Neighbors (2014): Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne face off against Zac Efron and James Franco's younger brother Dave in a battle of ridiculous and hilarious pranks. Need I say more? Oh I know! The frat movie to end all frat movies.
Neighbors. Ok I'm going to be honest. Because that's what I usually do. I try not to have expectations going into a movie, but here I couldn't help it. I had high hopes going into this movie. I was hoping that Neighbors was going to be 2014's This is the End. So is it? Well......no. I think I realized after watching this movie that This is the End is one of the funniest comedies to grace the screens in a long time, so to sit here and hope that anything could match it is a bit unfair, yes? Well, agree with me or not I say it's unfair. First off, the question on everyone's minds: is it funny? Well, my answer is yes. To someone who is in the middle of his college career and is right in the middle of this movie's target audience, this movie is hilarious. To someone over the age of.....40? Maybe? This movie will be disgusting and gross and incredibly offensive. Basically, here's the guideline for this movie: if you thought that This is the End was offensive or borderline offensive, AVOID THIS MOVIE LIKE THE PLAGUE. I don't care if you like Seth Rogen or Zac Efron, this movie is more vulgar and crude than This is the End could even dream of. I didn't think that was possible, until I saw this. Between dick jokes with actual dicks and sex jokes with actual sex and poop jokes with actual poop, this movie holds nothing back with its humor. Nothing. NOTHING. So, consider yourself warned. Now for someone who isn't grossed out by this fact, this movie delivers these jokes in an effective manner and even throws a few smart jokes in from time to time. That said, let's dive into this, shall we?
First up, acting. Most of the cast is solid here. The storyline of Ike Barinholtz and Carlo Gallo was unnecessary as I felt that neither of these actors really carried their weight here, however they only had minor roles so it doesn't matter. Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, and Dave Franco were all outstanding and hilarious. Franco and Efron had some great chemistry, and Efron even turned his screen-hogging into a running joke throughout the movie. He was intentionally overacting in this, and it certainly added to the humor. The person who deserves all the praise, however, was Rose Byrne. If there was any question as to whether this beautiful Australian could act or not, it has been officially answered. Before this I had only seen her in horror and action movies (Insidious, Knowing, Start Wars Episode 2, and her unnecessary dramatical role in The Internship) so I was worried that she was going to be unable to hold her weight opposite Rogen. Well not only did she do so, but if you ask me, she outperformed Rogen. I know, bold statement. But she truly was the best part of this movie, as she flawlessly created this badass girl that was able to do everything from convincingly seduce college frat boys to being a mischievous and gutsy new mom. She and Rogen had such great chemistry in this that I actually checked after the movie to see if they are together in real life. (They're not) I really hope that she joins Rogen and James Franco in these movies of theirs from here on out, because damn did she work just as well with Rogen as Franco does.
The story was mostly imrpov'd, as expected, but it was still an effective story for a comedy. There were several jumps with plot lines, such as with Barinholtz and Gallo, and there was this very awkward post-third act after the shenanigans with the neighbors were done that was just a plot device to try to create an "ending" that was unnecessary, like with the ending to This is the End, but it hardly took away from the otherwise satisfying plot. And, as with all comedies, you can forgive a lot of it makes you laugh. And this movie definitely made me laugh.
Some great cameos, wonderful song choices, and rather original editing sequences involving FaceTime conversations, Neighbors is as well-produced as you can get as far as a movie is concerned. NIcholas Stoller did a great job in the directors chair here ensuring that none of the actors got overzealous and started screen hogging. I actually really loved the song choices in this movie. The dance numbers were both catchy and appropriate for what was happening on screen at the time, and when the movie needed some era-specific selections, it did not disappoint. While this movie is certainly not for the feint of heart, I personally look forward to watching this movie again and again. A ver early contender for comedy of the year.
The Critique: While it did not meet my expectations, Neighbors does not fail to bring some great laughs throughout its 96 minute runtime. Great acting, writing, and editing bring together a movie that is exactly that: great.
The Recommendation: please God don't watch this movie if you didn't like This is the End. This movie is very much aimed at college students. Everyone who likes a funny party movie will greatly enjoy this.
