Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Pitch Perfect 2 (Rhoades)

Front Row at the Movies

“Pitch Perfect 2” Makes Beautiful Music At Box Office

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

A Cappella is Italian for “in the manner of the church.” It means singing without musical accompaniment. While it had religious origins, we usually associate it with that under-the-boardwalk
or street-corner Jersey Boys singing of the ‘50s and ‘60s. But in addition to doo-wop and groups like The Four Freshmen, this musical style includes barbershop quartets and modern beatboxers.

Interestingly enough, a cappella competitions have sprung up on college campuses. Yale’s Whiffenpoofs are a good example. Mickey Rapkin wrote a book about these collegiate singing groups, “Pitch Perfect: The Quest for Collegiate A Cappella Glory.” It inspired a 2012 movie titled “Pitch Perfect.”

Starring Anna Kendrick and an ensemble cast, the movie recounted the adventures of The Bellas, an all-female singing group at fictional Barden College. They take the national championship thanks to the tradition-breaking arrangements by spunky freshman Beca Mitchell (Kendrick).

A sleeper hit, “Pitch Perfect” earned over $115 million worldwide, making it the second highest grossing musical comedy. That called for a sequel, of course.

Ergo: “Pitch Perfect 2” is currently making beautiful music at the Tropic Cinema.

Again starring Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Brittany Snow, Ester Dean, et al., “Pitch Perfect 2” re-focuses on Barden’s Bellas. This time around Beca must lead her a cappella group to victory in the world competition … or be banned from performing because of a blunder Fat Amy (Wilson) makes at President Obama’s birthday party.

You will recall Anna Kendrick from “Up in the Air,” “The Twilight Saga,” and more recently as Cinderella in “Into the Woods.” A girl-next-door actress with a good singing voice, she’s the main ingredient in “Pitch Perfect,” 1 and 2.

This second outing tosses in a new Bellas member, Emily Junk (Hailee Steinfeld). Headstrong, Emily doesn’t help matters by trying to introduce her own songs into the group’s playlist.

Then the movie mixes in some real celebs like Snoop Dogg, the cast of TV’s The Voice, assorted Green Bay Packers, and the film’s director-producer actress Elizabeth Banks (“Spider-Man,” “The Hunger Games”).

It’s a winning formula. “Pitch Perfect 2” grossed over $249 million in its first five days, making it now the highest grossing musical comedy film ever.

Now that’s beautiful music.

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