Film Reviews – This Is The End, Before Midnight, Only God Forgives.

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This is the End.

Directed by Seth Rogen (Superbad, Pineapple Express, Knocked Up).

While attending a party at James Franco‘s house, Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel and many other celebrities are faced with the apocalypse.
This is the most ridiculous movie out at the moment, and also one of the most ridiculously funny.
It pretty much defines what a stoner comedy should be and as such, the specifics of it’s greatness are kind of vague, but the notion of hilariousness permeates every frame.

Seth Rogens’ friend Jay Baruchel, a “less successful” actor who has known Seth since childhood unwillingly visits Seth in LA and even more unwillingly attends a party at James Francos house. While ducking out to buy a pack of smokes with Seth, the end of the world starts happening and people are beamed into the sky via blue beams of light. Cars crash, the Hollywood sign is on fire. It’s pretty much the apocalypse. But unlike pretty much every other film about the world ending – like 2012, The Day after Tomorrow and World War Z, this literally is the end of days, and the two guys along with a handful of other celebrities find themselves barricaded inside James Franco’s Hollywood mansion. We didn’t stop laughing for the whole movie. Favourite moment – Jonah Hill praying to god for something bad to happen to Jay, “God, it’s me, Jonah Hill. From Moneyball.” Danny McBride from Eastbound & Down is priceless as is his mate Craig Robinson. Michael Cera, Rhianna, Emma Stone and Channing Tatum all make the appearances of their lives in this movie that gets more and more messed up as the world crumbles and the devil arrives to stake his claim.

4 & 1/2.

———–

Before Midnight.

Directed by Richard Linklater (turns 53 at the end of July, Slacker – Dazed & Confused, Fast Food Nation, School of Rock. from Texas. divorced) starring Ethan Hawke (42, also from Texas) and Julie Delpy (43)

The third installment from indie director Richard Linklater in his “Before” series of films that chart the passage of time for a young American Jesse and a French mademoiselle Celine who first meet on a train and spend a night together in 1994’s Before Sunrise. Nine years later we saw the couple meet up again in Paris and at the end of that movie we are left hanging as to whether or not they hook up. Fast forward another nine years and we have this new film Before Midnight. Turns out that Nine years together, are quite unlike nine years apart. Spoiler alert for anyone who hasn’t seen the first two films. They get married and have twins. On a trip to Greece they are encouraged to spend a night together in a hotel to re-energize their relationship. The writing, acting and directing could not possible be more real. Every single thing my wife and I talk about was covered in brilliant, at times cringing detail. A film that explores what it means to be a man and a woman, a husband and a wife, a father and mother, son and daughter, and at the heart of it all, individuals in a relationship. Simply the most endearing, heartfelt film I’ve seen since I watched these two together on screen in Before Sunset, which I watched this week, along with the first one to get in the mood. If you see this film without seeing the first two, it would be like watching Return of the Jedi and wondering what’s up with this Darth Vader dude? Or Terminator 3 and thinking – wait – cyborgs can time travel?

A resounding five out of five stars.

ONLY GOD FORGIVES.

When a film is booed at the Cannes film festival, and wins the Sydney Film Festival, the only certainty is that it will be divisive to its audience.
I tried to keep an open mind about seeing “Only God Forgives
, And deliberately avoided reading too much about the picture.
This stylish revenge thriller set in Bangkok and starring Ryan Gosling & Kristin Scott Thomas, is big on style and short on thrills.

Director Nicolas Winding Refn who worked with Gosling on the fantastic Drive says in the liner notes to the film that the second enemy of creativity, after having good taste”, is being safe.
Creative is great, and this film achieves that, but I go to the movies to be entertained. And to paraphrase the illustrious Ricky Gervais character David Brent – To be educated.
This film plodded from one symbol laden scene to the next with characters that I couldn’t relate to or feel for.
On the whole, for me it was neither entertaining nor educating.
Afterwards I wondered if it didn’t grab me because I am too used to being “spoon fed”, but decided regardless of my diet, the film just didn’t connect with me.

If the pace had unfolded a little more quickly, I might have warmed to the end result, but like a budget family vacation in the old station wagon, it took forever to get to somewhere I’d rather not go. Nowhere.
The tagline of the film is “Time to Meet the Devil”. The trouble is I’ve already been acquainted with a far more interesting Satan – (I’d prefer to stick with) the one from that Tenacious D video – Tribute – Mr. Dave Grohl.

2 & ½.

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