PICKS OF THE WEEK
“Neighbors” (R) — A young couple with a bouncing baby daughter (Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne) lose their suburban serenity when a rowdy fraternity — led by maniacal, shirtless party-boy Zac Efron — takes over the house next door. At first, the hip mom and dad try to be cool and party with the frat boys, but then quickly realize that they can’t possibly keep up with the non-stop party machine. Logical forms of mediation soon fly out the window, pitting the parents against the partiers in an escalating prank-war.
Rogen fits perfectly into his role, as audiences have seen him transition from shiftless slacker to reformed-but-still-casual adulthood. Byrne is the real surprise in the film, displaying comedic chops not seen since “Bridesmaids.” There are flashes of clever humor, but most of the gags are the shocking and gross-out kind.
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“The Rover” (R) — Bandits steal a man’s car, leaving him stranded in a scorching wasteland. The victim, Eric (Guy Pearce), now has a bandit leader’s younger brother (Robert Pattinson) and a plan to get his car back. It’s 10 years after the collapse of society, and the Australian outback isn’t a good place to wander around … and an even worse place to make friends.
Director David Michod plays his cards close to the vest. Details about the fall of society are scarce, leaving a lot of that storytelling to the barren setting and the desperation on the faces of the characters. Pattinson delivers a strong performance as a lost, dimwitted young man carrying a lot of loss behind his eyes.
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“The Signal” (PG-13) — Three college kids on a road trip to California receive a message from NOMAD, a mysterious hacker who challenges them to come find him. Nic, Jonah and Hailey (Brenton Thwaites, Beau Knapp, Olivia Cooke) follow the trail to a dusty corner of Nevada, and then everything changes. The trio is separated, and Nic wakes up in a strange facility where he is interrogated by a dead-pan man in a hazmat suit (Laurence Fishburne). From there, it’s a slowly unraveling mystery with science-fiction elements creeping into the picture. The final twists may not be enough for some audiences, but it’s an interesting flick for a low-budget, sci-fi headscratcher.
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“Very Good Girls” (R) — The friendship of two teen girls is tested by romantic rivalry when they become interested in the same boy. Lilly (Dakota Fanning) and Gerri (Elizabeth Olsen) are determined to lose their virginity the summer before they start college, but not in an “American Pie” kind of way — this movie takes the pledge a bit more seriously. Enter David (Robert Boyd Holbrook), an ice-cream-vending blond with a knack for photography. A love triangle forms, and feelings get hurt. This drama probably won’t feel authentic to younger audiences, and may just bore more mature crowds.
“Modern Family: Season 5”
“Scandal: Season 3”
“Daniel Boone: The Complete Series”
“How I Met Your Mother: The Complete Series”
“Nashville: Season 2”
“Reign: Season 1”
“Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 1”
© 2014 King Features Synd., Inc.