Anna Kendrick

Universal Pictures

As a large, bearded man whose wardrobe consists of many hooded sweatshirts and whose primary occupation includes typing words into the void, I’m not ashamed of many things. I’m certainly not ashamed of my unabashed love for Pitch Perfect, the 2012 musical comedy about the highly competitive world of collegiate acapella. It starred the adorable Anna Kendrick alongside a host of comedic and musical talents such as Brittany Snow, Rebel Wilson and that guy from Workaholics whose name I always get confused with the guy from Maroon 5 (Adam DeVine). If you’ve seen the first film, you know that it’s about as infectious and fun as any movie we, the collective of moviegoers, have seen in the last half decade. And now there’s making a sequel. As a teenaged girl might say, SQUEEE!! The first Pitch Perfect 2 trailer is now online following a debut at a quote-a-long event in Los Angeles last night and it has plenty to offer: More singing, more pizazz and for some inexplicable reason, Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews Jr. (and several of his teammates).

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Cake

Claire Simmons (Jennifer Aniston) is in pain. Chronic pain, actually, the kind she tries to relieve by attending a support group for women who live with the same kind of chronic pain. Claire Simmons has been violently hurt in the past. Does the support group help? Not really. They’re much more concerned with the recent death of Nina (Anna Kendrick), a favorite of the group who recently killed herself in an excessively grim manner. We learn all this within the opening seconds of Daniel Barnz‘s Cake, not because of a clever script or neat direction, or because Aniston or anyone else in her group are able to convey what’s going on with snappy conversation or finely tuned physical expression, but because it is all handed to us without question. We know Claire is in pain because she moves stiffly, we know it’s the result of an accident because she’s covered in scars, we know that Nina is dead because a giant portrait of her is ringed by heartbroken women. We even know that Claire is in a support group for women with chronic pain, because a large chalkboard reads “WOMEN’S CHRONIC PAIN SUPPORT GROUP.” Even from its first moments, Barnz’s film doesn’t trust its audience to unravel his predictable, rote film for themselves. It will only get worse.

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The Last 5 Years

Hey, did you know that Anna Kendrick can sing and act? Did you know she’s pretty good at both on their own, but extremely good at doing them together? Have you missed the slow revival of the movie musical? You can correct that now, thanks to Richard LaGravenese‘s The Last 5 Years, a long-in-the-making big screen version of Jason Robert Brown‘s beloved off-Broadway musical of the same name, a cinematic take on a work originally meant strictly for the stage, and one that succeeds primarily because Kendrick clearly wants it to so damn badly. The film is a two-hander to a tee — the opening credits only list Kendrick and her co-star Jeremy Jordan, and good luck even remembering the names of the random supporting characters who so briefly flit across the screens with little regularity — and is entirely dedicated to a romance we know is going to fail, if only because the first sequence tells us plainly that this ship has sailed. But LaGravenese has good material to work with (or, at least, good enough), including vast reserves of catchy songwriting and a crafty narrative conceit that drives things along, and The Last 5 Years is a modest success and a fine approximation of what works so well on the stage. And, again, it stars Anna Kendrick, who knows how to do this stuff with one hand tied behind her back.

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Fantasia 2014

Beth (Aubrey Plaza) is dead, and her boyfriend Zach (Dane DeHaan) is all torn up about it. Sure they were having troubles and it looked like they might be heading for a split, but now that she’s gone — as in gone gone — he’s finding it difficult to think about anything else as he sinks into his pit of despair. Hoping for company with like-minded people he takes to spending time with Beth’s equally distraught parents, but just a few days later they shut him out of their lives. Distraught and driven for similarly bereft companionship he heads to their house only to glimpse something odd through a window. Beth is still alive. Kind of. She’s returned from the dead, and overcome with joyful confusion her parents are hiding her from the world. Beth’s memory isn’t all that great — she’s really stressed about a test she has tomorrow and has no idea that she’s dead — but Zach isn’t bout to turn his back on this second chance at a struggling relationship. Every couple hits some bumps in the road right? He soon discovers though that some love stories are better off dead.

