The new issue of Empire has a fresh look at Meryl Streep in Rob Marshall’s film adaptation of Into The Woods. This still comes from the scene, glimpsed in the trailer, where Streep bursts in on the baker and his wife – wait, does that make no sense as a pairing to anyone else?). They wished to have children, but a curse was laid on the baker’s father by the witch decades before, and the only way she’s willing to lift it is if they find her four ingredients for a potion. Cue a quest that brings them into conflict with other fairytale characters, some of them rather different to how you remember.

Most publications have released their reviews for “The Giver” in time for the film’s theatrical release. Unfortunately, the film is not a favorite with critics. Most compare it to other recent YA movie adaptations, whose books have been inspired by “The Giver”, while the novel’s adaptation does not hold up compared with its successors. But here’s the good thing about critics: They give you a chance to see the film and make your own opinion. A new production still, featuring Meryl Streep and Jeff Bridges, has been added to the gallery. Below’s a selection of reviews.

Entertainment Weekly (Jeff Labreque, August 15, 2014)
Bridges, who spent nearly 20 years trying to bring the novel to the screen, seems trapped playing the passive seer, and Meryl Streep’s villainous turn as the Jane Campion-haired Chief Elder will test the blind devotion of Golden Globe voters. In the end, the film practically collapses under its own…hmm, what’s the opposite of ‘weight’? In any case, it falls apart with a slapdash final act that doesn’t work as drama or action and only serves to undermine Jonas’s heroics. It’s treated as a quest so non-Herculean that you wonder why the Giver didn’t do the job himself years ago. Maybe he just lost interest too.

Variety (Scott Foundas, August 11, 2014)
Sameness, the conformist plague that afflicts the futuristic citizens of Lois Lowry’s celebrated and scorned YA novel, The Giver, might also be the name given to what ails the movie adaptation—the latest in a seemingly endless line of teen-centric dystopian fantasies that have become all but indistinguishable from one another. A longtime passion project for producer/star Jeff Bridges, The Giver reaches the screen in a version that captures the essence of Lowry’s affecting allegory but little of its mythic pull—a recipe likely to disappoint fans while leaving others to wonder what all the fuss was about.

The Hollywood Reporter (John DeFore, August 11, 2014)
The changes, which include making the book’s 12 year-old hero old enough to make tween viewers swoon (he’s played by 25 year-old Aussie Brenton Thwaites), surely enhance marketability, even if they sand some edges off a tale that has won many hearts over the years. The presence of Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep in supporting roles will help draw some attention from grown-ups who don’t know the book, but while the film may see enough success to justify follow-ups (Lowry has written three sequels), this franchise won’t come close to competing with The Hunger Games and other more epic series.

The Washington Post (Ann Hornaday, August 12, 2014)
In its own way, the movie version—handsomely directed by Phillip Noyce and featuring an appealing, sure-footed cast of emerging and veteran actors—aptly reflects The Giver’s pride of place as the one that started it all, or at least the latest wave. Ironically, it wasn’t until its imitators became box office bonanzas that The Giver was seen potentially profitable enough to produce for the big screen. Far less noisy and graphically violent than those films, this mournful coming-of-age tale feels like their more subdued and introspective older sibling, even as it trafficks in the self-dramatizing emotionalism and simplistic philosophizing that are so recognizably symptomatic of the YA genre.

The Wrap (Inkoo Kang, August 11, 2014)
If the film aces its depiction of the dawning horror and social alienation that comes with studying yesteryear, the rest is largely a failure. The Giver is an anti-totalitarian allegory so farcically hyperbolic it feels like only a teenager could have come up with it… [It] feels pinned and tucked into place, evincing a too-smooth surface with all the standard narrative folds and corners. The picture is more human than the people it depicts, but it merely goes and ends where you’d expect it to, save for a gruesomely stupid final two minutes that surprises only with its laziness.

Many thanks to Claudia for sending in two scans from this and last week’s issue of Entertainment Weekly, covering the recent theatrical release of “The Giver” (check the following update for a selection of reviews) as as well as the upcoming Christmas release of “Into the Woods” among their anticipated films of 2014.

Additional pictures from the press conference and premiere for “The Giver” have been added, alongside three new clips. There’s a compilation of recent television spots, a special tv spot featuring an interview with Meryl as well as the full New York press conference. Enjoy the new clips.

Lots of additions have been made to the image library. Besides more pictures from yesterday’s “The Giver” premiere, a press conference was held today in New York with Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, Lois Lowry, Katie Holmes, Taylor Swift and Brendon Thwaites in attendance. Also added to the image library have been screencaptures from this morning’s Today Show appearance. Enjoy the new additions.



Image Library – Public Appearances – 2014 – “The Giver” Premiere (August 11, 2014)
Image Library – Public Appearances – 2014 – “The Giver” Press Conference (August 12, 2014)
Image Library – Television Appearances – Talkshows – The Today Show (August 12, 2014)

This morning, Meryl has been a guest on NBC’s Today Show. She talked a little bit about Robin Williams, who sadly died yesterday, and about working with daughter Mamie in Jonathan Demme’s upcoming “Ricki and the Flash”. They also talked about “The Giver” and her character, Chief Elder. The full interview can be watched in the video archive. Screencaptures will be added later.

Yesterday, Meryl has attended the New York premiere for “The Giver”, joining co-stars Jeff Bridges, Katie Holmes and Brenton Thwaites on the red carpet. With many thanks to Lindsey, 130 high quality pictures have been added to the image library. More to come. Earlier today, Meryl has been a guest on the Today Show, so check back later for a video and screencaptures.


According to Vanity Fair, Rick Springfield has joined Meryl Streep in the upcoming Jonathan Demme–directed, Diablo Cody–written film Ricki and the Flash. Last month, Springfield posted a photo on Twitter of himself with the Oscar-winning actress before promptly taking it down. But now that the news has been broken by The Hollywood Reporter, the snapshot is back up as proof of the unlikely on-screen partnership. The outlet notes that “Springfield will play a bandmember who has a crush on Ricki, and he’ll be showing off his skills on the guitar in the project.” Last week, we learned that filming on the project was on hold because the director insisted that Streep, who is playing a struggling musician, learn how to play the guitar herself. No word on whether Springfield is helping tutor the actress. According to last week’s report, the band will “mostly play classic rock” plus some contemporary music, possibly Lady Gaga. And according to Broadway World, The Book of Mormon’s Ben Platt has signed on as well. He will play Daniel, the bartender at Ricki and the Flash’s regular spot, who worships Streep’s Ricki. The film, about “a woman who abandoned her family when she was younger to find fame and fortune in California,” begins shooting this October. Kevin Kline and Streep’s real-life daughter, Mamie Gummer, round out the cast as Ricki’s ex-husband and estranged daughter. Many thanks to Glenn for the heads-up.