May 29, 2014


One of the great things about kid’s movies is that these days, they are one of the few places where movie stars are willing to play to type. The rest of the time, they’re too busy proving themselves actors, don’t you know, getting all Method with fake noses and funny accents that allow them to ‘disappear’ into roles.  Whoever decreed that it is the job of the star to disappear? But if fame turns humans into cartoons; cartoons allow the famous to be themselves. Eddie Murphy may wish to put his days playing the ass behind him, but literally playing an ass in the Shrek movies loosed some of his most inspired shtick since Axel Foley hung up his badge. Tom Hanks may spend a good proportion of his time putting dents in his nice guy image in movies like Captain Phillips but seeing him snap back into his Dudley-do-right persona in the Toy Story movies had the snug satisfaction of an old well-loved pair of slippers. These days, Angelina Jolie is busy filling out her boots as movie director and philanthropist; but channeling her inner momma grizzly onscreen in A Mighty Heart and Changeling, she unveiled a talent for over-acting that was barely hinted at in her previous incarnation as action-movie dominatrix in films like Wanted, Salt, Mr and Mrs Smith, whose minimalist acting style seemed to suit her down to the ground. Rumor has it that she wants to play Cleopatra, but really she’s the Sphinx. A fame-enamelled Goddess who wears her beauty like a mask, she’s a geek Dietrich, her contempt for the male invertebrates who prostrate themselves at her feet, angling their cameras up her torso, matched only by the self-control with which she hides it. Not completely: a single raised eyebrow, a scintilla of a smirk, and the game is up. (You thought she was a puppet of the male-gaze in the Lara Croft movies? She was taking notes.)  If contempt is her key-note, then in Malificent she plays it like a flugelhorn: face as white as parchment,  cheekbones remolded into Max Headroomish fenders, a pair of huge horns leaping from her head, like a cross between a stag and a supermodel,  she leaves Elle Fanning likea gnat-smudge on the windshield. It's Hannibal Lecter vs Tinkerbell. “There is evil in this world,” sighs Jolie, in a dulcet English accent that plumes like a single drop of blood in water, “hatred and revenge”, before giving a bashful giggle, as if the very idea of decency were fit for no more than a smile. In an age when acting newbies apply darkness like eye-shadow or an adhesive tattoo — yes, I'm talking you, Natalie Portman — Jolie’s velveteen perfidy is the real thing: Wicked Stepmother Interrupted.  

My favorite Jolie roles:—
1. Girl, Interrupted  
2. Gia  
3. Malificent  
4. Salt  
5. Mr and Mrs Smith  
6. Kung Fu Panda  
7. Playing by Heart  
8. Wanted  
9. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow  
10. A Shark's Tale

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