Wednesday, December 2, 2015

3 Surprisingly OK Movies

Just to mix thing up a little, here are three movies I've seen recently that I didn't hold much hope for, but actually turned out pretty good.

#1 The new Annie (2014).  There have been many Annie remakes, but all so far have been horrible clones of the classic Aileen Quinn from the 80's.  I mean, come on!  You've got Tim Curry AND Carol Burnett in it!

It's like Christian songwriters who try and redo Amazing Grace.  Stop.  Just stop.  You've already failed.

And then, this is a mainly African-American cast, so it smacked of the whole "equality" schtick.  Like, "See?  See?  We can do Annie too!"  Yeah, okay guys.  Have fun with that.

Then I saw a preview for it on the Mom's Night Out DVD, which convinced me it might have some hope.

It was actually pretty good.  It certainly leaves all other remakes in the dust!  The plot is modernized and changed quite a bit.  Also, the classic musical numbers are remixed and done well.  And there are a few more songs that do seem to work well beside the others.

On the downside, some of it felt a little shoehorned in, and some of the supporting cast were... not great.  Plus they replaced the "Let's go to the movies" number with some "moonfish bay" thing - which was lame.

But the little girl, Quvenxhane(sp?) Wallis really carried the whole thing on her excessively adorable frizzly little head.

All of the classic elements seemed more like an 'omage than a "me too". 

So overall: WAY worth it!!!
In fact, I'd recommend doing a double-feature with the old classic and this one.  They'd complement eachother.

#2 Disney's Teen Beach Movie.  Really?  Really!  A Disney Channel  made-for-tv movie...  that was actually okay!!!

The premise is two teenagers get sucked into a classic beach/surfer movie.  So you, like me, are probably thinking, "ugh!  Must I?"

Turns out that the music (through pretty badly dubbed) was immensely catchy.  Then the actors they found did so much dancing, they must have searched quite awhile to bring together such a cast, because they were really great.

Strangely enough, even the cornball elements even work.  Like they're making fun of hammy over-the-top movies, rather than being one themselves.  This could just be a happy coincidence, but it plays as legit, so I give them benefit of the doubt.

Like Annie, this is another fun movie with great tunes.  You want fun song-and-dance?  This is it!

#3 Black Lighting.  What can I say?  Picture Spider Man, only with classic cars... and in Russia.

Can't picture that?  Well, if you see this one, you will.

Basic premise:  Years ago, a team of Russian scientists was working to develop an all new power source that could fuel the world forever, etc.  Enter evil robber-baron who needs to find this power source to fuel his massive drill, which could tap a fortune in diamonds and destroy Moscow in the process.

Oh, by the way, did I mention that the two sappy lovey-dovey scientists slapped the power source into a classic car to make it fly, "to the moon", as their old amateur Sonny-and-Cher-style song says.

Anyway, dusty old car falls into the hands of a poor working-class teen.

He spends the rest of the movie delivering flowers at Mach 3, capturing street criminals, and then, the inevitable epic showdown with the big baddy.

First off, I should mention that this movie is Russian made, and is subtitled.  Though I prefer subtitles at times (Japanese animation) they get a little bit hard to hang onto for an action movie.

That, and the Spider-Man similarities seemed a bit much.  At one point I turned to DW, and added the only thing missing, "With great Buicks comes great responsibility."

If you can get around that though, there really are no downsides.  Plot, acting, effects - it could have been corny at any level, but it all held together really well.

All in all:  Also much recommended!

Live YOUR adventure!
-E.L. Fletcher

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