Posts Tagged ‘Christina Aguilera’

The Beautiful Barden Bellas

Pitch Perfect 2

pitch_perfect_two_ver3

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.

pitch_perfect_two

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.

 

Divas, Pearls and Persistence

***Burlesque***

The fabulous poster for Burlesque is divided between Cher and Christina Aguilera. So the question remains can two divas like Cher and Christina share the same stage without the pearls flying?

Stars are legendary

In their collaborative film, Burlesque, a perfect dance drama filled with enough vanity, glitter and eye candy all set in the city of Angels, shows that while Christina can sing and boy she can sing, Cher can still hold her own in the acting stakes. After all Cher did win an Oscar for Moonstruck, as did Liza Minelli for Cabaret.

Life is a Cabaret

Christina plays Alice who escapes a dreary Iowa town to fulfil her dream of becoming a dancer and stumbles upon the Burlesque nightclub on Sunset Boulevard, the strip in Hollywood. Cher is the no nonsense club owner Tess who controls the rowdy dancers, who are wanna-be Vegas showgirls and runs a raucous establishment  which seems to be forever beset by the approaching gloom of foreclosure and greedy real estate developers. Burlesque draws very much from Bob Fosse’s Cabaret and supplants Nazi Berlin, with a celebrity-obsessed 21st century Los Angeles, which was once the home of classic Hollywood of the 40s and 50s, a style that the filmBurlesque is aiming to eternalize.

Burlesque’s storyline is nothing new, but who cares? Audiences will be seeing this film for the fantastic costumes, the brilliant singing by Christina and Cher, the racy dancing, Cam Gigandet and of course the two main Diva’s if not sharing the spotlight, but rather making it sparkle deliciously.

Christina, miss poor Iowa girl soon becomes a Diva and eclipses the leading dancer, a sour yet vulnerable performance by Kristen Bell, and gives Cher a run for her money. Which is good. As dollars are what is needed for the Burlesque club to stay open. In the tradition of Cabaret, A Chorus Line, Moulin Rouge, Burlesque is as much about the dancing, the gorgeous costumes including a dress made entirely of pearls, the makeup, Louis Vuitton shoes which sparkle all adding to the best line in the film, said by Sean, played by the irrepressible Stanley Tucci, in a similar bitchy vein to The Devil Wears Prada supporting role, as stage manager when he says to Alice  “Welcome to Wonderland” after she becomes a Burlesque dancer.

If viewers love outlandish dance films, watch Burlesque, writer and director Steve Antin’s timing is impeccable in splicing the raunchy dance numbers with the characters dialogue, particularly an hilarious number performed by Alan Cumming as the Maitre’d Alexis with a Banana, cut with a flirting repartee between Alice and Marcus, played Grey’s Anatomy’s McSteamy, Eric Dane. Burlesque is about idealists fulfilling their dreams and Diva’s remaining persistent in holding onto that glitter-tinged dream right to the spectacular closing number, all set against the Boulevard of Dreams, Sunset Boulevard.

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