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Funny Or Die: Fabolous

Funny Or Die: Fabolous

See original article: Want A Video Ho Ho Ho. Loso hits the lab and gets into the holiday spirit to record “I Don’t Fuck With Christmas” as part of Funny Or Die‘s new comedy sketch. Hopefully, Santa didn’t get this dis-mas as a list.

New Music: Miguel x Kurupt “NWA”

New Music: Miguel x Kurupt “NWA”

Gangsta Blues.

Aside from a few feature appearances here and there, Miguel’s been quiet as of late. Today, he treats his fans with 3 free tracks including the full version of “Coffee”, as well as “Hollywood Dreams” and “NWA” featuring Kurupt.

Will The Interview Ever Be Released? Sony Pictures Posts New Seth Rogen, James Franco Trailer

Will The Interview Ever Be Released? Sony Pictures Posts New Seth Rogen, James Franco Trailer

One day after Sony Pictures pulled The Interview’s theatrical release date, the company has posted a new trailer for the Seth Rogen and James Franco film — watchThis article originally appeared on Usmagazine.com: Will The Interview Ever Be Released? Sony Pictures Posts New Seth Rogen, James Franco Trailer

Burt’s Bees Baby Debuts Adorable Holiday Collection

Burt’s Bees Baby Debuts Adorable Holiday Collection

Still shopping for your child’s annual holiday outfit?

Just in time for the perfect end-of-the-year family photo, Burt’s Bees Baby has launched their latest line of children’s clothes.

And their new offerings are seriously making our seasonal spirit extra merrier.

From striped rugby dresses and coordinating leggings for girls to cozy thermal tops and matching bottoms for boys, each item from their must-have collection is made from their signature 100 percent organic cotton.

Courtesy Burt’s Bees Baby

Plus, the festive colors (red! white!) and neutral designs make it easy to mix and match with Mom and Dad’s holiday ensembles.

Shop the Burt’s Bees Baby’s new collection here.

RELATED GALLERY: Gifts for Every Type of Kid from $5 to $500

New Video: Big Gipp “Damn That Booty Big”

New Video: Big Gipp “Damn That Booty Big”

From: Bootyful Don’t touch that dial. In support of his Mr. Get Down mixtape, Big Gipp highlights that ass in all shapes and sizes in his black-and-white clip. Download the tape here.

Angelina Jolie on Directing Brad Pitt in By the Sea: "A Therapist Would Have a Field Day"

Angelina Jolie on Directing Brad Pitt in By the Sea: "A Therapist Would Have a Field Day"

Angelina Jolie joked to The Hollywood Reporter that a “therapist would have a field day” analyzing her career choices, which include directing husband Brad Pitt in a movie about an unhappily married coupleThis article originally appeared on Usmagazine.com: Angelina Jolie on Directing Brad Pitt in By the Sea: “A Therapist Would Have a Field Day”

Predators’ James Neal fined under new NHL diving rules

Predators’ James Neal fined under new NHL diving rules

The NHL fined Nashville Predators forward James Neal $2,000 U.S. for diving on Wednesday, making him the first player to be fined under a new league initiative to crack down on embellishment.Neal was assessed a two-minute minor penalty for embellishment at 19:39 of the third period of Nashville’s 2-0 loss in San Jose on Saturday.It was Neal’s second citation for embellishment this season, which triggered the automatic fine.Harsher penalties for diving were announced by the league in September, with the goal to cut down on what was identified as a league-wide problem at a general managers meeting in March.Under the new rules, a player will receive a warning for his offence, be fined US$2,000 for his second, $3,000 for his third, $4,000 for his fourth and $5,000 each for his fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth embellishment penalties.His coach will also get fined: $2,000 for the player’s fourth offence, $3,000 for his fifth, $4,000 for his sixth and $5,000 each for his seventh and eighth.

