Movie Review: Captain America The Winter Soldier

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is the first sequel to the Captain America movie series and the third film in the Avengers Phase Two series.

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Two years following the events of The Avengers, Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans) lives in Washington, D.C. and continues to train regularly. He introduces himself to Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie), a war veteran and PTSD counselor. Wilson makes a suggestion to Rogers in terms of familiarizing himself with the culture he missed out on in the past 70 years before Rogers is called for a S.H.I.E.L.D. rescue mission by Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlet Johansson). A small task force rescues a S.H.I.E.L.D. ship from Georges Batroc (Georges St-Pierre) and a gang from Algerian pirates.

Following the conclusion of the mission, Captain America discovers that Black Widow was tasked with a different task; retrieving information from the ship’s computer system. Furious, he confronts S.H.I.E.L.D. directory Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). Fury insists that compartmentalization is necessary to prevent important information from being leaked into the wrong hands. Fury then shows Rogers an almost-completed development, Project Insight. It consists of three helicarriers (upgraded from the model used in The Avengers) armed to the teeth with the intention of preemptively eliminating threats. Rogers questions the morality of it, eliminating people before crimes have actually been committed and how the project infringes on personal liberties in the name of international security. Fury has a rendezvous with Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford) about pushing Project Insight with other important figureheads. Afterward, while organizing a meetup with Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders), Nick Fury is attacked by a large group of assailants disguised as police officers and The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), a mysterious assassin responsible for a couple dozen high-profile assassinations. Fury barely manages to escape and informs Rogers that the amount of knowledge that the assailants had means that S.H.I.E.L.D. has been compromised.

As with the other Marvel movies, a lot of the characterization has been established with previous movies. Several characters are reintroduced, including one Agent Sitwell (Maximilliano Hernandez), who first appeared in Thor and has made frequent appearances in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Other characters who were not expanded on were given further character moments, such as Black Widow. New characters, including Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp) and Alexander Pierce, allow for the expansion of S.H.I.E.L.D. operatives and an idea of just how big the organization is.

The overlying themes of the movie include withholding information from trusted people, re-acclimating to surroundings, and the argument of liberty over security. There are a few moments where Rogers has to come to terms that a lot has changed since he first became Captain America, from meeting an aged love interest to catching up with popular trends of various time periods.

Other characters face a similar problem. Sam Wilson is shown counseling a PTSD session for returning veterans while coming to terms with his wingman being killed in action during his tour.

As you could have figured out, the movie takes its name from the story arc and character The Winter Soldier. The arc was created by Ed Brubaker (who makes a cameo in the movie if you look close enough), but takes several liberties with the story. Given that the movie has to be separate from the comics they were based off of due to contemporary standards and proper pacing, it’s an acceptable change. Though the characters are kept pretty close to the source material.

Plot: 8/10 (Captain America and other members of S.H.I.E.L.D. investigate The Winter Soldier and the compromise of the secret organization)

Characters: 9/10 (Several have already been introduced, new characters are interesting and well-rooted)

Language: 8/10 (Nothing that would confuse the regular movie-goer)

Theme: 10/10 (Withholding information, returning to “normalcy,” liberty vs. security)

Music: 7/10 (Other than the action score, there are pieces of music that reflect Rogers’s original time period and music he needs to familiarize himself with)

Spectacle: 9/10 (Lots of fast moving moments and fantastical structures)

Star Power: 9/10 (Chris Evans, Scarlet Johansson, Robert Redford, and Samuel L. Jackson)

Who to watch with: 8/10 (Comic book fans of course, continuing from the popularity of the Marvel movies)

Post-movie thought: 8/10 (While the movies are part of a large scale universe, this one makes active attempts to keep it self contained in its own title, as well)

Source Material: 7/10 (Several liberties from the original story taken due to the nature of the film universe)

Overall: 83/100

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Movie Review: Noah

Noah is a Biblical-epic drama film directed by Darren Aronofsky. It stars Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Ray Winstone, Emma Watson, and Anthony Hopkins.

