Quvenzhané Wallis

Annie

The Annie mythos — culled from various versions, from an 1885 poem by James Whitcomb Riley to the Harold Gray-crafted syndicated comic strip to the beloved 1977 Broadway musical and its subsequent 1982 film adaptation — has evolved quite spectacularly over the years. Once a character in a poem that is straight up about goblins, Annie is now the adorable, plucky heroine of a feel-good musical about finding your own family (and copious amounts of cash) in the most unexpected of places. Still, the problem with Annie is that, jazzy song-and-dance sequences aside, the story itself is almost too wrenching to be believed. At least, that’s the problem with Will Gluck‘s Annie, which insists on foisting still more troubles on our pint-sized leading lady while also involving a weirdly adult subplot about corporate invasions of privacy. Isn’t being a goddamn orphan bad enough? No, because this orphan has to soft-shoe it through a feature that thinks that illiteracy works wonders as a late-breaking, totally tossed-off issue and that selling kids for cash is the kind of feature the entire family can enjoy this holiday season. Still worse, the musical elements of the film — which is still a musical, no matter how many times its own characters make fun of the genre during the actual course of the feature — are ham-fisted, poorly made and embarrassing.

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quvenzhane-wallis

What is Casting Couch? It’s full of casting news, just full of it. Today you can find out what’s next for foreign heartthrobs Michael Roskam and Marion Cotillard. Quvenzhané Wallis has been in the news a lot lately. Not only did the adorable nine-year-old stir up some controversy at Sunday’s Oscar ceremony by skinning a puppy and wearing it as a purse, she’s also been the subject of rumors regarding the Will Smith-produced remake of Annie. After Smith’s daughter Willow dropped out of the film’s starring role because she’s probably in her twenties now or something, it was rumored that Wallis would be stepping in to take her place. Deadline now confirms that this is indeed the case, and Wallis is all set to become the new face of everyone’s favorite orphan. Easy A’s Will Gluck will direct her.

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Best Actress

There are two main rivalries in the 2013 Best Actress race. There’s a head-to-head showdown between Silver Linings Playbook’s Jennifer Lawrence and Zero Dark Thirty’s Jessica Chastain. These ladies even have a supposed rivalry brewing between them. By all accounts, they are the ones to beat. There’s also that oldest versus youngest match-up between Amour’s Emmanuelle Riva [oldest] and Beasts of the Southern Wild’s Quvenzhané Wallis [youngest]. And then there’s The Impossible’s Naomi Watts. Hopefully there will be an upset so this Oscars 2013 don’t prove to be too boring. Though the Oscars do lean toward the predictable… Will any of these actresses go down in history with a bombastic speech, featuring a line akin to “You like me! You really like me!” or suffer some sort of horrendous wardrobe malfunction on the red carpet? Will there be a deluge of tears that goes down in history? Only time will tell. Hopefully the chosen lady is somewhat well-deserving of her award and at least has a good stylist. Here are the nominees with my predicted winner is in red:

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quvenzhane-wallis

Today in “casting rumors that will surprise no one,” EW is reporting that nine-year-old Best Actress nominee Quvenzhané Wallis is “in consideration” to lead Sony’s new Annieremake. With long-attached star Willow Smith officially out and Easy A director Will Gluck officially in to helm the picture, we’ve been expecting casting buzz to start trickling out, and Wallis seems like a no-brainer of a potential star. Wallis is one of young Hollywood’s true rising stars, she’s got the positive buzz of her historic Oscar nomination, and she’s totally adorable. The outlet does stress that “Gluck and the producers at Will Smith’s Overbrook Entertainment banner and Jay-Z’s Marcy Media, which have been developing the project, have yet to make any casting decisions.” Well, we’ll just have to see about that.

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Beasts of the Southern Wild

Cannes’ secondary competition – Un Certain Regard – offers attendees the opportunity to see innovative or intriguing projects, deemed of significance by the programme schedulers, and if there is any film in the selection which fits the bill perfectly, it is Benh Zeitlin‘s Beasts of the Southern Wild. As Kevin Kelly stated in his own review of the film, it changes the way you see movies, and Zeitlin’s first feature arrived at the festival buoyed by similarly positive reviews at Sundance. The film takes place in the Bathtub, a Southern American area outside of a government enforced levee where a community of resistant, and spirited residents live in shacks in the ominous shadow cast by global warming. Our hero is Hush Puppy (Quvenzhané Wallis), an extraordinary six year old girl who lives next door to her father Wink (Dwight Henry), living day to day on the bayou, among a colourful cascade of  carnival characters, but haunted both by the ghost of her absent mother and the threat of impending ecological doom. The narrative is driven by two flashpoint events: first Wink disappears, to return days later in a hospital gown and then a raging storm floods the Bathtub, destroying the communities homes and leaving only a small group of survivors to rebuild.

