Cruella

Cruella ★★★½

It has to take some sort of balls to end your movie about a villain called Cruella Devil on a rendition of The Rolling Stones' Sympathy for the Devil. It's too on the money. It's like ending your zombie movie on Zombie (Army of the Dead) or your movie about greed on Money, Money, Money by ABBA (Greed).

I was not expecting this from the Mouse House. I had low expectations, given the live action Disney stuff has been pretty bland, but I was extremely pleasantly surprised. A $200 million dollars movie set in an ascendant punk scene in London in the late 60s, early 70s, scored to a wall-to-wall, extremely catchy, classic oldies tracklist, and bearing an energy similar to Goodfellas with its narration and elongated prologue, and a tracking shot right out of the Copacabana back alleys: what's not to like? The running time, probably. Craig Gillespie must be a huge fan of Marty, because I, Tonya also bore a lot of Marty sensibilities. Ain't nothing wrong in that.

I really liked the look and feel of the movie, the camera movements, the cinematography, the costumes and production design, all pretty solid. It had a personality, an energy, that is woefully lacking from most movies that come out of the Rat Palace assembly line. I can't for the life of me remember anything that happened in all the other live action Disney movies, but this will stick out.

And the biggest aspect, possibly the one that will stick with me the most, is the music. Extremely on the nose musical choices, but who gives a shit when the songs are so good. Am I really going to complain about songs when they include a perfect These Boots Are Made for Walking moment, or a Led Zeppelin cover, or two Rolling Stones songs, or a Beatles cover, or the theme song of Coupling, or one of the best uses of Hush (and there have been quite a lot of those in the past 3-4 years alone), a song that was on a constant loop in my sophomore year of college (I still have my Deep Purple shirt somewhere that I wore all 4 years of college until the band members' faces faded away). You can't buy nostalgia like that. Actually you can, for $29.99.

On the performances, everyone knew the assignment exactly. But no one more so than Emma Thompson, the single best member to come out of 1980s Cambridge Footlights scene (yes, that includes Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry). She makes every second she is on screen count. Deliciously over the top, but not enough to take you out of the movie. Emma Stone also bringing her A-game, English accent and all. The Emmas really make this worth your while. Joel Fry and Paul Walter Hauser lend some really good support.

All in all, a delightful movie, pleasantly surprised me, with an amazing soundtrack. A tad overlong, and that is its biggest detriment. But a worthy watch overall.

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