Universal via Everett Collection
Somewhere inside of Pitch Perfect there exists the movie it wants to be. Buried beneath the scathing send-ups of the dreamer genre, there are actual dreamers. Ones we're charged to root for — after all, we are hinged to their story about "making it to regionals," or whatever — but that we can't. Because the film itself refuses to do so. At once, it's a celebration of the socially disbarred and a satire of all the sugar-coated entertainment that has been devoted to it... okay, mostly Glee. And while this marriage isn't necessarily doomed, too often does Pitch Perfect find itself torn between asking us to root for its heroes and asking us to laugh at its victims (the same people). We can't say for sure whether something was lost in translation from script to screen, or of Kay Cannon's original screenplay was laden with the troubles we find on the screen, but we're hoping that the upcoming sequel's new director, actress Elizabeth Banks, can figure out her animal better than first installment helmer Jason Moore could.
In order to do so, she'll have to know when the movie need to stop laughing at these people. And here's a good indicator: if it is laughing at them for being fat or gay, you've probably taken a wrong turn.
The film offers glimpses of its potential — loner Anna Kendrick identifying Brittany Snow's shared familiarity with David Guetta's "Titanium" as awe-inspiring (one of the film's better attempts at tackling a genre staple) — but undoes its own mission when it turns the trope battering in on its characters. Pitch Perfect sets up its underdog a capella clique as a group of eccentrics with whom we're supposed to relate: genuine talents unappreciated due to weight, race, sexual orientation, and a laundry list of personality defects. But just when you think the movie is on their side, it jumps right on in, poking fun at Rebel Wilson's character for her size and Ester Dean's for her homosexuality. And one might spout the defense, "But these girls are making fun of themselves!" Well, that's the problem. They think they have to.
Wilson's breakout character goes by "Fat Amy," underlining her self-assigned moniker with the rationale, "So twig b**ches like you [she's talking to Anna Camp] don't do it behind my back." Therein lies the film's defeat. It thinks that these girls have no shot at dignity, so they have to succumb to self-parody. This is not simply embracing a sense of humor about yourself (a valuable characteristic) but becoming the joke that everybody says you are because you don't see any other choice. And Pitch Perfect doesn't just limit this fate to "Fat Amy," but to its excessively marginalized gay character, Cynthia Rose (Dean).
Universal via Everett Collection
The joke about Dean? The same joke that has been assigned to gay characters since before the days of Three's Company, and that still, by some grace of ungodly ignorance, works its way into network television and blockbuster cinema today. Her sexual orientation is her punchline. For the length of Pitch Perfect, we're offered "hints" that Cynthia Rose is attracted to women — the way she dresses and carries herself are brandished as lesbian stereotypes, and we even get a scene of her groping fellow a capella band member Stacie (Alexis Knapp) for good measure. And then, finally, concrete evidence: "When I broke up with my girlfriend..." followed by a de facto rimshot from Rebel Wilson.
Of course, Pitch Perfect was a hit, and this is owed to a very simple, very convenient allowance made by its story: the singing. Yes, these girls can sing. And when they get up on that stage at the end of the film and belt their heroic ballads, it's as if the film is saying, "See? We were behind them all along!" But giving stars like Wilson and Rose solos doesn't retroactively make Pitch Perfect's mean-spirited attitude about their identities "good natured ribbing." We were still asked to look at Fat Amy as a fat girl first, swelling with laughter at her inability to run, her propensity for falling down, and — most riotous of all — the inscrutable idea that she might consider herself sexy. You can endorse this material all you like with defenses that Fat Amy and Wilson herself were on board with the gags, but the simple fact that the one overweight young woman in this movie feels no other course than to dominate her screen time with fat jokes is unforgivable. Some would call it wise advice to garnish an embarrassing faux-pas with some self-effacing humor; this is not how heavy people should made to be felt about the way they look.
In earnest, there's optimism attached to Banks' ascension into the director's chair. Although she has never handled a feature on her own, her comic sensibilities as an actress, and as a woman, might be more conducive to a little bit of respect for the young ladies at the center of this story. We can hope, anyway — with a wealth of talent in stars like Kendrick, Wilson, Dean, Camp, Snow, and the rest, and in a writer like Cannon, there's too much good to let the end product wind up so misguided.
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British singer-turned-TV personality Kerry Katona is pregnant with her fifth child. The Atomic Kitten star is expecting her first child with her fiance George Kay, who she became engaged to in April (13).
Katona shared her happy news with U.K. talk show host Alan Titchmarsh in an interview due to air on Thursday (12Sep13).
She announced, "We're just found out we're having a baby - I'm three months pregnant. I have food and a baby in my belly, the best friends in the world, a great job and I'm a very lucky girl. I'm very grateful."
