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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.

What is love, you ask?

Heck if I know, and neither does Charlyne Yi, I think.

She wouldn’t have made a documentary if she weren’t in pursuit of the answer, right?

Well, for herself, she really doesn’t, even with her real-life relationship (at the time) to Michael Cera.  In pursuing a documentary about love, the pair create a fictional portrait of their budding romance.  They enjoy the company at first, but after a while, between the camera crew constantly hounding the pair and Charlyne flat out saying that she isn’t in love, they split up, only to seemingly reconcile at the end (at least, that’s what the puppets describe for us in a genuinely hilarious ending).

It all seems deceptive too, given the fact that Charlyne interviewed couples, either married or with each other for years, to get a glimpse at what love is.  The highlights of this documentary involve those couples – all real, all very much in love – and how they described meeting each other, or just dealing with different moments in their lives, done to the tune of arts and crafts.  There are bold moments, crazy moments, and touching moments to be found.

Part of how this works comes from Charlyne herself: she has a rather disarming charm that allows her to get people to talk to her.  She’s humorous as well, in a happy, optimistic way (and somewhat self-depreciating, but it’s actually not so bad compared to other comedians).  Her relationship with Michael Cera was engaging as well, even if we know, for the film at least, it was fake.  It was probably their actual relationship that made this work better than it should.

This was on Starz On Demand, I believe.  It’s short (only 88 minutes), and it’s a perfect way to spend a lazy afternoon.  Don’t expect to get an answer to love – the whole overriding message, if there is one, is just to go find it on your own – but you’ll appreciate the moments of love that you find, especially during those real moments.

I had a feeling that, as soon as the Universal title opened, redone in 8-bit graphics and MIDI-file orchestra, this movie would be an epic.

It did not disappoint.

Credit Edgar Wright, no doubt.  He’s got to be some sort of creative genius, pulling together everything in the graphic novels that made them quite popular (which, by the way, I still need to read), and mashing them together in this film.  From what I understand as I listened to my friends talk afterward, it followed the plot of the novels quite well, with various lines utilized throughout.  Some lines were missing, but some they got, they enjoyed hilariously.

Yes, I have some catching up to do.

But this is a movie, and as a movie, it was an exciting spectacle.  Sure, the movie drags after a while (how many ways can you have a fight scene anyway?), and the filming, strangely, gets a bit lazy towards the end (the first entrance into Gideon’s lair, for instance).  The feel of this movie though – the mix of a general slacker/gamer induced madness with the comic book geekiness – is what drives this film, and it doesn’t let it.  It doesn’t get old too.  The novelty that you’d expect to wear off after the first five minutes doesn’t do so at all.  Each fight scene – from Patel all the way to Gideon – is manically different every time.  The results are the same, no doubt (this is Scott Pilgrim fighting the League of Evil Exes (“seven evil boyfriends?” “seven evil exes”), so you’d hope he comes out on top), but how Pilgrim responds to each of them is crafty.  The special effects in the movie too – the endless word pop ups, the ringing points totals, the movement effects, hell, everything – is excellent.

An epic of epic epicness.  Okay, the story is as you would expect it, and there is a somewhat morally uplifting ending about learning self-respect, but this is ADHD-induced glee from start to finish.

What more can you ask for?  See it.

B+