New Movie Controversy: The Interview

Hello Everybody! Today we have the controversial yet hyped North Korea bashing film, The Interview.

THE INTERVIEW

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DIRECTOR: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg

STARRING: James Franco, Seth Rogen, Lizzy Caplan, Randall Park, Timothy Simons, Eminem, Rob Lowe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt

GENRE: Political Comedy

YEAR: 2014

COUNTRY: United States 

In the action-comedy The Interview, Dave Skylark (James Franco) and his producer Aaron Rapoport (Seth Rogen) run the popular celebrity tabloid TV show “Skylark Tonight.” When they discover that North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un is a fan of the show, they land an interview with him in an attempt to legitimize themselves as journalists. As Dave and Aaron prepare to travel to Pyongyang, their plans change when the CIA recruits them, perhaps the two least-qualified men imaginable, to assassinate Kim Jong-un.

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Political comedies are the best kind of comedy if the film is done right. While I feel that The Interview missed the bar just a bit, it definitely was done properly. The characters are actually pretty funny, albeit a little too raunchy for my taste. While the story is nothing to spectacular, the characters carry the controversial film quite well. It has been a long time since I laughed out loud at a film for so long.

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So let me just start by saying, yes after watching The Interview I understand why North Korea would try and prevent the release of this film. They obviously have no sense of humor, as the film almost bashes the United States as much as North Korea. If it was leaked into North Korea, which it probably has been already, it could easily spark a riot. I don’t want to dwell too much on this controversy, so lets move on.

Believe it or not, I actually liked this Rogen/Franco pairing. Normally I am not fond of their films but this one passes the already low bar. All of the tropes I hate are still there, but they just, for lack of a better term, do it better.

PROS:

  • Characters.
  • Comedic tropes.
  • Controversy.
  • Political comedy done right.

CONS:

  •  Rogen x Franco.
  • Dialogue.

SCORE: 7.5 / 10

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Fury: Brad Pitt is in WW2 Again!

Hello everybody! Today we have the WW2 tank epic Fury.

FURY

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DIRECTOR: David Ayer

STARRING: Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Michael Peña, Jon Bernthal, Jason Isaacs, Scott Eastwood

GENRE: Military, War

YEAR: 2014

COUNTRY: United States, United Kingdom

April, 1945. As the Allies make their final push in the European Theatre, a battle-hardened army sergeant named Wardaddy commands a Sherman tank and his five-man crew on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. Out-numbered, out-gunned, and with a rookie soldier thrust into their platoon, Wardaddy and his men face overwhelming odds in their heroic attempts to strike at the heart of Nazi Germany.

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Fury, one of the few films out this year that I actually stumbled into watching. The character development of the majority of the characters are spectacular, as it really convinced me that they were a band of brothers. The tank design was actually well done as well, which is not normal for a war film. Brad Pitt, Mark Ruffalo, and Logan Lerman all performed very well unlike their counterparts.

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Fury was an enjoyable film, but I did have a few issues with it. The film was overly lengthy, as I could cut at least 45 minutes of footage and it still could be good. The majority of the supporting cast was quite disappointing, especially with the impressive cast list. What did y’all think of Fury? Let me know in the comments below.

PROS:

  •  Half main cast performance.
  • Setting.
  • Tank design.

CONS:

  •  Supporting cast performance.
  • Logic loop holes.
  • Some lack of character development.

SCORE: 6.5 / 10

If you have any suggestions for films/TV/Games/Music/Anime for me to review, drop me a comment!

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Bates Motel: Norman Bates, The Teenage Years

Hello everybody! Today we have the prequel to Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, the tv series Bates Motel.

BATES MOTEL

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DIRECTOR: Carlton Cuse, Kerry Ehrin, Anthony Cipriano

STARRING: Vera Farmiga, Freddie Highmore, Max Thieriot, Olivia Cooke, Nicola Peltz, Nestor Carbonell

NO. OF EPISODES: 20

YEAR: 2013-2014

GENRE: Drama, Thriller, Suspense

COUNTRY: United States

The first season follows Norman and Norma Bates when they buy a motel shortly after Norman’s father dies. On one of the first nights of the two owning the motel, things end badly when the former owner breaks in and rapes Norma. A returning Norman knocks the attacker out and Norma then kills him, and they decide to hide the body in a lake. When the town sheriff and his deputy notice that a man has gone missing, Norma and Norman must keep them from digging too far.

The second season follows the aftermath of Norman Bates and the mystery of the death of his teacher Miss Watson and her past secrets being revealed. Meanwhile, his mother Norma struggles to keep the motel open with the impending bypass about to be open just miles away, and his older half-brother Dylan deals with a disturbing discovery about his true parentage.

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The Norma-Norman relationship isn’t the show’s only deviation from its source, or sources; Bates Motel is mostly deviations, really. It’s set in the present. Norman has an older, tougher half-brother named Dylan Massett (Max Thierrot) — his mom’s son from a previous marriage — who gets involved in the local underworld while needling Norma for being a rotten parent. There are hints that Norma’s a femme fatale/black widow with more than one brutal crime in her past. Everyone uses a cell phone and communicates via text message, and in one sequence, Norman uses his phone’s camera light as a flashlight to navigate a dark house.

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I’m torn between condemning the series for piggybacking on a classic and promising an origin story it doesn’t really care to deliver, and praising it for avoiding the homicidal Muppet Babies formula and pulling a pretty brazen bait-and-switch. More the latter, I suppose — for now, anyway. Bates Motel is tangentially connected to Robert Bloch, Alfred Hitchcock, and Psycho; like Norma Bates, it has kept its married name while pursuing its own identity and agenda. It’s as much Norma’s show as Norman’s. Their relationship — which often suggests age-imbalanced, platonic spouses rather than mother-son — is the tale’s misshapen center of gravity.

PROS:

  •  Norma-Norman relationship.
  • Main cast performances.
  • Themes.
  • Tone.

CONS:

  •  Strong deviation from source material.
  • Not much of an origin story.
  • Supporting cast performances.

SCORE: 7.2 / 10

If you have any suggestions for films/TV/Games/Music/Anime for me to review, drop me a comment!

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