Takaisin

IS MALEFICENT MAGNIFICENT?

If there is a sure thing in movies, Seth Macfarland's "A Million Ways to Die in the West" (R) is considered one. Macfarland has had remarkable success with his vulgar, snarky TV cartoon series "Family Guy" and hit it big with his first movie, "Ted," the sleazy, R-rated comedy about a foul-mouthed teddy bear.

And this summer comedy is such a sure thing that only one major release is opening up against it, Disney's "Maleficent," which is really no direct competition since the PG-rated fairy tale is aimed at an audience that is 180 degrees in the other direction.

Also opening are a pair of R-rated art films in exclusive runs at the Broadway Centre Cinemas in downtown Salt Lake City, the thriller "Cold in July" and the drama "Palo Alto."

"Maleficent" (PG) stars Angelina Jolie as the title character, whom you may remember as the villain in Disney's animated classic "Sleeping Beauty" (1959). In this live-action, special effects-driven film — told from her point of view — she is a victim since, before going to the dark side, she attempts to save the forest. Gotta get that environmental message in there, gang.

"A Million Ways to Die in the West" (R). Even from the trailer it's apparent that this Western spoof goes much darker and more graphically raunchy than "Blazing Saddles" (1974), which is the obvious comparison. Unlike "Ted," which starred Mark Wahlberg, Macfarlane himself takes the starring role here as a cowardly farmer (a la Bob Hope, perhaps) who is trained in using a pistol by Charlize Theron so he can go up against her gunslinger husband (Liam Neeson).

"Cold in July" (R) stars Michael C. Hall as a homeowner that kills an intruder and is then threatened by the dead man's angry father (Sam Shepard), who may be have local cops in his pocket. Reportedly quite twisty with a supporting performance by Don Johnson that has been getting attention.

"Palo Alto" (R) is based on a book of autobiographical short stories by James Franco, who co-stars in the film that was adapted and directed by Gia Coppola (Francis Ford Coppola's granddaughter), and which relates experiences of high school kids in the title California town. Emma Roberts and Val Kilmer co-star.