Archive for the ‘Quvenzhané Wallis’ Category


16 Jan

Annie – directed and written by Will Gluck. Musical. 118 minutes Color 2014.


The Story: An orphan becomes publicizable as a prop to a politician’s election.


In silent film there was a lot of noise. People on the screen were talking all the time. The most famous film stars whose work we see nowadays were mimes: Harold Lloyd, Harry Langdon, Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin, but most films then involved dialogue. In dramas, melodramas, westerns, and straight comedies, there was lots of words exchanged, and always lots of music from the piano player in front of the audience, following sheet music written to ornament the scenes. Of course, you couldn’t hear a word anyone said.

Annie is just like that. When they are singing, you can’t hear a word anyone said. Oh, a word may drift into intelligibility from time to time, but for the most part, the singers are as mute as Mary Pickford. The orchestrations crush them. The booming sound system of the multiplex cooks them to death.

So what I did, and I counsel you to do the same, is to sit back into the inevitable and enjoy yourself.

For there is much to enjoy. Having to set aside the songs and the music, one expects to see a dance musical, but to call the dancing dance is to misapply strutting for choreography. It is not a dance musical. It is a prance musical.

But as such it is imaginative and entertaining. The prancing is original and daring and fun. Everyone is good at it. And once you get the gist of it from a song’s title, everything fits in real good. I would almost say it’s the most entertaining thing about Annie.

Except we have a couple of delightful players up there. Two people who belong in film work like anything! Two people the rest of us humans pay willingly to just to watch. Two humans we want to get close to because they have so much human juice available to them. Two naturally gifted entertainers.

The one is Mr, Jamie Foxx. The other is the inestimable Quvenzhané Wallis, whom we were privileged first to meet in Beasts Of The Southern Wild. She’s just entrancing. She is a great star. She will led the nation to freedom. But only if she never reads this. She is about 10.


The Beasts Of The Southern Wild

24 Aug

The Beasts Of The Southern Wild – directed by Benh Zeitlin. Drama. 93 minutes Color 2012.


The Story: A little girl and her father struggle for survival in a poor deadend village in the bayou.


Quvenzhané Wallis is the 8 year old girl who plays the princess to the angry old king, played by Dwight Henry. In real life, he is the former owner of a bakery and she is a former seven year-old, neither of them having made a picture before. They are quite wonderful, and the adventures and occurrences of this film are wonderful too.

It takes place in a bayou which seems almost out in the ocean, and occupied by hard-drinking mostly merry fisherfolk who dine off the sea and live in shacks. The little girl has been abandoned by her mother, and her father disappears inexplicably from time to time. There is something wrong with him, almost a madness, and in fact, what we are actually seeing is King Lear, and one of the great versions of it to boot.

The people of the town of Bathtub know one another and care for one another, and those who survive the great hurricane pitch-in and make a life for themselves. They live in shanties, patched together and they are educated by one another in the ways of the whole world, though they never leave this one hamlet.

The little girl has visions of the melting of the ice caps, and the release of primordial aurochs which are church-sized horned pigs. Both are out to get her.

Her father is hard on her and her search for feminine nurture leads her and her kiddie cronies on a remarkable adventure across the waters. The story is plain as a fairy tale and as potent. It is perfectly told and edited. It is the picture of the year. You mustn’t miss it. You have never seen anything like it before, and you will understand it perfectly.

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Posted in ACTING STYLE: AMERICAN REALISTIC, Directed by Benh Zeitlin, Dwight Henry, FAMILY DRAMA, Quvenzhané Wallis

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