Posts Tagged ‘seth rogan’

sausage-party

All of the food at Shopwell’s supermarket think that men and women are gods, and when food is chosen from the shelves those foods are going to a glorious afterlife.  That is, until Honey Mustard (Danny McBride) is returned to the shelf and tells the food what is really going on in the humans’ houses. Most of the food is incredulous, and goes back to hoping they get chosen by the humans.  All Frank, (Seth Rogan) a hot dog, wants to do is get nice and cozy with his girlfriend, Brenda Bunston, (Kristen Wiig) who’s a bun.  They get chosen to go home, they are on the verge of their dream, but then Honey Mustard jumps out of the cart and commits suicide, and the cart gets into an accident.  Frank and Brenda survive,and get left behnd in the supermarket. Frank still wants to find out if Honey Mustard was right, and goes to see Firewater, (Bill Hader) to find the truth. Brenda takes her chances with a bagel named Sammy, (Edward Norton) a Lavash, (David Krumholtz) and a hot tamale of a taco named Theresa. (Salma Hayek) Firewater tells Frank the truth of his quest lies in the Dark Aisle.  What does Frank find in the Dark Aisle?  Do Frank and Brenda spend eternity in bliss together?

It is very smart to use food as a metaphor to discuss religion, and there are some pointed references to religious differences, and along the way Sausage Party does try to sound a hopeful note about people, I mean food, putting aside their religious differences and finding a  way to live together, but the movie soon devolves into nothing more than hedonism, nihilism, and voyeurism, and I was hoping for more than that, but could I really hope for profoundness  from a movie written by Seth Rogan and Jonah Hill?  The last few scenes destroy any credibility that the movie had built up and the movie ends on a silly, self-indulgent note.  There is also an over-indulgence in foul language, and sexual references, when there didn’t need to be. Ultimately, Sausage Party turns into an anti-religious rant, and in more thoughtful hands, it could have been much more.

Seth Rogan is Seth Rogan, in every movie he’s in, he plays the same character, party boy, stoner, borderline anarchist.  He starts this movie differently, but ends up the same old Seth Rogan that he apparently enjoys playing. The only movie he showed any range in was Steve Jobs, when he played Steve Wozniak.   Kristen Wiig shows a little more range and flexibility in her voice, she is a true believer at first, and subtly starts to doubt.  Edward Norton is very funny doing his best Woody Allen as Sammy the bagel.  David Krumholtz is also very good as the Lavash, and Salma Hayek is very good as a repressed taco named Theresa.

One of the directors has done Thomas The Tank Engine cartoons and the other is a producer for two of the Shrek movies.  The pacing suffers with the many subplots, but the voice talent is good, is that because of the directors or in spite of them?  The animation is ok, not great, not horrible.

Sausage Party:  It grinds to a halt when it runs out of ideas.

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steve jobs

In 1984, Steve Jobs introduced the Macintosh.  Fellow Apple founder Steve Wozniak (Seth Rogen) wanted Jobs to share a little of his product introduction with the Apple II developers, he would not.  Jobs has other problems, his ex- girlfriend Chrisann Brennan (Katherine Waterston) claimed that her daughter, Lisa (Ripley Sobo, Perla Haney Jardine) is also Steve’s daughter, a claim Jobs vociferously denied.  To make matters worse, the Macintosh did not sell.  Apple CEO John Sculley (Jeff Daniels) responded to the Board of Directors, who wanted Jobs out.  In 1985, Jobs resigned and founded Next in 1985, and made computers that were prohibitively expensive.  Whatever crisis is going on in Jobs’ life, the one constant is his right hand and confidante, Joanna Hoffman (Kate Winslet) who follows him to Next. Despite all the distractions, Jobs is working on an operating system while at Next, and he thinks that Apple may buy out Next to get their hands on the operating system that Jobs developed with Next.  Does Jobs make it back to Apple?  Is Lisa his daughter?   Do they reconcile?

