Summer of Cinema: Cruella and A Quiet Place Part II

The use of sound in this film elevates it from your usual gore fest filled with horrific creatures and gruesome deaths. One of the characters is deaf and in the sequel she takes over the role of the patriarch and becomes the one to find a safe haven for her family. We get to experience sound the way she does, when the film shifts to her point of view. It was a great technique that helped the viewer relate to a deaf character when this can be tricky to do if you do not know anyone who is deaf in the real world.

Hello Readers,

Welcome to my new series Summer of Cinema. The cinemas have reopened and I together with thousands of others have been going to watch the films that we have been waiting for in the last year. I have made the trip twice this month and I am planning to enjoy the experience many times this summer. I will be continuing my series with a review of every film I see in the cinema this summer, of which I hope there will be many. Time to once again sit back, relax and enjoy the magic of the big screen.

Cruella (2021)

I chose this film for my return to the cinema as I was interested in the concept. A 101 Dalmatians prequel of Cruella in 1970s London and in the fashion world. What’s not to love? The film starts with how Cruella ended up in London as a young child in the 60s and jumps to her life as a common thief with her two friends and their dogs. Cruella who is first known as Estella, gets a simple job at Liberty’s and after an avant-garde unprompted window display, she goes to work for the House of Baroness, a notorious fashion house. Estella then decides to become an even bigger presence in the fashion world than the Baroness and to do this she must unleash her bad side – Cruella.

The film was a bold move for Disney as even though the film is a 12, it is pitched towards a younger audience as well. I think the film bridges the divide between a film for younger audiences and older ones. Many people in the screening were adults. This was a fresh take on a villain’s back story and it created a world that had not been associated with Cruella De Vil in other iterations. Whilst we know Cruella as the dog-napping rich old woman with little joy and a grudge against spotty dogs; Estella in this version is fun, kind-hearted and poor. Later in the film when she takes on her Cruella persona, we see some of the Cruella we have known in other films appear. She is a more toned down version than the original and no dogs are harmed in the film.

One of the best parts of the film for me was the fashion. There were so many wonderful and striking designs made by both the Baroness and Cruella. While the Baroness took measured risks and presented as prim and proper; Cruella smashed the expectations and matched rock’n’roll and feminist angst with a runway show. Seeing Cruella’s ideas to outshine the Baroness get even more outrageous and punk was a fun highlight.

Emma Stone was wonderful in the role and her accents were on point both as Estella and the slightly posher Cruella. She played all facets of Cruella seamlessly. I was initially sceptical of Emma Stone’s casting as Glenn Close gave such an iconic performance as Cruella. My fears definitely were vanquished after seeing the iconic performance that Emma gave. It was like she was born to play the role.

I thought that the other actors were all amazing in their roles, especially Emma Thompson as the villain and the children who played the younger versions of Estella and the gang. My only issue with the whole film was that Estella and her friends were around 11/12 years old then it jumps to 10 years later but the actors playing them in the 1970s look at least 30 and not in their early 20s. Emma Stone could just about pull this off but the other two were pushing it. Once I let this go, I enjoyed the story and let go of realism.

The music for was another iconic part of the film with some great classic 70s tracks that paired with Cruella’s bold fashion pieces created a punk rock London scene that I would love to experience.

Overall I give this film 10/10. Every element was on point and my expectations were lowered as it is a Disney film but I feel like the film was suitable for all audiences especially with the period setting and witty dialogue. If ever there was a prequel or continuation of a well-loved classic to live up to or even surpass the original, it would be Cruella. A warm welcome back to the cinema and a great start to a Summer of Cinema.

A Quiet Place Part II (2021)

In contrast to Cruella, I have been waiting for this film since it was announced that there would be a sequel. I do not normally enjoy ‘horror’ films such as these with monsters and jump scares but A Quiet Place bridges the gap between ingenious filmmaking and scaring for scaring’s sake. At the heart of the films is a family that represents everyone. Their struggle to survive in the post-apocalyptic world, especially after the death of a child and the man of the house touches a nerve with many, especially after the past year.

