Saturday, 12 January 2013

234, Parental Guidance

There is always something scary about going to see a 'U' Rated movie that's not a cartoon. 

Normally they are total wastes of space B movies that somehow made it onto the big screen and seemingly with no focused audience - any ones welcome.  Due to this they are normally full of unfunny jokes, lame plot lines and predictable endings so when Billy Crystal (Oscars Legend) and Bet Midler (old female singer) paired up for a movie alongside the always sublime Marissa Tomei I wondered what the hell Hollywood had prepared for me this time around.

Well, If I ever wanted to feel old - this is the movie for me (I'll come back to why, later on).  Basically, this film is about a modern day couple who on the outset are living the American Dream in a 'hi-tec' Eco prototype house, designed by hubby (Tom Everett Scott) who for his endeavours is about to receive an award for the years best invention (the digital house) so with the chance of a week away (in corporate bliss!) it becomes apparant they have no choice but to get the folks in to babysit the kids. 

Crystal and Midler play the 'other' Grandparents - 'her' folks who are the out of towners and always too busy to keep in touch - not that they don't want too, just life's too busy!.  Well, on this time of asking it turns out that Crystal has just got the sack from his job as a Baseball commentator from the local league side (which he loved!) and with nothing else to do (and the hands on grandparents out of town) our inexperienced and aged twosome have to man-up and take charge of three little cherubs who don't do sugar, love tofu and need councillors for speech therapy.  Recipe for disaster!

Firstly lets talk kids - all are brilliant - you will shed a tear at the end in awe of the achievement of the eldest boy and the youngest tugs on every heart string you have - the 'going-on' teenage daughter is reminiscent of every young girl in today's world so imagine the carnage when two ill equipped grand parents end up in charge for 7 days.

Roll on a barrage of old school parenting tips that just don't seem to cut it in the modern world and you find yourself chuckling along to Billy Crystals random take on a life where discipline seems to have been thrown out of the window and instead we have a deep and meaningful movie about how potentially not to being up kids and the problems in believing in modern methods.

And its here that I apologise for having my moment.

Forget the movie - its dull.  Yes, its an American 'suit all' premise with family friendly gags and a real sense of duty among those who go and see it but for me (and I refer back to 'feeling old' comment) I have to agree with the 64 year old Billy Crystal's character (Artie) who throughout the entire movie fails to familiarise himself with a speech therapist who doesn't use speech, a Baseball league that doesn't allow winners and a bully who we're not allowed to say Boo! too.

This movie is transparent to modern day life itself - for those of you who have somehow come to the realisation that allowing your own offspring to get away with murder (almost), in a culture where smacking is outlawed (debatable) but most importantly - in a world where kids have zero concept of the world outside the You Tube perception that an on-line and potically correct life is adequate need to take long hard look at themselves.

Billy Crystal - I Salute you! Bet Midler, as a pole dancing nanny - you get my vote.  Old folks rule! If you're taking life too seriously - go and see this movie.  For me - well, me and my family are off to the park for some of that old fashioned thing called - Fresh Air!

Go do the same. Rant over - enjoy the movie!

Friday, 4 January 2013

233, Pitch Perfect

There is no way on Gods green earth, in any circumstance - regardless of alternative opinion and factually without question, am I not now, nor ever have been or in any doubt of ever becoming a Gleek! i.e Fan of the American Smash hit - Glee.  (That said - the episode in season 1 with the football team reinacting Beyonce's Single Ladies is well worth  a view on you tube) but apart from that, its just not my bag.

So - with that said, a movie about acapella singing in an American college with competitions and prizes and BFF''s did make me wonder about my ethics when I found myself chuckling along to the Trailer for Pitch Perfect

There is no denying that anyone else who has seen this 3 minute piece preceding most movies since November would have found themselves toe tapping along to some over familiar pop songs and like me, laughing out loud at the 'Fat Amy' line so brilliantly written for Rebel Wilson, star of Bridesmaids & A Few Best Men.  Throw in a Twilight star (Anna Kendrick) as the leading lady along with a host of hunnies from movies ranging from Hairspray to Wrestle mania and you end up with on paper looks like the worlds greatest chick flick,

But you'd be wrong.

As a heterosexual male (albeit the wrong side of 35) I thoroughly enjoyed this movie from start to finish - it takes Glee, mixes it with X-Factor, throws in a bit of So You Think you can Dance along with a slice of BGT, then - manages to mix some Hollywood glamour, a few thumping tunes in an epic soundtrack and before you know it you have a completely adorable movie that is one of the best feel good films of recent times.

And its not just the girls that Rock! - let me explain.

This movie charts the 1st year voyage through college for freshman Beca (Kendrick).  A loner with a passion for remixing recent tracks with older classics on her well advertised Mac Book Pro.  Not keen to interact with others she finds herself auditioning (brilliantly) for the Bella's, a group of all female acapella singers only comparable (in truth) to a modern version of the Flying Pickets. 

They square off annually to the competing male group the TrebleMakers (great names) who although lead by a total dumb ass - manage to completely rock the stage at every turn.  After a dismal performance in the 2011 finals its time for our intrepid clan of vocal beauties to reform & re-educate those used to a dated routine and with the help of mix master Beca - rejuvenate an old idea to reinvent themselves and come out champions in the 2012 finals.

I cant say a bad word about this movie.  The love story is well written between Beca and lead male vocalist Jesse (Skylar Astin) and the collation of a fantastic group of female singers will knock your socks off with Fat Amy (Wilson) again, singled out as a stand out performance although she doesn't get ALL the laughs this time around. 

For the astute hearing among you, listen out for she sheepishly quiet but utterly hilarious quotes from the softly spoken Lilly (Hana Mae Lee) which if you aren't paying attention you will miss and completely lose out on some of the most random lines ever perceived in movie history.

The story builds through regionals at the same time as back stories develop including the relationship on campus between Beca and her slightly rude roommate Kimmi Jin, Jesse and his even weirder (yet vocally brilliant) Star Wars junkie roomie Benji and the most Apple product placement seen on screen since Volvo secured the Twilight franchise.

I would almost guarantee that this movie wont disappoint anyone who takes the time to give it a chance - the remixes are awesome - the vocals are stunning and the brilliantly cast competition compares (Elizabeth Banks & John Michael Higgins) are as hilariously brilliant as you could ever expect.

We took our daughter to this (9) thinking it was a kiddie based movie but it wasn't - although its a 12A so there were a few excusable swears staggered throughout and a modest shower scene (nothing on show) but it was enough to make us feel a little awkward - luckily, there is much more emphasis on the singing and competition so in our mind - it was an acceptable compromise.

I wont go on any more - a great story, fast paced & bouncy with some of the best singing you will see at the cinema - with a 'beats' styled backing track that will make the best DJ's reconsider their own set lists this is a real heartwarming movie that will have you clapping and whooping along before you know what you're doing.  Enjoy!