Sausage Party (2016)

Sausage Party
Directed by Greg Tiernan & Conrad Vernon
Written by Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, Kyle Hunter, Ariel Shaffir

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As a child getting up early to watch Saturday morning cartoons was the highlight of the day and picking out a Disney movie from a large collection of VHS tapes was part of every kid’s weekly routine. Cartoons or animated movies were one of the few outlets of entertainment that seemed to understand a person as a child, they were silly, outlandish, and outright eccentric, and reflections of who we were as children. Now as adults, we don’t have many animated movies to cling to, most of them are PG-rated for children with a few jokes thrown in there that only adults would understand.

The animated feature Sausage Party takes just that idea and gives adults a cartoon film just for them. The movie is raunchy, hilarious and filled with every sexual innuendo (the sausages want to hook up with buns), stereotype (the Sauerkraut bottles are Nazis), and food related joke (the Horseradish jars literally turn into horses) in the book. A film of this magnitude and content could only be co-written of course by one of the few duo’s in Hollywood that could pull this off, Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg, the stoner minds behind Superbad and Pineapple Express.

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The film is about the lives of the food in a supermarket called Shopwell, all the food there believes that when they are chosen by a shopper they will be taken to the “great beyond,” or the outside world, where all their wildest dreams will come true. Every day for them starts off with a musical number led off by Corn, a happy song they play for the Gods. Firewater (Bill Hader), an Indian can of lighter fluid, has every food in the store believing that the great beyond is a wonderful and magical place.

Frank (Seth Rogen) the sausage and the rest of his wiener pals, specifically loud mouthed Carl (Jonah Hill) and Barry (Michael Cera), the awkwardly shaped sausage in the package, wait for the fateful day that they will be chosen. They hope to be picked next to their counterparts, the bun gals, who will one day be mated with a sausage. Then the impossible happens after a jar of Honey Mustard (Danny McBride) is returned. Honey Mustard proclaims to everyone that the outside world is filled with monsters who will eat them.

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When Frank and Brenda’s packages are finally chosen they are super excited to be in the supermarket cart together. A bottle of Douche (Nick Kroll) is also chosen, who is literally the representation of a “douche.” He talks with a Jersey Shore accent and is super obnoxious. Then the unthinkable happens and a huge accident happens where many of the items fall to the floor. Frank and Brenda are thrown from the cart, along with Douche who is now bent, broken and angry that he is no longer whole. Douche is hell bent on revenge and wants to kill Frank. From here what ensues is a hilarious and just outright crazy.

Along the way, Frank and Brenda run into Sammy Bagel Jr. (Edward Norton) and Lavash (David Krumholtz) who are also lost and looking for their way back to their aisle. Together the four of them join forces and encounter a random array of characters, there is Teresa the Taco (Salma Hayek), Grits (Craig Robinson), Gum (Scott Underwood) who is in a wheelchair and talks like Stephen Hawking, Tequila (Bill Hader) who cannot be trusted, and even a crazy guy on bath salts (James Franco).

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The film is hilarious from beginning to end and I really have never seen anything like this before. I mean there are some funny and out there cartoons on Adult Swim from the Cartoon Network, and then there is Family Guy, which throws out some pretty raunchy jokes itself, but this movie takes everything and amps it up about a thousand notches.

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At some points, I even found myself cringing a bit, but what can you expect from a movie with talking sausages. I think the creators knew they had to go there with this format, otherwise I think they would have been criticized for not pushing the envelope enough. The story faults a bit here and there where it starts off strong in the first half and towards the second loses some of its focus, but overall I think the film worked.

I thought Rogen killed it, his voice is perfect for this type of movie and Wiig, despite being just a voice was phenomenal and her humor resonated even as a cartoon character. I can guarantee she will be doing more animated voices soon. Cera was also funny and his voice was perfect for the abnormal hot dog. My favorite character had to be Gum, he was the smart one of the bunch who can never die because gum just doesn’t ever go away. Just seeing a piece of gum in a wheelchair with glasses was just too funny.

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This is a perfect movie to see with friends or just for a night of laughter. I bet this movie will be a hit when it is released on DVD because I am sure it only gets funnier after watching it a few times. But I have to warn you after watching this movie, you will never feel the same way about picking out your produce and condiments at the supermarket again.

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}}Melissa

Movie Review: The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Directed by Martin Scorsese
Written by Terence Winter

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Martin Scorsese has a knack and keen ability for making villains or just horrible people out to be humans one sympathizes with and almost roots for to win. In his Oscar nominated film, The Wolf of Wall Street, we may not entirely agree with the decisions that the main character makes, but we sure as hell get drawn into his world and magnetism.

The Wolf of Wall Street
is based on the true story of Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio). He was ruthless and desired one thing above all, to be rich. He quickly landed a job on Wall Street as a stockbroker and learned the ins and outs of not only stocks, but how to prey on the emotions of people to manipulate them and take their money.