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A majority of you are familiar with the story of Noah’s Ark and are aware that the story is a short one. There is very little to work with, opening the door for artistic license to fill in holes with characters, conflict, and other elements for a story. The movie opens with a text crawl regarding Adam and Eve’s three sons. Cain murders Abel and runs off on his own while Seth keeps the teaching’s of The Creator (as referenced throughout the movie). Angels come down to Earth to watch over the humans, called The Watchers. Cain and his followers vastly expand and industrialize the habitable Earth. Noah’s father Lamech passes down the teachings before being struck down by one of Cain’s descendants. Noah runs away, the last in Seth’s lineage until he has a son of his own.

Several years pass and Noah (Crowe) has three sons; Shem, Ham, and infant Japheth. Noah and his capable sons gather materials such as plants and minerals for their use. An animal runs by, wounded by Man (as declared by Noah, making an effort to separate his family from others). Ham shows interest in the Men’s weapons, but is corrected by Noah. They return to their rest area and Noah has a vivid dream. He looks upon his grandfather’s mountain followed by a blood-soaked field and bodies suspended in water. Noah takes this as a message to visit his grandfather Methuselah (Hopkins) when Naameh (Connelly) comes across a young wounded girl named Ila. They’re all abducted by Watchers and are chastised for their efforts, but one leads them to Methuselah. After the meeting, Noah is compelled to construct the Ark, with the help of the Watchers after a change of heart. All the while the collection of Man get suspicious of Noah’s actions.

The big thing with this movie is that it will be compared and scrutinized with its source material. There are things that are addressed, some things that make the story much better, and things that are a bit confusing. One thing I will mention is Noah’s sons and their wives. In the Bible, they are established already having wives. In the movie, it is a significant sub-plot when Naameh worries that there will be no one left to populate the Earth post-flood, but more importantly that her sons will die alone and childless.

Other things are the character moments from the otherwise undeveloped characters. Ham, Noah’s middle son, stumbles across temptation at several points in the film. Surprisingly though, intimate temptation only comes up once or twice. The main antagonist, Tubal-cain (Winstone), is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible (I didn’t see any mention of him in the New King James translation) openly challenges and sometimes mocks divinity. He also tends to symbolically curse the Earth by spitting. Noah displays several emotions that define his character: confidence, stubbornness, uncertainty and most importantly, shame.

Plot: 9/10 (Noah is called upon to save the animals from the Great Flood)

Characters: 10/10 (Bible characters with a lot more rooting interest)

Language: 6/10 (Conversations sound  like they could fit for the time, but conflicting accents make it a little weird)

Theme: 8/10 (Following the Call, family, industrialization, personal interest vs. divine command, redemption)

Music: 7/10 (Good music from Clint Mansell, once again collaborating with Aronofsky)

Spectacle: 8/10 (Great visual effects, but the animals were a little too noticeable as digital)

Star Power: 9/10 (Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Emma Watson, and Anthony Hopkins)

Who to watch with: 7/10 (Interestingly, religious viewers will likely be polarized on this movie)

Post-movie thought: 8/10 (It made the story much more interesting)

Source material: 7/10 (There’s not a lot to take from the original story, so there are some deviations)

Overall: 79/100

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Movie Review: 300: Rise of an Empire

300: Rise of an Empire is a fantasy action film. It is a sequel to the action movie 300.

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Queen Gorgo (Lena Heady) opens with an announcement of the fall of Leonidas and his 300 Spartan soldiers. Persian god-king Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) rides horseback though the field of corpses and beheads Leonidas before pillaging Greece. With the Persian soldiers raping, killing, and destroying everything they can get their hands on, Gorgo recounts a particular Athenian soldier to serve as an inspiration to soldiers. This segues into Themistocles (Sullivan Stimpleton) and the Battle of Marathon, where he orchestrated an ambush of Persian soldiers. In the concluding moments of the battle, Themistocles slices his way to the coast and grabs an enemy’s bow and arrow to kill the then-king of Persia, Darius.

