Lately, the movie musical has been so much better in animated (Frozen) or realistic (Pitch Perfect) form than as your classic song-and-dance. Maybe it feels too old-fashioned, or too sincere, but movies seem to have forgotten how to handle characters belting out their feelings and, perhaps, indulging in a little choreography. In the last few years, we've had Les Misérables, which featured some strong performances but jarringly had its characters sing right to the camera as if they were all existing in their own individual music videos, and Jersey Boys, a jukebox musical that managed to treat its songs like annoyances to be given as little focus as possible. Black Nativity never figured out how to toggle between its musical numbers and non-musical drama, and Rock of Ages... well, let's not talk about Rock of Ages.
This holiday season is giving us two new musicals, Will Gluck's remake of Annie and Rob Marshall's adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods. Neither is a home run — Annie can be rough going despite the adorableness of its lead, while Into the Woods tends toward the dull, though together the two films almost add up to one whole, more complete movie. Chances are, however, that you're not signing on for a double feature, so here's a guide to which one of these you should pick for your holiday viewing purposes.