Weekend Movies: Passable reviews for “Pitch Perfect 2,” breathless ones for “Mad Max”

max1A sequel and a reboot dominate the box office. One’s controversial, in some quarters. The other isn’t.

Both are two hours long. Only one of them can justify that length.

“Mad Max: Fury Road,” offers a seriously feminist twist on the George Miller “Road Warrior” myth. It’s not that Tom Hardy’s Max, the ex cop (never really set up in this version) isn’t macho. But the human race’s downfall is traced to men, and its hope is pinned on women, starting with one-armed badass Charlize Theron, as the tanker truck driver who tries to get the “breeding women” of their tribe to safety.

Max just helps.

Men’s Rights groups and assorted conservatives have blanched, but it’s a terrific ride, the movie of the summer, and everybody reviewing without a political ax to grind it says so.

“Pitch Perfect 2” is a still-tuneful, still occasionally funny sequel to the sleeper hit about Bella a cappella singers, led by Anna Kendrick. She’s more in the background here, making this a two hour Rebel Wilson/Hailee Steinfeld vehicle. Similar number of laughs stretched out over a longer (seems that way) movie. Concept is played, and when you’re dragging David Cross in as an eccentric millionaire a cappella fan who stages sing-offs in his mansion, you know you’re plum out of ideas. A few critics have grabbed onto the film’s (edgy) semi-offensive stereotypes — the Latina singer who puts “white girl problems” into perspective with cliched accounts of a life of trauma, illegal immigration, etc.

I wasn’t crazy about it, and am mystified it got the decent reviews it did. But it smells like a big hit.

How big? Box Office Guru is guessing this beast will swamp “Max.” A $48 million to $44 million win going to “Pitch 2.” That would be something, a big popcorn movie getting thumped by singing sorority sisters. I don’t see it, with “Max” on 150 or so more screens and the films having the same run time. I figure “Max” $45-50, “Pitch,” $38-44.

Indie fare such as “I’ll See You in My Dreams” and “Time Lapse,” two stiffs in their respective genres, are benefiting from fewer critics weighing in on them with the few who do absurdly enthusiastic for them — perhaps based on film festival screenings. I saw them and found them both yawners.

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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