Pitch Perfect 2 review

Director:
Elizabeth Banks
Cast:
Anna Kendrick
Rebel Wilson
Keegan-Michael Key
Brittany Snow
Hailee Steinfeld
Adam DeVine
Rated: PG-13

In “Pitch Perfect 2,” the three time defending acapella national champion Barden University Bellas are riding high. Led by Beca (Kendrick) and Fat Amy (Wilson), now seniors, everything seems set up for more greatness for the group.

That all changes after a completely humiliating performance in front of the United States President which results in the Bellas being suspended from competition. To regain their status, the team enters an international competition, bringing along freshman newcomer Emily (Steinfeld), with the hope of winning a world title.

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Whiplash review

Director:
Damien Chazelle
Cast:
Miles Teller
J.K. Simmons
Paul Reiser
Rated: R

Miles Teller plays Andrew in “Whiplash,” a young college student with aspirations of being a highly successful musician, more specifically, a great drummer. Opportunity eventually comes knocking when he is brought into a skilled jazz band taught by a man named Fletcher (Simmons).

Andrew soon finds out, though, that Fletcher is one of the toughest instructors he has ever gone up against and it will take all of his will power and talent to meet the massive expectations placed upon him as a member of the band.

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Into the Woods review

Director:
Rob Marshall
Cast:
Anna Kendrick
Daniel Huttlestone
James Corden
Emily Blunt
Tracey Ullman
Meryl Streep
Rated: PG

Based on a Broadway musical of the same name, “Into the Woods” is a crossover of sorts which features characters from the stories of Cinderella (Kendrick), Jack (Huttlestone) and the Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood (Crawford) and Repunzel (Mackenzie Mauzy). The stories are all brought together by a couple, the Baker (Corden) and the Baker’s Wife (Blunt), who are trying to lift a curse that was set on them by the local Witch (Streep).

To do so, the couple needs to collect items from all of the famous fairy tales. The film tells the story from multiple angles and much of the plot is told through song.

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Get on Up review

Director:
Tate Taylor
Cast:
Chadwick Boseman
Nelsan Ellis
Dan Aykroyd
Viola Davis
Octavia Spencer
Rated: PG-13

The harsh upbringing and rise to stardom is explored in “Get on Up,” which chronicles the life and music of singer James Brown. The movie shows his life as a child growing up in Georgia, how he became a singer and his eventual decline.

The film also shows some of the hardships he had in his own family life.

“Get on Up” breaks away from a traditional format of story-telling, as the film goes back and forth between different stages of Brown’s life. This helps the movie to an extent, since it is at least an attempt to break away from the normal biopic style.

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Begin Again review

Director:
John Carney
Cast:
Mark Ruffalo
Hailee Steinfeld
Keira Knightley
Adam Levine
Rated: R

Mark Ruffalo plays a music producer down on his luck in “Begin Again” while Keira Knightley plays a musician who is going through a bad breakup. One night the two meet by chance and decide to try working together to produce an album. Through the collaboration, the two begin to remember what they enjoy about music and it allows them to find out how to move forward in their personal lives.

I was a bit worried in the first few minutes of “Begin Again,” since it looked like Ruffalo was going to play a stereotypical down on his luck type of guy who drinks too much. While his character certainly falls into some tropes, though, Ruffalo really sells an honesty in the character and his supporting cast helps raise the bar.

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REVIEW: ‘Jersey Boys’

Director:
Clint Eastwood
Cast:
Vincent Piazza
John Lloyd Young
Christopher Walken
Erich Bergen
Rated: R

Clint Eastwood returns to the director’s chair for “Jersey Boys,” a film adaption of a stage play that follows the career of the band, the Four Seasons. The film explores the groups run ins with the law at earlier ages, how they got started, the drama that they went through and how they came up with their most famous hits.

Despite being a film about the whole band, though, the main focus is given to the lead vocalist, Frankie Valli, who was played by John Lloyd Young.

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Inside Llewyn Davis review

Director:
Ethan Coen
Joel Coen
Cast:
Oscar Isaac
Carey Mulligan
Justin Timberlake
John Goodman
Rated: R
Trailer

I can’t say that I’m the biggest folk music fan out there, but I wouldn’t mind having the soundtrack to this flick.

“Inside Llewyn Davis” is a film that explores the title character during a week of his life. Davis is a young folk singer living in New York City in the early 1960s and survives by playing at gigs and staying at the homes of his friends. At the same time, he continues to try and get his solo album produced and on shelves to make a living.

Throughout the film, Davis’ life is on full display. On top of his work in the music industry, the movie also examines his relationships, friendships, people he relies on and the overall circular life that he lives.

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Les Miserables review

Adapted from the 1862 novel written by Victor Hugo, “Les Miserables” follows the story of an ex-convict named Jean Valjean, played by Hugh Jackman, whom upon leaving prison tries changing his life and becoming a better man than he was before. He breaks parole though and because of this, the law-obsessed inspector Javert, played by Russell Crowe, goes to no ends throughout the movie to try and capture Valjean.

After getting his life back on track and avoiding Javert, Valjean meets a woman named Fantine, played by Anne Hathaway who has had to sell her body to support her young daughter, Cosette. Upon her death, Valjean makes a promise to protect Cosette and raise her as his own. The rest of the film is about his struggles of raising Cosette and an envisionment of France in the early 1800s.

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Pitch Perfect review

Director:
Jason Moore
Cast:
Anna Kendrick
Rebel Wilson
Brittany Snow
Skylar Astin
Rated: PG-13

Never imagined there could be a cappella battles but this movie proved me wrong.

“Pitch Perfect” is a comedy centering on a college music group called the Bellas, an all female a cappella group that is trying to win a championship. Anna Kendrick plays a freshman college student named Beca, whose main focus is being a DJ however she has the ability to sing real well too. This is discovered by the head of the Bellas, Aubrey, played by Anna Camp, who recruits Beca into the group.

The film’s plot takes place over the school year and shows the Bellas compete with their on-campus rival all male a cappella group the Treble Makers. Things become a little more complicated when Beca begins feeling a romantic connection with on of the new Treble Makers, Jesse played by Atin.

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