Archive for the ‘Will Gluck’ Category

It’s a Hard Knock Life!

Annie

annie_ver3

Director: Will Gluck

Cast: Quvenzhané Wallis, Jamie Foxx, Rose Byrne, Bobby Cannavale, David Zayer, Cameron Diaz, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje

The 21st century film version of the hit Broadway musical Annie is no match for the 1982 cinematic treatment of the musical by director John Huston. In the 2014 version, director Will Gluck has chosen to rather focus too much on making it a contemporary New York tale and less of a classy musical.

Although that does not distract from the onscreen sparkle of the lead actress Quvenzhané Wallis, who embraces the role and become famous for being one of the youngest performers to ever be nominated for an Oscar for Beasts of the Southern Wild. The updated version of Daddy Warbucks, is a cellphone billionaire Will Stacks, wonderfully and almost gleefully played by Oscar winner Jamie Foxx who embellishes the role with humour and charisma.

The supporting cast is equally good including the rising actor Bobby Cannavale as Stack’s scheming publicity driven press officer Guy and his real life wife Rose Byrne who is brilliant as Grace. The casting of the film was diverse and brilliantly done with the exception of Cameron Diaz as Miss Hannigan, whose performance was jarring and questionably overplayed.

Audiences should expect all the wonderful songs of the Broadway musical with a more edgy tunes thrown in along with every available social media innovation that has beset American urban life in the last ten years including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram woven into an increasingly frenetic social narrative.

annie

This Annie is no down and out orphan in Depression era America, but a rising vivacious star in a 21st century post-recession America, emphasizing that the gap between the rich and the poor has widened considerably in the last eighty years.

Excluding any social commentary, the 2014 Annie is a great feel good film and director Gluck makes fill use of the Big Apple as his primary location especially the spectacular scenes at the Guggenheim Museum, the Brooklyn Bridge and stunning aerial shots of the New York skyline.

If audiences are expecting a polished and flawless musical such as Into The Woods, then Annie is not for them. Will Gluck’s Annie is a much thinner, at times disjointed  and very light hearted version which comes off slightly messier as the rags to riches storyline gets updated from its original 1930’s period setting to appeal to a the millennial generation.

Whilst the effort can be applauded and the production design including Stacks’s smart internet connected New York penthouse is a must-see, this Annie remains a tamer version of the 1982 classic film. Definitely suitable for children and those that want to avoid a hard knock life!

 

 

 

Terrific on Screen Chemistry

Friends with Benefits

 

A complicated relationship

From LA to the Big Apple, Friends with Benefits is a quirky 21st century comedy which pokes fun at romantic comedies but ultimately succumbs to the formula which has made this genre so popular. Mila Kunis from Black Swan is utterly delightful as the street savvy New York head hunter for the Olive Branch Recruitment agency who organizes a job for Dylan Harper played with his usual boyish charm by Justin Timberlake seen in The Social Network, arriving fresh off the plane from LA as art director for GQ. While Timberlake is coming into his own as an actor and is appearing in many more films, it is certainly Kunis who steals the show in this 21st century digitized urban jungle of the New York magazine industry. The on screen chemistry is brilliant between Kunis and Timberlake helped by a witty, sometimes rude but very direct script.

As Timberlake and Kunis become good friends in NYC, they decide to play tennis in other words have sex, hence the friendship with a nudge and wink on the side. Friends with Benefits mid way through the film was giving the impression that it was just about its two leading stars, then the scriptwriters bring in Kunis’s dilly mother played by A-class character actress Patricia Clarkson and Timberlake’s father, played by the equally talented Richard Jenkins from Eat, Pray, Love and The Visitor.

New York and LA feature as cities with their own distinct character, with New York outshining in terms of the most attractive destination. Friends with Benefits features some wonderful scenes including a flash mob dance sequence in Times Square, a great cameo by Woody Harrelson as the gay sports editor for GQ and gorgeous shots of the Big Apple’s skyline and a wonderfully comic scene at the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles. Besides the friendship, this is sex in both cities with Timberlake and Kunis doing a fine job at turning the romantic comedy drama literally upside down, with loads of filmic and digital references for the internet generation. Worth watching!

Film Directors & Festivals
Reviews and Awards
Review Calender
May 2019
M T W T F S S
« Apr    
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031  
  • Writers Guild Agrees to Resume Meetings With Talent Agencies
    The Writers Guild of America has agreed to resume negotiations with Hollywood’s talent agents, six weeks after talks between the two sides cratered. WGA West President David A. Goodman announced Wednesday night that the WGA had approved a proposal by UTA co-president Jay Sures to get back to the bargaining table. Sures had made the […]
    Dave McNary
  • TV Review: ABC’s Live ‘All in the Family’ and ‘The Jeffersons’
    In retrospect, it was only a matter of time before reboot and revival fever manifested as verbatim repeats — but if TV’s gonna go there, bringing back eerily timely shows like “All in the Family” and “The Jeffersons” is the way to do it. That Norman Lear’s comedies are timely, or at least prescient, is […]
    Caroline Framke
  • Film News Roundup: ‘Super Pets’ Movie Moves Back a Year, Avoiding ‘John Wick 4’
    In today’s film news roundup, “Super Pets” has moved back to 2022, “Into the Ashes” gets bought and veteran executive David Gale has a new gig. RELEASE DATE Warner Bros. has pushed back the release of “DC Super Pets” back a year, avoiding opening against “John Wick 4.” The studio announced Wednesday that “Super Pets” […]
    Dave McNary
  • Fleetwood Mac’s Lindsey Buckingham Lists Brentwood Estate
    Rock and roll royal Lindsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac and interior decorator Kristen Buckingham have hung a $29.5 million price tag on their timelessly sophisticated estate in the Brentwood area of Los Angeles. The real estate and design savvy couple acquired the 1.2-acre spread in 2004 for $6.6 million and subsequently custom built the approximately […]
    Mark David
  • FYI Brand Group Launches Social Impact Division
    FYI Brand Group, the music and fashion brand marketing and public relations firm founded by Tammy Brook, is launching a social impact division dedicated to campaigns centered around creating a call to action for social good. Organizations that have signed on to work with FYI include the American Cancer Society and Black Lives Matter; the […]
    Shirley Halperin
  • Read More
    Different providers offer different cell phones, so take a look at the options from each provider to choose the right one for you. You may also want to look into any promotions that the providers have to offer, such as free cell phones in exchange for signing a contract. Tags: 2gmhass90