The Morning After: Jul. 24, 2017

Welcome to The Morning After, where I share with you what movies I’ve seen over the past week. Below, you will find short reviews of those movies along with a star rating. Full length reviews may come at a later date.

So, here is what I watched this past week:

Pitch Perfect 2

I came into Pitch Perfect late and watched that film in anticipation of seeing Pitch Perfect 2 in theaters. That didn’t happen. So now, I’m catching up with Pitch Perfect 2 in hopes of catching the third film in theaters as well. This time, I may just do it.

I enjoyed the original film for its original concept and the general execution. The same positives can be equated to its sequel. After their killer success at the end of the first film, the Barden Bellas have found great success winning a total of three national titles, but all of that comes crashing down due to a wardrobe malfunction in front of the President of the United States. Stripped of their national tour slots by the formidable German team, Das Sound Machine, the Bellas use the occasion of the World Acapella Championships to reclaim their fame and fortunes.

Their group, on the verge of graduation, has begun to splinter and the young women must rebuild their team into their own superb force in order to claim the international title and accept the possibilities of their futures outside of their collegiate life. In the capable hands of these talented women including Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Brittany Snow, and newcomer Hailee Steinfeld, the film builds slowly to an epic acapella finale.

What makes the film pop most is the able direction of Elizabeth Banks who also returns to the commentators chair alongside John Michael Higgins who remain a strange, but perfect on-screen duo. Too bad she won’t be at the helm of the impending third film.

Baby Driver

Edgar Wright’s 78-minute debut feature, A Fistful of Fingers isn’t available, but the rest of his filmography is. I had never been interested in his Cornetto trilogy, so my first entry in his filmography was the delightful Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, a bizarre adaptation that was incredibly fun and visually amazing. I’ve since seen Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and The World’s End, all of which showcase a major cinematic talent. So, going into Baby Driver, you have to expect the best and it largely delivers.

Starring Ansel Elgort as Baby, a wheelman for heist ringleader Doc (Kevin Spacey) who sends him on jobs with the likes of Joe Berenthal, Jon Hamm, Eiza Gonzlez, Flea, Lanny Joon, and Jamie Foxx. His obligation to Doc is explored throughout the film, but there is a certain father-son connection to be had between them. When he falls in love for a young waitress named Debora (Lily James), everything begins to unravel.

In the first few minutes of the film, the tone is set in motion. While Elgort seems a bit annoying in these moments, everything falls into place with the first chase sequence of the film, one highlighted in the film’s tantalizing trailer. Although it isn’t as high octane as the Fast & Furious films, there’s a thrilling spectacle at play here that is bolstered by the compelling plot and the generally likable characters, many of them vainglorious killers, but nevertheless human (Foxx excepted).

At this point, I would follow Wright’s career until its conclusion. I just hope he can maintain the creative and visionary control he’s had so far and avoid falling in line with the corporate theatrical machine.

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