‘Maleficent’ Review

Maleficent manages to put an entertaining spin on the tale of Sleeping Beauty, by attempting to tell the story from the villains perspective. Early scenes of the character, and later interactions between Malificent and Aurora successfully add depth and intrigue, but overall falls short in creating a unique backstory for the character. Despite the immersive visual effects and Angelina Jolie’s excellent performance, there is really nothing all that compelling about Maleficent.

Based on Disney’s most iconic villain from the 1959 classic Sleeping Beauty. A beautiful, pure-hearted young woman, Maleficent(Angelina Jolie) has an idyllic life growing up in a peaceable forest kingdom, until one day when an invading army threatens the harmony of the land. Maleficent rises to be the land’s fiercest protector, but she ultimately suffers a ruthless betrayal-an act that begins to turn her pure heart to stone. Bent on revenge, Maleficent faces an epic battle with the invading king’s successor and, as a result, places a curse upon his newborn infant Aurora. As the child grows, Maleficent realizes that Aurora (Elle Fanning) holds the key to peace in the kingdom-and perhaps to Maleficent’s true happiness as well.

Brought to life by first time director Richard Stoddard, Maleficent looks stunning. The film successfully transitions a cartoon to live action, capturing the color and vibrance of a Disney animation while adding the depth of a live-action film. Angelia Jolie really does an excellent job bringing Maleficent to life, and delivers a great performance. The action scenes, although few and far between, are the most impressive moments of the movie, particularly the first major battle sequence in the film. Stoddard comes from a background of special effects and a ton of experience from big-time projects, so it should come as no surprise that the visuals are the highlight of the film.

The first portion of the film is when Maleficent is at its strongest, both visually and story quality. Although the visuals remain outstanding throughout the movie, the story is pretty much downhill from there. The film is centered around Maleficent but focuses so heavily on her simple motives, we barely get to see Jolie embrace the evil her character is known for. Sharlto Copley as Stephan is entertaining at times, but I wouldn’t consider him a huge a highlight of the film. I would argue that this is due to flaws in the story and the under-development of his character rather than the actors performance.

There are multiple plot holes and inconsistencies throughout the film, particularly surrounding the use of magic and towards the end of the movie the are a few moments that are ridiculously silly and very hard to believe. I do appreciate that some of these moments were designed simply to keep the story moving, but still the efforts and struggles that lead up to the end of the film really don’t make ton of sense.

Overral the characters are flat, their motives are basic and the plot is pretty thin. To be fair that is pretty much what you should expect out of live-action film centered around a Disney cartoon. I also recognize that I am not the target demographic, and there are plenty of people out their that will truly enjoy this film. If your a big fan of the story, or looking for a night out with the family, then odds are you will  likely enjoy Maleficent.

This film was designed for the big screen, so if you do intend on seeing Maleficent in theaters , I would highly recommend checking it out in IMAX 3D. If the visuals are the only reason you are going, I would recommend holding off. As impressive as the film looks, there really isn’t enough there to pay the price of admission.

The post ‘Maleficent’ Review appeared first on Age of The Nerd.

Da Vinci’s Demons’ Season 2 and NYCC Coverage

David S. Goyer, Tom Riley, Blake Ritson, Laura Haddock, Gregg Chillin(PCM) From creator David S. Goyer, The STARZ original drama, Da Vinci’s Demons returns for season 2 on Saturday March 22, 2014. When Florence is thrown into chaos in the wake of the Pazzi conspiracy, Leonardo da Vinci must push the limits of his own mind and body to defend the city against the forces of Rome. In the meantime the Medicis go to unthinkable lengths to deal with new threats, as da Vinci continues on his quest to find the fabled Book of Leaves and uncover the secret history of his mother. He quickly realizes that he will encounter new enemies and lethal competition in his quest. His search will take him to lands far and away and force him to reevaluate everything he knows. Check out the season 2 trailer below!

You can also check out the round-table interviews from New York Comic-Con right here!

The post Da Vinci’s Demons’ Season 2 and NYCC Coverage also appeared on Television News.

Bad Words Review

bad-words-jason-bateman-03-636-380(PCM) Jason Bateman (“Identity Thief”) makes his feature directorial debut with the subversive comedy BAD WORDS. He stars as Guy Trilby, a 40-year-old who finds a loophole in the rules of The Golden Quill national spelling bee and decides to cause trouble by hijacking the competition. While reporter Jenny Widgeon (Kathryn Hahn of “We’re the Millers”) attempts to discover his true motivation, Guy finds himself forging an unlikely alliance with a competitor: awkward 10-year-old Chaitanya Chopra (Rohan Chand of “Homeland”), who is completely unfazed by Guy’s take-no-prisoners approach to life.

Bateman gets to step completely out of usual straight man act, and he really takes advantage of it. The films premise is simple enough; a disgruntled man enters a enters a children’s spelling bee through a loophole to prove some point, that will be revealed throughout the film. As the contest goes on, “Guy” befriends an 11 year-old fellow competitor, and as you can imagine, hijinks ensue.

There is no doubt that Jason Bateman brings a little bit of “ Michael Bluth” into every role he takes on, but in his directorial debut, Bateman really brings on the characters’ resentment, that we all know he’s capable of, but usually holds back a bit in previous roles. Its great to see Bateman honestly looking like he’s having fun with a role, and its not just his performance. As a whole the movie feels like a breath of fresh air, something a bit different and defiantly screwed up. Fans of deadpan delivery should definitely enjoy this film. The way that Bateman’s character, Guy, treats children is uncanny. Nobody dies or gets physically hurt. But feelings? A childs’ feelings? They don’t just get hurt… they get smashed to bits, horrifically and often very profanely.

badwords_aThe heart of the movie is all about the relationship between Guy and Chaitainya, which is both hilarious and unexpectedly tender. “Bad Words” is a movie about loneliness and kids in need of better parenting, not to mention a ridiculous buddy flick involving an adult who dishes out a vivid verbal takedown of a unlikable mothers’ vagina and a kid who gets drunk and debates whether all women have nipples. All in all it’s a dark comedy that can make us believe in the friendship between a wounded jerk and a lost child and the ability in doing something right.

The post Bad Words Review also appeared on PCM Reviews.

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