I don’t know how much of the story is true, and how much is embellished, but the storytelling is electric.  I did know Jobs left Apple, whether he was pushed out or resigned depends on who you ask.  I know that he and Wozniak had a war of words in public.  Wozniak, the techie, never thought he got the credit that he deserved for the success of Apple.  I can also imagine that Jobs resented Sculley, because Sculley ran Pepsico before he became CEO of Apple, but that’s just an educated guess on my part.  I knew nothing about Jobs and Lisa, I hope their relationship was better than portrayed on film.  But it is wildly entertaining to see Jobs go from crisis to crisis, and try to manage his personal and professional life, and not doing a very good job at either for 13 years.  The ending is a little too Hollywood, but that’s a minor criticism of this movie. This is another great screenplay by Aaron Sorkin, who took on another tech titan in The Social Network.  This movie is just as good.

The acting is outstanding, Fassbender is very good at playing a man who’s so committed to his own vision of what a computer company should be, that he alienates everyone around him.  Jobs is a complicated man with a complicated life, who’s built a carefully constructed façade, and he lets no one inside.  Fassbender does a good job of illustrating the complexity, as well as the humanity of the man.  Fassbender’s American accent slips a little, but that’s a minor flaw in a largely flawless performance.  Kate Winslet turns in another great performance, as Jobs’ conscience.  I thought she was having accent problems too, but she was actually doing a Polish accent, and that made her performance even better. There’s a surprisingly good performance by Seth Rogen, especially one heated exchange with Fassbender as Jobs, Rogen held his own.  I was impressed.

Danny Boyle does another great job directing this movie, using unorthadox angles and shots to make this movie a visual treat.  He makes each product launch seem like a rock concert.  Boyle also gets an outstanding performance from Seth Rogen, it’s easy to get good performances from Fassbender and Winset, but Boyle gets a good performance from Rogen.  If you don’t think that’s difficult, watch The Interview.

I was disappointed that no one went to see this movie, the theater I went to was half empty, shame on the audiences who missed this movie.  The plethora of sequels must be talking a toll on the moviegoing audience at large.  They don’t know an intelligent, engaging movie when they see one.

Steve Jobs:  A Job well done.

the interview

Dave Skylark (James Franco) hosts a successful entertainment talk show, called Skylark Tonight.  Dave interviews stars like Eminem, and Rob Low and makes them reveal secrets about themselves.  Dave and producer Aaron Rapaport (Seth Rogen) are celebrating 1,000 episodes when they hear that Kim Jong Un (Randall Park) is a big fan of Skylark.  Kim wants Skylark to interview him in North Korea, Dave and Aaron happily agree.  Soon, the CIA is knocking on their door, Agent Lacey (Lizzy Caplan) and Agent Botwin (Reese Alexander) want Dave and Aaron to go to North Korea and poison Kim Jong Un.

Dave and Aaron accept the mission and go to North Korea.  Aaron meets the woman who will control the broadcast in North Korea, a woman named Sook (Diana Bang) and falls for her.  The poison that is intended for Kim ends up being swallowed by one of Kim’s security detail.  Agent Lacey quickly replaces the poison by drone, and the mission is on again. When Dave spends a few days with Kim, playing basketball, riding a tank, and chasing girls, he starts having second thoughts about the mission.  Aaron still wants to go forward, does he convince Dave to go forward.

I really did want to see this movie before all the hype about this movie, I thought it was an interesting concept and could be funny.  But then came the hacking, and the movie not being released and I had second thoughts.  Then came the theories about who did the hacking, was it North Korea or an inside job from a disgruntled Sony employee?  Unfortunately, the theories about the hackers were better than the actual movie.

The Interview actually starts out as a funny satire of the entertainment/gossip show genre.  But it quickly degenerates into silly frat boy sex jokes, drug humor, and juvenile potty humor, lots of juvenile potty humor.  One of the actual lines in the movie is “Do you have a butthole?”  Subtlety is not a strong point of this movie.  To top it off, the writers, Rogen and others, add a nasty stereotype about Koreans.  The Interview reminds me of a demented Hope/Crosby road picture, movies with similar cultural stereotypes, the difference was those were made in the 1940’s.The ending is something out of a Tarantino or Stallone movie, or maybe Fury.  The movie clocks in at almost two hours, which is way too long for a movie like this.  There are better Seth Rogen movies, 50/50, and Funny People, neither of which he wrote.

James Franco plays this role as a talk first, think later entertainment reporter, the writers try to redeem his character later, but it was far too late for that to happen.  Seth Rogen is the voice of reason in this movie and that’s a sure sign of trouble. Lizzy Caplan and Diana Bang are just objectified females for Rogen and Franco to ogle.

