Sausage Party (2016) Review

Sausage Party (2016)

Directed by Conrad Vernon & Greg Tiernan

Starring: Seth Rogen, Kristen Wiig, Jonah Hill, Bill Hader, Michael Cera, James Franco, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Paul Rudd, Nick Kroll, David Krumholtz, Edward Norton, Salma Hayek

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film, a parody of Disney and Pixar animated films, follows a sausage who tries to discover the truth about his existence and goes on a journey with his friends to escape their fate.

My Opinion:

Yep – Seth Rogen & Co have been smoking way too much weed now. They should probably get help. However, they’re making lots of money so why would they stop? Needless to say, don’t watch this movie if you’re easily offended. I’m offended by people who watch movies they know are going to be offensive & then get all offended. Think of all the most un-PC humor you’ve ever seen in South Park & multiply it by 1,000. I just watched Ted 2 the other day & was shocked at the jokes they got away with but Sausage Party makes Ted 2 look like Snow White. Or… A Disney movie with a bear! The Jungle Book?

My point is: I’m not easily offended and like a lot of humor that’s not PC but Sausage Party probably crosses the line a bit too much at times & almost made me uncomfortable (for the record, I admit that I quite like the Ted movies & prefer them to this). There were jokes that worked & jokes that didn’t but, overall, the movie just didn’t work as a whole. The story was weak but I suppose you can’t expect much from a movie made purely to use as many food-related sex jokes as possible. However, I did like the message. Yes, there’s a message just like in any Disney film. This movie reminded me of Zootropolis– it felt like they came up with the film’s message first & then wrote a story around it that didn’t quite fit.

I did like our main characters of Rogen’s sausage & Wiig’s buns and their desire to come together. I enjoyed all the dirty stuff & really liked the film’s, um, climax. Not sure what that says about me. Michael Cera’s deformed little sausage was pretty funny. Edward Norton’s bagel & Salma Hayek’s taco were also highlights of the film. I realize how dirty this all sounds but that’s the point of the film. Wiig’s blatant vagina bun was hard to watch at times, especially when she talked. Watching a talking cartoon vagina for an hour & a half is bizarre. The douche was seriously irritating, though, and the many many (many) douche jokes were far from fresh. Between the talking vagina, the douche & the racial (food) stereotypes, I felt a little uncomfortable.

I’d be a liar if I said I didn’t get some laughs out of this movie – I just laughed far less than I was expecting. Plus half the time I was probably too scared to laugh at the more “iffy” humor. If anything, Sausage Party makes me appreciate old episodes of South Park a bit more as they feel more cleverly written than this film which relies too heavily on cheap jokes. Anthropomorphic food having sexual relations is pretty damn hilarious, though! Yep – that shit did crack me up. But I’ve always had a thing for anthropomorphic food & used to do a series on this blog called “Anthropomorphic Cuteness” (check out this post with a funny clip from The Amazing World Of Gumball – it’s better than all of Sausage Party). I’d only recommend this movie to lovers of things like South Park & Family Guy. There aren’t enough laughs to really make it worth a trip to the cinema, though – you can probably wait to watch it at home.

My Rating: 6/10

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American History X (1998) IMDB Top 250 Guest Review

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Today’s IMDB Top 250 Guest Review comes from Abbi of Where The Wild Things Are. She’s also reviewed Kill Bill: Vol 1& Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl. Thanks for the reviews, Abbi! 🙂 Now let’s see what she has to say about American History X, IMDB rank 34 out of 250…

There are still some movies up for grabs if anyone wants to do a guest IMDB Top 250 review. You can find the list of remaining films HERE. See the full list & links to all the reviews that have already been done HERE.

Also, if you’d like to add a link to your IMDB review(s) on your own blogs, feel free to use any of the logos I’ve used at the top of any of these guest reviews.

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In probably his most celebrated role, Edward Norton plays Derek Vinyard, one of the leaders of a local White Supremacist group who is jailed after brutally murdering two African-American gang members attempting to steal his truck.

On the day of Derek’s release from prison, his younger brother, Danny (Edward Furlong) is called to the principal’s (Avery Brooks) office after writing an essay on Mein Kampfand its influence on the civil rights movement. Principal Sweeny then sets Danny the task of writing a new essay explaining the events that led to his brother’s arrest and conviction.

As Danny simultaneously attempts to unpick his brother’s past and deal with the fact that Derek has come back changed, both Derek’s former associates and enemies close in with devastating consequences.

As much as American History X may outwardly seem like a study on racism, more than anything it is an exploration of feelings of powerlessness and how they lead to anger and ultimately hatred and destruction. Derek’s prejudice against anyone who isn’t a white protestant has little to do with the actual target of his hatred but rather a desire to belong to a movement where he feels empowered. The irony of Derek’s belief that people of other races and religions are inferior to him is that those he hates are driven by exactly the same feelings of hopelessness and powerlessness that he is and act out with similar impulses… and it’s all a distraction from the way corporate America oppresses its poor.

There isn’t anything particularly unique about this story of a confused young man learning the error of his ways and not wanting his brother to follow in his footsteps but there are a number of elements that elevate American History X above other similar films.

