Neighbors

Touchstone Pictures

Have you seen the video of Benedict Cumberbatch doing impressions of 11 celebrities in under 60 seconds? Of course you have. As our pal Alexander Huls pointed out on Twitter, “What do we love more than celebrities? Celebrities imitating OTHER celebrities!” It is a strange phenomenon, and maybe we have Jimmy Fallon and his talk show to blame. Ellen DeGeneres is guilty, too. And much of it has to do with Saturday Night Live lately, I bet. But really it’s just always been a thing for comedians to do, and then some of those comedians become celebrities themselves (many of them are the butt of other people’s impressions). What’s not quite as common as the talk show appearances, and therefore more interesting, are the celebrity impressions that wind up in movies. They too are performed by celebrities, but in the context of the movies it’s the characters they’re playing that are technically doing the impressions. That means they’re not always very good. Some of the following favorite scenes involve great impersonations and some are downright terrible, yet even the latter are awesome in their hilariously intentional awfulness. For Cumberbatch, his next step is to do something like this. Preferably doing his Alan Rickman as Dr. Strange. 

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Final Destination 3 rollercoaster

High school is a rough time for everybody. There’s piles of homework to get done while having a part time job, dealing with your first relationships and broken hearts, trying to nail down that perfect extracurricular record, wondering if you’re cool enough (or punk enough) and that whole deal where a psychopath killer wants to axe you and everyone you know. Ugh, nobody understands teens. This was covered in The Fault in Our Stars, right? Andrew Jay Cohen and Brendan O’Brien, the writing duo who penned Neighbors, are bringing us a teen horror comedy called Thrill Ride, which Cohen will also direct. In the grandest of traditions, a graduating class of truly atrocious teenagers set off for their Senior Night at an amusement park, which their school has generously rented out for the entire night (mine was at Disneyland, where legend has it some kids dropped acid on the Matterhorn and in a later year an intrepid couple got kicked out for having sex inside the Haunted Mansion). Because the first rule of Senior Night is there are no rules, mayhem reigns and the kids have some good ol’ fashioned fun taking advantage of the park with no lines and nobody telling them what to do. Let’s preface this with the note that the school is inhabited by terrible, ruthless monsters, as in it’s being described as a “particularly cruel high school where bullying has become the norm.” Suddenly, the merriment is over and the kids start dying in a spectacular fashion that becomes more […]

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WE ARE THE BEST discs

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! If you see something you like, click on the title to buy it from Amazon. We Are the Best Three girls form a tight friendship over their shared interest in hairstyles, punk music lyrics and remaining true to themselves in a sea of disco-loving, brightly dressed automatons. Two members of the trio have never even held an instrument before, but their infectious determination drives them forward and helps them navigate the all too recognizable perils of being a twelve to fourteen year old. Lukas Moodysson‘s latest film is an absolute pleasure to watch and experience, a rare treat that fully immerses you in a world that’s foreign yet familiar with its story of the time in our lives when we still believed anything and everything was possible. Watching We Are the Best! is a genuinely positive experience, one that leaves you smiling inside and out even days later as you think back not only on scenes from the film but also to memories of your own life and friends from that magical time of your life. Rob Reiner’s Stand By Me said it best — “I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone?” Turns out that sentiment is the same the world over. [Blu-ray/DVD extras: Making of, featurette, photo gallery, trailer]

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The Maze Runner Last One

Two things struck me while watching The Maze Runner. One is that director Wes Ball definitely nailed his pitch to make “Lord of the Flies meets Lost.” The second is that there are a number of English actors in this movie who speak with an American accent for no discernible reason. This wouldn’t be so weird except that there is one English actor, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, who got to keep his. Well, not exactly his, because he purposefully changed his dialect slightly for the role, but he still got to be the sole English actor on screen who actually sounds English. Except for the one noticeable and unfortunate moment when English actress Kaya Scodelario accidentally lets her American accent slip. That’s when the whole thing started to bother me, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since. The only members of the Maze Runner cast I knew to be English beforehand are Brodie-Sangster and Will Poulter — who does a pretty great job with his speech, I’ll point out. I wasn’t familiar with Scodelario, yet as soon as I heard her mess up, I could tell she wasn’t from the U.S. either. And that immediately took me out of the movie, at least for a brief period. Following the screening, I couldn’t help but look up the rest of the players. One of the other major characters, Alby, is also played by a Brit — Aml Ameen. I believe that’s it (not all the young actors have birthplaces listed on IMDb or […]