The 33 year old is already mum to daughters Molly, 11, and 10-year-old Lilly-Sue with her first husband, singer Brian McFadden, as well as a Heidi, six, and Max, five, with her second husband, Mark Croft.
The new arrival will be personal trainer Kay's first child.
Actress Piper Perabo is engaged to wed her director/producer Stephen Kay, according to U.S. reports. Kay, who works on Perabo's TV action drama Covert Affairs, recently asked the Coyote Ugly star to marry him - and she said yes, according to People.com.
A source says, "They're very happy."
After Dark Films
It seems a bit odd to take on a movie review of Courtney Solomon's Getaway, as only in the loosest terms is Getaway actually a movie. We begin without questions — other than a vague and frustrating "What the hell is going on?" — and end without answers, watching Ethan Hawke drive his car into things (and people) for the hour and a half in between. We learn very little along the way, probed to engage in the mystery of the journey. But we don't, because there's no reason to.
There's not a single reason to wonder about any of the things that happen to Hawke's former racecar driver/reformed criminal — forced to carry out a series of felonious commands by a mysterious stranger who is holding his wife hostage — because there doesn't seem to be a single ounce of thought poured into him beyond what he see. We learn, via exposition delivered by him to gun-toting computer whiz Selena Gomez, that he "did some bad things" before meeting the love of his life and deciding to put that all behind him. Then, we stop learning. We stop thinking. We start crashing into police cars and Christmas trees and power plants.
Why is Selena Gomez along for the ride? Well, the beginnings of her involvement are defensible: Hawke is carrying out his slew of vehicular crimes in a stolen car. It's her car. And she's on a rampage to get it back. But unaware of what she's getting herself into, Gomez confronts an idling Hawke with a gun, is yanked into the automobile, and forced to sit shotgun while the rest of the driver's "assignments" are carried out. But her willingness to stick by Hawke after hearing his story is ludicrous. Their immediate bickering falls closer to catty sexual tension than it does to genuine derision and fear (you know, the sort of feelings you'd have for someone who held you up or forced you into accessorizing a buffet of life-threatening crimes).
After Dark Films
The "gradual" reversal of their relationship is treated like something we should root for. But with so little meat packed into either character, the interwoven scenes of Hawke and Gomez warming up to each other and becoming a team in the quest to save the former's wife serve more than anything else as a breather from all the grotesque, impatient, deliberately unappealing scenes of city wreckage.
And as far as consolidating the mystery, the film isn't interested in that either, as evidenced by its final moments. Instead of pressing focus on the answers to whatever questions we may have, the movie's ultimate reveal is so weak, unsubstantial, and entirely disconnected to the story entirely, that it seems almost offensive to whatever semblance of a film might exist here to go out on this note. Offensive to the idea of film and story in general, as a matter of fact. But Getaway isn't concerned with these notions. Not with story, character, logic, or humanity. It just wants to show us a bunch of car crashes and explosions. So you'd think it might have at least made those look a little better.
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Patricia Cornwell's iconic crime-fighting character Kay Scarpetta is a step closer to making her big screen debut after the author signed a new publishing deal. The American crime writer has spent several years working on a movie version of her bestselling books, with Angelina Jolie tapped to play the series' medical examiner protagonist.
The plans were put on hold while Cornwell worked out a new deal with a publishing house, and it has now been announced she will move to HarperCollins after several years at rival Penguin.
The $10 million (£6.6 million), two-book deal will coincide with production on the the first Scarpetta film via movie studio Fox 2000, a sister company of HarperCollins.
Elizabeth Gabler, president of Fox 2000, says, "(It is) one of our (the studio's) greatest priorities is to begin production on the film as soon as possible."
Jolie put herself forward for the lead role in 2009 and has remained keen to play the steely doctor onscreen, saying in 2011, "If all the other pieces... fit together to make sure everyone’s happy with it... it's looking hopeful."
The film's release is slated for 2015.
Britney Spears' ex-husband Kevin Federline is a married man again after exchanging vows with his longtime girlfriend. Federline wed the pop superstar in 2004 and fathered her two sons before their split two years later (06), and he has now put the union behind him by making his relationship with Victoria Prince official.
The couple married in Las Vegas on Saturday (10Aug13), according to E! News.
The former back-up dancer began dating Prince in 2008 and they are parents to one-year-old daughter Jordan Kay.
Beloved British actress Lynda Bellingham was hit hard by the recent death of her cancer-stricken pal Bernie Nolan, because she was facing the first stage of her own battle with the disease. Earlier this month (Jul13) the 65 year old revealed she was undergoing treatment for cancer, and news of her friend and former co-star's death on 4 July made the fight all the more poignant.
