The Interview is NOT the new Life of Brian

I’m going to be absolutely honest: When I first saw the trailer for The Interview, it did feel slightly off to me. I know, I know – hindsight this, hindsight that – but it did.

Parodying Kim Jong-Un, a living dictator, in such a broad fashion seemed extremely provocative. It was weird enough when Hitler was parodied and made to be a fool in Inglourious Basterds, and he’s dead, as well as unoquivocally considered to be one of the most evil people to ever have lived.

Something about making comedy and lightness out of genuinely morbid figures seems medieval to me. A bit uncivilised. Like a farcical play in 16th Century Britain where the bad guys wear silly hats and get booed.

It’s all well and good me saying this now, AFTER The Interview has become the epicentre of a political storm and been pulled from every cinema worldwide. Frankly, my voice will be lost amongst millions of others on the morality of the movie and the validity of branding it’s cancellation ‘cencorship’.

What I’d like to flag right now, before it gets out of hand, is the misplaced mystique beginning to surround The Interview.

Upon cancellation of the movie’s release Twitter erupted with celebrities stating they will try their hardest to see the movie as soon as possible, or be ‘first in line’ upon its eventual release. This suggests that The Interview as a movie stands for much more than silly Hollywood comedy. It suggests that by being cancelled (or censored), it gathers appeal and a restricted allure as inevitably as a rolling snowball gathers more snow.

This is NOT the case. The Interview is not a monumental comedy. It is not trying to make a political point, or fashion an intricate and satirical dance around international current affairs. It is NOT Monty Python’s Life of Brian. 

Life of Brian was Monty Python's silly take on religion and belief.
Life of Brian was Monty Python’s hilarious take on religion and belief.

Life of Brian, famously, was similarly censored (albeit not as widely) in counties, states and sometimes even whole countries upon its release in 1979. The very act of restricting its release along with hugely positive word coming from the few who had managed to see it combined to create an earthquake of interest that rippled throughout the globe, so much so that people scrambled to see it at all costs.

Of course, when they did eventually see it, all the controversy was forgotten and replaced with adoration for a seminal piece of comedy film-makingLife of Brian remains one of the greatest comedy films ever made.

I haven’t seen The Interview. But I have seen pretty much every other film involving Seth Rogen. If I imagine, hypothetically speaking, that ANY of his previous works for some reason provoked a foreign leader, or sympathisers of a foreign leader, to launch a cyber attack on the movie and halt its release, I can’t seem to draw up ANY of them that would have been worth so much interest and hype.

MORE: Anyone else want Seth Rogen to just STOP?

Imagine if The Green Hornet had irritated Putin. Or if Funny People had really ticked off Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president. After to-ing and fro-ing, the movie was finally able to be seen. The occasion wouldn’t be momentous, hilarious and significant, on the scale of Life of Brian – it would have been an anticlimax. It would have been:

‘Oh. This is it?’

While the Life of Brian was reasoned and intelligent, The Interview seems clumsy…heavy handed – and that’s just from the trailer (watch below). So don’t start trying to make The Interview some emblem for democracy, some badge of rebellion that we all crave to wear. Because it’s not. It’s just a silly little Hollywood comedy that has found itself in the middle of a big old news story.

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7 Modern Movie Classics from 2014

*Sigh*. 2014 has passed – another 12 months of movies, some amazing, some terrible…

An entire year never fails to provide us with the full spectrum of quality, as we movie-goers wade through the filth in order to reach a glorious gem once a month if we are lucky.

In 2014 there were 7 movies that we will remember in years to come for challenging us, confusing us, and for just being amazing…

7. The Lego Movie

The Lego Movie Max

Why? Because it surprised us all by not being terrible. In fact, it was ridiculously funny, by offering the most ‘I don’t care’ attitude along with the most perfectly engineered comedy to create a perfect blend.

6. Nightcrawler

See our Nightcrawler gallery HERE!

