*NEW* THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN REVIEW *NEW*

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I’ll think I’ll wait for the next train.

A slow burning thriller that (with a little perseverance) delivered a decent pay-off.

A divorcee (Emily Blunt) becomes entangled in a missing persons investigation that promises to send shock waves throughout her life.

Based on the bestselling novel . . . How many more times are Hollywood going to scrape the barrel? I haven’t had the pleasure of reading the Paula Hawkins novel BUT have been told on good authority (by my Mum and Aunt who may or may not be scouting through this review) that it stayed pretty close to its source material.

The slow burning pace and flicking about subdued my griping. The fractured time frame spanning from six months to the present kept things interesting. Mainly because I had no idea what was going on.

BUT that was the main appeal for me as we were told tidbits of a disjointed story through an unreliable narrator; struggling alcoholic Rachel. Emily Blunt was brilliant as the plastered protagonist. You really felt for the broken beauty. Her fascination with a house, that the line stops by every day, soon borderlines on obsession.

It felt like a noir flick with all the shady characters; Rachel drinking to forget, the alluring but flawed Haley Bennett’s (The Magnificent Seven remake) fooling around and manipulating men to her own devices and Rebecca Ferguson’s (Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation) depressed housewife not quite living the perfect life.

The different viewpoints from the three ladies left me trying to decipher whose story to believe. You could feel your empathy changing towards each character as we delved further into their pasts. BUT things reached boiling point when Rachel woke up (from another drunk train ride) covered in blood with no recollection of the night before.

If anything, The Girl on the Train was very much in the same vein as Before I Go To Sleep (Another recommended thriller) with Rachel’s drunken blackouts and inability to piece anything together plummeting her into a dangerous pursuit for the truth. Unwittingly setting herself up as the prime suspect in a murder case.

That’s not to say there weren’t enough red herrings. The small supporting cast played the parts perfectly. It was good to see Luke Evans play something other than a panto villain in a horror flick or Fast and Furious movie. He played Megan’s brooding and possessive husband well.

I was also impressed to see Alison Janney play a straight role as Detective Riley. Especially after her turn in that terrible sitcom Mom. Laura Prepon (Orange is The New Black) didn’t do a bad turn as Rachel’s supportive friend Cathy. Justin Theroux (The Leftovers) was a solid lead as Rachel’s ex Tom. Reluctant to completely shut Rachel out from his life.

I was disappointed that Phoebe from Friends (Lisa Kudrow) had such a small and dismal role. Anyone could played her. The same could be said for Bodhi from Point Break (Edgar Ramirez) as the sulky therapist who desperately tried to evade Megan’s flirtatious advances.

The unravelling was intriguing enough BUT the pace did tend to meander along, killing a good portion of the momentum, and the endless flashbacks soon became very repetitive. Especially the memory flashes to that blasted tunnel! We kept being shown the same images with no new information or progress.

However, once things began to piece together, the final 20 minutes was compelling and nail biting. Some will argue that with only a small number of characters; there are only so many possible outcomes. BUT I can honestly say I didn’t call the twist and even if people sussed it early, the aftermath was still pretty damn tense with a couple of revelations along the way.

Whether that rule will apply for fans of the book is another story. The Da Vinci Code did everything to the letter and I was bored to tears watching the film adaptation. Only because I knew everything that was going to happen. BUT the first two Harry Potter films on the other hand 👌🏻

I didn’t go in expecting much and came out pleasantly surprised.

A good cast, aided with some great suspense, did just enough to drudge through the lengthy pace and stuttering flashbacks to make this one to watch.

3/5

*NEW* BAD NEIGHBOURS 2: SORORITY RISING REVIEW *NEW*

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“We’ve been Cosby’d!”

Bad. Just bad!

When their new next-door neighbours turn out to be a sorority even more debaucherous than the fraternity previously living there, Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne) team up with their former enemy, Teddy (Zac Efron) to bring the girls down.

