also not one to be forgotten, and although his filmography boasts roles in some of the largest franchises ever put to screen, he’s still able to disappear into a character, completely making it his own. The first appearance of Jones as the region’s landowner is contradictory to his own stature, conveying power and status simply through the deliverance of his dialogue and psychical composure. The relationship between the Chief Factor and the two younger men is an essential element of the narrative, and through the performances of these three exciting actors a great amount of tension and uncertainty is created.

A visually stunning film which utilises the natural landscape of the early-American settlements to its advantage, there isn’t a single aspect of ‘First Cow’s’ cinematography I could think to critique. An attention to the most minute, or even irrelevant details only help to further invest the audience in the world of the film, and by the time the credits roll, the cinematography and setting have created a portrayal of a location so vivid I felt as if I’d be able to walk through it myself, pointing out key landmarks as I went.

Now that it’s finally been released in UK cinemas I can’t recommend ‘First Cow’ enough. The story and visuals both definitely benefit from a focused viewing, so there’s no better place to give it a watch than your local cinema. An escape into the past and the natural beauty found amongst such early settlements, ‘First Cow’ is the perfect film for anyone looking to get away from it all for a few hours and lose themselves in a story of brotherhood and hope.

A Quiet Place Part II – Review

Rating: 15
Cast: Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe and Cillian Murphy
Directed and Written by John Krasinski
Length: 97mins

Looking back on what made John Krasinski’s debut film so great, it’s easy to highlight the tension built through the lack of sound, the ambiguity of the monsters appearance, and the way in which ordinary people would hide from such things. Going into the second film in any series it can be difficult to provide an exciting new story whilst once again capturing what made the original so great, but the new ‘A Quiet Place’ film does it brilliantly. 

Answering many questions audiences may have had about the beginnings of such an apocalypse, we begin the film with a prologue which takes us all the way back to ‘Day 1’. The dramatic opening sets the tone for the rest of the film, with tension hidden within every moment of silence, and horrors around every corner. By starting the film in such a way, Krasinski builds the world of ‘A Quiet Place’ up even further, effectively drawing the audience in more and more, and familiarising us with how many attempted to survive whilst still leaving enough ambiguity for the audience to fantasise about their own role in such a hypothetical world. 

Visually, the film continues to be just as imaginative with it’s cinematography as the first. Earlier sequences lend themselves more to the adventure side of things, with stunning landscapes contrasting the devastation caused by the monsters, beautifully capturing a world caught in disarray. Moments of tension are also benefited by a careful consideration of how best to show the action, with alternating angles and camera placements working to emphasise the threat posed by the creatures. Whilst not important to the story, this consideration for colour and aesthetic work to make ‘A Quiet Place Part II’ more than just another horror.

From a narrative perspective, the film remains fairly simple, yet tells its story well. Utilising parallelism and recurring ideas to heighten moments of emotion and tension, we begin to care a greater amount for the characters we’re watching. Cillian Murphy also makes a great addition to the weary and downtrodden cast who populate the film, bringing exciting storylines and perspectives of his own which lead to a further exploration into the apocalyptic landscape.

Of course, I’d do well to review such a film and not comment on the sound design. Paying attention to every minute detail, you can’t help but hold your breath anytime a twig snaps or a door closes too hard. The silence of it all draws you to the edge of your seat, only to make you jump even further back anytime a loud bang or an unexpected cry is let out. Paced precisely throughout the film, there are some great jump-scare moments, but they also tie in well with the tension of the scene and don’t ever become overused or predictable.

‘A Quiet Place Part II’ is one you should definitely give a watch if you were a fan of the first film, building on everything established in the original, whilst also bringing some great new ideas and characters to the table. Whilst popcorn might not be the best snack to go for on your way into the theatre, I’d definitely recommend seeing this film on the biggest screen you can.

Cruella – Review

Rating: 12A
Cast: Emma Stone, Emma Thompson, Joel Fry, Paul Walter Hauser and Mark Strong
Directed by Craig Gillespie
Written by Aline Brosh McKenna, Steve Zissis, Dana Fox, Tony McNamara and Kelly Marcel
Length: 134mins

‘Cruella’ marks an important change in Disney releases, with the live action prequel of a beloved animated family favourite becoming something more darker and grown up than anything the studio has released in recent years. Led by Emma Stone as the titular character, the film follows the backstory of the soon-to-be villain, and explores in detail the events which led her to become the frightening villain who reigns over ‘101 Dalmatians’. 

One of the most visibly intriguing elements of ‘Cruella’ is the fashion design. Set in 1970’s London, and drawing from designers of the time such as punk icon Vivienne Westwood, the importance of clothing within the narrative is reinforced greatly by the detailed and extravagant outfits adorned by each character – with the two leading ladies in particular boasting some of the most daring designs. Through its use of costume, ’Cruella’ is able to show a visual tension within the story which reflects the conflict between Cruella and the Baroness.

It can’t be denied that the film makes great use of the funk, punk and classic rock tracks which litter the soundtrack, with many of these being incorporated during exciting and captivating montages. Particular sequences such as heists being pulled off throughout the middle act benefit greatly not only from the use of music, but also the precise and informative editing which leaves no plot point underdeveloped. With a runtime of 134 minutes, this frequent use of montage also helps to keep the film from feeling uninteresting at any points – a great thing to boast as a Summer blockbuster aimed towards families and young teens. However, with this rise in soundtrack-reliant and overly montage-dependent films which seems to have suddenly appeared throughout Hollywood in recent years – perhaps being traced back to the nostalgic sounds of 2013’s ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ – it’s hard not to wonder whether these large studios may be catering towards the shortened attention spans of modern audiences, with moments of sincerity being cut short and extremely calculated, as a way to make the next montage only feel even more exciting. It’s undeniable that ‘Cruella’ is a fun film, but if a greater number of blockbusters in recent years follow in it’s footsteps, audiences may only become greater dependent on this unrelentingly high tempo style of filmmaking.

As the two lead characters, Stone and Thompson face off in a battle to outperform one another. Although occasionally limited by the clearly 12A script, the drama and tension between the two is one of the greatest parts of ‘Cruella’, and any moment where they share the screen is a moment of excitement and intrigue, not often seen in modern blockbusters. Joel Fry and Paul Walter Hauser also put in some great performances as Estella’s partners-in-crime, playing off one another brilliantly, as well as providing a strong contrast to the fierce persona of Cruella. 

As far as Summer blockbusters go, you couldn’t ask for too much from ‘Cruella’. It’s fun, exciting, sounds great, looks great, and best of all, keeps you engaged throughout it’s slightly lengthy runtime. With cinemas now open and in full swing, I can’t think of a better way to enjoy a trip out.