Movie Reviews, June 5, 2021

So hey, fully vaccinated I actually felt comfortable going to a movie theatre again.

Cruella

Disney’s latest cartoon to live action feature takes on villain Cruella DeVil from ‘101 Dalmatians.’ You know the one: loves fur, wants to make a spotted coat out of puppies. The film begins with the childhood years of Estella and her two-tone hair that leads to bullying in her English boarding school. Estella wants nothing more than to challenge the status quo and become a fashion designer. Much like their previous effort in ‘Maleficent,’ Disney presents a lot of back story on just why Estella takes on the moniker Cruella and becomes such a villain — only, in this version, she doesn’t. Yes, she pulls some illegal and immoral stunts over the course of the film, but at the end of the day she is not the character from ‘101 Dalmatians.’ This incarnation of Cruella is out to right past wrongs against her family, and become a smash hit in the London fashion scene at the same time. Regardless, it was an enjoyable romp filled with action, adventure…and some occasional, terrible CGI work. Worth watching to see the two Emmas in the cast (Emma Stone and Emma Thompson) chew up the scenery in the best ways possible.

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It

Let me get this out of the way right off the bat: the movies in the ‘Conjuring’ universe have strayed so far from the original stories they are claiming to be based upon, that it is downright ridiculous. Purporting to chronicle the ‘true stories’ of self-proclaimed paranormal experts Ed and Lorraine Warren, none of these films has ever been able to resist the urge to amp up the horror elements and introduce characters and scenes that even the Warrens never claimed to have happened. And this far into the series (counting the Annabelle and Nun spin off movies), boy did this one go over the top. This time around the Warrens are assisting in the exorcism of a young boy. During said exorcism, one of the people present, Arne Johnson, belittles the demon for picking on a child and invites it to take him instead. The demon obliges. Mr. Johnson, over the next several days, has horrifying visions, doesn’t feel like himself, and ultimately murders his landlord. His lawyer then, with the assistance of the Warrens, makes the claim in court of not guilty due to demonic possession. And that’s where the similarities to the ‘true story’ end. From here on out we have a story about demons, devil worshippers, priests having secret children, weird ritualistic totems, curses being placed on people…I’m so over it. Whether or not you believe the Warrens’ stories about their cases, whether or not you believe the real Mr. Johnson was possessed by demons when he committed his crime, it doesn’t matter. This movie just wasn’t very good and was all over the place. If this trend of escalating the situations continues in this series of films, the next installment will have the Warrens travelling to Mars to assist space marines in battling demons that came through a portal experiment.

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