Friday, December 19, 2014

'Annie' Garners Not So Great Critic Reviews

Over the past few weeks I've been anticipating the debut of  the 'Annie' remake in movie theatres. The movie has an awesome cast, it's family friendly and everyone loves going to the movies during the holiday. What more could you ask for? Snow? Great ratings?!

Now fast forward to today, the release date of 'Annie', and the unwanted movie reviews I came across. It seems that Annie isn't getting the rave reviews as I expected but, lucky for me, most of the critically acclaimed movies I seem to hate so I'm betting I will still love this movie. But that hasn't stopped me from being nosee enough to read what was said and not liked about the film starring Oscar-nominated actress Quvenzhané Wallis and Oscar winner Jamie Foxx.

This is the kind of film that, in modern Hollywood, makes you feel more bad for the director than you feel anything like anger; this sort of name-recognition project -- everyone knows, loves Annie, even if they don't -- is exactly what big Hollywood would rather make right now than something, anything original in any way.  This Annie isn't  a movie; it's a series of bits and blobs and smiles and sights, designed to be viewed in GIF form on a Tumblr page that recounts its highlights. Will Gluck is, of course capable of so much more; it's just that his bosses aren't. Less re-made than it is pre-chewed, this Annie is a disasterpiece of bad decisions, bland branding and brutally out-of-touch thinking that turns a icon from the past into little more than an emoji. Source

There is already a perfectly good filmed version of Annie that's charming, straightforward, well-executed, and quite faithful to the original musical, if that's what you're after. It's not the 1982 film directed by John Huston – that one is pretty bad. It's the 1999 version made for television, starring Victor Garber as Daddy Warbucks, Audra McDonald as Grace, Kathy Bates as the mean Miss Hannigan, Alan Cumming and Kristen Chenoweth as her rotten brother and his girlfriend, and Alicia Morton as Annie. (Note: It was directed by Rob Marshall, whose Into The Woods is about to open.) That is a good production, and we don't necessarily need another along those lines.The new film is not along those lines; it is pretty radically different. Directed by Will Gluck, it stars Quvenzhane Wallis as Annie, Jamie Foxx as Warbucks replacement and tech mogul/mayoral candidate Will Stacks, Rose Byrne as Grace, Bobby Cannavale as a political consultant who functionally takes the place of Rooster, and Cameron Diaz as Miss Hannigan. It's been doubly updated: the musical was a 1977 piece about 1933; this is a 2014 piece about 2014. Here, Annie is not living in an "orphanage," per se, but in a crowded foster home where Hannigan, still an alcoholic and now a refugee from a busted music career, warehouses kids in exchange for meager assistance checks. (Diaz is a hoot, and I had to respect the way the joke about her past in a band pays off with one late joke that seems to justify the entire runner.) When Stacks and Annie have a chance encounter, Cannavale's conniving operator persuades him that taking a foster kid into his home for a while will win him votes.
If you love the original musical, know that this is not that. The music has been largely transformed into sweetened, highly produced modern radio pop, which I personally find enormously less pleasurable than the original songs. Some songs have survived largely intact, particularly the opening trio of "Maybe," "Hard-Knock Life" and "Tomorrow." But beyond that, it's mostly numbers that nod at the original music before veering off into songs that are either entirely new for the film or so different that you'll barely recognize them. "You're Never Fully Dressed Without A Smile," for instance, is here only as a Sia pop rendition used to score a fantasy scene. The score frequently includes pieces of songs that are never actually heard, as if to reassure the audience that this is not forgetting the show's roots, but specifically acknowledging them and setting them aside. Whether you find that actually reassuring probably has a lot to do with your perspective.


Average Rating: 4.3/10
Reviews Counted: 82
Fresh: 19
Rotten: 63
Critics Consensus: The new-look Annie hints at a progressive take on a well-worn story, but smothers its likable cast under clichés, cloying cuteness, and a distasteful materialism.


Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 23,626

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