First is the non-linear story-telling. Director, Tony Kaye, slowly reveals what is not only behind Derek’s change of heart but also his original prejudices concurrent with his current post-release experiences with the past shown in black and white. It keeps the audience hooked in until the end wanting to understand who Derek really is. It also adds a level of drama and grittiness to Derek’s past, demonstrating how he sees the world in completely black and white terms. In the present day his experiences are in full colour, showing how his perception has changed. It’s a simple but effective device.

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Second is the powerful performances. Edward Norton manages to capture Derek’s power, charisma and confidence but as he enters the prison system and his vision of the world starts to unravel his mask begins to slip and he moves from being a character it is easy to revile to a nuanced sympathetic one. Furlong also gives what is probably the only decent performance of his career as a boy at a crossroads with the potential to build himself and new future that doesn’t include repeating his brother’s mistakes. They are ably supported bythe two men who have the most influence over Derek’s life. Stacy Keach as Cameron Alexander, the fascist leader who lets Derek do his dirty work while he keeps his own hands clean and Avery Brooks as the educator who ultimately believes that Derek is capable of more than his past actions. Guy Torry is also engaging, playing Lamont, a fellow convict who ultimately breaks Derek’s prejudices through friendship.

Thirdly, Derek is never portrayed as stupid. Although his beliefs are abhorrent and there is no way to justify them, it is easy to see how his arguments convince the disempowered around him as well as how he has convinced himself. And the fact that the gangs he directs the majority of his rage at are hardly innocents adds to the believability.

Finally the film does not shy away from showing brutality of its characters, refusing to shy away from who they really are, with one particularly horrific scene proving to be the one thing that everyone remembers turning away from. And this is equally matched by some of Derek’s experiences in prison.

While there is no question that American History X is a powerful, hard-hitting film with a strong and valuable message on occasion it’s a little over dramatic and at times it strays towards predictability. It’s definitely a worthy entry to the IMDB top 250 though and one I would highly recommend. 4/5

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Birdman Or (The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance) (2014) Review

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Birdman Or (The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance) (2014)

Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu

Starring:
Michael Keaton
Zach Galifianakis
Edward Norton
Andrea Riseborough
Amy Ryan
Emma Stone
Naomi Watts

Running time: 119 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
A washed up actor, who once played an iconic superhero, battles his ego and attempts to recover his family, his career and himself in the days leading up to the opening of a Broadway play.

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My Opinion:

Birdman is definitely a film lover’s film. I’ll probably not mention it to any co-workers today if they ask what I did over the weekend because I know I’d just be met with blank stares. I’m not saying that as some film snob because I’m not – I like some things that are slightly more obscure but I also like plenty of mainstream movies. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy Birdman as much I was hoping I would as a film lover.

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First of all, I’ll say that the performances are as good as I’d heard. I’m very happy that Michael Keaton is nominated for an Oscar as I’ve always quite liked him and I think he’s done an excellent job in this so it’s nice seeing him finally getting some recognition (and he’s my favorite Batman). Emma Stone is also very good as his messed up daughter and Edward Norton as a real prick of an actor. I can’t fault any of the acting or the script or… anything, really. It just didn’t really work for me overall and I walked away from the movie knowing it was one I “appreciated” as opposed actually “enjoyed”. Which is fine sometimes but it’s great when you can have both. As far as this year’s movies filled with Oscar nominated performances, I think I actually preferred Foxcatcher as a film.

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Even more than a film lover’s movie, this is an ACTOR’S movie. I can see why actors or anyone with theater experience would love it. It’s not something I can relate to at all but I’ll be very surprised if Keaton doesn’t win the Oscar as he’ll certainly get all the actors’ votes. I really liked the “play within a play” concept and the use of music worked so perfectly with that. I also liked the various storylines for each character and there were some good humorous moments.

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To read a great review from someone who more fully appreciates what this movie is trying to do, I’d suggest you read Cara’s Birdman review over HERE at Silver Screen Serenade. She uses big words like meta! Well, okay – that’s actually a pretty short word… I’m not going to ramble on about this movie or do a summary. This is a good movie with an original concept and great performances (including a career high from Keaton). I very much appreciate what they’ve tried to do and like that it felt fresh & original. But, in the end, I just didn’t really care about the characters (except maybe Keaton’s a little) or what the outcome would be. Still, I fully support movies like this as opposed to the countless remakes, reboots & sequels out there. I just wanted to like it more.

My Rating: 7/10

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Fight Club (1999) IMDB Top 250 Guest Review

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Today’s IMDB Top 250 Guest Review comes from Eric of The IPC. He’s already done reviews for Se7en (HERE) & Twelve Monkeys (HERE) & There Will Be Blood (HERE). Thanks so much for all these reviews, Eric! 🙂 Now let’s see what he has to say about Fight Club, IMDB rank 10 out of 250…

There are still some movies up for grabs if anyone wants to do a guest IMDB Top 250 review. You can find the list of remaining films HERE. See the full list & links to all the reviews that have already been done HERE.

Also, if you’d like to add a link to your IMDB Review(s) on your own blogs, feel free to use any of the logos I’ve used at the top of any of these guest reviews. I know I’ve made a few that are specific to the movie being reviewed. I’ll also do an IMDB update post soon & will post some more logos.

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**WARNING: SPOILERS. AND DONGS.**

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