Picks of the week
(R, 96 minutes, Universal): Seth Rogen and Zac Efron make amusing alter egos in this collegiate comedy that is less a coherent movie than a loosely assembled series of lewd jokes and punishing slapstick routines.
Directed with characteristic haphazard style by Nicholas Stoller, “Neighbors” isn’t designed to impress with subtle comedy or clever construction. Rather, it’s a movie of whammies: 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.
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Contains pervasive profanity, strong crude and sexual content, graphic nudity and drug use throughout. Extras: a gag reel and featurettes “An Unlikely Pair” and “The Frat.” On Blu-ray: deleted/alternate scenes, Line-O-Rama, and “Partying With the Neighbors” and “on the set” featurettes.
(R, 102 minutes, Lionsgate): In this post-apocalyptic “Mad Max”-style drama, Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson set out on a journey across the Australian Outback 10 years after a Western economic collapse in which survivors fight over a broken society’s scraps with Darwinian aggression.
Director David Michod’s film, while sometimes trite and sentimental, possesses moments of astonishing assurance and austere beauty. Co-written by Joel Edgerton, “The Rover” too often succumbs to arty, self-serious posturing meant to disguise its true intent, which is to indulge in pulp violence at its most graphic and fetishistic.
The saving grace comes by way of Michod’s own poetic sense of framing and composition, as well as a galvanizing lead performance from Pearce, a great, underrated Australian actor.
Contains profanity and some bloody violence. Extras: a making-of featurette.
(PG-13, 80 minutes, in Polish with subtitles, Music Box Films): Agata Trzebuchowska makes an astonishing screen debut in the political drama by Pawel Pawlikowski set in 1960s Poland.
Trzebuchowska is Anna, a young nun raised in a rural convent, where she grew up as an orphan. She learns she has an aunt living in Gdansk, the hard-bitten Wanda (Agata Kulesza). Eventually, these two temperamentally disparate heroines achieve an improbable meeting of the minds, as “Ida” sends each woman on an individual journey that seems as inevitable as it is quietly shocking.
In this austere black-and-white character study, Poland is a country and culture locked in the twin tragedies of World War II and postwar communism.
Contains thematic elements, some sexuality and smoking. Extras: a behind-the-scenes featurette and a Q&A with Pawlikowski.