I believe my esteemed colleague Mark Lisanti was the first person I heard refer to Pitch Perfect as Sing It On, which is at once an apt endorsement and an apt dismissal. Pitch Perfect is a well-executed, likable, and entertaining (unofficial) reboot of the 2000 film Bring It On, with a cappella choral performances in place of cheerleading. And I get it: If you’re going to steal, you might as well steal from the best. The problem is that Bring It On is actually perfect, so as a ripoff, Pitch Perfect is merely a very good facsimile that will probably just make you want to watch Bring It On again.
30 Rock and New Girl writer Kay Cannon wrote the screenplay for Pitch Perfect, so there are lots of goofy jokes along the way that may remind you of either of those shows. Annas Kendrick and Camp star, and since we’ve already seen them playing real grown-ups — the former as a hot shot HR executive in Up in the Air, and the latter as a stay-at-home mom in her 30s on The Mindy Project — it’s not quite believable to see them playing college students here (particularly Kendrick, who’s supposed to be a freshman). But despite its deficits, Pitch Perfect is still worth seeing, if for no other reason than for its many a cappella renditions of recent pop hits to knock “I Dreamed a Dream” out of your head, where it’s been since you saw Les Misérables last week.
New and Notable
Once you get past the weird facial prosthetics that are supposed to make Joseph Gordon-Levitt look more like Bruce Willis, who’s playing JG-L’s character when he’s old, you will enjoy this legitimately suspenseful addition to the time-travel hit-man genre.
Tracey Letts adapted his own play about a hit man (Matthew McConaughey) who does not travel through time.
I hear this remake of Paul Verhoeven’s amazing original doesn’t include Quato. Therefore, I am not interested.
Trouble With the Curve
Clint Eastwood stretches mightily to play an angry old coot making life miserable for everyone who knows him.
Fun fact: This well-regarded Joseph Gordon-Levitt–starring bike messenger thriller was filmed around my old apartment on the Upper West Side. I might still be too nostalgic to see it.
Now that co-stars Bradley Cooper and Zoë Saldana have broken up in real life, you can watch their last collaboration and see if you can figure out where it all went wrong.
David Cronenberg made this adaptation of Don DeLillo’s novel; Robert Pattinson continues his quest to find roles as far as possible from Twilight, this time as an asset manager who basically lives in his limo.
Ice Age: Continental Drift
The Ice Age isn’t over yet? The historical accuracy of this franchise is highly suspect.
Thief Nicolas Cage gets out of prison, and then his old partner Josh Lucas kidnaps Cage’s daughter and holds her for ransom, forcing Cage to pull off one more heist to get her back, in the sort of movie that would be better with Liam Neeson in the lead.
Sure, old friends getting together for their 10-year reunion sounds like a hack premise — and it is — but this movie stars Channing Tatum, Jenna Dewan-Tatum (as a couple!), Rosario Dawson, Max Minghella, Oscar Isaac, Ron Livingston, Aubrey Plaza, Justin Long, Anthony Mackie, and Ari Graynor, so maybe it’s worth a shot.
Resident Evil: Retribution
Milla Jovovich fights zombies, some more.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid 3: Dog Days
In the latest installment of the truly charming franchise (I’ve seen all the movies and I … do not have kids), Greg (Zachary Gordon) endures summertime-specific humiliations.
Hello I Must Be Going
Melanie Lynskey plays a depressive thirtysomething who embarks upon an affair with a hot 19-year-old actor. What could go wrong?
Juno Temple and Danielle Panabaker play friends who ditch their Salton Sea home for L.A., and find that the change of location doesn’t solve all their problems.
The Other Dream Team
This documentary tells the story of Lithuanian basketball, and the changes wrought in the sport after the former republic gained its independence from the USSR.
Found-footage horror, set in an old crazy house.
Opportunistic Backlist Revival Theme of the Week: QT
In honor of Django Unchained comes a collection of films Quentin Tarantino has directed, written, or acted in, including Inglourious Basterds, both halves of Kill Bill, Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Grindhouse, From Dusk Till Dawn, and one of my favorites: the underrated Jackie Brown.
“In Theaters” VOD Picks
All Superheroes Must Die
A real-world superhero movie in the spirit of Kick-Ass, except … real dark.
Found-footage horror, Aussie-style.
Early VOD Premiere of the Week
Struck by Lightning
Glee star Chris Colfer wrote and stars in the story of an ambitious but obstructed high school journalist.
John Dies at the End
Paul Giamatti co-stars in this story of a hallucinogenic drug (or is it?) that makes people see weird stuff that isn’t there (or is it?).
The Sorceror and the White Snake
Jet Li fights demons and snake ladies and stuff.
After the Wizard
If you can’t wait for Oz: The Great and Powerful to violate the legacy of L. Frank Baum, this junky kid’s movie may tide you over.