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This is The End 
Released: 2013, Run Time: 107 minutes, Genre: Comedy, Fantasy
Film only review.
There is a party going off in the Hollywood hills and all of America's hottest comedy stars are invited. James Franco is hosting and anyone who's anyone will be there. From the cool Seth Rogen to the genteel Jonah Hill (what do you mean you don't know the difference?), from the eager Michael Cera to the reluctant Jay Baruchel. Even Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) is going.
What's the worst that could happen? I don't know...maybe the Apocalypse perhaps?
First things first, you won't have seen a film like this before. Yes, you've seen comedy actors making cameo appearances before. Yes, you've seen a ridiculous apocalypse movie and yes, you've seen James Franco acting like he's stoned. But all in one film? I don't think so.
This film has been a true revelation for me. I expected it to irritate me but it has inadvertently become one of my favourite films and is the funniest thing I have seen in a LONG time. Just thinking about it now makes me chuckle. I genuinely loved it.
The basic premise is that all of Hollywood's finest are at James Franco's house for a party when the apocalypse begins. Hell is raining fire on the whole of LA, craters open that swallow houses and homes and even the richest of celebrities can't escape sudden and instant death. It's a ridiculous plot line, the acting is exaggerated and it isn't in the slightest bit believable but it's a hoot and a half! I love the acting throughout this film. There will be no Oscars for most moving performances but the actors played genuinely hilarious versions of themselves. In fact, even though the storyline was preposterous and the events that occurred absurd I genuinely feel like I know James Franco a little better now. Each of the actors are totally believable as themselves (What!?! Did I even just say that?)
One of the most beautiful aspects of this film is how it challenges the conventions of the modern disaster film. It mocks the production, the effects and even the music associated with modern film making. It also mocks the people what star in such films. The actors are mocking themselves, something which I find endearing and it makes me appreciate the actors even more. I love that they can make fun of themselves. In regards to the soundtrack, I can't say that I follow the logic of why the songs were chosen but I will say that you will be singing 'Backstreet's Back' for at least three days afterwards irrelevant of whether you like the song or the film.
The action is silly and far-fetched and there is of course the obligatory exorcist reference but as far as I'm concerned all these little things add to the overall effect. It is a parody, not to be taken seriously and as long as you bear that in mind you're in for a real treat. It wouldn't have worked with a lower calibre of comedy actor. It needed to be done exactly as it has been done. I don't like slapstick, silly, lose plotted films but the comedy shone through all the things I don't like about films and made this one of the most enjoyable things I have seen in a long while. The opening scenes are like a 'Where's Wally' game, spotting all the celebrities who are at the party. It is genuinely fun and I am genuinely surprised by the amount of people that were willing to participate in a film that mocks their entire industry.
Overall if you like the actors involved and you've seen and loved Pineapple Express then watch this. I could quite happily watch this over and over and still find it funny. I challenge you not to be rolling on the floor laughing
It's safe to say that Seth Rogen and co's brand of humour is not for everyone, though credit to them for trying to do something with it in This Is the End, an uproariously funny meta-comedy which has Rogen, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Danny McBride, Jay Baruchel and Craig Robinson playing versions of themselves as the world appears to come to an end.
The movies takes place largely inside James Franco's home, where a party is taking place when the apocalypse begins - and many famous faces are summarily killed off - at which point the surviving actors must band together to take on whatever lurks outside. Though it would be easy for a film of this kind to become smug and self-indulgent, the self-mocking performances instead make it clear that nobody is taking themselves too seriously or above being torn to shreds.
It's crude, childish, violent, and basically everything you expect from a movie by these guys. If you're not into their previous offerings, then there's probably not a whole lot here to change your mind, but the meta-spin certainly gives their comic stylings a fresh flavour. To say that the movie goes to some strange places in its third act is, well, an understatement, but it's all in the pursuit of greater laughs.
Easily the funniest film of the year so far, This Is The End delivers completely on its oddball premise, right through to an ending that has to be seen to be believed. If you're a fan of any of the principal actors, this is one you cannot afford to miss.