Themistocles, now hailed a hero in Athens, calms a large group of fretting city officials in a town forum. Persians have made advances to the Greek cities with the intention to seize it if they don’t submit to the will of Xerxes. Themistocles gathers a modest naval fleet after asking support from all of Greece. Sparta refuses to send help, instead informing him that they plan on holding the Hot Gates (Thermopylae). Themistocles gathers more information about the Persian fleet and discover that the commander is Artimesia, a Greek-turned-Persian-soldier after hoplites destroyed her village and forced her into prostitution. Artemisia vows to make every effort to watch Greece burn by destroying its fleet and demoralizing the nation.

Hell hath no fury, indeed.

The plot will mostly follow the singular plot of the naval battles of Persia’s second Greek invasion, but on three occasions will stop to develop a major character. There will be some sort of audience surrogate in the movie to justify the exposition, but it seemed a little off to blend character development with the plot. Another thing is that the movie spans events before, during, and after the plot of the original movie.

Spectacle and special effects are as much as you can expect, much like the first movie. However, with the stable popularity of 3D movies, there is the added effect of making the blood and weapons jump off the screen to maintain the rule of cool. However, much like the first movie (and other movies where Zack Snyder’s name is attached), ramping is all over the place. For those unfamiliar, Ramping is the method of slowing down footage of cool scenes and then speeding it back up again. For some battle scenes, it’s pretty cool. For others, it’s literally one ramp after another. The worst offender is at the beginning of the movie where Xerxes yells at the corpse of Leonidas before beheading it. The entire beheading sequence is about 7 seconds.

Something else that really struck me were the thematic elements of the movie. The most obvious is the strength of conviction and fighting for freedom. In some spots it is made clear that Greeks fight to maintain their democracy, which will certainly resonate with the American audiences. Another theme is with the power struggle between two leaders. The scene in question involves Themistocles and Artemisia. Use your imagination.

Keep things SFW? Not in this movie.

Finally, something that’s hard to miss would be the inflated egos. For the antagonists, I suppose it would be necessary to try and intimidate their enemies. But at one point Queen Gorgo attacks Themistocles’s masculinity in relation to Spartan training. The movie is already testosterone-driven enough with muscular men that are three-quarters naked throughout the film, the added insults weren’t necessary.

Plot: 6/10 (Themistocles leads the fight against the naval invasion of Greece)

Characters: 7/10 (Interesting characters, but bogged down in how the exposition was carried out)

Language: 6/10 (Accents are maintained throughout, but some modern vernacular slips in as well)

Theme: 6/10 (Strength of conviction, fighting for democracy, revenge, and masculinity/power struggle)

Music: 7/10 (Dramatic war music to keep up with the action scenes, as well as a slightly altered “War Pigs” during the credits)

Spectacle: 6/10 (Copious amounts of blood and action, but bogged down in slow motion ramping)

Star Power: 7/10 (Sullivan Stimpleton, Rodrigo Santoro, and Lena Heady return, as well as Eva Green and Sullivan Stimpleton)

Who to watch with: 4/10 (Limited demographic here, Action fans and those who loved the previous movie mostly)

Post-movie thought: 6/10 (I’d classify this movie as a guilty pleasure than anything fulfilling)

Based off of source material: 5/10 (This is odd, because at this point Frank Miller’s Xerxes is unreleased, but the movie obviously follows characters that aren’t Xerxes)

Overall: 60/100

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Movie Review: Non-Stop

Non-Stop is an action thriller/mystery film directed by Juame Collet-Serra starring Liam Neeson and Julianne Moore.

