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Pitch Perfect

Posted on 14 January 2013 by Barry

poster pitch perfect

I’m a BIG sucker for girly teen comedies and I’m not afraid to admit it! Teen Comedies appeal to girl’s majority of the time but they have to be truly terrible for me not to at least enjoy watching one. Mean Girls really revitalised the teen comedy genre back in 2004 and once again recently with Easy A in 2010. With the success of the TV show Glee, it was only a matter of time before the idea was capitalised and brought to the big screen. And although it may be predictable, it sure as hell wasn’t a let-down!

Beca (Anna Kendrick) has just started as a freshman at Barden University and is persuaded to join the all-female a cappella group to give it an injection of life and originality after its failed attempts at the previous year’s national competitions. It’s a simple set up, similar to 2000’s Bring It On and one thing that Pitch Perfect doesn’t have is originality. So when all bases have been covered in other films, how do you make your story stand out from the rest? You make it funny as hell!Film Title: Pitch Perfect

Anna Kendrick does a great job as the girl next door loner; she doesn’t expect anything from anyone else as she knows what a let-down that can be. But Rebel Wilson steals almost every scene she is in as Fat Amy, whether she is showing off her mermaid dancing or expecting back up dancers when she sings. Rebel’s style of comedy really gives a bit for everyone to enjoy. Also stealing quite a few laughs is the almost mute Lily who you will possibly be quoting for weeks to come. All the girls play off each other well but you can tell sometimes that when Rebel Wilson improvises, the others are speechless and don’t know how to carry it on. This is fine as sometimes in other comedies, when the improve goes on, it is dragged out and becomes unfunny.

The music is toe-tappingly catchy with some great mash ups that will have you searching for the downloads. The a cappella singing is pretty fantastic also as they constantly remind you they are singing without any band and creating all sounds with only their voices. Each scene where they perform whether it’s the auditions, the riff off or at one of the various stages of the competition, really shows how well all the a cappella groups work together and how outstanding the music can be.Film Title: Pitch Perfect

Beca has a nice love interest in Jesse, a singer in the rival a cappella group which never feels forced due to Jesse being a generally nice guy and very charming. The main focus is the competition and how Beca tries to change things up and put originality into the performances but the scenes with Jesse really do add a nice touch and help move the story along.

And as I’ve mentioned, Pitch Perfect is far from original itself but it never takes itself too seriously and knows how to play the laughs. Definitely one of the funniest and possibly the most fun movie of 2012, what a way to end the year! Aca-awesome!

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The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2

Posted on 29 November 2012 by vule01

I’m going to admit it….I’ve read all the books and now I’ve finally seen all the films. They aren’t THAT bad! Ok the books aren’t Shakespeare and the movies aren’t Gone With The Wind but they ARE entertaining! All the Twilight haters seem to spend more time broadcasting to the world how much they hate the Saga rather than avoiding it.

Breaking Dawn Part 1 left a sour taste in my mouth with its over dramaticness and what was essentially a filler for the finale.

So Part 2 picks off exactly where the previous finished. Bellas eyes are red, hurrah she’s finally a vampire! The following 10 minutes are spent on showing Bella as a newborn vampire, hunting down food, climbing up walls, resisting human blood and actually seeming quite normal! She meets her daughter (creepy CGI baby face) finds out Jacob has imprinted on the baby, see’s her dad for the first time since he found out she was ‘ill’ and starts on a normal family life. This pretty much all happens in the first 30 minutes of the film. The pace is fast and unlike anything we’ve seen in the previous Twilight films.

This means that when Bella’s daughter (Renesmee) is seen by Irina, the Volturi is made aware that it the Cullens appear to have made an immortal child. Then the race is on to convince other vampires and then the Volturi that she was born half vampire, not turned. As this is the focus of the book, it’s good to see how much of the movie was actually spent on this plot. We don’t have an hour of brooding looks and ‘I love you’, instead we get the introduction of more vampires, some nifty supernatural gifts and a plot that is actually worth our time.

Kirsten Stewart performs the best compared to how Bella is in the previous films. Clumsy, stuttering Bella has gone and now is this confident, happy and self sure Bella which is more joyous to watch. Robert Pattinson seems to have fun as Edward and spends quite a few scenes actually smiling which is a nice change. And Taylor Lautner isn’t in the movie too much which is a bonus in itself!

The story movies at a good pace until the finale arrives and we are treated to a SFX spectacle with a Vampire/Werewolf show down which doesn’t disappoint. Or does it? The ending, elaborated from the book, will divide people…it will make non fans stay as non fans and it will keep fans happy and show what Stephanie Meyer was too afraid to in the books.

I really enjoyed this last installment. And while not an amazing piece of filmmaking, I was thoroughly entertained and in context of the Twilight Saga, I give this a thumbs up.

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Posted on 29 November 2012 by vule01

Skyfall review

Writing this review I knew it wouldn’t be a popular one for others to read. But if you’re reading this, remember it’s my opinion and I urge you to form your own.

In Skyfall, Bonds loyalty with M is tested as her past comes back to haunt her. As MI6 comes under attack and the identity of agents are revealed, 007 must track down and find the threat no matter how deadly the cost.