Hollywood Reporter Reveals 2014 Producers of the Year

Hollywood Reporter Reveals 2014 Producers of the Year

This story first appeared in the Jan. 9 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.Michael Bay was trying to come up with a good name for his new short film. It was 1988 and he had been doing graduate work at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena when a friend brought Bay’s quandary to the attention of Oliver Stone. The Platoon director glanced at a list of titles Bay had supplied and zeroed in on one. “He said, ‘Platinum Dunes! That’s a great f—ing title!’ ” recalls Bay.Cut to 13 years later. It was 2001, Bay had become one of Hollywood’s top directors, and he and his two partners, Andrew Form and Brad Fuller, were trying to think up a name for their brand-new production company. Why not Platinum Dunes, they wondered?Michael BaySince that moment, Dunes has taken its place as one of the most prolific small companies in the business, with credits ranging from 2003’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre to 2013’s microbudget The Purge. (Platinum is not involved with Bay’s Transformers series.)Read more Box Office: ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Wows With $65M Domestic DebutAfter making their mark with horror films, the longtime friends (Bay, 50, and Fuller, 49, met at Wesleyan University in Middleton, Conn.; Form, 45, worked with Bay while an executive at Simpson-Bruckheimer Films) have moved on to much bigger movies, including their biggest ever: this year’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which to date has grossed $477.2 million worldwide and already has a sequel in the works. Platinum Dunes also has become active in television, with two ongoing cable series, TNT’s The Last Ship — which premiered in June and became the No. 2 new cable show of the year — and Starz’s Black Sails.Jason Blum, who produces the Purge franchise with them (a third outing is in the works), says the three partners draw on deep relationships with some exceptional below-the-line talent and apply their quest for verite to every detail. That includes making sure the bullets inside a gun looked right for a close-up on the first Purge. “They could see the bullets were fake — and I couldn’t,” says Blum. “They know that what’s scary tends to be what’s authentic.”While keeping a toe in the low-budget and even microbudget arena, the producers clearly are eyeing more and bigger projects, which is exactly what Paramount, their home studio, wants. “What our team plans to do is help them expand beyond the horror genre, in addition to expanding the Transformers franchise,” says Paramount chairman Brad Grey, who in July re-upped Platinum’s deal with the studio and signed a new pact with Bay. “We’re fortunate to be in business with them as we look to make between three and five tentpole movies each year.”Read more BSkyB Takes ‘The Flash,’ Michael Bay’s ‘The Last Ship’ for U.K.With three films out in 2014 alone (Turtles, The Purge: Anarchy and Ouija), which grossed a total of $660 million worldwide, Bay, Form and Fuller are The Hollywood Reporter’s 2014 Producers of the Year. They sat down with THR on Dec. 8 in their Santa Monica offices to talk about the highs of the past year and the road forward.Why did you decide to open your own company?MICHAEL BAY I didn’t want to be a director-for-hire.And I wanted to expand. The philosophy was: Let’s make a company that will focus on small fare, where the movie could be the star and we could bring young directors and help them out — low-budget, do it for a price and insulate them from the studio. But the philosophy had to grow and change. We’re working with much more seasoned people; we wanted to get into TV.How did the first Platinum Dunes movie, the remake of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, come about?BRAD FULLER I had made two movies with Graham Taylor, who’s now the head of independent at William Morris Endeavor. And Graham said, “[Producer] Mike Fleiss is looking for someone to make Texas Chainsaw Massacre with him.”BAY Then I heard, and I said, “Let me come up with an idea.” I’d gone to Imagineering at Disney, and there was one room where it was all about sound. It was an amazing place. And I created a pure-sound trailer, sound [with no images] all around the theater. It was two minutes, and it was terrifying. I had my Academy Award-winning mixers. We [showed] it at CAA; we brought in a bunch of studios; we sold it in the room before one word was written, for seven million bucks.Brad FullerFULLER Just based on that trailer and an idea to remake it. No script, no writer, no nothing. Michael kept saying, “Make it visceral. Let’s go hardcore, and let’s do a real hardcore horror movie.” And that’s what we tried to