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Juno Temple (#110 of 3)

Poster and Trailer Drop for Disney’s Maleficent, Starring Angelina Jolie

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Poster and Trailer Drop for Disney’s <em>Maleficent</em>, Starring Angelina Jolie
Poster and Trailer Drop for Disney’s <em>Maleficent</em>, Starring Angelina Jolie

Red flags should fly with the relaunch of anything as notable—and bankable—as a Disney brand, but the anomaly of Maleficent seems to lie in its spot-on casting, as Angelina Jolie, beyond being one of our few bona fide female headliners, looks wickedly appropriate as Sleeping Beauty’s horned villainess. Aside from the usual handful of leaked set photos, the world got its first peek at Jolie in character last June, and attendees of Disney’s D23 Expo caught a glimpse of the film, and Jolie in person, this past August. Yesterday, an official poster was finally released, showing Jolie in full, dark-magic regalia, and proving once again that, when it comes to modernized costumes, you can’t go wrong with black leather. The ad also features Jolie rocking green peepers, enhanced cheekbones a la Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” phase, and “lips red as the rose,” to quote the Mistress of All Evil herself. Jolie’s aesthetic impact alone boded well for this pseudo-prequel even before its teaser trailer premiered this morning.

Atonement: Conscience Wilts

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<em>Atonement</em>: Conscience Wilts
<em>Atonement</em>: Conscience Wilts

Atonement, Joe Wright’s version of Ian McEwan’s novel, is visually snappy but emotionally inert, and it distorts the novel’s much talked-about, already problematic, extra-narrative twist so profoundly that it left me aghast. I don’t normally think it necessary to compare and contrast a film and its literary source; films are one thing, novels another. But when the movie leaves such a nasty aftertaste, it’s worth consulting the original to see what went wrong. Here, the problem is, quite simply, Hollywood values replacing the novel’s bitter irony, which was rather cheap and manipulative in its way, but still vastly preferable to the turd pudding that Wright and his screenwriter, Christopher Hampton (Dangerous Liasons), serve up in the movie’s closing moments.