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Welcome to the end of the world, and endless laughing pains.

This is the End is a disaster comedy (is that a new category now? disaster comedy?) starring a whole bunch of people playing themselves (well, there’s the primary cast (Rogen, Franco, Hill, Baruchel, McBride, and Robinson) and then a bunch of other people (Watson, Cera, Segel, Mintz-Plasse, Rihanna, and many more) and then a few hilarious cameos (…, …, what, see this film okay?!)) when the world goes to shit.  The primary cast hole up in Franco’s house, keeping a (bad) eye on food supplies, filming sequels to films they’ve starred in, and trying to stay alive long enough for help to come.

It’s not perfect by any means.  It goes from set piece to set piece looking for something for the guys to do, and at two hours is almost entirely too long.  It makes up for it though with each set piece being genuinely funny.  Some of them were really good: coked out Michael Cera was classic, the Pineapple Express sequel was great, the Emma Watson bit worked (which could have been a disaster but was pretty damn funny), the Franco/McBride masturbation argument was fantastic, and the brief cameos at the end were insane and worth it.

The primary cast were all really good, and, in a way, playing really dickish versions of themselves.  Franco and Hill especially, though Hill was more of a diva than anything else, but it still worked.  Or are they just like that in real life?

What probably helped the film a lot was using the book of Revelations as its apocalyptic backdrop and just ran it to its logical (or illogical) end.  I haven’t read Revelations (though I probably should at some point), but my understanding of it is that it’s genuinely fucked up, and the movie plays with how fucked up that book is.  Once the survivors know what to do at towards the end (how to escape hell on earth), they try to be good, and all of them with hilarious results.

This movie is hilarious from start to finish.  Definitely see it.


Ugh, I should have written this sooner.  Much of what I remember has now left me (and I still have two more reviews to write).  I’m wondering how I’m going to keep this up when I start school again (answer: not well, but at least I won’t be seeing as many movies).

So, let’s keep this one brief, even though 127 Hours begs for a lengthy review.  The bullet points please.

Danny Boyle is something fierce with his directing style.  It’s purely visceral, constantly filling the screen with movement and sound and action without distracting from the story.  If anything, it just adds to the experience.  Because, well, seriously, one could easily become bored when watching a man contemplate his life while trapped in a ditch with a rock holding him in place.  (Yes, the memoir is titled “Between A Rock and a Hard Place”.  No, I won’t be using that.  Cliches are cliches, even when, well, it’s literal.)  Of course, the whole style screams pay attention to the ADHD generation of ours, but it works, especially when we’re forced to do so to more than one thing at any given time.  It’s an exciting film, as much as it is gut-wrenching and inspiration (the whole testament to the power of the human spirit and what one man can do to evaluate himself and change his life, and, well, to actually live).

James Franco will get his due, though it may not be this year (Colin Firth is set to win everything for The King’s Speech).  I’ve always maintained his underrated abilities (his major role in Spider-Man notwithstanding), especially in recent years (I mentioned this before in my review of Howl), but this is the role that’ll elevate him further.  It’s his show from beginning to end, and he plays the part perfectly, from fiercely independent mountaineer to the contemplative man on his last bit of strength and will power.

As for that dreaded arm cutting scene, it’s not as bad as it seems.  Okay, it’s somewhat gruesome, but the whole sequence was set to keep the camera away from the actual cutting (there are several shots with all of Franco, and then with Franco’s head).  It’s a precise cut, or as precise as one can be when equipped with a shoddy multi-tool.  The scene maintains the visceral style that’s present throughout (especially when a nerve is literally hit).  It would be a shame not to watch it, since it serves as the final breaking point for a man willing to live instead of die.

Quite good, and a must see.


From what I can tell, there is no official trailer for this movie. I’ll update this post whenever an actual trailer does come to light. For now, this is what the QFest website provided for a trailer.

Speaking of QFest, welcome to my first ever film festival. As you can see, QFest involves the promotion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered films. I’m not sure of the exact count, but there are well over 100 full length and short films. Obviously I won’t see them all, but I’m going to see a small sampling of films from the festival, hopefully providing a glimpse of what the festival has to offer.

First one is Howl, which made its debut to mixed reviews at Sundance.  The movie is a biopic of sorts, involving Allen Ginsberg’s four-part poem and the obscenity trial that resulted from the publishing of the poem.

The movie is definitely a mixed bag, though it’s decent enough to see and enjoy. The movie can be broken down into three loosely linear story lines: Ginsberg explaining the writing of the poem, the obscenity trial, and a reading of the poem through live action and animation.

The best of these is the first, which is possible by James Franco and his portrayal of Ginsberg. Franco, at least to me, is severely underrated as an actor. Between this, Milk, and even Pineapple Express, Franco has shown a repeatedly ability to become the person he portrays. Hopefully he’ll get more roles like these, or even bigger ones, like he got in the Spider-Man films.

Ginsberg here is filmed in his apartment during the trial, being interviewed by a journalist about the writing of the poem. Ginsberg is rambling, but coherently, taking about various loves, his homosexuality, his mother, and just the world at large and how it has forsaken his generation. The sequences in the apartment are filmed in color, while the flashbacks are done in black and white, with random color splashes to make things stand out differently and uniquely: the sky is red, a painting in an art museum is a swirling mass of colors, all of it referencing Howl.

The trial is standard fare: supposed experts explain to the judge about the validity of the poem. The insight is interesting, and the acting is fine, but compared to the rest of the film, it seems lacking, especially since we already know of the outcome of the trial.

The mixed bag is the animation during the reading of the poem. Ginsberg, in the live action portion, is reading the poem in an underground coffee shop or bar to a live audience. They cheer and scream out when he condemns the industrial machine and sympathize with him when he laments about his mother. Meanwhile, the animation is used to help drive and explain the poem through a variety of images, many of them sexual and many more rallying against the system. The style is unique and expressive, but it doesn’t help explain some parts of the poem, and more troubling, it’s also rather distracting. There were times when I wanted to listen to the poem (read marvelously by Franco, by the way), but I couldn’t because of what was happening on the screen. A shame, a least to me, because the poem was really something else.

So, not a terrible film by any means, but it’s not the greatest either. Just decent, but it’s enjoyable.

Note: Wikipedia lists the film as having a domestic release in the fall. I don’t imagine this going beyond a limited release, but I would urge people to see this anyway, because it still is a somewhat interesting film.

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