Saturday, December 20, 2014

The new Annie is just ok for a Redbox slumber party

Movie:  Annie
 PG, 1 hour 58 minutes

Grade: B

In a Nutshell:   In the midst of the current Sony hacking drama, the studio released a family-friendly film that is loosely based on the original comic strip by Harold Graycorny, as well as the 1982 movie.  It’s a modern take that is somewhat cheesy, and sometimes charming.   Selfies, cell phones, Social Media, and high-tech gadgets speak to a younger generation who is discovering Annie’s uplifting tale for the first time.  (I’ll bet you didn’t know there was a cell tower in the Statue of Liberty, eh?) 

This modern “Harlem” version of Annie includes some new songs, but don’t expect the big production numbers you saw in the original movie.  It’s not as magical as I wanted it to be, but it’s certainly  Redbox-worthy for a girls’ slumber party.

Uplifting Theme:
·         The sun will come out…tomorrow.  Duh.
·         “No matter who you are or what you are, you’ve got to work with what you’ve got.” – Will Stacks
·         “Sometimes what you’re looking for is right in front of you.” – Will Stacks

Things I liked:
·         Jamie Foxx (Will Stacks) is the highlight of the movie and the best singer by far.
·         Miss Hannigan is always playing good dance music in her apartment.  The soundtrack to the movie should be popular with young girls.  They might even turn off Frozen for a few minutes.
·         I loved Will Stacks’ “Smart House” apartment with the awesome, digital, changing wall designs and dancing fountains, not to mention the incredible view of New York City. 
·         New York City stars in the movie. The cast spends quite a bit of time flying around in a helicopter, giving you plenty of beautiful aerial views of the Big Apple.  We took the fam there a couple of years ago and had a great time.  What an incredible city.

Things I didn’t like:          
·         Quvenzhane Wallis (Annie ) is charming at times, but doesn’t have the million dollar voice that Broadway Annies are known for.  She should dazzle when compared to the other orphans surrounding her, but she often looks like she’s acting, and sometimes even has a vacant stare.
·         Bad transitions and editing pull energy out of scenes.
·         The moment Annie meets her parents should be more powerful since the story leads up to it, but it seemed pretty bland and dismissed quickly.
·         While I really like Cameron Diaz, I’m sad to say she can’t sing.  (I can’t either.) During her big moments, the music played louder than her voice and I wondered if it was intentional to cover up the lack of talent.  It’s not very believable to cast a beautiful young woman as the curmudgeonly foster care mother to begin with.  Strange choice.
·         While the movie is a fresh take on the original, the dance moves and music feel like the movie was made a decade ago.

Fun cameo celebrity moments:
·         Michael J. Fox      Will Stacks says “Michael J. Fox is a saint. “   Guy (Bobby Cannavale) then says “I hear there’s a tape…”
·         Rhianna
·         Mila Kunis
·         Where was Emma Thompson?  She helped write the script!
·         Where were Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith?  They helped produce this Broadway classic, along with Shawn “Jay Z” Carter, Laurence “Jay” Brown, and Tyran “Ty Ty” Smith.

Funny lines:
·         “I’m ten.  I’m not an idiot.” – Annie
·         “I haven’t been to Disneyland, but I don’t think they have a paperwork ride.” - Annie
·         “Wanna go out tonight?  I got my dance pants on.”  -  Lou (David Zayas)
·         “He has nice hair.” – Grace
“I wouldn’t bank on the hair, sista.” - Annie
·         “Don’t pick that one – it’s licking it’s own hoohah.” – Will Stacks while letting Annie choose a pet dog

Interesting lines:
·         “I think when people say no, they’re really afraid of saying yes.” – Annie
·         “People shouldn’t be scared of governments.  They should be scared of cell phone companies.” –  Adewale   (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje)

Tips for Parents:
·         Some “light” foul language.
·         Sexual innuendos, including a hooker joke.  In a kid movie? Really?

·         Four barfing scenes…count them.
Want to see the original musical or hear the new soundtrack? Check out these products on sale now:
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