Fish and Cherries Productions

Creative content from a mad mind.


Reel Snippets of 7-7-17

Hey hey, don’t think I’ve abandoned the public in their time of need. I’ve just been getting some things in order that haven’t left a lot of time for reviews. As a consolation, here’s three Snippets for the price of one.

Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders
Hidden Figures
La La Land

Posted under Reel Snippets

Reel Snippet – Into The Woods

Into the Woods was… okay. I think my biggest issue was that the pacing felt so rushed and there wasn’t really enough time to get to know these characters. I wouldn’t have minded so much if the performers blew me away with their acting and their singing, and while they weren’t bad, they weren’t spectacular either. Similarly lackluster was the cinematography and the set design. On stage, it’s different because the sets in the woods can go for a lot of artistic license. But in the film, it’s just a bunch of gnarled trees that look all the same and it simply get exhausting to look at. I know the woods are an odd thing to complain about in Into the Woods, but I’m sorry, by the end of it, I was so sick of those fucking woods.

The frustrating thing is that none of it’s bad, it’s just not spectacular. for an adaptation of a Stephen Sondheim work, that’s a huge step down. And what really hurts it is the stuff from the play that doesn’t translate to screen, like the several strips of nonstop songs (which is puzzling considering that quite a few were cut). There’s some nice original stuff like Cinderella’s song where time stops for her and Little Red Riding Hood’s journey into the wolf’s stomach, but they’re few and far between. Moreover, it feels grim where it should be colorful, colorful where it should be grim, and a lot of the bite and the serious bits were left by the wayside (including my favorite part which concerned the narrator… you all know the one). Overall, I feel like this worked way better on the stage than it does on the screen. I can’t say I regretted seeing it, but I’m not exactly sure I took that much away from it either. If you need to see it, do so as a way to tide yourself over before the play comes to your town.

Posted under Reel Snippets

Reel Snippet – My Little Pony: Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rocks

My Little Pony: Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rocks is a huge step up from its predecessor. While the first Equestria Girls was decent, it stumbled under things like squeezing in unnecessary subplots and a pointless love interest. Not so with this sequel. While the love interest still lacks a point, he mostly stays on the sidelines. But the plot is a lot more centralized and streamlined without any extraneous subplots in the way. It also does a great job integrating the songs into the story, the plot focusing on a musical competition at the high school and thus justifying all of the songs. But the best part about this movie is that it focuses on Sunset Shimmer, the previous film’s antagonist, and her quest for redemption and acceptance. I have to say that this side of Sunset Shimmer is far more interesting and dynamic than the stereotypical mean girl side from before. The ending itself deserves mention, as it features an epic display of visuals and emotional impact, which was much better than the abrupt and head-scratching climax of the last film. As you can probably tell, the creators learned from their mistakes and turned out a great product. I know it’s a reviewer’s sin to make this pun, but Rainbow Rocks rocks.

Posted under Reel Snippets

Black is the New Green

I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that most of you have become aware of the new remake of Annie coming out this year, the spin being that the cast is almost entirely African-American. Naturally, as with every time a character’s race is changed in a remake or adaptation, this has caused a bit of an uproar with some uncomfortable words attached. To give my personal thoughts briefly, I’m not thrilled about the film, but it’s less about changing the race of the characters than wondering if we really need another adaptation of Annie. Also, as a person from a musical theater background, I have a problem when classic showtunes are “updated” by adding a hip-hop back beat or a pop remix. However, seeing as two of the movie’s producers are Jay-Z and Will Smith, it’s entirely possible that was part of the contract.

But that situation brings my attention to a controversy of the same nature that cropped up a month or two ago. This may have slipped under the radar, but 20th Century Fox is rebooting the Fantastic Four film franchise with a completely new cast and crew. The big twist? Johnny Storm, also known as the Human Torch, is now black. Sure enough, copious amounts of people got their undies in a bundle over this, since Johnny has always been white in the comics. The question then becomes if this whole thing is worth all the fuss. Personally, I would say it’s worth some concern, but not for the reasons you’d think.

