This Is the End [Blu-Ray] Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg

This Is the End [Blu-Ray] Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg
8
A bunch of prodigiously foul-mouthed, filthy-minded friends given carte blanche to irreverently lampoon celebrity culture and basic human selfishness in an "end of the world" scenario makes for one hell of an entertaining movie. Once again proving the base appeal of watching celebrities mock themselves and each other (a Neil Patrick Harris cameo would have been a welcome self-aware nod), audiences responded quite favourably to this exceedingly silly orgy of bawdy fun that sees Seth Rogan, Jay Baruchel, Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson and Danny McBride trying to survive at James Franco's house during a full-fledged, biblical apocalypse. The actual plot beneath the mounds of fire, brimstone and demon genitalia works surprisingly well as an emotional through-line. Jay's bitter rejection of "The L.A. lifestyle" and Seth's complete adoption of it has created friction in their relationship. Being trapped together forces all of these loud personalities to face their interpersonal issues head-on. Distorted as the actions and situations are, many of the smaller moments that deal with trying to reconcile friendships through life and career changes ring true. This Is the End is laced with the kind of brutal honesty and grotesque absurdity that can only come from the comfort of working with people that generally know each other on a personal level. With everyone on the same page creatively, nothing is off limits, whether it's masturbation etiquette, cannibalism, substance abuse, the sanctity of Forrest Gump or any number of topics sure to be devilishly offensive to someone, while just plain funny to others. Rogan and Goldberg made a wise aesthetic decision in opting to shoot this utterly ridiculous lowbrow comedy as a serious apocalyptic horror. The creature design and special effects work are better than that in many films with four times the budget. This, and much more, is covered in a truly exceptional collection of special features included with this impeccably mastered Blu-Ray. All of the nuts and bolts of the film's creation can be found in "Let's Get Technical." Brandon Trost's thoughtful cinematography, the impressive visual effects, fiery stunt work and dropping a boat load of celebrities down a giant earth orifice are all explained in wacky, energetic detail. "Directing Your Friends" contains behind-the-scenes interviews on what it was like to be so relaxed on set, but still get the work done, while "Meta-Apocalypse" details which elements of each character's personality were drawn from the non-fiction version. Continuing with the group love vibe, "Party Time" visits with all of the famous guests at Franco's bash, including a ludicrously debauched Michael Cera getting the shit slapped out of him by Rihanna — and we're not even halfway through the special features yet. Culled from the extensive footage shot (as you can imagine, it was a very improvisation-heavy film), all the outtakes are organized under multiple headings. "The Cannibal King" covers you-know-who and his gimp enthusiastically engaging in immodest activities that will either titillate or horrify Magic Mike fans. "This Is the Gag Reel" spotlights flubs and random asides that don't fit elsewhere, while "This Is the Marketing" shows the weird side of shooting movie promos and "Line-O-Rama" is so beefy it's broken into three subheadings: "Sleepover," "We Don't Know You Man!" and "Cum Battle." All three contain moments of hilarity that would make grandma blush or get sick. On top of all that, there's still "The Making of 'The Making of Pineapple Express 2,'" the original short film that provided the kernel of inspiration for this picture (there's not a great deal to Jay & Seth vs. the Apocalypse), a ton of deleted scenes (some of them extremely funny) and an odd, entertaining and often quite informative commentary track with Rogan and Goldberg. Rogan sounds like he's as high as a kite, but that doesn't prevent him from (usually) clearly articulating the vision of the movie and pointing out the many benefits of embracing CGI; it just means that the conversation gets seriously weird and random in places. (Sony)