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Hollywood by Choice

‘Annie’ a must-see Christmas movie

Gail Choice | 12/18/2014, midnight
Don’t know how many of you remember the old comic strip “Little Orphan Annie.” I do, and I loved reading ...

Don’t know how many of you remember the old comic strip “Little Orphan Annie.” I do, and I loved reading about her adventures. I remember liking her hair, big, red…I even think it predated the Afro. I remember billionaire Oliver Warbucks and I liked the dog Sandy, Annie’s constant companion. I also remember when it went to Broadway, I knew I’d never see it because for me Broadway was a world away.

Now “Annie” is on the big screen again, and much to my delight it stars Academy Award® nominee Quvenzhané Wallis (“Beasts of the Southern Wild”) as Annie, and Academy Award® winner Jamie Foxx (“Ray,” “Django”) as the hard-nosed tycoon and New York mayoral candidate Will Stacks. Love it!

The publicity describes “Annie” as a contemporary vision with a modern telling that captures the magic of the classic characters and original show that won seven Tony Awards.

This writer says it harkens back to the Hollywood days when musicals were king, and the performers were lively, and loveable. From the energetic dance routines, to the comedic antics of Foxx, this is perhaps one of the best Christmas movies in years, and it has something in it for the entire family.

Some of the most creative minds in Hollywood and the music world are behind this film. The producers, James Lassiter, Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith, Caleeb Pinkett, Shawn “Jay Z” Carter, Laurence “Jay” Brown, and Tyran “Ty Ty” Smith teamed with director/producer/screenwriter Will Gluck to bring this film to life.

If you recall, Will and Jada’s daughter, Willow, was signed to play the role of Annie. According to Teen Vogue magazine she said, “To be honest, something inside me was just, like, ‘Don’t,’” said Smith. “I’m very connected with my intuition.”

Quvenzhané Wallis is perfect as Annie. She is naturally energetic, intelligent and through it all a ‘real’ little girl. Her parents obviously know the importance of keeping ‘the child’ in her alive. And all of this spills out on the screen.

Wallis stars as Annie, a young, happy foster kid who’s tough enough to make her way on the streets of New York in 2014. Originally left by her parents as a baby with the promise that they’d be back for her someday, it’s been a hard knock life ever since with her mean foster mom Miss Hannigan (Cameron Diaz). But a chance meeting with a rich and powerful man, Will Stacks, not only changed Annie’s life, but his too.

Foxx said he jumped at the chance to play Will Stacks and why not? He gets to use all of his talent and abilities in this film. I noted that he has great control of his facial muscle, and coupled with his timing, one look from him says a thousand words. You’ll see what I mean. His character is shrewd, but not always on the “up and up” with Annie. He is playing a “wanna be” politician, and his good deed of saving Annie’s life brings him more notoriety than his top-notch advisors, his company’s brilliant VP, Grace (Rose Byrne) and his shrewd and scheming campaign advisor, Guy (Bobby Cannavale) could ever muster.

“Annie” is definitely the “feel good” movie of the year. It transcends color or race and hits at the heart of humanity. If you doubt my words, go to the official movie website http://www.annie-movie.com/site/videos and check out the movie trailers and two of the most fun and heartwarming videos you will see this year featuring crusty, hard-as-nails New Yorkers in “You’re Never Really Dressed Without a Smile,” and the classic song “Tomorrow.” I guarantee you’ll laugh.

And check out www.hollywoodbychoice.com for “Annie” behind-the-scene interviews and more.

Once again “Annie” is a Christmas movie for the entire family, a great date movie or just hanging out with friends or by yourself.

“Annie” is in theaters this Friday.