Why? Because it reminded us how good Jake Gyllenhall can be when he doesn’t just play the cute wide-eyed guy.

5. The Raid 2: Berendal

The Raid 2

Why? Because it gave us the most manic final 30 minutes of any movie in recent memory, within which the ‘Boss’ fight was excruciatingly and beautifully graphic.

4. Interstellar

Interstellar Cry

Read the review here!

Why? Because love it or hate it, Interstellar challenged us with it’s concepts and ambition more than any movie since Christopher Nolan’s previous epic – Inception. And through it all he gave us an entertaining ride we won’t forget – especially if you saw it in IMAX!

3. Boyhood

Boyhood

Why? Because it gave us the chance to experience a form of film making (and viewing) never before attempted. It also gave Richard Linklater the recognition he constantly deserves for orchestrating such an epic shoot so successfully. Hopefully the Academy will mark his and the cast’s efforts with some awards…

2. Jimmy’s Hall

Jimmy's Hall

Why? Because Ken Loach, on his (supposed) last film, reminded us why he is the king of social drama. Who else could elicit such emotion from a creaky old dance hall? Who else could coax such accomplished performances from amateurs?

1. The Grand Budapest Hotel

The_Grand_Budapest_Hotel_41937

Why? Because Wes Anderson finally charmed a broader mainstream audience with a frenetic story and stately time period that suited him perfectly, while not being overly zany or impenetrably off-the-wall. It also introduced Ralph Fiennes to us as a serious comedic force.

And 2 That Missed Out…

Gone Girl

Gone Girl Roasmund

Why? Because while Gone Girl was special, it is almost to be expected from David Fincher nowadays. The term ‘classic’ must be reserved for his next Zodiac or Seven. 

Guardians of the Galaxy

guardians-of-the-galaxy-zoe-saldana-chris-pratt

Why? Because yeah it was fun, but it will be lost in the sea of comic-book mania come 2020.

Disagree?

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New Indoor Tracking Reminiscient of Minority Report

It’s always fun when real life catches up with future-based cinema. Soon, Blade Runner’s 2019 will come and go without a flying car in sight. (Probably.)

It all gets a bit spooky, though, when future-based cinema gets things right.

Well, Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise’s Minority Report may have got something right.

Wired Magazine have reported developments in new ‘Indoor Tracking Technology’ by a UK company called SiRFusion, which will help people navigate buildings and shops, just like a lot of us already use online maps to navigate roads.

The system could map out a shopping mall, for instance, and point you in the right direction of particular stores. Fancy a bite to eat? Get directions to the food court.

SiRFusion in action, with a map of the entire mall.
SiRFusion in action, with a map of the entire mall.

The Minority similarities begin with the system’s potential for tracking individuals. In the movie we see a system of eye scanners everywhere, even in shops. Considering this is used to check where someone is at all times, it’s no surprise Tom Cruise’s rebellious character John Anderton is often evading the scanner’s gaze.

With the real life navigation system there is a requirement to be connected to mobile data and WiFi to unlock its benefits. But if SiRFusion can tell you where to go within the distance of a metre, that means it can tell where you are. 

This means that as well as the manufacturers selling off information about consumerism, they could even disclose information to Police over the whereabouts of a particular person before they committed a crime, or became a victim of a crime. Just like in Minority Report. 

This would be a small step from the information and usage data the likes of Facebook and Twitter sell to the highest bidder every day in order to derive our habits as a society.

Things get even more Minority Report-like when you consider the prospects for personalised advertising similar to that seen in the movie. Touched upon by Wired Magazine in the source article, there are huge prospects for shops to notify you of in-store deals when you enter a mall, or for billboards to change to a specific advertisement from a selection depending on your age, gender and shopping habits. 

Ultimately the system should become useful for everyone, but it doesn’t stop the accuracy of Minority Report‘s forecast being a bit spooky, and highly commendable. Bravo, Steven.