Life itself is the chief antagonist of In the Heights. Here, ‘fights and endless debts and bills to pay’ are the status quo. Or so the chorus sing. This is Jon M. Chu’s infectiously buoyant adaptation of the eponymous Lin Manuel Miranda and Quiara Alegría Hudes’ Broadway hit of 2008. It’s a tale of dreamers, dancers and star crossed lovers. Gorgeously – almost distractingly – shot, this is a film that reminds as much as West Side Story as it does the blushed up beginnings of the Step Up franchise. The transition from stage to screen here borders on seamless. If it’s a little too blunt to be powerful, the film is nigh on impossible to dislike. In this day and age, that makes In the Heights a bonafide triumph.
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From a narrative standpoint, Cruella is no less redundant a prequel to 101 Dalmatians than was Maleficent to Sleeping Beauty. The similarities don’t end there. Cruella too opens with childhood tragedy – one which sends another young girl down the path of evil – before segueing to an adulthood brought spectacularly to life by a star on form. Mercifully, this is a far more interesting feature than the former. It’s too long, and occasionally languorous by consequence, but a hoot nonetheless. No puppies are harmed but the soundtrack’s a killer.
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A Quiet Place: Part II has nothing on the total silence imposed sporadically on cinemas across the past twelve months. If anything, John Krasinski’s long awaited sequel marks an ironically cacophonous return to big screen entertainment. That said, Part II is noisier than its predecessor from the off. It’s broader in scale and ambition too. Whether that’s for the better is less convincing. Indeed, conventional wisdom has it that less is more. By that logic, A Quiet Place II is, more or less, the lesser to its more heart wrenching predecessor. Still good though.
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