Tag Archive: jason segel


This is the End Review

The biggest, brightest and the most prolific stars of modern comedy films play half-real/half-fictional versions of themselves for the Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen directed This is the End. The major characters here are Rogen himself, Jay Baruchel, Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson and Danny McBride who all attend a party at James Franco’s house. However, during the star studded party, the apocalypse hits and these actors must find a way to survive until they are granted their passage to Heaven.

“I don’t wanna die at James Franco’s house”

The film opens with the self-deprecating humour that will soon become familiar as Seth Rogen is asked about his performances in films and begged to do the ‘annoying’ Rogen laugh. This quickly becomes a theme after the apocalypse arrives as there are many jokes thrown around about some of the casts less successful outings such as Green Hornet, Spider-Man 3 and Your Highness, while also paying tribute to higher points in their careers with the mentions of Moneyball and 127 Hours. Right from the off it becomes clear that this cast has been put together to have fun, they’re not afraid to be themselves or heap criticism on themselves: a very self aware project that reaps the benefits.

 

For the opening act the show completely belongs to one person: Michael Cera. Although he usually plays himself in pretty much every film, Cera takes a step outside of his comfort zone to actually play ‘himself’ and shines as the source of laughter. His new bum slapping, coke fuelled personality is the major highlight of This is the End and Cera really digs in and let loose. This is just one of a number of cameos: Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Emma Watson, David Krumholtz, Jason Segel, Paul Rudd and Channing Tatum (particularly surprising and hilarious) all included.

“We should make a sequel to Pineapple Express

What becomes clear is that this is not a film that is made for everyone. If you have no knowledge of Rogen’s or Franco’s career and friendship in particular, then this is not the film for you. One of the more frequent points in the film is this friendship and Franco’s love for Seth Rogen. And if you don’t like Pineapple Express (which everyone really should) then you are not going to reap the benefits of the hilarious ‘Pineapple Express 2‘ homemade sequel.

 

Every major character has their time in the spotlight, each being allowed to let loose, have fun and provide laughs. Jonah Hill, however, perhaps has the most stand out points which you can look at even out of the context of the whole film and enjoy: the Milky Bar scene, the exorcism and the incredibly camp gun scene. Everything he does is fantastic.

“Dear God, it’s me, Jonah Hill… from Moneyball

The end of the world may be a tired storyline but that only benefits This is the End. With no immediate or heavy concerns with storyline the (half-written) script is allowed to entertain on its own merits. The cast are allowed to live within themselves, push their exciting and over the top performance to the very limits all against the backdrop of destruction. There aren’t many scenes where the laughs die down and there certainly aren’t any jokes that misfire or fall flat.

 

You will either love it or hate it. This is one of those films. But if you know what’s good for you, you’ll love it.

 

My Rating: 8/10.

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Bad Teacher (2011) Review

Believe it or not Cameron Diaz has been nominated for four Golden Globes during her career. However, it is less surprising to find out that these nominations came earlier in her career and her last one was actually in 2002 for Gangs of New York. Since then, she’s been more miss than hit with the likes of What Happens in Vegas, Knight and Day, The Green Hornet and The Box (called the worst movie ever upon release) all being panned by critics and shunned by audiences. When released in 2011, Bad Teacher made substantial profit grossing over $200million, but does the film warrant the commercial success?

The short answer is “no”. The longer answer is “no way!”. Cameron Diaz is the titular bad teacher Elizabeth Halsey who we meet leaving the school after just a year to get married to a really rich man so she never has to work again. However, when she returns home from school her fiance ditches her for that very reason and she is forced to return to her job as a teacher, the only thing she knows how to do (so how bad she is at everything else is anyone’s guess).

Elizabeth Halsey is arguably the worst ‘protagonist’ ever to grace the screen. She is a wholly unlikeable character and the combination of horrible writing and Diaz’s ‘sex sells’ performance make you beg for her comeuppance, which unfortunately never arrives (another flaw in the film after the lengths she goes through). But whoever thought that a gold-digging bimbo whose only ambition in life is to get a boob job and be lazy is a likeable character needs to be seriously punished.

When Halsey returns to the school we are introduced to Amy Squirrel (Lucy Punch) who seems to be an all round nicer character than Halsey and a moral compass in a world of wholly messed up characters (minus the gym teacher played by Jaseon Segel). However, about half way through Bad Teacher, the story changes and you end up disliking Amy Squirrel, meaning you are left with two horribly poor characters to watch in a tussle that you really could not care less about.

There are more laughs than expected but they fall well short of memorable. In fact, the only reason that they are funny could well be because they are placed against this canvas of nothingness. The children, or even Diaz’s interactions with the children, should be a source for much of the comedy but nothing is really ever made of this. There are references to other things that will be lost on many audiences.

