Friday movie roundup: Howdy, ‘Neighbors’
The first summer weekend between blockbusters — with last weekend’s "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" still mopping up and next week’s "Godzilla" on deck — leaves a space for some counterprogramming.
Like with a really raunchy comedy.
That’s "Neighbors," a funny, scathingly dirty and somewhat sweet comedy about two new parents (Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne) who find that their new next-door neighbor is a loud party-all-night fraternity. A battle of sabotage and pranks ensues, leading to some sharp sight gags and a whole lot of references to marijuana and penises. The jokes are often hilarious, and the movie nicely mines the underlying theme of young marrieds realizing they can’t party ‘til dawn anymore.
The other direction of counterprogramming — family-friendly fare — arrives in two packages. One is "Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return," a depressingly low-rent animated sequel of sorts to "The Wizard of Oz," with Dorothy (voiced by "Glee’s" Lea Michele) venturing back to the Emerald City to thwart the evil Jester (voiced by Martin Short). The other is "Moms’ Night Out," a faith-based comedy about three moms getting out on the town; it was not screened for critics.
The best movie of the week opens at the Broadway Centre Cinemas: "Only Lovers Left Alive," director Jim Jarmusch’s brooding, ultra-cool take on vampires. It centers on two undead lovers — Adam (Tom Hiddleston), a musician in Detroit, and Eve (Tilda Swinton), a world traveler in Tangier — separated by distance but united by love for art and each other. Languidly paced, the movie cares less about plot than the fascinating long lives of these urbane bloodsuckers.
The rest of the art-house slate is less satisfying.
The French road movie "On My Way" is a nice vehicle for Catherine Deneuve, still frisky at 70. She plays a struggling restaurateur who one day hops in her car and just keeps going, finding adventures along the way. The story is spotty, but Deneuve’s ageless charms make the trip worthwhile.
The documentary "Dancing in Jaffa" takes us inside a worthy educational program in the Israeli city of Jaffa: An effort by former ballroom-dance champion Pierre Dulane, a Jaffa native, to teach dance to Jewish and Palestinian children. The film, though, never rises above the merely functional.
The horror thriller "13 Sins" starts out with a cool, attention-grabbing premise, about a mousy salesman (Mark Webber) offered the chance at riches if he performs a series of increasingly nasty tasks. Alas, the movie cops out, trading in suspense for by-the-numbers gore.
Lastly, there’s "Fading Gigolo," in which writer-director John Turturro plays a florist who takes work as a male escort, with his buddy (Woody Allen) as his pimp, er, "manager." Turturro treats the absurd premise is treated with an odd gentility, and the results are flimsy and uninvolving.