Currently browsing the "Rebel Wilson" tag.

Review: CATS

Speaking of memories…

I still have my ticket stub from the July 27, 1983 performance of CATS at the Wintergarden Theatre on Broadway. It was a Wednesday matinee and my orchestra seat cost $35. Betty Buckley played Grizabella the Glamour Cat. She sang “Memory.” I was hooked. I will always be a fan of the music. I will continue to defend the songs, the dancing, and the whimsical appeal of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s classic stage production.

I can’t, however, defend the movie. It simply doesn’t work.

Review: Jojo Rabbit

Just when you thought there couldn’t possibly be a new way to tell a World War II / Nazi story on film, along comes Jojo Rabbit, to serve as both a reminder of a twisted chapter in our not-so-distant past, and a contemporary cautionary tale. In some ways, there’s more to unpack here than in the controversial Joker, though I suspect way fewer people will see it or ‘get it’. Yes, Jojo Rabbit is a strange flick. But it’s also quite thought-provoking and weirdly entertaining, thanks to the direction of Taika Waititi (who pulls triple duty as screenwriter and actor) and a first-rate cast.

Review: Isn’t It Romantic

Isn’t It Romantic unabashedly satirizes and celebrates the RomCom, a genre I just so happen to unabashedly embrace. So while the movie falls far short of the classics it draws upon for inspiration (Pretty Woman, My Best Friend’s Wedding, 13 Going on 30, Sweet Home Alabama, Notting Hill, When Harry Met Sally…), it’s still an entertaining watch. Isn’t It Romantic seems hyper-aware of its flaws and limitations, closing with a cheesy musical number a mere 80 minutes or so after the plot – such as it is – begins to unfold, starting with a bonk on the head. You know the drill. Revel in it. Or recoil from it. Those are your only options.

Review: Pitch Perfect 3

Awards season is filled with a lot of complex, thought-provoking stuff that represents your cinematic meat and potatoes, with a side of veggies. Pitch Perfect 3 is your fluffy dessert. A simple treat that goes down easy but should be consumed in moderation. It’s not nearly as good as the refreshingly original Pitch Perfect (2012) or its entertaining sequel, Pitch Perfect 2 (2015). But it is good enough to satisfy the fan base (you know who you are, pitches). At this point, the law of diminishing returns has definitely nibbled away at the comedy/music franchise. But there’s room for replenishment and redemption because the main characters are still fun to watch, and the music is still fun to hear. In other words, despite PP3 being marketed as the Bellas’ “Farewell Tour,” there will surely be a PP4 ‘Comeback Tour’.

How to Be Single

Apparently, I’m doing it all wrong. Then again, I’m not really sure what the takeaway is supposed to be for this movie. I just hope it doesn’t reel in the underage crowd hoping to see Rebel Wilson reprise her role from (the PG-13 rated) Pitch Perfect 2. How to Be Single is rated R. And the ‘R’ isn’t for romance. The movie is about hook-ups, misguided attempts to find a love connection, friendship, online algorithms, a few intangibles, a lot of sex and alcohol jokes, and other stuff related to being single in the big city. It aims to be a romantic comedy but generally misses the mark. It’s actually kind of sad. But a lot of single gals will likely gather for a cosmo or two and flock to it anyway, and others might drag the boyfriends along. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Pitch Perfect 2

Pitch Perfect 2 is a perfectly entertaining movie. From a plot perspective, it doesn’t measure up to its 2012 surprise-hit predecessor Pitch Perfect, but what it lacks in story, it makes up for in gleeful fun. Here’s the gist: the Bellas of Barden University are riding high as three-time national a capella champions. But an embarrassing faux pas and wardrobe malfunction during a performance at the Kennedy Center (for the POTUS no less) results in the school suspending the all-girl singing group, now comprised mostly of seniors who really need to be thinking about life after college anyway. The gals strike a deal with the school – and the a capella governing body – that if they can pull off an upset victory at an International competition that no American group has ever won, then the Bellas will be reinstated, and all will be forgiven. Ready, set, cue the music! What follows is pure fun, with informal sing-offs, bonding exercises, surprise cameos, and the return of Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins in all their satirical glory as professional commentators for the singing competitions. They are hysterically inappropriate.

Pain & Gain

Usually, when a movie is based on a true story, it’s inspirational, dramatic, transformational, or heartwarming… or some combination thereof. This one is just plain absurd. And tragic. And gross. And yes, pretty darn funny in a “You can’t be serious. That did not just happen!” sort of way. And did I mention it stars a very buff and often shirtless Mark Wahlberg? Just throwin’ that out there, so you have all the facts at hand when weighing your cinematic options.

Struck By Lightning

Struck By Lighting is an odd movie – a heartfelt drama/comedy that isn’t nearly as laugh-at-loud funny as it claims to be. Chris Colfer (a.k.a. ‘Kurt’ from Glee) plays Carson Phillips, a high school outcast who is struck and killed by lightning. The End. Okay, maybe not the end. That’s actually the beginning. Carson proceeds – in voiceover- to recount his upbringing by a depressed and over-medicated single mother (Allison Janney), his lifelong passion for writing, and his strong desire to get out of his small town and into his dream school, Northwestern (my alma mater).

Pitch Perfect

Gleeks will rejoice in Pitch Perfect. It’s basically Glee goes to college – a cappella style. But even non-Gleeks can enjoy this one, thanks to a fun, diverse and talented cast, and even a bit of a plot (emphasis on the bit).

The movie stars the uber-talented young actress Anna Kendrick as Beca, a reluctant college freshman who would rather go out to LA to spin records for a living than endure the forced socialization rituals that come with higher education. When her father strongly encourages her to join something – anything – on campus, Beca chooses “The Bellas”, the  school’s all-female a capella group of misfits. The Bellas have one cardinal rule: No fraternizing with the enemy, the school’s all-male a capella group The Treblemakers. You can guess how well that works out.