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Bill Marks (Neeson) is a United States Air Marshal with a drinking problem. While preparing to board another flight, he mixes whiskey in to his cup of coffee (with a toothbrush, no less, leading me to believe that Ke$ha would start playing) before walking into the airport. Between the entrance and boarding the flight, Marks silently analyzes everyone expected to board the plane. He receives a phone call from his boss, telling him he has to stay in London (the flight’s destination) for three days before flying back to New York. This leaves Marks incredibly frustrated as he boards. Things seem to relax when he helps a little girl find the courage to board the plane, who’s traveling alone to see her dad overseas. While he puts away his luggage, he is introduced to Jen Summers (Moore), a traveling woman asking the other passengers for a window seat. She finally gets a seat she wants and ends up sitting next to Bill, where they engage in pleasantries. Bill admits that he hates the take-off of the plane and wraps his daughter’s security ribbon around his hand during the event. This triggers more conversation with Jen as the plane levels off.

Unfortunately for her, she had lost her son in a plane crash 8 years prior.

Later, almost halfway through the flight, Bill receives a text message (air marshals have private networks for communication) demanding $150 million dollars to an off-shore account or the sender will kidnap his daughter attack him with a pack of wolves release the kraken kill a passenger on the plane for every 20 minutes the money is not in the account. Bill makes his way up and down the airplane aisles which alerts another passenger on the plane, who turns out to be a second air marshal, named Jack Hammond (Anson Mount). Marks accuses him of playing a cruel joke. Hammond insists that he’s not playing a joke, but also pleads not to create a scene where none exists, implying that the messages were a hoax. As time ticks down, Marks gets more paranoid, informing the pilot and asking assistance from flight attendants as well as from Jen. The pilot is told by TSA that the account in question is made out to Marks himself, leaving him to be framed if the transaction follows through. The other passengers start to notice strange things and get worried, which complicates matters for everyone.

Liam Neeson has been an unlikely action hero in the past six years. Now in his 60s, he still has a tenacity to maintain these kinds of roles. He makes a fantastic performance. Unfortunately, the rest of the cast is left with very little to do. Julianne Moore is an accomplished actor in her own right, but does very little to expand on her own character (except when prompted by Neeson’s character). Other significant characters don’t get much explanation either, rather they are all orbiting around Bill Marks.

The theme of the movie revolves around the idea of airline security and terrorism. In a time that has citizens heavily inconvenienced for the sake of safety while not feeling any safer, the message can be felt with anyone who flies frequently. Another theme would be overcoming personal demons. It’s shown in the first minute that he struggles with alcoholism. In the first act it is also revealed that he smokes regularly, even going so far as to smoke in the airplane lavatory by taping the smoke detector closed.

Aside from the high action in the final act, spectacle falls under the interrogation tactics of Marks as well as the text messages being displayed for the audience. They aren’t taken away from the surroundings to read the message. Instead, it is superimposed by the phone so reactions are displayed as the text is being read.

Non-Stop

Plot: 7/10 (U.S. Air Marshal is pressured to find a terrorist on a filled plane)

Characters: 5/10 (Fantastic characterization of the protagonist, but literally everywhere else is lacking)

Language: 7/10 (A few airline security buzzwords thrown around, and an interesting aversion to having the F-word exposed to the audience)

Theme: 8/10 (TSA and airline security, recognizing personal demons)

Music: 5/10 (Nothing out of the ordinary, just the ramp-up-the-tension music in thrillers we’re all used to)

Spectacle: 8/10 (The incorporated text messages with the action and the intense third act)

Star Power: 8/10 (Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore, Scoot McNairey, Corey Stoll, and Nate Parker)

Who to watch with: 7/10 (Liam Neeson fans of course, those interested in the repercussions of airline security, action movie-goers)

Post-movie thought: 7/10 (While the final act seems a bit far-fetched while avoiding spoilers, it makes for a fantastic close to an action film)

Cashing in on Liam Neeson: 7/10 (I like him as an actor and action hero, but I wish his roles were more varied and interesting as of late, but I’ll withhold further judgment until A Million Ways to Die in the West)

Overall: 69/100

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Movie Review: World War Z

World War Z is an apocalyptic horror film inspired by the book of the same name.

