REEL REVIEW: Maleficent, Edge of Tomorrow bring big summer box office bucks


POSTED: Friday, June 6, 2014 - 5:20pm

UPDATED: Friday, June 6, 2014 - 8:37pm

EDITOR'S NOTE: Felipa Solis is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association. This review appears as a special to NewsChannel 9.


What if the bad guy was able to tell you the story? Would his perspective be accurate, believable and or convincing? If the bad guy has a story, does it apply in any sense in justifying the simple badness? It did for Darth Vader...we all learned of his past and how that re-directed his future and sadly to the detriment of others. I still love Darth Vader, just because he is so very interesting.
This is why I loved "Maleficent," and I was truly "on the fence" about this movie. Will this be another story of "chick power" where the evil queen gets away with anything and thankfully left in the dust in the end.. just the way any fairy tale should end? Maleficent proves that "the back story," is what truly drives the story.

Interesting that Disney would bring the story of the Evil Queen to life. You may remember the classic animated feature of "Sleeping Beauty," where the young beautiful, defenseless Princess is dealt an evil spell by yet another evil Disney villainess.. The End. Here, Anjelina Jolie plays "Maleficent," once a young beautiful girl who did not necessarily have a "mean girl," agenda, but rather had to deal with forces and spells beyond her own. Someone did her wrong, and all this poor girl wants is revenge in the form of young Aurora, who will go to sleep at her hands.. eventually. Should the evil Queen have learned a better lesson from the travesty of her world and be taught goodness? Well, that did not quite work out that way in this fairytale, but it is so very interesting to see what drives her, and simply, how she got from Point A to Point B.

Angelina Jolie is amazing. I think the saddest part of her career is that she is such tabloid fodder. This is an actress who has an Oscar, an Emmy and a couple of Golden Globes on her mantel. She earned every one of them... just find the incredible movie for television "Gia," and watch an unbelievable performance. She is so strong in this film, it is lifeless when she's not around, and makes Sleeping Beauty, played by Elle Fanning seem sleepy in the process.

Happily ever after is Disney's calling, and we get there, but it is truly fun to watch a performance with such power and strength. There are moments that may be a little too harsh for younger children, and it is not necessarily just a movie for girls. I do recommend the 2D version. I promise you will not miss a beat.


Edge of Tomorrow

Tom Cruise. He has certainly had his ups and downs personally and professionally, and this weekend's new film "Edge of Tomorrow," may not fare as well at the Box Office for him as other summer films in release, but if you like Tom Cruise and even if you don't... this is a really great film, and I really like Tom Cruise.

Here he plays Captain Cage, a military operative in what is referred to as the United Defense Force, a unit designed to preserve and protect the Earth from the evil UFO's referred to as Mimics. He comes out from his work behind the desk to the frontlines, much to his dismay, and meets his match in the form of gross space aliens that are big giant oozing bug people ( which is really very cool), not to mention, a very tough determined colleague with more bite than bark played perfectly by Emily Blunt. Not a spoiler alert... He dies... so does she.. but each day, they awaken to face the battle one more time. Can they reinvent the future with the right strategy?

It's like "Groundhog Day," with big 3D effects and amazing battle and grit and might and victory. The absolutely "wonderful to watch" film is directed by Doug Liman, who directed "The Bourne Identity," 12 years ago. ( which is indeed hard to believe). The editing and the effects, coupled with the storyline all so well done, that what could have been a repetitive film, keeps one at the edge of their seat.

Let's talk about why I like Tom Cruise. He is an actor who always grows with his roles within the film. Here he does the same where he has to re-create himself every day until he can fight these space monsters effectively. He makes it work. Since "Rainman," he has been that actor who starts off calmly, never throwing his physicality nor his charisma in one's face. Instead, he works the role and becomes the role.

The 3-D glasses are not really necessary in this film either. Let it stand on it's own... great summer movie fare where you anxiously anticipate every move. It is rated PG 13- but do not recommend this film for anything less than a teenager.

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