The true-life tale, directed by Whale Rider's Niki Caro and featuring Kevin Costner as the harried coach of an underdog cross country team in California's Central Valley, tells its by-the-bootstraps story so winningly that, predictable though it may be, it's still hard not to find it thoroughly rousing.
Unfortunately for the filmmakers, the audience, and (given the $175 mil price tag) the studio, Jupiter Ascending isn't exactly the second coming they were hoping for. Instead, it's a melange of misplaced ambition that's asphyxiated by tangled plot threads that are at once overcooked and undernourished.
If nothing else, Maleficent serves as a perfect example of why Jolie is one of the most in-demand actors on the planet. Through the sheer power of her personality (with, of course, an able assist from Rick Baker's remarkable prosthetics), she's able to create a character who has equal parts bombast and fragility.