do. But closing the rights was a challenge. It took months and months. There were three people who owned them — one was Tobe Hooper [the director]. That was their baby, and it was hard to get them to give it up. But we got them to do so and made two Chainsaw movies; and then the [original rights holders] were smart: After our movies, they made another Chainsaw movie on their own last year.Read more Michael Bay Extends First-Look Deal at ParamountThe Purge started off with Jason Blum, right?ANDREW FORM The genesis was: We had come off making [the 2010 remake of] Nightmare on Elm Street, which was for us a fairly expensive horror movie [$25 million]. And our phone really stopped ringing because we were living in a world where we were making $15 million-and-up genre films when the lower-budget genre films had started, and we weren’t adapting. The crazy thing about being in Hollywood is that no one comes to you and says, “You’re cold right now.” No one tells you. Your phone just stops ringing.BAY We went to Paramount [in October 2009] and then they stopped believing in the horror movie. Our doors almost got shuttered because they stopped believing in horror.FORM So things were slow and we reached out to Jason. We had seen an early cut of Paranormal Activity and we said, “He’s making movies. He’s doing what we essentially were doing.” And we sat down with him, and he said, “I have this script. Tell me what you think.” It was called Vigilandia, but it was all about The Purge, and eventually The Purge was its [title]. But Brad and I looked at each other and said, “How do you make a $3 million movie?”FULLER We had no money at all. With every other movie, you have at least a tiny bit of money to throw at a problem — on Chainsaw, we had four visual effects shots, and something like $50,000 to do them. On Purge, we had nothing! We could not go on any locations: We could only shoot inside that house and outside the house. The whole country is going through the purge, and we couldn’t even show one shot. It defines what making a movie in a box is like.Andrew FormNow you have Black Sails shooting in South Africa and Last Ship shooting in San Diego. Michael, how involved with these projects do you get?BAY I’m mostly based in Miami — I’ve got a central command at my house where I have [a line that goes directly from] ILM to the Cisco TelePresence to the Avids, so I can access all this information, anything that they’re working on. I’ll get with the production designer, and I’ve said, “You’ve got to dirty it up, you’ve got to texture, texture, texture.” I can give very fast notes. And these guys are very good at executing that.FULLER We’ve been doing this a long time together. I gravitated toward Black Sails and Drew gravitated more toward Last Ship, so he was down in San Diego, and I was in Cape Town. Oh my God, that was difficult. We built one full pirate ship and then another three-quarter ship — there’s no back on it — and it took five months to build these ships. When we started shooting, our ships weren’t ready. We were making a pirate show without pirate ships! And we also had to build a tank to put the ships in. Logistically, it was a nightmare. But at the end of the day, it was astonishing.Read more ‘Ninja Turtles 2′ in the WorksWhat do you like most about producing and what do you like least?BAY Well, I don’t like having to fly to a set and sit a director down. Like one time, three days [into a shoot], literally the entire crew was quitting. So I had to call the director, and I said, “Listen, we’re going to fire you unless you apologize to the crew right now. Do you know what I’m saying?” We know these professionals, and it’s like, “We’re going to keep the crew, we’re not going to keep you.” He apologized, and he was a dream after that. Here’s the deal: Directors are always cagey. You never know what you get until you’re actually on the set. One director came and said, “This is how I want to do the film.” And he shows us a sizzle reel of all the tone, the feel, like a rip-o-matic: He would take other movies, stuff that he’d shot, and it gave the look, feel. And when I’m watching dailies, and they’re [all shooting] way across the country, not one of those shots or the feel is in there. [With another horror film, the director said,] “I just realized: It’s not a scary movie, it’s a family drama.” And I’m like, “OK. I remember it as scary.” Those sit-downs are uncomfortable. But most of the time, it’s great.FULLER One director wanted extra money to shoot the finale, and he got very angry and threw his cellphone against the wall on set. I asked him to come back to the office, and he picked up the phone on the desk and threw that, too.FORM I don’t like the unknown. I remember one movie: We started shooting at night — which you don’t usually like