Table 19 (2017)

Table 19
Director: Jeffrey Blitz
Writer: Jeffrey Blitz
Cast: Anna Kendrick, Lisa Kudrow, Craig Robinson, Stephen Merchant, June Squibb, Tony Revolori, Margo Martindale, Wyatt Russell, Rya Meyers, Charles Green, Thomas Cocquerel
Seen on: 2.10.2020

Plot:
Eloise (Anna Kendrick) has been debating with herself whether she should attend the wedding of her (former?) best friend after her boyfriend – the bride’s brother and best man – Teddy (Wyatt Russell) dumped her. Over a text. Relegating Eloise from Maid of Honor to outcast at the wedding. In the end, she can’t stay away and ends up at the dreaded Table 19 – where all the guests sit that nobody expected or wanted to actually show up. Bina (Lisa Kudrow) and Jerry Kepp (Craig Robinson), Jo Flanagan (June Squibb), Walter Thimble (Stephen Merchant), and Renzo Eckberg (Tony Revolori) share Eloise’s fate and bring their own issues. As the wedding goes on and Eloise’s natural penchant for drama comes out more and more, things turn from awkward to outright catastrophic for them all.

I didn’t have high expectations for Table 19, but Anna Kendirick was ultimately enough of a draw for me to give it a go. And in some ways, it did surpass my expectations, but mostly it’s the cinematic equivalent of a cheap snack: pleasurable enough as long as it lasts, but gone from memory as soon as its over.

The film poster showing a fork holding up a wedding invitation. The fork has five tines, the middle one is the only tine in front of the invitation.
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A Simple Favor (2018)

A Simple Favor
Director: Paul Feig
Writer: Jessica Sharzer
Based on: Darcey Bell’s novel
Cast: Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively, Henry Golding, Ian Ho, Joshua Satine, Rupert Friend, Linda Cardellini
Seen on: 3.3.2019
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Content Note: bimisia

Plot:
Stephanie (Anna Kendrick) divides her time between her son Miles (Joshua Satine) and running her own parenting blog. When Miles befriends Nicky (Ian Ho), Stephanie approaches Nicky’s beautiful and rather intimidating mother Emily (Blake Lively). Much to her own surprise, Emily takes to Stephanie and the two become friends. But then Emily just disappears one day and Stephanie decides that she has to investigate.

A Simple Favor is obviously a film that tries to coast on Gone Girl‘s success, but is neither as insightful nor as well-constructed as that film. It is queerer, though, which I liked, and it looks really good. But it never gets to a level that is more than okay.

The film poster showing Stephanie (Anna Kendrick) holding a knife and Emily (Blake Lively) holding a drink.
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Pitch Perfect 3 (2017)

Pitch Perfect 3
Director: Trish Sie
Writer: Kay Cannon, Mike White
Sequel to: Pitch Perfect, Pitch Perfect 2
Cast: Anna KendrickHailee SteinfeldBrittany Snow, Rebel Wilson, Ester Dean, Hana Mae LeeChrissie Fit, Anna Camp, Elizabeth Banks, John Michael Higgins, John Lithgow, DJ Khaled, Ruby Rose
Seen on: 8.1.2018
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Plot:
The Bellas have graduated and have to face the real world – a world that doesn’t give much about acapella groups. But when they are offered the chance to go on an USO tour of Europe, they decide to go for it: one last big splash before the rest of their lives. But touring with other (non-acapella) bands isn’t as easy as they thought and their own insecurities make things even harder.

After the (racist) catastrophe that was Pitch Perfect 2, I hadn’t planned on seeing Pitch Perfect 3. But then circumstances aligned and I ended up seeing it anyway. I have to say that it was definitely better than the second film, though it still wasn’t great.