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Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) and his wife (Mireille Enos) are preparing for a regular day with their young daughters when they get stuck in a traffic jam and incoming news about several areas being quarantined for a massive rabies outbreak. Helicopters survey the area and police officers weave through traffic until a large garbage truck clears a path down the busy road. Several people attack other people and seem…different. The Lane family get into an abandoned RV when one of the daughters drops her counting stuffed animal. Gerry goes to pick it up when he sees someone bitten. The stuffed animal starts counting and after twelve seconds, the bitten person reanimates and chases terrified citizens. The Lanes are able to escape the city and get supplies. They receive a phone call from Gerry’s former colleague at the UN, urging him to find a spot to be picked up so Gerry can help the UN investigate the cause of the outbreak. After finding temporary refuge in an apartment complex, The Lane family and one young survivor are able to be picked up.

Gerry is urged to join Navy SEALs and other experts to find a source and cure for the outbreak. Despite evidence that points to the obvious, all of them are reluctant to call the event a zombie outbreak. Gerry reluctantly agrees after being promised that his family will be taken care of. At the site of his first investigation, Gerry learns of the amount of time for the infected to turn is different from the amount of time he’s witnessed, but is unable to examine anything else; the contained subjects had to be incinerated. Gerry bounces from place to place, in an attempt to fight off the zombie outbreak and find a cure.

First and foremost, THIS IS NOT A DIRECT ADAPTATION OF THE BOOK IT’S BASED ON. The book is an epistolary novel that focuses on several characters and their brief explanation of what they have experienced. Instead, the movie has a central character and we’re following one plot. There is a bit of reconciliation, as several locations mentioned in the book are visited and have their own experiences with handling the undead.

It’s a quick read and worth your time. Since the movie is somewhat independent of the source material, you can invest in one without spoiling the other.

The character development was an important part of the movie. Right away, it discusses Gerry’s former occupation and why he left. His family have their own immediate rooting interests, but once they leave the city they are barely seen or expanded on. Gerry in particular will put the safety of his family first, even to the point of standing on the edge of a building in case he were to turn. Gerry comes along several other people along the way and some have well developed stories of their own, while others get killed so quickly you may be left wondering why they were introduced in the first place.

Graphics and makeup were hit and miss, depending on the focus. If we are only looking at one or two zombies, the detail on all of them is fantastically done. On the other end, if there is a group or horde of them, it seemed too CGI to be believable.

Such as this shot, which was shown in every advertisement of the movie.

Fortunately, the moments of one or a few zombies at a time overshadow the moments where we are looking at zombies swarming a small area, so the detail can be enjoyed.

Plot: 8/10 (Gerry Lane, a former UN investigator, sets out to find the cause and cure of a worldwide zombie outbreak)

Characters: 7/10 (Primarily focused on Gerry, but there is a bit of characterization for everyone else with more than 5 minutes of screen time.)

Language: 10/10 (“Zeke” is retained from the book as a term for zombie, and other medical terms in relation to diseases)

Theme: 6/10 (ZOMBIES, tracking the spread of disease)

Music: 6/10 (Some licensed songs by Muse, but everything else is either ambiance or “time to run” tracks)

Spectacle: 7/10 (Amazing detail when focused on zombies, but lacking for hordes)

Star Power: 6/10 (Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, and brief appearances by James Badge Dale and Matthew Fox)

Who to watch with: 7/10 (Those who like zombies and/or Brad Pitt)

Post-movie thought: 7/10 (Man, Gerry is determined to get back to his family alive)

In Name Only: 7/10 (This movie in relation to the book it’s based on, so either can be enjoyed independent of one another)

Overall: 71/100

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Movie Review: Man of Steel

Man of Steel is a superhero film based off of the Superman franchise. The film is directed by Zack Snyder and produced by Christopher Nolan.

Superman, bearing his traditional red and blue costume, is shown flying towards the viewer, with the city Metropolis below. The film's title, production credits, rating and release date is written underneath.