The Verdict: 8/10 Great
Transcendence (2014): As Dr. Will Caster works toward his goal of creating an omniscient, sentient machine, a radical anti-technology organization fights to prevent him from establishing a world where computers can transcend the abilities of the human brain. (IMDB)
Talk about biting off more than you can chew. This movie not only did that, it went for the whole f*cking steak. This movie throws a million ideas at the wall, and none of them stick. The directoral debut of Christopher Nolan's Director of Photography, Wally Pfister, this movie really does feel like a Christopher Nolan movie. Pfister just forgot one thing: the drama. The first act of this movie introduces some interesting ideas, but then the movie hits a brick wall in the second act. And all the ideas introduced in the first act are forgotten. The movie gets boiled down to generic action sequences and uninteresting characters. And then at the end the movie makes a complete 180 on all of the themes it was trying to establish in the movie just to have a twist. While I didn't see it coming, it was because, as I said, IT WAS A COMPLETE 180 TO THE THEMES THE MOVIE WAS ESTABLISHING THROUGHOUT. That's all I'm going to say about the ending. It was stupid. Moving on.
So most everything about this movie was subpar. The acting was pretty forgettable, for starters. Johnny Depp did not stand out as the main character here, and Morgan Freeman, Paul Bettany, Kate Mara, Clifton Collins Jr., and Cillian Murphy all played throwaway roles and brought nothing to the table other than their recognizable faces. The only person that stood out was Rebecca Hall. She was the only character that brought any humanity at all to the table, as well as any credibility to the story. Honestly she was far and away the best part of this movie.
The primary thing that is lacking in this movie is emotion. There is none. At all! You just don't care about any of the characters at all, and thus there is no drama. This movie had the potential to be as memorable as other Nolan films, however due to a convoluted storyline, and way too many characters, you are unable to focus on much of anything. Ultimately you just stop caring. A damn shame.
I will also give Pfister the cinematography card, though. Something about being a DP in his career.....anyway ya. The movie did look very good. But other than that....there's not a whole lot this movie has to offer. Personally, I've been waiting for a movie to be thought-provoking and interesting about the future of AI and how it may destroy the world or whatever. But honestly, outside of the Terminator series, I haven't gotten one yet. And even the Terminator series is not all that good because at this point it is so dated. Really I would rather watch Her again and think about how it addressed AI than I would Transcendence. That's not good for Transcendence seeing as it actually tries to address the AI morality issue head-on. But whatever! I'll just keep waiting for my thought-provoking AI movie.
The Critique: A for effort, but this movie goes for the whole steak at once. One bite at a time, guys.
The Recommendation: Stay away if you're a fan of Johnny Depp. This will only make you mad. Everyone else....maybe Netflix it? If you like Rebecca Hall you should check it out, and if you like sci-fi you should check it out, but definitely not at a theater. Sigh....
The Verdict: 3/10 Bad
Manos: The Hands of Fate (1966): Um....f*ck it. Here's IMDB: A family gets lost on the road and stumbles upon a hidden, underground, devil-worshiping cult led by the fearsome Master and his servant Torgo. SO MUCH INTRIGUE RIGHT?
First of all, thank you for reading. Damn. 10,000 views. If you told me back when I started this thing in September 2013 that I'd hit 10,000 views I would've just laughed. See I started this thing just for my own personal amusement. I just wanted to remind myself of these movies so that I could have a conversation about these movies whenever I needed to with people. Just be like hey! I saw that movie once! Let me see what I said about it! And whip out my phone. Since I was just writing for myself basically, I didn't hold back with what has come to define Enter the Movies: my incredibly weird and unusual writing style. Now, it's here to stay. However, over time, people started approaching me saying that they liked my reviews. I was surprised, because I didn't think anyone even knew that they existed, much less enjoyed them. Now, an article from the local paper (thank you Madeline Rafi!) and an endorsement from a local athlete (thank you Nikki Newman!) later, as well as a lot of support from Reddit, my blog has become...well, a thing. So thank you everyone Thank you. I now do this for you. To entertain you. If I put a smile on your face, then I did my job. That said, let's celebrate by watching the "movie" Manos: The Hands of Fate! Because that sounds like a good idea....should get the smile part done at least....
