ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

cloudy-day
71°
Partly Cloudy
H 74° L 63°
  • cloudy-day
    71°
    Current Conditions
    Partly Cloudy. H 74° L 63°
  • cloudy-day
    66°
    Evening
    Partly Cloudy. H 74° L 63°
  • rain-day
    64°
    Morning
    Rain. H 69° L 62°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest top stories

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest traffic report

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest forecast

00:00 | 00:00

Movies
Review: Angelina Jolie puts some heart into 'Sleeping Beauty's' bad, bad girl
Close

Review: Angelina Jolie puts some heart into 'Sleeping Beauty's' bad, bad girl

Review: Angelina Jolie puts some heart into 'Sleeping Beauty's' bad, bad girl
Photo Credit: Frank Connor
This photo released by Disney shows Angelina Jolie in a scene from "Maleficent." (AP Photo/Disney, Frank Connor)

Review: Angelina Jolie puts some heart into 'Sleeping Beauty's' bad, bad girl

The formula works. It worked with "Wicked" on stage and it worked with "Frozen" on film — tilting the storytelling prism so that a new angle on a well-known fairy tale appears in the light. The strategy depends on humanizing characters formerly known as evil, so that another tale of conflicted impulses emerges from the story we know, driven by female antagonist/protagonist hybrids who aren't bad, just misunderstood.

So it goes with "Maleficent," the Disney corporation's bombastic, moderately entertaining explanation of why the "queen of all evil" from its 1959 animated "Sleeping Beauty" got that way, and why she wasn't, really.

This is almost entirely Angelina Jolie's show. "Maleficent" is her first picture in four years, and from the tip of her character's prosthetic cheekbones to the needle-sharp tippy-top of one of the massive horns (like party favors that got out of control) approximately 14 inches north of her skull, truly this is a performance that goes from point A to point B without seeming rote, or ho-hum.

Screenwriter Linda Woolverton sets up a dueling-kingdoms narrative, humans uneasily located adjacent to the land of sprites, fairies, wicker men and a color palette bright enough to make you urp. As a young girl, Maleficent has wonderful wings and an exuberant spirit. One day in the forest she meets an interloper, Stefan, shy and charming.

Years later, now a career-minded young adult, Stefan (played by the perpetually strenuous Sharlto Copley of "District 9") is required to kill Maleficent to prove himself worthy of running the kingdom. He can't go through with the deed, but he drugs his ex-sometime-girlfriend and robs her of her most conspicuous adornments. What else can Maleficent do at this point? She lets it go — can't hold it back any more — and exacts revenge on her one-time squeeze by casting a spell on his newborn daughter, the princess Aurora. Much of the action and some of the dialogue overlaps and intersects with the '59 animated film, itself drawn from the Perrault and Grimm versions of "Sleeping Beauty."

"Maleficent" is all about second thoughts. Our anti-heroine, who dominates the proceedings like a drag act looking for her spotlight, spends much of the film as Aurora's conflicted fairy godmother, her heart warming, reluctantly, to the girl under the spell. (Maleficent's child-care trio is played by motion-capture versions of Imelda Staunton, Lesley Manville and Juno Temple; Sam Riley is her shape-shifting sidekick.) There are elaborate battle sequences with Maleficent wiping out hordes of human soldiers that recall the dark-toned, blood-free slaughter of another recent fairy tale do-over, "Snow White and the Huntsman" (which I liked, actually).

Elle Fanning plays the older Aurora, and while she and Jolie are required to stay within the boundaries of a specific type of green-screen acting, they're awfully good at it; their work is vivid and emotionally potent, even when the first-time feature director Robert Stromberg, an Oscar-winning art director, doesn't bring much in terms of fluid camerawork to the party. As Maleficent herself thaws into pretty-niceness, Jolie keeps a tight rein on the transformation and on the film as a whole. There are moments when you wish the spell-caster would banish James Newton Howard's sloshy, pushy musical score to the neighboring kingdom of Generica. On the other hand, makeup wizard Rick Baker deserves plaudits (or kudos, whichever is ranked higher) for the title character's angular, serrated look.

And now Disney can move on to developing the untold story of Cruella de Vil and how she was wronged by a caddish London playboy with an affection for dogs.

Read More
VIEW COMMENTS

There are no comments yet. Be the first to post your thoughts. or Register.

