John Hanlon Reviews

Film Reviews

Neighbors 2 Review

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising

Genre: Comedy

Director: Nicholas Stoller

Cast: Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, Rose Byrne, Chloë Grace Moretz, Dave Franco, Ike Barinholtz, Carla Gallo, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Kiersey Clemons, Beanie Feldstein

MPAA-Rating: R

Release Date: May 20th, 2016

Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling’s latest comedy isn’t scoring big numbers at the box office but it has become a critical darling. In fact, visit web The Nice Guys reviews are extremely positive with the film receiving much praise for its two lead actors. Set in the late 1970s, here the film features the two main characters investigating the disappearance of a young adult film actress (who reportedly died in a car accident).

At this writing, the feature has a 90% fresh rating on

Check out a few of the must-read The Nice Guys reviews below (and make sure you check out our own review here).

Christopher Orr, “The result is a somewhat uneven movie, but one that, at its best, offers an intoxicating ride.” Check out the full review here.

Jackie Cooper, “The film features some fairly good acting, a few laugh out loud script moments, and an acceptable look and feel for the seventies. Put these all together and they should spell hit movie, but they don’t.” Check out the full review here.

Mark Hughes, “[T]he point isn’t trying to connect the dots for ourselves — the point is to go along for the ride, and enjoy the characters interacting and reacting.”Check out the full review here.

Brian Tallerico, “[T]he two actors become a surprisingly brilliant comedy duo, carrying ‘The Nice Guys’ past a few flat jokes, needed edits and a cluttered finale.” Check out the full review here.

Pete Hammond, “[T]he pair has a nice comic chemistry that unfortunately at times is drowned out by the non-stop carnage cranked up to the loudest of levels.” Check out the full review here.

Eric Kohn, “Ultimately, ‘The Nice Guys’ offers just enough of those punchlines to carry it through an uninspired plot. It’s trapped between the idea of a jokey noir and the occasional fulfillment of that promise.” Check out the full review here.

Kurt Loder, “In updating Raymond Chandler’s lowlife Los Angeles to the garish 1970s, the picture recalls the famously muddled plot mechanics of Chandler’s The Big Sleep—it’s sometimes baffling, and it doesn’t seem to care.” Check out the full review here.

Nell Minow, “Gosling’s comic timing is pure pleasure, especially in a gem of a scene where he juggles a lit cigarette, a magazine, and a gun, with his pants down.” Check out the full review here.

Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, “The Nice Guys is funny enough when it sticks to its heroes—whether pinned in a tight spot or bickering with each other—that its less-than-compelling intrigues and digressions come as an acceptable trade-off.” Check out the full review here.

Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times: “Crowe and Gosling save the day. They both look like hell for most of the film, with neither actor demonstrating a wisp of vanity as they throw themselves into this cheerfully nasty mess.” Check out the full review here.

If you want to read our perspective on the film, click here for our review.
Several weeks ago, no rx
the violent and gritty drama Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice hit theaters nationwide. The film continued the recent cinematic trend of D.C. comic book heroes being portrayed as darker brooding individuals who survive and thrive in hardened societies. The film lays the foundation for the forthcoming Justice League and the Flash — an iconic hero — is briefly introduced (his stand-alone movie is scheduled for release in 2018).

Like Batman v. Superman, sickness
The Flash movie promises to continue the darker direction of this cinematic series.

Fortunately though for television watchers everywhere, that same character — albeit played by a different actor — was given a more positive and uplifting spin on the CW drama The Flash, now in its second season.

In the show’s first season, the story began with a tragic back story. Barry Allen (played here by the charismatic Grant Gustin), started the program as a nerdy crime scene investigator who was raised by the kind-hearted Detective Joe West (Jesse L. Martin) after his mother was tragically murdered years earlier. Allen’s father was falsely imprisoned for the murder so Barry had been adopted by West at a very early age.

In the pilot episode, Allen was struck by lightning and gained the power to travel at an extraordinarily fast speed. He uses that ability to fight crime and eventually solve the mystery of his mother’s death.

The show’s second season finds Allen taking on new villains, who have escaped from another world to face off against our hero. These villains have been sent by Zoom, a fellow speedster, who is trying to steal Barry’s speed away from him.

However, the show is about much more than a masked hero taking on an eclectic group of vigilantes. It’s about a noble young man who is trying to use his newfound abilities to do good in the world. Allen started out as an honorable figure but when he received his powers, he became a classically heroic one — fighting to protect his friends and his city from the bad guys who threaten it.

His underlying values of honesty and integrity come from West, the father-figure that Allen continues to look up to and Allen is oftentimes surrounded by a great group of characters who see him as part of the family. Iris (Candice Patton), West’s daughter who grew up alongside Allen, is now an intrepid reporter who wants to print the honest truth (and oftentimes refuses to succumb to the negative rumors that sometimes surround the Flash). Cisco (Carlos Valdes), an early ally of the Flash, is a technologic wizard who loves naming and then eradicating the villainous meta-humans, who use their supernatural abilities for evil. Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker), a scientist who also befriended the Flash early on, is a scientist who studies and analyzes the villains to find out their weaknesses.

