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Non-Review Review: This is the End

There’s a moment about half-way through This is the End when our bunch of celebrities are starting go stir-crazy, as they brave the apocalypse inside James Franco’s surprisingly fortified house. In the strange combination of idle boredom and growing madness, the group decide to improvise a trailer for the non-existent sequel to Pineapple Express. It is complete nonsense, but there’s a strange energy and a warm sense of humour to their “sweded” version of a Hollywood comedy, complete with remote-control car chases and homemade props.

It feels like something that only these actors would get – it’s just a bunch of people hanging out, fooling around, making the most of the materials available to them do something which feels incredibly niche. It’s a weird balance of something so experimental and so niche that it’s almost definitely a piece of post-modern art. (The movie even features an early scene of pretentious James Franco gleefully arguing that everything is art – even Jay Baruchel.) On the other hand, it’s accessible and fun, managing to seem – simultaneously – like an incredibly niche and charmingly broad piece of film.

It’s also pretty damn funny.

... and I feel fine...

… and I feel fine…

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Non-Review Review: Goon

Goon is a movie that works surprisingly well. It’s hilarious, brutal, and yet surprisingly sweet. It’s the quintessential sports movie, featuring a plucky young protagonist trying to find his place in the world, while developing his one sporting talent, but it never feels as coy or manipulative as other movies of that type. A large portion of the credit for that charm has to go to Jay Baruchel and Evan Goldberg for their witty and incredibly quotable script, but I think that most of the movie’s success rests on Seann William Scott as Doug Glatt, the eponymous goon.

He's a blood mess...

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Non-Review Review: The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is a movie that really works very much better than it really should. It’s clunky, predictable and standard box office fare, hardly designed to provoke or probe the extremes of the human imagination. It opens with a clunky exposition-filled narration which crams an entire franchise’s worth of back story into what should be a simple and straight forward tale, which even Ian McShane’s distinctive tones can’t completely elevate. From there on out, its by-the-numbers and fairly straight-forward. On the other hand, the movie has something that the vast majority of other summer blockbusters are seriously lacking in.

And that thing, my friends, is Nicolas Cage.

Cage certainly takes some balsy roles...

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Non-Review Review: How To Train Your Dragon

How To Train Your Dragon is, at its core, the story of a boy and his dog. Except his dog happens to be a dragon. It is a well-cast, well-made and well-written little film that actually manages to have a lot more emotional depth than the majority of Dreamworks films, even if it doesn’t quite approach the wonderful sophistication that Pixar manage to produce about once a year. It’s big, it’s bold and it’s fun – a wonderfully crafted piece of family entertainment.

An all-time high for Dreamworks?

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