Tag Archives: Movie Review

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil proves to be a beautiful disaster

Story and art by Scarlett Hatton

The 2014 film, Maleficent was a fantastic retelling and origin story of the beloved Disney classic Sleeping Beauty told in the villain’s perspective. The film captured the dynamic character development of Maleficent [played by Angelina Jolie] and the magical world she lived in. Throughout the movie, Maleficent became a motherlike figure to Aurora [played by Elle Fanning], ultimately being able to save her from her eternal slumber with “true love’s kiss.” This character shift made for a very happy ending to an amazing, complete story. Then, Disney decided to give us a totally unnecessary sequel that seemingly no one asked for.

Theoretically, a continuation of this story could have been interesting. However, in this instance, the film was barely a continuation of the first movie at all. Not only did it have an entirely unrelated storyline, but the writers seem to have forgotten the ending of the last movie. While the first film ended with Maleficent rid of her evil ways, the second movie began with her as the villain. This came as a surprise because the entire first movie was about the character growth and development of Maleficent. Ultimately, it was not necessary to have any prior knowledge of Maleficent to understand this movie. Whether that was their intention or not, the film was less enjoyable to watch and felt unnecessary to the original story. 

As mentioned previously, the storyline of this film was lacking. The movie began with Prince Phillip proposing to Aurora, Queen of the Moors. Once Maleficent heard of their engagement, she argued with Aurora against this future marriage. After some convincing, Maleficent agreed to have dinner with Phillip’s parents, King John and Queen Ingrith. During dinner, Ingrith began insulting Maleficent by bringing up her past and even claiming that she was not a good mother for Aurora. By this point of the movie, it was painfully obvious that Ingrith was the main antagonist. Unfortunately, the entire movie was badly written in a predictable manner. Maleficent got so mad at Queen Ingrith that she cursed King John in a fit of rage. Because the main antagonist needs to be conscious for the entire movie, the writers chose for King John to be cursed instead of the logical choice of Ingrith. This is one of the best examples of poor writing choices. 

After the dinner scene, the plot became very messy. Maleficent was shot by the Queen’s iron bullet, fell into the ocean, and was rescued by a fairy. The fairy took her underground, where she encountered many creatures just like her. This storyline is redundant, predictable, and can be found in many kids’ movies. The last main portion of the movie was the battle scene. This lasted for a long time and was quite different from the first movie which did not have as much violence. Coincidentally everything worked out in the end. It was a happily ever after, somehow, despite the death and destruction that the battle caused.   

Despite its flaws, the movie was stunning to look at. The incredible special effects and detailed costumes showed throughout, proved the high budget and effort that was put into the film. Compared to the first Maleficent, the visuals improved tremendously. Each setting and character were so much more believable and realistic in this movie. The beautiful visuals even distract from some of the strange dialogue. It is a shame, however, that the writing could not live up to its image.

No one else could play the role of Maleficent better than Jolie. Her character was convincing and had depth, which most characters lacked. During the movie, it was clear who was written as a main character opposed from a background character. Small roles were very one-dimensional and did not really add much to the storyline. It seemed like the movie introduced almost too many new characters for the writers to handle. However, even smaller roles had incredible detail that did not go unrecognizable. 

With its mainly younger audience, the predictability and plot holes are forgivable. Yet there was so much that could have been done to improve the story. There is no doubt that the film was full of different side plots and characters. As a whole, the movie was unnecessary.  However, Jolie’s talented acting and the beautiful visuals were its redeeming qualities. 


Acting: A-

Writing/dialogue: C




Stick your claws into this, Logan movie review

By Eleni Pappas

Finally, the Wolverine solo movie we deserve. Coming back for the last time (or so he says) as the gruff mutant with adamantium claws and a sordid past, Hugh Jackman stars in this potentially wall shattering film directed by James Mangold. The movie follows Logan (Wolverine) now aged and weary, hiding out on the Mexican border caring for an ill Professor X. Logan’s plan to hide from the rest of humanity and past legacy are suddenly overturned when he meets a young girl, a mutant, on the run and with a lot more in common with Logan than meets the eye. Continue reading Stick your claws into this, Logan movie review

New ‘Annie’ remake fails to overshadow original

By Peyton Combs

Annie, a classic film that has been around for many years, has been modernized and brought back to the big screen. I’m sure that every ankle biting grade school kid who saw the film at least somewhat enjoyed the over-the-top production, but I can’t deny that watching the new remake saddened my heart.

The writer of the film (Aline Brosh McKenna) has not only updated to a modern New York City, but she has also almost completely thrown out the original storyline. The cast is more racially diverse, the soundtrack has been remixed to fit more into the R&B category, and the new Annie (Quvenzhane Wallis) seems to have an overall more snarky attitude.

The movie itself was not terrible. I think what ruined it for me was the fact that they took a timeless classic and completely butchered it. Sure, it was a cute little movie. The movies is in theaters until Thursday. You can see the movie at Regal Cinemas at 12:50 p.m. and at Carmike Cinemas at 11:45 a.m.

The new music is catchy and the acting is semi-tolerable, but they messed with a long standing tradition. Don’t get me wrong, it was nice to see Little Orphan Annie find life beyond that bright red dress, but I think they took it a little too far this time. It was a mediocre movie at best, but it’s okay, the sun will come out tomorrow.


Insidious: Chapter 2 fails to capture the nerve-wracking plot of the original

By Christian Dimartino and Bryce Romig

There is a vicious cycle when it comes to scary movies. The original is released, it becomes an instant classic with a large fanbase; however, most of the time, the filmmakers do not leave the original alone. Instead, the director brings along a new form of terror: a sequel. About 99.99 percent of the time, the sequel never lives up to the original. So, going into James Wan’s Insidious: Chapter 2, the burning question on the viewers’ mind is this: Can it top the original?