Jor-El (Russel Crowe) and his wife Lara (Ayelet Zurer) briefly celebrate the first of their son, Kal. The world of Krypton is in disarray, crumbling all around. Jor-El tells Lara to prepare a launch sequence before leaving for Krypton’s high council, urging them to start a new race of Kryptonians elsewhere. The high council argues that they can’t leave the planet, and Jor-El makes it clear that excavating resources from the planet core made it unstable. General Zod (Michael Shannon), interrupts the meeting to stage a rebellion against the council, which he deems unable to solve any problems. Jor-El escapes and acquires a codex deep within an incubation farm of Kryptonian babies and returns to Lara and Kal. They prepare the ship, but Zod pleads with them that he can institute a new Krypton with the use of the codex Jor-El acquired. They refuse, and Zod kills Jor-El in frustration. The ship is launched and Zod is arrested for high treason along with his crew. They are all sentenced to 300 cycles in the Phantom Zone, but not before Zod warns Lara that her son is not safe.

The movie flashes forward 33 years later, where we find a fishing crew en route to a burning oil rig. The crew examines the damage on the rig and assumes everyone dead, but one of the members of the crew abandoned the ship. After saving the people on the oil rig, this missing crew member sustains the rig as everyone else escapes. He falls into the water and dreams about his childhood. The man is revealed to be Kal-El, renamed as Clark Kent (Henry Cavill) by the farm family that found him. The scenes flash through various challenges he faced adapting to the world and concealing his powers as best as possible. He travels to various places and hides his identity until he comes across a research site in Northern Canada, headed by Dr. Hamilton (Richard Schiff) and Colonel Hardy (Christopher Meloni). During the excavation, they are interviewed by Lois Lane of Metropolis’s newspaper, The Daily Planet. Following Kent, they come across a vessel believed to be a Soviet submarine but is instead a Kryptonian ship. Clark activates the ship and finds a recorded conscious of his dead biological father, who tells Clark of his true origins and the plans of General Zod. Jor poses a task to Clark regarding a new hope for Kryptonians and bridging relations with the humans of Earth. Clark saves Lois from the ship’s security system and soon after starts his journey as a superhuman tasked to protect his people.

Overall, the pacing of the plot was well done. It hit its beats and had a few funny moments to break up action sequences or dramatic scenes. My only real complaint is with the ending, which I can’t really get into so I don’t spoil anything. Not that it’s bad, but it isn’t exactly good, either.

Character development here is a must. Kal-El/Clark Kent is pretty obvious, and his development is well-placed throughout the film. Lois seems to have an active role as opposed to being a damsel in distress. Clark’s parents, both biological and adoptive, each have their own rooting interests. I mean, it might go without saying, but you have to imagine what kind of person will result when both his biological and adoptive dads are both Robin Hood. Give it a second.

WHAT.

One final thing I want to cover are the themes of the movie. There are the obvious ones, like carving out your own niche in the world and how your decisions affect those around you, but there are more subtle ones that are touched on in the beginning of the movie that ultimately led to the destruction of Krypton. The reason for Krypton’s destruction was the excavating of important resources in Krypton’s core, which I thought to be some sort of allusion to the excavation of fossil fuels and the threat of climate change. Also, Zod’s accusation of the high council constantly arguing and debating, resulting in nothing getting done. I’m sure there are more than a few people that think that the US Congress seems to be two quarreling parties that argue back and forth while there are big problems that need some sort of solution. These topics couldn’t be discussed after Krypton’s destruction, it would be out of context. Is it something worth considering, or am I overthinking?

