Pitch Perfect A Hit For Tweens And Teens

Courtesy:  Universal Studios Home Entertainment

Courtesy: Universal Studios Home Entertainment

Pitch Perfect is one more in an ongoing stream of TV shows and movies attempting to cash in on the success of the song based shows and movies currently being seen all over TV and theater screens across the country.  Needless to say that considering this it is anything but an original work.  It’s another of those works in which an unlikely group of protagonists comes together despite its members’ differences to come out on top and be the best of friends in the end.  Though to its defense one can at least say that lip synched or not, the musical numbers are catchy enough to make the rest of the tween and teen centric story bearable. 

Pitch Perfect is hardly perfect.  Audiences have already seen similar plotlines in the likes of Fox’s Glee.  Even NBC has its own singing contest in which groups compete by singing a capella for a major financial payout at the show’s finale each season.  And anyone who has seen Lindsay Lohan’s starring vehicle, Mean Girls, will see a hint of that movie here, too.  There’s even a touch of Romeo & Juliet with the two a capella groups feuding just as the Capulets and Monatgues, while young Becca (Anna Kendrick) and Jesse (Skylar Astin) play the roles of Romeo and Juliet.  Seeing all of this, one can’t help but wonder how in the world this story managed to stay afloat.  But somehow it did manage it amazingly enough. And thanks to that, it will appeal to its key tween and teen audiences.  Those same audiences will especially enjoy the movie’s musical numbers.  The covers of the familiar pop tunes will have said audiences dancing and singing along in their own living rooms now that the movie has been released to DVD, Blu-ray and digital. 

The movie’s key audiences will no doubt enjoy its musical numbers.  They will also appreciate the dynamic between the movie’s largely female cast as each member brings something different to the table.  Each girl comes from a different background, leading them to have to learn one another and learn how to coexist as a group.  It also leads the Bellas’ long running leader Aubrey (Anna Camp) to learn a rather valuable lesson herself, which eventually leads to the story’s happy, sappy and largely predictable ending.  Sure, its ending is sappy and predictable.  But that can be forgiven considering the lesson it teaches its viewers.  It teaches viewers that by accepting each other for who they are, a group can achieve anything.  It’s for that reason and for the standard romance story and songs that Pit Perfect will hit the right notes with its intended audiences.

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Born Yesterday Reboot Bridges Hollywood’s Past And Present

 

Courtesy: Mill Creek Entertainment/Hollywood Pictures

Shakespeare, it’s been said, is the single greatest playwrite of all time.  So many of the movies that audiences have enjoyed since Hollywood’s golden age have been at least loosely based on his works.  In its most basic roots, this remake of the 1950 movie by the same name is itself based on Shakespeare’s Taming of The Shrew.  One could easily go into a long drawn out history lesson, explaining those roots.  But suffice to say that while it’s true that this remake is anything but original, perhaps understanding that its roots are in Shakespearian literature will get audiences interested in the bard’s classic work.  that being noted, those who would instantly criticize this movie should take into account that it’s not the first work to ever rip off another work.

Now that being out of the way, this update of Taming of The Shrew, Pygmalion, and of course 1950’s Born yesterday may not be the best remake ever crafted.  But it is still a good escape for the course of its near two hour run time.  Anyone who has ever seen Pygmalion or My Fair lady, or even The Taming of The Shrew will enjoy seeing Billie (Griffith) become a more self assured woman, from the ditzy character that she started out as.  And being that John Goodman is so known for good guy roles, it was nice to see him take a heel turn for once.  And female audiences will cheer Billie for her reaction after she’s beaten by Harry at one point.  Her reaction is one that so few battered women have, and should serve as an example of what they should do.  It showed that she had become a truly empowered woman.  That final moment of her growth is perhaps the most powerful.

The budding romance between Billie and Paul (Johnson) is cheesy to say the least.  But when placed against her treatment by Harry, it makes Billie that much more of a sympathetic character.  Both male and female audiences will find themselves cheering for her, not wanting her to give up on herself, although they know that Paul won’t let her give up. 

Perhaps the funniest part of the movie isn’t so much in the story or its romance subplot.  It’s in the spoof of Washington politics.  When Paul teaches Billie what to say at a gala, he reveals just how little most beltway insiders really know, and how they let political jargon do all the talking, rather than themselves.  Even fans of National Public Radio will laugh at how the story pokes fun at NPR and the talking heads in the media as a whole.  There is more than just a grain of truth to this joke.

Born yesterday is a remake.  There’s no getting past that.  There are those who would throw jabs at the entire thing simply for the sake of being a remake.  But as shown, it does have its share of high points even with its general lack of originality.  Given, it’s not exactly original.  But in its defense, those who would criticize it shoudl also criticize Reese Witherspoon’s 2001 movie, Legally Blonde.  That movie is a near direct take off of this remake.  At least in the case of this remake, audiences are given a means to actually do what movies are meant to do for viewers.  It gives its viewers the ability to suspend their disbelief and escape into the story if only for the single watch.

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

‘Much Ado About Nothing’ opens annual Carolina Shakespeare Festival

NEW BERN. N.C.–The Carolina Shakespeare Festival opens its fourteenth season August 2nd.  And to officially open the season, Shakespeare’s classic rom/com ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ will be presented at Tryon Palace’s Cullman Performance Hall.  The play centers on lovers Beatrice and Benedick who try not to admit their feelings for one another, going tit for tat along the way, until, of course, it all reaches a happy ending.  It truly is one of Shakespeare’s finest–if not his finest–romantic comedy.  Countless movies and plays since can count this work as their influence.

The Carolina Shakespeare Festival will begin performances of the play with a very special preview performance on Thursday, August 2nd at 7pm.  Official opening night is Friday, August 3rd.  It all ends August 19th.  Tickets for the preview show for the special preview show can be purchased at a discount price of $12 for all seats.  General admission tickets for adults are $28, $22 for senior citizens, and $20 for Tryon Palace Council of Friends Members.  Students and active duty military personnel can purchase tickets for $14.  Tickets can be purchased by phone at 252-639-3524 and 1-800-767-1560.  They can also be purchased in person at the North Carolina History Center Ticket Desk at Tryon Palace. 

Along with the presentations of ‘Much Ado About Nothing’, the Carolina Shakepseare Festival will offer two free concert readings of ‘Henry IV Part 2’ on August 8th and 11th.  The reading on August 8th will be presented at the Old Theatre in Oriental at 7pm that evening.  The second of the two readings will be offered August 11th at 2pm at Tryon Palace.

For more information on the Carolina Shakespeare Festival and Tryon Palace, go online to http://www.csfest.net and http://www.tryonpalace.org.