This Is the End (2013)

Take Yo Panties Off!

This Is the End (2013)Based on the poster alone, I had no interest in seeing today’s movie.  I liked the people I saw on the poster, but I’ve seen them all in movies that were both great and awful, so the poster alone couldn’t really capture my attention.  But that’s why they make trailers.  When I started seeing the trailers for the movie, my desire to see it took to a sharp incline.  The trailer wasn’t laugh out loud funny, but that could be a good thing in this case.  The trailer should just show the potential for the movie; not spoil the best jokes.  And that’s what this trailer did.  Plus, the premise seemed fantastic.  But Friendboss Josh already had an appointment to see this movie with his girlfriend, the Whitney-Bird.  So we went down to the theaters to catch Man of Steel instead.  But that shit was sold out.  Good thing for me, Friendboss Josh values his friendshipbossship with me more than he values vagina, so we went to see This Is the End, written and directed by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, and starring Jay Baruchel, Seth Rogen, James Franco, Craig Robinson, Jonah Hill, Danny McBride, Emma Watson, Michael Cera, Jason Segel, David Krumholtz, Paul Rudd, Mindy Kaling, Martin Starr, Channing Tatum, Kevin Hart, Rihanna, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, and Aziz Ansari.

Jay Baruchel goes to Los Angeles to visit his friend Seth Rogen.  After a celebratory day of smoking weed and playing video games, Rogen suggests that the two of them go to a party at James Franco’s house, but Baruchel doesn’t want to go because he doesn’t know or like anyone at the party and worries about being left alone there.  Sure enough, upon arriving to the party Rogen goes off on his own, leaving Baruchel in uncomfortable conversations with people like Michael Cera, Emma Watson, and Rihanna.  Rogen and Baruchel walk down to a store to pick up some snacks, but their shopping is interrupted when blue beams of light grab some of the shoppers and drag them up to the heavens.  Then the fuckin’ apocalypse happens, instantly killing many of the celebrities at Franco’s party, leaving Rogen, Baruchel, Franco, Craig Robinson, and Jonah Hill alone in the house to fend for themselves.  They ration out what little supplies they have and go to sleep for the night.  When they wake up, they find that Danny McBride had crashed the party and fallen asleep in a bathroom upstairs, and had come down and prepared all of their food for breakfast.  How will this group of sheltered celebrities be able to survive the reckoning?

I feel like I won’t have very much to say about this movie.  What I will say is this: this is probably the best comedy I’ve seen in a very long time.  I just can’t think of very many funny things that I could put in a review about something that was keeping me laughing super consistently for the greater majority of the movie.  There was a moment to make me laugh out loud at least once every five minutes.  That’s one hell of a ratio!  I barely ever laugh in movies, so that should tell you just what I think about this movie.  I would say that it could be easily argued that the story was a little underwhelming.  It was mainly just an excuse to get these really funny people into situations they could improvise jokes about.  But a comedy doesn’t really need to blow you away with story.  One of my favorite comedies is Airplane! and that’s really all that movie is.  I’m not going to come back here and write a review about the fact that its story wasn’t spectacular when all it was trying to be was a comedy and it kept me laughing.

The cameos in this movie are crazy.  They have ridiculous celebrities in this movie.  I liked most of those people and was tickled to see them in this, and I even really liked the celebrities that I don’t normally like.  Rihanna had a funny moment with Michael Cera, Channing Tatum had an amazing joke, and even though I don’t like them, the Backstreet Boys reveal was pretty awesome, albeit unnecessary.  Jay Baruchel was a little whiny in the movie, but he was also plenty funny.  Seth Rogen was hilarious.  I did think that it didn’t make sense for people to act like he wouldn’t get into heaven if he used Jesus’ name in vain.  He’s Jewish!  They don’t care about Jesus!  James Franco had plenty of funny moments as well.  I especially liked the story he told about Lindsay Lohan thinking he was Jake Gyllenhaal and him telling her to call him the Prince of Persia.  Danny McBride is always a strange character for me.  He never really plays anyone likeable, but he’s really good at playing that character.  And he made a great joke about Franco being gay.  I would say if there were anything bad to say about the cast of this movie it would be that Emma Watson had too small of a part in the movie.  She was great in the movie, and the parts she was in were pretty hilarious, but I want to look at her at all times, and I also want to have a little resolution to what happened to her.  After she leaves, we never see her again.  I assume there’s no way she could go to heaven because she portrayed a witch in 8 movies, so that’s means she’s for sure Hell bound, but the movie never said for sure.