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Seth Rogen Neighbors

Nicholas Stoller‘s Neighbors has already made $213m worldwide. That’s an impressive haul, especially considering it only cost $18m to make. That’s a low number for a studio comedy, and there’s a reason for that. If the film had cost more than that, Stoller and producers Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, and James Weaver wouldn’t have been able to make the movie they wanted to make. They had the opportunity to make Neighbors for $36m, but none of them wanted to see the watered down version. “With Neighbors we kind of stopped,” Rogen said recently at the Produced By Conference. “We played the studio game getting all the notes we were getting. We were waiting for a call one day that was suppose to be the call that we’re making the movie, but instead it was a call with more notes. We had a very real moment and asked, ‘Is this what we want to be doing? Is this the process we want to continue on?’” The answer was a resounding no.

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Seth Rogen Produced By Conference

This post is in partnership with Cadillac  Cadillac and the Producers Guild of America recently launched Make Your Mark, a short film competition that challenges producers to create compelling content with limited resources. Contestants will make a short film over a single weekend in late June, and the 30-second Cadillac spot featuring the grand prize winner’s film will air during the 2015 Academy Awards. We caught up with Seth Rogen at the PGA-sponsored Produced By Conference on the Warners lot where he, Evan Goldberg and James Weaver were offering advice that might be useful for aspiring filmmakers planning to enter.

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Neighbors 10

There’s a great jab at Kevin James movies in Neighbors. Seth Rogen‘s character is arguing with his wife, played by Rose Byrne, because he thinks she needs to be the responsible part of their marriage, and he cites the actor’s work comparatively. He’s watched too many movies and TV shows, apparently, in which an idiot male needs to be reigned in by his more rational female partner, and he thinks that’s reality. I’m sure a lot of husbands out there will identify. But Byrne’s character wants to have fun and be a little immature, too. She can be just as foul-mouthed and get just as down and dirty as the boys, and man does she. This break from expectations is one of the reasons Neighbors succeeds as a great work of comedy. It aims to be more realistic and relatable than your average dumb gross-out movie. In particular, there is one recent comedy starring James that relates very much to Neighbors: Grown Ups 2. I didn’t include it on my list of movies to watch after seeing the newer movie, because I don’t want to recommend it (I got enough flack for giving it a non-negative review last year), but it’s probably the movie I thought about most while watching Rogen and Byrne battle a fraternity led by Zac Efron and Dave Franco. Both movies deal with adults in arrested development clashing with young attractive college students. Either one could go by the original title of Neighbors, which was “Townies.” But only one […]

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Neighbors Movie

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Neighbors

The big movie this weekend is Neighbors, starring Zac Efron, Rose Byrne and Seth Rogen. This makes it the perfect time to watch another film called Neighbours, starring two Canadian animators and one particularly pesky yellow flower. After all, they’re basically the same movie. You can also consider it your personal celebration of the National Film Board of Canada, which celebrated its 75th anniversary this week. Norman McLaren‘s Oscar-winning 1952 short is a classic of stop-motion animation. And, like Nicholas Stoller’s new comedy, it is about two next-door neighbors who just can’t get along. The conflict in the new one is a bit more complex, framed as an inter-generational war between a married couple with a young child and a college fraternity. The 1952 Neighbours is just about two nondescript guys, almost exactly alike. They sit next to each other peacefully on their front lawns, reading newspapers that mirror each other. They’re dressed in the same conservative 1950s style. The only significant difference is that one of them has a mustache.