Bad Teacher is a slightly entertaining joyride that seems to be cashing in on Cameron Diaz’s attempts to still look sexy. A few jokes hit the spot but the majority leave a horrible rotting taste in your mouth.

My Rating: 4/10.

Last week we discovered that Star Wars was going to return to the cinema screens in 2015 with the help of new owners, Disney. This week there has been speculation as to who will be the director and a couple of cast members stating that they would like to return to the series. Harrison Ford, who famously played the iconic hero Han Solo, has stated that he would love to reprise his roles in the sequel/reboot/continuation. Also said to be considering returning are Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher as Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia. Jeremy Bulloch famously brought Boba Fett to life back in the original trilogy and has stated his optimism and willingness to return but doubts that he will get his chance. I don’t think the story will really involve Luke, Leia and Han that much but it would be nice to see them back to make a connection between the films. Reports this week have linked Matthew Vaughn with the directing gig. Vaughn recently dropped out of directing X-Men: Days of Future Past and is not directing Kick-Ass 2: Balls to the Wall either so his schedule should be pretty clear for this job.

 

One of the most enjoyable films that has been released this year, in my opinion, is The Muppets. The best bit about The Muppets was the music sequences without a doubt and it is not very well known that Bret McKenzie, one half of comedy duo Flight of the Conchords, was responsible for this music. And it has been announced that McKenzie is writing some new music for the sequel, set to his screens Christmas 2013. Nicholas Stoller is once again writing the script even though Jason Segel will not be returning. Attached to star at the minute is Christoph Waltz of Inglourious Basterds and upcoming Django Unchained. Waltz and Kermit the Frog don’t seem to go hand in hand but it can only lead to success!

 

The Amazing Spider-Man successfully rebooted the Marvel hero this year with Andrew Garfield in the lead role. With Garfield, Emma Stone and Marc Webb all returning for the sequel all they need is a villain, and it looks as though they may have found one. Jamie Foxx, who will coincidently be starring alongside Christoph Waltz in Django Unchained at the end of this year, is in very early talks to play the super villain Electro. Electro is another villain that we are yet to see on the big screen and Marc Webb has described Foxx as one of the best actors around today and he is pretty good, it has to be said.

 

Finally, a couple of weeks ago it was announced that Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul would be taking the lead role in the upcoming Need for Speed movie adaptation. Now it has been announced that young British actor Dominic Cooper will be joining him in the driving seat. I am a big fan of Dominic Cooper and this would be something very different to what he normally does, I look forward to seeing it.

The Five-Year Engagement sees Jason Segel continuing to try and cement his place as one of Hollywood’s greatest comedy actors following The Muppets and Jeff Who Lives At Home with the help of writing partner Nicholas Stoller. Segel’s latest offering comes in the form of a romantic comedy when exactly a year after meeting Tom (Segel) proposes to his girlfriend Violet (Emily Blunt) but unexpected events keep on getting in their way as they attempt to tie the knot with one another.

With most films of this genre you get the same thing over and over again: boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love, boy and girl split up, boy and girl get back together and live happily ever after. In The Five-Year Engagement what you get is an in depth look at the ins and outs of a stable relationship as it journeys through the ups and downs of life. I think that this is a great idea and shows that relationships don’t always run smoothly as plenty of other films would have you believe. I also believe that The Five-Year Engagement separates itself from other comedies aimed at an adult audience by being cleverer and, although we do get to see Jason Segel’s rear end on more than one occasion, a lot of the comedy is very well written and obviously well put together.

There is clear chemistry between the two leads of the film, Jason Segel and Emily Blunt which is obviously helped by their off screen friendship and the fact that the two of them have worked together previously. Segel puts in a great performance but I don’t think that we ever get to see the best of him like we have seen in The Muppets and television sitcom How I Met Your Mother. He is a very fine comedic actor though and brings out some good laughs here; I’m not a fan of Emily Blunt too much and at times her comedy efforts seemed a little forced. Also, her accent seems overly British even though it’s authentic, how weird is that?

The Five-Year Engagement starts off very well with some hilarious moments and really sets you up for what should be a laugh a minute film from start to finish. A lot of this is the emphasis put on the characters of Tom’s colleague and friend Alex (Chris Pratt) and Violet’s sister Suzie (Alison Brie). Whilst their relationship offers very little to the film as a whole their individual contribution to scenes are very well delivered. Chris Pratt is wonderfully funny in almost every scene in which he features and a particular scene featuring Pratt’s Alex delivering a presentation of Tom’s former girlfriends is my favourite part of the film and a brilliantly written and acted scene. Unfortunately, their characters seem to fizzle out and so does the film itself.

