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Pitch Perfect

Pitch Perfect

The Impossible, Life Of Pi, Quartet


January 2013

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Pitch Perfect
Anna Kendrick, Skylar Astin, Rebel Wilson
Like Bridesmaids but want more La Roux/Ace of Base mash-ups? Like Glee but want less hugging and learning? Cue the fizz-pop joybomb that is Pitch Perfect, the latest product of the Yanks’ ongoing fascination with choir competitions – and by far the funniest. Dusting off the vocal skills she showed off in 2003’s Camp, Kendrick finally gets the lead role she deserves as Beca, a too-cool-for-college freshman reluctantly roped into The Bellas, her uni’s hopelessly outmoded all-girl a-cappella group. Meanwhile, The Bellas are locked in choral combat with their savvier male counterparts The Treble Makers, whose newest recruit Jesse (the eminently crushworthy Skylar Astin) only has eyes for Beca. The stars (including riotous Aussie breakout Rebel Wilson) are adorable, the inspired soundtrack ranges from Sia to Simple Minds, and the script successfully introduces the prefix ‘aca’ to our vocabulary – as in ‘aca-awesome’, which this film certainly is.

The Impossible
Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor, Tom Holland
While there’s something perverse about releasing a film about the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami in the exact same week it happened eight years on, there’s no denying the intense, visceral authenticity of Spanish director Juan Antonio Bayona’s survival saga, which traces the true story of one family’s efforts to find each other in the aftermath. Watts and McGregor are terrific as the separated parents, but the true star is Bayona’s unflinchingly brutal recreation of this horrific natural disaster.

Life Of Pi
Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, Rafe Spall
Film distributors must think we’re gluttons for punishment over the holidays because here comes another devastating tale of survival, this one about an Indian boy (Sharma) lost on the Pacific in a lifeboat with only a Bengal tiger for company. Yes, you heard us: this magic-realist fantasy is based on Yann Martel’s hugely popular best-seller, and brought to imaginative life by Brokeback Mountain director Ang Lee. His pixel-power visuals are dazzling, Pi’s story of oceanic endurance riveting.

Maggie Smith, Billy Connolly, Michael Gambon
Confession time: we could happily watch Maggie Smith read takeaway menus and be entertained as she rolls those vowels with her usual camp relish. This sedate soft-soaper about ageing divas residing and squabbling in a retirement home for opera singers (based on Ronald Harwood’s play, directed by Dustin Hoffman) is comfort viewing of the highest order. Smith is flinty fun, Gambon steals the show as a drama-queen and opera freaks get their Verdi fix.
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