Supposedly made on a bet between friends, Manos: The Hands of Fate has reached cult status, but not in a good way. This movie.....where do I even begin? Seriously. Let's talk about Grown Ups 2 really quick. That was the worst movie of 2013 due to bad acting and a terrible story, as well as horrid directing. However even in this movie there is a level of competency with the making of the film, as the editing, cinematography, and sound are at least decent. There's a certain level of competency you expect in any movie, right? After all if it's made it to the big screen it should be at least, well....made properly. This movie, however, fails on every aspect of movie making. In my junior year of high school, I made a 20 minute(ish) movie called What Is Justice? I'm not trying to self-promote, because after all there is only one copy, but my movie, hastily made in about 2 hours on Movie Maker software with stock Movie Maker sounds, is better than this piece of sh*t. A f*cking gorilla could make a better movie than this. Every aspect of filmmaking is completely nonexistent here. From random illogical editing cuts, to incredibly distracting music, to the fact that this movie is shot ENTIRELY in hand-cam fashion, to the fact that ALL of the actor's voices were dubbed in post-production by THREE people, this movie is the worst movie ever made. Done. How did no one step up and tell the director, insurance salesman Harold P. Warren, that this was a bad idea? Oh wait, was Harold P. Warren also the lead actor, writer, and producer? .........yep. That'll do it. He had no one around him to tell him that it was a bad idea. That just allowing this movie to exist was a bad idea.
Here, let me give you an example of how bad this movie is. So, this is meant to be a horror movie. So Warren and the female lead, played by Diane Mahree, are looking at a very "creepy" picture. They are having a conversation, with the distracting music behind their conversation, when all of the sudden, without warning, there's a cut to their character's daughter holding a (clearly untrained) dog. Everything stops as we watch this girl struggle to keep the dog from jumping out of her lap. And the music stopped. So, basically, we go from a very loud conversation and just overall noise to silence in.....instantly. Because f*ck you. Seriously, this movie deserves to be the blunt end of a would you rather question. It's so bad that it's not even funny bad. It's below that! It's like this.....there are good movies, and there are bad movies. Then there's 50 feet of crap. And then there's Manos: The Hands of Fate. (Thank you to my inspiration, Hollywood writer Aaron Sorkin, for that reference.) Here, I'll get the would you rather questions going. Would you rather watch Manos: The Hands of Fate, or sit through an hour-long sermon courtesy of the Westboro Baptist Church? Spoiler: if you pick Manos, you're wrong. At least Westboro will give you a good laugh. This is comparable to hearing fingernails on a chalkboard. Or dying. The one saving grace of this movie is that it is disgustingly short. While most of the time I would criticize a movie coming in at 74 minutes, here it is welcome, even though those 74 minutes CRAWLED by. I had to take breaks to finish this. I'm not even kidding. I HAD TO TAKE BREAKS TO COMPLETE THIS. AOEIFAJWEOIFJABNADFLKADAKLDALKDSF I DON'T EVEN WANT TO TALK ABOUT THIS MOVIE ANYMORE. NO YOU CAN'T MAKE ME. I DON'T WANNA I DON'T WANNA....
Ok I'll say one more thing. The only thing even remotely memorable about this sh*t show of a movie is the character Torgo. He is played by John Reynolds, who supposedly did LSD before his scenes in this movie and as a result was constantly twitching uncontrollably throughout his performance. All it did was lead to a few good laughs. We got to laughably bad a few times, guys! Whoo! Oh ya, and his death scene is hilarious, as he is seemingly massaged to death by a bunch of women. Spoiler? F*ck you. The biggest crime of this movie is that not everybody is dead by the end of it. Bite me.
The Critique: The worst movie ever made.
The Recommendation: A MUST SEE FOR EVERYONE. FEEL MY PAIN PLEASE.
The Verdict: 0.1/10 That 0.1 is for Torgo. #TORGOCOMEBACK2014
Captain America: The Winter Solder (2014): Captain America returns in the latest of Marvel's Stage Two plan. This time, he can't trust anyone because SHIELD is not as advertised. Muhaha.