Plot: 8/10 (Struggling Clark Kent discovers his origin and is left with a choice regarding “his people”)

Characters: 8/10 (Many interesting characters)

Language: 7/10 (A few moments of vernacular that require a bit of knowledge of the Superman franchise)

Theme: 8/10 (Self-fulfillment, the burden of choice, perhaps the consequences of indecision and excavation)

Music: 7/10 (Very few licensed songs, but there are sweeping orchestrations to move the plot)

Spectacle: 8/10 (Some interesting choices, but flashy enough to satisfy most audiences)

Star Power: 8/10 (Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Russel Crowe, Kevin Costner)

Who to watch with: 8/10 (Comic book/superhero fans, those who like Zack Snyder’s movies)

Post-movie thought: 6/10 (Just the ending, there could have been a bit more)

Reboot: 8/10 (Perhaps not the caliber of the first two Superman movies, it makes up for the less-than-stellar performance in Superman Returns)

Overall: 74/100

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Movie Review: This Is The End

This Is The End is an apocalyptic comedy co-written and co-directed by Seth Rogen.

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Jay Baruchel steps off a plane to find his friend Seth Rogen waiting for him. They plan for a day of fun that includes music, video games, and getting very high. That evening, Seth takes Jay to a housewarming party at James Franco’s house. Jay is apprehensive, knowing very few people and doesn’t take to socializing very well. At the party, they meet a slew of other celebrities including Craig Robinson, Jonah Hill, Rihanna, Emma Watson, and Michael Cera. Finding no points of conversation and generally being disliked by most everyone there, Jay momentarily leaves the party with Seth to buy a pack of cigarettes. Jay is upset at Seth, claiming that he didn’t want to go to the party in the first place and feeling completely alone there. Just before buying his stuff, a strange event takes several people into the sky and chaos ensues in downtown Hollywood Hills. Jay is a witness to all of it, while Seth only witnesses the aftermath. When they return to Franco’s party, no one else is aware of the incident, to the point of Seth believing the event is overblown. After another tremor, everyone runs outside to find Hollywood Hills set aflame and a large sinkhole opening up and swallowing most everybody.

Seth, Jay, James, Jonah, and Craig are seemingly the only survivors of the apocalyptic event. They gather what few supplies they have left in hopes to ration it until the event subsides or they are rescued. After an awkward night, they wake up to find Danny McBride, who had been in one of James Franco’s bathrooms for the duration of the party, having a nice breakfast of and generally being skeptical of last night’s events. The remainder of the movie is this group of actors trying to find out what’s going on, what happens next, and how they are going to survive.

The characters in this movie are the kind you don’t see too often in movies. All of the actors in the movie are playing caricatures of themselves, overplaying their typecasts in various roles of other movies. This idea is taken up to eleven with Emma Watson’s role, whom many would pinpoint her acting career from the Harry Potter film adaptations.

“Heeeeeerrrre’ssss Hermione!”

As for the content, it’s an interesting take on the post-apocalypse setting that many movies have been taking for the last few years. One character claims it’s Biblical, another suggests zombies, and another writes it off as a consequence of the Lakers winning. As for the rest of the comedy, it’s mostly hit-or-miss. The humor is reminiscent of movies like Hot Tub Time Machine or Pineapple Express. Such humor runs the risk of being an overly long gag, and it shows in parts of the movie, sometimes to the point of no longer being funny. If those movies were not to your liking, this movie will be very similar to that brand of humor. If you do like that particular brand of humor, then this will be an interesting one.

Plot: 8/10 (A small group of actors survive an apocalyptic event and try to make sense of it all)

Characters: 9/10 (Caricatures of the actors, exaggerating the tones they use in their other comedies)

Language: 6/10 (Lots of screaming, speculating, and swearing)

Themes: 8/10 (Apocalypse, friendship, survival, staying civil)

Music: 8/10 (Lots of party music, and the songs in the last few minutes may have you rolling in laughter)

Spectacle: 8/10 (Flashy lights, smokey atmosphere, and perhaps intentionally cheesy graphics)

Star Power: 8/10 (Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson, and Danny McBride)

Who to watch with: 8/10 (Fans of the actors, and perhaps those that like to be under the influence of various drugs, but best when viewed with a friend)

Post-movie thought: 7/10 (Enjoyable, but the overly long gags seem to drive humor into the ground before the movie picks things back up)

The End of the World as We Know It: 8/10 (plays on quite a few of the tropes, and then drives them to absurd and funny levels)

Overall: 78/100

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