In 2012, Pitch Perfect came out of nowhere to become one of the most-loved comedies in recent memory, and the good news is that this sequel matches it with both spiky humour and buoyant music. It would be impossible recreate the surprise of watching the original, but the cast and crew make up for that by kicking everything off with an outrageously rude prologue (complete with the biggest cameo imaginable), and the comedy that follows is relentlessly hilarious.
It's been three years, and the Bellas are now in their final year at university, having won three more a cappella National Championships along the way. Then they're disgraced by a wardrobe malfunction at a triumphant performance for the US President's birthday. Suspended by officials, their only chance to redeem themselves is to win the World Championships in Copenhagen. So Beca (Anna Kendrick) and her sidekicks Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) and Chloe (Brittany Snow) rally the troops to prepare to take on the fearsome reigning champions Das Sound Machine. And there's a new Bella on the team as well: freshman Emily (Hailee Steinfeld), who is dabbling in songwriting.
Along with this central plot, Kay Cannon's script also weaves in a series of side-stories for each of the central cast members involving decisions about the future and romantic entanglements. All of these are a bit feeble, but they add layers of comedy, drama and even some meaning, although there isn't a single surprise along the way. Still, it's consistently amusing, as every line of dialogue has a witty joke in it, and the performances crackle with improvisational silliness that's genuinely infectious. Once again, the seriously gifted Kendrick is effortlessly charismatic as the natural leader of the gang, while the class-clown Wilson steals every scene with her random gags. Steinfeld offers a fresh blast of energy and talent in her role, although the perky Snow is somewhat sidelined this time.
Continue reading: Pitch Perfect 2 Review
Eric Braeden, Paul Brooks and Christian Gudegast - A host of stars were photographed as they arrived for the Los Angeles Premiere of the comedy movie 'Pitch Perfect 2' which was held at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles, California, United States - Friday 8th May 2015
You can call this Glee meets Mean Girls if you want to, but this riotously intelligent comedy is much better than that. With one of the funniest scripts of the year, the film keeps us laughing all the way through, never running out of witty gags even when the rather predictable plot kicks into gear. But then, we never really care where the story's going when getting there is this much fun. And honestly, we never want this movie to end.
Anna Kendrick stars as Beca, a young woman who would rather mix mash-up tracks than attend a boring university. But here she is, so she decides to make a go of it by getting a job at the student radio station and joining the women's competitive a cappella group, the Bellas. But control-freak leader Aubrey (Camp) is annoyed to have the snarky Beca in her group, to say nothing of self-named Fat Amy (Wilson). Meanwhile, Beca's colleague at the radio station, Jesse (Astin), joins the champion male group the Troublemakers, led by the arrogant Bumper (DeVine). But as Beca and Jesse start to become friends, they risk running afoul of Aubrey's only rule: Bellas cannot date Troublemakers.
This rom-com plot isn't the focus of the film, nor is the impending a cappella championship, which we know from the start will be a showdown between the two groups. No, the focus is on the individual journeys of the characters, and even the smallest side characters are given space in which to grow on us. They're also brilliantly well-played by the entire cast, anchored by a solid, surprisingly layered turn from Kendrick. But the film's real scene-stealers are Banks and Higgins as competition commentators who reel off snappy jokes with such blinding speed that we can barely breathe whenever they're on screen.
Continue reading: Pitch Perfect Review
Ever since he was diagnosed with cancer, life has been a struggle for Matt Campbell (Kyle Gallner). While his recovering alcoholic Dad (Martin Donovan) tries to maintain house and home, well-meaning Mom (Virginia Madsen) drives several hours to Connecticut to try an experimental technique which offers some hope. The toll on the teen is too great, however, so Mom eventually moves the family to an old dilapidated house so he can be closer to his doctors. Almost immediately, weird things start happening. The building creaks and odd ethereal noises are heard. Soon, Matt is seeing spirits and discovering the facilities for a funeral home in the basement. As dark forces torment him and the rest of the Campbell clan, Reverend Nicholas Popescu (Elias Koteas) tries to save them from the evil forces festering in this psychically charged dwelling with a terrifying, telling history.
Continue reading: The Haunting In Connecticut Review
When hypothermia is first experienced, you gasp, your skin begins to cool, your muscles tense and shiver, and your blood pressure increases. This happens almost immediately in New in Town when we are introduced to tight-assed Miami business executive Lucy Hill (Zellweger), sent to New Ulm, Minnesota by her employer to close down a local food manufacturing plant. (As she tells a factory worker, "I'm here to do a job, not to make friends.") Lucy is so stiff and uptight, she recalls an ancient film performance like Elizabeth Allen's priggish and cool New Englander sent to Hawaii and thawed out by John Wayne in Donovan's Reef -- or maybe even Diane Keaton in Baby Boom.
Continue reading: New In Town Review
The latest spirit disturbed for the good of a joke is Kate (Eva Longoria Parker), the classic "Bridezilla" who bites the dust on her wedding day. Kate is crushed by an ice-sculpted angel, a gruesome death that leads to one of several sharp gags when Kate ends up in heavenly Limbo. Blocked from entering the afterlife, Kate must return to Earth -- she assumes -- to protect her fiancé Henry (Paul Rudd) from any advancing love interests. But that's only half true, much to Kate's chagrin.
Continue reading: Over Her Dead Body Review
Heathers sashayed into theaters in 1989 and since then, Lehmann has turned in nothing but guilty pleasures and unfathomable duds. In hindsight, one could have never seen the man behind Hudson Hawk, My Giant, 40 Days and 40 Nights, and The Truth About Cats & Dogs also being responsible for one of the most influential films of the 1980's. But here we are: 18 years after Heathers, Lehmann reduces his talent to a spasmodic headache about... sweet Jesus, you got me.
Continue reading: Because I Said So Review
The film is a goofy, but intelligent, combination of David Cronenberg's seminal slimy freak-out Shivers, the underrated teen zombie slugfest, Night of the Creeps, The Hidden, and one of the countless ribald, hicksploitation flicks that clogged the drive-ins in the '70s (I don't think I've seen such a cast of less-than-attractive performers outside of Quest for Fire.)
Continue reading: Slither Review
There's no denying that Griffin has an easy confidence and a practiced style on stage. It's just that his material and delivery aren't superior enough to entice comedy fans to put their butts in movie theater seats. Even when Griffin's content is witty and thought provoking -- like his view of a short "racism-free" period after September 11 -- his windup and pitch just don't get you laughing out loud.
Continue reading: Dysfunktional Family Review
Michael Keaton is Jonathan Rivers, a successful architect and loving husband to his pregnant novelist wife Anna (Chandra West) and father to his son Mike (Nicholas Elia), from a previous marriage. After Anna's sudden disappearance and subsequent death, a man named Raymond Price (Ian McNeice) contacts Jonathan claiming he's been receiving messages from Anna on the other side. Desperate to be connected once again with his wife, Jonathan begins a dangerous obsession with EVP.
Continue reading: White Noise Review
Most A-list actors and actresses know better than to dip their hand into the forbidden bin. When the barriers break down and a proven talent skims the bin's surface, we endure Cameron Diaz in The Sweetest Thing, Bruce Willis in Mercury Rising, or Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts in The Mexican.
Continue reading: The Wedding Date Review
Five years after his first stint as hitman Arthur Bishop in The Mechanic, Jason Statham has returned to the role for Mechanic: Resurrection.
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