The Barden Bellas are back after their impressive victory in a national a cappella chorus competition, where they proved the strength of girl power over some of the biggest choirs in the country. Beca, Emily, Chloe, Aubrey, Cynthia-Rose, Stacie, Lilly, Jessica and Fat Amy have got bigger fish to fry these days, as they eye up global competition ahead of the daunting international contest. They may have bags of confidence, but as no American chorus has ever managed to land the coveted prize before, it may not be enough to get them through this time. Nonetheless, it's time these girls tested their odds against the greatest collective voices on the planet, even if their new rivals are showing some seemingly matchless talent.
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A riotous hybrid of alien mayhem and cabin-in-the-woods horror, this movie has a playful tone that makes it thoroughly entertaining. So even if the big emotional beats don't quite work and the plot seems to shift gears a few to many times, the film is still scary and gleefully yucky. The Vicious Brothers (aka Stuart Ortiz and Colin Minihan) clearly know their way around the various genres, and have a great time mashing them up into something inventive and involving.
It starts with plans for a romantic weekend in an isolated family cabin that's about to be sold off. April (Brittany Allen) is looking forward to time with her boyfriend Kyle (Freddie Stroma), and is more than a little annoyed that he invites his chucklehead pal Seth (Jesse Moss) and his friends Melanie and Lex (Melanie Papalia and Anja Savcic) along. Even before they connect with pot-growing neighbour Travis (Michael Ironside), their high-spirited antics have attracted the attention of Sheriff Murphy (Gil Bellows). But he's a bit preoccupied by reports of strange attacks and disappearances that are being blamed on invading aliens. Clearly there's something bigger going on here, and while Travis is sure it's a government conspiracy, Murphy's deputy Mitchell (Sean Rogerson) thinks it has more to do with a cabin full of drug-tripping teens.
The film looks terrific, with above-average effects that never take over the action. Designs reference most of the classic alien movies, but with a horror twist that makes everything a bit more menacing. And as the filmmakers deploy every cliche in the book, they also manage to keep us on our toes by constantly undermining expectations. This includes the introductory section in which April and Kyle get to develop a bit of emotional momentum in their relationship, which carries right through to the final moments of the film. Although once the craziness breaks loose, Allen and Stroma are rather a lot more limited in the subtext they can add to the characters. It's hard to add texture when you're running and screaming, although Bellows makes his skeptical, stoic cop intriguingly haunted.
Continue reading: Extraterrestrial Review
April (Brittany Allen) and her boyfriend Kyle (Freddie Stroma) have organised a romantic weekend away in April's parent's cabin in the woods. To April's dismay, Kyle has invited their friends Melanie (Melanie Papalia), Seth (Jesse Moss) and Lex (Anja Savcic) and arranged for them to have a party weekend. With the party in full swing, the teenagers seen what looks like a plane crashing into the woods. Upon investigation, they discover that it was in fact a UFO with an extra-terrestrial life form inside. When the ensuing terror and surprise causes them to kill it in self-defence, they find the aliens retaliating in the worst way possible.
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Fans of the TV series and 2011 first movie probably won't mind that the filmmakers never bother to develop these characters at all. At least the four lead actors have plenty of charm to paper over the thinly written script, making the most of even the most simpleminded gags while playing up the traits that have kept fans coming back since the TV show debuted in 2008. The actors are now between 27 and 30, but the idiots they play are resolutely stuck in their teens.
Having finally survived high school, Jay (James Buckley) takes a gap year in Australia while his pal Will (Simon Bird) has a lonely first year at university. Even a visit from pals Simon and Neil (Joe Thomas and Blake Harrison) fails to cheer Will up, but a suggestion that they drain their student loans and head Down Under to visit Jay is more like it. Jay has painted a picture of sex-crazed party mayhem, but when they land in Sydney the reality is somewhat different. So when hot babe Katie (Emily Berrington) invites Will to come to Byron Bay with her gang of middle-class hippies, he drags his mates along. But these four guys fail to fit into the backpacking lifestyle, and instead head to the Outback to find Jay's ex.
The film opens in a nicely cinematic style, with slick spoofs of both Harry Potter and Scarface before settling into the usual groove: setting up each sequence as a possibility for sex before everything unravels into humiliating chaos. The problem is that this repetitive cycle is all set-up but almost never any pay-off. A waterslide sequence is a hilarious exception, building a queasy sense of suspense before landing a series of riotously revolting punchlines. But more often the characters are left staring into space before muttering, "OK then," before the screen fades to black as if it's time for an ad break.
Continue reading: The Inbetweeners 2 Review
The four musketeers are back once again after their eventful (and mostly deeply embarrassing) post-A Level escapades in Malia. While we saw them apparently bag themselves the girls of their dreams, unsurprisingly it doesn't look like the romance has lasted and now they are back to their single selves - well, apart from Simon. When Simon, Will and Neil decide to join Jay on his gap year in sunny Australia, Simon struggles to dump his overbearing and uber needy girlfriend. He's still as awkward as ever, Neil's still stupid, Jay is still a total liar and Will's mum is still fit, but the boys have a brand new car now dubbed the 'Mobile Virgin Conversion Unit'. Armed with sunscreen, condoms and bags of charm, these lads are on one last mission to climb the social hierarchy ladder.
'The Inbetweeners 2' follows on from the pre-university lads' holiday of 'The Inbetweeners Movie'; an award winning big screen spin-off of the popular Channel 4 comedy series. With Ben Palmer having directed the first movie, creators of the TV series Damon Beesley and Iain Morris have taken on the role this time while also writing the script. The movie is scheduled to hit the UK and Ireland on August 6th 2014.
Beca is a fairly aloof music lover who arrives at Barden University as a freshman apathetically unable to fit into any sort of clique on campus. She is approached by the leaders of an a capella girls singing group, The Bellas, who ask her if she would like to join. Beca declines insisting that she doesn't sing, however she is soon discovered by one of the leaders whilst she belts out some tunes in the shower and is almost forcibly dragged onto the team. The singing group turns out to be an odd mix of weird kids, mean ones and dumb but nice girls who all create the most amazing sound when bundled together for a song session; Beca fits into the diversity pretty easily. The group set out to compete against their counterparts, a formidable male singing group, in a college contest.
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Freddie Stroma, Harry Potter and Empire Leicester Square Tuesday 7th July 2009 World Premiere of Harry Potter And The Half Blood Prince at the Empire Leicester Square cinema - arrivals London, England