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Beasts of the Southern Wild received mostly acclaim from its Sundance debut earlier this year with several critics already calling it the best film of 2012. Our own Kevin Kelly called it “magical and moving” and “utterly amazing” in his review, and that guy’s only occasionally wrong. The film follows a young girl living in a a small, rural community just to the left of reality that receives word of an impending disaster caused by flood-ravaged levees. She sets out an adventure that sees imagination and the real world collide as she tries to save her father and town. And that’s even before the prehistoric porcine creatures arrive on scene. The trailer’s release has reportedly brought some bloggers to tears as they watched the images play across the screen, but while you (and I) may not have the same reaction there’s no denying its visual appeal. Think Spike Lee’s When the Levees Broke meets Spike Jonze’s Where the Wild Things Are and you’ll have an idea what to expect. Maybe. Check out the trailer below. Just be sure you have some Kleenex handy. Or…not.

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Nothing says “summer at the movies” quite like a metric ton of big name blockbusters flooding theaters near you – superheroes on top of superheroes, classic television series brought back from the dead, animated gems about finding yourself – oh my! But with the cinema summer growing ever-larger, the stakes being pushed ever-higher, and enough content to keep audience members in their seats ever-longer, a line has to be drawn somewhere. Which is why all the members of the Voting Body of Film School Rejects gathered together in our secret chambers to vote on just which films have won our Most Anticipated nod. Twenty films emerged from our complicated, decades-old voting process (read: a Google doc) to be crowned winners. Why twenty? Well, there are twenty weeks in the cinematic summer season (if you count May, which we do – April will be included next year if Hollywood keeps this up), and that should give you movie-lovers a reasonable goal to meet for the viewing season. We’ve even managed to pinpoint our most anticipated movie-going weekend of the summer – June 22nd, when four films open in theaters, all of which made our list. But beyond the mathematics that went into picking the summer’s best weekend, there were also some genuine surprises on the list – including big tentpole films missing completely (sorry, Battleship and Dark Shadows), some indies that sneaked in with lots of votes, a battle royale that went down between our number one and number two picks, […]

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There is no question that Benh Zeitlin‘s Beasts of the Southern Wild was the darling of this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Before Team Rejects even hit the ground in Park City, the word was out on the film – this was the film to see this year, an absolute can’t-miss. Our own Kevin Kelly crowned it a Sundance stand-out and “utterly amazing” in his review (read it HERE). The film capitalized on all that good buzz with sold out screenings, the Dramatic Grand Jury Prize from the festival, and a swift pick-up from Fox Searchlight. But just when would the studio release this complicated and potentially hard to market independent film? Turns out, soon – very soon. Box Office Mojo reports that the film will have a limited release on June 29 of this year, a date that will pit it next to Take This Waltz, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, and Magic Mike. So, pretty perfect dating on that one. The film follows young Hushpuppy (the staggeringly talented young Quvenzhané Wallis) and her life in “the Bathtub,” an fictionalized outsider community on the edges of New Orleans. Beyond that, it’s a bit hard to explain – it’s a consuming and very creative film that’s really just kind of magical. Though I didn’t fall as head over heels in love with the film at Sundance as just about everyone else did, I still think it’s a bold and gorgeous production, and I am eager to see how Searchlight markets it and how audiences […]

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One of the reasons that I love going to the Sundance Film Festival is that amidst the sea of angst-ridden romances, dramas that explore feelings that have long-since been forgotten about, and documentaries, you’ll sometimes find a gem that will change the way you see movies. Beasts of the Southern Wild was that film for me this year. At face value, it’s a difficult film to fully explain. A society that lives off the grid from the mainland of a country ignores the warnings that their lives are in danger should the nearby levee break. They live in ignorant bliss, reveling in their lives and calling their home “The Bathtub” in a light-hearted mocking of the fact that a wall of water could come crashing down and destroy them all.

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published: 12.18.2014
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published: 12.17.2014
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published: 12.15.2014
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published: 12.12.2014
D+


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