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Trolls (2016)

Trolls
Director: Mike Mitchell, Walt Dohrn
Writer: Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger
Based on: Thomas Dam‘s dolls
Cast: Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Zooey Deschanel, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Christine Baranski, Russell Brand, Gwen Stefani, John Cleese, James Corden, Jeffrey Tambor, Ron Funches, Kunal Nayyar, Quvenzhané Wallis
Seen on: 8.4.2017

Plot:
The Trolls live a very happy life, carefree and filled with music and definitely not thinking about the Bergens who are only happy when they can eat Trolls. Nobody more so than Princess Poppy (Anna Kendrick). It’s only Branch (Justin Timberlake) who refuses to sing and who fears that the Bergens will be back. Therefore he is constantly trying to prepare for that eventuality. When Poppy throws a big party that actually does attract the Bergens and a few Trolls end up taken, Poppy knows that she has to rescue them. And who could help her better than Branch?

When Trolls came out last year, I decided pretty quickly that I really wasn’t interested in it. I did have Troll dolls when I was a kid, but I was never particularly taken with them and basing a film on them just seemed weird. But my niece loves the film and she wanted to watch it with me, so I did. And it turns out, it’s actually really sweet and funny.

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The Accountant (2016)

The Accountant
Director: Gavin O’Connor
Writer: Bill Dubuque
Cast: Ben AffleckAnna KendrickJ.K. SimmonsJon BernthalJeffrey TamborCynthia Addai-RobinsonJohn Lithgow
Seen on: 9.11.2016

Plot:
Dana Cummings (Anna Kendrick) has discovered irregularities in her company’s accounts. So an external accountant is called in to look at the books – Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck). Wolff is usually more occupied with keeping the accounts of criminal organizations, but since he’s being investigated by the Treasury Department in the form of Ray King (J.K. Simmons), a legitimate job seems like a good idea at this moment. But when Wolff confirms Cummings’ suspicions, people start dying and soon he finds himself deeply involved.

The Accountant’s claim to fame is the fact that Christian Wolff is an autistic character/action hero. Other than that it doesn’t really have anything unusual to offer, but it’s a decent film.

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Pitch Perfect 2 (2015)

Pitch Perfect 2
Director: Elizabeth Banks
Writer: Kay Cannon
Sequel to: Pitch Perfect
Cast: Anna KendrickHailee SteinfeldBrittany Snow, Rebel Wilson, Skylar Astin, Ben PlattAdam DeVine, Alexis Knapp, Ester Dean, Hana Mae LeeChrissie FitBirgitte Hjort SørensenFlula Borg, Anna Camp, Elizabeth Banks, John Michael Higgins, John Hodgman, Snoop Dogg, David Cross, Keegan-Michael Key
Seen on: 31.5.2015

Plot:
The Barden Bellas have been quite successful for the past few years, when a new catastrophe hits: their by now huge show falls completely apart, right when they are performing for the President. Banned from college competitions afterwards, their only chance of making up for the massive blunder is by winning the World Championship of Acappella. But that won’t be easy: the championship takes place in Europe, where everybody hates the USA, Beca (Anna Kendrick) got an internship at a music studio which takes up a lot of her time and the formerly strong friendship between the women is crumbling.

Pitch Perfect 2 was completely disappointing. I really enjoyed the first film (even with a couple of hesitations) and I even re-watched it before seeing this one, but unfortunately PP2 enhanced all the worst parts of PP and didn’t improve anything else.

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The Voices (2014)

The Voices
Director: Marjane Satrapi
Writer: Michael R. Perry
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Gemma Arterton, Anna Kendrick, Jacki Weaver, Ella Smith

Plot:
Jerry (Ryan Reynolds) is a little off, but he does his best. He has found steady employment at an appliance factory, he regularly sees his therapist (Jacki Weaver) and he is in love with his co-worker Fiona (Gemma Arterton). So, how much can it really matter that his dog Bosco (Ryan Reynolds) and his cat Mr. Whiskers (Ryan Reynolds) talk to him? When things start to go very wrong for Jerry and everybody in his life, it turns out, it matters quite a bit.

