Archive for the ‘Movie Reviews’ Tag

Review: Power Rangers (Movie, 2017)   Leave a comment

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Yours truly got the see the movie the morning of its launch March 24, 2017.

To get the 3 biggest things out the way now:

  1.  Amy Jo Johnson (Played the original Pink Ranger) and Jason David Frank (Played the original Green and White Rangers) make a cameo appearance together after the Power Rangers beat Rita Repulsa and Goldar. They’re standing with the crowd of people gathered to take pictures of the Megazord.
  2. Speaking of cameos: Alpha 5 says the iconic “Ay-yi-yi-yi-yi!” a few times in the movie, which was the catchphrase of the original Alpha 5 in the 1992 TV series. Rita also says “Make my monster grow!” and laughs maniacally as Goldar makes his appearance.
  3. The post-credit teaser confirms there WILL be a second movie and Tommy Oliver will presumably play a key role then.

 

Speaking of the Green Ranger, remember this?

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In the movie, it’s comfirmed Rita Repulsa was the first Green Ranger. 65 Million Years Ago, Zordon was the first Red Ranger. He and the other Rangers battled Rita Repulsa, who betrayed the team and killed them all. Everyone including Zordon would fall to Rita, who betrayed the other Rangers because of her lust for more power. Using the last of his strength, Zordon seals away the Power Coins just as a blast of power rips Rita’s body apart and hurls her into the sea. The place where this epic battle took place would later be known as Angel Grove (of course).

A huge nod to the TV series only those familiar with the original franchise would have caught: Rita sought the Zeo Crystals (!), which had been hidden somewhere in present-day Angel Grove. At the end of the Mighty Morphin’ storyline, The Rangers were sent back in time to retreive the five Zeo Crystals. They would harness their power to become the Zeo Rangers. In the reimagined storyline, the Zeo Crystals are connected to the Morphing Grid. Whosoever possesses them will gain unimaginable power.

That aside, Rita says something really interesting just before she’s literally slapped into space by the Megazord: “Others will come after me.” While the movie’s plot was a closely guarded secret (props to Saban and Lionsgate for that), there were rumors Lord Zedd might make a cameo appearance. On that note, apparently the plan is to make the Power Rangers movieverse a 6-movie franchise. The right tone was set in this one if you ask me.

Anywho it’s probably fair to say Tommy Oliver will be a prominent character in the second movie (which Lionsgate has apparently already greenlit to happen) which obviously means Elizabeth Banks will reprise the role of Rita Repulsa. Speaking of, she did one hell of a job. All questions about weather or not Banks could pull it off were answered by her performance. She made Rita a twisted character and gave you plenty of reasons why she’s one bad…well, you know.  Remember the clip released last year of her throwing Trini around her bedroom? One of her lines during that encounter was “I’ve killed Rangers before.” This isn’t just in referral to the opening minutes of the movie. I won’t spoil what happens about 15 minutes later but someone kinda kicks the bucket.

…At the end of the day, if you are a fan of the original series I think you can rest easy. Don’t go by objective reviews. See the movie and judge it for yourself. On that note, I give the film a 9/10. Only reason it didn’t get a 10 is because there was no remixed Power Rangers theme music.

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Annie 2014: Another Snubbed Reboot   Leave a comment

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…And it really is a shame.

I bought the movie via The Playstation Network  on my Playstation 3 over the weekend (in Standard Definition so I could also put it on my Playstation Vita) along with Selma. After watching the movie, I immediately downloaded the soundtrack from iTunes.

As I’m sure folks can guess, the songs they brought from the originals were redone for the 2014 version BUT they are recognizable to those who’ve seen the 1982 version (By the way there was a 1992 remake that had been done to celebrate the movie’s 10th Anniversary but who remembers that one?). The songs that were brought back are:

  • Tomorrow (Obviously)
  • Hard-Knock Life*
  • Maybe
  • I Think I’m Gonna Like It Here
  • You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile
  • Little Girls
  • Easy Street
  • I Don’t Need Anything But You

*Some of you may remember Jay-Z did a remix of this song 20 years ago. They did NOT use that version for this movie.

