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Holiday Must-See Movie: 'Into the Woods'

  Intothewoods-merylpoints
"Go to the wood!" is Streep's wish your command? 

BY NATHANIEL ROGERS 

Once upon a time Stephen Sondheim wrote a musical classic INTO THE WOODS. The first act brings together classic fairy tale characters into one comic misadventure and the second act debunks the “happily ever after” myth and transforms the whole play into a masterpiece about virtually all the Big Stuff: growing up, parenting, marriage, death, rebuilding after great loss.

Itw_CinderellaWhen it comes to lines we can repurpose to talk about the prospects of a film version, Little Red said it best:

It made me feel excited. well, excited and scared.

Isn’t that how devotees of the movie musical feel each time a new one arrives? A bit of background to justify the high-anxiety. The live-action movie musical died alongside Bob Fosse's alter ego in All That Jazz (1979). The genre was six feet under for two full decades despite intermittent attempts at excavating its exquisite corpse (Annie, Little Shop of Horrors, Newsies). The Disney animation renaissance of the 1990s renewed interest and the genre was successfully reborn at the turn of the century by the one-two-three-four punch of Dancer in the Dark, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Moulin Rouge! and Chicago. That's a four consecutive high quality film run that this ancient-newborn genre has yet to match since. And why is that exactly? Some people blame the lack of strong directors who are skilled in the form, others the resistance to new blood (nearly all modern musicals are adaptations). Still more culprits are Hollywood’s frequent miscasting since musical skill is considered optional.

But The Witch (Meryl Streep) would like us to stop bitching and get on with this review.

No, of course what really matters is the blame
Somebody to blame.
Fine, if that's the thing you enjoy, Placing the blame,
If that's the aim, Give me the blame-

So back to Into the Woods . Does it survive the transfer? With so much baggage brought into the movie theater I’ll admit that a traditional review has been tough to write. So herewith a ranked list of the musical numbers (in their current form) as a sneaky way to coax out all those thorny blinding feelings.

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The list, from worst to best, is AFTER THE JUMP...

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Billy Eichner Hosts Ridiculous Meryl Streep Triathlon: VIDEO

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On the new Billy on the Street, loudmouth Billy Eichner leads a ridiculous Meryl Streep-themed triathlon in which Sister Aloysius from Doubt, Out of Africa Meryl, Devil Wears Prada Meryl (above), Iron Lady Meryl, and Julia Child Meryl, compete by completing ridiculous stunts like feeding chicken to Stanley Tucci, getting in a coffin, and capturing Anne Hathaway in a butterfly net as she gives her Oscar speech.

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The triathlon culminates in a terrifying ride on a Meryl-Go-Round.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Meryl Streep Shows Ellen She Can Make Anything Sound Interesting: VIDEO

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Can an oatmeal recipe sound sexual? Can a traffic report be given more urgency if it is delivered by a woman in labor?

As long as Meryl Streep is around anything is possible. Plus Streep also talks about her Oscar nomination for August: Osage County.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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First Look: Meryl Streep as the Witch in 'Into the Woods'

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Meryl Streep shows off some talons in the first still from the film adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods, directed by Rob Marshall.

Also starring: Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine, Johnny Depp, and Emily Blunt.

Our Nathaniel Rogers has some thoughts on the still over at Film Experience.


Zachary Quinto Wants To Build A House With Oprah: VIDEO

Zachary

Zachary Quinto stopped by Late Night with Jimmy Fallon yesterday and took questions from Tumblr users. Asked what actor, dead or alive, he’d love to work with, Zachary answered,

“You mean work with them like being in something with them or like build a house? Like work with them as an actor? I would like to build a house with Oprah who is not necessarily, like, an actor first, but she’s actually an amazing actor.  She’s got a new movie coming out as well. And I’d like to be in a movie with Meryl Streep because, right, like, right? I’m sticking by it.”

Check out as he gives his best “Pittsburghese” accent and reveals what qualities he shares with Spock, his spirit animal, the #1 item on his bucket list, and whether his “killer eyebrows” are a blessing or a curse, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Zachary Quinto Wants To Build A House With Oprah: VIDEO" »


Family Malfunctions in the New 'August: Osage County' Trailer: VIDEO

Streep

Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Sam Shepard, Abigail Breslin, Juliette Lewis, Chris Cooper, and Benedict Cumberbatch go sniffing around for Oscar in the new trailer for August: Osage County, the adaptation of Tracy Letts' Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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