The use of sound in this film elevates it from your usual gore fest filled with horrific creatures and gruesome deaths. One of the characters is deaf and in the sequel she takes over the role of the patriarch and becomes the one to find a safe haven for her family. We get to experience sound the way she does, when the film shifts to her point of view. It was a great technique that helped the viewer relate to a deaf character when this can be tricky to do if you do not know anyone who is deaf in the real world.

I am especially attached to the characters because of the actors. John Krasinski and his wife, Emily Blunt play husband and wife as well as John directing both films. This is rare in the film world and of course their on-screen chemistry is reflected by their real life bond. They already know how to move around the other and as they have children of their own, acting as parents is second nature to them. The actors who play the kids, Noah Jupe and Millicent Simmonds are two of the best young actors in Hollywood today and both do excellent jobs reprising their roles in the sequel and picking up where the first film ended.

While a direct sequel, this film also has a flashback to the first day of the apocalypse and we get to see a glimpse of who the family were before they became survivalists. We get to see John Krasinski and their other son again amongst other members of their small town. The town is actually a replica of the one we see in the first film. I personally did not notice any difference but then again three years have passed in between the two films.

We also have a new character introduced, Emmett who takes over John’s role as the adult male. While Emmett does help the family out when they are being pursued by monsters, it is Millicent’s character who assumes his role as the protector and forward thinker. She becomes the one in charge of saving the family after she hears a clue on the radio and goes to search for an island that she believes will be a new home for her family. In the other storyline, we see Emily Blunt step up to protect her new baby and her son, Marcus who gets badly injured at the start of the film.

The family flee their burning house to find somewhere new to hide when they come across a disused flour mill, or so they think. After being pursued by a creature who we get to see up close for the first time, Marcus gets caught in an animal trap and they seek shelter. By coincidence, the mill is being occupied by Emmett, a friend from before the meteor struck. He offers them shelter and after Regan (Simmonds) leaves to find the island, he goes to get her back and the two form a father-daughter bond.

Marcus then steps up as the man of the mill and looks after his baby sibling while his mum ventures to the nearest pharmacy for medical supplies. What follows are tense encounters with the monsters all set to a backdrop of a genius soundscape that helps the audience immerse themselves in the characters’ world.

There were a few jump scares and seeing the monsters close up wasn’t pleasant but again this film centred around family and human survival. There were twists and unexpected moments that had me holding my breath, not daring to make the slightest noise. Leave your popcorn at home again for this one.

Overall I give this film 9/10. I think some elements could have been expanded slightly and it was missing something that makes a film 10/10 for me but it was a worthy sequel and the acting was on point. Another great venture for John Krasinski and co.

Happy Watching,


Last Christmas – 2nd December

I saw this film on opening weekend to get in the festive mood and it did not disappoint. A bit of a different story with some really deep themes of immigration, homelessness and illness. A quick synopsis, Kate works at a Christmas shop in Covent Garden. Ever since her hospital trip last year, she’s not had her life together. Determined not to stay at home with her needy mother and deflated father, she sleeps on friend’s sofas or with strange men she meets in the pub. She is trying to get her singing career off the ground with various West End auditions. She meets Tom and a love story starts between them. Kate learns to be less selfish and embrace her heritage (former Yugoslavia) and help others including her sister, Marta and boss Santa.

A lovely film featuring songs by Wham! and George Michael, this film hit emotions that I did not expect it to. Brilliant writing as always by Emma Thompson who also plays Kate’s mother. The film features a few recognisable British actors and had a great racial diversity that reflected London. A sad twist near the end but an overall uplifting ending. A new classic that I will be seeking out next year. 4/5.

Love Actually – 1st December

This ensemble comedy from 2003 is widely considered the best British Christmas film. With some of the best British and American actors, many of whom have become household names, this film is full to the brim with talent. It shows different characters in the lead up to Christmas, the newly-wed couple and love-struck best man; the cheated writer who finds a new beau in France; the prime minister and his assistant; the widowed husband and his love-sick step-son; the stand ins with chemistry; the boss and his assistant and his wife; the Brit abroad looking for love in the US; the American who has loved the same man for 2 years but has a troublesome brother and the old pop star and his manager trying to get a new Christmas number one.

