Cinderella: Film Review

Cinderella

Courtesy of Amazon

I’m not even slightly exaggerating when I say that the new movie musical Cinderella has been savaged by critics. I don’t intend to go in on the film quite that hard because I didn’t hate it. Sure, it’s not great, but I enjoyed some aspects.

We all know the classic Cinderella fairy tale, about a orphan who lives with her evil stepmother and stepsisters and transforms into a beauty thanks to the fairy godmother so she can go to the ball, where she meets Prince Charming, leaves a glass slipper, you know the drill. This Cinderella, starring Camila Cabello in her acting debut, follows the broad strokes of the fairy tale but she is driven by her ambition to launch a fashion design career rather than because she wants to find a noble man to marry.

I found it strange how the film is a modern take on the traditional tale, one where women desire agency and want to have their own money and businesses and the ability to speak their mind, yet they live in an antiquated society which doesn’t allow them to do those things, they are simply wives and mothers and still attending balls so Prince Robert (Nicholas Galitzine) can pick his match. It just seemed very incongruous to have the modern feminist mindset with the traditional society setting.

I could appreciate what writer/director Kay Cannon was trying to do with her revisionist feminist take and I believe she had the best intentions but it leaves a lot to be desired. It came across as a token gesture and suggested that you can’t be a female entrepreneur and marry the man of your dreams, it has to be an either/or situation. I like that Cinderella didn’t want to become a subservient, voiceless princess and sacrifice her career dreams but I don’t think her decision-making was handled very well.

Given that Kenneth Branagh‘s live-action Disney remake of Cinderella only came out in 2015, it feels too soon to have this classic story told once again, even with the added musical numbers and modernisations. The film often felt like a pantomime production or one of those one-off live TV stagings rather than a legit movie, and although there are plenty of fun and enjoyable moments, it is mostly one big cringefest.

With the exception of two original songs, Cinderella is mostly compromised of an eclectic mix of cover tracks ranging from Jennifer Lopez’s Let’s Get Loud, The White Stripes’ Seven Nation Army, Queen’s Somebody to Love and Madonna’s Material Girl. The musical numbers are a mixed bag – some were brought to life well and worked within the context of the story, others didn’t make sense and there were a couple that made me cringe when they began.

The actors are impacted by the weak script, but Cabello still does well in her acting debut; she has charm, fun comic timing and a gorgeous singing voice. Idina Menzel was perfectly cast as her stepmother Vivian – she gets great musical numbers but her characterisation is all over the place – and there should have been more of Billy Porter as the Fab G (fairy godmother) as he was glorious! I found Galitzine simply fine and his sister Gwen (Tallulah Greive) rather annoying, despite her proposing worthy ideas about sustainability.

My favourite cast member was Minnie Driver as Robert’s mother Queen Beatrice – she puts King Rowan (Pierce Brosnan) in his place, refuses to keep her opinions to herself and has a fantastically sassy attitude and solid singing voice. Brosnan was also rather funny in a silly way and I liked that they poked fun in his singing abilities. Elsewhere, I enjoyed Rob Beckett as Cinderella’s pervy suitor Thomas and James Acaster, Romesh Ranganathan and James Corden as the mice/footmen. Not including Corden, the comedians’ casting will mean nothing to non-British audiences but I loved seeing them in a big movie, particularly Acaster, who seems so above this type of thing. They were the funniest characters and I thought Corden was fine too (I know many people dislike him).

I predict a wide critic and audience divide on this one – I think it’ll appeal to the masses more as it’s a feel-good, well-intentioned and harmless bit of fun.

On Amazon Prime Video from Friday 3rd September

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

The cinemas are back! Here’s what you can watch

Spiral: From the Book of Saw

Cinemas in England have been closed since December and I am SO excited for them to reopen tomorrow! I have missed them so much! To make up for lost time, I have got two films booked in on Monday and three overall this week.

Films don’t generally get released on Mondays, but to celebrate the return of cinemas, the following four movies were given the release date of Monday 17th May. Here’s all the info:

Spiral: From the Book of Saw

Get ready for more elaborately gruesome, wince-inducing traps – the Saw franchise is back! This ninth instalment stars Chris Rock and Max Minghella as two cops who investigate grisly murders which bear an uncanny resemblance to the work of the Jigsaw killer. This instalment is said to have more comedy moments and a social justice angle, in addition to the gore.

