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Funny, Just As Expected

Movies: ‘Neighbors’

Neighbors is a cheerfully filthy frat-boys-meet-grownups comedy starring Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne and Zac Efron’s pectorals. There are plenty of laughs for anyone who still thinks bong jokes are fresh and a few giggles for those who have birthed a child or held a job.
Rogen plays Mac, a variation on his usual affable dude, who works in a generic office where his boss says things like, “I need the Mendelson file by 4 pm.” Of course Mac nods dutifully and then sneaks out back to smoke a spliff with his pal.

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Scarlett, Darkness And Nekkidity

Movies: ‘Under the Skin’

Well, now, we know what Scarlett Johansson looks like nekkid. Director Jonathan Glazer makes sure the audience gets a good look — several times — in “Under the Skin,” a weird little flick about Scarlett Johannson being nekkid in Scotland.
So her character, apparently named Laura (but you wouldn’t know it from anything anybody says), drives around in a van looking for lonely guys with no families.
When she finds one she lures him to a crummy-looking house with no lights, and slowly disrobes.

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Sometimes Thrilling, Sometimes Not But Gigantic Box Office for Sure

Movies: ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’

Only superb filmmaking can overcome the innate silliness of movies based on comic book superheroes. The best Batman or Superman films were brilliantly conceived and executed movies. Even the most recent “Captain America” was well made, fun to watch and even listen to, with its lively dialogue and verbal sparring.
Now “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is not a dud; it’s simply too long, too confusing and too clichéd.

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HAL, An Apocalypse And the Popcorn Accident

Movies: ‘Transcendence’

The bad news about “Transcendence” is I managed to drip popcorn butter all over the front of my pants.
The good news is they were fishing pants anyway.
Yes, dear reader, in selfless pursuit of timely film reviewing, I cut short a promising afternoon on a trout stream to see Johnny Depp in Wally Pfister’s film about a super-duper computer genius, Will Caster (Depp), who uploads himself into the super-duper computer network of everything, with mixed results.

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Big Thrills, Spills And Political Intrigues of the ’70s

Movies: ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’

It’s big, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” loud and highly accomplished filmmaking. It transcends the Marvel superhero comic book genre with up-to-the-minute concerns about personal freedom and government surveillance interwoven with real emotional exchanges between the main characters.
Where the first Captain America movie was a throwback to 1940s war films, even in its sepia tones, the new film is a self-conscious homage to the espionage and political thrillers of the 1970s.

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Longer Than the Flood Itself

Movies: ‘Noah’

The first thing that really struck me about “Noah” was, when all hell has broken loose and it’s time to shut the doors and get on with the voyage, nobody remembers to light a couple of lamps.
The second thing that occurred to me was that the ark must have had a pretty funky atmosphere — especially once the snakes and creepy-crawly things arrived.

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Factions, Tests — Really Just Teen Life

Movies: ‘Divergent’

Sitting through the unending, if sometimes diverting, “Divergent,” I was reminded that teenage girls suffering through the high school caste system and parental pressure to conform, feeling first intimations of sexuality and, maybe, romance, harboring notions — perhaps fantasies — of doing great things, of saving the world, identify with heroines of young adult fiction.

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A Glorious And Literate Confection

Movies: ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’

The stories of Stefan Zweig, a turn-of-the-century Austrian author and pacifist who fled the Nazis and ultimately, in despair, committed double-suicide with his wife in Brazil, are the inspiration for the brilliant and delightful comedy of nostalgia, “The Grand Budapest Hotel.”

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A Mirror Gizmo And a Mystery

Movies: ‘Tim’s Vermeer’

“Tim’s Vermeer” is the movie that answers the question, “Hey, was Vermeer some kind of insane genius with special eyes or did he use lenses and mirrors? Or what?”
   You might be thinking that you didn’t ask that question. You might also be confusing Vermeer (17th-century Dutch painter) with Johnny Vander Meer, who pitched consecutive no-hitters for the Cincinnati Reds in 1938.

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Some Better Than Others But Shorts Are Fun

Movies: ‘Millerton Shorts’

Pat Toole’s “Millerton Shorts” short film program begins with “Zom Com,” featuring the Teen Team of the Northeast Community Center in Millerton.
Toole, who spoke briefly before Saturday’s screening at The Moviehouse in Millerton, NY, said the six-minute zombie comedy took a whopping four days to put together.
In “Zom Com,” a teenage couple is out in the woods and the boy gets bitten by a zombie. These things happen, which is why you should probably stay out of the woods.

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