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Elizabeth Banks

Pitch Perfect

Pitch Perfect moves the kind of kids we see on Glee into college and focuses them on competitive cappella singing. Then it kicks up the humor and drama by adding sufficient crudity-with-a-heart to just barely avoid an R-rating and combining that with inventive arrangements of contemporary (and not so contemporary) hits.

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Grade: B+

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People Like Us

Alex Kurtzman’s debut as a film director (he’s co-written Transformers, Star Trek, ten episodes of Alias), People Like Us, is inspired by true events. It’s the story of an ambitious hustler working in ‘barter, the original money’ who learns a shocking truth after a very bad day.

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Grade: B+

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  Like Us!

The official synopsis of People Like Us  reads:

From DreamWorks Pictures comes People Like Us, a drama/comedy about family, inspired by true events, starring Chris Pine (Star Trek) as Sam, a twenty-something, fast-talking salesman, whose latest deal collapses on the day he learns that his father has suddenly died. Against his wishes, Sam is called home, where he must put his father’s estate in order and reconnect with his estranged family. In the course of fulfilling his father’s last wishes, Sam uncovers a startling secret that turns his entire world upside down: He has a 30-year-old sister Frankie whom he never knew about (Elizabeth Banks). As their relationship develops, Sam is forced to rethink everything he thought he knew about his family – and re-examine his own life choices in the process.

The film also stars Olivia Wilde, Michael Hall D’Addario, Philip Baker Hall, Mark Duplass and Michelle Pfeiffer.

From these clips (above and below the jump) it would seem that it’s given to understatement. People Like Us opens on June 29th and looks like it should do well as counterprogramming for those suffering burnout from the usual deluge of summer blockbusters.

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As I was scouting through the interwebs looking for something to post on here, I came across the trailer for “The Next Three Days“. The film will star Russell Crowe as John Brennan, Elizabeth Banks as Laura, Brian Dennehy as George Brennan, Olivia Wilde as Nicole, and Liam Nesson as Damon. There isn’t much information on the film but currently the plot is this according to IMDB: “A married couple’s life is turned upside down when the wife is accused of a murder.” For me personally, it’s been three years since I’ve seen a Russell Crowe movie and that was American Gangster. This movie looks like a film worth seeing. “The Next Three Days” is directed by Paul Haggis (“In The Valley Of Elah”, “Crash”) and produced by Olivier Delbosc, Marc Missonnier, Michael Nozik, and Paul Haggis. The film will be released November 19, 2010 by Lionsgate. Check out the trailer below and feel free to give us your thoughts on the upcoming film:

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Now that I’ve had time to recover from the 2008 World Fantasy Convention, I find I’ve needed to get a bit caught up on the movie front. Both Zack & Miri and Rachel Gets Married are faring poorly at the box office and that’s a shame.

Zack & Miri Make a Porno

Zack & Miri Make a Porno is Kevin Smith’s latest film and is about best friends who are a hair’s breadth from being out on the street. Zack [Seth Rogen] seizes an idea from something Miri [Elizabeth Banks] says – even though she was saying it was something they shouldn’t do – and decides they should go for it. The pair decide that they shouldn’t let their moment of sex on camera change things between them, but of course it does.

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Kevin Smith’s script is sharp, concise and combines the sweet and the gross in ways that remind us that he was doing films like this long before Judd Apatow became famous doing similarly themed material. Besides coming up with what seems like it just might be the ultimate poop joke, Smith mines real emotion and, yes, a sweetness that contrasts nicely with balances the film’s over the top material. It’s a good movie. Go see it [stay through the credits – you’ll be glad you did].

Final Grade: B+

Rachel Gets Married

Jonathan Demme returns with a film that returns Kim [Anne Hathaway] to the bosom of her family on the eve of her sister, Rachel’s [Rosemarie DeWitt] wedding. Kim is just out of rehab and her presence is unsettling for everyone, as there layers of pain and dysfunction to be revealed over the next few days. Those levels are so deep that the marriage of Caucasian Rachel to African-American Sidney isn’t even an issue.

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Jenny Lumet’s script is solid, but – outside of Kim, at least – pretty low-key. One of the reasons that the film works is that the casting is excellent, especially Debra Winger as the sisters’ mother. Another is that the film often veers in unexpected, but real ways – as with the dishwasher competition between Sidney and his soon-to-be father-in-law [Bill Irwin]. Despite having the deepest emotional reaches to plumb, Hathaway’s [who really does deserve an Oscar® nomination] Kim is the glue that holds the film together, rather than the big scene stealer.

How cool is this movie? Robyn Hitchcock plays at the reception! ‘Nuff said.

Final Grade: A-

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Definitely, Maybe Review EclipseMagazine.com Movies 

Definitely, Maybe is a smart, witty, genuinely funny romantic comedy with intelligent plotting, real conversations and not one, but two happy endings – though not necessarily the kind of happy endings that you find in the usual Hollywood romcom.

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