Alan Dee’s film preview: Fantasy, far-fetched foolishness, farce – and a touch of class

Angelina Jolie in Maleficent
Angelina Jolie in Maleficent

It’s a frantic week on the film front, with big names galore jockeying for position.

First out of the blocks is Maleficent, a lush live action offering from Disney which unusually for the House of Mouse sports a PG certificate.

Angelina Jolie is centre stage in this take on the Sleeping Beauty fable which seeks to burrow into the back story of the wicked fairy who cast that extreme nap spell in the first place.

It’s a sprightly 97 minutes and first time director Robert Stromberg won Oscars for his backroom boy work on Alice In Wonderland and Avatar, so it’s going to be a treat for the eyes even if it makes no sense. Stalwart Brit support comes from the likes of Sam Riley, Imelda Staunton, Miranda Richardson and Peter ‘soon to be Doctor Who’ Capaldi.

Once upon a time a Tom Cruise film was an event, but the senior Scientologist’s star has waned and nobody is in much of a lather about Edge Of Tomorrow, a baffling slab of time travel, alien invaders and similar nonsense. It sounds like Groundhog Day meets Gladiator in a sci-fi setting.

Apparently Seth MacFarlane is a comedy genius and Ted was a landmark in laughter. If you agree with that baffling point of view, you’re the audience that A Million Ways To Die In The West is aiming for. MacFarlane is joined by the likes of Charlize Theron, Liam Neeson and Amanda Seyfried in a Wild West mash-up featuring a cowardly farmer, a female gunslinger and plenty of gross-out gags. Tiresome more than tittersome for anyone with a modicum of taste.

Out this week so catch it if you can, Ken Loach’s latest fresh from Cannes. Jimmy’s Hall is another Irish period piece, set around a 1930s dance hall and based on a true story. Proper grown-up cinema at last.