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Into the Woods

Everybody loves musicals, right? Yes. Let’s go ahead and say that everybody loves musicals. But there is a caveat to this fact I’ve just gone ahead and made up. A musical is only warm and lovable if you explicitly know you’re watching a musical. Say you put on what you think is an ordinary film — let’s go with Blade Runner – and out of nowhere Rutger Hauer belts out an “Attack ships! On fire off the shoulder of Oriiiiiiiiiiiiiiooooooooon!” while a chorus line of Harrison Ford replicants shimmy across the background. That’s sure to put a lot of people off (although for the record, I would pay any sum of money to witness such a thing). Yet Into the Woods has just gone and played that same maneuver: the “singing robot surprise.” The first trailer for Rob Marshall‘s seemingly-ordinary fairy tale film has finally arrived, and it’s stuffed full of all sorts of fantasy teases. A girl in a red hood skips merrily into a wild and extremely unsafe-looking forest. A boy climbs several stories beanstalk without any visible safety gear. Also there’s a witch, a wolf-thing, a Rapunzel and a big mess of Maleficent quick-growing thorns. The only thing missing is the one thing that’s kind of crucial to Into the Woods: vocalized musical tones. Check out this strange, song-free trailer below.

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Happy Christmas Trailer

When the words “Anna Kendrick” and “Christmas” are combined, one has the pretty justified idea that they’re in for a feel good, wholesome time that they could probably share with the whole family. She’s just so darn cute, amiright? But Pitch Perfect: Holiday Edition this is not, nor is Happy Christmas seem anything remotely like the worlds that Kendrick seems happy in making hospitable for her bubbly, shortcake characters. The first trailer for the Joe Swanberg film shows a bleak holiday season devoid of singing, definitely devoid of acapella and anything that makes Kendrick peppy. Everyone gets a makeover every once in awhile. Happy Christmas follows Jenny (Kendrick), a twentysomething with a penchant for partying hard after after a particularly hard breakup knocks her down on the ground (feel you girl). With no direction and less options, she moves in with her brother (Swanberg, playing double duty as actor), her sister-in-law Kelly (Melanie Lynskey) and their baby to figure her life out. It’s the tried and true story of the dopey shlub of a dude trying to get out of arrested development, but this time, it’s been hoisted upon young Anna Kendrick’s shoulders. Will there be different results when it’s Jenny trying to cobble the pieces of her life together, and not say, an unshaven, unwashed bro in a hoodie named Jeff? Check out the trailer below:

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Anna Kendrick

In the last week, Anna Kendrick has signed on for a pair of new roles – both of which cast the actress as the romantic foil to a well-known and well-liked Hollywood dude – and while the news that Kendrick is racking up the work is something worth celebrating, the “girlfriend role” pattern is slightly disturbing. She’s better than that (and she’s proven it time and again), and it’s upsetting that Hollywood might be trying to box her into the kind of single-serving parts that she’s already grown out of. By no means is this meant to imply that Kendrick is not in charge of her own career or that she does not have agency over her professional decisions, and this may just be bad timing, but a double whammy of “girlfriend roles” sure smarts and goes a long way to illuminate the kind of parts that are available to Hollywood’s best and brightest.

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John Krasinski

Frankly, we’re a bit miffed that John Krasinski‘s next directorial effort, The Hollars, is not about an Appalachian family with issues they need to work out or a fake type of currency, but that might just be our own prejudices and personal interests shining through. Instead, the James C. Sprouse-penned screenplay centers on the fictional Hollar family. ZZzzz. Let’s maybe change that. The Hollars will see Krasinski approaching, oddly enough, both Steel Magnolias and Garden State territory. No, really, as Screen Daily reports that producer Tom Rice describes the film as “blending the emotion of Steel Magnolias with the youth-oriented relevance of Garden State,” which is either absolute brilliance or the end of Krasinski’s short-lived directorial career (we’re leaning to the former on this one, though). See? Steel Magnolias and Garden State. It’s right there. Krasinski will also star in the film as John Hollar, a New York artist (we bet he’s hip) who has to return to his Middle American hometown when his mother requires brain surgery. But that’s not all! Hollar will be toting along his lady friend and be forced to face down “his helpless brother, anxiety-prone father and over-eager high school girlfriend” and probably also a bunch of weird, unsettling memories and maybe even a sequence involving juice and/or bad wallpaper.

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Sundance

And thus ends another Sundance Film Festival. This year’s festival provided us with plenty of feature fodder to examine for the next eleven or so months, despite the lack of any big breakout a la Fruitvale Station or Beasts of the Southern Wild. As ever, though, the festival featured some recurring trope and tricks (a few of which we identified early), but not all of them seemed rote or repetitive. In fact, there are more than a few themes and players that popped up throughout the festival that we would like to see more of – either at Sundance or out in the wide release world. So what kept showing up in this year’s Sundance selections that deserves a bigger stage? Read on, and make some notes.

