Posts Tagged ‘Maleficent’


Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 11.05.58 PMRichard reviews “SpongeBob Squarepants: Sponge Out of Water,” Seventh Son,” and “Outcast” with “Canada AM” guest host Marcia MacMillan.

Watch the whole thing HERE!



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SEVENTH SON: 1 STAR. “a case of imitation as a sincere form of ripoff.”

maxresdefaultThey say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but in the case of “Seventh Son” it’s a case of imitation as a sincere form of ripoff. Borrowing liberally from “Lord of the Rings” and “Game of Thrones,” the new wannabe epic starring Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore is seventh rate fantasy film fare.

Based on the first book in the “The Wardstone Chronicles” series by Joseph Delaney, the story is a tale of good and evil, set in a world “where legends and nightmares are real.” Bridges is Master Gregory, a knight specializing in what knights do—slaying “creatures of the dark.”

Centuries ago he imprisoned Mother Malkin (Moore), a malevolent witch now on the prowl again. When she does away with Greg’s apprentice, the aged knight must recruit a new helper. Trouble is, the new guy must be the seventh son of the seventh son.

As rare as a Starbucks barista who can actually get the names on the sides of cups right, after a search the seventh son of the seventh son presents himself in the form of Tom Ward (Ben Barnes). “Keep him safe,” yells Tom’s mom (Olivia Williams). “Alas dear lady,” slurs Gregory, “that is a vow I cannot make.”

To save the world from Malkin’s devilry Gregory has only until the next full moon to train his new apprentice, who, as luck would have it falls in love with Alice (Alicia Vikander), one of Malkin’s witchy sidekicks. Bet he didn’t mention that in the job interview.

“Seventh Son” gives you an appreciation of how accomplished “Game of Thrones” and “Lord of the Rings” are. The story borrows elements from each of those stories but hangs them on a framework so rickety it threatens to collapse under the weight of all the pilfered ideas. A dragon battle or two does not a genre movie make. Context and compelling characters do and the lack of either is just one of the many ways “Seventh Son” lets the audience down.

If you get past the Halloween supply store props and masks you’re left with am a-list cast doing b-movie work. Bridges hands in a strange what-the-heck-is-he-thinking-performance, complete with an almost unintelligible accent and scruffy facial hair that does more actual acting than he does.

Moore fares better, but should have taken a page out of Angelina Jolie’s “Maleficent” handbook. Let’s hope nobody from the Academy sees this or it could become her “Norbet.”

As for Ben Barnes, at one point the former “Narnia” star says, “I wish I was the sixth son.” He’s not the only one. If only Donald Trump were around to fire this apprentice.

At least “Seventh Son” offers up one useful piece of advice: “It is near impossible to battle demons with wet feet.” It’s also near impossible to enjoy this movie without visions of “lord of the Rings” and “Game of Thrones” dancing through your head.


Screen Shot 2014-05-30 at 3.18.03 PMRichard’s CP24 weekend reviews for “Maleficent,” “A Million Ways to Die in the West” and “The Grand Seduction” with Rena Heer.

Watch the whole thing HERE!




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MALEFICENT: 4 STARS. “A winged Angelina Jolie is a formidable force.”

maleficent-wings“Let us tell you an old story anew,” says “Maleficent’s” narrator ((Janet McTeer), “and we’ll see how well you know it.”

The new Angelina Jolie film takes some liberties with a time-honored story, but doesn’t stray too far from the necessary fairy tale elements. There is some grim stuff—treachery and de-winging—but there are also traditional themes about good and evil and the redemption of evil becoming good.

This reimagining of Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty” begins with Maleficent as the pure-hearted fairy protector of the enchanted Moors, “where no man goes for fear of the magical creatures who live within.” When Stefan, a greedy, ambitious human whose betrayal turns her colder than the Polar Vortex, breaks her heart, she vows revenge.

Later, when Stefan (Sharlto Copley) becomes king Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) exacts her vengeance by cursing his baby daughter named Aurora (Elle Fanning with the words, “Before the sun sets on her sixteenth birthday, she will fall into a sleep-like death!” To seal the deal, she adds, “This curse will last until the end of time. No power on earth can change it!”

For the next sixteen years Maleficent is a ghostly presence in Aurora’s life. When they finally meet instead of fear, the young princess welcomes her. “I know who you are,” she says innocently, “You’re my Fairy-Godmother!”

The two hit it off, but to no avail. Maleficent’s curse is irreversible and even though the evil-fairy-turned-surrogate-mother begins to feel protective of Aurora she is powerless to change her fate.

Archly theatrical, “Maleficent” harkens back to everything from vintage Disney, to “Lord of the Rings” to the ”Addams Family.” It’s a beautifully rendered film, visually rich, from the Moors’ creatures that look like they escaped from Jim Henson’s “Labyrinth,” to Maleficent soaring through the air, drifting above the clouds. A winged Angelina Jolie is a formidable force.

Like all good fairy tales it is simply told. It’s a familiar story, with a twist, but unlike its spiritual cousins, the “Lord of the Rings” movies or “Snow White and the Huntsman,” it clocks in way under two hours, moving at a deliberate but brisk pace.

