Annie Movie ((FULL))
Grace Farrell, secretary to billionaire Oliver Warbucks, arrives to invite an orphan to live with Warbucks for a week, to improve his public image. Annie is chosen and she and Sandy travel to Warbucks' mansion, meeting his many servants and two bodyguards, Punjab and the Asp. Warbucks, at first dismissive of Annie due to her being female, is charmed into letting her stay. He takes Annie and Grace to Radio City Music Hall to watch a movie, Camille, and Warbucks begin to develop affection for Annie. Grace urges him to adopt Annie and he meets with Miss Hannigan, convincing her to sign the adoption papers.
Martin Charnin, the lyricist of Annie, was not impressed with the cinematic interpretation. In a 1996 interview, he dismissed the adaptation and its production. "The movie distorted what this musical was", Charnin reported. "And we were culpable for the reason that we did not exercise any kind of creative control because we sold the rights for a considerable amount of money." Charnin even said that Huston, who had never directed a musical before, and producer Ray Stark made major changes in the film that destroyed the essence of Annie. Warbucks, played by Finney, "was an Englishman who screamed". Hannigan, played by Burnett, was "a man-crazy drunk", and Annie was "cute-ed up". Worse, the emotional relationship between Annie and Warbucks was distorted. They even downplayed the hit song "Tomorrow" because "Stark thought it was corny".
Roger Ebert gave the film three stars out of four and reported that Annie was "so rigorously machine-made, so relentlessly formula" that the film "is not about anything" despite its series of scenarios, but nonetheless "I sort of enjoyed the movie. I enjoyed the energy that was visible on the screen, and the sumptuousness of the production numbers, and the good humor of several of the performances -- especially those by Albert Finney, as Daddy Warbucks, and Carol Burnett, as the wicked orphanage supervisor, Miss Hannigan. Aileen Quinn sort of grew on me, too." Vincent Canby of The New York Times wrote, "'Annie' is far from a great film but, like the Music Hall in the good old days, it is immaculately maintained and almost knocks itself out trying to give the audience its money's worth. They don't build movies like this anymore." Variety wrote, "Whatever indefinable charm the stage show has is completely lost in this lumbering and largely uninteresting and uninvolving exercise, where the obvious waste reaches almost Pentagonian proportions." Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune gave the film two-and-a-half stars out of four and called it "a bit of a letdown," writing that Quinn "often comes across as one of those self-conscious stage kids" and that the four new songs "are not the least bit memorable," but Finney gives the best performance in the film as "he steadily turns into a quite wonderful father figure." Sheila Benson of the Los Angeles Times wrote that the film "staggers under monstrous production numbers, orphans doing gymnastic flips, dancing maids and butlers and the Radio City Music Hall complete with Rockettes ... But a kid with Annie's moxie deserves more. Or perhaps less. What she deserves is an atmosphere of innocence, warmth and inventiveness, to let the film generate the joy that must have enveloped theater audiences over the past five years." Gary Arnold of The Washington Post panned the film as "Overproduced and underinspired," with Burnett's performance "the closest thing to a saving grace." Pauline Kael wrote in The New Yorker that the story "cries out for a cockeyed fairy-tale tone" but instead "has the feel of a manufactured romp ... Every sequence seems to be trying too hard to be upbeat and irresistible, and it's all ungainly."
A made-for-TV movie version was broadcast on ABC on November 7, 1999, starring Kathy Bates as Miss Hannigan, Victor Garber as Daddy Warbucks, Alan Cumming as Rooster, Audra McDonald as Grace, Kristin Chenoweth as Lily, and newcomer Alicia Morton as Annie. Produced by The Walt Disney Company in association with Columbia TriStar Television, it received generally positive reviews and high ratings. It also earned two Emmy Awards and a 1999 George Foster Peabody Award. Although truer to the original stage musical than the 1982 version (as well as having a more comedic tone than the 1982 version's slightly dark one), it condensed much of the full story in order to make it more watchable for children. The film also featured a special appearance by Andrea McArdle, star of the original Broadway production.
Per Annie's request, Will takes her and her friends in Miss Hannigan's foster care to see the premiere of MoonQuake Lake. Stacks is uninterested in the movie at first, but soon becomes a major fan along with Grace. Per Annie and Grace's insistence, Stacks joins the premiere party. After returning her friends home, Annie shows Grace her Friday routine of waiting to see if her parents will return; Grace sympathizes, agreeing to keep this a secret from Will. At Miss Hannigan's, the girls accidentally wake her; Miss Hannigan snaps at them, saying rich people are selfish and will ditch anyone they do not like anymore; thus recalling her own past. Slightly hung over, she laments about her situation of foster kids and her desire to reclaim stardom.
