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Reviews: ‘Neighbors 2’ Moves In A Better Script



Neighbors 2

[dropcap]N[/dropcap]eighbors 2 is yet another entry in Seth Rogen’s I’m-turning-into-an-old-stoner series of comedies. The previous Neighbors attempted to find some perspective in the match-up of the party frat boys versus the new parents.

Neighbors 2

Those abs are totally real.

With the previous picture, I wasn’t all that impressed by director Nicholas Stoller’s method of using slapstick, weed jokes and bodily functions to find the humorous side of growing distant from the college crowd. It also didn’t help that Rogen’s brand of dude-bro humor is starting to age and not as gracefully as he may believe.

So I was already rolling my eyes when Neighbors 2 came to be as it first appeared as a retread. There’s a new group of college kids next door and a new child on the way for our stoner parents. And when the movie began with puking during sex, I was not looking forward to what would follow.

But just as I was about to sling my arrows at Rogen’s comedy, almost out of necessity so that he won’t represent my generation with his antics, something odd took shape on screen. There was character development. There was a message. There was actual intelligence behind the comedy this time around. This couldn’t be the sequel to Neighbors, could it?

I don’t know what Rogen was smoking when he wrote this, but he must have stumbled onto the improved-screenwriting batch of hash. He put down his desire to overuse the exploding airbag gag that he ran into the ground with the first movie. He chose to do something with the pompous frat boy character played by Zac Efron instead of just giving him a pointless cameo. And the female sorority that moves in next door isn’t just a retread of the same college hi-jinks. For once, Rogen’s comedy of weed, poop and puke has a point.

Neighbors 2

Run, Rogen, run!

What’s most impressive is that there’s more perspective to this battle of generations than just the good-natured parents versus the nasty party kids. Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne) are struggling to sell their house with a second child on the way. At the same time, a pack of college girls led by the rebellious Shelby (Chloe Grace Moretz) have moved into the house next door, seeking to go rogue from the strict rules of campus sororities.

Mac and Kelly have a month to sell the house. Shelby needs to raise rent by the end of the month. Mac and Kelly need to keep their neighborhood looking pleasing for buyers. Shelby needs to hold fundraising parties to keep her house. And the battle begins for who can keep or sell their house amid a war of pranks and parties.

Caught between sides is the former frat house leader turned retail slave, Teddy (Zac Efron). He finds himself being left behind as he refused to focus on his career or build relationships after college. Despite his still muscular figure, he has grown old and has yet to mature or find his place in the world when the party had died down. This is a character that could have merely been reduced to a cameo role to aid either side in the war of neighbors. But instead of playing such a small part, Teddy actually ends up being the most interesting character with his transition from frat boy to adult – an aspect rarely touched upon in these weed-bro comedies.

I was even amazed at how well Rogen and Byrne have grown into their characters of new parents still fretting over making the right decisions. They make mistakes, stammer for the right words and have great chemistry together. Some of their mistakes actually seem more believable than cartoonish as when they mistakenly end up in escrow because they haven’t thought their housing plan through. And, yes, even their enemy Shelby and her gaggle of bad girls have a sense of purpose. They’re fed up with the old ways of college and desperately want to be taken seriously as real women, willing to do anything to keep their freedom and feminism alive.

Neighbors 2

Are we actually becoming good parents?

Could this be Seth Rogen’s comedic masterpiece of his career? Well, let’s not go that far. I guess I’m just so relieved to see a comedy involving real characters to care about while still trying to be crude. Imagine that – characters that are not as vile as their jokes. I thought the sky was falling to see such a picture from the pen of Rogen.

