We’ve reached the near mid-point of this Definitive List; 20 …
There were two distinct reactions coming from the news releases about the Annie remake. There was a collective groan from the cynics who like to complain about how Hollywood has no fresh ideas, and there was also a lot of excitement from social justice communities about a black Annie. Which side won out with the final product? That really depends on how charming you find Quvenzhané Wallis as the title character – as for me, I was sold and think it’s one of the best musicals of the past ten years.
When SNL is firing on all cylinders, there’s a sense of respect for its audience. “Sure,” it seems to say, “we know we’ve put out some real stinkers over the years, but you keep coming back for more, sometimes against your better judgement. So for your support and patience, here is an episode that simply doesn’t suck.” In the current state of a Saturday Night Live that is approaching 50, “doesn’t suck” is some on the highest praise you can get.
In his later years, the novelist Cormac McCarthy has circled like a vulture around the theme of death, specifically its inevitable grip on humanity. No Country for Old Men and The Road presented very different worlds, both filled with men trying desperately to withstand the inexorable hand of the reaper, and eventually realizing that there wasn’t much left but to give into what comes for us all. Such an existential fear is, perhaps unsurprisingly, the foundation of McCarthy’s newest foray, his screenplay for the crime thriller The Counselor. Its director is the prolific Ridley Scott, and its cast is impressively stacked, but this is a McCarthy story through and through, which is mostly heartening news.