There is a reason that most romantic comedies are only an hour and a half long; the plot cannot sustain a two hour movie without lagging. The Five-Year Engagement does try and stretch over two hours and you would think that with five years of a relationship to tell then it would easily manage this without getting too boring. You would be wrong. It gets to a point where you think it could be coming to an end only to realise there is still about half an hour left and after a while the laughs become a sparse item. Don’t get me wrong, The Five-Year Engagement at times is hilarious and it is definitely a great romantic comedy with real stock in the lead characters but it tails off towards the end. It is still, though, definitely worth watching!

My Rating: 7/10.

Amy Adams has just entered into negotiations to star in Gilles Paquet-Brenner’s adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s critically acclaimed novel Dark Places. Adams provides an example of a modern day actress with a fantastic ability for acting as well as looking incredibly beautiful at the same time and has been nominated for three Oscars throughout her career.

Amy Adams got her first film role in comedy Drop Dead Gorgeous and this was the start of what would become a fantastic career. After this Adams spent a couple of years working on television, appearing in episodes of Charmed, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Smallville and The West Wing before, in 2002, appearing in Steven Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can alongside the brilliant Leonardo DiCaprio. Spielberg even said that Adams’ performance in Catch Me If You Can should have launched her career, yet still it stalled.

It was in 2004 that Amy Adams got her next film role in The Last Run as well as bagging regular roles in television series’ King of the Hill and Dr. Vegas, then her career really gained speed. After The Wedding Date was released Amy Adams starred in indie flick Junebug, a film for which Adams herself received critical acclaim and she was getting the recognition she deserved everywhere, including being nominated for an Oscar for her performance.

Not many comedy actors or actresses get recognised as talented actors as well as people who make us laugh, but this didn’t sway Amy Adams from appearing in more comedies as she attempted to crack mainstream cinema. Adams appeared in Talladega Nights, The Pick of Destiny and The Ex and then, in 2007, she made herself known to a wider audience than ever before. Enchanted, the part animated/part live action modern Disney fairytale, cast Adams in the role of the princess and the film was a huge commercial success and prepared Adams for the success that was to come.

Amy Adams then starred alongside Tom Hanks in Charlie Wilson’s War, Emily Blunt in Sunshine Cleaning as well as making Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day, all three of which were well received by audiences. Doubt was released in 2008 and it was this performance that saw Amy Adams nominated for her second Oscar.

Leap Year, Julie & Julia and Night At The Museum 2 followed before Amy Adams put in one of the best performances of her career in The Fighter and was rightly nominated for her third Oscar so far and arguably should have won it but it went to her co-star Melissa Leo. More critical and commercial success followed with Jason Segel’s reboot of The Muppets where she showcased her vocal talents.

With several projects in the pipeline there is no doubt that Amy Adams, one of the most versatile and well respected actresses working today, is set to achieve even more success. This year she will be appearing in the hotly anticipated and long-in-making film On The Road. Trouble With The Curve and The Master follow before what could become the defining and most important role for Adams to date: she is to take on the role of Lois Lane in Zack Snyder’s Superman tale Man of Steel, produced by Christopher Nolan.

Hopefully, Adams will continue to work in films for a long time to come and maybe one day she can win the Oscar that she quite rightly deserves.

Jason Segel in Sex Tape

This is not the latest Hollywood scandal, but instead the How I Met Your Mother star’s upcoming movie. With Jason Segel playing the leading man, the project is currently looking for it’s director and leading lady.

Jason Segel’s co-writer on The Muppets, Nicholas Stoller, was attached to direct Sex Tape but has had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts. Stoller previously directed Segel in The Five Year Engagement but now, Jake Kasdan is favourite to get the job. Kasdan’s last film was Bad Teacher with Cameron Diaz and he has also directed a few episodes of hit TV show, New Girl, so would be a great addition to the project.

The role of leading lady in the comedy is still up for grabs, so who will be making this Sex Tape with Jason Segel? Segel, himself, mentioned Reese Witherspoon as a possible choice, but with the This Means War star recently announcing her third pregnancy she may not want to do this. Emily Blunt seems another favourite; she stars with Segel in The Five Year Engagement and actually lives next door to the actor and the two are good friends. Other rumoured choices include Rose Byrne and Jennifer Garner.

One of these actresses could be Segel's co-star.

It seems like Jason Segel is taking his assault on Hollywood comedy seriously and is quickly trying to become a leading man. With roles in Bad Teacher, I Love You Man and Forgetting Sarah Marshall under his belt, Segel really broke through with mainstream audiences with The Muppets and is looking to use that success to move his career forward.

Segel is a fantastic comedy writer and isn’t too bad as a comedy actor either so he may have what it takes to become one of Hollywood’s best comedic talents.

