Home video spotlight on:
THREE AND A HALF OUT OF
This movie is rated PG-13 for sexual material, language and drug references
One thing I love to do with movies is to stray outside of my core genres from time to time. Good movies come in all shapes and sizes, and just because it’s a little outside your “usual” doesn’t mean it’s not going to be good. I discovered this to be true when I watched Pitch Perfect, as I found it to be a fantastic comedy that featured some really great music.
A lot of people wrote this movie off as some kind of a Glee rip-off, but that’s really doing this film a disservice. From my limited knowledge of the TV show Glee, these two have very little in common beyond featuring a capella singing.
In Pitch Perfect, Anna Kendrick stars as a new college student. She’s a DJ who loves making music, but is only in college because her professor father is forcing her. When he pushes her to get involved in an activity, she ends up a reluctant member of a campus a capella group.
This is a supremely silly movie, which is something it reveals to you very early on. But it really allows the film to work because it frees it up to just be zany and wonky and have fun. There are a ton of over-the-top characters that keep things fun and interesting, but the whole film revolves around Kendrick.
She may not be a big name yet, but Anna Kendrick is one of the great young actresses in Hollywood right now. She has a magnetic screen presence and provides the perfect way to pull the audience into the zany world of competitive a capella groups.
While most of the film is spent on comedy, there is a lot of music in Pitch Perfect and most of it is quite good. Especially later in the movie, when songs start getting mixed together and done in new ways, there are some great moments.
Ultimately, this is a mostly female cast, and a lot of the humor is more suited to a female audience. It’s also a very young movie, and one that likely won’t appeal to many people over the age of 30. That doesn’t mean guys won’t enjoy it, or that people over 30 won’t enjoy it, but the film knows its target audience and it sticks with humor in that vein.
Home video spotlight on:
THREE OUT OF FIVE STARS
This movie is rated R for strong bloody violence, language and drug use
Once there’s a bad version of a movie in the world, it’s hard to convince people to go see another version of that movie. While I may be a Sylvester Stallone super fan, even I have to admit that his 1995 movie Judge Dredd was among his worst ever. So when Dredd released in 2012, not a lot of people took notice. Which is a shame, as this is a much better version.
Based off a long running comic book, Dredd is set in the future where most of the world is a wasteland. Humanity has packed together in mega-cities that cover miles and miles and are home to hundreds of millions of people. The only law in these places are judges, who are basically gun toting action heroes with the permission to be judge, jury and executioner.
Dredd is among the best judges— he’s cold and calculating and very good at executing people. So when he (played by Karl Urban) and a rookie that is training with him (Olivia Thirlby) get sent to a high rise apartment building that is home to a new drug, the occupants declare all out war against Dredd.
This is where the film really shines, as it embraces the hardcore nature of the comic book and delivers hard hitting action sequence after hard hitting action sequence. It’s awesome watching Dredd move from level to level, dispatching thugs and gang bangers every step of the way, thanks in large part to the stylish manner in which the action is filmed.
The filmmakers use a lot of super slow motion effects during the action scenes. These are blended in smartly, and usually highlight particularly awesome moments as Dredd dispenses justice.
In the end, that’s about all there is to this movie. The plot doesn’t contain any real depth, nor do the characters. Dredd is a machine, and the only setting he has is “kill all the bad guys.” You get some more human moments from his rookie partner, but for the most part this is just one long action sequence.
Top 10 movies with great chase scenes