Pretty much the exact same thing (just with a sorority) BUT a lot less funnier! Yikes.

I was surprised that a sequel was even green lit in the first place?! The first outing was watchable (At best) and delivered the odd laugh BUT it wasn’t that great.

As you could tell, I was a little skeptical before watching and the opening 20 minutes was actually quite funny and, for a moment, I wondered why people had torn into this? It was never going to win plaudits BUT it was silly college humour with all the old faces coming back.

However, it wasn’t long before my smile became a scowl as we drudged through the same old guff. You could relate to Shelby (A reasonable turn from Chloe Grace Moretz) and co as they conspire against the traditional sorority system. Creating their own society where anybody can join and do what they want.

Cue some silly spiel about sororities not being able to host parties (Google it! No, I didn’t either), a perfect property on the market, some crazy neighbours and we have . . . a dreadfully mediocre comedy.

Zac Efron didn’t do too badly and delivered the (little) laughs. Flashing his ridiculous six pack at any chance and not giving a fook.

It was great to see the old frat pack pop back up in this. Just a shame that it came with a silly subplot. As well as having to deal with the same old frustrations of not achieving any life goals, Teddy must come to terms with Pete’s (Dave Franco) “coming out” and impending marriage.

Look, I hate to be a stickler BUT didn’t Pete sleep with Teddy’s girlfriend in the first film as part of Mac and Kelly’s revenge ploy? Either way, his big gay wedding didn’t work and was lazy and unnecessary. You could understand Teddy’s childishness and refusal to grow up BUT we had all that in the first one.

Ike Barinholtz (Suicide Squad) was funny yet again as Mac’s retarded pal Jimmy. He stole the show every time. The only problem was that once he was united with Paula (Carla Gallo – Bones), he soon got on my nerves.

Her unfunny introduction wasn’t needed and brought nothing to the mix other than dropping a disgusting gag involving a baby foetus foot (Yep, you read that right).

Speaking of bad gags, the airbag gag died a death in the first movie. Bringing it back for a second time? Really? Come on! Cue another badly CGI’d Efron/Rogen flailing about in a car garage. Terrible.

Kelsey Grammer was great in his tragically short cameo as Shelby’s dad. Dr Crane knows how to get the laughs. Even Phoebe from Friends (Lisa Kudrow) got a titter with her “blink-and-you’ll-miss-it” appearance.

BUT things must have been getting desperate as I was actually pleading for Hannibal Buress (Daddy’s Home). I couldn’t stand him in the first film. He wasn’t funny and overstayed his welcome. This time around, I wanted more. The role reversal with the black police officers seizing white drug dealers was an unexpected satirical dig that delivered.

And if I’m not mistaken, I’m sure there was supposed to be more of him from the trailers. Well, none of it featured in the actual film.

Rogen and Byrne weren’t really in it as much as I thought. BUT don’t worry. They haven’t changed one bit (No, really. They do the exact same thing). It was a nice touch having the same child actors playing the adorable Stella. I couldn’t believe how much they had grown up in 2 years.

The sorority delivered a somewhat mixed response. Kiersey Clemons (Dope) and Beanie Feldstein were actually quite funny BUT I just wish the pranks were.

The girls dressing up as Minions and fumbling about like their Dreamwork counterparts? AWFUL! Making bold statements about sexism when performing an equally revolting gag compared to a fraternity doing the same thing? Surprisingly entertaining.

Prank calling Mac so he flies over to Sydney looking for his wife?

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It really was miss more than hit with a finale that was a complete retread of the first. The drug and sex gags just didn’t cut it. I mean they only just got away with it the last time! And it ended so cornily that . . . I lost the brain cells to think of a clever insult.

BUT I’m sure it would have been better than this bilge. Hopefully there won’t be another.

2/5

BAD NEIGHBOURS REVIEW

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Rogen vs Efron. Family vs Frat. Who Will Win? There’s only one way to find out . . . if you like that sort of thing.

Rogen’s best? Not even close. But is it funny? (The very purpose of a comedy). Did I laugh? Is it one of those movies where the best bits are in the trailers? Yes, yes, and unfortunately quite a bit. Once you’ve seen Rogen hurtled up in the air after sitting on a rigged chair involving an airbag, it gets old very quickly. Although Rogen creeping around the house with a broomstick did reprieve the gag. Surprisingly enough one of the heavily advertised gags wasn’t in the film. Back to my getting old quip. At it’s very core, the film is about a couple who have had their first child (the adorable Vargas twins) and are still trying to be cool and young. Beating the “constraints” that parenthood has apparently set on their “partying” lifestyles. In all fairness, there could have been a bigger examination into their relationship but it would have been an entirely different film.

A couple of well acted scenes make them a little more than a caricature couple. But come on, this is a fraternity freakshow involving Seth Rogen. He applies his slobby swearing spiel and luckily it still works. The whole slacking smoking pot thing is getting a little old. Rogen and Rose Byrne work well together and have good chemistry. It was good to see Rose Byrne (Damages) take off the serious shackles and lighten up. The scenes in which the Radners are trying to be cool with the kids is incredibly cringeworthy but nicely done. Others will say not funny, but that’s kind of the point as the pair battle to come to terms that its time to grow up. Or is it?

That soon gets thrown out of the window as low and behold the house next door is sold to a fraternity led by the charismatic and incredibly hench Zac Efron. (Just when I couldn’t hate him any more). Efron shakes off that squeaky clean High School Musical mould in one silk movement of his middle finger. Efron proves yet again to be a talented lead in a testosterone-pumped cast of fraternity frat boys. In all fairness, once Efron and Rogen meet, the film picks up. Their Batman impression off is worth watching alone. The getting high and taking shots scenes. Again, once you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. Rogen and Efron in a drunken dance off. Better.

Once the rivalry is set and the pranks begin, the thin plot gets thrown out like Rogen on the airbag. Where we got Efron coming to terms that he may have wasted his college years partying and the Radners battling to accept parenthood, we soon get college humour, dicking around (No literally, Rogen and Efron at one point are slapping each other with giant dildos) in an inevitably corny and OTT fashion. The big punch up finale being an incredibly hilarious, if ridiculous scene. It’s all still enjoyable, if a little lazy. It’s a shame that the talented cast didn’t really make as much of an impact as you would hope. Lisa Kudrow (Friends) plays a useless dean, Carla Gallo (Bones/Superbad) is shoved in an irritating and useless role and Christopher “McLovin/The Motherfucker” Mintz-Plasse is highly unmemorable, simply squawking YOLO in a high pitched voice. Disappointing after so many great turns. Ali Cobrin (American Pie: American Reunion) and Halston Sage (The Bling Ring) were wasted as silly frat chicks. Shame.

It’s the smaller names that provide the funnier characters. Craig Roberts’ turn (you may remember him? Look again. Here’s a hint. Richard Ayoade’s Submarine. Yep) as the appropriately named Assjuice wasn’t bad. Just as we get rid of one Franco, we find out there’s another. Dave Franco (Now You See Me) was good and is proving to be one to watch. Up and coming stand up Jerrod Carmichael was hilarious as weed junkie Garf. The award for scene stealing support act goes to Ike Barinholtz (The Mindy Project) as Rogen’s neurotic best friend Jimmy. His impromptu one liners, bat shit crazy attitude and impeccable impressions of certain celebrities brings the film up a notch. The scene in which the frat house explain their origins and how they came across beer pong, the boot, etc was cheesy if funny and a lazy excuse to shove in a number of cameos from The Lonely Island and Jake Johnson (Nick from New Girl).

So in conclusion, do you like Rogen? Do you like Efron? Then bienvenue this film is for you. It’s big, dumb, silly, corny, OTT but brings the odd chuckle. Not a keg full but enough little shots to keep you buzzing 3 (just) out of 5!

Currently ranks #64 out of 175!