September 29th, 2012

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Pitch Pefect

My weekends are becoming all too predictable.

Pitch Perfect took some time to work its way up my priority list. The storyline just did not interest me, and as much as I love Anna Kendrick, that wasn't enough. At first. Then I started hearing some of the songs. Little more interest. But what finally sold me was Rebel Wilson. She's quickly becoming one of my favorite comediennes, and I just really had to see what she brought to this film. Once I was already sold, scanning the soundtrack told me that Skylar Astin was in this. My inner (okay not so inner) musical theatre geek rejoiced (he was in the original Spring Awakening cast) at the wonderful cake icing.

Yeah the plot itself, kinda plain. Struggling acapella group trying to win a major competition. It's every Disney sports movie, but with singing. Or Glee. Add in a power struggle between the misunderstood newbie and the longtime leader of the group, and a are-they-ever-gonna-hook-up romance between said newbie and a member of the rival team. Nothing we haven't seen before.

The fun came from the characters. Anna Kendrick was the previously mentioned misunderstood neophyte. But she was a tough chick with attitude, the kind I would actually wanna hang out with. Just when I think I have her pegged as an actress, she adds a new twist to each role. Seeing Brittany Snow in the cast list just made me assume she'd be playing the queen beeyatch, but I guess I've just seen Hairspray too many times. She may have still bit a little too sorrority girl for me, but I did like her as the good guy. After having seen him in a few kooky bit parts, I loved Skylar Astin as our leading man. The fact that his character was a fellow movie buff particularly obsessed with The Breakfast Club helped. But of course, Rebel Wilson was the brightest gem. Always delievering a line that broke tension or lightened the mood. This film would have been beyond boring without her.

As an aforementioned musical theatre geek, I am friends with a lot of musically inclined people. Several of whom have been in various acapella groups. I even saw a couple of ICCA competitions (friend was in a group that hosted the event). I'm a bit picky about the genre. Sometimes I think it's awesome, sometimes I'm just flat out unimpressed. Basically the less it sounds like acapella, the better. I also really like creative mashups. Energy is also a must. Most of the songs (not counting the ones that were obviously not supposed to) nailed all three. The detail about Kendrick's character wanting to be a music producer, and therefore having experience with arrangements was a nice touch. Added a little bit of weight and believability to the idea that the new little tough cookie freshman girl could transform the group.

Overall it was just a rocking good time. Isn't that really what going to the movies is all about?

Pitch Perfect - \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/
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Hotel Transylvania

I walked into the showing of Hotel Transylvania a few minutes early. As I was sitting there, I noticed that every person who came walked in was accompanied by someone considerably smaller than them. Now I go to kiddie movies often (though I have been a bit more selective lately) but usually there's at least a couple of other "big kids" there. Then I realized that I was reading The Land of Stories, a children's book by Glee's Chris Colfer, and I figured I was in no position to judge myself.

So the premise was kinda thin. Dracula builds a hotel for monsters to shelter his vampire daughter from the supposedly evil humans. A human somehow manages to show up and falls in love with said daughter. Hilarity ensues. Theoretically. Yeah we know, I'm a sucker for blood suckers, so I went ahead and put myself thru this one. It actually wasn't all that bad. Somewhat enjoyable even.

I do love creatures of the night, and I very much appreciated a lot of the humor poking fun at them. From the odd ratio of laughter volume between me and the rest of the audience at certain points, it seems not everyone shared my sentiment. They cared more for the silly slapstack instead of the smart references. Then again, most of their ages were in the single digits. True, when it comes to munchkin macabre movies, Igor did it much better, but it was still fun.

The film kinda dragged for a while. Again, thin plot, and Adam Sandler can only riff in a Transylvanian accent for so long. But it got its mojo back towards the end. There was this one sequence about acceptance that I just found beautiful. Yes, it involved Dracula, Frankenstein's monster, and their merry band of fiends, but I still was affected by it. Boy do I have issues.

So I suppose there's worse to drag the little ones to. Some things here and there for us perpetual Toys R Us kids. Nowhere near Pixar (not counting this decade) quality, but still enjoyable and fun.

Hotel Transylvania - \m/ \m/ \m/