Currently browsing the "Zac Efron" tag.

Review: The Greatest Showman

The Greatest Showman is the type of movie I could watch multiple times – not for the (so-so) plot – but rather, for the musical production numbers filled with heart, spectacle and earworms galore. If you don’t like Broadway musicals, The Greatest Showman won’t ring your bell. But if you’re a fan (as I am), you’re bound to enjoy this original movie musical that is, in essence, a Broadway show on the big screen. It doesn’t quite rise to the level of a Moulin Rouge or Les Miz, but like the circus that P.T. Barnum created, The Greatest Showman is fun for the whole family. And c’mon, who doesn’t like Hugh Jackman, the most versatile guy in show business?!

Baywatch

Prepare to wade into shallow waters! I mean, c’mon, it’s Baywatch– the movie. Do you remember the television series? It’s not meant to be deep. It’s meant to be stupidly entertaining. And it is. Barely. For the most part, the film pokes fun at its soapy self, delivering what might have been a particularly raunchy, yet heartfelt “special episode” of the show, wherein the lifeguards get wind of a drug dealer in their midst and decide to bring down the bad guys (and gals) themselves instead of, you know, calling the cops.

Mainstream Chick’s Quick Takes: The Secret Life of Pets; Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates; Life, Animated; Zero Days

The Secret Life of Pets is one of those movies that is probably critic-proof because the trailer is so darn cute and promising that kids (and many adults too) will be eager to see it, no matter what. Still, I would be remiss to give it a glowing endorsement when I was, in fact, disappointed. I loved the first 15 minutes and the last 10 minutes of this movie. But everything in between dragged for me as the tone of the movie turned rather dark. The premise is awesome — what kind of lives are our pets leading when we leave them home alone for hours at a time? They party! They get together for walks! They watch telenovellas! The characters (dogs, cats, bunnies, snakes, etc.) are all well-drawn, and well-voiced by the likes of Louis C.K., Eric Stonestreet, Kevin Hart, Ellie Kemper, Lake Bell, Bobby Moynihan, Hannibal Buress, and Albert Brooks. My issue is with the shift in tone from fun animal adventure to animated crime saga. The Secret Life of Pets is certainly way better than recent duds Ratchet and Clank, Norm of the North, and Angry Birds… but not nearly as good as Finding Dory and Zootopia. Oh well. I may not have loved The Secret Life of Pets, but I do predict the movie will boost attendance at theaters, animal shelters, pet stores, and dog parks! There’s also a cute short before The SLOP that features the Minions of Despicable Me fame.

Mainstream Chick’s Quick Takes: The Angry Birds Movie; The Nice Guys; Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising; Love & Friendship; Sunset Song

The Angry Birds Movie – As one adult commented after watching this flick, “It was lamer than I expected. Awful. Though my 6-year-old daughter thought it was great.” There you have it in a nutshell. The Angry Birds Movie is the “origin story” of the birds that are propelled into all sorts of stuff in the once-popular Angry Birds mobile app, including the pigs, bombs, TNT, slingshots, etc. that appear in the addictive game that became a mindless timesuck for millions of smartphone users. The animated ‘action’ takes place on an island populated almost entirely by happy, flightless birds. One exception is the angry outcast Red (voiced by Jason Sudeikis) who becomes sort of an accidental hero when he uncovers a nefarious plot by visiting green pigs who aim to steal all the birds’ eggs. The movie has some clever lines and puns and plenty of decent vocal talent. But the story doesn’t add up to much and is likely to bore most anyone over the age of eight. Regardless, the 90-minute, 3D, PG-rated Birds far out-flew the competition at the box office in its opening weekend. So if the kids rule the roost where movies are concerned, don’t be angry if they demand (or ask nicely) to see it.

Neighbors

Neighbors is, well, exactly what you might expect from an R-rated comedy about a feud between neighbors. Here’s the premise: Mac and Kelly Radner (Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne) are a happily-married couple with a cute, scene-stealing baby who have grand illusions of being cool, hip suburbanites – even when a fraternity (led by the uber-buff Zac Efron) moves in next door. But the frat’s partying ways quickly spark a feud that escalates into an all-out war of debauchery and misunderstanding.

The Paperboy

My newspaper headline for The Paperboy would be: “Hot Mess” and not in a good, kinda campy way. It’s a creepy, sweaty melodrama set in the Florida Everglades circa 1969 — a jumble of sex and violence that never comes together into a coherent story. Director Lee Daniels, an Oscar nominee for “Precious,” was obviously going for something here, but what that was isn’t clear. What is clear is that he doesn’t shy away from scenes that will make you cringe — like the already infamous one where Nicole Kidman pees on Zac Efron, or the one where she and John Cusack mime sex acts to get each other off in a prison visiting room.

The Lucky One

At last check, The Lucky One had a rather unlucky 21% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. I think that’s a little harsh. Sure, the movie is pure, unadulterated chickflick-romantic-drama-sap with a capital ‘S’. But if you made it through – or even sorta liked – all the other Nicholas Sparks books-turned-into-movies (The Notebook, Dear John, Message in a Bottle, The Last Song, Nights in Rodanthe…), then this one is what it is. More of the same (though far short of The Notebook).

In fact, if you saw Dear John, you may actually think you’re watching a remake of the same movie, only this time it’s starring Zac Efron (instead of Channing Tatum) as the war-scarred soldier (er, Marine) and Taylor Schilling (instead of Amanda Seyfried) as the blonde chick he falls for. And instead of a letter, there’s a photograph.

Charlie St. Cloud

I see dead people. Or, at least, I see Zac Efron seeing dead people in the fantasy romantic drama Charlie St. Cloud. The movie is part Ghost, part Ghost Whisperer and part Sixth Sense, so it’s fairly easy to stay one step ahead of the dialogue and plot, with just a few exceptions.