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Posted by on Dec 26, 2014 in Arts & Entertainment, Media, Movies, North Korea, Terrorism | 10 comments

Critics loathe “The Interview”

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There are two things you can now say about the withdrawn and now not (totally) withdrawn movie “The Interview,” which was pitchforked into the headlines by North Korea’s hacking of Sony Pictures’ website and threats to give a taste of 9/11 terrorismat movie theaters that dare to show it:

1. Seeing it is now a political and freedom statement.
2. Watching it is an ordeal..if you’re a critic.

Fans seem to like it. But most critics hate it and its now doing something among critics that no politician has done in a long time: it has created a consensus.

Movie critics say the controversy surrounding “The Interview” is much more interesting than the movie itself

The movie is scoring just a 50 percent positive review from critics on the Rotten Tomatoes website.

It’s fairing even more poorly with top critics, who give it a measly 32 percent positive rating.

The film is doing better with regular fans, however. It gets a 73 percent “liked it” audience score from Rotten Tomatoes.

Critics say the satire about a television host and producer asked by the CIA to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jung-un doesn’t deliver the goods.

“Characterizing it as satire elevates the creative execution of the film’s very silly faux assassination of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un far beyond what it merits,” writes Betsy Sharkey in the Lost Angeles Times.

In the Village Voice, Stephanie Zacharek writes that “The Interview” is “contrived absurdity” and that it has very little payoff for all the trouble it caused.

Slate’s Aisha Harris argues that those looking for a satire of North Korea are better off re-watching “Team America: World Police,” the puppet movie created by the makers of “South Park” more than a decade ago.

One performance does stand out in the move, according to several reviewers.

Randall Park, who plays Kim Jung-un and is (SPOILER ALERT) blown to smithereens in the movie, is a “riot throughout,” according to Roger Friedman of The Independent, who gives the film a positive review.

Sharkey also singles out Park’s performance as the highlight of the movie.

Sony Pictures initially pulled “The Interview” from its scheduled Christmas Day release after hackers threatened to stage September 11-style attacks at theaters that showed it.

Major movie theater chains then said they would not carry the film, which North Korea had declared an act of war given its plot.

Sony reversed itself this week, announcing it would not only screen the movie in select theaters, but that it had worked out deals with several companies to show the movie online and on-demand.

You’re not going to see “The Interview?” What are you — against standing up for free speech? Are you going to let North Korea win? Are you that much of a wuss that you won’t go down to the theater and sit there and defy threats and watch a movie that MUST be good and worthwhile since it upset North Korean?

That’s pretty much the unspoken argument for seeing it.

I can’t wait to read about the sequels centering on taking out Putin, ISIS and the person who designed California freeways.

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Copyright 2014 The Moderate Voice
  • JSpencer

    There must be better ways to support free speech than wasting two hours on a mediocre movie.

  • The_Ohioan

    I don’t think the few people that are actually going to see the movie do much thinking about anyone who isn’t. They are only interested in pitting themselves against a publicized threat – or they just like this tripe.

    As far as sincerity, it depends on what other sticky situations they are actually willing to put themselves into. There’s no lack of things to protest and not a few of them have some possibility of physical harm.

  • Richard Ohlrogge

    Does the concept of the abuse of free speech apply here in terms of the totally useless and meaninglessness of the content of this movie??

  • Rcoutme

    I might go see the one taking out the designer of the freeways! ;D

  • Slamfu

    I think a lot of people are focusing on the wrong point here. Namely, yes, it is a childish and inane movie, but how much more childish and inane does that make the NKorean govt for having such a hissyfit about it? The fact those people have nuclear weapons is pretty scary. Sony put out a crappy movie, big deal. They do that about 30 times a year. But how does a country go that apeshit over it?

    • DdW

      Well said, Slamfu. For the umpteenth time, it is not about the stupid movie. It is all about our freedom to make and see stupid — even offensive — movies; to write and read stupid books; to compose and listen to stupid songs; etc., etc. without being threatened, cowered and frightened for doing so.

      As we say in Texas, Happy New Year, Y’all.

    • JSpencer

      Of course I think people should be able to see the movie if they choose, and I think we all agree that Kim Jong Un isn’t about to dictate our choices. Furthermore, if anyone thinks seeing that movie is their patriotic duty then go for it. My own patriotic duty happens to include spending that two hours doing something more rewarding, taking a nap for instance.

      • DdW

        Hi J S,

        I know the comment was not directed at me, but since I have been harping on this issue, I feel that I may be partly responsible for giving people the impression that it should be one’s patriotic or otherwise duty/motivation to see this stupid movie.

        If I did, I apologize. Just as I am indignant about anyone (hackers, terrorists, North Korea) frightening people from seeing a movie, reading a book, whatever, I would be equally offended if anyone told me that it was my duty to watch the stupid movie as part of some solidarity symbol.

        Having said that, I am glad that so many people dismissed the threats, fearmongering and intimidation by whoever as just that.

        • JSpencer

          Right you are Dorian, my comment was not directed at you. I too am glad so many people dismissed the threats, etc. as just that.

          • DdW

            All is good, JS. Happy New Year!


            BTW, I had intended to see the movie at one of our local Alamo Drafthouse theaters, but they were all sold out .

            I might now see it on-line — now it is mainly curiosity..

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