Cruella ★★★½

This was pretty much what I thought it would be... the perfect matinee movie for a weekday, with two great actresses strutting their stuff on the big screen. Emma Thompson channels her inner Angelica Huston to play the bitchy queen of London fashion, The Baroness. Emma Stone is one measure of distractingly naïve and two measures of Harley Quinn badass crazy in her dual-nature role of Estella/Cruella. That's really all you need to know as the ladies face-off in a twisty origins story that includes cute little Dalmatian puppies only at the very end. Excellent supporting roles by funny fat guy Paul Walter Hauser as the pickpocket Horace and by Mark Strong as the designer's assistant John the Valet. The clothing by Jenny Beavan is more costume than fashion. See it for fun. Disney got game!

Cinema Note: The film was released just ten days ago, but the showing I attended at 3:15pm on Tuesday had only three of us in the audience, still wearing masks. I continue to be very afraid that movie fans are not coming back to the theaters. I intend to see a new film every week the rest of this year as a personal contribution to the survival of my local multiplex of choice. I hope others will do the same.

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