Skyfall opens with a fairly impressive action sequence which starts as a car chase, changes to a bike chase and then onto a fight on top of a train. It’s a very good way to open the film, most of the footage from the trailers are in these opening 10 minutes so it makes you feel happy that you will see a lot more to come in which hasn’t been spoiled. Then we move on to the classic bond opening to Adele’s Skyfall song. The sequence is fantastic, it flows really well, the song fits the movie well and its not too over the top and cheesy. This gives high hopes for what to comes…

Skyfall intro

Unfortunately for the next 2 hours I was left cold and bored with endless dialogue and plot points that were brought up but went nowhere. Make no mistake; this isn’t a bad film at all. It is directed very well, it looks great and Daniel Craig (as always) does a fantastic job. The frustrating thing on my mind was that we are made to believe that new villain Silva (Javier Bardem) is deeply connected to M in a way which could ruin relationships for everyone in MI6. But it’s just a simple revenge story, one which could be told by any former MI6 agent’s perspective or from their families.

We have a couple of small action scenes that just happen rather than go anywhere which means that when the film comes to its final stretch, it just feels like a long decline downhill from the promising opening.

The introduction of Silva makes you think that he is a technological genius and can rule the world from behind a computer screen but this never really goes anywhere. We don’t even see him interact with a computer beyond moving the mouse to make the screen come off standby. Even the only bond gadget to appear in this edition is thrown away in its first use making it a pointless introduction in the first place.

Naomi Harris as Eve was very sexy and believable which gave bond a match when it came to verbal sparring and her character really makes progress even within the space of one movie. Also Judi Dench as M really showed how vulnerable her character can be under pressure. But once again this is Daniel Craigs film showing that his bond will always be the true bond as he is a human like the rest of us. He gets hurt. Emotionally, physically and mentally.

Skyfall Featurette 1

Skyfall Featurette 2

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Frankenweenie – it’s alive!!!

Posted on 20 October 2012 by Barry

I tried to avoid everything about this film after hearing it was being made. I have been let down by Tim Burtons films since Big Fish and before that, Sleepy Hollow.

When I was watching a different movie I saw the trailer for Frankenweenie and I genuinely thought it looked good. So dare I say it, I was really looking forward to watching it.

Victor Frankenstein doesn’t have any real friends. His only one true friend is his dog Sparky, an enthusiastic playful animal who is always there to help Victor make short films using his camera. When Victor promises his dad he will try out for baseball in exchange to sign Victor’s permission slip to compete in the science fair, tragedy strikes Victor tries to bring Sparky back from the dead which has is consequences on the whole town.

Frankenweenie trailer:

Firstly…the animation is beautiful. I think stop animation really will start up again, especially after Coraline, ParaNorman and now Frankenweenie. The voices are slightly creepy adding to the quirky odd style of the film and as I watched the film in 3D, I have to say it really added a lot of depth to every scene on screen!

The film takes a nice amount of time focusing on Victor and Sparky’s relationship before it gets to the tragic scene where Victor loses Sparky. And it’s because of this, you understand where Victor is coming from when he wants to bring Sparky back from the dead. Even once Victor has brought back Sparky, he knows what he has done is wrong and that he needs to keep Sparky a secret. But we all know that this isn’t a secret that will stay quiet for long! Once word gets out, the other kids in the science fair try to do the same but each resulting in different ways.

It was good to have a different twist on this Frankenstein story than to keep it with Sparky. And this is because it really shows you the love Victor has for his dog and why his intentions were completely honest and true.

Obviously inspired by the obvious Mary Shelley story, this ‘kids film’ definitely appeals to adults too with a few classic horror references and even has one or two genuine jump scares!

I’m glad to see Tim Burton behind a story that doesn’t rely on the CGI to do the story telling. The characters really drive the story here and that’s why this is his most successful film in a decade. It’s good to see Burton back on top, let’s hope he can stay there.

Barry El Beardo

Frankenweenie featurette:

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Looper – dont close the loop!

Posted on 18 October 2012 by Barry

Ubica iz buduçnostiSci-Fi/Thriller, 118 min, Sony Pictures

Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Piper Perabo, Paul Dano, Garret Dillahunt, Jeff Daniels, Tracie Thoms, Noah Segan, David Jensen, Qing Xu, James Hébert, Nick Gomez, David Joseph Martinez, Dikran Tulaine, Jay Amor, Adam Boyer, Kristyl Dawn Tift, Brian Oerly, Pierce Gagnon, Kamden Beauchamp, Miles Marmolejo, Frank Brennan

  • Director: Rian Johnson
  • Writer: Rian Johnson

Going in to Looper I knew what to expect….I’d seen Brick and was an instant fan of director Rian Johnson. I was expecting the smart dialogue, the clever camera angles and above all else, a great film. Was I disappointed? Not at all!

Starting off with a dialog free epilogue really sets the scene for the rest of the film. It says Joe (Joseph Gordon Levitt) knows what he is doing down to the T.

Joe is a looper who assassinates people (kept restraint in a strait jacket and a hood) who have been sent back through time, 30 years into the future. When your contract as a looper ends, your future self is sent back for you to kill in order to ‘close the loop’.

Official trailer:

What might seem like just a throw away phrase in any other sci fi film is really explored here in a torture scene which while looks extremely clever, is actually very dark and twisted. But when on an assignment Joe notices the ‘client’ is sent back late, he is taken off guard. This doesn’t help when his target appears in the form of his future self (Bruce Willis) prepared to escape and get on with his own personal mission.

Joseph Gordon Levitt in Looper

Did you say boom?

What makes this step up from your usual sci fi is definitely the dialogue. Instead of tackling the very complicated task of trying to decipher time travel, the characters accept the inevitable…’this time travel crap, just fries the brain’. Add Sara (Emily Blunt) into the mix as a woman trying to bring up her kid in a world where things are unraveling, and Young Joe starts to question his mission and what he is actually doing.

Rian’s style is evident and helped along by the big budget which only goes to show what vision the man has. The only downside I would say is that one expecting an action film will be disappointed….this is a sci fi thriller in its purest form.

Barry El Beardo

Looper featurette:

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