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Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon in The Trip

The best thing about the new comedy Neighbors (as opposed to the old comedies with the same name) is that it’s two movies in one. You’ve got your movie about adults dealing with growing older and having a baby and how the new frat house next door is challenging both their maturity and their patience, and then you’ve got your basic college comedy in which a hotshot frat boy is dealing with his brothers, particularly his best friend, maturing and moving on near the end of their senior year. The latter might seem more derivative, but as one part of the Neighbors whole it works really well. Of course, I still can’t help but focus on those predecessors. Fortunately most frat comedies are terrible and I won’t recommend them. But the obvious best has to be recognized, just in case there are youngsters going to see Seth Rogen and Zac Efron battle it out without having seen the necessary classics. As for the other storyline, it mostly just reminded me of the canceled NBC sitcom Up All Night. The following is a list of strictly movies that I thought of during Neighbors, some because of similar plot tropes and others because of talent involved. I think all of them are worth being familiar with if you’re going to now be familiar with this new movie. As usual, this week’s Movies to Watch list could involve spoilers for the new release, here Neighbors, so only venture forth if you’ve seen it or don’t care.

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Zac Efron and Seth Rogen in NEIGHBORS

Editor’s note: Our review of Neighbors originally ran during this year’s SXSW film festival, but we’re re-running it now as the film opens in theaters. You might expect an R-rated comedy starring Seth Rogen and Zac Efron, directed by the guy who made Forgetting Sarah Marshall and The Five-Year Engagement, to be loose and sloppy, like Rogen’s torso. But Neighbors turns out to be tight and lean and eminently watchable, like Efron’s torso. It’s boisterously funny, yet also focused and perceptive. Who knew a Rogen movie could be all of those things at once? Rogen and the suddenly indispensable Rose Byrne play Mac and Kelly, new parents working through the mixed emotions of loving their adorable baby girl while missing their old, fun lives. After a few lukewarm gags along the usual lines (they want to go to a late-night party but fall asleep instead!), we get to the crux of the matter as a fraternity moves in to the house next door. Under the guidance of dude-bros Teddy (Efron) and Pete (Dave Franco), the frat behaves exactly the way Mac and Kelly were afraid they would, with raucous nightly parties. (For some reason they’re the only neighbors bothered by the noise.) The new situation intensifies Mac and Kelly’s insecurity about becoming grown-ups. They want to be cool, and even more than that, they want to be cool in the eyes of hot college kids (Mac unhesitatingly calls Teddy “the sexiest man I’ve ever seen”). With a joint as a peace […]

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summermovieprediction2

Welcome to week two of our 2014 Summer Box-Office Challenge! Think of it as a summer-long contest for movie-lovers — you’ll make predictions and guesses as to which summer movies will rule the box-office each week, we award points and at the end of the contest the three top point-earners will each win a Blu-ray/DVD prize pack! First place will win ten (10) Blu-ray/DVD titles released throughout the coming summer, second place wins five (5) and third place wins two (2). We’ll have bonus questions each week as well to help bolster your point totals and keep you in the running. The box-office actuals for week one are now in, and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is the #1 film at $91.6m and Walk of Shame earned (far) less than $200k. We’re tracking everyone’s points, but we’ll only be listing the top five players each week. Here are the current top five players. Husain – 9 points AKFilmFan – 7 pts Joe Webb – 2 pts 500 Words – 2 pts Solomon Meyer – 2 pts Please note that this early in the game the vast majority of players have exactly two points, so positions 3-4 are just the players who also came closest in their guesses for question #1. And now it’s on to week two! Check out the challenge questions below and play along in the comments section.

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The Guardians of the Galaxy

The summer season may not be the best time of year for film, but it’s usually the most exciting. 2014’s blockbusting period starts this coming Friday with the release of The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Unsurprisingly, that will be the first and last mention of the film on this list of our most anticipated summer movies. We polled the staff and tallied the votes to determine the ten summer movies we’re most excited about this year, and while some of the results are expected one or two surprises made (or missed) the list, too. Some of the films that came close to making the list but not close enough include the long-awaited adaptation The Giver, the animated sequel How to Train Your Dragon 2, Disney’s Maleficent and Seth MacFarlane’s Ted follow-up A Million Ways to Die in the West. A title that not a single one us picked as one of most anticipated? Transformers: Age of Extinction. I mean seriously… someone even picked Sin City 2 over Michael Bay’s latest. Keep reading to see the ten films that we’re most looking forward to this summer.

