Ricky's Film Reviews

Bringing you honest reviews of recent releases

The Interview

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Dave Skylark and producer Aaron Rapoport run the celebrity tabloid show “Skylark Tonight.” When they land an interview with a surprise fan, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, they are recruited by the CIA to turn their trip to Pyongyang into an assassination mission.

James Franco

In June 2014, the North Korean government threatened “merciless” action against the United States if the film’s distributor, Columbia Pictures, went ahead with the release. Columbia delayed the release from October 10 to December 25, and reportedly edited the film to make it more acceptable to North Korea. In November, the computer systems of parent company Sony Pictures Entertainment were hacked by the “Guardians of Peace”, a group the FBI believes has ties to North Korea. After leaking several other then-upcoming Sony films and other sensitive internal information, the group demanded that Sony pull The Interview, which it referred to as “the movie of terrorism”. On December 16, 2014, the Guardians of Peace threatened terrorist attacks against cinemas that played The Interview.

On December 17, after a number of major North American cinema chains canceled screenings in the interest of safety, Sony canceled the theatrical release of The Interview, drawing criticism from the media, Hollywood figures and the White House. Sony made The Interview available for online rental and purchase on December 24, followed by a limited release at select cinemas on December 25. The Interview has earned $40 million in digital rentals, making it Sony’s most successful digital release, and over $9 million at the U.S. box office. The film received mixed reviews. (source: Wikipedia)

Cast

James Franco – Dave Skylark

Seth Rogen – Aaron Rapoport

Randall Park – Kim Jong-un

Lizzy Caplan – Agent Lacey

Diana Bang – Sook Yung Park

Eminem – Himself

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Eminem’s Mixed Bag

One of the most entertaining scenes of The Interview has to be when Skylark sits down to interview notorius rap artist Eminem. Marshall Mathers appears as himself on Skylark Tonight, with a shocking revelation. He’s gay.

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When Eminem drops the bombshell, Skylark erupts in a fit of excitement as he tries to continue questioning the rapper about his personal life. The entire scene makes for a highly entertaining watch; an atmosphere of astonishment blended with intrigue as Eminem sits there – relaxed as anything – reeling off details about his homosexual experiences. No one saw it coming – in the movie or in the cinema – and the audience were lapping it up, it brought hearty laughter from viewers around the auditorium. The rapper’s face did most of the talking. Less really was more as Eminem sits there glaring at Dave Skylark with wide eyes, in an almost naive fashion as he answers questions. The whole thing was just hilarious, mainly due to Marshall Mathers agreeing to appear in the movie – and label himself gay for entertainment purposes. It was so unexpected, dry and sarcastic, random. Also appearing as themselves for spoof purposes in the movie were Rob Lowe, Bill Maher and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

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Franco Takes Charge

James Franco and Seth Rogen are a solid double act with roughly the same amount of action and dialogue throughout The Interview. But there’s one difference: James massively outweighs Seth. In fact, the actor takes the reins and charges through the movie at top speed and high energy. I know Dave Skylark is the main character, but boy does Franco deliver. Animated facial expressions and constant staggering around the set ensure brilliant dynamics, the actor screaming or whispering many of his lines. I would go as far as to say his energy mirrors that of Jim Carrey in many of his movies.

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Generally, I don’t go for the trashy features involving James Franco – it seems to be a Hollywood rule to have Franco, Rogen and the likes of Jonah Hill and Vince Vaughn all in the same awful feature together. This Is The End for example; Franco, Rogen, Hill, Michael Cera, Christopher Mintz-Plasse. A shit script full of toilet humour, where arguing over “who gets the MilkyWay” seems to be accepted by teenage viewers as wonderfully funny. Let’s face it: movies such as this are classic bullshit, where at least one of the male characters has to talk continuously about pussy – whilst the others fall around the place covered in alcohol. What a load of crap. Which is why The Interview surprised me. James fully embraced his character and made the movie his own. This was nowhere near as trashy as his other ‘lads flicks’ – maybe because of having just the two of these actors together, without the other others. Cut the other Hollywood idiots out and this pairing was bearable. And quite entertaining.

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I still haven’t made my mind up about Seth Rogen – is he hilarious or not? The guy seems to coast his way through every movie he is in by growling one-liner’s. But that’s all he really does; grumbling wisecracks through that double chin of his as though he’s an A-class comedian, but something about him just isn’t funny.

Franco does a brilliant job of portraying his airhead character. As I said, I’m not usually a fan. But his highly entertaining performance kept me amused the entire time. Top marks for him, he delivered well.

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Constant Laughter

I’m not kidding when I say I laughed nearly all the way through The Interview. I can see why it caused an uproar a while back. Although I’m not overly political myself, I knew the movie was a giant middle finger to Kim Jong-un and North Korea. It is pure spoof which displays the Korean leader as hostile on the outside – but a total softie inside. Scenes portaying this include Dave Skylark asking intimate questions during interview which make Kim burst into tears like a little girl, thus lowering the barrier and bringing his threatening status right down. Randall Park who plays him is just superb; he looks like Kim and has the vocal impersonation spot-on. There are some very funny moments between Park and Franco, made even better by funny dialogue. This movie was turning out to be bloody hilarious the longer it went on – one of those classics that has you frowning and laughing at the same time.

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Diana Bang (what a name!) stars as North Korean propagandist Sook, who appears to be on Kim’s side – but has other plans in store. The actress does what she’s there to do. She plays her character very well and – like Randall Park – has her moments of laugh-out-loud behaviour. A scene towards the end of the movie sees Sook and Aaron stuck in a studio control room trying to keep Skylark and Kim’s crucial interview on air, but having to fight their way out past the broadcasting center operatives. The whole gruesome scenario is hilarious – but disgusting – and afterward, I wondered why I found it so damn funny!

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The Interview is 110 minutes of sheer escapism. It takes a real-life political figure and completely covers him in stupid humour. It takes a serious situation and turns it upside down with a whole lot of slapstick, screaming, and running around. If you’re easily offended by scripts like this – then you WILL BE offended. Otherwise, kick back and enjoy. It won’t win any awards (although it might earn a rocket) but it entertains with a very simple plot and masses of funny dialogue. Again, James Franco saves the day with his use energetic comedy and facial expressions – this has to be one of the best comedies I’ve seen him in, the guy steals the show.

As I arrived at the cinema I groaned slightly at the thought of sitting through a load of Franco and Rogen’s usual trash. Upon leaving the cinema, I was completely laughed out and highly entertained.

..I love it when that happens.

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This entry was posted on February 9, 2015 by .
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