The Movie Snob is sorely disappointed.
Neighbors (D). I knew this was a vulgar, raunchy comedy in the modern vein, but it seemed to be getting good enough reviews to justify a look. Not so! Seth Rogen (This Is the End) and the ubiquitous Rose Byrne (X-Men: First Class) star as a married couple with a new baby who get all discombobulated when the Delta Psi fraternity buys the house next door to theirs. After a reasonably amicable meet-and-greet with the fraternity leader (Zac Efron, The Paperboy), things quickly deteriorate into all-out war between the fraternity and the squares. (Well, except these squares don’t mind drinking, and at least one of them enjoys marijuana. But still, they’re in a war with frat boys, so by definition they must be squares. I mean, they have a baby for crying out loud.) It is, as promised, vulgar from beginning to end, and I laughed very seldom. But I can’t deny that I did laugh once or twice, so it gets a D instead of an F. Take that, Delta Psi!
Mom Under Cover sends us this movie review.
The Internship – B
This buddy movie proves that Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson have a certain chemistry on-screen that was not a fluke (Wedding Crashers). Billy and Nick (Vaughn and Wilson) are forty-something salesmen out of a job because no one wears wrist watches anymore a la Willy Loman. They enroll in the University of Phoenix to qualify as “students” for an internship at Google (which is portrayed as Nirvana). Despite their hilarious interview via Skype, Billy and Nick secure spots as Nooglers. The movie is predictable — the youngsters eschew Billy and Nick, but in the end, the old geezers have something to share with their younger counterparts and are not obsolete after all; the team comes together–Kum-bay-ya. For those of a certain age, Billy and Nick’s ’80s cultural references that fly over the heads of the co-eds are pretty funny. Rose Byrne plays Wilson’s alluring love interest. Will Farrell has a cameo as a mattress salesman that is uncharacteristically flat. Go with low expectations and you will enjoy it.
The Movie Snob declines to be assimilated
X-Men: First Class (B). The Borg Queen panned this movie a few weeks ago (see her review here), but I have to disagree. As everyone knows, this is a prequel about the origins of the mutants and Charles Xavier’s school for same. First, we get a quick look at the childhoods of two of the first mutants, the telepath Charles Xavier (James McAvoy, Becoming Jane) and the metal-manipulating Erik Lensherr a/k/a Magneto (Michael Fassbender, Centurion). Flash forward to the early 1960s, when the CIA becomes aware that sinister forces seem to be driving both the United States and the Soviet Union towards a nuclear confrontation. The ubiquitous Rose Byrne (Bridesmaids) plays the savvy CIA agent who discovers that those sinister forces are evil mutants, and she seeks the aid of Xavier (at first not knowing he is a mutant himself). I was surprised to see that Mystique (played here by Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone) is roughly the same age as Xavier, since she looks much younger than he in the later movies. Anyhoo, I thought the movie was generally a good ride. The X-Men movies in general seem to try harder to get at the humanity beneath the awesome superpowers. The movie has its shortcomings–it’s too long, some of the characters seem to switch sides with little or no motivation, and the Borg Queen is right that there is a gratuitous scene of a bunch of half-naked women. Also, I was annoyed when I sat through all the closing credits to see the usual final scene, only to discover that there wasn’t one. But on the whole the movie was definitely worth watching.
From the desk of The Movie Snob
Bridesmaids (B). The Bleacher Bum gave this comedy a B+ a few weeks ago, and I generally concur in his judgment. There is something sweet and vulnerable about Kristen Wiig (Paul) as she plays Annie, a failed bakery owner and unsuccessful romantic who reacts like a cornered animal when her position as the best friend of the newly engaged Lillian (Maya Rudolph, A Prairie Home Companion) is threatened by the wealthy and gorgeous Helen (Rose Byrne, I Capture the Castle). Jon Hamm (The Town) is hilariously loathsome as Annie’s pseudo-boyfriend, as is Melissa McCarthy (Pumpkin) as the overweight, let-it-all-hang-out sister of Lillian’s fiance. There is one gross-out scene that you shouldn’t watch if you have a phobia about vomiting, and125 minutes got a little long, but on the whole I enjoyed it.