I was afraid that I would miss the film because it only got a very limited release and in Vienna, they didn’t seem to show it in English at all – when I stumbled over a cinema announcing it in a subbed version weeks after the start, right before the last showing (they have since started to show it again, after a two week break). This coincidence, added to my general excitement for the film, really made my expectations higher than ever – and I’m happy to say that those expectations were completely fulfilled. The Voices was really great. It’s funny (in a very macabre way), but it’s also sad and quite touching.

thevoices

[Very slight spoilers]

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Cake (2014)

Cake
Director: Daniel Barnz
Writer: Patrick Tobin
Cast: Jennifer Aniston, Adriana Barraza, Anna Kendrick, Sam Worthington, Mamie Gummer, Felicity Huffman, William H. Macy, Chris Messina, Lucy Punch, Britt Robertson
Seen on: 15.04.2015

Plot:
After an accident Claire (Jennifer Aniston) is in chronic pain, bitter and lonely. Her only points of social contact are her housekeeper Silvana (Adriana Barraza) and her chronic pain self-help group. But after one of its members, Nina (Anna Kendrick), committed suicide and Claire had a bit of a meltdown, the group has asked her to leave. Instead Claire pays a visit to Nina’s widower Roy (Sam Worthington). They both start leaning on each other for their recovery, even if that’s a very slow-going process.

Cake was an excellent film. Great performances, smart script, interesting topic handled seriously but also with a sense of humor, all tied together in a neat little package.

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Into the Woods (2014)

Into the Woods
Director: Rob Marshall
Writer. James Lapine
Based on: James Lapine‘s (book) and Stephen Sondheim‘s (music and lyrics) musical, which is in turn based on a few Brothers Grimm fairy tales
Cast: Anna Kendrick, Daniel Huttlestone, James Corden, Emily Blunt, Lilla CrawfordChris Pine, Billy Magnussen, Mackenzie Mauzy, Christine Baranski, Tammy Blanchard, Lucy Punch, Tracey Ullman, Meryl Streep, Simon Russell Beale, Johnny Depp, Frances de la Tour
Seen on: 11.3.2015

Plot:
The baker (James Corden) and his wife (Emily Blunt) dream of having a child, but due to a curse by the evil witch (Meryl Streep), they can’t conceive. But the witch offers to reverse the curse – if they bring her certain items: a cow as white as milk, hair the color of corn, a golden slipper and a red cape. They set off into the woods where they hope to find all of those items. As luck will have it, Cinderella (Anna Kendrick) runs away from her prince (Chris Pine) in golden slippers, Jack (Daniel Huttlestone) tries to sell his white cow, Litte Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford) is visiting her gran in her red cape and Rapunzel (Mackenzie Mauzy) and her blonde hair meet her prince (Billy Magnussen) – all in those same woods. But things don’t go quite as planned.

The first half of Into the Woods is extremely enjoyable. In the second half, the plot completely unravels, but at least cast and production design are still awesome.

Into_the_Woods

[SPOILERS]

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The Company You Keep (2012)

The Company You Keep
Director: Robert Redford
Writer: Lem Dobbs
Based on: Neil Gordon’s novel
Cast: Robert Redford, Shia LaBeouf, Julie Christie, Susan Sarandon, Nick Nolte, Chris Cooper, Terrence Howard, Stanley Tucci, Richard Jenkins, Anna Kendrick, Brendan Gleeson, Brit Marling, Sam Elliott

Plot:
30 years ago, The Weather Underground robbed a bank and shot a guard. Nobody was arrested. Now the FBI managed to arrest Sharon Solarz (Susan Sarandon). Her arrest has journalist Ben Shepard (Shia LaBeouf) digging into the story. He talks to lawyer Jim Grant (Robert Redford) who turns out to have been one of the Weathermen, Nick Sloan. Grant/Sloan goes on the run, but there seems to be more to the story than that.

The Weather Underground are certainly a topic that deserves discussion and cinematic treatment. Unfortunately this movie skirts the interesting bits and ends up being boring, unrealistic and self-congratulatory.

company_you_keep

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