From Indy Week

Co-written and co-directed by Seth Rogen, This Is the End is something of a throwback to that style of movie they used to call the gonzo comedy. Like The Blues Brothers or Caddyshack, it takes a simple comedic premise, brings aboard a busload of funny people and then lets them cut loose with cameras rolling. A movie like this probably has 200 minutes of footage for every 60 seconds on the screen. The real work is in the editing room.

The elevator pitch: As the Apocalypse descends upon Los Angeles, Rogen and his famous friends smoke up and party down at James Franco’s house. Also playing themselves, or rather slightly tweaked versions of themselves, are Jonah Hill, Jay Baruchel and Craig Robinson, while a dozen other real-life friends pass through in the background.

ImageAs they party on, the Earth is torn asunder and blue beams of heavenly light levitate the righteous heavenward. It’s a running joke throughout the movie that actors are, apparently, not among God’s chosen people.

Those who do not ascend are left behind as L.A. burns and demons roam the ash. Several of the party guests meet grisly ends, including a very funny Michael Cera, who detonates his nice-guy image by playing himself as a coked-out man slut. Emma Watson does some image wrangling as well, setting up at least a half dozen good Hermione Granger jokes.

Rogen and company barricade themselves in what’s left of Franco’s house and quickly ration out the remaining food and drugs. Lots of pot gets smoked, and there’s one very funny bit concerning the wisdom of taking Ecstasy at the end of the world. Also watch for a pretty great exorcism scene.

Not all the gags land. There’s a five-minute sequence regarding bodily fluids that’s at least four-and-a-half minutes too long. And the relentless filthiness does get tiresome. But This Is the End has a certain anarchic spirit that should be savored. The film is wholly disinterested in formula, which is refreshing. (By contrast, the new Vince Vaughn/Owen Wilson comedy The Internship is so formulaic it could have been assembled by marketing software.)

You get the strong feeling that Rogen and his collaborators had a blast making this movie. There’s a kind of generosity to it, and it never condescends. This is the stuff these guys think is funny. They think you’ll dig it, too. It may be the end of the world, but they just want to show you a good time.


from Discovery News

When New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie revealed his gastric band surgery this week, pundits immediately began speculating: Would the weight loss procedure affect Christie’s presumed 2016 presidential run?

Health issues aside, Christie’s weight has been seen an a liability in the political arena. “The simple truth is that no one of Christie’s size in modern times has gone on to win a presidential nomination, let alone the White House,” writes political editor Paul Steinhauser on CNN’s Political Ticker blog.

Christie is a tough guy — he likes to pick fights on the Left and the Right, usually at the same time. But in the era of mass media and the carefully calibrated public image, is obesity a presidential deal breaker? Will undergoing weight loss surgery make Christie a target for late-night monologues and Twitter jokes? If history is any indication, and it frequently is, there are some things you can’t do if you want to become president.

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from Discovery News

In popular culture, it’s sometimes referred to as “apocalypse porn” — the proffering of imagery and scenarios that depict end-of-the-world catastrophes. You know the routine: Crumbling monuments, abandoned cities, desolate wastelands. Think recent movies like “The Road” and “I Am Legend,” or older classics such as “Mad Max” and “Planet of the Apes.” One of this season’s most popular TV series, “Revolution,” posits a planet-wide blackout that tumbles civilization back a few centuries.

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