From the desk of The Movie Snob
Get Him to the Greek (D). I know, I should have listened to That Guy Named David and skipped this movie. But I saw a decent review. Then I read that it features Rose Byrne (I Capture the Castle) as a pop diva, and I kind of like her. So I gave it a shot. To be sure, I did laugh a few times. But the film is wildly uneven in tone. The comic side involves the trials and travails of a nerdy record-company employee (Jonah Hill, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian) as he tries to escort a washed-up British rock star (Russell Brand, Forgetting Sarah Marshall) from London to L.A. within 72 hours (in time for a big comeback concert). But there is a lot of somber, dark stuff about drug addiction and romantic betrayal too, which makes you not want to laugh when the movie tries to turn funny again. Also, like most or all of these Judd Apatow productions, this movie is stuffed to the gills with vulgar language and sexual perversions of various kinds, so probably no one really ought to watch it. Unlike That Guy Named David, though, I did like Sean Combs as the over-the-top record-company president or whatever he was. I take it Mr. Combs is a person of some note in the music industry in real life?
DVD review from The Movie Snob
Troy (B). I saw this movie once back when in was in the theaters, and I bought the DVD not too long after it came out, but I only recently got around to watching it. Clocking in at 2 hours and 43 minutes, it’s barely shorter than the Trojan War itself! (Especially as portrayed in the movie, in which the War seems to take about two weeks after the Greeks arrive on the shores of windy Ilion.) I like the movie, despite its many obvious departures from the Iliad. Brad Pitt (Babel) makes a brooding Achilles, Eric Bana (Star Trek) is an admirable Hector, and Peter O’Toole (Stardust) is pitiable as aging King Priam, ever-trusting that the gods will reward him for his piety. Chief among the film’s demerits is the goofy love story between Achilles and the captured Trojan priestess Briseis (Rose Byrne, I Capture the Castle). But if you like swords-and-sandals epics, I don’t see how you could fail to like Troy.
Nick at Nite and The Movie Snob sound off on Sunshine.
Nick at Nite: If you are not a science fiction fan or a particularly ardent supporter of Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire), you may want to stay away from this one. However, if you can get past the repeated blinding shots of the sun – the shots that make you feel like you are inside a microwave oven looking out the glass into the kitchen – and set aside your “that doesn’t pass the smell test” attitude, you are likely to enjoy this movie. Danny Boyle, the director of Trainspotting and 28 Days Later, brings us this science fiction disaster flick that is part 2001: A Space Odyssey (art house) and part Deep Impact/Armageddon (popcorn movie). The movie is set fifty years in the future, when our sun is dying and the planet is freezing. A spaceship is sent to the sun to deliver a payload intended to recharge it (I think it is a big bomb). Things run amok for the crew of the spaceship when it receives a distress signal from another spaceship that was assumed lost after failing to complete an identical mission seven years earlier. There are a series of interesting plot twists and some really cool special effects. This is the critical point – DO NOT GO SEE THIS MOVIE IF – when you leave a movie like Superman, Star Wars, or The Princess Diaries and say to yourself “there is no way that could ever happen” and as a result you don’t like it. It is a SCIENCE FICTION film. If you want to see SCIENCE REALITY, go see March of the Penguins or one of Al Gore’s power point presentations. I give this an “A-.”
Movie Snob: I could not suspend disbelief at the end of the movie, so I did not like Sunshine nearly as well as Nick did. That said, the first two-thirds of the movie are an effective blend of 2001 and Armageddon, with hints of Alien and Solaris thrown in for good measure. The special effects are pretty darned good, with lots of impressive shots of this massive heat shield being pushed straight into the sun by a long spindly spaceship that looks sort of like the one from 2001. The acting isn’t bad, with a crew of astronauts getting pushed to its limits by the strain of a long, desperate voyage that is likely a suicide mission to boot. And it’s always nice to see Rose Byrne (I Capture the Castle, Troy) working, even if she is not at all dolled up for the part. I give it a C.