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Archives for : Seth Rogen

Movie Review: “Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising” Provides Solid Jokes in a Lackluster Story

Oh sequels…rarely are they ever better than the first.  And sadly, “Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising” falls right into this stereotype.
 
After loving “Neighbors,” it pains me to say that this sequel didn’t deliver the way I’d hoped. The first film was more than just a hilarious comedy. There was originality and relevance to the plot. New parents struggled to stay hip and young while maintaining adulthood. Young frat boys struggled to grow up and prepare for the real world. All this plus some of the best slapstick comedy I’ve seen in years.  Unfortunately, “Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising” basically uses the same template, but just switches a few things so that it may not be completely obvious that they are recycling material.
 
In “Neighbors 2” Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne) have just found out they are pregnant with a second child. With the new baby on the way they decide to move to a better home. They soon buy a new house, and though they’ve got interested buyers for their old house, they must wait 30 days until deal is final. This allows the buyers to come by whenever they like and make sure everything with their potential new home is fine.
Seeing as the house next door has been empty since they got rid of the fraternity that lived there in the last film, there should be no problem…Oh but, wait!
 
Meet our new group of troublemakers: Shelby (Chloe Grace Moretz), Beth (Kiersey Clemons), and Nora (Beanie Feldstein). All three of these girls had planned to pledge an existing sorority. But when they find out that under national Greek rules sororities can’t throw parties and the all frat parties are sexist and degrading, they decide to create their own female empowered sorority! With the help of a former frat brother, Teddy Sanders (Zac Efron), these girls find their new home right next to Mac and Kelly.
 

As the girls begin to throw loud parties, Mac and Kelly think of new ways to once again get rid of their neighbors, essentially leading to the same plot.

Of course this time around with it being girls, we get to see how women handle a take down. This includes one of the most disgusting scenes involving used tampons.

To be fair, “Neighbors 2” has plenty of laughs, mostly thanks to Zac Efron. But it’s hardly enough to disguise a weak plot and a handful of forced jokes. At least in the previous film, I liked the fraternity. At some points I even rooted for them to succeed. They were funny and enjoyable to watch, which is the complete opposite of this group of girls. As talented as Chloe Grace Moretz is, this character had to be one of her worst. She comes off as a ditz, annoying, and unlikable. I would have much rather seen more of Teddy’s old frat brothers, Pete (Dave Franco), Garf (Jerrod Carmichael) and Scoonie (Christopher Mintz-Plasse). It’s a shame we only get a brief “where are they now” moment with these guys.
 
Though there is a clear attempt at making this story different with a solid, original conclusion, you can’t help but just wish they had refrained from ever making this unnecessary sequel.

Rating: 2.5/5

“Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising” Trailer HD

Movie Review: “Steve Jobs” is a Fascinating Character Study

In 2013 we were subjected to a Steve Jobs biopic that offered no real emotion, a sloppy story line, and an underwhelming performance by Ashton Kutcher.  Two years later, we can wash that bad taste out of our mouths as Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours) and Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network, Moneyball) have treated us to a captivating film with a brilliant script.

Let’s be frank.  This film was going to be better than that first attempt of Steve Jobs’ story by default.  This cast, this director, and this screenwriter already had the upper hand.  Fortunately, the talented combination delivered.

Steve Jobs is set in three acts; each containing a few necessary flashbacks built around Jobs’ (Michael Fassbender) first three big product unveilings.  Essentially, we are seeing three days in his life spread out over 14 years.  Adding to the authenticity of the movie, each day is filmed using the technology of that specific time period.

In each of the three acts, Jobs has what seems to be some of the most pivotal and confrontational conversations with the same five important people: His PR person (Kate Winslet), Steve Wozniak (Seth Rogen), Andy Hertzfeld (Michael Stuhlbarg), John Sculley (Jeff Daniels), and his daughter.  All of which are equally captivating.  Within these fast-paced moving acts, we get emotionally invested in all these characters, including Jobs.  Oddly enough, you can’t help but root for all them even though at times they are on opposing sides.  Though all his relationships were enthralling, I mostly enjoyed watching Jobs’ development with his daughter, who was played by three different actresses (Makenzie Moss, Ripley Sobo, and Perla Haney-Jardine).  It’s touching to see the gradual transformation of Steve Jobs, as he first goes from denying any paternal role to eventually proving just how much he cares for his daughter.