I really can’t do much in a review of This Is the End.  I cannot add funny to the funniest movie I’ve seen in a long time.  This movie was created by a bunch of professionally funny people, and I do this for free.  The story was an interesting idea, but a little simplistic, but who cares because it was mostly there to set up some really funny people being funny.  This movie kept me laughing all the way through, giving me only brief pauses to catch my breath so I wouldn’t die while watching it.  You definitely need to get out to see this movie as soon as you can.  I can’t imagine you’ll regret it.  This Is the End gets “The power of Christ compels you!” out of “I’d be pretty bummed if I don’t at least get a bite of the Milky Way.”

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Battleship (2012)

You Ready for This?

Battleship (2012)I feel like the greater majority of the world knew better than to bother with today’s movie.  But the greater majority of the world isn’t aspiring reviewers.  I felt it was my duty to watch this movie, no matter how painful.  Even after making that decision, I still put off watching this movie for as long as I could.  Hey, I’m not getting paid for this stuff.  It’s not like it’s a legitimate obligation or anything!  Well, as the end of 2012 came up, I decided that I needed to see this movie in case it made it to my list.  And it did … in the bottom five for the year.  What else do I have to say about it?  Find out as I review Battleship, written by Jon and Erich Hoeber, directed by Peter Berg, and starring Taylor Kitsch, Brooklyn Decker, Alexander Skarsgard, Tadanobu Asano, Liam Neeson, Hamish Linklater, Gregory D. Gadson, Rihanna, John Tui, and Jesse Plemons.

Alex Hopper (Taylor Kitsch) is a slacker who gets arrested for robbing a store while trying to impress Samantha Shane (Brooklyn Decker), daughter of a Navy commander Admiral Terrance Shane (Liam Neeson).  He does not pass Go; he does not collect 200 dollars.  After his Boggle, Alex’s brother Stone (Alexander Skarsgard) sets his Cranium on making his brother join the Navy.  Later, Alex is dating Samantha and playing soccer, Scrabbling for a victory over the Asian team.  They then go out for a large scale version of Chess in a naval exercise against the Asians, designed to test their Stratego … I mean strategy.  During the exercises, five alien spacecraft land and throw up a force field, claiming a Monopoly on the area, taking down some of the Navy like they were Hungry Hungry Hippos.  Even though it seems like a Trivial Pursuit, Alex maneuvers the Chutes and Ladders of the ship to take over the ship, at considerable Risk.  But soon, he’ll Connect 4 ideas and develop a Clue on how to defeat the aliens, involving Pictionary and Scattergories.  I apologize for all the board game puns.  And by that, I mean I am Sorry.

It came as no surprise to me that this movie was stupid.  I get the feeling that they meant it to be stupid.  But what can usually overcome stupidity is fun, and this movie just didn’t have enough of it.  It had its moments, but the stupidity overrode that in most parts.  It was extremely painful to see a movie try to take itself while still being loosely based on a board game and actually using some really sweaty, contrived way to make firing at space E11 seem plausible.  But the entire premise of the aliens didn’t make any sense in the first place.  That’s probably why they chose to leave those out of the original board game.  It simply wouldn’t make sense for these super advanced aliens to have no technology to overcome their crippling weakness beyond waiting for something to fire on them so that they knew where to return fire.  Even if you can punch very hard, it seems like you might be a more successful boxer if you didn’t need to get punched first to do it.  And that being the case, why does our Navy not realize that they only retaliate and never attack first and decide we should just not attack?  Also, why were they here in the first place?  As best I could tell, their only motivation was to use the satellite thing that called them in the first place.  Is your story really just an adult version of ET?  The aliens just want to phone home?  For what purpose?  Do they need water?  Food?  Land?  Should they not find a place where they can see?  Because they can’t here.  And most importantly, why did I spend 10 minutes watching a gundamned soccer game?  It’s like watching Top Gun again with no volleyball and (thankfully) more shirts.

