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Lesley Manville

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  • Film Review: 'Maleficent'

    Now almost midway through the year, 2014 seems unlikely to produce many more visually arresting, brilliantly designed, stoned-college-kid-friendly pieces of eye candy than Disney's "Maleficent." As for its revisionist take on the travails of the iconic "Sleeping Beauty" villainess, however, it falls far short of something an imaginative fan-fiction scribe, let alone obvious role models John Gardner or Gregory Maguire, might have crafted from the material. Uncertain of tone, and bearing visible scarring from what one imagines were multiple rewrites, the film fails to probe the psychology of its subject or set up a satisfying alternate history, but it sure is nice to look at for 97 minutes. Boasting an impressive and impeccably costumed Angelina Jolie in the title role, it ought to prove a solid global moneymaker and merchandise-minter for the Mouse House.
  • Review: 'Maleficent' ★★ 1/2

    Review: 'Maleficent' ★&#9733 1/2
    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...

    Angelina Jolie is wickedly good in the not-quite-classic 'Maleficent'

    Angelina Jolie is wickedly good in the not-quite-classic 'Maleficent'
    In re-imagining the infamous evil queen who curses an innocent girl, "Maleficent" is very much a cautionary tale for modern times. It essentially begs the question — are you sure it was the shrew that needed taming? It stars a wickedly good...

    'Maleficent' and why we love our childhood villains

    'Maleficent' and why we love our childhood villains
    She is the meanest woman ever to get her own plush toy. Maleficent, the wicked fairy from "Sleeping Beauty" who condemns the infant Princess Aurora to die, is the protagonist of a new movie starring Angelina Jolie and an unlikely character to boast...

    'Maleficent': The Pleasures and Perils of the Revisionist Fairy Tale

    (NOTE: This piece discusses key plot points from "Maleficent.") If we must take a revisionist sledgehammer to our most beloved fairy tales -- and if the recent likes of "Alice in Wonderland," "Red Riding Hood," "Mirror, Mirror," "Snow White and the...