The acting is superb.  Michael Fassbender gives a mesmerizing performance as Steve Jobs, and Seth Rogen is no laughing matter as he succeeds to show off a more serious side as “Woz.”

It’s a film that will make you feel as though we have been given an inside look into three of the most significant moments of Jobs’ life.  This is how Steve Jobs’ story should be told.

Rating: 4/5

Steve Jobs opens in theaters October 16.

“Steve Jobs” Official Trailer HD

Movie Review: “Neighbors” is One of the Most Hilarious Comedies of the Year

It is Rogen verses Efron.  And in this battle, we, the audience are the winners.

After his let down performance in That Awkward Moment, I was a bit wary when walking into this film.  I wasn’t sure if Efron could compete with Rogen in the “real” battle at hand.  Which star can generate more laughs?  And would Zac Efron offer more to the story than just his chiseled abs and deep blue eyes?  Well folks, I’m here to tell you that Zac Efron not only proves himself as a genuine comedic actor, he is also able to hold his own against Seth Rogen.  At times, he is even funnier than the Knocked Up star himself.

The more I think about this movie, the more I appreciate the whole premise.  Such a simple idea/nightmare has made for a truly fantastic laugh out loud comedy.

Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly Radner (Rose Byrne) have just moved into the perfect home with their beautiful new born baby.  Kelly is a stay at home mom who gets to spend all day with baby Stella.  Mac works a 9-5 desk job that he tries to endure with a little bit of help from “Mary Jane.”  Their days are starting to feel routine, and they are unable to go out because of the baby.  It’s beginning to feel stagnant for the new parents.  But all that changes when we hear the sound of the boisterous fraternity that has moved in next door.  In hopes of keeping this a quiet neighborhood for their little girl, the couple head to the frat’s first rowdy party.  What was supposed to be a quick noise complaint visit turned into a refreshing night out for Mac and Kelly.  And after having what will probably be remembered as the best debate over “who is Batman,” Teddy and Mac form a bond and an understanding of trust is made.  Unfortunately that trust is broken within 24 hours, and leads to an epic war between the two houses.

It is hard to even pick a side because both leaders of the house are written as such likeable characters.  On one hand, you have a new father trying to prove to his wife and himself that he can handle being the responsible one, while still being cool.  Then you have the devoted frat president who spends way too much time partying, and caring about the mark he leaves behind in his brotherhood rather than thinking about the real world that is ahead of him.

Neighbors is not just carried by their two stars.  This film has a strong supporting comedic cast filled with even better cameos.  Rose Byrne is the perfect mix of wit and wholesome beauty.  Dave Franco plays Teddy’s Vice President, Pete, and shares great chemistry with his fraternity brother.  Young Franco is easily following in the footsteps of his talented, successful older brother; and I look forward to seeing him in many more projects, hopefully in leading roles.   A shout out also goes to The Mindy Project’s co-writer and cast member, Ike Barinholtz.  Like on his sitcom, Barinholtz’s role as Rogen’s best friend may not be huge, but produces enough chuckles to make him memorable.

What is most satisfying about Neighbors is how it is more than just a hilarious slapstick comedy.  There is heart and a sense of authenticity.  A lot of us are afraid to grow up. It can feel as though we will be missing out on “the party,” when in reality, your life and how you choose to live it can be the most legendary party that never ends.

Rating: 4/5

Neighbors hits theaters May 9.

Neighbors Official Trailer HD

Originally posted on RedCarpetCrash.com

Special Features: REEL TALK

REEL TALK is a show that highlights today’s hottest films.  This is third episode which originally aired on Irving Community Television (ICTN)

This episode includes interviews with some of the stars from Instructions Not Included, Jobs, and This is the End.  Plus previews of The Ultimate Life, Short Term 12, and Don Jon.

Click Here to Watch REEL TALK Episode 3

reel talk 3

Movie Review: This is the End & Man of Steel

Last week I got watch the two films I’m sure are at the top of everyone’s summer must see list.  One of these movies soared into heaven, while the other didn’t fly quite as high.