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Drinking Buddies

Editor’s Note: This review was originally part of our SXSW coverage, but Drinking Buddies is in theaters this weekend so stop messing around and go see it. Joe Swanberg is one of a group of filmmakers who made their mark with movies that relied on improvisation more than script, 20 something ennui more than narrative and friends more than professional actors. This model works for some viewers, but it’s not designed to ever really appeal to the wider audiences. His latest film, Drinking Buddies, keeps the improv method, but it still manages to tell a cohesive and truly affecting story. A big reason for that is a cast of extremely talented actors with wicked good comedic timing in the lead roles. The four performers, along with a more assured Swanberg directing and editing, have crafted a story about heartbreak, temptation and friendship.

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schwarzenegger

What is Casting Couch? It’s the casting news column that’s catching up on some developments that occurred over the weekend while preparing for tonight’s huge Stanley Cup Finals game. Find out what’s up with Adrien Brody and Felicity Jones before the puck drops. You’ve already seen him save the world from terrorists, aliens, and killer machines, and now it’s looking like you’re going to finally get the chance to see Arnold Schwarzenegger save the world from the oncoming creep of the zombie menace. Or, at least, he’s going to do his best to get his daughter through a zombie apocalypse, as that’s the plot of the latest project he’s taken on. According to Variety, the movie is called Maggie, it comes from a Black List script by strangely-named screenwriter John Scott 3, and it will see Schwarzenegger playing a father who is helping his daughter, “come to terms with her infection as she slowly becomes a zombie,” in what sounds like the most family-oriented role the action star has taken since he was in Junior.

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dumber

What is Casting Couch? Your daily dose of casting news. Today we’ve, of course, got the latest name to be confirmed for the Veronica Mars movie, as well as some info about the casting process for Star Wars: Episode VII. They’ve been talking about putting together a sequel to Dumb and Dumber for quite some time now. The project has seen its share of ups and downs, however, and many people have probably started to think that it’s just one of those things that’s never going to happen. A new report from Deadline claims that those fears are unfounded though. They’re reporting that Dumb and Dumber To has just landed in the lap of Universal, and not only are Peter and Bobby Farrelly on board to direct and do a re-write of the current script, but both Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels are on board to reprise their roles of Harry and Lloyd, as well. And more than that even, this is said to be a movie that’s been put on the fast track, so it should see scheduling starting soon. That all sounds pretty official, right?

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review rapture palooza

2013 seems to be the year of end-of-the-world comedies, and while that may be a sure sign of the end times at least we’ll go out laughing. Edgar Wright’s The World’s End opens later this summer, the very funny This Is the End hits theaters next week, and the even better It’s a Disaster was just released on Blu-ray/DVD. It really is a fine time for fans of the apocalypse. The fourth entry (or second if you’re going chronologically) is Paul Middleditch‘s Rapture-Palooza. Lindsey (Anna Kendrick) and Ben (John Francis Daley) are young and in love, but unlike the billion or more young couples that came before them these two are seeing their romance blossom amidst the events foretold in the Book of Revelation. The undead roam the streets, foul-mouthed locusts and crows berate the survivors, and occasionally large, flaming rocks fall from the sky to crush food carts. As bad as things are though, they get even worse when the anti-christ (Craig Robinson) points his erection Lindsey’s direction determined to have her even if that means eliminating Ben and anyone else standing in the way.

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Drinking Buddies

Do you like fun things? Things like beer and love and friendship and mostly improvised movies? Or even fun people? Fun people like Jake Johnson, Olivia Wilde, Anna Kendrick, and Ron Livingston? Would you like to see all of those things and people together in one of SXSW’s biggest hits from earlier this year? Good, you can do that quite soon. Until then, here is a poster. Refreshing! Drinking Buddies will be available on VOD on July 25th, with a theatrical release following on August 23rd. [EW]

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kendrick

What is Casting Couch? It’s the news column that’s got its ear to the ground, listening for any juicy tidbits coming out of Cannes. Today people like Uma Thurman, Seann William Scott, Amanda Seyfried, and Bruce Willis all got new jobs. Zach Braff hasn’t yet had much of a career as a film director, but if there’s one thing he’s got more experience shooting than most people, it’s tiny girls wearing giant headphones. So chances are Pitch Perfect star Anna Kendrick will be a perfect fit for the cast of his new movie, Wish I Was Here. The Wrap is reporting that she’s just joined the film in the role of Janine, a chick who’s into cosplay and who the Josh Gad character becomes enamored with. However you feel about the controversy surrounding Braff’s Kickstarter funding of this film, you have to admit, added Anna Kendrick just made going to see it sound a whole lot more enticing.

