Fairy Tale


Production on Maleficent started on June 13th, and the movie won’t be in theaters until March 14th of (wait for it) 2014, but Disney has already released a teaser image of star Angelina Jolie as the iconic, evil witch queen who really hates Sleeping Beauty. To be fair, without Maleficent, the fair-haired heroine would just be called “Beauty,” and that name was already taken, so she probably wouldn’t have a cool nickname at all. Credit has to be given to Gregory Maguire’s “Wicked” for birthing a modern fascination with the villain’s side of the story (but mad respect to the old school “Grendel”), and the Robert Stromberg-directed fairy tale promises just that for Jolie. Although this will be the directorial debut for the veteran effects designer, the writing team features both Paul Dini and Linda Woolverton, so there’s a lot to be hopeful for. Plus, the cast also includes Elle Fanning, Juno Temple, Sharlto Copley and a ton of other solid names. Clicking on the image makes it largified. [Disney]


The Best Short Films

Why Watch? Pay close attention to the outstanding lighting design in this animated short from Base14. It’s a combination of exaggeratedly detailed backgrounds and comic-strip-simple characters, but even beyond the beauty, the real joy is the story. Oh, and the adorable cartoon fox. In it, a young girl hunts down the vicious killer of her family’s chickens. No doubt Humans vs Foxes will be the next big mash-up blockbuster. For now, enjoy this sweet piece of work (and maybe watch The Fox and the Hound as an ironic double feature). What will it cost? Only 5 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films Hat tip to io9 for the discovery. They have great taste.



Catherine Breillat’s new film The Sleeping Beauty (La belle endormie) marks yet another entry in what seems to be a growing set of preoccupations for the feminist auteur: the costume drama and the fairy tale. In her follow-up to 2009’s Bluebeard, The Sleeping Beauty is her second consecutive deconstruction of a Charles Perrault fairytale, and her third past-set movie when taking into account 2007’s The Last Mistress. This is an interesting transition for a filmmaker whose previous work focused frankly and explicitly on contemporary gender politics and the exercise of power through the human body. Breillat’s intellectual obsessions remain largely the same even as her aesthetic and spatiotemporal settings have changed, but Bluebeard and The Last Mistress, while a welcome transition into ostensibly “new” territory, were in this writer’s opinion far from her best work. It’s difficult to deny a feeling of rejuvenation throughout The Sleeping Beauty — a joyful embrace of carnival ambivalence in both tone and content that looks and feels inspired, a film that explores (in a way unprecedented in her work) the potentially irreverent (and, let’s face it, fun) excesses of the medium while still providing room for Breillat to exercise her signature mode of critique.


Sleeping Beauty Cannes 2011

The second film of the day, following Midnight in Paris this morning, Sleeping Beauty is the only Australian film included this year, starring Emily Browning (who hopefully won’t be a high-profile casualty of Snyder’s sickly Sucker Punch) as a University student drawn into a mysterious hidden world of beauty and desire. Or at least that’s what the marketing material says. Regardless of what they position this erotic, chiller had already been picking up a lot of buzz, possibly because the official synopsis that I read as part of the bulging press pack (stuffed lovingly into my press PO box this morning) suggested a film about a girl who willingly becomes a Sleeping Beauty – or someone who takes a sleeping pill and allows herself to have “erotic experiences” with “old men” that she has no control over. Funny that, because Browning’s whole role in Sucker Punch can be labelled as overly eroticized and submissive too. Zing!



While there’s no title for it yet, the prospect of Relativity Media doing an adaptation of the Grimm Snow White isn’t exactly something to whistle while you work about. The story has been done before, and promising that it will be “edgy” is comical, because I doubt the wicked queen will be eating what she thinks is a human heart (just like in the heartwarming tale of our youth!). Or maybe she will now that Tarsem Singh has signed on to direct. The man is a visual master, and a dark fairy tale is exactly the kind of project that sees him rubbing his hands together and cackling in sheer delight at the possibilities. This is exciting news. The production is aimed at families still, and it’s not to be confused with Snow White and the Huntsman which is set up over at Universal, but there’s assurance now that even if the story is terrible, the film will look spectacular. [The Wrap]



Will Bloom struggles to reconnect with his father Edward Bloom as Ed’s entire life is retold in epic, tall tale-style, and Tim Burton discovers primary colors.

Nathan Deen


Movie Reviews By Nate Deen on November 26, 2007 | Comments (10)

With high-quality pictures already released this year such as “Bridge to Terabithia,” and “Ratatouille,” along with the mildly recommendable “Meet the Robinsons” and “The Game Plan,” and now “Enchanted,” it has been a good year for Disney indeed.

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