Thursday, December 25, 2014

Movie Review: "Annie" (2014)

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Movie"Annie"
Director: Will Gluck
Rating: PG
Running Time: 1 hour, 58 minutes

Annie (Quvenzhan√© Wallis) is a young foster child who is currently under the care of an alcoholic former pop singer Ms. Hannigan (Cameron Diaz). Ms. Hannigan is still bitter that she was kicked out of C&C Music Factory right before their big break. Despite a rough childhood, Annie always tries to stay positive. One day while running through the street, Annie literally bumps into cell phone mogul and mayoral candidate Will Stacks (Jamie Foxx). She falls down and Will pulls her out of the way of an oncoming truck. This rescue was caught on camera and boosts Stacks' floundering poll numbers. Will's campaign manager Guy (Bobby Cannavale) believes Annie could be a good tool to help soften Will's rough, disconnected image and would help him get elected. Will sends his assistant Grace (Rose Byrne) to get Annie and bring her to help his campaign. Annie may wind up helping with more than Will's campaign, though. She may help him discover what is truly important in life. 

After watching the original "Annie" movie a couple of weeks ago, we were bummed that we didn't like it better after years and years of positive talk and glowing reviews about it. We didn't see what the point of a remake was, either, since there is already a remake of it from the 90's. The trailer for this new version of "Annie" has been playing for almost a year and has made us smile each time we have seen it. Critics seem to hate this movie on principle because it is a remake and this seems to be the same for some moviegoers, too, but there is also a section of people out there who have been rating it lowly without even seeing it because this Annie isn't white, and to those people we would like to say: STOP BEING A RACIST ASSHOLE.

This editorial note aside, we really, really liked this movie musical, even more than the original. Quvenzhan√© Wallis is a young Oscar-nominated actress and really hasn't been in too many movies, but dang, she wowed us in this! She was perfect as the titular character Annie, a girl who is down on her luck in life but always finds a way to keep on smiling. Honestly, her presence on screen, upbeat energy and glowing smile were infections and we feel like we will be seeing her a lot more through the years. Alongside her is Will Stacks (Jamie Foxx), whose gruff and out-of-touch demeanor doesn't clash well with Annie's sunny personality. Eventually, he comes around and turns out to be quite the charismatic charmer. Though still a rich billionaire and still mildly out of touch, he comes to find out what is truly meaningful in life. Wallis and Foxx's chemistry is incredibly sweet and they sing really well together, too. Unfortunately, many of the songs were auto-tuned, so we have no real way of knowing how it could have been without it. That being said, the new musical numbers are just as good as the original ones, though maybe not as catchy. Rose Byrne and Jamie Foxx, on the other hand, have good chemistry as assistant and boss, but as a romantic couple? I didn't feel it at all. Byrne was still good and provided a bit of comedy here and there. Bobby Cannavale is amazing in everything he does, skeevy and slimy or otherwise. Cameron Diaz managed to not be half bad at Ms. Hannigan, though there is not one state in this great union would see past the stink of her booze-infested house, no matter how hard she tried to clean it. Diaz is not, we repeat, not a singer and shouldn't aspire to do any more musicals after this, but the songs she sings as Ms. Hannigan are better in this version than they are in the original one due to some good backing vocals, modern producing, and setting throughout these scenes.

The plot as a whole is the same simple one as in the original and isn't re-done, it is just brought into our current and more modern time. Some might say this movie panders to big business and it does, there's really no doubt about that fact. It could have been good if this movie had gone into the current political climate as well as the divide between the rich and the poor a little more in the way the original sort of did, but hey, it's still a kids movie at the end of the day. Kids today will be able to identify with this version of the movie better than they would with the one set in the Depression era; it also helps that this version has plenty more dance numbers and vibrant colors to keep kids interested. If you go into it with a positive attitude and don't think about it too hard, chances are, you might actually like it.

My Rating: 7/10
BigJ's Rating: 7/10
IMDB's Rating: 4.5/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 29%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

PS: MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

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