Film Review: “Pitch Perfect”

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Pitch Perfect, 2012

dir. Jason Moore

music by: Christopher Beck and Mark Kilian

★★★★★

Do you know why I added the guys responsible for the music? Because the music is amazing!

Okay, I don’t normally go for the music first, because I’m not that into it, like some people, and really I went to see this movie primarily because it seemed funny, but man! This is incredible! I don’t even like remixes and things like that, but I absolutely loved every tiny little thing here!

I don’t know if the singing was all real, if the actors really did sing their songs – I’ll research into that – but it sounded pretty great! The songs chosen were incredible, and now I feel like singing. But I can’t, so I won’t…

Anyway, I quite liked the songs chosen. Especially the Breakfast Club bits. Seriously, that Simple Minds song is one of my all-time favourite songs from movies ever (after the Star Wars soundtrack by John Williams and All My Days by Alexi Murdoch from Away We Go) so I was really happy that Jesse was such a movie-buff. He’s one of us, guys! In a few years, he’s going to be Miles from The Holiday (winky-winky-smiley-face).

But besides the clearly awesome 80s song choice, the others were also incredible. Now, I’m not that into current pop music, but I’ll give it a shot: Rihanna was there, Jesse J, Bruno Mars, The Proclaimers (not really current pop music, but living in Scotland, I felt quite proud), David Guetta, Madonna (80s again!), La Roux (not performed, but played on a radio mix, with Bulletproof, which I love), Lily Allen, etc… Point is, great song choices, and as of this second I’ve learned that the actors did sing! So, wow! Impressive.

Now, I’m not going to ramble on and on about music, because I don’t even understand enough about it to say much. So, moving on.

How much of an Apple advert was this movie? Every character had a MacBook, iTunes could be seen everywhere, Becca even had an iMac! Don’t get me wrong, I use Macs, so I was proud, but it’s odd. I guess they were trying to prove that Apple makes great appliances for the likes of music editing. Which they do. I mean, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross used it for their original score for The Social Network, so yay for them. Thing is, it was kinda funny how blunt they were, shoving Ping in our faces. Good old Ping.

(still better than Andrew Garfield using Bing on Amazing Spider-Man. I mean, really? Bing? Surely a computer/science genius would know that the thing sucks…)

Anyway, casting? Perfection. Loved all the characters. Especially Benji – he was so precious, with his magic and Star Wars shrine…

Jesse was great as well, Skylar Astin is fantastic. The right amount of cool and dorky, without being that annoying adorkable dude from most romantic comedies.

Becca was also wonderful. I love Anna Kendrick, she’s a great actor and I’m glad to see that she’s going past Twilight, leaving it alone as a dark shade of her past. Her character was awesome, especially her musical pursuits – how many female characters in cinema have wanted to be music producers instead of performers? I loved this twist – and her development was believable.

But the best by far was Fat Amy/Patricia. Rebel Wilson is going so far! She’s fierce and adorable and weird and I absolutely and utterly adore her. I mean, have you seen Bridesmaids? That’s enough proof of how great she is.

The other girls were awesome as well, Chloe, Aubrey, Lilly and the guys, too.

Two other highlights were the commentators played by Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins. Their banter was flawless, and hilarious! Loved them.

All in all, this movie is amazing, and I can’t wait to see it again. And get the DVD. And watch it over and over and over…

review by Mariana Duarte

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Film Review: “Cannibal Holocaust”

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Cannibal Holocaust, 1980

dir. Ruggero Deodato

★☆☆☆☆

Have you ever regretted something? So much you just want to wipe it out of your memories? Well, this movie is it for me. I just want to forget I ever watched it. Forever.

You might think it’s something on the realms of “oh, that’s so disgusting” or “come on, man up, it’s just a little blood” – well, my friend, it isn’t. This movie isn’t illegal in a dozen countries for nothing.

The OED classified “gruesome” as something that “causes repulsion or horror”. I cannot call this movie gruesome. It goes beyond gruesome. It shows a side of the human nature that you just don’t want to believe exists, but you know it does. But not in a good, reflective way, no. It’s all about the blood, the cruelty towards animals and women, the rapes, the severed limbs… It’s horrible and distasteful, and even Deodato knows so – he himself has said that he regrets ever making this movie.