The rest of the soundtrack from Opportunity to Who Am I? to The City’s Yours fits with the film. Like the 1982 version, the soundtrack shines. When you differentiate the eras each movie is set in–the original is set in 1930s Depression New York While the 2014 version is set in 2014 New York–it becomes much easier to enjoy the 2014 version on its own.

Of course, there are nods to the source material in the 2014 version:

  • At the very beginning of the movie, one of Annie’s classmates with red hair also happens to be named Annie. This Annie played Annie on a recent Broadway production of Annie (see picture below).
  • Annie’s (Played by Quvenzhané Wallis) report at the beginning of ther film is about President Franklyn D. Roosevelt, who makes an appearance in the 1982 version.
  • Grace proposes the tagline “Little Orphan Annie”, which is actually the name of the original comic book series the 1982 version is based on.
  • In the original movie (as well as the comic book series) the Billionaire who adopts Annie is named Warbucks. In the 2014 version it’s WIll Stacks (Played by Jamie Foxx), who made his fortune as head of a cellphone corporation.
  • Annie’s parents dropped her off at an Orphanage/Foster Home in both movies. Also in both cases, Annie’s parents left her with a locket broken in two, leaving her with one half. In the 1982 version it’s revealed Ms. Hennigan had the other half the whole time. In the 2014 version her fake parents conveniently have it. The question is “where did it come from?” It didn’t look like 2014 Hennigan (played by Cameron Diaz) knew it even existed.
  • In the 1982 version,  Annie’s (Played by Aileen Quinn) fake parents are played by Ms. Hennigan’s brother Rooster (played by Tim Curry) and his girlfriend. Guy hires two random people to play the part in the 1982 version.
  • In the 1982 version, Annie and Warbucks take a helicopter from New York to the White House. In the 2014 version, Annie and Stacks take a helicopter ride over Queens and The Bronx.
  • In the 1982 version, Annie’s fake parents take her after she is adopted by Warbucks. In the 2014 version she’s adopted after her fake parents take her.
  • Sandy is a Shepherd in the 1982 version. He’s an Akida in the 2014 version.
  • In the 1982 version, Annie lives in an orphanage with dozens of other girls. In the 2014 version she lives in a Foster home with 4 other girls and goes to school.

And of course in both movies, one mystery is left unsolved: What DID happen to Annie’s parents? In the 2014 version it felt far less plausible her parents couldn’t have been found given Stacks runs the most powerful cellphone company in the world. That and Annie’s last name is Bennett in the movie (she didn’t have one in the 1982 version). Add to that her birth certificate and Social Security Number (both referenced in the movie) that’s more than enough to at least get her parents’ names.

Ah, well. It’s just something I couldn’t ignore.

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Another thing the 2014 version did a great job at was highlighting the fact there are alot of kids in foster care who are not babies. Many are between 10 and 17. All of them are in need of loving families. A moment that stuck out to me was when Annie revealed she doesn’t know how to read. I’ve worked with adults who are functionally illiterate: Unless you put a book in front of them and told them to read a page, you’d never know they couldn’t read.

Of course, the 2014 movie is not without its share of criticism. Some folks felt the 2014 version changed too much from the source material. From making Annie a black girl with an afro (see the above picture for a comparison) to casting Cameron Diaz as Hennigan to the use of Auto Tone in some of the songs (very noticable in Tomorrow and Maybe) to not giving President Obama even a mention in the whole movie. Yes, some folks too issue with that last one because As I mentioned above, FDR appears in the 1982 version.

While I can see diehard fans of the 1982 version dismissing the reboot as “Annie for black young people”, it is so much more than that. No one questions Jamie Foxx’s range as an entertainer. He started as a comedian but then got into acting. Then he picked up music. Most notably, he played Ray Charles in the Bioflick Ray 10 years ago. So yeah he can sing, act and do comedy all at the same time and look good doing it, too.

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Now me, I have no problem with the movie as-is. Like I said earlier, it helps when you don’t keep comparing it to the 1982 version. Like the Robocop reboot, Annie 2014 was made for the current generation. Like the original versions of both films you can always go back and watch them if you want to so…yeah.

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