Album Review: Annie (2014 Film Cast)

“Now I find myself here, and it’s time”

It may be heresy to admit it but have to say I love the updated 2014 film version of Annie. Having never seen it on stage before, I was hesitant to say the least about watching the movie but for me, it works beautifully and most importantly, completely reimagines the classic score in the most contemporary of ways. Sia and Greg Kurstin have to take credit for that and without any affection for the original – which I suspect may have coloured much of the critical response – I think it’s a great soundtrack to listen to.

Old songs have been rearranged to within an inch of their life, new lyrics added and a wildly different sonic world created but it is one which suits this ultra-modern Annie down to the ground and manages it in a finger-clicking, hip-swaying way. Constantly treading the line of sentimentality – and with songs like ‘Tomorrow’ how could it not – there’s just enough street cred to keep it from tipping over. So the directness of Quvenzhané Wallis’s unaffected vocal in the iconic ‘Tomorrow’ is refreshingly clear-eyed rather than cloying, and gorgeous harmonies deepen the emotion of ‘Maybe’. Continue reading “Album Review: Annie (2014 Film Cast)”

Barely-a-Review: You Can’t Take It With You, Longacre Theatre

“I know they do rather strange things. But they’re gay and they’re fun and I don’t know there’s a kind of nobility about them”

I had a perfectly good time at George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart’s You Can’t Take It With You – surprisingly so, given its old-fashioned comedic nature and the presence of the destroyer of Shakespeare James Earl Jones. Well why did I book, you might well ask. For Rose Byrne I would tell you (the first series of Damages is one of my utmost favourite pieces of television ever) and she was indeed great. Annoyingly though, I was quite under the weather that evening (apologies to anyone who the in the vicinity of my stifled spluttering – yes, I was that guy) but when on Broadway – for the first time too – what do you do? It’s not as if you can reschedule… And there’s nothing worse than being stuck in an audience of people laughing their heads off when you’re not quite feeling the same. It’s not to say I thought this was a bad show, it just wasn’t really my cup of tea.

Running time: 2 hours 20 minutes (with interval)
Booking until 22nd February

DVD Review: I Give It A Year

“Is it possible that some people just aren’t supposed to be married”

Joseph Millson having a threesome and Jane Asher swearing are the main high points in Dan Mazer’s I Give It A Year, a film that could do with a whole lot more. The sheen on Nat and Josh’s whirlwind marriage has worn off a little, leaving them facing serious questions as they approach their one year anniversary. With former loves reappearing, new current attractions popping up and friends and family placing bets on whether they’ll make it to the landmark 12 months, the odds seem unlikely.

Which adds up to the film’s major problem, a distinct lack of any real dramatic imperative in hoping that Nat and Josh stay together. Rose Byrne does her best with a thanklessly constructed part who seems solely designed to frustrate Rafe Spall’s hangdog novelistic intentions but as the film opens with a fast-forward through the heady days of early romance, we’re not left with anything to convince us that we should be rooting for them to actually make it to a year, hell, even the end of the film! Continue reading “DVD Review: I Give It A Year”