Tag Archives: Zac Efron

SBox Recommends: The Greatest Showman (Movie Review)

Note: SBR never spoils. You are safe. Enjoy!

Welcome back to SBox Recommends, where our motto is “Every film has its fans”. Here I see a movie, review it, and then find out who will like it most and who will like it least.

Despite it not being a franchise movie and me not having been to the circus ever, The Greatest Showman has strangely been on my radar all year. I remember as early as last December I was looking at the upcoming year in film in order to commit certain release dates to memory (yes, I’m that nerdy) and constantly seeing that title every time. “The Greatest Showman”; it’s the kind of name that grabs your attention even in a crowd of hundreds of titles. I kept wondering as the year progressed, what is this movie and what is it thinking trying to come out around the time of Star Wars? Also, what the hell kind of combo is Hugh Jackman and Zac Efron anyway?

Eventually, I finally received my answer and that intrigue I felt all year suddenly felt justified. The first trailer served that title justice as it, true to character, stood out from the crowd and got me excited for, of all things, a musical. I personally haven’t seen a musical in the theater since Hairspray, so I was eager to give my old mystery movie the opportunity to earn that fascination I’ve inadvertently built up over the course of a year. Did it succeed? Continue reading SBox Recommends: The Greatest Showman (Movie Review)


2016 Movie Countdown: The Mediocre (#49-30)

Welcome to the (new and improved) 2016 Movie Countdown. This is my third annual countdown where I run through every film I saw the previous year, giving my brief thoughts on each as we go from worst to best. There are 44 films being covered throughout this miniseries, with Part 1 covering my 5 least favorite films of the year. With the worst behind us, it’s my honor in Part 2 to move up a peg.

Apologies for the big gap in installments. I’ll try my best to provide the remaining parts much quicker. For those who haven’t seen Part 1, I’m separating the Countdown into 5 categories, each varying in quality and number of movies. Today we will be covering 10 films that make up the Mediocre category. These movies are far from the worst 2016 had to offer, but are simply okay. What keeps them from being in the upcoming Good category is a general sense of forgetability or perhaps one glaring flaw that holds it back from being something special. The following films are enjoyable, but not that good. Continue reading 2016 Movie Countdown: The Mediocre (#49-30)

2016 Movie Countdown: Neighbors 2 – Sorority Rising (#37)


“It’s not working! You’re only making them sexier!”

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising is the sequel to the 2014 comedy starring Seth Rogen, Zac Efron.

A couple years after kicking the Delta Psi fraternity out from next door, Mac and Kelly Radner have finally managed to sell their house with the only obstacle being a 30-day escrow period for the new perspective buyers. All is well and good until three college girls, who aren’t fond of the way frat parties are typically handled, create a sorority of their own. They move in (you guessed it) right next door to the Radner house. With the clock slowly ticking for the escrow and the girls having to party to afford their rent, a standoff ensues. The Radners’ only hope now is for old enemies to reunite and take Kappa Nu down. Continue reading 2016 Movie Countdown: Neighbors 2 – Sorority Rising (#37)

SBox Recommends: Neighbors 2 – Sorority Rising (Movie Review)


Note: SBR never spoils. You are safe. Enjoy!

The first Neighbors movie (or Bad Neighbors for my foreign friends) was outstandingly hilarious, and one of my favorite comedies of 2014. It was a comedy that had a lot of heart, charm, energy and comedic timing; everything a growing boy like me needs in his comedies. I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who felt that way, either, because last year brought the announcement of (Bad) Neighbors 2. Continue reading SBox Recommends: Neighbors 2 – Sorority Rising (Movie Review)

My 2014 Movies: Neighbors (#11)

May was a pretty great month for me in terms of the movies. One of three of the films I saw that month was a comedy with two unlikely main stars. One is a famous comedic actor known for such movies like This Is The End, and the other is a famous teen icon known for such movies like High School Musical. My hopes were probably not the highest with this film, but my mother wanted to see this for Mothers’ Day. So ready or not, there I went. The result: this film is one of my favorite comedies of the year.

Neighbors has a very simple plot. A couple played by Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne live quietly and contently in a nice suburban neighborhood. One day, they find out that a college fraternity is moving into the house next door. They interact with the frat’s head, played by Zac Efron, and make a good friendship…at first. One night after trying to get the frat to turn their music down, Rogen and Byrne call the police on them for disturbing the peace against Efron and Rogen’s agreement. The frat responds by terrorizing and annoying the couple as revenge, which causes a war between the two households.

Again, comedies are often not the poster-children for complex storytelling, and they don’t need to be. But as far as concepts for comedies go, this is a pretty solid plot. Now had this been just any film, the story wouldn’t extend too much outside the initial concept. But there’s something much smarter about how this story is written.

What I think is the smartest aspect of the movie is the ages of both parties. The couple, Mac and Kelly, are somewhere in their late thirties and early forties. The frat consists of college students (no duh), with the leader, Teddy, being in his early twenties. What makes this set-up so clever is that both parties are at transitional points of their lives.

You find that Mac and Kelly are on the brink and are practically at their midlife crisis- a time where trying to be young is becoming difficult and where you begin to form more adult mindsets. Meanwhile, the two leaders of the frat are at a point where they’re facing adulthood and are trying to shed adolescence. Teddy addresses it through oblivion and denial, while Pete (played by Dave Franco) addresses it in a more head-on and prepared manner.

This makes the comradery particularly between Mac and Teddy more interesting. Both characters are reaching the next phase of their lives but don’t know how to handle it. So they do what many of us do and retreat into the youngest, most familiar age bracket. They are incredibly alike in their desperate immaturity. This is what makes this comedic duo work so well and makes the story that much more fun.

Speaking of which, the film is a riot. I watched this film in a packed theater and there were many periods of nonstop laughter all throughout the film. The jokes are very well-written, hitting a nice balance between slapstick and observational comedy. If I had to think of a favorite joke, I distinctly remember a scene toward the end involving a men’s clothing store which I won’t spoil. I also thought the climax of the film was especially funny.

Of course, the humor of any film is reliant on the acting. I dropped four big names in this review: Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne, Zac Efron and Dave Franco. All of them are known to be excellent actors and they further that fact here. I was especially impressed by Byrne and Efron, both of whom you don’t immediately associate with comedy but have certainly proven themselves here. You have Seth Rogen who we all know is a freaking rockstar at modern-day comedy, and he doesn’t hold back here. Then there’s Dave Franco who makes what may be the funniest performance of his career. All the background characters are also funny in their own right. I especially love the cameo role by Lisa Kudrow.

The music choice is definitely very fitting for the events of the film. A lot of it is licensed songs that are notably popular at high school/college parties. The special effects for one joke in particular (you may already know from the trailers) are seamless and hilarious. And the film is shot very well, with some impressive lighting considering how many late night scenes there are. Overall, all typical production values are well-executed here.

This is indeed one of the best comedies of 2014. I feel the perfect demograophic for the movie are college and high school kids. Adults can totally get a kick from this movie as well. This is a tad racy, though, so have the talk with your kids sometime before the very middle of the movie.

Other than that implicit exception, you should definitely catch the film whenever you get a chance. It’s a safe rental, but don’t be afraid to go for the DVD if that’s what’s available to you. You’re going to need it, trust me.

View #10 here!

I’m SBox180. Thanks for reading!