Tagged: Ray Iannicelli

Annie

Summary: In the remake of the classic musical Annie (Quvenzhane Wallis) is a young orphan who lives with Hannigan (Cameron Diaz), a washed-up, alcoholic pop star who now lives off the money she earns for looking after a number of foster children… none of which she particularly likes.

Annie spends most of her time trying to keep out of Hannigan’s way and trying to piece together what happened to her parents who abandoned her at a restaurant years earlier. Things change for her however when a chance encounter occurs between her and wannabe-Mayor, mobile phone tycoon Will Stacks (Jamie Foxx), his assistant Grace (Rose Byrne) and campaign manager Guy (Bobby Cannavale).

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: 19th December, 2014

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Will Gluck

Screenwriter: Will Gluck, Aline Brosh McKenna, Thomas Meehan (play), Harold Gray (comic)

Cast: Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Nash), Scarlett Benchley (Fish Goddess), Mike Birbiglia (Social Services Inspector), Brad Bong (Pickle Stevens), Rose Byrne (Grace), Bobby Cannavale (Guy), Zoe Margaret Colletti (Tessie), Cameron Diaz (Hannigan), Eden Duncan-Smith (Isabella), Andrew Fleming (Cleve Sweetzer), Michael J. Fox (himself), Jamie Foxx (Will Stacks), Ray Iannicelli (Waiter at Domani), Mila Kunis (Andrea Alvin), Stephanie Kurtzuba (Mrs. Kovacevic), Ashton Kutcher (Simon Goodspeed), Dorian Missick (Annie’s “Dad”), Jill Nicolini (Ms. Giannetti), Nicolette Pierini (Mia), Taylor Richardson (Red Haired Annie), Rihanna (Moon Goddess), Jessica Sherr (Mary Gillen), Pauline Simkin (Maria), Raushanah Simmons (YaYa L’Occitane), Temple University Diamond Marching Band (themselves), Tracie Thoms (Annie’s “Mom”), Amanda Troya (Pepper), Peter Van Wagner (Harold Gray), Quvenzhane Wallis (Annie), David Zayas (Lou)

Runtime: 118 mins

Classification: PG

 

OUR ANNIE REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Greg KingYou can check out Greg’s Annie review on www.filmreviews.net.au

Stars(3)

 

David Griffiths:

The critics seemed to by baying for blood for Annie before the film had even been released. Many were tipping that it was the kind of film that was perfect for a Worst Films Of 2014 list and many even seemed to rejoice in the fact that the cast seemed to be ever revolving door as producer Will Smith tried to put the film together.

Then of course there was disaster for the film’s distributors Sony when Annie turned out to be one of the films that the hackers managed to steal from them and release online weeks before it was due to the cinemas. Yes it really did seem like it was going to be a hard-luck life for Annie, but luckily this has turned out to be a film that comes with a few surprises.

By the time Annie did reach the cinemas early there should have been more than enough warning signs to indicate that Annie might have a few things in its corner. First of all its director Will Gluck has good pedigree being the man responsible for the fairly well received comedies Easy A and Friends With Benefits. Add that to the fact that the cast contained the likes of Jamie Foxx, Rose Byrne and Cameron Diaz and maybe it was time to start re-evaluating things.

Having said all that though Annie is the kind of film though that will divide audiences. Some will instantly dismiss it will others will be able to spot a certain quirkiness that makes Annie it an enjoyable, dumb-but-fun film.

Gluck it seems is the perfect man to be at the helm of Annie as he makes sure the film never takes itself too seriously, something that he sets-up from the get-go with an opening shot of a red haired Annie, showing he is only too aware of the original film. He then manages to keep the fun and games going while at the same time pointing out some very relevant facts such as how many black American students slip through the cracks when it comes to things like reading and writing. Gluck makes sure that the film is just the right amount of over-the-top, he allows Cameron Diaz to really go all out and also allows to Jamie Foxx to center himself in the middle ground between comedy and drama.

Even the early concerns that this was just going to be a rap/hip-hip version of Annie are put to rest with most of the original songs getting just the right amount of R&B flavour to make them new and interesting but not getting to the point where they are unrecognisable from the original. Bringing on board Sia to oversee a lot of the musical side of things was also a fair touch of genius from the people behind the scenes.

The one thing that will hit most people about Annie is how many actors use this film to showcase their many other talents. Rose Byrne has already shown the world she can do more than just drama with her comedic performances in films such as Bridesmaids and Bad Neighbors, here she shows she has another string on her bow by adding singing and dancing to her resume. Likewise Jamie Foxx capitalises on the fact that he already has a successful singing career behind him and manages to make himself a triple threat with music, comedy and drama.

Perhaps the biggest acting surprise in Annie though comes from pint-sized Quvenzhane Wallis who has already wowed audiences with her dramatic performances in Beasts Of The Southern Wild (which she scored an Academy Award nomination for) and 12 Years A Slave. Here Wallis also shows she is a worthy little singer and dancer and she quickly wins you over as she plays the sassy and intelligent Annie.

Annie isn’t exactly going to be the film that you are going to be raving about for years to come but it is fun enough that you won’t exactly be leaving the cinemas complaining about it either. It’s cute and funny, but never gets annoying, while it’s reworking of the story is just modern enough to make it work and create its own identity.

The real plus though are the acting performances. Everyone seems to be having fun and it shows on the screen, especially with Cameron Diaz who seems to love the fact that she is playing a role that completely allows her to lose control. Meanwhile the film even finds time to take a swipe at social issues such as modern politics and how the rich treat the poor making sure the film does have some substance as well. Also watch out for some smart cameos from Michael J. Fox, Sia, Rihanna, Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis.

