Tag Archives: Anna Kendrick

Pitch Perfect 2

Movie:  Pitch Perfect 2

Rating:  3 1/2 Stars (Out of 5)

Review:   The Bellas from Barden University are on a roll, having won three consecutive collegiate championships for a cappella singing.   On a national tour singing to rave reviews, they arrive in Washington DC to perform for the president and first lady.  All is going well until Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) swings into a song number on a silk sheet, rips her leotards wide open exposing her…er, whatever, and soon newspaper headlines blare out a new national scandal:  MUFFGATE!

The Barden Bellas are disgraced, a national laughingstock, and told by their university dean that they will not be eligible to compete for another national championship.  But Beca (Anna Kendrick), reading the fine print of their suspension notification, realizes that the Bellas have not been disqualified from representing the United States at the upcoming world a cappella championships.  Desperate to grasp at this last straw to redeem themselves as a group, the Bellas resolve to travel to Copenhagen to win the competition.  To accomplish their goal, the women realize they must find a way to bond together and rediscover the sound that made them great.  Part of the answer lies with finding new talent for their group, which arrives in the person of Emily (Hailee Steinfeld), an eager freshman who’s mother was a founding member of the Bellas.

To get ready for the world championships the Bellas take on a pack of groups at a riff-off, singing against the Treblemakers, the Green Bay Packers, the Tone Hangers, Pentatonix, and the Filharmonic.  But the real obstacle on their path to redemption are the reigning world champions, Das Sound Machine, led by two very smug and arrogant Germanic types named Kommissar (Birgitte Hjort Sorensen) and Pieter Kramer (Flula Borg).

It is always difficult to recreate the magic of a monster hit of a film.  Some folks may not like this as well as the original, but it is still a rousing fun ride.  Pay attention to the two singing competition analysts, John (John Michael Higgins) and Gail (Elizabeth Banks).  Their quick banter is chock full of hilarious zingers and sly innuendos.  Fun stuff – go see it!

Dialogue Nuggets:  John – “What an inspiration to girls all over the country who are too ugly to be cheerleaders!”

Minority Bella – “This is the biggest crisis we’ve ever faced.  When I was a girl my brother tried to sell me for a chicken.”

John – “You’re just women, and you’ll all be pregnant soon.”

Fat Amy – “We need to scout these Deutsch Bags!”

Kommissar – “You are tiny.  I need to go rest my neck.  It is tired from looking down at you.”

John – “No one cares about the Korean group.  Love that Bar-B-Q!”

Gail – “The Bellas have touched everyone.  They have touched me!”  John – “Well, everyone has touched you, Gail.”

 

 

 

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Into The Woods

 

Movie:  Into The Woods

Rating:  3 Stars (Out of 5)

Review:   Movies adapted from Broadway plays are always a risky endeavor, especially musicals.  This one succeeds, for the most part, on its star power and whimsical tongue-in-cheek handling of the story lines.  Basically, there are four classic fairy tales interwoven throughout the movie.  There is Cinderella, played by Anna Kendrick.  Her handsome prince, played by the studly Chris Pine.  There is the Jack and the Beanstalk tale with Daniel Huttlestone as the clueless Jack.  There is beautiful Mackenzie Mauzy as Rapunzel with the long golden hair, pursued by Billy Magnussen as the other charming prince.  And lastly, Little Red Riding Hood, played by young Lilla Crawford, who leads the Big Bad Wolf (Johnny Depp) on a merry chase through the woods to Grandmother’s house.  The straw that stirs the drink, so to speak, is Meryl Streep as the witch who engages with all the characters.

The witch used to be a beautiful woman who was hoodwinked by the father of the town’s baker (James Corden), and cursed to be ugly.  The witch can regain her beauty if the baker and his wife (Emily Blunt) can accrue four items by midnight of the third day.  And of course during these three days, the fancy ball is taking place, and beanstalks are sprouting into the sky, and all characters  keep bumping into each other as they all have their various schemes and desires to pursue.  There is not a lot of straight dialogue in this movie, as with Broadway musicals, most of the dialogue gets sung.  The songs are better than average, as they come from the talented Stephen Sondheim.  Is this a great movie?  No, but it is harmless fun, and not a bad way to spend two hours.

Actress To Watch:  Lilla Crawford caught my attention as a young actress (14 years old) who may do big things in the future.  This is her first movie; previously she played Annie on Broadway.

Best Scene:  For the ladies, the two hunky princes, Chris Pine and Billy Magnussen, bare their souls (as well as their chests) in a hilarious duet about the perils of love.