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Variety Review of Apple TV+ ‘Cherry’: Tom Holland Acts Methodically in an Overblown Dud From the Russo Brothers

1 cover Cherry


Last Friday Patently Apple posted a report titled "Tom Holland Breaks Down the Apple TV+ Film 'Cherry' with The Russo Brothers in a new 'Around The Table' Video interview." It was part of a PR Press junket to pump up the film. Apple was to have an online event on Tuesday but as you can see below, the event holder Everbrite stated that the event was  cancelled after pumping it up. Apple may have decided to promote the film with Apple-centric press only. AppleInsider is now running a report on the event that was cancelled on Everbrite.


2 x Apple TV+ event cancelled


Eventbrite is an American event management and ticketing website. The service allows users to browse, create, and promote local events. Launched in 2006 and headquartered in San Francisco, Eventbrite opened their first international office in the United Kingdom in 2012. The company has local offices in Nashville, London, Cork, Amsterdam, Dublin, Berlin, Melbourne, Mendoza, Madrid, and São Paulo. Using Eventbrite is a way to get a company's message out to the world.


Why cancel the Eventbrite event? While we're not privy to that information, the movie 'Cherry' debuting on Apple TV+ on March 12 was reviewed by Variety today and it had no mercy shooting the movie down and especially how the Russo brothers created a dud.


Variety's review stated that "Holland’s character is never named (he’s a real nowhere dude), and in theory it’s the sort of role you could imagine Sean Penn having taken on in the late ’80s or ’90s. Penn, addicted to edge, was always shoring up his Method mojo — and that, in an overblown corporate way, is the mission of Cherry.


Cherry is also a showy advertisement for its directors, Anthony and Joe Russo, the superstar superhero auteurs of the “Avengers” and “Captain America” films. In Cherry, they’re proving their dark-side-of-the-street cred. Except it all plays as a giant synthetic crock!


The Russo brothers, working in a style of troweled-on extravagance, inflate it into a showreel. They’re trying to think beyond Marvel and display their real-world chops, but what they demonstrate instead is that even with down-in-the-trenches material like this, they still think like fantasists. Cherry has the glossy inauthenticity of a bad Tony Scott movie. The Russos treat Walker’s novel as if it were a graphic novel — a layer cake of grunge that’s all frosting.


The problem with Cherry is that the movie presents itself as a dread-ridden slice of life, yet almost every moment in it feels based not on experience but on the experience of other movies. The Russos lift flourishes out of everything from 'Natural Born Killers' to 'Far From Heaven' to Wes Anderson, and they mix in slow motion and bits of opera, with sounds magnified and stylized, and images highlighted with a kind of ’80s music-video cut-in 'significance.' Yet they never convince us of the organic truth of the story they’re telling.


Tom Holland isn’t a bad actor, and in Cherry he proves his skill set. He touches an array of dissolute looks and moods. Yet there’s no real danger to him. (That’s the difference between a Marvel good boy and a Sean Penn bad boy.) Cherry, after dithering around, does find a semblance of over-the-top coherence in its second half, when it turns into a drama of two junkies spiraling into the abyss.


TheWrap Review


It's not only Variety that shot the film down. TheWrap did also. They noted that "More frustrating is the Russo’s stylized Pop filmmaking style, self-consciously jittery throughout, turning genuinely human scaled issues into sensational bursts of energy."


While TheWrap admits there are moments in the film where Tom Holland and Ciara Bravo pull of some real emotion, "these moments of emotional honesty aren’t enough to give 'Cherry' the resonance that these situations deserve. From its facile depiction of the role of incarceration in the rehab process — addiction is a health issue that we keep mistakenly treating as a criminal issue — to the under-writing of the characters, what should be a harrowing drama instead comes off as an anti-drug pamphlet."


The New York Times


Yet just to show you that not all critics seeing Cherry  were negative, The New York Times writer Glenn Kenny wrote: "Whether they’re comfortable owning up to it or not, the Russos are better moviemakers than their Marvel movies (the most recent of which was the gargantuan hit “Avengers: Endgame”) allow them to be. They demonstrate that here.


Being 'two guys from Cleveland' works to the filmmakers’ advantage, as at least some of the home-front action is set and was shot in Cleveland Heights. The Russos understand the territory and shoot it knowingly, only rarely indulging in the Hollywood tendency to fetishize abandoned heartland American factories.


Eventually 'Cherry' breaks free enough of its influences to present a credible, at times harrowing, American addiction tragedy. Ciara Bravo, as Cherry’s girlfriend, wife and eventual partner in junkie-dom, is at times the performer who has the strongest emotional hold on the viewer, and the most memorable find here."


In the end Apple fans and TV+ subscribers aren't likely to be as harsh on the film as Variety's critic was. The Apple TV+ film Palmer wasn't a runaway hit, but it was certainly entertaining, as was 'On the Rocks' and 'The Banker.' While not all Apple TV+ films will be as entertaining as the Tom Hanks 'Greyhound' was, Cherry is likely to be a solid value for Apple TV+ fans by providing us with a glimpse of yet another slice of life.


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