The movie franchise Pitch Perfect, that debuted in 2012 has worked extremely well for several reasons. The first is that the two judges played by John Michael Higgins and Elizabeth Banks are very funny and they have great chemistry. The second reason is the singing and the music. The third reason is the music rift contests that have always been very good, especially in the second Pitch Perfect that was released in 2015. The fourth reason is the filler, or the part of the movie that is necessary for every screenwriter to make a movie 2 hours long. Unfortunately the 3rd and possibly last installment of Pitch Perfect failed big time because the filler part just did not work at all. To make this movie 2 hours, the screenwriters decided to insert a kidnapping and karate scene that not only did not work, it almost completely ruined the entire movie. Very clearly they just ran out of ideas and threw this in out of desperation because they were under the gun and needed another 30 minutes of screen time. I also thought that the other filler stories were much weaker than the other two movies and there was not enough music or great musical numbers in this 3rd installment.
The good news is that Anna Kendrick is still a great singer, exceptional enough to have a separate and even more successful singing career. Some of the characters still work, the one who you can barely hear talk, fat Amy and several of the other women who have now gone on after college and are very depressed with their lives and decide to reunite one last time for a USO tour. The movie starts out pretty well, but then goes into directions that did not work and then degrades into a kidnapping and karate movie. For these reasons I can only recommend this film for die hard Pitch Perfect fans.
The “Shape of Water” is another one of those movies that so desperately tries to be so different that it shoots too high and in my opinion forgets some important things about what is most essential when telling a good story; starting with, it has to make sense. The log line for this movie would mostly be, “A mute female custodian who works in a highly secure Government research facility in the 1950’s meets an falls in love with an alien lizard creature”. That sure is different, never been done before. But how can a custodian have total access to a highly secure Government research facility, so she would have the opportunity to fall in love with a giant lizard creature. Why would a human woman find a lizard creature attractive? One good thing about this movie is that the lizard creature costume and makeup and eyes were all extremely impressive. The acting was good, with Sally Hawkins as the mute girl, Octavia Spenser as her co-worker custodian friend and Micheal Shannon who was very good as the head of the Government facility. The ratings for this movie on Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB are both very high, for reasons that escape me. This movie was mostly just weird and I remember thinking was way too long and I could not wait for it all to end. For these reasons I cannot recommend this film.
There should be rules for remaking movies. The amount of time that has past since the original, the quality of the original and that goes both ways. For instance, nobody would ever be crazy enough to remake the Godfather, or Saving Private Ryan, but a movie that was good but not too great could be a good rule that Hollywood should follow. The original Jumanji that came out in 1996 was an OK movie, not that good, but just OK so I was pretty surprised that this movie was remade.
There have been several remakes of bad TV shows this year, Baywatch and Chips and were both very bad movies, and this is the first movie remake of 2017. The Rock, Dwayne Johnson teams again with Kevin Hart and this movie will remind everyone of movies that both have done in the past. There is nothing special here, just 4 high school students that get sucked into a video game and take on the personalities of the characters of the game. As far as the game they are all trapped in, it was not obvious what the game is, other than surviving different attacks from natives and charging rhinos and trying not to lose all 3 of their lives. I thought this movie was on a par with the original that starred the late Robin Williams and overall I give it a marginal recommendation.