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Alex Carnevale

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Mia Nguyen

Reviews Editor
Ethan Peterson

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Life of Mary MacLane

Circle what it is you want

Not really talking about women, just Diane

Felicity's disguise

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Entries in disney (2)


In Which They Can Slice Through A Stale Baguette

Angelina Jolie's Face


dir. Robert Stromberg
97 minutes

Angelina Jolie's cheekbones should be placed in the second slot of the rolling credits when Maleficent is digitally remastered, as each warrants a nomination for best supporting actor. They're multipurpose: they can slice through a stale baguette or be used as a citrus reamer. 

"The whole time I just wanted to go home and watch Game of Thrones," my brother said. I had to agree with him on this point. He spent $30 on our tickets. "It was good, but not $30 good. It was like $4 good. You have to pay me back."

Director Robert Stromberg relies heavily on CGI to build the magical world of the moors with fairies, goblins and intricate tree things. Maleficent has moments that contain stunning sights of splendor. We spend a lot of time watching Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) soar through the sky with her glorious wings, looking malnourished. We see the potential of glimmering hope when she finds love with a human boy named Stefan (Michael Higgins), which temporarily fullfills her. The romantic scenes make up for Maleficent’s lack of dialectical art. 

There are two different types of guys in this world: guys who wear rings and guys who don't. It’s an intuitive and impulsive sartorial reaction. The young version Stefan (Sharlto Copley) is definitely the ring wearing type. He finds pride in it, but it doesn’t hold him back.

Maleficent warns Stefan about her allergic reaction to iron, claiming that it will seethe her porcelain skin, so he wistfully tosses his rings into the open field in order to prove his devotion. We see their love mature and grow like a 10-minute time-lapsed video of a blooming flower. They mature physically, which allows them to be comfortable enough to spoon.

They share a kiss on her sixteenth birthday, which was one of the best scenes in the movie. Swoon worthy. After this, everything goes downhill. Stefan retreats back to the human world of the castle and slowly stops visiting Maleficent. We spent 15 minutes with her wandering in silent sorrow. Of course, the pressing question we ask ourselves throughout: is true love real?

Your jowls are coming in nicely, Stefan.

On King Henry's (Kenneth Cranham) orders, Stefan returns to the moors to murder Maleficent in order to be crowned the next king. They meet at their “spot” and they’re cozy, cuddly, and spoony. He slips her a "sleeping potion" and cuts off her most prized possessions, her wings. The betrayal is clear with his weapon of choice, an iron chain. He takes the wings and carelessly tosses them in the back of his pathetic cart, showing no sign of remorse. He glares into the darkness wishing he had multipurpose cheekbones. (As if!) By the next morning, he is gone without a trace and she is left screaming in agony. We’re whimpering with you, Angelina.

Needless to say, she seeks revenge, and shows up announced with a deadly spell to cast. This is where Angelina truly shines as an actress. We get to see her powerful cheekbones in action and allow ourselves to be vulnerable with her. 

After casting her infamous spell on baby Aurora, Maleficent ditches the scene with satisfaction. Stefan becomes paranoid and orders everyone in the castle to burn every spindle in sight. He’s invested, and enters a dark spiral of manic delusion. His wife ends up facing death from falling ill, but he is too distracted by his “hate quest” to even care.

He ends up sending Aurora away to live with the three good fairy godmothers portrayed as pixies: Knottgrass (Imelda Staunton), Thistlewit (Juno Temple), Flittle (Lesley Manville). As well as undercutting the talents of the actresses themselves, they made them out to be completely ignorant in their roles. It felt a little cheap on Disney’s part. Maleficent is seen lurking in the shadows until Aurora turns sixteen.

Aurora propped up and looking super adorbs. 

Aurora (Elle Fanning) is the epitome of a meadow child, the essence of a Free People lookbook. She finds out about her origins and becomes some kind of Hot Topic rebel foraging back to her native habitat. She pricks her finger on the needle and falls into a deep and underwhelming sleep totaling 5 minutes.

In the meantime, Maleficent is trudging through the forest with her shape-shifting crow apprentice, Diaval (Sam Riley) to bring Aurora back to life. Instead she is faced with a feeling of remorse and pain like Taylor Swift’s MP3 of “I Knew You Were Trouble." In all actuality, Angelina Jolie channels heavy tones of T-Swift’s personality traits into Maleficent’s character when she watches Aurora sleep. It’s a lonely, dark, and sad feeling, not for the faint heart.

