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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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Let’s be Franco: Actors Who Don’t Like the Interview Circuit…

I actually don’t feel strongly one way or the other about James Franco. I do kinda like that he was willing to experiment a bit by appearing as “Franco the performance artist” on General Hospital, respect the fact that he doesn’t care too much about his image to appear in films like Pineapple Express and Your Highness, but I also feel a little frustrated when I see how incredibly bored he seemed hosting the Oscars. There’s been a bit of on-line discussion about Franco’s public persona, and his perceived lack of interest in his own projects or in giving interviews, to the point where the actor has found himself being compared to Harrison Ford, one of the more notoriously difficult celebrity interviewees. However, despite all that, I find myself having quite a bit of sympathy for actors clearly not comfortable with dealing with the press circuit.

Going to great lengths to get away from it all...

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Your Highness Trailer

I have to admit, I’m a sucker for eighties fantasy. Classics like Willow and Labyrinth were among the favourites of my childhood (although, I must confess, I have never actually seen all of Legend – Tim Curry gave me nightmares). So I’m actually really looking forward to Your Highness, which looks to be a sort of (vaguely) affectionate spoof of all those classic campy fantasy movies. Seriously, check out the appearance from a very Jim-Hensen-esque puppet at the end of the trailer. It’s written and starring Danny McBride, who you’ll probably be familiar with from great roles in some of the better comedies of the last few years (like Pineapple Express with co-star James Franco and Tropic Thunder). The movie filmed in Northern Ireland, and recently had students from around the US competing to host the world premiere, so it’s one to watch. By the way, check out that supporting cast – Damian Lewis, Charles Dance, Toby Jones and Justin Theroux (alongside leads McBride and Franco, Natalie Portman and Zooey Dreschanel).