Best New Movie Bets: May 31 | Disney's 'Maleficent' Tops Anticipated Releases

"Maleficent" starring Angelina Jolie

The latest in the fairy tale revival sweeping Hollywood is this retelling of Sleeping Beauty as told through the perspective of Maleficent, the horn-headed villainess of the story. Disney has purposefully crafted the film to resemble the original 1959’s cartoon version. So unlike ABC’s “Once Upon a Time” there is an effort being made to tie the legendary animation and this live-action version together. “Maleficent” comes on the heels of two Snow White films (“Snow White and the Huntsmen” and “Mirror”), a Jack and the beanstalk attempt (“Jack the Giant Slayer”) and a Cinderella remake which is set for release next year.

With the success of the computer-generated “Frozen”, the flurry for enchanted excitement is at its peak. For those seeking a princess-centric escape this might be a disappointment. Angelina Jolie’s Maleficent is the star of this fantasy and the trailer hints that the previously told story might be turned on its head. Spinning a different take on the mythos could give a refreshing angle to the story and a point to rehashing it once more. 
"A Million Ways to Die in the West"
Seth MacFarlane, the writer-director behind the surprise smash “Ted” and a legion of adult cartoons has returned with his spoof of Westerns or rather the Western-era and this time he is starring as well. He has amassed a pretty dazzling cast to anchor this venture; Charlize Theron, Liam Neeson, Amanda Seyfried, Neil Patrick Harris and Giovanni Ribisi are among the ensemble.

This will be MacFarlane’s first live-action starring role in a feature film and how moviegoers respond to his performance is cause for interest. As many might recall, his hosting gig at the 2013 Oscars’ ceremony wasn’t well received. 

The box office forecast is dicey. A possible hindrance to its success is that Westerns have not been popular for quite some time and the audience, who does remember them, might not be open to making light of their cinema staple. On the other side, those who might tolerate a joke or two at the genre’s expense are an older demo that might not find MacFarlane’s penchant for graphically crude humor all that amusing.

As for the young demographic, many might not catch the jokes or understand their relevance given the fading heyday of its source material. It is for these reasons, this is the box office story that will be the most interesting to see play out, this weekend. The trailer had some funny moments but it’s possible they gave away the best bits there.

Are you interested in seeing either of these movies this weekend? Eclectic Pop wants to hear from you! You can share your thoughts by tweeting @EclecticPop or leaving a comment below.

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