The look of the movie never really caused many complaints from me.  The odd moments tied with the look of the movie were more because of their strange choices in the action.  I don’t understand what the purpose was of the explosions that seemed to pull the person closer, push them back out, and then pull them back in was.  Why would a simple explosion or a singularity not be more effective?  Was it simply to pester your foe before they die?  And later, when they anchor the giant battleship and somehow make it drift like in the Fast and the Furious movies, would there really be no consequences for that?  Those things weren’t really built for that.  They made a few odd decisions with the music too.  They used a lot of good music in vaguely inappropriate places.  Like when they used the AC/DC song “Hard as a Rock” during the scene where Alex was quietly getting berated.  And then some other hard rock song while some amputees were exercising.

The performances in the movie were really hit and miss.  Taylor Kitsch has never really done anything I’ve enjoyed, but it may be the bad taste he left in my mouth when he played Gambit in X-Men Origins.  And, though his character was the hero of the movie, he was never really likeable.  It takes him until nearly the end of the movie to realize that there are consequences to his stupid actions.  He didn’t even realize it right after he told someone to unload on the alien spacecraft with a Gatling gun when there were battleships lining up to fail out there.  Liam Neeson surprised me in this movie.  Not with his good performance because he always brings that.  What surprises me is that he actually felt it was necessary to bring it to this movie.  Rihanna was also surprising in this movie just because I expected her performance to be awful like most of her music, but she was pretty decent.  Actually, I don’t know any of her music, so that’s probably unfair.  I don’t know what his name was, but as is typical with this character type, I hated the comic relief guy.

Battleship was exactly what I expected.  It was dumb.  There seems to be no reason for it to have been made, and probably less reason for me to have seen it.  The story was not great and only got worse when aliens were introduced.  And what’s worse is that the movie never really managed to reach the fun that would normally overcome that stupidity.  We can only hope that Hollywood starts looking away from board games (that have no story) for the stories of their movie, but I would not be surprised.  You can skip this movie.  Battleship gets “Sorry” out of “Backgammon!”

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Katy Perry: Part of Me (2012)

Can Katy Survive a 2-Hour Show?  And Can Robert Survive a 1.5-Hour Katy Perry Movie?

Katy Perry: Part of Me (2012)I’ve still been trying to fill any gaps left in the year 2012 as the end of the year approaches, but I think I might have been perfectly fine leaving this particular gap unfilled.  That was not an option for me as my friend Janet not only requested today’s movie, but provided me with a copy of it.  It is against company bylaws to refuse a request, regardless of how disinterested you are in both the movie and the subject matter of the movie.  After bracing myself for the worst, I sat down to watch … sigh … Katy Perry: Part of Me, directed by Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz, starring Katy Perry and Russell Brand, and with cameos by some people I don’t know (or don’t want to know) named Kesha (I refuse to spell that with a dollar sign), Adele, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Jessie J, Ellen DeGeneres, and Rebecca Black.

Katy Perry (Katy Perry) makes what some people call music, and this movie is about that.  She’s embarking on a concert and that apparently requires that a movie be made about it, since it is probably the very first concert in history.  During this concert, we learn how Katy Perry mutated from a gospel singer named Katheryn Hudson into an international pop sensation.  At some point, she also forgets how ridiculously hot she is and she actually gets bummed out that British comedian Russell Brand divorces her.

