This weekend’s two biggest movies will kill audiences – one with boredom, the other with laughs.
Disney continues rehashing old movies with a live-action reboot of the ‘Sleeping Beauty‘ villain ‘Maleficent‘. The studio kicked this trend off a few years back with Tim Burton’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’. Then came last year’s ‘Oz: The Great and Powerful’. Even though many viewers didn’t care for those two, I liked them both quite a bit. Why do I tell you this? Because I loathed ‘Maleficent’. Angelina Jolie plays the iconic evil queen and the first half house is dedicated to explaining her backstory. She’s no witch or sorceress. No, she’s an overgrown fairy. After that, she becomes a misunderstood hero in a completely contrived string of unexplainable events that tarnish the reputation of the animated classic.
Instead of following the ‘Sleeping Beauty’ story, ‘Maleficent’ attempts to erase it. No joke, at one point the narration says something to the effect of, “Whoever told you that this story happened another way was wrong.” How I heard this dialog was: “You know that Sleeping Beauty? It was full of crap.” That’s not the way to reimagine a timeless tale. This leaves me dreading next year’s live action version of ‘Cinderella’.
Meanwhile, Seth MacFarlane returns to big screen, this time placing himself in front of the camera as the lead in ‘A Million Ways to Die in the West‘. Fans who love ‘Ted’ or ‘Family Guy’ should enjoy the comedy Western just as much. MacFarlane plays a heartbroken pessimist whose girlfriend (Amanda Seyfried) leaves him for a man of the mustache (Neil Patrick Harris). Just as he’s ready to leave the deadly frontier territory for the safety of San Francisco, his plans change when he meets an equally negative beautiful blonde (Charlize Theron) with a secret. Get ready for the type of tear-inducing raunchy laughs that only MacFarlane can conjure, including a few awesome surprise cameos.
In limited release are two prospects with some potential. The first is the Scottish thriller ‘Filth‘. James McAvoy stars as a slimy cop trying to make things right in life by doing insane, illegal and unethical things. The gritty crime drama looks fantastic, so be on the lookout to see if it expands to your local cinemas over the next several weekends.
‘Night Moves‘ stars Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning and Peter Sarsgaard as a trio of environmentalist radicals attempting to make a statement by blowing up a dam that holds back a reservoir. The closer they get to executing their plan, the more paranoid each becomes.