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Pineapple Express September 21, 2008

Posted by Sai in English, Movies, Reviews.
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Written by the team of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg after the success of Superbad, Pineapple Express is a stoner comedy directed by David Gordon Green (George Washington, All The Real Girls). Dale Denton (Seth Rogen) is a process server who is always high. After getting a very rare strain of pot called Pineapple Express from his dealer Saul (James Franco), Denton goes about his job with the next task of serving a drug lord. He happens to witness a murder and runs away. But he drops the Pineapple Express, which could be used to identify him. So, Denton goes on the run with Saul. The rest of the film deals with how they get out of this mess and develop an improbable friendship along the way.

Producer Judd Apatow’s popular comedies are very appealing but the formula is starting to feel familiar now. The situations are considerably different but the characters are starting to develop a certain familiarity. If you’ve seen Superbad or Knocked Up or one of the other Apatow produced R-rated comedies, you sort of know what to expect from this movie. Crazy characters that you would probably never want to know but who actually have a heart and an unexpected normalcy about them. Outrageous situations that ensure hilarity. An unlikely bond between two individuals. Some humor based on the occupation of one of the main characters. And more.

However, the familiarity didn’t affect my experience much. I still laughed as much as anyone else. The novelty in this film then is the action, which is also effectively used to make us laugh.

If you do think about it the film can seem stupid and pointless, especially because most people wouldn’t be able to relate to the characters or the extreme situations. But who goes to a stoner comedy to identify with the characters and find meaning. So, I’d say this should be quite an enjoyable experience for those who’ve enjoyed other R-rated comedies from the Apatow stable.

Kung Fu Panda June 10, 2008

Posted by Sai in English, Movies, Reviews.
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In the near future, we will be inundated with animated films. You will see funny gangster films. Then there will be comical disaster flicks. After that it will be the turn of hilarious scary movies followed by sidesplitting torture porn. And the characters in all these films will obviously be talking animals.

Right now, it is the turn of the animated kung fu comedy. The animals are totally unnecessary except, of course, that they are needed to bring in the target audience and they certainly will.

The setting is new for animated films but the premise is very old. Po (the Panda) doesn’t want to join the family noodle-making business. Instead he dreams of becoming a kung fu master. Due to a surprising turn of events, Po is selected as the dragon warrior who will be “the one” to thwart the greatest threat to their town. Obviously he isn’t “fit” enough for the job and has no clue what he is doing. But as you can guess, he will get the job done in the end.

Despite the mostly positive reviews by critics, I didn’t warm to the film immediately. It felt like more of the same. Nothing novel or funny enough to get me hooked. But as the film progressed it did get better (particularly, after the Panda’s training session began) and it finally ended up entertaining me just enough to keep me from swearing off animated films for a while. I might have actually enjoyed a live action version of this film more (it is easier for a real human to put a smile on my face).

The best part of the film is the action. A few superbly choreographed and brilliantly animated action sequences provide the primary reason to watch this film. It isn’t easy for action to make the right impact in an animated film but the the technical team gets it right in this one and their work is praiseworthy. A major strength of many animated films, the voice cast in this film also is terrific. The best work is for the primary characters voiced by Jack Black (Po), Dustin Hoffman (Mater Shifu) and Ian McShane (Tai Lung). The others in the cast like Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan and Seth Rogen don’t get enough scope to impress.

If you’ve got kids, you are probably going to have to watch this film anyway and the kids will love it. If you are one of those who hasn’t yet had enough of the talking animal movies, you should love this one too. For those who might look for entertainment with more adult appeal, this film doesn’t have too much.

Superbad February 26, 2008

Posted by Shujath in English, Movies, Reviews.
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The team of Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and Judd Apatow first collaborated together in the sleeper hit “The 40 Year Old Virgin”. Then came last year’s “Knocked Up” which many critics have cited it as their favorite film of 2007. They again followed it up later in the year with their super-successful “Superbad”. Again, lots of critics have considered it to be best high-school teen comedy ever. They probably aren’t off the mark. Superbad made me laugh out loud than any other film I’ve seen in this genre.

It doesn’t try to tread a different path when it comes to the story – still the familiar bunch of oversexed guys who are desperate to get laid once before they finish school. In this case Evan and Seth who’ve never successfully made it to a party before have a final chance at getting laid at one – only this time they have the onus of bringing in the alcohol. Assisting them in this task is their friend Fogo/McLovin, who with his fake id claims to get them the drinks. Their (mis)adventures constitute the rest of the movie.

What differentiates this movie from other teen comedies (like American Pie series, Road Trip etc.) is its reliance primarily on outrageously hilarious dialogue rather than characters caught in risque situations. Seth (Jonah Hill) – the guy with a major “dick fixation” gets to mouth the filthiest stuff and is the major source of humor in this movie. However, it is debutant Christopher Mintz-Plasse’s turn as “McLovin” which is the funniest part of the whole enterprise. The entire sequence which begins with him announcing his fake id to Seth till the arrival of the cops in the liqour store is the one I enjoyed the most. Michael Cera gets a relatively less conspicuous role but nonetheless he shines.

In a short period of time Rogen, Goldberg and Apatow seem to have became the kings of adult comedy – with the envious distinction of scoring box office successes accompanied with even greater critical acclaim. Their next venture “Pineapple Express” is due to come out in April….should be interesting to watch (if it makes it to theatres here)!