Sex Tape is scheduled for a 2013 release.

UK Release Date: 27th April 2012.

The Five Year Engagement is Judd Apatow’s latest production. It has been co-written by Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller who co-wrote The Muppets, with Stoller also directing this time round.

The Five Year Engagement is a romantic comedy following Tom (Jason Segel) and Violet (Emily Blunt) as their relationship becomes strained from the continued delays to their wedding once they have gotten engaged.

The trailer offers a few laughs here and there. Female audiences might find Emily Blunt’s attempts at quirky comedy to be funnier than I did but I can see that getting annoying if it continues throughout the film.

But is there really any point in going to see this film? The trailer tells you the whole story in less than three minutes. So, after this, it will be difficult for the movie to actually have any unpredictability factor about it at all.

The Muppets Sequel Confirmed!

In the past couple of months Kermit and the gang made a successful return to the big screen with the help of Jason Segel and now it has been announced that there are plans in motion for a sequel to the smash hit to be made.

The Muppets won an Oscar for Best Original Song (Man or Muppet) at this years Oscar awards and Kermit and Miss Piggy even helped present another of the golden statues. The film was a huge success and I am really pleased there is going to be a sequel.

However, Jason Segel will not be writing this one and may not even be starring in it, which in my opinion would be a huge loss. The actor has said that he is ‘taking time out from puppets’ after successfully bringing them back to the big screen and is pursuing more ‘human related projects’ although he is sure he will return to the franchise ‘here and there’.

Segel has The Five Year Engagement coming out soon and is working on This is 40, a sequel/spin off of Knocked Up. And there is also another season of How I Met Your Mother to get working on so Jason Segel could be a very busy man.

Of course, if Segel doesn’t return then it’s highly doubtful Amy Adams would return by herself and although The Muppets is all about the puppet characters I was a fan of the human characters in the film and hope they will be back!

The Muppets Review

 

***MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS***

 

There isn’t a lot to say about The Muppets that hasn’t already been said a hundred times before. This new release is an attempt to introduce and make appealing some of the most famous television and film characters to a new audience and it definitely triumphs in doing so. It’s a film that will make sure you leave the cinema happy.

The story is pretty simple. The Muppets have been on hiatus for a number of years and when they learn of an oil tycoon’s plans to knock down their old studio they must reunite and put on a show that earns the ten million dollars they need to rescue their home.

The (human) cast is led by Jason Segel, who also co-wrote the film, and the wonderful Amy Adams who was nominated for an Oscar at last years ceremony. Both of these actors do as good a job as they need to; they play their parts convincingly but in all honesty it’s not them you’re going to see this film for. Kermit and Miss Piggy, Animal and Fozzie Bear, The Muppets are the stars of the show and it’s like they never went away. The humour is top class, the film is filled with gags and great references to the fact that they are just in a movie.

It seems like a whole host of celebrities were lining up to be in this film and nearly all of the cameo appearances were brilliant and are sure to draw laughs from audiences, Jim Parsons’ cameo in particular is a highlight of the film.

In a time where most high grossing films are fuelled by the use of CGI and computer effects it is refreshing to still see the hand held puppets of The Muppets on the big screen. Despite not being real you really do feel for their characters and their stories. The musical element has always been a huge part of The Muppets success and this new version mixes in some old classics with some great new songs too even being nominated for the ‘best original song’ award at the 2012 Oscars.

The Muppets has been a success both critically and commercially and Disney have ultimately triumphed in bringing The Muppets back to the big screen. I don’t think it will be long before we see another outing from Kermit and his friends, hopefully with Jason Segel and Amy Adams both still featured.

My Rating: 8/10

UK Release Date: 20th April 2012.

You can’t change your family, but can you change your destiny?

Jeff is a thirty year old man still living with his mother, in her basement. His brother, Pat, is struggling with his wife to hold his marriage together. When sent on an errand by his mother, Jeff may finally discover his destiny as he spends the day with his brother tracking his adulterous wife which, in doing so, helps the brothers to rediscover their family bond.

Jeff Who Lives At Home is an indie comedy led by the brilliant Jason Segel (Forgetting Sarah Marshall) and Ed Helms (The Hangover) with their mother being played by Susan Sarandon. The film has been an official selection at many of the top film festivals across America and has gone down well with critics and fans alike.

The trailer pretty much makes the film look like your typical, run of the mill, happy ending indie flick. But it is not the story that is important with this film; it is the journey the brother’s go on together and the family relationships that will keep the audience interested. The trailer is not so much laugh out loud funny and I doubt the film will be either but it will have it’s moments where everyone watching will be chuckling to themselves. It will be a film that everyone can enjoy, together.