Tag Archives: Seth Rogen

Zack and Miri Make a Porno – Review

7 May

I’m sure that by now, a hefty amount of people have seen Zack and Miri Make a Porno, and it’s safe to say that I’m a little late to the party. This movie did very well at the box office and has since done well in sales. I’m a big fan of Kevin Smith as a director but appreciate his body of work the most as a writer. I was excited to see this movie because of the combination of Smith and the rest of the cast, but I have to say I was really disappointed by what I saw. Zack and Miri isn’t what you call a bad movie or a completely unfunny movie, but if you look at movies like Clerks and Chasing Amy, it’s pretty obvious that Smith is capable of much better work.

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Zack Brown (Seth Rogen) and Miri Linky (Elizabeth Banks) are two slacker best friends whose least most concern is paying their bills on time. As the unpaid bills pile up, their luck finally catches up with them and their water and electricity are turned off and an additional threat of getting locked out of their apartment also looms over them. Zack finally hatches a get rich quick plan that, in his mind, seems fool proof. That is to shoot and distribute pornography. As the two gather friends from work and around town which include an overly sensitive Delaney (Craig Robinson), they also begin hiring talent like the astoundingly oblivious Lester (Jason Mewes). Things start looking up for the make shift crew of pornographers, but it isn’t long before real human emotion starts to penetrate the lustful set of the porn movie.

As a comedy, it is pretty average when it comes to the jokes. Something that I really love about Smith’s writing is his ability to write long and drawn out conversations and speeches that seem random, but oddly intelligent and thoughtful. The writing in this movie is pretty average. There are some funny references about film thrown in that made me chuckle, but the really heavy laughter was pretty few and far between. The witty writing and dialogue that seemed to have confidence all its own is nowhere to be seen. Instead, I mostly heard a constant barrage of sex and poop jokes. Now don’t get me wrong. These can be really funny, but when that’s all a movie is I feel kind of ripped off.

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There is some joy to be had in this movie, however. A lot of the laughs in the movie didn’t come from the writing, but more so from the delivery of the jokes that were already written. Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks work very well off each other and I feel like a lot of the funnier things in this movie were improvised between the two of them. My favorite part of Zack and Miri is when the two title characters have to film their sex scene for the porno and the way the whole beginning of the scene plays out is incredibly awkward for the both of them. The quick lines of dialogue they say are really funny and just the way they play off each other is great. It was also cool to see Jason Mewes and Jeff Anderson, both of whom acted side by side in the two Clerks movies.

As much as I’m putting the writing down, I have to give it to Smith for creating two characters whose developments work very well in the context of the movie. Let’s just say, I buy everything that’s happening between the characters. No one is a cardboard cutout of other characters in comedies like these, and while this isn’t an absolutely hilarious movie, it is nice to see originality in it. For that, I can’t say that this is a bad movie, because any movie that shows honest to goodness originality and spirit put into it, I have to respect and appreciate on at least some level.

Zack and Miri Make a Porno is a pretty weak attempt by Kevin Smith, especially compared to his other movies that are so memorable and well done. This is also definitely not a comedy for people who can’t stomach things that get too raunchy or dirty, because that’s pretty much all of the comedy involved. I makes me miss the times where Smith made movies that examined a level of society and philosophies that aren’t always explored out of fear of offending people. This movie seems to want to offend just for the sake of offending. If you’re a Kevin Smith fan it’s an alright movie to see, especially for the cast and cameos (including one hilarious one of Kenny Hotz from the show Kenny vs Spenny). Don’t expect too much out of Zack and Miri Make a Porno, but it does have some heart and may be good for a chuckle.

 

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Paul – Review

27 Sep

In all my years of being a movie fanatic, I’ve never heard anyone say something bad about Simon Pegg’s and Nick Frost’s films like Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. Whenever these two are in something, it’s pretty much a guaranteed success. Even though Paul a popular movie when it came out, I don’t really hear too much talk about this one. So, I’m here to break the ice and talk about what I think, because that’s just what I do.

Graeme Willy (Simon Pegg) and Clive Gollings (Nick Frost) are two British science fiction enthusiasts who’ve come to America for the San Diego Comic-Con. After Comic-Con, their plan is to travel to all of the UFO hotspots in the west. They certainly get more than they bargained for when the happen upon a crude, yet innocent extraterrestrial Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen). All Paul wants to do is get home, but that’s now what the government has in mind, especially Agent Zoil (Jason Bateman) who is hot on their tail. Now on the run from the government and an overly-religious hick (thanks to the trio inadvertently becoming kidnappers), the chances of Paul getting home are becoming slimmer and slimmer.