I’d like to start off this review by making a distinction.  There is a clear difference between saying, “This is not a good movie,” and saying, “I did not like this movie.”  I would say there was nothing really wrong with this movie, but I was definitely not the target audience, especially since going into this movie I could only say that I knew about two Katy Perry songs.  I personally could give two shits about Katy Perry, her music, or her life.  And that is the summation of the entire movie, leaving the movie to be kind of a trudge for the disinterested audience.  In its defense, I assume the movie’s actual audience would love this.  They get to get closer to someone they probably like more than is healthy and listen to her music that they like for whatever reason.  People like me will hear them say things like, “She just wants to be the first Katy Perry,” and feel the irony because her music seems like the 10th or so Britney Spears, or the 20th Tiffany, maybe setting herself apart by being the one in that group that has the sense to send great moral messages to her fans by strapping whipped cream sprayers to her tits in her music videos.  She also sings songs about fireworks, but she forgets that those things burn bright but they fizzle out in a few seconds.  She is taking way too long to fizzle out for my tastes.  I would say that one thing I did enjoy seeing in the movie was that Perry’s religious crackpot parents still loved their daughter, even though she spends a lot of her time half-dressed and shaking her cans for an audience.  And one thing that made me laugh was that Katy Perry used the term “Cray Cray” at one point, and the subtitle felt the need to translate that to “(Crazy)”, just in case the audience had a few people that weren’t stupid being dragged to it.

There’s probably not a whole lot to be said about the music and visual style of this movie.  If you have any intention of seeing this movie, I assume you already know what Katy Perry concerts look like and sound like.  For everyone else, the visual style is what happens if you raid a candy store and throw it up all over a stage.  I don’t know why I have to sit through seizure warnings on most of the video games I play, but this movie didn’t have one in the beginning.  There were so many colors smashed into every frame of this movie that I almost had a seizure.  I also resented that at no point during this movie did Katy Perry shoot whipped cream out of her boobs.  That’s the one thing I remember about her!  As for the music of the movie, it’s the typical pop stuff that I do all I can to avoid.  We hear all the songs that I assume she’s famous for, starting with the song that made her popular, “I Kissed a Girl”, which I always thought was called “I’ll Go Gay if You Pay Attention to Me.”  I did think it was a little strange – but also hilarious – that the movie juxtaposed scenes of Perry’s fans crying because of the profound experience of seeing Katy Perry in concert with Katy Perry singing a song called “Peacock” which, as best I can tell, is a song about Katy Perry demanding to see someone’s dick.  And it’s not even subtle about it!  It seemed like the lyrics were originally, “Let me see your cock,” and someone said they wouldn’t play that on MTV so she added “pea” so that no one would have any idea what she was singing about.  But I’m onto you, Perry!  I would also have to mention that my own bias against pop music made me resent things like opening the movie with someone playing a Katy Perry song on the violin and Katy Perry herself holding a guitar on numerous occasions.  “Instruments are reserved for talented people,” I would think to myself.  But, during the course of the movie, I learned that Katy Perry actually made music before she became famous, so I had to learn my lesson that the rare few musicians that are popular today can actually play an instrument.  I guess Katy Perry is one of them.

There’s even less to say about the performances in this movie than the look and music of the movie.  It’s mostly just people being themselves, or at least being the version of themselves that they want to be portrayed as.  I would say that Katy Perry herself comes off as very likeable in the movie.  Not only is she hot, but she’s also cute and goofy and very endearing.  I actually did feel twangs of sadness for her when she was crying before going up on stage because of her divorce with Russell Brand, even though I resent the fact that she’s acting like that’s even a speed bump in her life.  Does she realize how hot she is and how out of his league she is?  She’ll be fine.  The rest of the cast is filled by a bunch of other women I don’t give a shit about, like Jessie J, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, and Justin Bieber.  I don’t care about those ladies either.

I feel that my comments still indicate that I hated Katy Perry: Part of Me.  That’s not really the case.  The simple fact of the matter is that I am not the audience for this movie.  I have no interest in Katy Perry, her life, or her music, and her visual style feels like it could either give someone seizures or make them diabetic.  But the movie wasn’t painfully bad to make it through and Katy Perry came off as very likeable, and even managed to elicit an emotional response from me at one point in the movie.  The only way to make a recommendation for this movie is completely unnecessary as the people that would see it already have, and I don’t recommend it for anyone else.  Katy Perry: Part of Me gets “The bad that comes along with the good is a journey” out of “I got an ass like Nicki Minaj in this one!”

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