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Palo Alto (2013)
Neither original nor well made
The movie is extremely superficial, showing nothing but High School Stereotypes. The cute virgin, the slut, the mean depressed stoner-boy with his good-at-heart best friend. The teacher who creeps up on the hot girls in his class. There are absolutely no surprises, at the end, the out-of-control kid risks his life, the teacher finds another young girl to hit on, the nice girl and the nice boy get closer. Here and there the film tries to dig a little deeper into the characters but it always comes off extremely pretentious and not genuine.
There are good parts though: James Franco acts well, as always, Emma Roberts looks great, and the soundtrack is good.
Ken Park (2002)
I did not make it through this movie
I really tried to watch this film and see something other than just a vicious display of humanity's spiritual abyss, but for me, that is all there is to this "work of art". I did not see any artistic vision or any intellectual message worth transmitting. All I saw was a porn movie that includes children. I have absolutely no problem with showing shocking material in films, when it contributes to the story or plot or the understanding of the characters or something else. But showing things like that without any kind of artistic or intellectual purpose is just nothing but disgusting to me. Why would anyone want to watch that? It is too far from the reality most people are experiencing (I really do hope so) to feel connected to the characters. It is way too gross to be somewhat enjoyable or entertaining and it is too shallow to actually make to think about the topics in the film. What kind of point are they trying too make? Some people are sick and therefore cruel to (their) children? Is that the point? They think a viewer should be tortured with those images to understand that point? You hear about things like that everyday on the news. If you want to dig into a subject matter of this kind , why not make it in a way that is touching or realistic or both? Why make it an ice cold porn movie that makes you want to rip your eyes out? I usually don't give a "one star" rating, because I know that making a movie is incredibly hard work and I at least appreciate the effort, but I cannot condone this crap in any kind of way.
Best Man Down (2012)
Well constructed character-driven Drama
To me this is a really beautifully made Drama. The characters seem very authentic and relatable and the actors, especially Addison Timlin, are just terrific. I guess it's not spoiling, when the scenes are in the trailer, so: At the beginning, there is a wedding, Scott and Kristin are getting married and Scott's best friend "Lumpy" is his best man. He passes away on the wedding night, causing the newlyweds to take care of his funeral instead of going on their honeymoon. In order to organize the funeral, they contact Lumpy's College, Workplace and friends, and that is how they meet Ramsey, a smart girl from a broken family. As I said, the characters are very authentically constructed and they are also where the focus lies. Addison Timlin, as Ramsey, gives such a touching performance and the nonsexual lovestory between her and Lumpy is beautiful to watch. I recommend this movie to everyone who likes character-driven Dramas. The reason I gave it 8 and not 10 stars, is that the end is too quick and easy for me and not very realistic (without giving spoilers), it seems a little bit like a cop out to give this rather dark and deep movie about friendship and family a happy ending, but on the other hand, it makes it really viewer-friendy. I feel like with an 6,4 it is underrated.
This Is the End (2013)
Slapstick-Comedy, slightly better than Scary Movie
The first 15 Minutes, which mainly show Hollywood-Stars like James Franco and Emma Watson making fun of themselves, is very funny, but then an Apocalypse-Scenario comes up and it gets way too clownish- even for Seth Rogen. You are confronted with the kind of Slapstick Humor that makes Scary Movie unwatchable for me. The Apocalypse-Szene ends around 00:25:00 and afterwards the film turns into a boring and again way-too-silly-to-take- somewhat-serious version of a survival story and you really just want to turn it off.
The charming and refreshing self-irony is definitely the best thing about this movie, but it is not enough to keep you entertained for 106 Minutes. It may be enjoyable for Scary-Movie-Fans or die-hard Seth Rogan Fans.