New Movies May 30-June 1: 'Maleficent' and MacFarlane Challenge 'X-Men'

For the past several weeks, new movies have been banking on audiences’ love of big-budget action extravaganzas—and, almost as an afterthought, wacky comedy. This week’s new movies have both of those things, but the two new wide releases are trying to harness star power more than any new movies have attempted in awhile.

The front-runner among the new movies this week is “Maleficent,” a spin-off of Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty” starring Angelina Jolie. It’s a retelling of the story from the villain’s point of view, a la “Wicked,” and it features grand special effects. It’s getting mixed reviews, and its ambiguous tone—it’s related to an animated Disney kids’ movie, but it looks too dark and scary for most little ones—may confuse moviegoers.

The other new wide release is “A Million Ways to Die in the West,” a Western comedy a la “Blazing Saddles,” from “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane. This is 100% a MacFarlane vehicle—he co-wrote, produced, directed and stars in the flick—and it’s riding entirely on the hope that his fan base will make it a hit. It’s getting weak reviews, though.

The new movies enter extremely crowded theaters. With “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” “Godzilla,” “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” and even “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” still hanging around, action fans have plenty to choose from besides “Maleficent,” and “Neighbors” and “Blended” provide comedy alternatives. The only audience not being served is the family audience, and “Maleficent” isn’t an obvious choice for them.

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