Pitch Perfect 3

Year: 2017
Directed by: Trish Sie
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Hailee Steinfeld, Brittany Snow, Anna Camp

Written by Livia Peterson

The Bellas are back for one final time! The ‘Pitch Perfect’ franchise has steadily endured franchise fatigue for the past five years and now their allegedly final tour definitely proved that the ladies are more than ready to return to reality and ditch the acapella dreams forever.

The Barden University student Emily (Hailee Steinfeld) reunites the Bellas, involving Beca Mitchell (Anna Kendrick), Patricia “Fat Amy” Hobart (Rebel Wilson), Chloe Beale (Brittany Snow), Aubrey Posen (Anna Camp), Lilly Onakurama (Hana Mae Lee), Cynthia-Rose Adams (Esther Dean), and Florencia “Flo” Fuentes (Chrissie Fit). Aubrey reveals the United Service Organization (USO) performance tour and if the group wins, they are able to open for DJ Khaled and the Bellas all agree to travel to Europe to compete to have one last victory. Upon arrival, the Bellas initiate a riff off with several bands competing for the prize. Of course, the Bellas perform acapella covers to demonstrate to the competition that they definitely deserve the triumphs regardless of the obstacles. While Gail-Abernathy-McKadden-Feinberger (Elizabeth Banks) and John Smith (John Michael Higgins) document and provide commentary, regarding the Bellas lives, the significant unnecessary subplot involves Fat Amy’s father Fergus (John Lithgow) re-entering her life and eventually betraying in return in more ways than one.

Jason Moore’s ‘Pitch Perfect’ boasts a brilliant and groundbreaking female driven narrative. Yet, the sequels – the second instalment helmed by Elizabeth Banks and the third and perhaps, final instalment directed by Trish Sie frequently feel more of the same without much return for the audience. Fat Amy still delivers the comic relief in the midst of Becca being the star of the show. The remaining Bellas are left in the background due to the story largely focusing on three primary, fully developed characters: Beca, Fat Amy, and more or less, Emily. It is indeed too difficult to resonate and root for the background characters when Beca and Fat Amy are always vying for one’s attention, whether it is leading the ladies in song and Fat Amy acting foolish. To add to the mess, the ladies have become stereotypes and one would consider this is a feminist film. The initial instalment absolutely praises feminism through acapella and yet, most characters are one dimensional, excluding the aforementioned three women here.

With lacklustre performances from the cast, and the music bordering on being intolerable, there are no redeeming factors for the Bellas this time round.  ‘Pitch Perfect 3’ checks all the bullet points of the predecessors, just to ensure audience approval and satisfaction. Not even an original song was written for this film. The only original song ‘Flashlight’, written by Jessie J, is featured in the second instalment. Indeed, the final instalment feels more like a live concert than a motion picture. If you’re craving a musical of some sort, resort the original or ‘The Greatest Showman’. Ultimately, ‘Pitch Perfect 3’ is a prime example of a money grab – regurgitating the previous two narratives and adding slight changes.

Whereas the first instalment possesses contagious energy, ‘Pitch Perfect 3’ completely lost the sparkle that made it magical in the first place. ‘Pitch Perfect 2’ retained some of the enchantment, if not neglected most of it along the way. ‘Pitch Perfect’ is the best out of the three even though the sequels attempted to surpass it with little success. Just goes to show sequels are not always necessary, especially for original content that should be left alone. Despite the Bellas being akin to a family, ‘Pitch Perfect 3’ indicates a possible spin-off as Beca becoming as a solo artist being hinted at during the conclusion. As if we asked for another ‘Pitch Perfect’ outing, assuming it is successful at the box office.

Aca-goodbye, ladies.

Livia’s Rating: 2.5/10

Advertisements

Female-Led Remakes: Help Or Hindrance?

Written by Gillian Finklea

Just over a month ago now, on January 21, a large and international march led by and attended by so many amazing women inspired me in many ways. Women, and supporters of women’s rights, came out in droves to support many different things, but one universal message was clear – that women’s rights need to be respected and upheld, and that women’s voices need to be heard. And since movies are always at the back of my mind, I hoped this woman-positive energy would somehow transfer to the screen. Then I remembered ‘Ocean’s Eight’, and the distant talk of ‘The Expendabelles’. And now there’s plans for a ‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’ remake, with Rebel Wilson. It’s tough to be supportive of female-led movies, when they are just retreads of popular movies that originally starred men.