to do. And the second night, we get to a scene that requires nudity from an actress. And we’d never worked with nudity before. Our casting director told us, “When you’re auditioning, the actor has to say on camera that they’re comfortable with that.” So we book the actress, she comes out to the set in Texas — and we start to shoot and the actress starts to feel uncomfortable. She left the movie, she just quit, and that put me in a horrible position. I have one more night in this location! I’ve lost my actress! And one actor says, “I have a friend who’s an actress who might want to do this.” It’s three or four in the morning. Somehow, she gets the email in Los Angeles and goes into casting the next day and by 3 p.m. she’s on a plane to Texas — and she did a great job. But we still have the back of the head of the original actress in the scene.From left: Form, Fuller and Bay posed at the L.A. premiere afterparty for their 2003 remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which grossed $107.1 million worldwide.Read more Hollywood’s 20 Masters of Horror: The Twisted Talents Raising the Most HellAre there any other particularly tough moments that stand out?BAY There was someone in a studio where I said, “Listen, in my movies, I write my own action, OK?” And I wrote the scene, and the studio person said, “What makes you think this is going to be good?” And I said, “You know, I got a pretty good gut.” And he goes, “Well, I don’t believe you.” And I walked out of the room.FORM We were shooting a night shoot. And by the end of the night, everyone was really testy and tired. And the director locked himself inside a car with a camera. We had worked 18 hours. And the director is shooting inserts. And he would not come out of the car. So I just went to the Teamsters and I said, “Guys, can you pull the generator?” And they shut it off and every light and everything went off. And then the director came out. In that moment, the director took his shirt off. He threw it on the ground, and he was stomping on it.BAY I remember when they pulled the generator on me when I was working with Will Smith [on Bad Boys] and they shut the lights down. That director will remember it for the rest of his life.FULLER Michael has this divining rod for where the problems are going to be. On Turtles, I don’t think we had the right tone. Our original cut was more of a brooding action movie, maybe for an older audience. It’s hard to tell the tone in dailies because you can have fun scenes, but when you put the whole thing together, there’s an overwhelming emotion you get [that may be different from what you expected].At what point did you realize the tone was wrong?BAY When they came to Miami to show me the first cut. We went out to dinner after I saw it, and it was a very civil dinner [with] the director and editor and [VFX supervisor]. So we’re having a steak dinner, we have a martini each — and I’m texting Drew. Then he goes to the bathroom. I go to the bathroom. He’s at the urinal and [I say], “We are in so much f—ing trouble!” I write Paramount, “Guys, we have a serious problem. We need funny writers right now. Because the pipeline has to keep going.” We really had to get that tone right. It was dicey.Read more TNT Orders Drug Trade Drama Pilot from Jerry Bruckheimer, Michael BayDo you get final cut?BAY We’re a final-cut production company. If it’s a seasoned veteran, I’m not going to step on their toes. It’s their thing. But we listen to the audience. We had a tussle with a studio where they wanted another ending on Elm Street [that] left it very ambiguous, right? It didn’t work. And my gut’s telling me: wrong. And I’m like, “Let’s do a bake-off. Same night, two theaters, 300 people each.” And their ending was 10 points below ours.FORM There was about 15 seconds’ difference in the entire movie.BAY I respect what the audience is saying. I respect that they’re having trouble comprehending something. On Transformers, there was something we couldn’t gauge in movie three, something in the ending, and, believe it or not, it was the music, because it was too nostalgic, it was too melodic. And it took all this deducing that the music was trying to be emotional when it needed to be heroic, kick-ass. And it literally swung the audience. Movies are made to be seen. You don’t have to respect everything [an audience] is feeling, but there’s certain things where they will really guide you.Michael and Andrew, you both worked for Jerry Bruckheimer. What did he teach you?BAY The politics of navigating. He said, “Listen, everyone at these studios, they’re not going to be there in three to five years, OK?”FORM He said, “Every chair is rented. And don’t ever forget that.” And he said, “You’ll be amazed when people forget that their chairs are rented. Watch.”BAY You learned