An element I really love is that all the characters tie in with each other or bump into each other a some point or another. A few stand out moments are Hugh Grant’s dancing; Natalie’s crazy family and Rowan Atkinson packing a Christmas gift.

I have watched this film every Christmas for the last five years or so, since I discovered it and will definitely be watching it again this year. I give it 5/5.

Venom and Johnny English Strikes Again Review

Hello readers,

I know that this is my first post in over a month but due to going back to university, I haven’t been to the cinema that much. A couple of weeks ago, I did however see the highly anticipated anti-hero film Venom and the third instalment of the Johnny English films. I remember seeing the second one in the cinema when I was 12 so I thought it would only be right to see this one in the cinema too.


Tom Hardy in Venom (2018)

This new anti-hero film has changed the game for the superhero genre. Eddie Brock a journalist whose life goes downhill after investigating a laboratory trying to harness the power of symbiotes. He accidentally joins with an alien called Venom and gains immense skills and strength.

Set in San Francisco made a refreshing change from the Avengers setting of New York. The humanisation of Venom talking through Eddie adds a comedy element to the film. Tom Hardy plays the ‘bad boy’ character very well as was evident in Legend (2015) but his resistance to Venom killing and hurting people shows that Eddie does have heart. He also tries working with Venom instead of rejecting him completely.

Many critics wrote off the film but as a fan of Marvel and comic book films, I really enjoyed it. It had the right amount of action, comedy, special effects, rebellion against evil corporations and romance. As the superhero genre had really taken off in the past few years, perhaps critics are getting annoyed at reviewing films that won’t win any high profile awards.

I liked the romance between Eddie and Anne, it added a softness to a pretty intense film. When she leaves Eddie, it truly breaks his heart and is motive for his revenge on Carlton Drake’s empire.

Overall I think this film is great for any Tom Hardy or superhero movie fans but not one to watch if you like something clever. 4/5.


Tom Hardy (Inception) as Eddie Brock / Venom

Michelle Williams (Blue Valentine) as Anne Weying

Riz Ahmed (Rogue One) as Carlton Drake / Riot

Scott Haze (Child of God) as Security Chief Roland Treece

Jenny Slate (Zootropolis) as Dr. Dora Skirth

Peggy Lu (Awkward) as Mrs Chen

Johnny English Strikes Again

Rowan Atkinson in Johnny English Strikes Again (2018)

The third instalment of the Johnny English trilogy picks up years later when Johnny has retired from the world of espionage to become a geography teacher. He however has not taught his students much geography. The film starts with Mr English teaching all his young students how to be a spy.

When all the identities of all the MI7 agents are revealed to the public, the Prime Minister reluctantly recruits English to investigate. Reunited with his sidekick Bough, English travels to the South of France to find the source of the hackers.

Meanwhile, tech genius Jason is proposing an update for the British Government’s systems but is actually the bad guy and is trying to disable the country’s internet.

Johnny English of course would not be complete without laugh out loud gags and scenarios. Some of the best ones in this film include English setting a French restaurant on fire attempting to cook prawns, dancing for a whole night non stop, using virtual reality and accidentally throwing someone off an open top bus and wearing a full knight’s armour.

Rowan Atkinson is hilarious as always and the addition of Emma Thompson as the Prime Minister means their scenes together are comedy gold.

Overall a great family film with a laugh a minute. Comedy films don’t really include much slapstick and visual gags anymore so a reminder of the old days is welcome with Johnny English.


Rowan Atkinson (Bean) as Johnny English

Olga Kurylenko (Quantum of Solace) as Ophelia

Emma Thompson (Sense and Sensibility) as Prime Minister

Jake Lacy (Carol) as Jason

Ben Miller (Paddington 2) as Bough

Adam James (Doctor Foster) as Pegasus

Other films I have enjoyed recently are American Animals (2018) starring Evan Peters, Heathers (1989) starring Winona Ryder, The Social Network (2010) starring Jesse Eisenberg and BlacKkKlansman (2018) starring John David Washington.

Happy Watching

Robyn 🙂