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Annie
Rating
Director Will Gluck
Language English
Opens Jan. 24

Movie musicals sit badly with some people — the sudden moments where the cast break into song and dance can sometimes work better on the stage. “Annie” is a case in point, since director Will Gluck appears to be a tad uncomfortable with musicals, and rushes over the scenes like a man with a flight to catch.

“Annie” began as a 1970s comic strip by Harold Gray, then became a Broadway musical, and has been adapted to the screen a number of times, most recently in 1999. And now here’s “Annie” once again, updated to the present day and starring the irresistible and irrepressible Quvenzhane Wallis (“Beasts of the Southern Wild”). Whatever other faults the movie may have, director Gluck has deployed Wallis’ charms to full effect and the mood of the story soars whenever she’s around.

Annie (Wallis) is a foster kid living in a foster home run by the mean Miss Hannigan (Cameron Diaz). Annie wants to find her real parents, and fortune comes her way when mobile-phone magnate and mayoral candidate Will Stacks (Jamie Foxx) takes her in to boost his campaign and public image. The trio of Wallis, Diaz and Foxx give the film their all, but in the end it feels tepid and unenthusiastic about Annie’s fate, in spite of her winning ways.

In line with COVID-19 guidelines, the government is strongly requesting that residents and visitors exercise caution if they choose to visit bars, restaurants, music venues and other public spaces.

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