Film Only Review:
I have to begin by saying that I don't usually watch comedy movies and I was persuaded to see this by a James Franco fan. I was already slightly curious about the movie though since I'd read several critical reviews of it which stated that the cast played versions of themselves in a fictional dimension of the present day. This is a loud, silly and 'gross out' modern comedy which was directed and written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg and which was released in 2013. It stars a host of names including James Franco as the lead, Jonah Hill, Jay Baruchel and Danny McBride. There are many cameo style performances too from the likes of Rihanna and Emma Watson. Most of the main cast, though, seem to be part of Hollywood's comedy club clique and the script is written in the assumption that we know who these people are. I'll be honest, I barely recognised any of them. I can only assume that this movie is therefore aimed at fans of the comedy genre, fans of this posse of actors/comedians/performers or for a much younger generation than me.
The movie follows the events on the night a party is to be held at James Franco's house. As the party ensues indoors strange and devastating events begin to occur outside and around Hollywood. The chaos eventually reaches the Franco pad and the partygoers assume that the end of the world is nigh. The attempts of the Hollywood elite to survive and figure out what is going on is the focus for most of the comedy and action.
James Franco has to be considered the lead in this cast. Prior to watching this film I knew a little bit about the actor and I thought that the script did a great job in poking fun at certain aspects of Franco's character and behaviour. In fact many of the characters evoke laughter from allowing themselves to be mocked, although knowing enough about the real life actors might make the jokes about them much more relevant and funnier. As a result of my ignorance I felt at times like I was missing out on the punch line. It also seemed like there were moments when actors or celebrities are 'announced' and although this guest star announcing is in itself made fun of it still feels like this was a necessary step to make the less recognisable members of the cast more relevant. It does, at times, feel like a movie that has been scrapped together by the cool gang students of a graduating drama school class.
I really like that we get to see people like Emma Watson, Channing Tatum and Rihanna in ways that we had never thought possible before. It's intelligent comedy writing to be able to chew these people up and dispose of them so brutally. It awards the film credibility and swagger.
There are many genuinely funny moments and lines and there are a lot of moments where I couldn't believe my eyes and ears. The movie aims to be silly, disgusting and original. The male dominated cast and content of many of the jokes means I feel like young males will enjoy this more than females. The infamous Emma Watson 'rape or not to rape scene' where the men worry about Watson's safety as a lone woman amongst a group of men, is an example of this testosterone fuelled madness although in regards to this scene and others I don't feel like there is any content that is seriously off-putting or seriously controversial. It's silliness which can be blamed on the apparent low intelligence of many of the characters.
I have genuinely never seen any other movie or comedy like this. It's very unusual and memorable and there are certain scenes in the film which feel like they could be classic comedy moments. Saying that, this movie is certainly not for everyone. I think it is probably aimed at those well under age thirty, despite most of the cast being at least in their mid-thirties they seem to be playing up to a much younger generation. I also think that this movie is aimed at a male audience and at those who have previously enjoyed rather crude comedies like 'The Hangover' or 'Role Models'.
Having seen this once I honestly would never want to watch it again as it's just not my thing and I also wouldn't recommend it to anyone who isn't at least vaguely familiar with modern day comedy films. However, I can't deny that this is a bold and original film that stands out in the comedy field. If you are a fan of anyone starring in the film you may just want to watch this for the novelty of seeing them play themselves in the most unimaginable setting ever!
Two important lessons to be learned from watching this film: that Jay Baruchel was in Clint Eastwood's Oscar winning boxing drama "Million Dollar Baby" (completely missed that), and that The Backstreet Boys are all alive and kicking, possibly getting geared up for a reunion. Watch the film, and you'll know what I mean.
If the apocalypse ever comes in your lifetime, perhaps it won't be a good idea to hang with a group of actors in your last moments on Earth. As "This is the End" shows, actors are self-confessed softies who only pretend to be tough for their roles - and this is a paraphrased sentence from Craig Robinson, one of the film's stars. As the day of reckoning outlined in the Bible gets underway, this isn't about a group of brave guys trying to save the world. It's about how they struggle to even save each other from themselves.
Jay (Jay Baruchel) and Seth (Seth Rogen) are old buds who meet up to spend the best weekend of their lives. And their interpretation of this involves hours and hours of gaming plus smoking marijuana. Seth in fact has been invited to James Franco's (James Franco) house-party packed full of Hollywood stars, one that Jay isn't particularly keen to attend, since he feels he doesn't fit in with that kind of fancy crowd. But they decide to go eventually, as who can really turn down an invite to a swanky gathering like this?