Read more to hear about the one serious miscast:

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Movie Magic: The De-Aging Technique of The Irishman




Have you read Izzy yet? If so, you know that Izzy makes the apples that give the Gods their youth and immortality. It also seems Robert De Niro discovered one of Izzy’s apples too… In Martin Scorsese’s upcoming biographical film, he stars as Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran, a labor union leader and alleged hitman for the Bufalino crime family. The trailer for the movie, which will premieres NEXT WEEK (!), also features a “de-aged” De Niro. “We’re so used to watching them as the older faces,” Scorsese said in an interview on the A24 podcast. “Does it change the eyes at all? …If that’s the case, what was in the eyes that I liked? Was it intensity? Was it gravitas? Was it threat?…How do we get that? I don’t know.” Some might consider this magic and I for one can’t wait to see the impact of Izzy’s apples on screen for myself. 😉

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Movie News

“Captain Marvel” Retains Top Slot at the Box Office



It’s no surprise that in its second weekend, the first Marvel Cinematic Universe of 2019 is still riding high. Captain Marvel, the latest in the MCU with Brie Larson starring as the lead, generated another $69 million over the weekend, placing its domestic total at $266 million. Tallying up the international box office, the film’s global total to date is $760 million. Despite the online controversy, the film is looking to be another strong box office smash for Disney and Marvel.

As for the premieres for the weekend, and there were plenty, they were all over the map. Just below Captain Marvel was the animated adventure Wonder Park, bringing in $16 million, another film with controversy when the director’s name was removed from the picture after sexual harassment charges. Five Feet Apart, the dying teen drama about a romance amid cystic fibrosis, only came in at #3 with a weekend gross of $13 million. And debuting the lowest in the top 10 for debuts was Captive State, a sci-fi dystopian tale, only making $3 million. The film debuted so low the little film No Manches Frida 2 was able to sneak about it at #6 with a gross of $3.8 million.

Drops were fairly low all around for the returning films, mostly because Captain Marvel was dominating the previous weekend. The only milestone worth noting is that The LEGO Movie 2, after six weeks at the box office, finally cracked $100 million. And the sun is now setting on Green Book’s post-Oscar run by coming in at #10 for the final weekend of its top 10 run over the past few weeks.

View the full top ten weekend box office results below:

Captain Marvel ($69,318,000)

Wonder Park ($16,000,000)

Five Feet Apart ($13,150,000)

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World ($9,345,000)

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral ($8,085,000)

No Manches Frida 2 ($3,894,000)

Captive State ($3,163,000)

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part ($2,135,000)

Alita: Battle Angel ($1,900,000)

Green Book ($1,277,000)

Next weekend, Captain Marvel may very well have some competition when Jordan Peele’s new horror film Us hits over 3,600 theaters.

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Movie News

“Dragon” Continues To Soar, “Funeral” Close Behind, “Green Book” Back



With little competition for the weekend, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, the third in the animated fantasy saga, was able to secure the box office once more. In its second weekend, the animated epic made $30 million to push its domestic total to $97 million. So far the film has done about the same as the previous film and is on track to stay in the top 10 for a few more weeks in March.

Debuts this weekend were small with one big exception. Tyler Perry’s latest Madea film, A Madea Family Funeral, naturally made a relatively big splash with its dedicated audience. Starting at #2, the film made $27 million for its first weekend. No word on the budget yet but it’s most likely on a budget as most Tyler Perry productions are, so it’s safe to call this a success, especially for debuting with a box office so close to Dragon.

The rest of the premieres were not as strong at all. Greta, the new thriller starring Chloe Moretz, debuted all the way down at #8 with $4.5 million box office. To be fair, however, the film was in a constant battle for its spot as three other films also reported earnings around $4 million for the weekend. Of note, Green Book, fresh off winning the Academy Award for Best Picture one weekend ago, splashed back into more theaters to arise even higher in the top 10 with its domestic total now sitting at $73 million. Don’t count on it remaining there long as bigger blockbusters will be swooping as we plow through the last remnants of winter movies.

Check out the full listing of the top 10 box office weekend results below:

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World ($30,046,000)

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral ($27,050,000)

Alita: Battle Angel ($7,000,000)

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part ($6,615,000)

Green Book ($4,711,000)

Fighting With My Family ($4,691,284)

Isn’t it Romantic ($4,645,000)

Greta ($4,585,000)

What Men Want ($2,700,000)

Happy Death Day 2U ($2,516,000)

Next weekend is once again all about Marvel as their latest superhero solo film, Captain Marvel, will be appearing in 4,100 theaters.

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