Together, this group works as a family to clear up the streets of Central City and their affection for one another is palpable. These are characters who care for and about each other in a powerfully uplifting and positive way. They are not brooding or despondent or hopeless. They are the opposite of those things. One of the great joys of the show is watching these joyful warriors work with one another.

Even though the show is predominantly about a superhero, his battles against villains often take a back seat to the characters themselves, who spend a lot of time with each other even outside of their work. In the midst of the episodes, there are often real and heartfelt moments showing the characters playing board games with each other or going out together or simply having fun. They are always there for one another even when there are no monsters on the loose and that keeps this show from getting pigeonholed as just a superhero show. This is a show about family and the love that even arises from co-workers who truly care about each other.

Inevitably, the show has its darker and more emotional moments but in comparison to the superheroes who light up the cinemas, they are a beautiful and uplifting breath of fresh air.

To keep some of the situations light, Cisco loves giving the meta-humans funny nicknames and making jokes about them. In a recent episode, a meta-human nicknamed King Shark — yes, he looks like what you would expect — returned to the city to wreak havoc and sprinkled throughout the episode were references to Jaws.

“We’re gonna need a bigger Flash,” Cisco said.

It’s undeniable that the big screen version of this story will feature darker material. In fact, when Batman v. Superman director Zach Snyder was asked about why he didn’t cast Gustin — an actor who lights up the television screen as the show’s hero — as the Flash in the movies, he noted that the tone of the television show is “not our world.” Considering that Snyder  —  who is reportedly directing The Justice League Part One and The Justice League Part Two  —  is an integral part of this D.C. series of movies, it looks like the tone he established in the darker Man of Steel and Batman v. Superman will be continuing in the years to come.

In the meantime, television viewers who are looking for a more light-hearted show about a superhero can look to the greatness of this television series. While superhero movies seem to be venturing into more adult fare, it’s nice to see a family-friendly hero saving the day on the small screen and actually being excited about it.

If you’re looking for more shows you can watch with your family, click here for a list of five great family-friendly options.
The original Neighbors film was a surprise hit in 2014. The plot pitted a young married couple (played respectively by Seth Rogen and Rose Bryne) against a fraternity next store. Hilariously funny, patient
the film found a sweet spot in depicting the  growing feud between these neighbors. The sequel Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising seems like an unnecessary add-on to the story but the funny bits and one-liners keep the concept afloat even when some of the bits start to get tiring.

In this sequel, diagnosis
Mac and Kelly Radnor (Rogen and Bryne) are ready to sell their home. After victoriously facing off against the frat next door in the original, they are now prepared to move into a new and quieter home. The old frat house is empty— a sign that the battle is over. After signing an agreement to sell their home, their battle is complete. The problem is that their house is in escrow, meaning that the new owners have a few weeks to back out of the deal if they wish.

Entering the picture is a freshman college student named Shelby (Chloë Grace Moretz). After a visit to an obnoxious frat party with her friends (“it was super rape-y in there,” one of the girls states), Shelby and her fellow students decide to start a sorority that is founded on friendship and not driven by a desire to meet people of the opposite sex.  Of course, the sorority rents out the house neighboring the Radnors, who immediately realize that the new neighbors could turn off their buyer.

Front and center in this feature are the sorority’s goals. Of course, the girls still have parties but these young women are aiming for a higher level of partying. It’s this idea that gives this comedy a positive twist showing these women embracing their identities (they even have a party to watch The Fault in our Stars) while still having fun.

Much of the humor here derives from the battle between the Radnors and the sorority. These sequences have their moments but they often do feel a bit tired, especially since much of the humor here seems derivative of the first film. There are a few fun moments here though when the Radnors realize that these women are more vengeful and nasty than the frat boys they previously faced.

The best element in the comedy though is Zac Efron, who returns as Teddy Sanders. Sanders was the typical college bro in the original and hasn’t really moved on professionally in the same way that his frat brothers did. “When did everyone in retail get so young?” he asks naively when comparing jobs with his former classmates. Later when Pete (Dave Franco) — his best friend from the original — becomes engaged to another man, Sanders feels left behind and aligns with the sorority.

In one of the film’s best scenes, Sanders speaks out against a sorority proposal and is faced with a hilarious truth: he’s past his prime. “You’re not like us, dude. You’re an old person,” Shelby says after a group text questions his decisions.

Throughout much of the film, there’s a feeling of repetition. This was a sequel that was made not because it was a necessary step forward for the story. It was likely just made because the original did so well at the box office. That definitely holds the film back. There’s a lot more of the same brand of pot humor, lazy parenting jokes and prank gags.

That being said, there are enough jokes here to make this film still remain above water. It’s hard not to laugh here when Sanders ultimately faces off against the sorority girls or when Mac is forced to locate a bag of marijuana. If you really enjoyed the original, you will likely like this follow-up but if you weren’t impressed with act one, Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising is definitely not for you.

Review by: John Hanlon