Beauty and the Beast (2017)

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Last Updated on Saturday, 22 April 2017 19:46

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Singin' in the Rain

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 January 2017 21:20

Hits: 109

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Pitch Perfect 2

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Last Updated on Sunday, 24 May 2015 21:44

Hits: 594

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La La Land

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Last Updated on Monday, 19 December 2016 22:16

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Into the Woods

into-the-woods-revInto the Woods  (2014)    Disney/Musical-Fantasy    RT: 124 minutes    Rated PG (thematic elements, fantasy action and peril, some suggestive material)    Director: Rob Marshall    Screenplay: James Lapine    Music: Stephen Sondheim    Cinematography: Dion Beebe    Release date: December 25, 2014 (US)    Cast: Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, James Corden, Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine, Johnny Depp, Lilla Crawford, Daniel Huttlestone, Tracey Ullman, Mackenzie Mauzy, Christine Baranski, Tammy Blanchard, Lucy Punch, Billy Magnussen, Annette Crosbie, Joanna Riding, Frances de la Tour, Richard Glover, Simon Russell Beale.

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 Despite Into the Woods being a family-friendly PG-rated musical-fantasy from Disney, I have serious doubts about its appeal to the younger set (those under 10). It’s an adaptation of the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine (who also penned the screenplay). It’s been around since 1987 and Hollywood has been attempting to turn it into a film for more than two decades. After several false starts, director Rob Marshall (Chicago) finally saw the project to completion and the results are generally positive. The narrative intertwines four of Grimm’s fairy tales- Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk and Rapunzel- into a story about a childless couple looking to break a witch’s evil spell.

Last Updated on Sunday, 11 January 2015 20:35

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One from the Heart

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 09 February 2016 22:43

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Annie (2014)

Annie2014-revAnnie  (2014)    Columbia/Musical    RT: 118 minutes    Rated PG (mild language, rude humor, drunken behavior)    Director: Will Gluck    Screenplay: Will Gluck and Aline Brosh McKenna    Music: Greg Kurstin    Cinematography: Michael Grady    Release date: December 19, 2014 (US)    Cast: Jamie Foxx, Quvenzhane Wallis, Rose Byrne, Bobby Cannavale, Cameron Diaz, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, David Zayas, Zoe Margaret Colletti, Nicolette Pierini, Eden Duncan-Smith, Amanda Troya, Dorian Missick, Tracie Thoms, Mike Birbiglia, Stephanie Kurtzuba, Peter Van Wagner, Ray Iannicelli.

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 The plucky, pint-sized optimist is back in Annie, an updated version of the popular Broadway play based on the Harold Gray comic strip. In this latest incarnation, she’s NOT an orphan, but a foster kid (as she’s quick to remind anybody that says otherwise). This is the third film adaptation of the musical, following the 1982 John Huston version and the 1999 made-for-TV production. Directed by Will Gluck (Easy A, Friends with Benefits), Annie has been given quite the funky face lift, most notably in the casting. The titular character is played by Beasts of the Southern Wild’s Quvenzhane Wallis, an endearing little girl that doesn’t overplay the adorable card. One of the main things I always found off-putting about the ’82 movie is Aileen Quinn, the young actress selected from thousands of preteen girls to play the perpetually sunny orphan girl. Let me put it this way, there’s a good reason she never acted in a movie again. She was so annoying! That’s so not the case with Wallis who plays the role with just the right amount of cuteness.

Last Updated on Friday, 19 December 2014 22:15

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Jem and the Holograms

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Last Updated on Friday, 23 October 2015 21:33

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Annie (1982)

ANNIE-1982-revAnnie  (1982)    Columbia/Musical    RT: 127 minutes    Rated PG (mild language, some violence, child in peril, frightening moments, drinking and drunken behavior)    Director: John Huston    Screenplay: Carol Sobieski    Music: Charles Strouse (music) and Martin Charnin (lyrics)    Cinematography: Richard Moore    Release date: June 18, 1982 (US)    Cast: Aileen Quinn, Albert Finney, Carol Burnett, Tim Curry, Bernadette Peters, Ann Reinking, Edward Herrmann, Geoffrey Holder, Roger Minami, Lois de Banzie, Peter Marshall, Toni Ann Gisondi, Rosanne Sorrentino, Lara Berk, April Lerman, Robin Ignico, Lucie Stewart,  I.M. Hobson, Colleen Zenk Pinter, Lu Leonard.    Box Office: $57 million (US)

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 My late colleague Roger Ebert was correct in his assessment of the 1982 musical film Annie being fun in the abstract sense. It has all the right components and makes decent use of them, yet somehow it misses greatness by a country mile. A big part of the problem is Aileen Quinn, the young actress selected from thousands of girls to play the much-coveted role of the plucky orphan made popular by the Tony-winning 1977 Broadway musical. She can sing and dance, no question about it, but is it really any better than that of the average 10-year-old girl? Well, maybe by a margin, but that’s not the problem. To be quite frank, this kid is annoying. She overplays the cute and adorable card to a point where every adult watching will want to scream. Quinn is like the young niece that can do no wrong.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 December 2014 21:20

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