The first thing I was worried about was that the character of Paul was going to get annoying quickly. I automatically assumed he was going to be crude the entire way through the movie, but he was actually a great character. So was everyone else. Pegg and Frost’s characters are relatable and very likable and the villains are cold and are still able to remain funny. There are a few “villains” that are really no threat at all, and they provide some of the biggest laughs of the movie.

And when I say laughs, I mean I was hysterical. These two never fail to make me laugh, and their writing is as quick as it’s always been, albeit a little more crude. To compare it to the last movie I reviewed, Your HighnessPaul seems like a children’s movie. There are some jokes that are juvenile, but it never goes overboard, and there’s a self-referential tone that stays throughout the entire movie. Speaking of self-referential, there are loads of jokes in this movie that are homages to science fiction classics of the past from Back to the Future to Close Encounters of the Third Kind and an excellent Star Wars reference that was very clever.

Something that really surprised me though was the clearly present anti-Christian agenda that really seemed to come out of nowhere. Personally, this didn’t really bother me. I thought it was pretty funny, but at the same time really got the point of views across. At times, I will concede, it did go a little overboard and sort of shoved the opinion down your throat. Subtlety is sometimes a lot better. I do know that a lot of people were offended by this, but you have to remember, it’s just a movie. People have differing ideas on different topics and they are allowed to express them.

 

For me, Paul was a very entertaining movie that kept me laughing from beginning to end, and I’d even go so far as to say that I liked it better than Hot Fuzz. I’m sure a lot of people disagree, but go right ahead. The characters were very likable and the humor was consistently strong and loaded with in jokes and references that were always fun to pick out and appreciate. If you’re looking for a good R-rated comedy, look no further than Paul.

The Green Hornet – Review

30 Apr

In typical conversation about hero and villain lore, people generally tend to talk about characters like Superman, Spider-man, or Captain America. I’ve even been guilty of this. But who do you know is an avid fan of the Green Hornet? Not many, if any, I would bet. So when this character was being revitalized for the modern day big screen, I thought it was a great idea, although I didn’t really know anything about the character. Was I disappointed?

Britt Reid (Seth Rogen) is an irresponsible, spoiled brat of a multimillionaire publisher of The Daily Sentinel, James Reid (Tom Wilkinson). However, when James dies of mysterious  circumstances, Britt is now left in charge of his father’s media empire. After he and his father’s best employee, Kato (Jay Chou), save a couple from a group of thugs, they both decide to fight crime by posing as the criminals and using the Daily Sentinel to rise to fame. Meanwhile, the criminal underworld is being shook by the violence of crime lord Benjamin Chudnofsky (Christoph Waltz), who may prove to be the end of Britt and Kato.

The Green Hornet really plays with the line between and action and a comedy. To ask yourself, “Is this an action or a comedy?” would prove to be difficult. There is plenty of comedy to be found here, but when the action picks up, it really plays like a flu fledged action/comic book film.

The reactions towards this movie, both critically and audiences, are heavily mixed. It really seems like you either love this film, or you hate it. Either you don’t think it’s funny at all, or you think it’s hysterical. I thought this film was good, laughed along the whole time, and got really into the action scenes, especially when Michael Gondry’s surreal style made itself evident. Unfortunately some of the jokes did fall on their face. There were times when I laughed at something, but it turned out that the joke wasn’t even over yet. Some were just stretched out too long, which is surprising considering Seth Rogen co-wrote The Green Hornet and is obviously very talented when it comes to comedy.

Christoph Waltz is the scene stealer as Benjamin Chudnofsky, who appears to be one of the most insecure villains to ever grace the screen. Waltz plays up the insecurities to feed the sadism of the character, and in turn creates a surprisingly good villain for a “superhero” action/comedy.

Another minor fault that befalls this movie is the length. Clocking in at almost two hours, the formulaic comedic plot drags the more action packed plot down in the middle. The comedy saves the movie, fortunately, making me laugh and helping me to forget that I was getting a little bore with the story. After a brief time of being dull, the third act picks up with unimaginable intensity, with instances that I would rank on a list of my favorite action scenes.

In the end, The Green Hornet had its glaring flaws, but the entertainment value is really high. I went into this film expecting a comedy, but I also got a good action film too. I can’t say that The Green Hornet should not be missed, but I can see how a lot of people wouldn’t like it. If you like Seth Rogen and are looking for a fun movie, I’d say check out The Green Hornet.