The three fairy godmothers insist on enlisting Prince Phillip (Brenton Thwaites), to plant a kiss on Aurora to wake her, but he fails. Maleficent hovers over Aurora's bedside, letting out regretful tears of misery. She bids Aurora a goodbye and kisses her gently on the forehead. She wakes up! It's a Disney miracle! 

There's a bloody battle between Stefan and Maleficent in the end, which is saturated in misogyny.  He has no problem with barricading her around iron shields. He even goes as far as striking her down with an iron net and chain. Triple burn. How dare he? While Maleficent is being held down by heavy iron, Aurora stumbles upon Maleficent's wings and releases them. They reattach on Maleficent’s back, showing everyone who’s boss.

On the whole, Maleficent strays away from normative gender roles. It brings in the strong notion of women supporting women, which verifiably proves Disney is taking a proactive approach to instilling feminism deep inside young women's brains. The prince doesn't save the princess and true love can be felt in a number of ways, not just the standard feeling between man and woman.

Mia Nguyen is the senior contributor to This Recording. She is a writer living in Rhode Island. You can find her twitter here and tumblr here.

"Far Beyond" - Charlie Betts (mp3)

"Lost in the Wilderness" - Charlie Betts (mp3)


In Which We Enjoy Cocktail Hour At Disney

Disney's 10 Hottest Guys



What? Sure, Hook’s chin is a little out of proportion with the rest of his crazy face, but I go for those Venice looking hipsters, of which Hook fits the bill: skinny bod, weird facial hair, funny hat. And those stockings? To die for. Plus Peter Pan was such a dick. Did that ten year old seriously have nothing better to do than antagonize a middle aged man with reptile issues? Asshole.

from here


Prince Phillip really didn’t have much of a personality and he’s easily confused with Prince Charming, but he has a nice pompadour thing going on, looks great in red, and slain a fucking dragon so you have to give the guy some credit. He also didn’t balk when he saw Princess Aurora geeking out in the woods singing to a bunch of animals so that earns him props too.


Captain “Sugar Tits” John Smith is too blonde and too Mel Gibson to ever be attractive but Thomas with his quiet, humble demeanor and sensitive poet persona is the guy for me. I’m not sure what you couldn’t fucking understand about this one.


He’s like Captain Hook without the hook, which is great because who really wants to deal with that hook? Jafar was cool because he had that snake staff and that gave him this Adam Ant edge. Just the whole flair for dress was very New Romantics. And his speech: so slow, so deliberate, so smooth. Yes, master!


I haven’t even seen this film yet but this guy looks pretty sexy.


Roger had a good job and a great sense of style. He was a songwriter, he had nice hair, and I’d get tangled in his leash any time. I can never, ever say no to a man in sweater vests.


Did you know that the inspiration for Aladdin was Tom Cruise, pre-crazy? Thankfully, Aladdin is a lot less manic but I was always a little uncomfortable by his lack of shirt. I get that he’s poor, but he really can’t cover his chest? It was all very confusing to me. Having him voiced by D.J. Tanner’s adorable boyfriend didn’t help matters either.  I’d let him “One Jump” me.


Again, that tall, skinny physique really does it for me. And I do love a man with an accent, even if it’s a horrible mangled Bob’s Your Uncle hack job. Bert really knew how to let loose but you could tell that even though he was poor, he would never let the woman pay. Plus, he was a musician. That’s always sexy. I’d chim chimeny chim his cheree any time.


He’s kind of a meathead in that he loves beer, hates to read, is especially good at expectorating, likes to kill stuff, and uses antlers in all of his decorating, but you can’t deny the guy’s ability to pull off a ponytail and leggings. Gaston had a sensitive side too; he was crushed when Belle, resident bookworm, didn’t want his swell cleffed-chin all to her own. “Dismissed, rejected, publicity humiliated,” he moans, “I’m a disgrace.” But how could he forget about his biceps to spare? And Gaston, unlike the beast, was never violent with her. Let’s just face it: Gaston is the best and the rest is the drips.


This blue-eyed bitch paved the way for Jon Hamm and James Franco. Prince Eric was caring, respectful, and handsome. Maybe it’s because he reminds me of a cartoon version of this guy I’ve been crushing on, but I think Prince Eric is the hottest Disney guy of all time. Of all time. Just don’t read the Prince Eric/Ariel rape fan fiction that’s out there. I wish I could pull the memory out of my brain and lock it in a seashell.

Almie Rose is the senior contributor to This Recording. She is a writer living in Los Angeles. She blogs here.

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"The Circle of Life" - Elton John (mp3)

"Can You Feel The Love Tonight?" - Elton John (mp3)

"I Just Can't Wait" - Elton John (mp3)