Sausage Party (2016) review

sausage-party-posterHead chefs: Conrad Vernon and Greg Tiernan

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

“We’re the non-perishables, motherfucker.” (Mr Grits, Sausage Party)

Take one hot dog sausage (Rogen) and one hot dog bun (Wiig), destined to be together but forced to sit separate from each other in their packaging prisons on a supermarket shelf.

Pre-heat a premise about a promised land said to lie outside the supermarket’s doors, one in which any foods chosen by ‘the gods’ (humans) will get everything they desire. Keep this premise simmering throughout, regularly adding religious nods to taste.

Add a sub-plot involving two more sausages (Cera and Hill) who find themselves chosen for the promised land but quickly discover that the food paradise they expected is actually a kitchen-based massacre of biblical proportions. Continue reading “Sausage Party (2016) review”

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Scooby-Doo! WrestleMania Mystery (2014) review

Scooby Doo Wrestlemania Mystery posterDirector: Brandon Vietti

Starring: Voices of Frank Welker, Matthew Lillard, Vince McMahon, John Cena, Triple H, Michael Cole, Kane, Brodus Clay, The Miz, Santino Marella, AJ Lee

“Sin Cara believes the spirit of the beast has been stirred by Wrestlemania itself, which is why the monster is risen from the grave to have its revenge. But fear not. It is now Sin Cara’s honour and duty to continue his great great great grandfather’s legacy and protect WWE City at any cost.” (John Cena, Scooby-Doo! Wrestlemania Mystery)

Some crossovers make complete sense. The Jetsons Meet The Flintstones was the perfect fish-out-of-water scenario times two, while Freddy Vs Jason was the natural clash of two of horror’s biggest icons. Ditto Alien Vs Predator with sci-fi, and Mario & Sonic in gaming.

But sometimes you get a crossover that seemingly resulted from two darts being randomly thrown at a massive list of pop culture names and licences.

In the past this apparent method has resulted in the likes of Archie Meets The Punisher, Charles Barkley Vs Godzilla and now this, a bizarre mash-up of Scooby Doo and Vince McMahon’s World Wrestling Entertainment. And you know something? It’s half-decent. Continue reading “Scooby-Doo! WrestleMania Mystery (2014) review”

Dead Space: Downfall (2008) review

Director: Chuck Patton

Starring: Voices of Nika Futterman, Keith Szarabajka, Jim Cummings

DOBBS – “There’s a lot of blood in this room, but no bodies.”
SHEN – “Sounds like one of your parties.”
DOBBS – “Or your sex life.”

If you haven’t played the Dead Space series of video games you’re missing out on a bunch of petrifying, immersive survival horrors that combine the isolation of outer space with the terror of big bastard mutant alien things. Since the games start with you onboard a ship that’s already been infected with said mutants and had its crew sliced to bits however, it seems there’s a lot of story to be told about how the situation got so messy. Enter Dead Space: Downfall.

A prequel to the original game, Dead Space: Downfall is an animated movie explaining how the SS Ishimura, a mining ship, ends up being infested by the monstrous Necromorphs. After a colony on the planet Aegis VII asks for advice on an alien artifact they’ve found, the Ishimura nips down to the planet and takes it on board. Not before a ship infected with a Necromorph manages to get inside the Ishimura though, infecting the Ishimura with the mutant menace.

"This is the last time I take the bins out on curry night"

The Necromorph virus spreads throughout the Ishimura, turning the ship’s workers into mutants. Predictably, shit goes down and various poor sods end up coming face-to-face with their own spleens. It’s left to a small group of surviving workers to destroy the mutants, save the Ishimura and figure out what the alien artifact is supposed to be.

Of course, this being a prequel to the Dead Space video game, which sees you arriving at the Ishimura and finding everyone dead with Necromorphs still running riot, it should be fairly obvious to most people watching Downfall that nobody’s going to make it out alive by the end of this one. It’s harder then to care much about the well-being of the film’s main characters when you know they’re going to end up pegging it before long.  Continue reading “Dead Space: Downfall (2008) review”

The Care Bears Movie (1985) review

Director: Arna Selznick

Starring: Voices of Mickey Rooney, Jackie Burroughs, Cree Summer, Sunny Thrasher

“They must be taught a lesson! A lesson for the children! A lesson for the town! A lesson for everyone!” (The Spirit, The Care Bears Movie)

First, a disclaimer. I watched the shit out of The Care Bears Movie when I was a wee tot, and it terrified me every single time. When I saw it was available on the US Netflix library (which can be accessed using this trick), I decided it would be the perfect film for That Was A Bit Mental, for reasons that will become obvious. Well, even more obvious than anthropomorphic bears that can project magical symbols from their guts.