In a piece for Britain's Yours magazine, she writes, "When you hear the word cancer applied to yourself, you do initially think it's a death sentence - even though in my case it certainly isn't.
"And had I needed any reminder of how serious it can be, I woke up to face my first bout of chemotherapy discovering poor Bernie Nolan had died. I just felt so, so, sad, having worked with Bernie on (British TV drama) The Bill and (stage show) Calendar Girls.
"I admired her enormously for her bravery, honesty, and for being such a fantastic performer. A great role model for us all."
Bellingham, who has postponed her U.K. appearances in Kay Mellor's play A Passionate Woman to receive treatment, also heaps praise on the medical staff treating her, adding, "I know I am fantastically lucky to have a very quick diagnosis and to benefit from all the phenomenal cancer research going on. I am also surrounded by such a fantastic oncology team. I haven't met one nurse yet who is anything less than 100 per cent positive and it does rub off."
Nolan died after a long battle with breast cancer.
British actress Lynda Bellingham is refusing to despair over her recent cancer diagnosis, insisting she was more concerned about dropping out of a play. The 65-year-old was due to tour the U.K. as the star of Kay Mellor's play A Passionate Woman but has postponed her appearances to receive treatment.
She released a statement saying she was "devastated" to pull out of the national tour, but refused to divulge any further details of her condition.
Now she has spoken up about the diagnosis, revealing she will keep the type of cancer from which she's suffering a secret and will refuse to allow her upcoming chemotherapy sessions get her down.
The All Creatures Great and Small star tells Britain's Daily Mail, "You have no idea. I honestly minded more about having to pull out of the play than I did about the cancer itself.
"(After the cancer diagnosis) I sat down and it was then that he (the doctor) uttered the immortal words: 'Lynda Bellingham, you are not going to die.' I could have hugged him. It's the mantra I've since repeated every day to myself.
"I'm just not ready to share the intimate details of all of that at the moment. It's my body and nobody else's business. In months to come, I may change my mind... It's early days. It's been a lot to absorb and I'd like to hang on to something so private, something that remains mine and mine alone.
"There have been so many advances in the field of medicine in the last few decades. Two generations ago, for example, diabetes was a killer. Now, we understand more how to live with it and manage it. The same is true of lots of cancers. I certainly don't regard the course of chemo as being a hiding to nothing (hopeless).
"Nor am I in denial. I'm taking it seriously. I know I couldn't tour the country in a demanding play. But I've always been a positive person and I'm now putting myself first."
Beloved British actress Lynda Bellingham has been diagnosed with cancer. The 65-year-old was due to tour the U.K. as the star of Kay Mellor's play A Passionate Woman, but has postponed her appearances to receive treatment.
Bellingham, who is perhaps best known for her role as Helen Herriot in BBC drama All Creatures Great and Small, did not divulge any further details surrounding her condition.
A statement from the actress reads: "I'm devastated not to be able to honour my commitments to the play this year. But having toured many times before, I'm aware of the sheer stamina needed and I need to prioritise my recovery. That said, nothing's going to stop me coming back next year, and I can't wait to be 'a passionate woman'."
The tour of A Passionate Woman was scheduled to begin at the Sheffield Lyceum in September (13).
British singer Kerry Katona feels "ashamed and embarrassed" about her latest bankruptcy bid, according to her fiance. The Atomic Kitten filed her petition at Wigan County Court in England on 2 July (13), five years after her last bankruptcy drama, when she was left unable to pay a $133,300 (£86,000) tax bill.
Katona took to Twitter.com to declare, "Hold your head high and be proud, never be ashamed!" - but her fiance George Kay reveals the singer is "struggling" to cope with her latest financial crisis.
In an interview with Britain's Sunday Mirror, he says, "What Kerry's going through has hit her hard and I'm there for her. Her mind is always racing - thinking about 101 things.
"She can step outside the house and be all bright and bubbly. She puts on a brave face to take the kids to school, and for work. But what people see and how Kerry actually is are two different things. She's struggling. I can tell she's depressed because she curls up on the couch and falls asleep in the afternoon - she's very lethargic at home.
"When I go to bed she stays up watching the telly (TV) to try to switch off from all her thoughts. She feels ashamed and embarrassed of being bankrupt again. She'll eventually come to bed but then she's up again in the middle of the night. Four hours is a good night for Kerry but, at the moment, we're lucky if she's getting two."
Katona's young children are also rallying to boost their mother's spirits, with Kay adding, "When Kerry told the kids she was bankrupt our Lilly-Sue (the star's daughter by ex-husband Brian McFadden) took out all the money she's ever saved and said: 'You can have my £100 mummy'. It was heartbreaking. We both cried about it. But I say, 'Everything's going to be alright. We'll get through it.'"