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Movie review: ‘Neighbors 2’ flips the script to great success

Two years ago, “Neighbors” writers Andrew Jay Cohen and Brendan O’Brien, along with director Nicholas Stoller, reinvented the classic college party movie by pitting the frat guys against the young parents next door. It was a raunchy but sweet rumination on getting older and growing out of party mode, a refreshing take on the college movie formula. With “Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising,” they’ve flipped the script, creating a feminist party classic that’s completely current and doesn’t skimp on any of the wild humor. It’s also even better than its predecessor.

New books on Teddy Roosevelt, in the wilderness and at war

How do you like your Teddy Roosevelt — sliced and diced, or the whole megillah? If big books about America’s larger-than-life 26th president are your thing, there are plenty of door-stopping bios to suit your fancy. But Roosevelt’s multifarious life — he was by turns a politician, writer, hunter, soldier, explorer and amateur scientist — is suitable for a thematic close-up, as displayed in the books under review here.

TV review: ‘American Masters’ looks at Janis Joplin

The upcoming “American Masters” portrait of Janis Joplin, titled “Janis: Little Girl Blue” was produced by Amy Berg, an Oscar nominee who interviews members of Janis Joplin’s first band, Big Brother and the Holding Company; Kris Kristofferson, whose hit “Me and Bobby McGee” was spectacularly covered by Joplin; record mogul Clive Davis; and famed filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker, whose “Monterey Pop” from 1968 established Joplin.

‘Keanu’ is a real, funny movie

If you watched the trailer for “Keanu” starring Jordan Peele and Keegan Michael Key of Comedy Central’s beloved series “Key &Peele” _ and wondered “is this a real movie?” you’re not alone. In fact, it’s one of the auto-searches on Google. It’s understandable, as most know “Key &Peele” as a veritable factory of genre-bending viral sketches that engage with the tropes of Hollywood. But yes, “Keanu” is a real movie, a real funny one at that.

Movie Review: New ‘Jungle Book’ delights

Blanche DuBois in “A Streetcar Named Desire” said it first, and best: “I don’t want realism. I want magic!” Maybe it’s the Blanche in me who prefers magic to realism in certain types of fairy tales, but I have a hard time loving any movie dominated by ultra-crisp photorealistic animation designed to look real, not animated. That sort of realism often looks and feel misguided, slightly clinical. And it’s a substantial caveat when it comes to Disney’s new live-(ish) action version of “The Jungle Book.”

History gets hip with ‘Hamilton’

Everyone’s talking about it. Whether it be a Broadway geek, a diehard hip-hop fan or just someone who listens to good music of any genre, they all have one thing in common: an obsession with “Hamilton,” a hip-hop musical about the forgotten founding father on the $10 bill. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s masterpiece is so perfect that one song took him an entire year to write. So what’s the big deal? What makes this musical so different from all the other ones?

All the familiar faces are back in ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2’

Back in 2002, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” became a bona fide cultural phenomenon, a romantic comedy that mined the cultural specificities of the Greek heritage of unknown writer and star Nia Vardalos. The film picked up an Oscar nomination for Vardalos’ original screenplay, everyone began adding “My Big Fat” in front of various nouns, and we all learned a thing or two about the versatility of Windex. Fourteen years later, Vardalos and gang are back again for another wedding, but this time, it’s to drastically diminished returns.
 

Around the remote: Chuck Barney’s TV picks for Jan. 31-Feb. 6

DON’T MISS: “Grease: Live” — We’ve got chills, and they’re multiplying for this exuberant musical that whisks viewers back to Rydell High and rekindles the romance between Sandy (Julianne Hough) and Danny (Aaron Tveit). With a cast that includes Vanessa Hudgens, Keke Palmer and Carly Rae Jepsen, this adaptation takes “the spine” of the 1978 film and melds it with pieces of the stage play. Hopefully, they’ll go together like a wop-bam-boom. 7 p.m. Sunday, Fox.

David Bowie’s five best albums

David Bowie, the British rock star who reshaped pop music with his changing, gender bending persona, created such a vast body of work in his career that it’s difficult to narrow his best and most noteworthy albums down to five (or even 10).

Game review: Craving another journey to a galaxy far, far away? Find it in “The Force Awakens”

The new “Force Awakens Play Set” for Disney Infinity 3.0 finishes the series of “Star Wars” sets offered this year, and in some ways stands apart as very distinct from them. The base set told an original story set against the familiar backdrop of the prequel trilogy’s “Clone Wars,” while the “Rise Against the Empire” set played fast and loose with the story of “A New Hope.” This set is similarly abridged, but rather than toying with familiar cultural mythology, the broad strokes here feel like the developer tip-toeing around spoilers.

10 films to look forward to in 2016

The major movie studios haven’t been just waiting around to see whether “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” would be a blockbuster. They’ve known that since Disney announced the film in 2012. Now that it’s out, and possibly destined to become the highest-grossing film ever, the studios are aggressively rolling out some strong titles in 2016.