Review: Pitch Perfect 2 (2015)

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After the first not only soared into the hearts and mind of many, but also became a certified box office success, Pitch Perfect 2 shrugs off sequel pressures to come out on top. The Barden Bellas have found success in the world of competitive a cappella, until a wardrobe malfunction sends them crashing out. Their only chance of redemption is to do the unthinkable and win at the World A Cappella Competition. Continue reading “Review: Pitch Perfect 2 (2015)”

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Review: Cake (2014)

 

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The perennially underrated Jennifer Aniston excels in Cake, delivering a topnotch performance in Daniel Barnz’ otherwise half-baked drama. Scarred by a devastating accident, pill-popping Claire (Aniston) hobbles around in constant pain, barking orders at her maid (Adriana Barraza) and ousting everyone else. When a woman (Anna Kendrick) from her support circle commits suicide, Claire is compelled to question her own existence. Continue reading “Review: Cake (2014)”

Review: Into The Woods (2014)

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Adapted for the screen by original writer James Lapine, Into The Woods – the long running Broadway play – succeeds in its transition under the direction of Rob Marshall. A childless baker (James Corden) and his wife (Emily Blunt) set off into the woods to lift an ancient curse put upon their family by an evil witch (Meryl Streep), where they encounter familiar faces and learn difficult truths. Continue reading “Review: Into The Woods (2014)”

Review: Pitch Perfect (2012)

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The world of collegiate a capella (college-backed singing groups who perform entirely with their mouths) comes under focus in Universal’s new ensemble comedy Pitch Perfect. In a world where musicals are either as camp and dewy-eyed as Glee, or as irksome as Rock of Ages, Pitch Perfect – from producer and co-star Elizabeth Banks – comes as a welcome surprise with a sharp script, lifelike characters and an unavoidably infectious and buoyant soundtrack. Continue reading “Review: Pitch Perfect (2012)”

Review: ParaNorman (2012)

Norman (Kodi Smit-McPhee) is an outcast who harbours a unique ability: he can talk to the dead. The trouble is, no one besides his unusual friend Neil (Tucker Albrizzi) believes his claims. That is, however, until his alienated – and quite frankly bonkers – uncle, Mr Prenderghast (John Goodman), burdens him with the task of saving Blithe Hollow’s inhabitants from an age-old witch’s curse and the threat of being overrun by the undead. Norman, with the aid of some Continue reading “Review: ParaNorman (2012)”

Review: 50/50 (2011)

Adam (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a 27-year-old radio employee, is abruptly diagnosed with a very rare, life-threatening form of spinal cancer. Unable to turn to his self-obsessed girlfriend (Bryce Dallas Howard) or domineering mother (Anjelica Huston) for help, he instead finds resolution with his oafish best friend (Seth Rogen) and novice therapist (Anna Kendrick).

It’s a rare feat for a film about cancer to be both funny and deeply moving in equal measure, but that’s exactly what makes 50/50 so distinctive. It’s Continue reading “Review: 50/50 (2011)”

Review: Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World (2010)

Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World is a story of a 22-year-old bassist, Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera), who plays in a band called Sex Bob-Omb and dates a high school girl (Ellen Wong). Everything changes when he happens upon Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) who infects his brain, which eventually becomes an obsession of his.

Not is all well, though, as Ramona comes with some heavy baggage. The baggage just so happens to be in the form of seven evil exes, all of which have super powers. Scott must defeat each evil ex in order to take his love affair with Ramona to the next level. The evil exes themselves (portrayed by Chris Evans, Brandon Routh, Jason Swartzman, Mae Whitman, Keita and Shoto Saito and Satya Bhabha), despite their brief on-screen presence, are a welcome addition to the film, while never detracting from the films overall purpose.

The partnership between Cera’s Scott and Winstead’s Ramona is pitch-perfect. Combing her effortless, beyond cliché nature, with his haphazard, anxious being may sound like a recipe for disaster, but the pair make it work, en-capturing audiences attention, making us care about their relationship.

Another reason Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World works so well is due to the supporting cast. Not only do Cera and Elizabeth provide a likeable, and explorable love affair, but co-stars such as Kieran Culkin, Alison Pill, Aubrey Plaza and Johnny Simmons all shine in their respective parts, delivering laugh-out-loud one-liners and welcome sub-plots to the main story-arc. Ellen Wong and Anna Kendrick in particular administer stand-out performances, showcasing their incredibly diverse talent.

Wright’s direction is superb, managing to make the film visually spectacular and inventive, whilst maintaining an old-fashioned, youthful nature. Fusing live-action with video-game and comic-book intellect was always going to be a risk, but Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World pulls it off perfectly.

The films screenplay, an adaptation of Bryan O’Malley’s comic-book series, has so many levels, that there’s sure to be something on offer for everyone. On the surface, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World is all about the zany action sequences, awkward teenage humour and video-game references. Underneath, however, there’s a whole new level of meaning, one that explores the true meaning of love and how relationships are never easy, but full of obstacles couples must overcome to reach their destiny.

While the awkward subject matter and unfortunately poorly-executed marketing campaign ended up hurting the box office gross, the film will undoubtedly find a home on DVD amongst young, or the young-at heart who like zany indie films that explore deep, poignant ideas, inter-cut by lots of crazy, heart-pounding, fighting scenes and witty dialogue.

Seek it out. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World is a film that deserves an appreciative audience.