Ep. 2 – Maleficent, A Million Ways to Die in the West, Fed Up, and the saga of Ant-Man.

June 1, 2014 by  
Filed under Podcast

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In this week’s episode of The CineSnob podcast, the guys review “Maleficent,” “A Million Ways to Die in the West,” and the documentary “Fed Up.” They also discuss the ongoing saga of who will direct Marvel’s “Ant-Man,” the new Pixar film “Inside Out” and whether Pixar is in a creative rut, and give a few picks for what to watch on Netflix instant streaming.

[0:00-1:40] Jerrod’s somber mea culpa
[1:40-11:00] The confusion of who will direct Ant-Man
[11:00-16:45] Pixar’s Inside Out plot details and disussing if Pixar is in a creative rut
[16:45-20:20] Maleficent
[20:20-30:32] Maleficent Spoiler Talk
[30:32-38:22] A Million Ways to Die in the West
[38:32-54:00] Fed Up
[54:00-1:09:14] Netflix picks
[1:09:14-1:11:32] Teases for next week and close

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Manuel Albarran – Maleficent

May 30, 2014 by  
Filed under Chaléwood, Interviews

Best known for his highly conceptual creations in the fashion design world, artist Manuel Albarran was given the opportunity to use his skills as a metalsmith to help bring to life one of the most iconic villainesses in cinematic history. In the new film “Maleficent,” which stars Oscar winner Angelina Jolie in the title role, Albarran was tapped by the studio to design many of Maleficent’s accessories such as her collars, rings, brooches, bracelets, shoulder-pieces and spines. To do so, Albarran, who has created custom pieces in the past for celebrities like Beyoncé and Madonna, used everything from leather and feathers to animal skins and bones to “create costumes that would be beautiful, yet dark in character…like Maleficent herself.”

What were you thinking when you found out you were going to participate in such an integral part of this film – creating some of the accessories the title character would wear?

When they told me they were interested in having me work on the movie I was shocked. Oddly enough, the character of Maleficent was one of my favorites. I had a meeting [with the studio] and they told me I was in. I was very excited about the process. I have to say it’s been the most fascinating thing I’ve ever done as an artist.

Since your aesthetic as a designer is similar to the look and feel of the film, was the design process something that came natural for you?

Yes, I was really confident with the design part of the process. I had to think deeper about the design and the history behind the design. I had to think about the fashion in both the past and the present. I wanted to make something that was very different an unusual. It was great to have that kind of access to Angelina because I wanted to know how she felt and what she was trying to express.

Do you have formal training as a metalsmith?

I studied fashion design first. Then I started developing more techniques with materials like leather and metals. I started moving away from the fashion industry and working in different ways. Now, I can work with so many different materials. I can work with just about anything. When someone asks me to create something, I can probably do it. That’s most important to me – to be known as a multi-talented artist.

What piece did you enjoy creating the most for this film?

Well, I feel most confident working with metal, whether it is gold or copper or brass. So, I enjoyed working with anything that was made of metal. I was working with a lot of different elements in the film and even looking at things like color for the detailed structures. I enjoy making things out of metal and then covering them with other material like leather to make them even more beautiful.

To see more of Manuel Albarran’s work, click here.

Maleficent

May 30, 2014 by  
Filed under Jerrod, Reviews

Starring: Angelina Jolie, Sharlto Copely, Elle Fanning
Directed by: Robert Stromberg (debut)
Written by: Linda Woolverton (“Alice in Wonderland,” “The Lion King”)

Who is a movie like “Maleficent” for? The film is too violent and scary for children who are—maybe—familiar with the Disney classic “Sleeping Beauty,” and too boring for the Hot Topic-shopping teens that made it out to see Tim Burton’s like-minded reimagining of “Alice in Wonderland.” No, “Maleficent” seems to serve one purpose: to give Angelina Jolie a role well-suited to her stature and facial features.

With revisionist takes on fairy tale villains being all the rage, “Maleficent” sets out to tell us the real story of why Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) cursed Aurora (Elle Fanning) to fall into a death-like sleep on her 16th birthday after pricking her finger on a spinning wheel. You see, as a young fairy, the winged Maleficent met a poor, orphaned human boy, Stefan, hiding in the Moors, a peaceful and magical realm free from man. They fall in love as teenagers, only to be pulled apart when ambition draws Stefan back to humankind. Years pass, and the human ruler King Henry wages war on the Moors, to claim it for its riches. The grown Maleficent and her army of Ent-like tree warriors beat back the humans and send the king to his deathbed. King Henry promises the crown to the man who can kill Maleficent, an opportunity the adult Stefan (Sharlto Copely) seizes by sleazily reconnecting with Maleficent, only to drug her and cut off her wings, proof enough to make him king. Betrayed, Maleficent swears revenge on King Stefan, namely by cursing his newborn daughter Aurora to the aforementioned eternal sleep.

It’s pretty bold for a modern-day Disney movie to call one of the studio’s all-time classics an outright lie, but that’s how “Maleficent” treats the events of “Sleeping Beauty,” the latter coming across as a downright smear campaign against Maleficent, a woman scorned who just happens to have destructive magic powers and gnarly black goat horns. Mostly, though, the film is just dull. After her betrayal by Stefan—a thinly-veiled analogy for sexual assault—Maleficent spends a good deal of the movie just sort of hanging around, whether in her wicked tree throne or keeping a watchful eye on Aurora as she grows up, secretly covering for the near-deadly mistakes made by the three fairies charged with protecting the princess.

Maleficent’s relationship with Aurora is simultaneously the best and most problematic part of the movie. Jolie shines when expressing warmth for the cursed girl (and man, is Aurora a dim-bulb in this movie) and it hits a moment of real emotion when Maleficent seeks to revoke the curse, only to realize even she can’t undo it. But defanging one of Disney’s most badass villains, essentially turning her into a fairy godmother, leaves the film feeling like a giant shrug.