And oh what a fun party this is. James Franco's house (not actually his house in real-life but let's just go with it) is, needlessly to say, nothing short of an awe-inspiring creation, a real modern bachelor pad. Decorated with some outrageously stupid and somewhat hideous "art" there is plenty to be laughed at just by looking at the house itself. Franco lives just down the street from Channing Tatum, Seth says, possibly hinting at a cameo (wink, wink); one that certainly pays off. Inside it's a game of who's who in facial recognition - Mindy Kaling has some disturbing things to say about her desires for Michael Cera, whilst Cera himself seems to be more invested in singer Rihanna's bottom, for which she deservedly gives Cera a satisfying slap across the face. Emma Watson is also there hanging out, chilling by the pool, whilst Christopher Mintz-Plasse is understandably wildly annoyed when Cera blows some cocaine in his face. Also on the guest list are Paul Rudd, Jason Segel, Aziz Ansari, Kevin Hart and David Krumholtz.
Everything was going so well - until the world literally starts shaking. Once everyone steps outside, they see what's happened to Los Angeles. Everything is on fire, buildings have been destroyed, and the ground is splitting, swallowing those unlucky few into the lava-filled core of the Earth. Cera becomes hilariously impaled on a steel pike although in the end, a few survive, including Seth, Jay, James, Jonah (Jonah Hill), Craig (Craig Robinson), and unfortunately for some, Danny (Danny McBride) too. (Basically those who starred in all the stoner movies you can think of). Not knowing initially what caused this catastrophe, this group of misfits has no choice but to barricade themselves in James' bachelor pad, conserving on supplies, hoping for some kind of miracle or rescue. Days go by without much good news, and as if things couldn't get any worse, they begin to realise that whatever is roaming outside isn't a creature from his Earth.
So the world is ending, there is some kind of monster that is gobbling up anything that moves, and with this backdrop of mass panic, the cast's self-mocking humour, examining their various platonic relationships work to the maximum whenever anyone runs in conflict with one another. There are some brutal verbal attacks on the actors' various unsuccessful films, including straightforward jabs at the terrible "Your Highness" (they discuss whether there should be a sequel: and the answer is a resounding "no") and "The Green Hornet" (remember that film where they tried to turn Rogen into a superhero?), whilst Oscar nominated Jonah Hill receives some abuse himself for being quite the thespian in the midst of all the comedians. Rogen and Franco also get up to developing their hilarious idea for a sequel for their successful stoner comedy "The Pineapple Express" - let's hope this project gets to see the light of day.
The underlying theme here is that Jay, a Canadian actor not quite adjusted to the Hollywood lifestyle and culture, sees increasing distance from his one-time Canadian actor friend Rogen who seems to have "sold out" to popularity and celebrity. A lot of the dialogue was improvised by the talented cast, and in the many face-offs and explosive, hysterical verbal arguments their gross-out gags start spilling out and don't know how to contain themselves. Among the highlight is McBride, as the one man who wasn't even invited to the party in the first place, but just stumbled into Franco's bathtub for the sake of it to get up to no good.
Obvious nods to "The Exorcist" are fully in play here, as one of the friends goes through an unpleasant episode of demonic possession after a particularly unpleasant, hideous..."encounter" with an evil being (an "Evil Dead" spoof?). Whenever the film starts to feel a little stale and repetitive, it is ready to bounce right back into action using either some very effective foul humour or a string of guest appearances they have lined up. Watson on a swearing rant wielding an axe is a particularly memorable moment.
Essentially everyone is playing slightly exaggerated versions of themselves, which makes is very easy for the audience to completely accept and embrace them for who they are. Stripped from luxury, having to resort to the bare minimum, their idea of barricading their sanctuary is to duct tape the hell out of the walls and windows. With six mismatched but endearingly eccentric individuals squabbling over who gets to eat the last chocolate bar they'll ever get to see, here is a deceptively simple yet entertaining film that constantly yearns to be more in terms of scale. With a well-placed Whitney Houston hit-song, it wraps up, only to top itself up in its unforgettably glittering finale. As with many comedy films there are scenes that don't quite work, but the huge laughs in the midst of The Revelation is quite an achievement in itself.