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SONY

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen
Cast:
James Franco, Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride , Craig Robinson , Michael Cera , Emma Watson , Mindy Kaling, Kevin Hart, Aziz Ansari, Rihanna
Writing Credits:
Seth Rogen (and story), Evan Goldberg (and story), Jason Stone (based on the short film "Jay and Seth vs. The Apocalypse")

Tagline:
Nothing ruins a party like the end of the world.

Synopsis:
While attending a party at James Franco's house, Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel and many other celebrities are faced with the apocalypse.

Box Office:
Budget
$32 million.
Opening Weekend
$20.719 million on 3055 screens.
Domestic Gross
$101.099 million.

MPAA:
Rated R

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1/16X9
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
English Audio Descriptive Service
French
Subtitles:
English
French
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English

Runtime: 107 min.
Price: $29.98
Release Date: 10/1/2013

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Writer/Director/Actor Seth Rogen and Writer/Director Evan Goldberg
• “Directing Your Friends” Featurette
• “This Is the Marketing” Featurette
• Previews


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


This Is The End (2013)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (September 30, 2013)

For an apocalyptic disaster film with a twist, we go to 2013’s This Is the End. Jay Baruchel (himself) flies to LA to visit his old pal Seth Rogen (himself). Jay just wants to hang out with his buddy but Seth insists that they go to James Franco’s (himself) big party.

Against Jay’s wishes, this occurs. Seth essentially ignores his friend and friction results, though this soon becomes a footnote when exterior events intervene. The weirdness starts when an apparent explosion occurs and Jay sees people ascend from a convenience store via beams of blue light. From there, the situation becomes even more dire when fire, earthquakes and general destruction lay waste to the area.

This leaves many of the famous partygoers dead. The survivors – who include Seth, Jay, James, Jonah Hill (himself), Craig Robinson (himself) and Danny McBride (himself) – hole up in Franco’s mansion and try to survive this apocalypse – and themselves.

If nothing else, End comes with a clever and fun concept. The notion of the actors who play altered versions of themselves isn’t new – hello, Extras! – but the idea remains full of potential, especially when done by so many guys with so much history together.

That combination of personal and professional connections adds a little zest to End, but it also becomes a negative at times. While it’s fun to see them play against each other – and our perceptions of them – the result can feel lazy. Essentially all of the participants play comedic interpretations of their personalities and they don’t stretch a lot. We get a variety of pretty easy interpretations without much to bring a spark to the proceedings.

Honestly, it often feels like the guys got together over a long weekend and made up the movie as they went along. Sure, End attempts a bit more depth via its themes of friendship and redemption, but these act as little more than vague backdrop for a series of gross-out gags and profane concepts.

The uninventive nature of the comedy can be a drag. We find an awful lot of sex/bodily function/drug gags, and the movie does little to make these creative. We also discover lots of references to the guys’ other movies, and that trend becomes an easy out. Those sorts of bits can be funny – like the famous “Affleck was the bomb in Phantoms” from Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back - but here the lines lack cleverness; the filmmakers expect us to laugh due to recognition and not much else.

Extras may have ruined the world for self-referential humor of this sort. When Ricky Gervais and company did it, the result managed to be biting and wicked. Since then, it’s been tougher to pull off in a successful manner, and that’s an issue here; the gags don’t deliver much to make them especially smart.

Despite these criticisms, End does entertain much of the time. Really, it’d be hard to get all these guys together and produce something devoid of entertainment value, though Pineapple Express came close. End avoids that flick’s tedium and gives us more than a few amusing moments.

Of the actors, McBride probably fares best, perhaps because he gets the most interesting role. Essentially he acts as the movie’s villain, so the flick allows him to explore areas unavailable to the others. McBride does nothing to stretch his comedic boundaries, but he entertains.

End delivers plenty of cameos – maybe too many, as they threaten to overwhelm. Still, these offer enjoyment, especially after the big party scene; a few surprises pop up closer to the movie’s conclusion, and those become the most delightful. Heck, the flick almost makes Michael Cera tolerable!

Ultimately, This Is the End produces a fairly entertaining movie that disappoints nonetheless. It delivers laughs but not with much consistency.


The DVD Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B+/ Bonus C+

This Is The End appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. For SD-DVD, this was a solid presentation.

For the most part, sharpness looked good. At times, wider shots tended to be a little soft, but those examples weren’t terribly intrusive. Much of the film appeared pretty accurate and concise. No concerns with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and edge enhancement remained minor. Source flaws also failed to create problems.

In terms of colors, End tended to stay with an amber feel. That meant we didn’t get a broad array of hues, but they looked fine for what the film attempted. Blacks were deep and firm, while shadows showed good delineation. Overall, this was a pleasing presentation.

Similar thoughts greeted the good Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of End. I felt the soundscape delivered an involving experience in which the many action scenes offered a nice sense of impact. The film packed plenty of these elements; we got many instances of gunfire, explosions, and other lively tidbits. Overall, the mix filled out the room in a satisfying manner.

Audio quality was positive. Speech came across as natural and concise, without edginess or other issues. Music showed good range, and effects offered a nice sense of impact. These were the kind of loud, impressive elements one would anticipate, as they showed solid clarity. This was a positive soundtrack.

When we shift to extras, we launch with an audio commentary from writer/director/actor Seth Rogen and writer/director Evan Goldberg. Both sit together for a running, screen-specific look at story/characters, sets and locations, cast and performances, editing and deleted scenes, music, various effects, stunts and action.

Clearly comfortable with each other, Goldberg and Rogen mesh well for a commentary that proves to be both funny and informative. They shoot for laughs but do so in a natural manner and don’t let the comedy overwhelm, as they still provide a lot of notes about the film. They give us a likeable and useful piece.

Directing Your Friends runs six minutes, 31 seconds as it features Rogen, Goldberg, and actors Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson, Danny McBride, Jay Baruchel, and James Franco. As expected, Rogen and Goldberg talk about what it was like to work with their pals; the actors discuss their side of the experience. The content tends to be fluffy, but at least we get some good shots from the set.

A mix of components show up under This Is the Marketing. “Marketing Outtakes” (6:39) lets us view bloopers from advertising sessions. Four promotional “confessionals” also appear: “James and Danny” (1:19), “Jonah” (1:18), “Seth and Jay” (0:57), and “Aziz Haunts Craig” (1:04); these show the characters as they speak to video cameras and reveal their feelings.

“The Cast” (3:45) includes comments from Rogen, Franco, Baruchel, Robinson, Goldberg, Hill and McBride; they give us a general synopsis of the movie. Finally, the “Redband Sizzle Trailer” (1:47) offers uncensored film clips mixed with a few remarks from Rogen, Franco, Baruchel and Hill. These vary in entertainment level, with the “Outtakes” at the top of the list.

The disc opens with ads for White House Down, Elysium and The Kings of Summer. Previews also adds promos for Insidious Chapter 2, In a World… and The To Do List.

Maybe its fun premise and star-studded cast elevated expectations too high, but This Is the End doesn’t totally deliver the goods. It does come with laughs and reasonable entertainment value, but the final result lacks the consistency to become a genuinely fine film. The DVD offers pretty good picture and audio along with an enjoyable audio commentary. I like the flick enough to recommend it, but don’t anticipate greatness.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.5714 Stars Number of Votes: 7
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