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Neighbors

Wholesomeness does not last forever, especially the kind seemingly cooked up in a Disney or Nickelodeon lab somewhere. Plenty of child stars – squeaky clean in their tween years – have fallen from grace in some way or another. Naked pictures! Rehab! Drugs! (Maybe that last one before rehab! Maybe also after, though!) Indie movies! It’s a rough world out there, and it’s hard to stay on the straight and narrow (or the at least overly family-friendly) path for too long. Such is the case with young Zac Efron. The three-time star of the Disney Channel’s hugely popular High School Musical series (a gem of modern kiddie fare, and don’t you ever forget it) has had some, well, troubles. There’s been some drugs. Some rehab. Some getting peed on by Nicole Kidman on screen. There’s been some oat-sowing, okay? But although Efron has made some missteps and mistakes in both his personal and professional lives, but it looks like he might have finally found a way to marry his panache for the bad boy stuff with something that might actually make some damn money. It’s called Neighbors, and you’re not going to be able escape it this time next month. 

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Veronica Mars

We spent an entire week talking about movies at SXSW 2014. Between Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Letterboxd and our published reviews on the very site which you are currently reading, myself and the team of Film School Rejects covered a solid swath of the 130+ feature films that played this past week in Austin, TX. Some of them are still playing (and still to be reviewed, so stay tuned). But those are just the ones that we made it to. Which ones did you, the fans and attendees of SXSW, talk about most? Wonder no further, as the folks from Way to Blue have invested some time and energy into researching the buzz around the 10 most discussed films of this year’s festival. “We’ve broken down not only how many mentions the movies have secured as a result of their screenings at SXSW,” they explain. “But also what proportion of the conversation has resulted in social chatter expressing a desire or excitement to see the films themselves. We call this Intent To View.”

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Neighbors

“Welcome to the darkness, bitches.” Imagine you’re a young professional enjoying life in your picturesque neighborhood with your happy little family. Life’s good – you’re not terribly unhip yet, you’ve got a smoking hot wife, and a newborn baby. But things get upended when the new neighbors you’ve been so anxious to meet and probably make be your news best friends turn out to be the world’s rowdiest fraternity, as is the case in Neighbors (formerly known as Townies), the comedy from Nicholas Stoller (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Get Him to the Greek, The Muppets) about ruining Seth Rogen‘s suburban dreams. Now, if you’re Rogen and wife Rose Byrne, you’re going to do the yuppie thing, which is politely reason with frat leader Zac Efron to stop. And when that doesn’t work, you’re going to start fighting back against all the public sex, raucous parties, literal cannonballs and debauchery with your own shenanigans. Check out the NSFW trailer for yourself:

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Why Watch? Because we’re already afraid of the people next door anyway. The simplicity of this short is in how quickly it can make us wary of the person living next to us. Writer/Directors Stephen Johnson and Robyn Simms have created a delightful little horror story about a serial killer stalking one particular block, a creepy ice tea-stealing asshat, and a sweet old woman just trying to tend to her garden. It’s nothing revolutionary. It just works. Plus, the credits are as cathartic as they come (thanks in part to the smarm of actor Dave Razowsky). Why would anyone want to hurt Marilyn? What Will It Cost? Just 3 minutes of your time. Check out Neighbors for yourself:

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James Cameron is always on the brink of revolution. Really, the dude needs to take a breather. At this year’s CinemaCon, the tech-centric director couldn’t shut up about 3D, faster frame rates and improved camera systems while everyone around him was salivating for a detail or two on his plans for the Avatar sequels. Forget that — there are shutter speeds to be discussed! We’re all about Peter Jackson hyping The Hobbit shooting 48 fps on RED digital 3D and legendary effects guru Douglas Trumbull heading back to directing with a tech-first approach, but at some point, isn’t the equipment standing in the way of great storytelling? We’ll give the benefit of the doubt to these three men, but whether any of their advancements are really “the future of movies,” won’t be known for a few years. Unfortunately, just because you’re brilliant and you say something is awesome…doesn’t mean it’s awesome. Here’s a look back at some of the other “game-changing” inventions that were supposed to change the way we watch movies, but never really picked up steam.

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published: 12.23.2014
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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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