Continue reading

Watch This Space: November 2 – 8

Welcome to your weekly go-to film guide – WatchThisSpace – where we recommend what to watch in the cinema and on the television, and remind you of those brilliant films hiding in your DVD collection.

IN THE CINEMA

Very much in the spirit of last year’s ‘Chef’, ‘Burnt’ features a talented cast including Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Alicia Vikander, Uma Thurman, Lily James, and Emma Thompson. Cooper leads as a famous chef who destroys his career through drug addiction and outlandish behavior, now looking to redeem himself by returning to London and taking over a new restaurant. Murmurs from the US box-office so far suggest this one may well be more TV dinner than haute cuisine, so this drama is very much an acquired taste.

Directed by John Crowley and starring Saoirse Ronan, ‘Brooklyn’ tells the story of a young woman in the 1960s who leaves Ireland for New York, where she falls in love. ‘Brooklyn’ is attracting a degree of awards hype, especially surrounding Ronan’s performance, and for those seeking a small but sweet drama this awards season, this could be the film for you.

 

ON THE TV

Tuesday 22:00 GMT: A film which may not be for everyone, the super dark and hyper-stylised ‘Sin City’ plays on SyFy this Tuesday night. With unpleasant characters and situations throughout, as three characters explore the violence and corruption of their city, this beautifully crafted film is well worth a watch if you enjoy twisted, powerful projects. Check out the JumpCut UK review here.

Wednesday 21:00 GMT: A down and out college a capella group gets new members this Wednesday on Film4 with ‘Pitch Perfect’. This group of misfits, including the talented Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson and Brittany Snow, surge to the top and face their inner school rivals, in the first installment of this catchy, musical series which has developed something of a cult following since its release in 2012.

Friday 21:00 GMT: Who doesn’t enjoy seeing Angelina Jolie kick butt and take names? Catch ‘Salt’ on E4 for a film full of tension, fun and action sequences that will wet your appetite as we lead up to an action-packed November.

Saturday 21:00 GMT: Your Saturday night is sorted, with ITV4 bringing you a real American classic in the shape of ‘Tremors’. A diverse cast of characters come together to survive in small town USA, with star turns from Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward, as carnivorous, subterranean worms terrorise the countryside. With a brilliant mix of horror and comedy, this should be a fun watch!

Sunday 21:00 GMT: Rian Johnson’s ‘Looper’ is arguably one of best time-travel, sci-fi movies of this decade so far. The film supplants us in a fascinating world full of mystery, action and dialogue that is fascinating from beginning to end, with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis delivering a wonderful chemistry. Don’t lose track of time this Sunday, switch to BBC2 for this intriguing flick.

DIG IT OUT

This is our favourite part of the WatchThisSpace section. We delve into our own DVD collection and pick out some amazing films, that may not instantly spring to mind when you’re stuck for inspiration to make your movie night a success. Maybe you’ve never seen a film that we pick – or even heard of them for that matter – but you’re gonna have to trust us on this one, and Dig It Out.

Grand Hotel (1932): A film which takes place in a lavish hotel, with a number of eccentric characters who all have some sort of drama going on in their lives, and all of these characters will have to deal with their issues together as they find themselves living in the same restrictive quarters. Many films have been inspired by the premise of this film, but few do it better. The charm of this film is in large part thanks to its ensemble cast, where many of the biggest movie stars of the early 1930’s appear, including Joan Crawford, Lionel Barrymore, John Barrymore, Greta Garbo and Wallace Beery. For director Edmund Goulding, it is considered by many to be his finest film. AG

Locke: One of the best films of 2014, ‘Locke’ features just one man – the incredible Tom Hardy. As the titular character, Hardy’s Ivan Locke is a man doing something a lot of us actually fail to do; owning our mistakes. This film is thematically very heavy, exploring themes that should make us all think about and consider our day to day lives. The entire film may take place solely in a car, with just Hardy on screen, yet it is a riveting watch from beginning to end. Check out the JumpCut UK review here. JD