The film opens on an orphanage, where delightful-old-man-and-not-at-all-a-padeo Mr Cherrywood (Mickey Rooney) is tucking the children into bed. They ask him for a bedtime story to help them sleep peacefully and he obliges, ill-advisedly deciding to tell them the one about the evil as fuck book that tried to plunge the Earth into misery.

The Care-A-Lot version of Countdown had a fancy (if run-down) set

Before that, Mr Cherrywood’s tale opens with Kim and Jason, two snotty little kids whose parents have “gone away” and hate everyone as a result. They’re so jaded with life they seemingly can’t even give an ounce of a fuck when two brightly coloured teddy bears approach them and ask to be their friends. Despite their best efforts, Friend Bear and Secret Bear (for it is they) don’t manage to win over Kim and Jason, despite delightful not-at-all-sinister-or-voyeuristic lines like “we know a lot of things about you: Kim reads a lot of books and wants to be a nurse when she grows up, and Jason, you want to be a jet pilot”.  Continue reading “The Care Bears Movie (1985) review”

Monster House (2006)

Director: Gil Kenan

Starring: voices of Mitchel Musso, Sam Lerner, Spencer Locke, Steve Buscemi

“Are you guys mentally challenged? Because if you are, I’m certified to teach you baseball.” (Jenny, Monster House)

DJ and Chowder have the feeling that not all is right with the creepy house across the road. After its owner, the evil Mr Nebbercracker (Buscemi), has a heart attack and is sent to hospital the house appears to take on a life of its own, terrorising the local residents. But surely there has to be a more logical explanation for this… after all, houses don’t just come to life and eat people, do they? You bet your balls they do.

"You're right, he does look a little bit like a chubby Jamie Oliver"

After witnessing the creepy chateau coming alive and saving a girl called Jenny from its evil clutches DJ, Chowder and their new lady chum decide to work together to put an end to the evil house so the rest of the street will be safe.

Despite being a movie aimed at children, Monster House feels a lot like The Goonies and The Monster Squad in that it appeals to adults too because the children in it are so believable. There’s no “gee whiz mom” lines or “mwa wa waaa” musical stings throughout, this is a film that feels surprisingly realistic despite its use of stylised CGI animation.  Continue reading “Monster House (2006)”

Spirited Away (2001)

Director: Hayao Miyazaki

Starring: Voice of Rumi Hiiragi (Japanese version), Daveigh Chase (English version)

CHIHIRO – “How did you know my name was Chihiro?”
HAKU – “I have known you since you were very small.”

Young Chihiro isn’t happy. Her parents have decided that it’s time to up sticks move house, and she’s upset that she won’t get to see her friends any more. On the way to their new home however, Chihiro’s dad takes a wrong turning and the family come across a mysterious tunnel. On the other side they find what appears to be an abandoned theme park.

Smelling something nice, Chihiro’s dad finds a stall filled with delicious food, which he and Chihiro’s mum start wolfing down. Chihiro wanders off and finds a boy called Haku who warns her to leave before it gets dark, but it’s too late – by the time she gets back to her parents, they’ve turned into pigs. Suddenly the once-abandoned theme park becomes a village filled with spirits and otherworldly creatures. It’s up to Chihiro to find out what’s going on and turn her parents back into humans again.

That awkward moment when a person comes on a train and sits right next to you even though there are free seats

Spirited Away is the twelfth film released by Studio Ghibli, the iconic Japanese animation studio responsible for such delights as My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke and Howl’s Moving Castle. Studio Ghibli is to Japanese cinema what Disney is to western cinema and Spirited Away is a key example of this, as it’s without a doubt one of the greatest animated movies ever made. Indeed, on the year of its release in the US, it won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature, beating out the likes of Lilo & Stitch and Ice Age. Continue reading “Spirited Away (2001)”