Archive for the ‘Elizabeth Banks’ Category

The Beautiful Barden Bellas

Pitch Perfect 2

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Director: Elizabeth Banks

Cast: Anna Kendrick, Hailee Steinfeld, Rebel Wilson, Elizabeth Banks, Brittany Snow, Anna Camp, Skylar Astin, Adam Levine, Christina Aguilera, Esther Dean, Hana Mae Lee, John Michael Higgins

As an actress I first noticed Elizabeth Banks in the hilarious and very risqué comedy Zach and Mary Make a Porno and then she went onto make a string of films including The Next 3 Days before being cast as the zany Effie Trinket in the Hunger Games Trilogy. Then Banks was cast as the hilarious announcer in Pitch Perfect so is perfectly suitable that she should take over as director for the highly anticipated and hilarious sequel.

It is wonderful to see so many female directors becoming prominent recently in Hollywood especially in an international film business which is predominantly populated by men. Cinema traditionally was accustomed to seeing film through the eyes of men. But recently all that is changing.

So it’s perfect that Elizabeth Banks become director of Pitch Perfect 2 which in essence is a film about girls, aimed at girls and directed by a woman.

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The girls in question are the Beautiful Barden Bella’s, a high school a cappella singing group which affords an opportunity for a variety of talented young actresses to be seen together on screen including Anna Kendrick Oscar nominee for Up in the Air, Australian comedian Rebel Wilson and newcomer to the Barden Bella’s, Oscar nominee Hailee Steinfeld who was so extraordinarily impressive in the Coen brothers version of True Grit.

Pitch Perfect 2 basically picks up where the first film left off and after a hilariously funny wardrobe malfunction curtsey of Fat Amy, played by Rebel Wilson occurs  unexpectedly at the Lincoln Centre in front of a distinguished audience including the US President and the First Lady, the Barden Bella’s are naturally banned from performing nationally or entering competitions as they have quite literally fallen into ill repute.

This film does not dwell on their misfortunes and soon the Barden Bella’s have to regroup and practice as they plan on entering the international a cappella championships in Copenhagen, Denmark.

So Banks as director, takes the audience on a self-parodying and satisfying journey of the Barden Bella’s as they attempt to reclaim their title and most importantly their dignity as well as highlighting many of the insecurities that young female school leavers face as they have to contend with choices about College, chauvinistic male bosses and a competitive workplace which is essentially still ruled by men. This is particularly highlighted in Beca experiences, (played by Anna Kendrick), as she attempts to secretly forge her own career as a music producer in a big Atlanta studio.

Hailee Steinfeld is superb and brings a certain vivaciousness to the Barden Bella’s but admittedly I could not help wondering what such a talented actress is doing in a film like Pitch Perfect 2 after seeing her in True Grit and Romeo and Juliet. Then it was her casting which is a stroke of genius as with Banks as director, she adeptly uses Steinfeld to showcase the rest of the Bella’s cast including Brittany Snow, Rebel Wilson and Alexis Knapp.

The fact that Pitch Perfect 2 did so phenomenally well at the Box Office during its opening weekend is testament to the growing realization that the young teenage female cinema going audience is not a demographic to be overlooked for Box Office success.

Let’s face it most summer blockbuster films like the upcoming Jurassic World and Terminator reboots are aimed at a purely male audience.

Elizabeth Banks does an admirable job of directing Pitch Perfect 2 making a reasonably light and often hilarious comedy sequel about a group of girls aiming for international fame. Watch out for some brilliant scenes with Rebel Wilson besides the infamous opening number and also for guest appearances by various celebrities including Rosie O’Donnell, Rosie Perez, Christina Aguilera and Adam Levine.

Pitch Perfect 2 is highly recommended viewing for a fun filled two hours in the cinema, not to be taken too seriously but to be enjoyed just enough so that Girl power in all its forms is a formidable force to be reckoned with. The songs are fabulous and I am sure even some of the guys will enjoy this hilarious and brilliant sequel. Hats off to Elizabeth Banks, as she scored a hit with the Beautiful Barden Bella’s.

 

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