The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre (1948): Three men in search of wealth search the Sierra Madre mountains for gold, but along the way they run into adventure, joy, sorrow, greed, and betrayal. A movie directed and partially written (screenplay) by John Huston, this film stars one of my all-time favorite actors in Humphrey Bogart. For me, Bogart was the greatest A-list star of his generation; his acting alone elevates this movie above and beyond others in the genre. It has this western feel to it, even before westerns became all the rage. With wonderful cinematography, a great cast, a well-written script full of philosophical concepts and great directing, you would be hard pressed to find a better action-adventure film out there than this one. AG

When Marnie Was There: This is considered Studio Ghibli’s last film, and if so, what a note to go out on. This film tells the tale of a young girl named Anna who is lonely and depressed, when she goes away for the summer and meets another young girl named Marnie. The two develop a striking friendship that becomes more and more layered as the film goes on, producing a sweet and beautiful experience which I would highly recommend. JD 

This week’s WatchThisSpace was compiled by Andrew Garrison and special guest JD Duran of InSession Film.

Pitch Perfect 2

Written by Molly Dolan

A cappella; an Italian phrase meaning “in the manner of the chapel or the church”. How fitting, given the devoted fanbase who worship the delightful harmonies which musical theatre has given us. Popularity of such a concept has surged dramatically in recent years, or at least that is the case onscreen. Following the phenomenal success of ‘Glee’ – embracing diversity for the oh-so-impressionable teenage population – ‘Pitch Perfect’ opened in 2012 and was a sleeper hit.

The ensemble cast, centring on Anna Kendrick as the audacious Beca, combined to create a comedic and talent-rich film, headed up by relative newcomer Jason Moore. As Moore’s directorial debut, and with a modest $17m budget, the film’s eventual box office ($113m) and overall success was just that, a huge success. You only have to look on YouTube and you will still find videos of ‘The Cup Song’ still circulating today, a real sign of the triumph for this new wave of anti-instrumental performers.

Part of the ‘Pitch Perfect’ appeal is the imperfection of almost all of the characters. Although the storyline is one that we have seen a number of times before; outcasts battling society, outshining the popular, and all uniting in success with a dash of romance, the diversity of characters means that we can all relate to at least one trait on the screen. And the film cannot be mentioned without the term ‘Fat Amy’ cropping up. Rebel Wilson breaks down barriers of unjust, social stereotypes to play the integral role of Patricia AKA Fat Amy. Other female roles include the bitch, the tomboy, the nymphomaniac, the downright strange one and of course, Beca, the icon. All form The Barden Bellas.

The male counterparts, The Treblemakers, led by Skylar Astin’s Jesse, add a perfect amount of masculinity, showing that a Capella can be cool (right?). Add to this line-up some incredible, if not sometimes sassy, humour and you have the perfect recipe for a mainstream musical theatre hit. For me at least, The Treblemakers are a more exciting and talented group than The Bellas, but that just wouldn’t fit into what the film is trying to achieve. Of course the guys who are fun and popular (in a capella world) should win, but we need the underdogs to prevail to provide us with a morally charged undertone.

Following the apparent resolution of the first film, resulting in girl group The Bellas snatching the national title, fans were not left waiting long before the announcement of a sequel was made at CinemaCon (a third instalment has now also been announced). A long two years later and trailers have finally been released, showing The Bellas progression to an international a capella championship, a competition never before won by an American act. Elizabeth Banks returns as one half of the sarcastic, catty and somewhat misogynistic commentator-duo, to both star and direct ‘Pitch Perfect 2’, taking over the helm from Jason Moore, with Kay Cannon returning as screenwriter. The film follows a similar pattern to its predecessor, with an on-stage scandal – “Muffgate” – resulting in embarrassment and indignation for the girls, followed by a turbulent path that hopefully (and most likely) leads to the top.

Following the intense buzz of the first, that still carries on today and accounts for a number one song, a Christmas album and 6 film awards (albeit mostly via MTV and the Teen Choice awards), this sequel is a sure fire hit. With a budget this time of closer to $30m, box office projections suggesting the film could take around 245 million worldwide, not a bad turnaround at all. The only obstacle standing in the way of box office domination, will be the fact that ‘Pitch Perfect 2’ shares its release weekend with the highly anticipated ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’. With a very clear divide of interests between the two starkly contrasting films, cinemagoers on the whole will already know which screen they’re heading for, but the appeal of ‘Pitch Perfect’ reaches much further than social outcasts and teenage girls.  

‘Pitch Perfect 2’ takes centre stage on May 15th 2015