Technically, it really isn’t that good. The sound is just horrible, and I don’t know what was going on there. Especially in the beginning, you could really notice how out-of-sync it was. But you get past that. Why? Because everything else makes the sound really the best part of the whole picture. (actually, the music bit was in fact quite interesting, because they combined a lovely upbeat tune with the disgusting murders… the juxtaposition was amusing)

The acting, though. Just… abysmal. Seriously. It was just… Oh, I can’t even review this, it’s so bad…

It’s not that the actors were bad – although one of them used to be a porn star, so what do I know? – but the parts, the characters. I just didn’t care for it at all.

And I’m usually a fan of gory stuff! Honestly! I love it! Blood and guts, and all that jazz. Thing is, this is much more than that. It’s vile… It’s so close to human that you can’t detach yourself from what is happening, and I’m not sure I’ll even be able to not think about it ever again, it was so disturbing.

Anyway, my last words about it are: watch it at your own risk. I don’t recommend it at all. I’m actually uneasy heaving the DVD on my shelf (right next to Casablanca, which is a bit unfortunate)…

review by Mariana Duarte

Film Review: “Great Expectations”

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Great Expectations, 2012

dir. Mike Newell

★★★★★

Wow. Just… wow.

This film is truly, truly beautiful.

Okay, I’d love to talk about how much of a faithful adaptation to screen this is, but alas, I haven’t read the original Dickens novel yet – I know, I know, you’re thinking “will she ever read any of the books from the movies she recommends? jeez”, but there’s really nothing I can do about that – but what I can comment on is how incredible this is, as a film.

First of all, casting. They cast Toby Irvine as young Pip, which was quite ingenious, since he actually looks a hell of a lot like his older brother – lovely Jeremy Irvine, whom we all know from the likes of War Horse. Mr Jeremy Irvine is still fresh in the acting world – at least, the TV/film acting world – but we already know he’s great. Not only does he look adorable – frankly, he looksadorable – be he’s also very very good. Not BAFTA-worthy yet, but that’s yet. He’ll be great some day. (I have high hopes for the future of the British actors… as long as they keep coming with the Jeremy Irvines (and Toby Irvines), Asa Buttefields, Colin Morgans, etc) Not only was his performance solid and steady, it was also full or life, and by God, I love an actor that can cry on cue.

And the young Estella was brilliantly played by both Helena Barlow (in her younger version) and Holliday Grainger. She’s absolutely beautiful – and with that red hair and those eyes, who wouldn’t? – and is incredibly believable as the spawn of Miss Havisham’s vengeance on men.

Speaking of Miss Havisham: HELENA BOHAM-CARTER. I won’t say a word further – this woman is everything. She’s beautiful and talented and I can just watch her be weirdly brilliant forever and ever… Only the highest of praises for her. Seriously, if anything, you should go see this movie for her. It’s amazing.

I could go on and on about the amazing cast of this film, but I’ll make a last stop on the ever-so-awesome Ralph Fiennes station. I mean, seriously. Solid performance after solid performance. How has he not won an Academy Award yet? He was perfect in Schindler’s List, The English Patient, Harry Potter,Skyfall, even in Coriolanus – even though I did care much for that film, but that was because Shakespeare and I don’t seem to ever get along, somehow – he proved to be as good a directo as an actor. But in Great Expectations, as Magwitch, he was gruesome, scary, intimidating, sweet, endearing, all the works. By the end, you wanted to give him a hug and a cup of tea, and just shave that hair off. Truly brilliant.

Besides the casting, the whole thing was phenomenal.

Honestly, just take a look at the costumes! Such beautiful clothes. Estella’s dresses were to die for, as was Miss Havisham’s wedding gown. And the men’s outfits were also unbe-fucking-lievable! The gentlemen’s club would git perfectly well on a catwalk, no-one would tell the difference. And the hair-and-make-up department needs a standing ovation because oh-dear-lord! Absolutely fantastic! Magnificent, really.

(I do love those dark Victorian styles, actually… especially when it’s Dickens… they do a great job with Dickens!)

Anyway, I’ll wrap this up by saying that this is thoroughly enjoyable and truly wonderful. I can’t say it’s comparable to the novel, but I’m sure the BBC did a good adaptation – they always do, don’t they? I’m almost inclined to forgiving them for ending Merlin and postponing Sherlock!

So get off your computer, move towards the nearest cinema and go see Great Expectations!

review by Mariana Duarte