Fri, May 30, 2014 - Page 10 News List

Movie releases

Compiled by Ian Bartholomew  /  Contributing reporter

Maleficent

Folkloric reinterpretation hits full swing with Maleficent, which explores the untold story of Disney’s most iconic villain from the classic Sleeping Beauty and the backstory of what ultimately turn her pure heart to stone. This is a tale imbued with a strong, almost Tolkien-esque, environmental themes that see the cruel stepmother transformed into the character Maleficent an amoral protector of the dark forests who in her quest for vengeance against human culture realizes that the girl she has cursed may be the only person who can reestablish peace. The title role is taken by Angelina Jolie, doing a slightly more sophisticated take on her outing as Grendel’s Mother in Beowulf, looking sexy in a totally unreal, airbrushed sort of way. There is a perfectly able supporting cast including Elle Fanning, Imelda Staunton and Sam Riley, but one cannot help but wonder if this is Disney scraping the bottom of the barrel, dredging up minor fairytale characters and giving them their own feature-length show as a substitute for creating something new.

Yves Saint Laurent

A haute couture biopic about one of the biggest names in the fashion business sadly does not tell any tales. In fact, it doesn’t even manage to tell a particularly interesting story, for although the film’s hero is clearly a fascinating human being, a wild mixture of manic depressive, genius, wisdom and naivety, Yves Saint Laurent never comes over as more than a very mechanical sum of his parts. Director Jalil Lespert has made a jigsaw from various manifestations of Saint Laurent artistry and emotional see-saw, but despite the best efforts of the highly talented Pierre Niney, he never comes alive as a person. There is, of course, an overload of beautiful people in elegant costumes prancing about against a splendid backdrop, and for some, this will make the film worthwhile, but we don’t get much insight into the fashion industry and the surreal world in which Saint Laurent lived and made into his own exotic habitat.

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