Stars(3)

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(3)

 

IMDB Rating: Annie (2014) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Annie reviews: For our full Annie review make sure you check out The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #110. You can also read our review on The Book The Film The T-Shirt.

Trailer:

St. Vincent

Summary: When Maggie (Melissa McCarthy) is forced to move house with her son Oliver (Jaeden Lieberher) due to a divorce she doesn’t count on the fact that her new next door neighbour is going to be someone that she will never forget.

On the outside Vincent (Bill Murray) is a grump who has let his house go to ruin, wastes all of his money at the track (which is just one of his many vices), never has a kind word to say to anyone and is usually in the company of his ‘good friend and companion’ stripper-turned-prostitute Daka (Naomi Watts). But when Oliver one day returns home from school after bullies have stolen his key and turns to Vincent for help Maggie finds herself hiring the ‘neighbour from hell’ as her babysitter, something that can only lead to trouble or so it seems.

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: TBA

Australian DVD Release Date: 19th December, 2014

Country: USA

Director: Theodore Melfi

Screenwriter: Theodore Melfi

Cast: Scott Adsit (David), Dario Barosso (Ocinski), Reg E. Cathey (Gus), Amber Clayton (Amber), Nate Corddry (Terry), Sade Demorcy (Keesha), Ann Dowd (Shirley), Emma Fisher (Bridgette), Niles Fitch (Brooklyn), Alexandra Fong (Rachele), Terrence Howard (Zucko), David Iacono (Jeremiah), Ray Iannicelli (Roger), Jaeden Lieberher (Oliver), Melissa McCarthy (Maggie), Ron McLarty (Principal O’Brien), Donna Mitchell (Sandy), Bill Murray (Vincent), Deirdre O’Connell (Linda), James Andrew O’Connor (Antwan), Chris O’Dowd (Brother Geraghty), Kimberly Quinn (Nurse Ana), Maria Elena Ramirez (Amelda), Lenny Venito (Coach Mitchell), Naomi Watts (Daka), Brenda Wehle (Judge Reynolds)

Runtime: 102 mins

Classification: M

 

OUR ST. VINCENT REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Greg KingYou can check out Greg’s St. Vincent review on www.filmreviews.net.au

Stars(4)

 

Nick GardenerYou can check out Nick’s St. Vincent review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #110

Stars(4)

 

David Griffiths:

Over recent years acting legend Bill Murray has become an actor who really knows how to pick a decent script. Sure he will always be remembered for cult classics like Groundhog Day or Ghostbusters but back then Murray also delivered up a dog of a film quite regularly. Flash forward to recent years when Murray has taken chances on films such as The Darjeeling Limited, Get Low, Zombieland and Moonrise Kingdom and they have resulted in him appearing in some of the top films of the years they were released. Well it seems that Murray’s knack of picking the right script has worked again with a role in new comedy St. Vincent.

There haven’t been many comedy highs over the last year or so, and to be honest Melissa McCarthy has sadly been involved in some of the worst of those but St. Vincent is the one comedy that should remind people that every now and then America still knows how to hit an audience right on a funny bone. Add that to the fact that this film also delivers some thought pondering drama and it is easy to see why St. Vincent should be considered one of the films of the year.

The most surprising thing about St. Vincent is that it comes from a relative newcomer to the directing/screenwriting game. Aside from short films the only time that Theodore Melfi has ventured into feature film territory was to deliver the very average Rachel Hunter led Winding Roads back in 1999. Just one viewing of St. Vincent will quickly tell you that the fact that Melfi has delivered a film in the fifteen years since is an absolute crime because this is a gem.

Melfi’s screenplay is clearly one of the best of the year as it makes a completely unlikable character literally a saint. A brief look at Vincent and you would think that he has all the merits to make him a ‘bad guy’ in a film like this. A foul-mouthed and dirty living old man who is prepared to sue a single, struggling, divorced mother over a small amount of damage to a car and a fence is not the kind of character an audience will normally warm to, but such is the power of Melfi’s script that soon you find yourself laughing out loud at Vincent’s crassness and even ‘barracking’ for him as he tries to outrun the loan shark who is desperate to get his money and break some knees. The fact that Melfi has the sense to use his screenplay to give Vincent real characterisation and not just make him a one dimensional character also goes a long way to making this film work.

Supported by such a well written screenplay it is hardly surprising that the cast also comes to the fore in St. Vincent. Melissa McCarthy puts outside some recent poor performances to put in a credible performance in a role where she isn’t called upon to deliver a laugh a minute. Murray is at his exceptional best mixing comedy and drama into a character that seems like he will become a cult cinema favourite.

Young Jaeden Lieberher also puts in a stunning debut, he certainly seems to be an actor who his acting well above his age range, while the film is further enhanced by good acting performances by actors in the smaller roles. Naomi Watt’s is a standout as European prostitute Daka while Chris O’Dowd also puts in a warm, nice performance even though he is skirting thin ice but almost becoming type cast to play Catholic priests in films these days.

There is just so much to love about St. Vincent that this review could go on forever. From its beautifully written script to the fact that it bravely decides to be different to most either comedies on the market, to the fact that Bill Murray puts in a truly memorable acting performance there is just no weakness with St. Vincent at all. Clearly one of the better films of this year St. Vincent also announces the arrival of a filmmaker who is well worth watching in the future.

Stars(4)

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(4)

 

IMDB Rating: St. Vincent (2014) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment St. Vincent reviews: For our full Keep On Keepin’ On review make sure you check out The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #110. You can also read our review on The Book The Film The T-Shirt.

Trailer: