Tag Archives: Ryan Gosling

Movie reviews: ‘The Nice Guys,’ ‘Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising’

Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling in 'The Nice Guys' (Warner Bros.))

“The Nice Guys” (R) 3 stars (out of four)

“Iron Man 3” writer-director Shane Black is back and firing on all cylinders with “The Nice Guys,” a smart and funny action buddy comedy starring the likeable duo of Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling. Set in Los Angeles in 1977, Crowe and Gosling star as a pair of bumbling private detectives trying to unravel the sprawling mystery behind the death of a porn star and people connected with her, and the disappearance of the adult daughter of a high-ranking Justice Department official.

While “The Nice Guys” is certainly a breath of fresh air amid the mostly stale comedies polluting theaters today, it’s actually similar in tone and structure to Black’s far superior 2005 action buddy comedy “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang,” starring Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer. “The Nice Guys” is worthy of attention in theaters, but fans definitely need to mine the brilliant Black, Downey and Kilmer gem to get the best the genre has to offer.

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“Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising” (R) 1 1/2 stars

Seth Rogen is entrenched deeper than ever in his comedy rut in “Neighbors 2,” a dreadfully unfunny sequel to the dreadfully unfunny comedy hit from 2014. Once again co-starring Zac Efron and Rose Byrne, “Neighbors 2” once again heavily leans on stoner jokes, cracks about body parts and other college party shenanigans, with the only difference being the neighbor frat boys from the first film have now been replaced with sorority girls.

There are only a handful of laughs in “Neighbors 2,” and apart from some layered-in social commentary on the sexist culture of fraternities on college campuses, the film is a complete dud. Chloe Grace-Moretz co-stars as the leader of the sorority and the thorn in Rogen and Byrne’s side.

Movie reviews: ‘Concussion,’ ‘The Big Short,’ ‘Daddy’s Home’

Alec Baldwin and Will Smith in 'Concussion' (photo - Sony Pictures)

By Tim Lammers

“Concussion” (PG-13) 3 1/2 stars (out of four)

Will Smith’s career is back in focus with “Concussion,” the compelling true story of revered pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu (Smith) and his earth-shattering discovery that connected severe brain damage – diagnosed and termed as chronic traumatic enchepolapthy (CTE) – to repeated concussions in NFL players. Based in Pittsburgh, Omalu first made the correlation after the untimely death of Pittsburgh

Steelers Hall of Fame center Mike Webster (a barely recognizable David Morse), and the subsequent deaths of other NFL players.

Not surprisingly, NFL officials don’t want to confront the issue, and do their best to discredit Omalu and his colleagues to protect its vast business interests. The supporting cast is stellar, including strong performances by Albert Brooks as famed pathologist Dr. Cyril Wecht and Alec Baldwin as former Steelers team physician Dr. Julian Bailes – who helped Omalu convince the NFL of the problem. Save a horribly miscast Luke Wilson as current NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, “Concussion” is a riveting, must-see movie whether you’re a fan of the NFL or not.

“The Big Short” (R) 3 1/2 stars (out of four)

Director Adam McKay impressively steps away from his normal world of Will Ferrell comedy fare and channels the filmmaking expertise of Martin Scorsese in the process with “The Big Short” – a searing portrait of four groups of Wall Street outsiders who envisioned the burst of the housing bubble in 2008 and tried to stick it to the big banks in the process.

In their turns as the outsiders, Christian Bale, Brad Pitt and Ryan Gosling are at their best, and Steve Carell continues to impress in yet another stunning dramatic turn on the heels of his Oscar-nominated role in “Foxcatcher” last year. Moving at breakneck pace throughout, “The Big Short” contains lots of complex Wall Street jargon, but McKay creatively works in star cameos to break things down in layman’s terms. The film, while entertaining in the way it is presented, is infuriating at the same time.

“Daddy’s Home” (PG-13) 3 stars out of four

Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg reteam after the hilarious romp “The Other Guys” with “Daddy’s Home,” a wonderfully sweet comedy about a doting yet hapless step-father (Ferrell) who must deal with the return of the children’s far cooler biological dad (Wahlberg). We’ve seen both actors play these sorts of roles before, but familiarity aside, there’s no question the pairing works wonders here as the two dads engage in a nasty game of one-upsmanship to win the affection of the kids and their mother. “Daddy’s Home” is far from perfect, but it’s an enjoyable movie nonetheless.