IntoTheWoods 5


Into the Woods can’t see the dark forest for the trees. The film gets so caught up in the minutiae of its clever constructs and unique spins on classic Brothers Grimm tales that the fun eventually fizzles and themes grow elusive and ineffectual.

Being over-the-top and simultaneously aware of its own ridiculousness isn’t enough to sustain the buzz from an ambitious opening musical number and a game cast that’s up for a rollicking time. When things turn solemn and the “…happily ever after” myth is shattered, it feels more like tacking on than subversion. The protracted third act makes us long for a more traditional ending, if only because it means the movie would be a half hour shorter, not necessarily because we care about the grim fates of some of the characters.

Annie 4

ANNIE Review

It can be difficult for a remake to justify its existence, and the 2014 version of Annie offers only sketchy modernization to differentiate itself from the 1982 film and 1977 Broadway musical. Changing the name of Daddy Warbucks, turning the character into a cell phone mogul, and integrating social media isn’t nearly enough to avoid a stale sense of familiarity. The superficial contemporary spins from director Will Gluck and his co-writer Aline Brosh McKenna are uninspired in their concept and flat in their execution. It also doesn’t help that the cast (of a musical) is populated with non-singers and non-dancers.