the production politics from Jerry. You learned the creative, the gut feeling from [Bruckheimer’s late partner, Don Simpson] — though apparently it didn’t work out so well on Bad Boys. It was the Saturday before I was going to shoot my first movie, and he was famous for notes, and he brought in 65 pages of notes, slammed it right in front of Jerry, and said, “Jerry, this script sucks, we’re taking our names off this picture.” And I saw my whole career go down the tube. I was 27. He gives us the notes. He was right on so many accounts. [But] we had $10,000 to do a rewrite. We were able to hire one writer, and his deal was [while he was on location] writing, he had to be able to golf every single day in Florida. It was my first movie. Then Don and Jerry left to go do their real movie, Crimson Tide.Read more Michael Bay in Talks to Direct Benghazi Movie ’13 Hours’ (Exclusive)Since then, how has the business changed in a way that impacts you?FULLER For a long time, we thought a low-budget horror movie was $15 million or $10 million. That was the world we were living in. And then a few years ago, we made The Purge for $2.7 million. Now there are movies under $10 million, or there are big tentpole movies. And that’s it.BAY It’s tough. I’m working on 13 Hours [adapted from the book by Mitchell Zuckoff]. It’s about these ex-Special Forces who were working for the CIA; they were just contractors and they got a call from the embassy [in Benghazi] that it was under attack. [They were told] “If you don’t get here, we’re all going to die.” It’s from their point of view. But [Paramount and I] are haggling over money — though we always haggle, you know?What’s your greatest challenge going forward?FULLER Changing economics — and the fact that the audience for these movies is global. When my grandfather [Sherrill Corwin] was making movies in the 1970s, his audience was distinctly American. He made The Poseidon Adventure [as an uncredited executive producer], and movies then were in theaters for six months at a time and regionally released; and now they open on 3,000 screens and you have to think of China and Russia and Mexico and Brazil. By the way, the movie business changed everything for my family — we were living in a tiny house; I shared a room with my parents; and then when Poseidon did well, that allowed my grandfather to help my parents get a loan so that they could buy a bigger house. It had a really important impact on me.BAY The biggest challenge now is expanding. How are we going to expand and then do it successfully? We’re doing some bigger, four-quadrant type movies. We want to do more TV. And we’re now growing at an exponential rate, and how do we keep our claws in all of it, and how do we keep creative control? We’ve always been very protective of the people who work with us. And just how do you keep that quality control going? I don’t know how we did all that work last year — and then I was doing Transformers as well.Read more Box Office Milestone: ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’ Hits $1 Billion WorldwideAre you going to direct Transformers 5?BAY Oh, you want the Transformers story? The only story I know about Transformers is that I’m going to help. We need to have some sort of writer think-tank if they want to keep this franchise going, to try to figure out a plan. But that’s it. I’m not committed to anything, you know? I’m interested in a lot of other stuff right now. I’ve been offered a couple of these midrange-budget movies that are interesting to me. It’s hard when you go from a Transformers to another large-sized movie. It’s two years of your life. It’s a major grind when you work with 4,000 people, and it’s a massive undertaking.You all love many types of film. Can you name one in particular that really influenced you?FULLER Star Wars. I saw it at the Avco [in Westwood] with my father. I was probably 12 years old. I just couldn’t believe what I had witnessed, and I wondered, “How did that happen?” It was so much bigger and better than anything I had seen.BAY Raiders of the Lost Ark, because as a 15-year-old kid I filed Raiders of the Lost Ark storyboards. I worked at Lucasfilm, filing, working in the library as a librarian. I was saving up for a car. So I had this job and I literally got all the storyboards from London, and I was filing them in order. And the true story is, I told my 15-year-old friends, “Spielberg’s doing this movie called Raiders. It’s going to suck.” But I saw it at the Chinese Theatre — and it didn’t suck.FORM When I was 13, my parents took me to see E.T. And in my town, Wantagh, Long Island, we had a stand-alone theater, and it was the only movie playing there. I thought I was this tough 13-year-old kid, and I cried. And I could not believe the experience affected me that way.

