ANDREW COLLINS: FILM OF THE DAY Pitch Perfect★★★ 9.00-11.10pm C4
A big enough hit to earn a sequel, Pitch Perfect 2 (which was a big enough hit last year to earn a threequel, due late next year), this is essentially a feature-length Glee for a cappella, based on a non-fiction account of collegiate competitive singing. Its other driving force is that it’s about an all-female, all-shapes, all-sizes, all-ethnicities group, the Barden Bellas, played by a lively, big-voiced ensemble cast including Anna Kendrick (since anointed as a musical star in Into the Woods), Anna Camp, Brittany Snow and ruthless scene-stealer Rebel Wilson. As with Glee, they’re the underdogs, with performing nemeses – the all-male Treblemakers, led by Adam DeVine (from TV’s Modern Family) – who compete in regionals and nationals. Directed by theatre-schooled Jason Moore, it’s an undemanding, empowering, mid-octane frat-pack-style romp with romance and hip-hop thrown in. Producer Elizabeth Banks (who directs the sequel) is on top freewheeling form as a commentator alongside John Michael Higgins (A Mighty Wind).
Animated fantasy based on the books by Kathryn Lasky in which owl brothers are kidnapped by an evil owl army and seek help from a mythical group known as The Guardians. Director Zack Snyder takes it all very seriously, but it looks stunning and he’s well served by a voice cast including Helen Mirren, Geoffrey Rush and Jim Sturgess.
Anthony Hopkins is on fine form here as a stern father raising his sons (Brad Pitt, Aidan Quinn and Henry Thomas) on a remote ranch. But their life is thrown out of kilter by history and the arrival of a beautiful woman (Julia Ormond). Performances are outstanding, but the the real star is the spectacular Montana countryside.
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