Those Who Wish Me Dead

Taylor Sheridan‘s new thriller has an amazing cast which includes Angelina Jolie, Nicholas Hoult, Jon Bernthal and Aidan Gillen. Jolie plays a smokejumper who goes on the run with a teenager murder witness in the Montana wilderness to escape a pair of assassins hired to silence him. This is my first screening tomorrow and I’m excited for it.

Peter Rabbit 2

More animated hijinks in this sequel to the 2018 family adventure. Domhnall Gleeson and Rose Byrne return as the live-action leads, who are now married and living happily with the animated Peter (voiced by James Corden) and his family. But Peter gets restless and bored with blissful garden life and causes chaos (as always) by going to the big city.

The Unholy

And for people who like their horrors more supernatural than gory, there’s The Unholy, starring The Walking Dead’s Jeffrey Dean Morgan. It follows a hearing-impaired girl who is visited by the Virgin Mary and can suddenly hear, speak and heal the sick. People flock to witness her miracles but terrifying events unfold. Sounds spooky!

Those are all the new releases but plenty of cinemas are showing some awards season films – the most popular listings are for Nomadland, Sound of Metal and Judas and the Black Messiah – new blockbusters like Mortal Kombat and Godzilla vs. Kong as well as old classics.

If you feel comfortable to do so, please go and support your local cinema when you can! I personally cannot wait to switch off my phone and devote my entire attention to a movie surrounded my like-minded film fans.

Cats: Film Review

When a film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s stage musical Cats was first announced, I let out a groan because I’m not a massive fan of the show. I didn’t really know what to expect from Cats the film, but I now know it is the weirdest, most bonkers and unique cinema experiences I’ve ever had.

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Ocean’s 8: Film Review

Following the critical mauling the all-female Ghostbusters reboot got (although I personally enjoyed it), I really wanted to like Ocean’s 8, not just because of what it represented for female-led blockbusters, but because I love the ensemble cast and the idea of a female heist comedy. Sadly, it didn’t quite come through.

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Peter Rabbit: Film Review

As much as I love Domhnall Gleeson, I must admit that I didn’t like the look of Peter Rabbit much. The trailer really didn’t sell it to me, so I was very surprised to find that it is a fun family movie that I enjoyed immensely.

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Daisy Ridley, James Corden and Domhnall Gleeson at the Peter Rabbit premiere: My Pics

This afternoon, the stars of Peter Rabbit hit the green grassy carpet in London’s Leicester Square to celebrate its release, and here are my pics of Daisy Ridley, James Corden, Domhnall Gleeson & Elizabeth Debicki.

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Katy Perry needs to stop talking about the Taylor Swift feud now

I love a juicy celebrity feud as much as anybody and the Taylor Swift vs Katy Perry one was the perfect example of the tabloid fodder I love. That changed this weekend when Katy spoke about it AGAIN. She cannot stop talking about it and that has made it less exciting and I am over it.

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Trolls: Film Review

trolls

I love a children’s animation and I love a musical so Trolls, based on the popular kids’ toys, has the perfect combination and I loved it so much. If you don’t leave the cinema bopping and singing along, there is something wrong with you.

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Kill Your Friends: Film Review

kill1

Nicholas Hoult getting his American Psycho on? Check. Nicholas Hoult in regular topless glory? Check. A nostalgic blast from the 90s with a killer soundtrack? Check. Kill Your Friends just wins on all fronts.

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Into the Woods: Film Review

INTO THE WOODS

I love a good musical and I love so many of the cast in this so I have been excited for a while and yes, it was good but it wasn’t AMAZING. And I really wanted amazing.

Emily Blunt and James Corden play a couple who are unable to have children due to a curse put on their house by a witch (Meryl Streep). To break the spell, they must find four items within the woods which puts them in touch with well-known fairytale characters like Cinderella (Anna Kendrick), Rapunzel, Red Riding Hood and Jack (and his Beanstalk).

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