Lets start with the film that marks the directorial debut of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, This is the End.  The film is based off a short that Rogen had made with fellow cast member, Jay Baruchel, Jay and Seth Versus the Apocalypse.  The premise is simple. During a party at James Franco’s house, the Apocalypse strikes and only the good ascend to heaven. Most of the Hollywood stars drop straight to hell within the first 20 minutes, leaving only six of them to try and stay alive.  If they are good enough and prove to be selfless, they still have a chance at that golden ticket into heaven.

The most unique factor in this film and the biggest risk, is the fact that all these actors are playing selfish, versions of themselves.  I wasn’t sure how this would play out or if it would even be that funny.  But I was so happy my doubts were wrong.  This movie was HILARIOUS!  And is now officially right up there with Goldberg and Rogen’s other classics, Superbad and Pineapple Express.  The constant jabs that these actors make at each other, and the real chemistry that this cast has is what makes them so enjoyable to watch.  Like we’re getting a glimpse of a warped friendship.  All six contribute to laugh out loud moments, but I have to say Craig Robinson really stood out for me in this film.  Maybe it’s because we don’t usually get to see Robinson in lead roles, or maybe its because I’m still missing anything related to The Office.

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I do think most everyone will enjoy the film and leave with many quotable lines.  I only like to give a heads up to audiences, if you don’t care for these actors already or you’re not a fan of really dry and crude humor; then this will not be the film for you.  Otherwise, purchase that ticket and get ready to laugh!

Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen made a red carpet appearance in Dallas at the Northpark Mall to promote the film and they were a blast to interview!  Click on the link below to watch.

This Is The End; a red carpet interview with Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen

One of the most anticipated films of the year, Man of Steel, finally hit theaters.  From the moment I heard Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer were behind the story idea for the film, I was convinced it would be better than The Dark Knight trilogy.  I am also a little bias, considering Superman is my all time favorite superhero.  Either way, my first advice to audiences (especially hard core Superman fans) is don’t go in with high expectations.

It pains me to say I was disappointed with this movie.  Don’t get me wrong the film wasn’t by any means “Bad.”  And to say it was better than the 2006, Bryan Singer film, Superman Returns, would be an understatement.

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I hope everyone knows the story of Superman before going into this film.   Man of Steel‘s main goal was to tell a version  that we hadn’t seen before.  And I will say they achieved that goal.  I just cant say that this was a version I wanted to see.  I get that they were wanting to make up for the lack of action in Superman Returns, cause there was more than enough action for both films.  But in doing so, there is a serious lack of character development with the supporting actors which led to not caring about most of them.  The film’s main focus was the battle between the infamous, General Zod and Superman.  And when I say battle, I mean BATTLE.  There are so many fight scenes between the two, that I just remember it all blurred together as one giant fight that lasts for the entire second half of the film.  As I’m sure you guys have read on other sites, there are many things in the movie that don’t follow the original story.  But what kills me the most is the relationship between Lois and Clark.  I’m not saying we need their love story to play a huge part.  But it certainly didn’t need to be rushed and not have any real growth.

There is still some really good parts to Man of Steel.  The flashbacks of Clark growing up and learning how to control his powers were by far my favorite parts of the film.  Though they may be redundant to people who have seen this story many times, they are necessary for us to connect to Superman on the human level.  I did like the dark tone of the film.  The casting was great, and all the actors owned their roles, especially Amy Adams.  I just wish that for someone who had tried out for Lois Lane three times, she could have gotten to exude more of Lois’ fiercely/fun side which I know Adam’s would have nailed.  Instead we got a seriously good, “Pulitzer Prize winning reporter.”

Having said all this, I still recommend audiences go watch the movie and get their own opinion.  I know a big part of my let down was that I had predetermined what I was about to see.  I’m actually thrilled it did so well in the box office, and I am really looking forward to a sequel.  There’s a lot they didn’t cover in this film and knowing now how they are telling the story, a sequel will be much more enjoyable.  I guess I will always root for Superman no matter what the circumstances.  And hey, I do love this trailer!

Man of Steel – Official Trailer HD