Does ‘Cruella’ Solve Disney’s Live-Action Problem?

I come down hard on Disney for numerous reasons (that it as a corporate entity owns Pixar, Marvel, & Lucasfilm— also Fox and ITS properties; controls 40% of the media market, and the fact that I can never escape word of its new releases no matter how hard I try) but the thing I come down on hardest is its live-action sector: Disney’s brand of animated classics now being repackaged for modern audiences. From a business standpoint, live-action remakes, sequels, and spin-offs are a no-brainer – established properties that have greater odds of securing an audience. Admittedly, these attempts can yield something truly magical as, say, Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella or Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book. But more often than not, the efforts ring hollow like Alice in Wonderland, and whatever Through the Looking Glass was, or Dumbo, Aladdin, The Lion King, last year’s Mulan

Needless to say, I wasn’t holding my breath for Cruella, Disney’s latest live-action movie that’s also a *stops to catch breath* villain spinoff and 101 Dalmatians prequel. But to my surprise, Cruella is immensely fun. So much fun that it makes a surprisingly strong case for, and I shall live to regret saying this, more of its kind?

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‘La La Land’: Someone In The Crowd

One of the most iconic shots in La La Land (and there are plenty of them) comes early on during Mia’s melancholy walk home. A walk of shame. Her car’s been towed, she’s living in the city of her dreams – a city that shuns her – and finds herself doubting whether she’s good enough. It’s an all-too-familiar road, one she embarks on after each failed audition. On this particular stroll, she finds music that suits her mood and follows the bread crumbs of the melody to find Sebastian. Continue reading

‘La La Land’: A Bit of Madness is Key

What is it about dreams that make them so unbearably cinematic? Perhaps it’s the chase, the song and dance of it. The grandiosity, vividness. Or its proximity. How close it seems once we’ve projected the idealized versions of ourselves in the cinema of our subconscious. I suppose the real question is what makes us want to chase our dreams when the world tells us otherwise. When we’ve faced rejection, tasted failure. How long do we go on chasing something until we realize we’re just making a fool of ourselves?  Continue reading