On November 27, 2014, Annie was one of several films leaked by the "Guardians of Peace", a group that the FBI believes has ties to North Korea, following its breach of Columbia's parent company Sony Pictures Entertainment. Within three days of the initial leak, Annie had been downloaded by an estimated 206,000 unique IPs. By December 9, the count had risen to over 316,000. The chief analyst at BoxOffice.com felt that despite this, the leak was unlikely to affect Annie's box office performance as the demographic who pirates movies isn't the target audience for the film.
PopMatters magazine rated Annie with a three out of ten, saying, "In its aggravatingly choreographed frenzy, the party scene epitomizes Annie: it's trying too hard both to be and not be the previous Annies, it's trying too little to be innovative or vaguely inspired. It's as crass as Miss Hannigan and as greedy as Stacks, at least until they learn their lessons. The movie doesn't appear to learn a thing." Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune gave Annie one-and-a-half stars, describing the adaptation as being "wobbly" and "unsatisfying", criticizing the commercialized nature of the plot changes, concluding that it was "finesse-free and perilously low on the simple performance pleasures we look for in any musical, of any period." Ben Sachs of the Chicago Reader gave the film three out of four stars, praising the "surprising amount of bite: the filmmakers openly acknowledge the similarities between the Great Depression and the present, and the populist message, however overstated, always registers as sincere." Sachs also praised director Will Gluck for "striking a buoyant tone that feels closer to classic Hollywood musicals than contemporary kiddie fare."
In the abstract, "Annie" is fun. It has lots of movement and color, dance and music, sound and fury. In the particular, it has all sorts of problems, and I guess the only way to really enjoy the movie is to just ignore the particulars. I will nevertheless mention a few particulars.
The adventures she gets herself into are likewise questionable. I've never thought of "Oliver!" as a particularly realistic musical, but at least when its little hero said "Please, sir, more food?" there was a hint of truth. "Annie" has been plunged into pure fantasy, into the mindless sort of musical boosterism that plays big for Broadway theater parties but almost always translates to the movie screen as sheer contrivance. "Annie" is not about anything. It contains lots of subjects (such as cruel orphanages, the Great Depression, scheming conmen, heartless billionaires, and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt) but it isn't about them. It's not even really about whether Annie will survive her encounters with them, since the book of this musical is so rigorously machine-made, so relentlessly formula, it's one of those movies where you can amaze your friends by leaving the auditorium, standing blindfolded in the lobby and correctly predicting the outcome.
And yet I sort of enjoyed the movie. I enjoyed the energy that was visible on the screen, and the sumptuousness of the production numbers, and the good humor of several of the performances -- especially those by Albert Finney, as Daddy Warbucks, and Carol Burnett, as the wicked orphanage supervisor, Miss Hannigan. Aileen Quinn sort of grew on me, too. She cannot be said to really play a child --at least not the sort of plausible flesh-and-blood child that Henry Thomas creates in "E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial" But Quinn is talented, can dance well and sing passably, and does not seem to be an overtrained puppet like, say, Ricky Schroder. She seems more like the kind of kid who will get this acting out of her system and go on to be student body president.
Will kids like the movie? I honestly don't know. When I was a kid, I didn't much like movies about other kids, maybe because I was jealous (why does that kid get to ride a horse in the Derby?). The movie was promoted as a family entertainment, but was it really a family musical, even on the stage? I dunno. I think it was more of a product, a clever concoction of nostalgia, hard-sell sentiment, small children, and cute dogs. The movie is the same mixture as before. It's like some kind of dumb toy that doesn't do anything or go anywhere, but it is fun to watch as it spins mindlessly around and around.
The movie is sharp in grasping how the plot of "Annie," indeed most dramatic public interaction these days, must be reconfigured and re-thought, to take camera phones, YouTube, satellite tracking, and other technology into account. Stacks' bid to be mayor of New York is DOA a the start of the movie, thanks to his extremely unlikable queasiness about human contact, but it's resuscitated when a cell phone video of him rescuing Annie from a near-hit-and-run accident goes viral. (His advisor's attempts to recreate this random event for political gain have a Preston Sturges feeling.) The movie is filled with knowing, playful acknowledgments that experience is becoming more theoretical than physical, such as the "starry sky" on the wall of Annie's bedroom at Stack's place, which is really a series of video screens; yet such touches only confirm that, no matter how physical or virtual the world becomes, love and the absence of love are real, and can save or wound us. 041b061a72