Tag Archives: James Franco

The Interview Review, A Controversial Comedy of Mediocre Preportions

interview_xlg

The Interview

Directed by: Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg

Starring: Seth Rogan, James Franco, Lizzy Caplan, and Randall Park

I don’t know if there has been a movie that has received this much attention by the media in a long time. It is well-known that Sony recently got hacked and threatened by a terrorist organization to remove this movie from theater or else there will be grave consequences. Not long after theaters began refusing to show the film. Sony eventually pulled it from release all together, which lead to a public outcry. The United States didn’t appreciate Sony giving into the demands of a terrorist, so Sony decided to release the movie on VOD and select theaters. Usually movies that cause this kind of controversy are movies like Salo, or The 120 Days of Sodom or In The Realm of the Senses, not some comedy starring Seth Rogan. In short was all the controversy necessary; absolutely not. But does that mean it is a bad movie? Short answer, No.

Dave Skylark (James Franco) is a popular televsion personality who runs a show called Skylark Tonight. It is a show where he interviews celebrities and reveal personal things about them. Aaron Rapoport (Seth Rogan) is his producer and his best friend. One day the two learn that North Korean dictator Kim Jung-Un (Randall Park) is a big fan of his show. They end up scoring a personal interview with him. Not long after they receive this news the CIA come to them to go on a mission to assassinate him. Once they get to North Korea things go differently than they or the CIA expected.

To me, these are two separate movies, the first being a standard Seth Rogan comedy involving two buddies and their closer than normal relationship and the second is a movie about the assassination of Kim Jung-Un. Some choices made in the first half the movie don’t work as well as they should but once the movie gets going it feels fresh and interesting. There are many ways that the movie could have handled the “assassination” portion. I know if they created a fake dictator ruling a fake country, instead of North Korea, would have created the same effect. The fact they are making a statement about the hell that goes on there is pretty ballsy of them and I respect the movie for doing that.

Once the main characters reach North Korea the movie becomes exactly what you would have expected from it. During this part of the movie we really get a sympathetic look at Kim Jung-Un, who is played with great sincerity by Randall Park. They humanize a man that we all perceived to be a monster. Sure, in the end, he is still an evil dictator but the movie shows a much deeper and tortured side to him. The movie doesn’t just make a commentary on North Korea, it also says something about America today and the interest we have in celebrity life rather than actual “news”. It’s a satire to its core but it combines what Seth Rogan does well with its harsh political commentary.

I have a lot of problems with James Franco’s performance as Dave Skylark. For a man with an Oscar nomination under his belt, he isn’t able to bring life to his character. Lately his movie choices have been a little odd, focusing in directing and acting in multiple movies in a single year. After a while you can see the fatigue with his performances. He does have a lot of good interactions with Seth Rogan and Randall Park but nothing to make him interesting.

The beginning of the movie I have the most trouble with. Early on I believed that the movie will be a complete mess. Seth Rogan has developed this sense of humor that has branched out for many years and has become mainstream now. If there isn’t a drugs, gross out scenes, or male friends that appear to be way to “close” to each other. This is all that the first part of the story is. Like 22 Jump Street and Neighbors, this kind of comedy doesn’t appeal to me.  They abandon this template and go for something a little different. I like that transition and wish that would have done that throughout the entire movie.

The Interview is rather dumb comedy that manages to go for something new. It achieves a lot with their insane premise but doesn’t quite live up to its potential.

Grade: C+

Bruce Campbell set to star in Evil Dead TV Show

ash-evil-dead-2

The Evil Dead made a star out of Bruce Campbell and Sam Raimi. 3 sequels and a giant cult following later The Evil Dead is now making its way to the small screen that is television. Lately, Television has become more of a powerhouse where movies are starting to become TV shows; Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, etc.. Shows such as Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones has taken the world by storm by using the medium of television to tell bold and interesting stories that wouldn’t be able to work on the big screen. TV shows are the ones that are taking the risks while movies are following a serialized format.

Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell announced the plans at Comic Con a few days back. Only recently was it announced that Bruce Campbell will be returning as the protagonist Ash Williams. Last time we saw Ash was the after credits of the 2013 The Evil Dead. Only on-screen for a brief scene, in which he says “Groovy”, and that started a wave of fan speculation that the sequel will combine the movie series and have one giant universe around these characters. I think a TV show is the better way to go since there is so much mythos and now characters that they can explore that films would limit. Now lets pray that it is a channel that allows such gratuitous violence that the series has been known for.

This is how ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ was going to end (and where the sequel might start)

DAWN-OF-THE-PLANET-OF-THE-APES_612x381

Having loved this movie, I do like that this ending wasn’t included. It leaves the movie a little more opened ended on how the next movie will play out but with this you outright know how the next would be. I like the idea of another movie that begins like this and would make the clash between the Apes and Humans a little more pronounced than it did here. The events of these movies are all leading up to both the enslavement of the human race and the apes rise to power. It feels like a genuine pre trilogy to the first Planet of the Apes and I hope that they never try to remake the film directly.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Review, A Summer Blockbuster Done Right.

4-artists-went-apes-watching-this-trailer-and-did-this-1308aefd-877c-42c5-b365-700a45c15c48

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Directed by: Matt Reeves

Starring: Andy SerkisJason ClarkeGary OldmanKeri RussellToby Kebbell, and Kodi Smit-McPhee

Back in 2011 when Rise of the Planet of the Apes was released I immediately fell in love with the direction the filmmakers where electing to take this aging franchise. It felt fresh and not a lazy remake that the Tim Burton version was. Instead of focusing on the astronaut lost in time on an alternate version of earth, it brought us back to the origins and how it all began. It, brief, goes into how the human population started to diminish and how the apes became intelligent. It was a fresh and smart way to introduce us back into the universe of Planet of the Apes. It never really relied on action but straight up story and character development. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes follows suit but certainly apps up the action compared to the first.

10 years after the outbreak of the simian flu, humans are on the brink of extinction while the apes are starting to rise to great heights of intelligence. After encountering Caesar (Andy Serkis) and his gang of apes in the forest Malcolm (Jason Clarke) begins trying to make peace with the apes while both sides believe it is a terrible idea. All Dreyfus (Gary Oldman) wants is to return power to San Francisco via the dam in the Redwoods and he’ll let nothing stand in his way. On the other side, Koba wants nothing more than to have Caesar wage war against the humans. The two sides wage war while Malcolm and Caesar want nothing more than to reconcile peace between the two factions.

It’s amazing just how well special effects have come since it’s inception. The original was considered to be the pinnacle of special effects when it was released back in 1968. Now the special effects today look so realistic that it’s hard to tell that it’s just actors in motion capture suits. I think that the way the apes look in these two movie look so much better than actors wearing ape costumes. It’s the reason Tim Burton’s was so bad. The Apes just looked like actors in makeup and not apes.

Once again Andy Serkis completely becomes the character and makes the movie completely believable. He’s isn’t the only actor portraying the apes and all of the other actors do a fantastic job. The story does a great job of setting up the universe that these characters live in. I do have to say that the story is a little used up but with it works perfectly with this storyline. It shows that even with hyper intelligent that they still act human. Rivalry exists between the apes to the point of one trying to over throw the other. It portrays apes as “humans” and shows that intelligent creatures will always face rivalry even if they aren’t human.

From a technical standpoint it is the best thing to come out this summer. The sound is impressive in creating the chimps movement and “voice”. The cinematography is gorgeous, perfectly making the world grim and destroyed. The scene with the apes attacking the humans on horseback and guns is brilliantly shot. The tank scene looked fantastic. Matt Reeves proved himself with Let Me In and even Cloverfield but this is best film to date.

If you are looking for a movie this summer I’d highly suggest seeing this movie over anything else. It is a smart and fresh blockbuster that provides action and story without compromising either.

Grade: B+