He opens his own brokerage firm with Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill) and creates a boiler room company that sells penny stocks and hires his own hoodlum friends to join in on the scheme. He names the firm Stratton Oakmont, with a lion as a mascot, the company sounds intelligent, grounded and financially smart, at least to most people who know nothing about stocks and trading.

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Gordon Gecko said, “The point is ladies and gentlemen that greed, for lack of a better word, is good,” and Belfort would undoubtedly agree with him. Set in the 90’s the film is just on the heels of the time when the Gordon Geckos of the world ruled and not only is greed the motivating factor for all the debauchery that ensues it is also the downfall of his empire.

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The movie takes the viewer on a wild ride of drug usage; think snorting lines off a hooker’s behind and gulping Quaaludes down with booze. Most of which is done at work and on the house as Belfort offers up pleasures one could desire in between phone calls and lunch breaks and promises Chanel suits and expensive cars over his daily motivational work meetings. These temptations make his employees work harder to acquire those material goods and money, only further entangling the people on the other line with emptying out their pockets to them.

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What Scorsese delivers is a ride along with Belfort that would please Bacchus himself. He utilizes wide shots where the viewer is able to encompass everything that is going on from a marching band entering on the right to people having sex in a corner. It’s as if we are viewing the world literally through Belfort’s eyes, taking it all in and wanting more each time.

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The film is narrated by Belfort which is an interesting directorial choice, but one that we have seen before with Scorsese. Similar to the format of Goodfellas, Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) narrates the entire film and we get a first hand perspective as to what was going on in his head and what drove his decisions to do awful acts and conspire with gangsters. This narrative device works similarly in this movie because the story that plays out is Belfort’s; it is what he believed happened and what drove him to live this type of lifestyle.

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The actors in this film are superb, DiCaprio, Hill, Rob Reiner, Jon Bernthal (yes Shane from TWD), to name a few, all do a great job at capturing the essence and feelings of people who are living lives filled with greed, both the people making the money and those who partake of the riches. Margot Robbie plays Belfort’s second wife Naomi, she really takes what could have been a simplistic character to another level. She is raw and gritty and a great newcomer to Hollywood.

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DiCaprio is phenomenal; he is able to capture every nuance and feeling of the character and to take it to another degree. In one way, this almost reminded me of his performance in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, he really pushes himself to delve deep into the character and gets at the heart of the emotions of the story and seemingly delivers it with ease. Although Belfort is a thief, DiCaprio plays him as charming and has this appeal that would make anyone want to his dirty deeds for him.

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Hill is like a firecracker on screen, you let go of the firecracker and you want to see more, you want to see it explode and he does just that, to the point that we forget it is Hill himself. The guy who did stoner-boner movies has now turned into a bonafide actor and plays off DiCaprio just perfect as his big-toothed sidekick.

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One of my favorite scenes in the movie was in the beginning when Belfort was still green and he goes to lunch with his new boss Mark Hanna (Matthew McConaughey) who schools him on how the world of Wall Street works. What makes this scene priceless is the presence of McConaughey, who although just appears for a cameo part, really sets the tone for the entire film. The way Belfort admiringly looks at him when he beats his chest and snorts cocaine is so odd, yet fascinating. Did you know that McConaughey was just doing that in between takes, but it ended up getting used for the film?

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Overall great movie, I don’t think it could have beat out 12 Years A Slave, it was bad timing, maybe had it been another year, Scorsese, Winter and DiCaprio could have won, but this year it was just too tough. If you haven’t seen it and you waited forever like I did (like I always do), go do yourself a favor and check it out.

}}Melissa

Upcoming Movies and TV I Want to See

Lots of new movies and shows are coming up in the next few months. Here are a few ones I am excited to check out.

1. American Hustle: Looks like a mix of Boogie Nights meets Casino with a jaw dropping cast set in the 70’s about Jersey powerbrokers and the mafia. Bradley Cooper with an afro, Jennifer Lawrence with a fur coat, Christian Bale with a comb over, enough said, I definitely want to see this.

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2. The Hunger Games – Catching Fire: I read the book, saw the first one, I need to see this! The games are going to take place in water this time around, excited to see how this will turn out on the big screen.

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3. Out of the Furnace: Another Christian Bale flick, this time with Casey Affleck and Zoe Saldana, a tale of brothers who live in a poor, rural Northeast town. Produced by Leonardo Dicaprio and Ridley Scott this is a must see.

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4. The Wolf on Wall Street: From Martin Scorsese, starring my future BF Leonardo Dicaprio and Jonah Hill. The movie is based on the true story of NYC stockbroker wealthy Jordan Belfort and the rise and fall of his notorious money making schemes. The film is set in the 80’s and has everything one could hope from a Scorsese movie. Sigh Leo looks hot in this movie, that’s my real reason for wanting to see it.

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5. Downtown Abbey Season 4: The show returns in January. I am obsessed with this show and I cannot wait for it to start. What will happen with the Crawley’s after everything that happened last season.

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{{Melissa