Insidious, Wan’s 2011 movie that slowly gathered a cult like following, was one of the more effective scary movies in recent history. Wan hit another slam-dunk back in July with The Conjuring, an even better movie (and very successful and even critically acclaimed) which is among the year’s best.  So, there is a lot of hype to live up to. But did he do it?

The sequel takes place directly after the events of the original. The Lambert family is trying to move on with their lives and recover from the events they had previously been through. But of course, since this is a sequel to a scary movie, the recovering doesn’t last very long. The wife Renai (the always terrific Rose Bryne) starts to notice strange occurrences again, including the behavior of her husband Josh (Patrick Wilson, the most overlooked actor in Hollywood), who she doesn’t reallytrust, due to events of the previous film.

Warning: Do not see this movie without seeing the original. It is not worth it. For confusion sake, just sit down and watch the original. The sequel will not be completely confusing, but either way the original is worth seeing. The original has a solid plot that is crucial to the second.

It’s always nice to see good acting in a scary movie. Like in the original, Wilson and Byrne nail it. The statement about Wilson being the most overlooked actor in Hollywood is true. This guy is great in Hard Candy, Little Children, Lakeview Terrace, among others, and he is still not a household name. Neither is the gorgeous Byrne, who is known for FX’s Damages and Bridesmaids. These two are in top form here. Everyone’s acting is solid, and it is nice to have almost everyone from the original (even Lin Shaye’s deceased character Elise).

At the end of the day, Insidious: Chapter 2 is not quite as captivating as the original. For Wan, this is a step down from the original Insidious and The Conjuring. Jumping out of your skin is guaranteed, yet the movie needed something more chilling. It needed more of Tiny Tim’s “Tiptoe through the Tulips” or the freaky demon that had a close resemblance to Darth Maul.

It is a good movie, but some of it is uneven. Not quite all of it adds up. Also, the twist, while good, is out there, even for this movie. Insidious: Chapter 2, though flawed, is a consistently entertaining movie that is worth seeing. It works, just not as well as the original. But Insidious: Chapter 3, if it happens, is pushing it.

Regardless of a hard to follow plot and somewhat confusing storyline, Insidious: Chapter 2 is definitely going to leave you paranoid at night.

Rating: 7.5/10

Django Unchained illustrates Tarantino’s consistent artistry

By Christian DiMartino

Rated R for strong graphic violence throughout, a vicious fight, language and some nudity.
Runtime: 166 minutes
Now Playing: Regal New Albany Stadium 16, Regal River Falls Stadium 12, Cinemark Tinseltown USA Louisville
Five Stars out of Five Stars

For the past twenty years, writer/director Quentin Tarantino has been entertaining us in a hilariously cringing way. Sadly, those twenty years have brought us only eight films (not counting his writing and producing efforts). But yet, each one of those eight films has a marvelous quality. One of his best qualities is his killer dialogue, which is always whip smart and hilarious. Django Unchained is no exception.

Tarantino has a gift for making the most serious of topics comical. This was displayed three years ago with his last film, Inglourious Basterds (my favorite film of 2009), which revolved around a group of Jewish Americans known as “The Basterds,” who hunted down the Third Reich. With Inglorious Basterds, Tarantino re-wrote history in an extraordinary way; he created a Holocaust cartoon, which probably led to a lot of bickering from historians. His latest film, Django Unchained, is even more controversial. Some may bicker again. Forget’em. Sit back, shut up, and get consumed by QT’s latest revenge fantasy.

Django (Jamie Foxx, who I do not generally like, but is enjoyable here) is a slave during the 1800’s. Enter Dr. King Shultz (the expectedly brilliant Christoph Waltz, whose show-stealing performance in Basterds led him to a much deserved Oscar), a dentist/bounty hunter who lets Django free and gives him an offer he cannot refuse: if he helps him hunt down some people, then he will help him find his wife, Bromhilda (the always lovely Kerry Washington). Bromhilda as it turns out, is currently the slave of a lunatic plantation owner named Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio, giving one of his best performances).

Waltz is always perfect, but when DiCaprio is on screen, it is his show. Like Waltz’s character Hans Landa from Inglorious Basterds, Tarantino has written yet another scene stealing villain. Candie is a maniac, and once DiCaprio steps on screen, he, as he says in the film,”had my curiosity, but now you have my attention.” Lastly, in his best performance in years, there is Samuel L. Jackson as Candie’s conniving slave, Stephen. Almost unrecognizable in latex, Jackson’s character is a mystery. He’s a slave playing on the wrong team, and he’s the sort of character just unique enough to be in a Tarantino film (QT’s previous film made a Nazi somewhat likable). Great supporting work from the three actors.

But while being hilarious, it is also real enough to make you cringe, and it does not shy away from the fact that this period happened. The “n-word” is used plenty, and it may make some uncomfortable. Also, the violence is pretty constant and graphic.

But the above content wasn’t enough to keep it off of the Oscar Ballot. Django Unchained is now nominated for 5 Oscars, including Best Picture, Original Screenplay, and Supporting Actor for Waltz. Though Tarantino was snubbed of Best Director, they at least gave it a very well deserved best picture and screenplay. DiCaprio and Jackson also did not make nomination lists. They did not give it quite as much justice as it deserves, but it is good enough for me.

What I admire about Django is the way that Tarantino blends drama, action, western, and comedy so well. Tarantino is one of the greatest current directors. He does not care about awards or Oscars. He just wants to give the audience what they want. There is not a boring second in the whole two hours and forty-five minutes. But it never lets you go. The cast seems to be having a great time, and so does the audience. It is nothing but a bloody good time from the opening credits until the closing credits.