The Greatest Showman Movie Review

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Hugh Jackman stars in The Greatest Showman as P.T. Barnum, the man who starts the circus now known as the Ringling Bros Barnum and Bailey Circus.

As Barnum sets up his circus he must contend with bigotry and family drama that threatens to upset his career and his marriage.

The plot of the movie is fairly predictable for a musical and even more so given the source material. It comes as no surprise that Barnum’s circus is successful.

The weak plot leaves the enjoyment of the movie not in the story but in the storytelling. How good are the songs, the dances, the costumes, and the acting?

Simple answer, marvelous! I loved The Greatest Showman! Continue reading

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Neighbors 2 Review

Neighbors 2

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising is the latest comedy directed by Nicholas Stoller who had been involved in a fair number of modern comedies including Forgetting Sarah Marshall, The Five Year Engagement, and the more recent Muppet movies.

Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne, and Zac Efron reprise their roles from the first Neighbors movie as Mac, Kelly, and Teddy respectively. A couple of the side characters return as well but who cares about them?

The fraternity from the last movie has sold their house and moved on. Mac and Kelly are getting ready to sell their place to upgrade for more acreage or something (the reason is never really stated).

They have a buyer and they enter the closing period of escrow when suddenly a sorority moves in next door in the fraternity’s old house!

The reason for the sorority’s existence is a rather nice critique on the Greek system which I will attempt to explain.

Good sororities are almost always a part of the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC). Membership in NPC comes with lots of support, but also lots of rules.

These rules happen to be a bit… sexist. Sororities are not allowed to throw parties or have alcohol in their houses. To get those things they have to go to fraternities.

And as the movie shows, fraternities can have a rapey atmosphere at their parties.

In Neighbors 2, a girl named Shelby decides to buck the system by forming an independent sorority along with her two friends, Nora and Beth.

Having a sorority next door threatens the closing of the sale for Mac and Kelly so naturally a prank war begins just like in the first Neighbors.

It’s a traditional and predictable comedy so at the end everyone has a happy ever after. I won’t spoil more than that.

There’s plenty of good jokes and funny scenes. There might not be a romantic subplot, but it’s a blast.

If you’ve seen Nicholas Stoller’s other stuff I think you’ll like Neighbors 2. If you haven’t seen any of his movies then you should get out from under your rock and go see Neighbors 2.

My favorite part was how the movie approached the sorority girls’ unique brand of feminism.

It’s less socially acceptable for women to do drugs, be gross, and make jokes than men. Instead women are encouraged to be dainty, polite, and out of sight.

The characters in Neighbors 2 directly challenge that stereotype. They smoke and sell pot. They don’t dress up for men and they joke about how they look fabulous with Cheetos in their hair. They throw used tampons at Mac and Kelly’s windows and laugh when it’s suggested that a used tampon is any different than the used condoms that were thrown around in Neighbors 1.

Best of all, Shelby, Nora, and Beth also accept women who don’t want to challenge the American stereotype of what a sorority girl is. If you want to be pretty and polite, that’s fine too.

So if you’re looking for a movie with a strong feminist message or just for some laughs, Neighbors 2 is right for you!

-GoCorral

Dirty Grandpa Movie Review

Dirty Grandpa

If you’re into comedies where most of the jokes are attacks on Zac Efron’s masculinity then Dirty Grandpa is the movie for you.

Quick plot rundown, Efron plays Jason who has to escort his grandpa Dick, played by Robert De Niro, to a vacation in Florida.

Jason is a lawyer about to be married to his trophy wife fiancee, Meredith. Dick’s wife just died after a decade long fight with cancer.

The one thing on Dick’s mind after being faithful to his wife through ten years of serious illness is, you guessed it, having sex. (Really subtle naming of that character…)

Jason is forced into a wingman position as his grandpa tries to get in bed with a college girl.

Along the way Jason realizes his fiancee is a horrible person and he rediscovers his love of photography.

So the plot is pretty much what you’d expect if you saw the trailer. Shockingly the plot follows Campbell’s Hero’s Journey almost exactly but the doesn’t save the movie from the abyss it falls into.

What about the basic ingredients of comedy? The jokes and the laughs?

There isn’t much.

There are a lot of insults lobbed at Jason as he is the straight man. Most of those fall flat.

Dick’s physical abuse of Jason becomes a running joke. Why the writers thought that was funny enough to make a repeated joke, I don’t know. There’s no slapstick to it. It’s just a grandfather attacking his grandson because he thinks it’s funny.

The funniest moments centered on the unashamed lust shared between Dick and the college girl, Lenore, played by Aubrey Plaza. Everything else was pretty much just vulgarity masquerading as humor.

When I don’t like a movie I try to think who would like it. That’s a hard task with Dirty Grandpa. I’m a fan of South Park which is about as vulgar as it gets and I still hated this movie.

So should you see it? Absolutely not. Too much disgusting nudity, not enough real jokes, and stilted character development makes this one of the worst movies I’ve seen. If you’re going to the theaters see something else instead.

-GoCorral

We Are Your Friends Movie Review

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My wife and I went to see We Are Your Friends last weekend. The movie title was often abbreviated as WAYF in the trailers.

My wife and I were excited to see WAYF for two reasons. 1. We’ve been fans of Zac Efron since High School Musical 3 came out because the movie parallels our lives. Zac Efron plays, Cole, the lead in WAYF. 2. My wife and I watch the TV show, Catfish. The deuteragonist of Catfish, Max Joseph, directed WAYF. Going into the theater we already had two big names pulling us in.

The trailers for the movie don’t tell you much about the plot, so I’ll have to fill you in.

Cole is an aspiring DJ who lives in San Fernando Valley, just outside of LA. He and his poor friends want to make it big, but they’re clueless on how to do that.

Cole meets James Reed at a club. James is a DJ who made it big. He takes Cole on as an apprentice.

Cole becomes attracted to James’s assistant, Sophie, whom James is sleeping with. Drama ensues and that’s the movie.

My overall impression of the movie was very good.

The music is decent. It’s not the genre of music I’m usually into so I can’t be a good judge of it.

The directing/acting was amazing. The characters do start to feel like real people with real reactions to their situations.

The cinematography is stellar. Every shot has a purpose in the movie and either looks beautiful or looks distorted due to some of the drugs that Cole has taken.

Which brings me to the large amount of drugs, tobacco, and alcohol the characters use in practically every scene. The only times they aren’t using something is when they’re hungover.

This may be an accurate portrayal of the characters’ life styles, but it was so far removed from my own that I didn’t really sympathize with the main characters.

The movie also had some cool animation sequences to go along with the drugs. Those parts were “trippy” as expected.

The crowd for the movie was interesting as well. We got there on opening night and only about fifteen people were in the theater. I’d expected way more!

The crowd was pleased when Cole said he’d gotten an scholarship to UC Davis for running track, but he hadn’t taken it. Woohoo! Davis!

Anyways, the movie is good drama in my mind, but judging by the crowds (and other reviews I’ve read), other people might not think so. I’d recommend it for anybody looking for a good stressful drama movie. Or if you want to know what taking PCP might look like. Either way is fine.

-GoCorral