The leads are wonderfully cast. Fanning conveys the sugar and spice and everything nice of the innocent princess, while Jolie is a striking screen presence. He extraordinary looks are made even more otherworldly with the addition of cheekbones that would make Kate Moss green with envy. Beyond the superficial, she brings to life the complexity of a fairy scorned; a kind-hearted, loving creature turned to stone but with a glimmer of good burning deep within.

“Maleficent” may be too intense for very young “Sleeping Beauty” fans, but is a fine addition to the Disney collection.

Metro In Focus: From Maleficent to Scar: The greatest Disney villains

disneyBy Richard Crouse – Metro Canada In Focus

Hear the name Disney, and your first thoughts are likely about Mickey Mouse ears, Mary Poppins or the song Let it Go. Uplifting notions born from a company that brags it owns the Happiest Place on Earth.

But for all the cheery feelings the Mouse House has given us over the years, Disney villains have also inspired a nightmare or two.

This weekend, Maleficent creeps into theatres. Starring Angelina Jolie, it is the story of how the Sleeping Beauty villainess became evil after being betrayed by a child. With plumped up cheekbones and headgear with demonic horns, Jolie looks like something from a hellish Hieronymus Bosch painting.

“She isn’t the pretty princess,” says the actress. “She isn’t a beautiful queen. She’s a very awkward, pointy, slightly scary-looking horned creature who goes through a lot in her life.”

Maleficent joins a long list of dastardly Disney villains to inspire sleepless nights.


In The Lion King, Scar (voice of Jeremy Irons) is the brother of the king, Mufasa (James Earl Jones). In a Shakespearean twist, Scar murders his brother and banishes his nephew to gain control of Pride Rock.

Most evil line? “Long live the King.” — Scar to Mufasa before killing him.

Cruella De Vil

In the 1961 animated film and the 1996 live-action film, 101 Dalmatians, Cruella De Vil (voice of Betty Lou Gerson in the cartoon, Glenn Close in the flesh) is a diabolical fashionista who wants to incorporate puppy pelts into her wardrobe.

Most evil line? “Darling, I live for fur. I worship fur!”

Queen Grimhilde

Vanity pushes Queen Grimhilde (Lucille La Verne in the 1937 animated version) to try and destroy the life of her stepdaughter (Adriana Caselotti) in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The evil queen can’t bear the thought that there is someone more beautiful than she, so she first orders her huntsman to kill Snow White and cut her heart out and when that doesn’t work, she feeds the pretty girl a poisoned apple.

Most evil line? “Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?”


Hands down, the scariest vision in any Disney film has to be Chernabog, the winged demon who briefly appears in the Night on Bald Mountain sequence of Fantasia. He is the essence of evil and according to Villians Wiki, his hobby is bringing the dead back to life so he can kill them again. Discussing the character in an interview, Walt Disney referred to him as Satan.

Most evil line? Chernabog doesn’t have any lines. When you’re this bad, you don’t need any lines.

From RoboCop to Fifty Shades of Grey: Potentially great movies coming in 2014

mdztReel Guys By Richard Crouse and Mark Breslin – Metro Canada

Synopsis: Out with the old and in with the new: 2013 contained many magnificent movie moments (and some bad ones as well, but let’s not dwell on those) for the Reel Guys and it looks like 2014 will be just as bountiful. This week we gaze into our cinematic crystal balls and choose the films we’re looking forward to in the new year.

Richard: Mark, years ago I loved a show called The Equalizer. It starred Edward Woodward as a private detective who helped people in need “equalize the odds.” It was a cool show, and as much as movie versions of programs like The A-Team and Starsky and Hutch have disappointed, I’m looking forward to this. Denzel Washington is masterful at playing ambiguous antiheroes and reteaming him with his Training Day director Antoine Fuqua seems like a good idea to me.

Mark: Richard, I don’t know the show but I do like Denzel, I do like Fuqua and I do like the concept. One movie I am looking forward to is The Monuments Men with George Clooney, Matt Damon and John Goodman as civilians pressed into battle during the Second World War to save art treasures from the Nazis. This  should hit all the bases for me.

RC: Clooney is always cool, and he also directed the movie, so I’m keen to see it. I’m also very excited for The Zero Theorem. Terry Gilliam says his new film is the third part of the trilogy he began with Brazil and continued with 12 Monkeys. If that isn’t enough, it stars Christoph Waltz and Matt Damon. And did I mention it sprung from the wild mind of Terry Gilliam?

MB: Reality check: Whose last movie was the unwatchable The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. When Gilliam stinks he stinks up the whole room. Just saying…. If it’s sci-fi you’re looking for, how about the RoboCop reboot, a franchise that’s had more reboots than an Ugg store? Or Transcendence, which has a Philip K. Dick meets Body Snatchers sound to it. Appeals to the paranoid side of my split personality Richard…

RC: I liked Parnassus! It was like a Salvador Dali painting come to life! Gilliam Rules! But there are other things I’m looking forward to, like Maleficent. The creepy but beautiful Sleeping Beauty villain is a role Angelina Jolie’s cheekbones were born to play. If the movie is as cool looking as the clips I’ve seen, I’ll go for the art direction alone.

MB: Sure, but I think we’re both ignoring what must be the Greatest Movie of 2014 — the cinematic adaptation of the great novel Fifty Shades of Grey. C’mon, Richard, admit it, you’ll be second in line to see it, only because I got there the night before… and I understand James Franco is playing the handcuffs.