Bad Neighbors

Recently I had the opportunity to sit through Neighbors.

Neighbors

 

Neighbors (2014) – Rated R

A couple with a newborn baby face unexpected difficulties after they are forced to live next to a fraternity house.”

Do you think maybe we’ve gone too far? I’m a child of divorce and I sympathize with them.” – “My parents love each other, and I think it’s hilarious.” (one of the few printable lines in the movie)

I am not a huge fan of gross-out comedy. That does not mean I don’t enjoy it – simply that it is not one of my chosen genres. I have enjoyed a number of Seth Rogen’s forays. This was not one of those forays.

There were only a dozen or so people in the audience and often a comedy needs a good house to generate laughter. No one laughed during the entire film and it remained silent as the patrons exited. I found several of the jokes amusing but most fell very flat.

There were some nice life lessons that, had they been handled better, would have been great. As it was Mac (Seth Rogen) & Kelly’s (Rose Byrne) aging out of the college group is stated more than demonstrated. Expected hijinks ensued but nothing was terribly original nor was there any particular logic in the script. Characters were ridiculously inconsistent.

The entire movie contained less gags than the trailer for A Million Ways to Die in the West.

Iron Contracted Insidious Sky Chapter 2 – Director’s Cut

Contracted, Insidious Chapter 2, and Iron Sky – Director’s Cut are currently available on instant Netflix

Contracted

 

Contracted (2013) – Not rated

After a one-night-stand, a young woman becomes alarmingly ill — but what she thinks is a sexually transmitted disease turns out to be far worse.”

Okay umm so Netflix is using ‘one night stand’ as a euphemism for date rape. This is a low-budget chiller with a unique way of looking at a premise. There is very little violence and when it comes, it actually struck me as Pythonesque. There are some lapses in logic but luckily they are attributed to characters who have reason to have their logic impaired.

Contracted is an interesting, low-key story told from a good viewpoint.

Insidious 2

 

Insidious Chapter 2 (2013) – Rated PG-13

While the Lambert family struggles to overcome their son’s recent battle with evil spirits, father Josh must confront his own horrifying childhood.

Well the whole Chapter thing implies that there are going to be a string of these. I was not a big fan of Insidious. I though it was okay and well-shot but rather derivative.

I really enjoyed Insidious 2 which makes me want to go back and rewatch the original. Insidious 2 begins, as many sequels do, by showing us something we didn’t know about the past of one of our characters. Insidious 2 deftly weaves a main storyline with a series of flashbacks fleshing out a story of possession.

The first half of the film features all kinds of mysterious happenings (as opposed to the Paranormal series which seems to use the first half to sell more snacks and permit bathroom breaks). The second half picks up a lot of speed as we switch back and forth between locales. Almost none of the scares were of the cheap variety and there is a fair amount of atmosphere.

The family is very sympathetic. The researchers are nerdy but not overly annoying. The threat is gradually revealed in a very interesting manner. I suppose the only thing disappointing was the third act, which fell in line with the film’s PG-13 sensibilities.

Iron Sky

Iron Sky – Director’s Cut (2013) – Not rated

Okay I am a sucker for movies where Nazis are the bad guy. I love Dead Snow, The Boys from Brazil, Outpost, even the super-cheezy Shock Waves. On the other hand I’m not completely blind – Blood Creek was a ridiculous mess in spite of the sublime Michael Fassbender and Outpost: Black Sun clearly didn’t understand what made Outpost so much fun.

Iron Sky treads the middle ground. It is quite ludicrous (in a good way) but also tasteless (not in a good way). It is funny enough to be amusing (Nazi base on the far side of the moon) but many of the jokes fall flat (a faux President Palin) and some dip into the offensive (albinoing an African-American astronaut). I found Iron Sky to be worth a watch but only just.

Now Netflix advertises the director’s cut of Iron Sky as an exclusive. It is 18 minutes longer so there is substantially more goofiness on display.