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Pitch Perfect

Of all the news coming out of this year’s CinemaCon, the revelation that Universal Pictures is launching a sequel to their surprise hit Pitch Perfect is the one most worth singing about (it’s just convenient that this pun works so well in this context). Details are scarce on the follow-up, but we do know that the film will arrive sometime in 2015 and that original screenwriter Kay Cannon is set to return to pen this new feature. There is no word on other returning cast or crew (please, please, give us more Rebel “Fat Amy” Wilson). As Entertainment Weekly reports, the first film was a massive hit for the studio, pulling in $112m at the box office (with just a teensy $17m budget) and going on to “earn over $90 million across all home market platforms…it currently stands as the studio’s third highest-grossing VOD title ever behind blockbusters Ted and Bridesmaids. On top of that, the Pitch Perfect soundtrack has sold over 636,000 copies and spawned a hit single — complete with its own music video – with Anna Kendrick’s ‘Cups.’” Basically, this thing is money, so of course Uni is going to go the sequel route.

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mnad_ofthrones

Your Thursday night will end with Anna Kendrick being the most adorable person on the face of the planet. But before that, we’ll talk about why Game of Thrones is the most important show ever, why fans of Selena Gomez need to get over Spring Breakers and why Jon Stewart’s directorial debut is already getting panned. It’s all here on Movie News After Dark.

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Hugh Jackman in The Wolverine

Tonight in the wide world of entertainment news, we’ve gone down the rabbit hole of nerd pleasures. From a wedding officiated by Patrick Stewart to Hugh Jackman’s hands to Brad Bird inserting curse words into Star Wars to our undisputed queen of nerdom, Anna Kendrick, it’s all about the love in Movie News After Dark.

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Rapturepalooza

Will Rapturepalooza actually be funny? Even after watching its entire red band trailer, which is chock-full of gags, the answer to that question still doesn’t really become clear. There are so many jokes that fly by here, some good and some bad, that it’s near impossible to tell what the hit-to-miss ratio is going to be like when you actually sit down to watch the thing in the theater. Has this trailer basically given away every joke the film makes, or are there still plenty more waiting to be discovered? Are the jokes we do see the broadest, silliest ones, meant to attract a general audience, or is broad silliness all the movie has to offer? It’s tough to say. But what’s clear is that director Paul Middleditch and writer Chris Matheson haven’t pulled any punches with what they’re willing to satirize. They shoot Jesus out of the sky with a laser cannon. They make light of Orlando being decimated in a nuclear explosion. You don’t have to go into Rapturepalooza worried about it half-stepping as far as the comedy is concerned.

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Pitch Perfect

Given its success at the box office, and the fact that movies about singing, or cheerleading, or whatnot always seem to get sequels, it was probably something of a given that this year’s surprisingly good a cappella movie Pitch Perfect would spawn a franchise. What is a little bit surprising though is that it sounds like it’s going to be getting a proper sequel, with several of the cast members coming back, and not just a straight-to-video farce where some unknown girl from the Disney channel explains to us that she’s Fat Amy’s cousin Chubby Debby, or whatever. The scoop regarding movement on a sequel comes from Movie Web, who sat down with that actor who played the sensitive guy from the first film, Skylar Astin, and had him spill the beans regarding where talk regarding a sequel is. Astin revealed to the site, “I do have a meeting with a Universal representative next week. And I know that Rebel Wilson had hers last weekend. It’s definitely a talking point.” Of course, one big name that Astin left out of his comments is Pitch Perfect’s lead actress, Anna Kendrick. Given the acclaim that she’s received for both her dramatic as well as her comedic work, and the grand possibilities of where her career could be headed very quickly, it would make sense that Kendrick would be the cast member most reticent to agreeing to appear in what might be a chintzy sequel. It will be interesting to see if her […]

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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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