Bobby Shmurda & Sha Money XL Arrested In NYC

Bobby Shmurda & Sha Money XL Arrested In NYC

Original source: Go Dumb Shit. It was all good just a week ago. According to Karen Civil, Bobby Shmurda, Sha Money XL, and their GS9 crew were arrested last night at Quad Studios in New York. While conducting the arrest, authorities reportedly found an arsenal of guns. More details to come.

‘Into the Woods': Film Review

‘Into the Woods': Film Review

The tentative 21st century rebirth of the movie musical has been one step forward, two steps back. But Rob Marshall, who directed a commercially successful example in Chicago and a misconceived dud in Nine, hits a sweet spot between cinematic and theatrical with his captivating film of Into the Woods. This twisty fairy-tale mash-up shows an appreciation for the virtues of old-fashioned storytelling, along with a welcome dash of subversive wit. It benefits from respect for the source material, enticing production values and a populous gallery of sharp character portraits from a delightful cast.Its skeptical view of happy endings makes this release a tricky fit for the holiday family niche. But Disney should do nicely over the long haul with a classy film that will entertain youth audiences yet contains enough sly humor and narrative complexity to keep adults engaged.Arguably the most accessible, though not the best, of Stephen Sondheim’s musicals, the 1987 Broadway hit is stuffed with themes that might easily have turned sugary in a screen treatment from this studio — the parental urge to teach and protect; the child’s propensity to learn more by experience and error; the marvels and menace of the world beyond home; the pain of loss; and the solace of community.But screenwriter James Lapine, adapting his own book for the show, has retained the balance of dark and light, shaping a cohesive story of resilience and maturation out of multiple strands without leaning too hard on the sentiment. What was played for gallows humor onstage is often treated more earnestly here, and the violence and tragedy are suggested more than shown. But there’s enough Brothers Grimm in the tone to offset charges of Disney-fication.Read more Perverted Wolves, Cheating Wives and a Fired 10-Year-Old: The Dark Path to Disney’s ‘Into the Woods’Marshall has mercifully avoided the wearisome trend of turning revisionist fairy-tales into dour action fantasies set in digitized kingdoms out of a videogame. (See Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunter, Jack the Giant Slayer, Red Riding Hood, Snow White and the Huntsman… No, better yet, don’t.) CGI effects are used with intelligence and economy, primarily where the story’s magic dictates, and the mix of soundstage sets with atmospheric locations is for the most part harmonious.A virtuoso opening sequence signals right off the bat that Marshall and Lapine know what they’re doing. In roughly 12 minutes of song and interspersed dialogue propelled by the musical motif “I wish,” they introduce the major characters and identify the quests that will take them through the woods.Those key figures include a handful of classic fairy-tale recruits: Cinderella (Anna Kendrick) toils in the scullery of her wicked stepmother (Christine Baranski), dreaming of attending the royal ball; feisty Little Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford) sets off to visit her granny; Jack (Daniel Huttlestone) is forced by his exasperated mother (Tracey Ullman) to take his cherished but milkless cow to the market to be sold.Read more Meryl Streep, Anna Kendrick Share the Many ‘Into the Woods’ Morals for Adult MoviegoersAn original story converges with those timeworn tales, concerning the village Baker (James Corden) and his Wife (Emily Blunt), unable to conceive a child. This is due to the curse of a Witch (Meryl Streep), whose beauty was destroyed when the Baker’s father (Simon Russell Beale) raided her garden and stole her magic beans. But she gives the young couple a chance to reverse the curse, with a series of tasks that set the journey in motion.That would be more than enough plot to sustain most movies. But this musical’s raison d’etre is its exploration of the happily-ever-aftermath of wish fulfillment, as the characters face the murky consequences of their moral compromises. The most frightening lesson is never piss off a Lady Giant (Frances de la Tour, as sparingly glimpsed as the shark in Jaws). But there are other takeaways regarding blame and responsibility as the survivors confront an unknown side of themselves revealed during their time in the woods.Like the prior collaboration of Sondheim and Lapine, Sunday in the Park With George, this is a show whose distinct halves require a significant tonal shift that not every production navigates fluidly. Marshall does well enough, even if the momentum falters after the buoyancy and cleverness of the first hour. But that’s also partly due to the thematic clutter of diffuse material that has always tried to cover more ideas than the fanciful conceit can fully support.See more Making ‘Into the Woods,’ With Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt (Photos)However, those reservations in no way diminish the charm, humor and poignancy of the overall experience. A key reward for the show’s legions of fans will be the sophisticated treatment of the score, which is orchestrated by Jonathan