There is a reason why I write this blog, it is to warn people away from heavily hyped movies.  Sometimes the hype is true, this time it’s not.  But the freedom to see a badly made movie is an inalienable right in America, not to be censored by foreign governments or corporate hackers.

The Interview:  A Hack-neyed film.

 

This-is-the-End

Seth Rogen meets his friend Jay Baruchel and introduces Jay to his Hollywood friends at James Franco’s housewarming.  As Jay and Seth are getting cigarettes at a convenience store, there is an earthquake, and many of Franco’s friends are sucked into a sinkhole.  Seth and Jay make it back to Franco’s house, where there are only a handful of survivors, Franco, Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson, and Danny McBride.  Is this simply an earthquake, a sinkhole, and some forest fires, or is there something more at work here?

This is an interesting concept that started out as a short movie, but it’s mostly badly executed, marred by frat boy hijinks , drug humor, product placement, and excessive length.  It was probably better as a short film, the length definitely detracts from the humor. It felt like most of the script was ad-libbed, and most of the ad-libs weren’t funny.  There are some funny parts, one featuring Michael Cera, and one featuring Emma Watson, who should consider doing more comedies, I didn’t expect her to be as funny as she was.  The movie redeems itself somewhat towards the end, but far too late to recommend it.

I like Seth Rogen, he was good in 50/50 and Funny People, but this was too self-indulgent, full of humor he likes, because he “co-wrote” it.  There was no one to rein him in. Jonah Hill playing a typical Hollywood phony, was neither funny nor particularly interesting.  Franco was morally ambivalent, and not very funny.  Craig Robinson was not very funny, either. Jay Baruchel was the moral compass of the movie, and with this bunch, that’s not saying a lot.   I’m sure they make each other laugh sitting around at parties, but that doesn’t always translate on film.

This is definitely not a movie for kids, bad language, scatological humor, nudity, drug use, definitely not for the young ones.

This Is the End.  Most of the script should have been left behind.

50-50Image

Adam (Joseph Gordon Leavitt) is a 27 year old writer at a radio station.  His best friend, Kyle (Seth Rogan) also works at the radio station.  Adam has an artist girlfriend named Rachel (Bryce Dallas Howard) who is flighty and non-attentive, and a  mother (Angelica Huston) who smothers him.  Adam’s father has Alzheimer’s disease.  Adam feels some pain in his back, he goes to the doctor and finds out he has a rare form of spinal cancer.  After being shocked initially, Adam goes through chemotherapy and befriends two cancer patients, Mitch (Matt Frewer) and Alan (Phillip Baker Hall) Rachel stays with Adam, but it’s out of a sense of pity, or duty, or some other misguided reason.  The relationship doesn’t last, though because Kyle sees Rachel kissing another artist at her art show debut. Adam tries to forget Rachel by sleeping with a girl from a club, but his back hurts too much to enjoy the lovemaking.  Adam’s life is not going well, to say the least, Kyle tries to help, the only way he knows how, by introducing Adam to girls, Adam’s mother continues to smother him, and his therapist,  Katherine, (Anna Kendrick) who should be helping Adam, is awkward and inexperienced.  To make matters worse, Adam hears from the doctor that the chemo hasn’t worked, and he needs an operation to remove the tumor, and if that doesn’t work, he’s out of options. What happens next?

I like this movie, because despite the devastating topic, it’s treated with maturity and more importantly with humor.  Nobody wants to see a pity party here, and we don’t get one.  Writer Will Reiser keeps the jokes and the pop culture references coming fast and furious.  We see Adam’s pain, but he handles it with stoicism , and it seems totally natural.  The ending is disappointing, but the writer painted himself into a corner, so that no matter which ending he chose, someone in the audience would have been disappointed.  The acting is great.  Joseph Gordon Leavitt is superb, he’s just a very likable guy, and he plays his role as a cancer sufferer with an understated dignity.  Seth Rogan is Seth Rogan, slightly less irritating than usual, providing lots of laugh, despite playing the same character in every movie.  I liked Bryce Dallas Howard, I know she was supposed to be a superficial airhead, but I can’t see her as an evil person.  Anna Kendrick feels oddly out of place, here, she plays the role as if she’s 12, and it makes for lots of awkwardness, and no chemistry with Leavitt.  Angelica Huston gives the mother a heart, even though her character is not given a lot to work with.

50/50.  100% good.