There’s nothing wrong with changing a character’s race in an adaptation to give representation to the POC section of the population. After all, it worked for Heimdall in the Thor movies, seeing as he was one of the best parts of it. However, changing the Human Torch’s race comes with a little more baggage than that. You see, the Fantastic Four are known as the quintessential Marvel family in every meaning of the word, since Johnny and Sue Storm are siblings and Sue eventually marries Reed Richards (Ben Grimm is… um… the best friend that’s like family and crashes on their couch, I guess?). But here’s the thing: they made Johnny black, but kept Sue white and this just raises a lot of questions. Is Johnny a foster child? Are they step-siblings now? Have they been changed to cousins in this version? Now, if the movie addresses this, I’ll be completely fine with it. It could even be a great statement about what family truly means in the 21st Century and how blood relation isn’t the only definition.

UPDATE: I am told that Sue is the foster child in the Storm family in the upcoming reboot. However, given this next bit, I don’t think that helps matters.

But really, my issue isn’t that they’re making Johnny black. No, my issue is that they’re keeping Sue white.

If the filmmakers wanted to go all the way with this concept, they would have made both of the Storm siblings African-American. But for some reason, Sue, who I remind you is the one who gets married, kept her ethnicity. I’m not normally one to deconstruct things too excessively to look for discrimination, which should disappoint the faculty of UC Santa Cruz. But the more I think about it, the more this rubs me the wrong way.

Maybe it’s the possibility that a much grander statement was denied by not changing the marriage of Reed and Sue into an interracial marriage, or the idea that her race was kept the same because there was some weird societal standard that Caucasian women are somehow prettier or more desirable than African-American ones, or that the womanizer character got a race lift rather than the one in the stable relationship. (Wow, UC Santa Cruz really did get inside my head.) Really, though, what bugs me the most is that on the surface, it seemed like a character’s race was changed for a publicity stunt and no one at any point seems to have asked, “So why don’t we change his sister’s race too?”

At the end of the day, changing race should involve a lot of passion from the people doing it. We may not have asked for a racially different update to Annie, but the people behind it probably felt that this was a big step for the community. I detect no such passion behind the Fantastic Four change. To me, that strikes as a lazy attempt to try and seem like they’re progressive and with the times in order to trick more money out of the hands of moviegoers, as well as Fox’s attempt at being edgy and trying to keep up with the mainstream Marvel films. So when all is said and done, I do not believe the sun’ll come out tomorrow on this reboot.

Posted under Musings

Reel Snippet – A Million Ways to Die in the West

A Million Ways to Die in the West is a frustrating movie to talk about because it had some major, unavoidable, unforgivable flaws and just as many redeeming moments. Let’s get the bad out of the way first. Quite a few of the jokes fall flat or serve absolutely no purpose whatsoever, like the bewildering cameo by Doc Brown that comes out of nowhere and is never mentioned again. On top of that, the movie eschews comedy for action and drama in the third act to its detriment, the main girl not only becomes a shoehorned love interest when she and McFarlane’s character worked much better as friends, but also a dumbass in distress at the end, and the movie plays the standard coming-into-your-own story far too straight than a comedy like this should. But are their good parts? Absolutely. The humor is spot on when it’s not trying to mine gross out or shock humor, particularly in the middle section and about the time period, Neil Patrick Harris is enjoyable as always, and the songs are incredibly fun, because if nothing else, MacFarlane is a superb musician. Despite the laughs, though, I just found myself incredibly bored, and for a comedy, that’s just about the worst thing you can say.

Posted under Reel Snippets

Reel Snippets – Frozen

Frozen is not only an enjoyable movie to sit through, but an amazing one to appreciate afterwards, which is surprising given the horrendous advertisements for it. This movie manages to completely subvert the Disney Princess formula that we have all come to expect, setting the standard for future generations. The animation is the best and most subtle I have ever seen, the songs are great and memorable, and the dialogue is sharp and witty. The only slight downside is that the comic relief feels a little out of place at times, but even then, there is still enough wit to them to still be enjoyable. I would honestly recommend this to everyone: fans of Disney, people who are sick of the Disney Princess formula, people who have never seen a Disney movie before. If it does not win best animated film at the Oscars, I will be very, very surprised.


Posted under Reel Snippets

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