Tunick and conducted by Paul Gemignani, both longtime Sondheim collaborators.The cuts are invariably smart ones made for pacing reasons, with some lyrics reworked as dialogue and melodies repurposed as underscoring. But the majority of the songs are represented, and unlike Tim Burton’s film of Sweeney Todd, which jettisoned the magnificent title ballad that sets the tone for the entire musical, the sacrifices are justifiable. The most missed of them will likely be “No More,” sung by the Baker and his father, but its emotions are fully conveyed by Corden without slowing the late action.The actors’ incisive character work impresses across the board, as does their musicality, and unlike 2012’s turgid Les Miserables, they make it look effortless.Read more Behind the Screen: Cinematographer Dion Beebe on Shooting ‘Into the Woods’Streep is quite wonderful, delivering something far richer than her karaoke turn in the clunky Mamma Mia! Her performances in the film adaptations of stage hits Doubt and August: Osage County are among her less remarkable work of recent years. But she reinvents this role from scratch, bringing powerful vocals, mischievous comedic instincts, bold physicality and raw feeling to the Witch. Her entrances and exits alone are priceless.She also aces some of the musical’s best songs: the furious waltz “Last Midnight”; the beautiful cautionary anthem “Children Will Listen”; and “Stay With Me,” a wrenching plea to Rapunzel (MacKenzie Mauzy), the adopted daughter she has imprisoned in a tower, ostensibly for the girl’s safety.Perhaps even more than on stage, the muddled ways in which parents bestow their love are illustrated with touching compassion, whether it’s the lengths the Baker and his Wife will go to have a child or the fierce protectiveness of Jack’s mother, her affection often tempered with a cuff to the head. Even Cinderella’s materialistic Stepmother acts out of a crazed desire for the happiness of her daughters (Tammy Blanchard, Lucy Punch), a pair of odious airheads.Read more Disney Musical ‘Into the Woods’ Swoops Into Awards Season — How Far Can It Go?In the central roles, Corden and Blunt have disarming chemistry, in both the comic and romantic sense. He’s sweet-natured, guileless and burdened by the sins of his father, while she’s a shrewder type, willing to stray from the path. Kendrick has never been more luminous, and her big song, “On the Steps of the Palace,” is among the highlights, performed as a moment of suspended time. Lapine’s smart touch of having her deliberately leave behind a shoe remains a gem.As the Prince who confesses, “I was raised to be charming, not sincere,” Chris Pine is a hoot, preening and posing with self-satisfaction, and baffled that any maiden might resist him. Billy Magnussen is equally good as the Prince’s younger brother, blinded by love for Rapunzel. Like campy escapees from some overheated bodice-ripper, the Princes compete to outdo each other in melodramatic intensity — and pecs — in the hilarious “Agony,” sung while prancing about a rocky cascade.The younger actors are excellent, both nailing their signature songs. Huttlestone captures the dreamy wonder and excitement of “Giants in the Sky,” while Crawford (star of Broadway’s recent Annie revival) is appealingly precocious. When she sings “I Know Things Now,” you believe her.Read more New York Revival of ‘Into the Woods’ to Coincide With Disney ReleaseThe one actor lost in the shuffle is Johnny Depp as the Wolf. He looks perfect in costumer Colleen Atwood’s Tex Avery-inspired lupine zoot suit, and salivates over his human dinner with gusto. But the role is an enjoyable cameo with little impact. And in an ugly CG sequence that jars stylistically with the rest of the movie, Marshall botches the detour into the Wolf’s stomach to liberate his prey.But elsewhere, the film is ravishing. Cinematographer Dion Beebe paints the widescreen canvas in seductive shadow, light and muted color, keeping the camera movement sedate unless its agility is in response to the music. Dennis Gassner’s handsome production design evokes classic English fairy-tale illustration; the farmhouse where Jack and his mother live is just gorgeous. Atwood’s costumes playfully mix time periods with an eye for character detail; her gown for the transformed Witch is a couture-drag knockout. And editor Wyatt Smith smoothly integrates dramatic scenes with songs, charging ahead from one number to the next without seeming rushed.Cast: Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, James Corden, Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine, Tracey Ullman, Christine Baranski, Johnny Depp, Daniel Huttlestone, Lilla Crawford, Tammy Blanchard, Lucy Punch, Billy Magnussen, MacKenzie Mauzy, Simon Russell Beale, Frances de la TourProduction companies: Walt Disney Pictures, Lucamar Productions, Marc Platt ProductionsDirector: Rob MarshallScreenwriter: James Lapine, based on the musical by Stephen Sondheim and LapineMusic and lyrics: Stephen SondheimProducers: John DeLuca, Rob Marshall, Marc Platt, Callum McDougallDirector of photography: Dion BeebeProduction designer: Dennis GassnerCostume designer: Colleen AtwoodEditor: Wyatt SmithVisual effects supervisor: Matt JohnsonCasting directors: Francine Maisler, Bernard Telsey, Tiffany Little CanfieldRated PG, 125 minutes.

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