By Shane Sellar
As a concerned father living next door to a frat house, it’s important to keep DNA of all of the members on file.
Fortunately, the new dad in this comedy has plenty of opportunities to collect.
When Delta Psi purchases the house next door to recent parents (Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne), the couple plays nonchalant with the frat heads (Zac Efron, Dave Franco) in order to seem hip.
But when noise levels are exceeded the couple lose their cool.
Calling the cops, however, only sets off a rivalry between the two camps. With each trying to one-up the other with extreme tactics.
While it honestly portrays Generation X’s effort to be cool parents, it fails to explore the issue in a grown-up manner.
With puerile pranks, limp penis jokes and awkward improv between Rogen and Byrne, Neighbors is aimless and unrealistic.
Besides, a colicky baby can be as irritating as EDM.
The upside to a giant lizard is that one day its fossilized bones will generate massive amounts of crude oil.
Unfortunately, the rampaging reptile in this sci-fi movie is far from petrifaction.
Fifteen years after his mother (Juliette Binoche) was killed in a nuclear power plant accident, Lt. Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) returns to the contaminated site to help his father (Bryan Cranston) expose a military cover-up involving Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms.
Their suspicions are later confirmed when a winged MUTO hatches from its cocoon and attacks Hawaii.
Now, humanity’s only hope lies in a cold-blooded MUTO the US army has been secretly bombing for 60 years.
With a faithful Godzilla design and monster battles galore, this modernization of the Japanese fire-breather pummels previous American efforts with ease.
However, that doesn’t prevent this update from being tedious and disjointed at times.
Incidentally, in Japan anyone over six-feet tall is called Godzilla.
The Fault in Our Stars
One of the pros to dying young is that you don’t have to worry about getting Alzheimer’s.
But as this drama points out, there are more cons to early expiration.
Urged to attend a cancer support group at the behest of her mother (Laura Dern) and father (Sam Trammell), terminal teenager Hazel (Shailene Woodley) finds the meetings more bearable thanks to fellow sufferer Augustus (Ansel Elgort).
Agreeing to read each other’s favourite book, Hazel shares one about cancer with Augustus – who is reluctantly won over by the prose.
Wanting to meet the author before her demise, Hazel’s wish is granted. But her and Augustus’s encounter with him (Willem Dafoe) is disparaging at best.
Based on the Teen Lit sensation, this adaptation does an adequate job of adhering to its inspiration, specifically characterization, plotting and the sorrowful ending.
What’s more, when you die young your Obit photo will be hot.
Think Like A Man Too
If thinking like men gets women to stop acting like men then that’s a plus.
Thankfully, there are no flatulent females in this comedy.
Attending their friend’s wedding in Vegas, Cedric (Kevin Hart) and his boys (Michael Ealy, Jerry Ferrara, Gary Owen, Romany Malco) split from their significant others (Meagan Good, Taraji P. Henson, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Gabrielle Union) to have the bachelor party.
But even though both parties are apart from each other they’re still haunted by their relationship woes, such as intimacy, infidelity and career.
Meanwhile, Cedric’s extravagant boys’ night out lands him in debt, which he hopes to nullify through gambling.
The slapdash sequel to the mildly amusing original, Think Too doesn’t develop the returning characters beyond their previous appearance, save for Hart who has become a caricature.
It also doesn’t offer up any relevant relationship advice.
Besides, one in five Las Vegas marriages end in personal bankruptcy.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
To get respect overseas Captain America should always travel dressed as Captain Canada.
Fortunately, the star-spangled shield tosser in this action movie is staying stateside.
Two years after the Avengers Initiative, super-solider Steve Rogers is a dutiful S.H.I.E.L.D. agent.
But on a mission for Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) his allegiance waivers when he and agent Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) discover a HYDRA conspiracy inside S.H.I.E.L.D.
On the run from their own agency, the pair must prevent a familiar face from Cap’s past (Sebastian Stan) from launching HYDRA corrupted Helicarriers.
More action-thriller than action-adventure, the patriotism of the previous film has given way to modern skepticism and fear mongering.
Fortunately that distrust includes: rapid-fire action; new characters ripped from Cap’s comic book catalogue; and a rollercoaster script with earth-shattering revelations around every bend.
Incidentally, the only time it’s lawful to let an American flag touch the ground is if you’re wearing it.
The French invented parkour so they could retreat from their enemy super-fast.
Mind you, the parkourer in this action movie is moving towards his adversary.
In the near future, criminals residing in the abandoned mansions of an affluent Detroit suburb are sealed off from the rest of the city by a giant wall.
Largely ignored by police, that all changes when a stolen bomb makes its way over the wall into the hands of a drug czar (RZA).
