Tag Archives: Jonah Hill

“This Is the End” (2013) – Reveiw

20130617-115918.jpg

Writers/Directors: Evan Goldberg & Seth Rogen

Stars: Jay Baruchel, Seth Rogen, James Franco, Craig Robinson, Jonah Hill, and Danny McBride

Seth Rogen waits at the terminal at LAX for Jay Baruchel to deplane. After quick hello’s Jay reveals his unease with Los Angeles and the people Seth is hanging-out with. Later at Seth’s condominium they enjoy a coffee table full of Jay’s favorite things: weed, beer, Starbursts, and other junk food. Once the goodies are exhausted Seth drops a bomb-shell on Jay, they’re heading to James Franco’s house for a party. Though initially reluctant to attend, Seth convinces Jay to go.

At Franco’s party Jay runs into the who’s who of young actors in Hollywood and Judd Apatow films. He has a heated discussion with Franco about art, and eventually retreats outside to the pool deck for some cigarettes. When Jay runs out of smokes he grabs Seth and they head to the local convieneance store for some more. At the store all hell breaks loose. The earth shakes, sink holes appear, cars crash, and building explode. It’s the End-of-Days and Seth & Jay run back to Franco’s house to ride out the storm.

With the exception of Michael Cera–I hope–and Jonah Hill, to an extent, all the name actors in the film are playing exaggerated and stereotypical versions of themselves and go along for the ride in making fun of themselves.

Franco as Franco designed his own house, painted most of the paintings in the house, and plays-up rumors of his sexuality–there is giant penis sculpture in the house and Danny McBride calls-out Franco for sucking cock when he appears with toothpaste on his mouth. Rogen is confronted by a paparazzi at the airport who calls him out for always playing the same role. Baruchel balks at being called a hipster even after being presented with evidence of all the things that do make him a hipster.

As the six (Baruchel, Rogen, Franco, Hill, Robinson, and McBride) come to terms with what has happened and why they survived, they are faced with the harsh reality of who they are as people, and what they have to do to survive. It’s a journey of self-discovery that involves a lot of crude humor, funny cameos, and Emma Watson robbing the boys of their supplies with an ax.

The success of the film lies both in the well written script by Rogen & Evan Goldberg, and the fun everyone is having playing themselves. All the actors are more than willing to make fun of themselves. And in the case of Michael Cera and another completely surprising cameo, go above and beyond the call of duty.

Unexpected homages to Rosemary’s Baby, Mad Max, and other films abound. The special effects are surprisingly impressive for a film most people will classify as a Frat-Boy movie.

This Is the End is a film that hits all its target. It is funny, smart, engaging, well made, and, in the end, has a good message. It is also proof positive that just because your target audience is young males doesn’t mean that that will be your only audience.

Grade = A

Click on image to view Rated "R" trailer

Click on image to view Rated “R” trailer

Advertisements

“Moneyball” – Review

Click on image to view trailer

Director:  Bennett Miller

Writer:  Steven Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin
 
Stars:  Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Phillip Seymour Hoffman
 
What’s not to love about Moneyball?  Absolutely nothing.  One week later and there is a new best movie of the year.
 
The story is great and well paced.  It follows Billy Beane’s (Brad Pitt) efforts to create a winning baseball team on a shoestring budget.  After losing his star players to richer teams, Billy needs to find a new way of doing things.  Enter Peter Brand (Jonah Hill)–the statistics man he discovers on a trading trip to the Cleveland Indians.  Together they shake up the establishment and create a winning baseball team, but like Rocky before it, not a championship team.
 
What sets baseball movies apart from other sports films is the length of the season.  It’s easier to create conflict and drama when your regular season has 160 games.  It allows you to have the losing stretches where everyone inside & outside the organization is against you and then be able to turn them and the team around to start winning.  What’s also great about this film is that it is based on a true story–for the most part this did happen, with the exception of the Peter Brand character.
 
The Billy Beane character loves baseball and the wheeling and dealing of his position, but he also understands that he is running a business.  He gives great management lessons to Peter and forces him to grow as a leader.  And Beane, as the GM, is there to make the tough decisions for the success of the team. 
 
Brad Pitt is excellent.  But even better is the interplay between him and Jonah Hill.  They have a natural ease and believability together.  The audience feels for them and wants them to succeed.  The same can also be said for the back and forth with Phillip Seymour Hoffman.  The friction between the Pitt and Hoffman characters is palpable.
 
The film also looks great.  The director, Bennett Miller, shows the big difference big money makes to a professional baseball team–or any team for that matter.  There is no starker contrast than the offices of the Cleveland Indians versus the offices of the Oakland A’s.  The former having large private offices and a large staff dressed in suits & ties; the latter having used furniture and basically looking like the old Barney Miller set.  Moneyball doesn’t have to be seen on the big screen, but it should be.
 
Grade:  A
 
 
 
 
 
 

“Moneyball” – Trailer

Another movie coming out in September I had not heard of until I saw the trailer.

Click on image to view trailer

 

Though I am typically a fan of the minimalist posters, this may be taking it a bit too far–especially with a big name star like Brad Pitt.  The movie looks quirky, and I am interested in watching it; but the lack of visuals on the poster is a concern for me.