Surprisingly, the key to understanding the ambitious rock opera, "Annette," might be found in a documentary that came out earlier this year. That doc, "The Sparks Brothers," was about the 80s rock band Sparks, made up of brothers Russell and Ron Mael, whose quirky lyrics, music videos and rhythms led them to becoming one of the most influential bands of that decade, despite having never existed in the mainstream.
To call them and their music "eccentric" doesn't quite describe it. But their documentary is a good primer to trying to understand "Annette" - music and script by the Mael brothers - which is a film that by-and-large will not connect with most common movie-goers, and is even so bonkers and "out there" that it hasn't even been a sure-thing with critics either (as of this writing, it's clinging to a "Fresh" score of 70% on RottenTomatoes).
If you've seen "The Sparks Brothers," it may help get you close to the wavelength in which "Annette" exists, but even then, it's an over-long, showy and mostly hollow musical, kept interesting in spite of the Maels, not because of them. That's because one of the finest actors of his generation, Adam Driver, delivers one of the most boldly dedicated performances of his career, giving us an anchor of emotion in a sea of lunacy.
"Revenge is a dish best served cold," Khan tells Captain Kirk, in "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan." That film also featured Spock, an alien being who otherwise, was not capable of human emotion. Spock would have had what it takes to star in "Tom Clancy's Without Remorse," since showing emotion is not a prerequisite. Its subject, played by Michael B. Jordan, is a ruthless, cold and unfeeling individual who kills, kills, kills as he tries to hunt down his wife's murderer.
"Without Remorse" is a revenge tale not just served cold, but without any spice or flavor. It's a bland genre entry that renders its star useless. And come to think of it, Spock would have never touched this film, seeing how monumentally illogical the whole thing is.
Fans of the original 1988 "Coming To America" film will understand the following reference: "Coming 2 America" is to "Coming to America" what MacDowells is to McDonalds.
Is it inspired by the original or is it a remixed knock-off?
Only time will tell what fans think of the long-awaited return of now King Akeem (Eddie Murphy), his lap-dog Semmi (Arsenio Hall), and the cast of characters big and small that return for "Coming 2 America."
But even as this film was an underwhelming disappointment when compared to the original, I guess it's fair to ask: Exactly what did I expect?
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