Now it’s up to a cop (Paul Walker) and a convict (David Belle) to retrieve the device before it’s used against the city.
A re-make of the French film District 13, Brick Mansions is an inferior interpretation.
While the stylized fights are a highlight, the acting and the overall story are hollow and hackneyed.
Besides, with the loss of Detroit’s auto industry colossal wall building could be a viable option for them.
Petals on the Wind
The best way to get revenge on a bad parent is to abuse them when they get senile.
However, the siblings in this drama have chosen to attack much earlier.
A decade after their mother (Heather Graham) and grandmother (Ellen Burstyn) held them captive in the attic of Foxworth Hall, the surviving Dollanganger children: Cathy (Rose McIver), Chris (Wyatt Nash) and Carrie (Bailey Buntain), mourn the death of their adopted father.
With a forbidden fire still burning for each other, Chris and Cathy unwillingly take-on unrelated lovers as they pursue careers in medicine and ballet, respectively.
But a failed encounter with their estranged mother sets off a scheme to spoil her and her new husband’s life.
Based on the sequel to Flowers in the Attic, this latest installment in the Dollanganger series is as tawdry, melodramatic and as campy as its predecessor.
Furthermore, the best revenge an incestuous couple can get on their mother is having her babysit her two-headed grandchild.
The upside to getting a concussion is that you don’t remember losing the championship game.
Losing, however, is not on the agenda of the general manager in this drama.
Determined to bring a hot prospect to Cleveland, upstart GM Sonny Weaver (Kevin Costner) trades the Browns’ first-round draft picks for the next three years for a shot at the phenom.
While the move impresses the team’s owner (Frank Langella), it riles up the coach (Denis Leary), current QB (Tom Welling), and team’s attorney (Jennifer Garner) – who is pregnant with Sonny’s child.
Although it offers a gutsy glimpse into the pressures of picking a million-dollar player, Ivan Reitman’s sentimental salute to the gridiron suffers from needless melodrama that deflates the swelling sense of tension.
Furthermore, splicing classic football games into the narrative is sophomoric and ultimately distracting.
Incidentally, overrated NFL draft picks tend to have a bright future…in the CFL.
Being black in the 18th century was almost as difficult as being black in the 21st century.
Luckily the mixed-race child in this drama was reared an heiress.
Born of a West Indies mother and a British naval officer father (Matthew Goode), Dido Belle (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) was raised by her father’s uncle (Tom Wilkinson), the 1st Earl of Mansfield, and his wife (Emily Watson).
Although her father’s nobility will sustain her for life, Dido yearns to find love with someone of equal rank.
But an idealistic young lawyer (Sam Reid) assisting her uncle in a trial involving drowned slaves derails her plans of landing a doting Lord.
Inspired by a painting, Belle has the markings of an archetypal period piece, however, the underlining social issues elevate the standard story of status and forbidden dalliances to a reputable level.
Belle also set the stage for other black royalty, like, Prince.
The reason people don’t recognize their doppelganger is because they suffer from body dysmorphic disorder.
Thankfully the duplicated office drone in this dark comedy can distinguish his double.
Simon (Jesse Eisenberg) is a milksop who one day discovers that the new hire at his work, James (Jesse Eisenberg), is a cocksure copy of himself.
Outshining him in front of their boss (Wallace Shawn) and out charming him around his neighbour (Mia Wasikowska), Simon soon feels as though he is being usurped and fazed out by James.
Spiralling out of control, Simon must take drastic actions if he wants to keep his girl and his sanity.
A dimly lit phantasmagoria of Kafkaesque strangeness and Lychian surrealism, this adaptation of Dostoyevsky’s short story may be morose and befuddling, but it’s gallows humor and ambitious performances help balance out the ambiguity.
Incidentally, having a twin means only having to run half of a marathon.
The Quiet Ones
The key to conjuring up a spirit is pretending that your flashlight is the way to heaven.
However the scholars in this horror movie have more torturous techniques in mind.
In a secluded English manor, Prof. Coupland (Jared Harris), his cameraman (Sam Claflin) and his two assistants (Erin Richards, Rory Fleck-Byrne) conduct experiments on Jane (Olivia Cooke), an imprisoned patient believed to be possessed.
Attempting to disprove the existence of ghosts, Coupland and his crew must now cope with the evil entity that Jane has manifested through the house’s dark history.
Inspired by a real-life Canadian experiment carried out in the seventies, this latest entry in the revived Hammer Horror franchise is its weakest yet.
An aimless exorcist retread with forced frights and unlikable characters, The Quiet Ones is as insubstantial its the ectoplasmic subject matter.
Besides, the only ghosts interested in being caught on camera are dead reality stars.
He’s a Spitting Image. He’s the…
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