Chris Pine in Into the Woods (2014)

Into the Woods (2014)

Musicals and I have never really been on the same wavelength. As a child I can vividly recall watching Disney classics like Sleeping Beauty or Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and sinking in my seat when the inevitable musical numbers began. That antipathy remains, decades later. The first film I was assigned to review…

Angelina Jolie and Elle Fanning in Maleficent (2014)

Maleficent (2014)

Maleficent is studio-mandated fan fiction, a Sleeping Beauty remix with sumptuous visuals that never really provides a good reason for existing. I’ll grant that it’s the first competent execution of the post-300 “artificial live-action” aesthetic, but the narrative adjustments to the classic tale – a sympathetic villain, an excoriation of dictatorial hierarchies and a hefty…