The Latest News Headlines

  • President Donald Trump escalated his feud with NBA personality LaVar Ball in a pair of tweets Wednesday, calling Ball an “ungrateful fool” and taking full credit for getting Ball’s son and two of his UCLA basketball teammates back to the U.S. after the trio was accused of shoplifting in China. >> Read more trending news “It wasn’t the White House, it wasn’t the State Department, it wasn’t father LaVar’s so-called people on the ground in China that got his son out of a long term prison sentence - IT WAS ME,” the president wrote in a tweet posted around 5:30 a.m. Wednesday. “Remember LaVar, shoplifting is NOT a little thing. It’s a really big deal, especially in China. Ungrateful fool!” Trump and Ball have engaged in a verbal back-and-forth since the president took credit for freeing Ball’s son, LiAngelo, and two of his teammates, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill, from a Chinese jail earlier this month. The trio was facing shoplifting charges and as many as 10 years in China’s prison system. >> Related: WATCH: LaVar Ball fires back at Trump in heated CNN interview LiAngelo Ball, Riley and Hill were released and allowed to return to the United States last week after Trump said he spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping on their behalf. “The basketball players, by the way — I know a lot of people are asking — I will tell you, when I heard about it two days ago, I had a great conversation with President Xi,” Trump said, according to The Washington Post. “What they did was unfortunate. You know, you’re talking about very long prison sentences. (The Chinese) do not play games.” >> Related: Trump again lashes out at UCLA basketball dad LaVar Ball: 'Very ungrateful!' LiAngelo Ball, Riley and Hill thanked their fellow teammates, school officials and the U.S. government, including Trump, for the work they did to bring them back to the U.S. LaVar Ball, however, said in an interview Monday with CNN that he wouldn’t thank Trump. 'Did he help the boys get out? I don't know,” LaVar Ball said. “If I was going to thank somebody I'd probably thank President Xi (Jinping). ... It wasn't like he was in the US and said, 'OK, there's three kids in China. I need to go over and get them.' That wasn't the thought process.” >> Related: Trump fires back after LaVar Ball minimizes role in getting UCLA players released LaVar Ball told CNN that he felt if Trump helped to free his son, the president shouldn’t have felt like he needed recognition. “If you helped you shouldn't have to say anything,” LaVar Ball said. “If I help somebody, I don't walk around saying, you know, ‘I helped you now, come on now, you give me some love, I helped you.’ Come on, for real?” “Just think LaVar, you could have spent the next 5 to 10 years during Thanksgiving with your son in China, but no NBA contract to support you,” Trump tweeted on Wednesday. The Palm Beach Post contributed to this report.
  • On Wednesday family friends and Nassau County law-enforcement gather to honor fallen Nassau County deputy Eric Oliver on the anniversary of his death. Oliver was hit and killed by a vehicle while chasing a suspect across State Road 200 on November 22, 2016. The Nassau County sheriffs office unveiled a memorial Wednesday at the gate gas station where the foot chase began.  Oliver has been recognized locally and nationally. His family told Action News Jax the community support has helped them grieve.  'It'll be there forever and I think it just represents the lawn enforcement in the community and the sacrifice they make,' Deputy Oliver's mother Sharon says of the memorial. 
  • Christina Aguilera delivered a tribute to the late Whitney Houston that only a vocalist of her caliber could do. >> Read more trending news At Sunday night’s American Music Awards, Aguilera celebrated the 25th anniversary of Houston’s blockbuster movie “The Bodyguard” and its top-selling soundtrack. Related: Christina Aguilera to pay tribute to Whitney Houston, ‘The Bodyguard’ at AMAs Beginning her set in a black pantsuit and a singular spotlight, Aguilera sang the a capella opening of “I Will Always Love You,” transitioning to the big note before going into “I Have Nothing,” followed by “Run to You,” a song Houston herself has praised Aguilera for singing. Related: Christina Aguilera to pay tribute to Whitney Houston, ‘The Bodyguard’ at AMAs Assisted by a choir, Aguilera ended her tribute with “I’m Every Woman” recieving a standing ovation. Watch the full performance below.
  • A U.S. Navy aircraft with 11 people on board has crashed into the Pacific Ocean, officials said Wednesday. >> Click here or scroll down for the latest updates  >> Read more trending news 
  • A contract employee has been arrested for his role in the escape of an inmate from the Baker County Detention Center.  Gregory Shedd of Macclenny is charged with introduction of contraband into a detention facility and aiding in an escape.  Deputies say Shedd pushed Dakota Carter out of the detention facility in a trash cart on Sunday.   Shedd turned himself in to Baker County Sheriff’s Office Detectives on Tuesday evening.  He had already been fired.   Carter was in jail on charges including armed burglary, possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, meth, drug paraphernalia, grand theft and grand theft of a firearm.  Carter worked in the kitchen as a cook. Deputies said he got into a trash carrier and covered himself in trash to be wheeled out of the jail.  “At the end of the day, they clean up and the trash gets thrown into a barrel, and he was in the bottom of that and then got pushed outside the facility,” said BCSO Maj. Randy Crews.  Carter met his girlfriend at a Dollar General after the escape. She drove him to Georgia, where deputies arrested him in Echols County.  The girlfriend is facing charges for helping Carter escape.  The Baker County Sheriff’s Department is looking into policies and procedures at the jail.

The Latest News Videos