Currently browsing the "Seth Rogen" tag.

Review: The Lion King (2019)

Can you feel the love again?

In the circle of life that is cinema, The Lion King is back in all its original story glory, with a couple of new songs and stunning visual effects. The “reimagining” of the 1994 animated classic blends live-action techniques with virtual reality tools and photo-real digital imagery to create an all-new computer-generated medium that resembles something of a cross between traditional animation, Animal Kingdom and Mr. Ed. The added layer of ‘realism’ makes the light stuff lighter – and the dark stuff darker – in and around the fictional landscape of Pride Rock, somewhere in Africa.

Review: Long Shot

Seth Rogen comedies tend to be hit or miss for me. Long Shot straddles the line, eeking out on the side of okay, though somewhat disappointing given the tremendous buzz it received coming out of the uber-cool SXSW film festival. Maybe I’m just getting old. But I don’t find the idea of a Secretary of State defusing a crisis while high on ecstasy to be all that funny. It is, however, quintessential Rogen. So if you’re a fan of films like This Is The End, Superbad and Pineapple Express, then you know what you’re in for with Long Shot. The biggest difference is that Long Shot aims for romantic political comedy in addition to raunchy comedy, with an assist from Oscar-winning dramatic actress Charlize Theron (Monster, Tully, Atomic Blonde).

Review: The Disaster Artist (and The Room)

The Disaster Artist is a gift this holiday season to fans of the 2003 independent film The Room, a movie so dreadful it became known as the “Citizen Kane of bad movies.” Unbeknownst to me (until recently), The Room also became a cult classic. Now that I’ve seen it, I totally get it. The Room is so bad, it’s good, especially if you watch it with a raucous crowd, plastic spoons, footballs, and printed instructions (see photos below). It’s also essential viewing for anyone hoping to fully appreciate and understand the bizarre brilliance that is The Disaster Artist, a satirical yet fact-based film that explores how the very bad movie The Room came to be made in the first place. James Franco plays Tommy Wiseau, the aspiring filmmaker with an indiscernible accent who wrote, directed, produced/financed and starred in The Room. Franco and Wiseau are like kindred spirits in the quirky Hollywood landscape, so the casting is ideal – assuming you can embrace the quirk. If not, you’ll surely miss the point.

Mainstream Chick’s Quick Takes: The Angry Birds Movie; The Nice Guys; Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising; Love & Friendship; Sunset Song

The Angry Birds Movie – As one adult commented after watching this flick, “It was lamer than I expected. Awful. Though my 6-year-old daughter thought it was great.” There you have it in a nutshell. The Angry Birds Movie is the “origin story” of the birds that are propelled into all sorts of stuff in the once-popular Angry Birds mobile app, including the pigs, bombs, TNT, slingshots, etc. that appear in the addictive game that became a mindless timesuck for millions of smartphone users. The animated ‘action’ takes place on an island populated almost entirely by happy, flightless birds. One exception is the angry outcast Red (voiced by Jason Sudeikis) who becomes sort of an accidental hero when he uncovers a nefarious plot by visiting green pigs who aim to steal all the birds’ eggs. The movie has some clever lines and puns and plenty of decent vocal talent. But the story doesn’t add up to much and is likely to bore most anyone over the age of eight. Regardless, the 90-minute, 3D, PG-rated Birds far out-flew the competition at the box office in its opening weekend. So if the kids rule the roost where movies are concerned, don’t be angry if they demand (or ask nicely) to see it.

Steve Jobs

First, there was Jobs, a 2013 biopic about the Apple founder as portrayed (rather decently) by Jobs doppelgänger Ashton Kutcher. Then, there was Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine, a rather disappointing documentary from acclaimed director Alex Gibney. And now, there’s Steve Jobs, yet another take on the flawed genius who put iPads, iPhones and iMacs in the hands – and on the desktops – of the masses. This latest effort has three things going for it: a snappy script by Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network, The West Wing, etc.), the direction of Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire), and the magnetic appeal of Michael Fassbender (X-Men, Inglorious Basterds). Put all of the above movies together, and you come away with one clear message: Jobs was a brilliant a-hole. (ummm, A is for apple?)

Neighbors

Neighbors is, well, exactly what you might expect from an R-rated comedy about a feud between neighbors. Here’s the premise: Mac and Kelly Radner (Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne) are a happily-married couple with a cute, scene-stealing baby who have grand illusions of being cool, hip suburbanites – even when a fraternity (led by the uber-buff Zac Efron) moves in next door. But the frat’s partying ways quickly spark a feud that escalates into an all-out war of debauchery and misunderstanding.

This Is The End

This Is The End isn’t for everybody – by a long shot. But for those who enjoy the likes of Pineapple Express, Harold & Kumar, and The Hangover… and maybe a zombie movie or two… then This Is The End is most definitely for you. It’s disturbingly comical. Absurdly funny. Satirically sickening. In other words, it’s quite good, especially for a comedy about the apocalypse. The movie stars a bunch of movie stars playing fictional versions of themselves – or at least, I hope they are fictional versions (yeah, I’m talking to you Michael Cera!). Here’s the gist:

Take This Waltz

Take This Waltz is one of those indies that I kept thinking might have a different sense of pace and was maybe just going to take a bit of breath before it got going, and then it would make the ride worth my time. But sadly, I was wrong. It promises to be a love story, but love is what is missing. Instead there is a lot of weird cutsieness that I guess is supposed to be a good substitute for romance, but ends up being pretty annoying.

The Guilt Trip

Here’s my guess: Gazillions of Jews will flock to the theaters on Christmas Day, only to find Les Miz (and maybe Lincoln) completely sold out. Feeling all verklempt, they will scan the alternate options and land on The Guilt Trip, a harmlessly entertaining road-trip comedy starring the unlikely pairing of Seth Rogen and Barbra Streisand. If both stars manage to attract their disparate fan-bases, the film may do okay. Both characters are actually quite relatable in the most familiar, funny and uncomfortable of ways. I suspect that every parent of adult children – and every adult child –will recognize at least some part of themselves in this Jewsome-twosome.

50/50

Odds are much better than 50/50 that you’ll really like 50/50. It is, hands down, one of my favorite movies of the year. You’ll cry a little and laugh a lot.