April-May Quick Reviews

It’s my favorite time of the year; Summer Movie Season. But before I start cranking out the weekly reviews on the big Summer blockbusters like Spider-Man, there are a few movies I’ve seen that I need to crank out some quick reviews for. Enjoy.

 

Rio 2

ImageNearly everyone is back in this sequel to 2011’s animated hit about two endangered blue macaw’s finding love in vibrant Rio de Janeiro. The film picks up with Blue (Jesse Eisenberg) and Jewel (Anne Hathaway) now raising their three children in the safe confines of a bird sanctuary run by their favorite humans Linda (Leslie Mann) and Tulio (Rodrigo Santoro). A new adventure begins when Linda and Tulio stumble onto a whole world of Amazonian blue macaw’s led by Jewel’s dad, Eduardo (Andy Garcia).

The animation is beautifully vibrant and the music is often as fun as it was in the original. The opening number featuring Janelle Monae is specifically pleasing. But overall this movie comes off bland to even those with the shortest of attention spans. Characters from the original (Will.I.Am’s Pedro, Jamie Foxx’s Nico, Jemaine Clement’s villain Nigel… to name a few) are thrown in with little to no regard to the actual plot, making this movie feel about twenty minutes too long. Then there’s the plot itself; Blue trying to win over his father-in-law’s approval. Not exactly the freshest film concept. It almost feels like they could’ve sent this straight to Redbox with a different voice cast to save on the budget. No one would’ve noticed. FINAL GRADE: C

 

 

Transcendence

ImageJohnny Depp stars as a scientist Will Caster who creates the world’s first super intelligent, somewhat self aware, computer system. When a group of radical anti-techno terrorists assassinate him, Caster’s wife (Rebecca Hall) decides to upload his consciousness into the machine with the help of their friend Max (Paul Bettany). As the super intelligent Will grows, so too do the number of terrorists and government officials who believe that he is a danger to mankind’s existence.

The movie certainly means well and boasts a talented cast that probably had faith in the concept. But it can’t help but come off a bit dull in the end. Other than the three characters mentioned above, no one else, including Morgan Freeman and Cilian Murphy, really gets to do anything. It’s certainly worth viewing, as the movie raises several philosophical questions that certainly make you ponder ideas about human progression, technology, and what it means to be human. But given its cast and budget, its narrative in no way lives up to the potential of its concept. FINAL GRADE: C+

 

 

Neighbors

ImageSeth Rogen stars as Seth Rogen (basically) and is inexplicably married to Rose Byrne. The couple are proud parents of a ridiculously adorable baby girl and have just moved into their first home when they get new neighbors. Hoping for a nice quiet gay couple to move in next door, they are instead bombarded by a college frat, led by Zac Efron and Dave Franco, that just won’t stop partying. After the police are called on the frat, a comedic prank war ensues.

I admittedly thought the movie would be funnier, but in all fairness my expectations were asininely high (blame Bridesmaids and The Hangover Part 1). Many of the funniest scenes are in the trailer, but there are still plenty of surprises to make it worthwhile. Efron, Franco, and their Delta Psi Beta brothers are what make the movie. They’re pretty much hilarious from start to finish, but if you don’t like penis jokes or if you find Seth Rogen annoying then you might want to pass on this one. FINAL GRADE: B

 

 

P.S.

Tis come to my attention that I never clearly personified my grading scale. So, for your convenience and future reference:

A+ : Drop what you’re doing and go watch this movie. Then watch it again. Then buy it when it becomes available to own.

B+ to A- : Fantastic movie. Go see it as soon as possible.

C+ to B: Not bad. Worth seeing at least once, but no rush.

C- to C: Wait for it on Redbox.

D+ or worse: Don’t bother.

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