So, a lot of people are already calling this the best movie in this whole Marvel Universe-like-world-thing that's been released outside of The Avengers. And I'm here to tell you that they are right. Between Iron Man 1-3, The Incredible Hulk, Thor 1 and 2, and the original Captain America, Marvel has been trying desperately to break out of the realm of just good and reach greatness. This was achieved in The Avengers, but nothing else. Until now. We finally have a Marvel movie that is great. FINALLY. Ok. It's not perfect. There were some bad cinematography moments, and some of the action scenes were hard to follow.....ok quite a few of the action scenes just HAD to use shaky cam to be confusing and unnecessarily chaotic, but the scenes that I could see were breathtaking. And The Winter Soldier just might be the BEST villain introduced in a Marvel movie to date. (Loki doesn't count.....c'mon guys.) So let's jump into it shall we?
So, where to begin? Acting? Acting. The acting here is fantastic. To be honest, I was terrified when I saw that Robert Redford was in this. The man's a living legend, and I was afraid that he would take Anthony Hopkin's precedence in Thor and phone in in his role. But he didn't. He. Did. Not. While I've definitely seen better from him, Redford was still fantastic as Alexander Pierce. Johansson and Evans were great together, providing some great banter. In fact, they were maybe too great. I think there was an unintentional romantic subplot between Captain America and Black Widow because they had such great chemistry. Yep. Never thought I would say that but I did. But that's just me. Anthony Mackie was also great as a new character to the universe, the Falcon. He had shockingly good comedic timing. Well really, they all did. This just might be the funniest Marvel movie too, by the way. Just saying.
So, the story. This story is what sets this one apart from other Marvel movies. They went with the route of political thriller here, and boy was it a good decision. The movie successfully makes you question who (outside of the Captain and Black Widow) you can trust, as every other character does have some secrets that are exposed. And most of the twists in this movie I did not see coming. And there were enough of them here to keep me guessing from start to finish. Then there's the villain. This movie is called Captain America: The Winter Soldier for a reason.This character truly is terrifying, and really felt like an adequate challenge to Captain America. Finally, someone in the Marvel world who I could actually buy would go toe-to-toe with the superhero of the movie. From start to finish, this character truly was one of the most memorable villains I've ever seen in, you know what? In any superhero movie. Not just in a Marvel movie. In any movie. Seriously, go see this movie just for him. It's worth it. The only thing I wish is that we saw more of him! I would've been ok with this movie being called The Winter Soldier: Captain America versus the other way around.
Negatives? Well there's really only one. The biggest mistake of this movie was the cinematography. F*ckin' shaky cam. I hate it so much. Man. It is in full force here, plus some very hasty editing makes things like a big car chase almost impossible to follow. The camera was constantly cutting to different vantage points, and as a result you really didn't know where anything was at any given point. A huge mistake. While in a lot of movies this wouldn't be a big deal, but in an action movie? Kind of an issue. But the movie did give up on these chaos-inducing tactics enough to show off a lot of bad-assery. But this made it even more confusing, as Anthony and Joe Russo just refused to agree on one style. Other than this, there isn't a lot wrong with this 136 minute film. Not even kidding. This movie is for everyone, with enough references in here for Marvel fans to nerdgasm over while keeping the rest of us entertained enough to have fun throughout. And the post credit scene? Awesome. Marvel fans will flip out. Promise.
So it's almost 2 AM. I'm really tired, so I'm done. Go see this. Just trust me. End of discussion. Bye bye. See ya later.
The Critique: Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson shine in the Marvel movie we've all been waiting for. A wildly enjoyable political thriller set in the Marvel universe.
The Recommendation: A must-see for everyone. Just go see this. I promise you won't be disappointed. Do it. DO IT.
The Verdict: 8.5/10 Really Great
Photo Credit: http://blogs-images.forbes.com/markhughes/files/2014/03/CAPTAIN-AMERICA-75.jpg
"Like" Enter the Movies on Facebook for the latest and greatest on all things movies! OR ELSE FACE THE CONSEQUENCES OF A KILLER RABBIT. Sorry about this one, guys. Not my decision. He volunteered. And is just absolute dynamite!