‘Neighbors,’ ‘Locke’ and other new movies, reviewed

In this week’s new movie releases, "Neighbors" is a never-ending stream of jokes and pranks, while simplicity and an impressive performance by Tom Hardy make "Locke" a four star film. Here are excerpts from this week's reviews:


Zac Efron plays the head of a fraternity house that moves in next door to a couple played by Rose Byrne and Seth Rogen, at right, in “Neighbors.”

Neighbors” (R) “‘Neighbors’ isn’t designed to impress with subtle comedy or clever construction. Rather, it’s a movie of wammies: one-liners, shticks and sight gags that don’t gain in momentum or accrue in meaning. They just happen, quickly, then get out of the way to make room for the next ones.” – Ann Hornaday

Locke” (R) “‘Locke’ is so distilled, such a pure example of cinematic storytelling, that it almost feels abstract. In many ways, the movie feels like the reply to a question: What would happen if we pared down moviemaking to its simplest, most elemental bones?” – Ann Hornaday

Belle” (PG) “The movie packs a lot in, and the quick pace of early scenes can feel like running on a treadmill, but “Belle” settles into a nice rhythm. It ends up having all the requisites of a period drama — a strings-heavy soundtrack, lavish costumes and passionate declarations of love — plus a good deal more.” – Stephanie Merry

Moms’ Night Out” (PG) “Directed by Andrew and Jon Erwin from a script by Andrea Gyertson Nasfell and Jon Erwin, ‘Moms’ Night Out’ possesses the production values and awkward pacing of a lame amateur production with big ambitions.” – Ann Hornaday

Fed Up” (PG) “‘Fed Up’ isn’t so much a warning to the ignorant shopper or a tip for the unimaginative chef as it is a rallying cry. It succeeds in firing up the choir. Whether it will convert the complacent is an open question.” – Michael O’Sullivan

Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return” (PG) “Every child deserves to see Oz for the first time the way God, or at least MGM, intended: via the opening of a door, in a sudden pop of Technicolor gloriousness, with a wide-eyed Judy Garland as their guide to a place where Dorothy Gale becomes a hero — not because everyone keeps saying she’s one, but because she discovers that her bravery has been buried inside her all along.” – Jen Chaney

1/2 “Bright Days Ahead” (Unrated) “The theme of aging — gracelessly or otherwise — is a rich and worthy one. But there’s a superficiality to this tale that, in the end, is less than wholly satisfying.” – Michael O’Sullivan

1/2 “The Galapagos Affair: When Satan Came to Eden” (Unrated) “‘The Galapagos Affair’ spins a strange and compelling tale, with perfectly sinister music by Laura Karpman setting the mood. But the movie is better at building suspense than following through.” – Stephanie Merry

1/2 “Stage Fright” (R) “…Viewers without a taste for either musicals or horror will find this 88-minute trifle as interminable as ‘Les Misérables.’” – Mark Jenkins

Macy L. Freeman is an editorial aide for the Weekend/Going Out Guide section at The Washington Post.
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