The Secret Life of Pets
Movie Review #8302 THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS.
OK, this was the light and amusing that I should have taken in last night instead of Sausage Party.
Trouble is today I was wanting more than light and amusing however this little effort isn't so bad. Usually these CGI outings carry entertainment for the kids but sufficient parody to keep adults happy too. This one is heavy on the former, lighter on the latter and tips hat towards the numerous CGI epics that have gone before.
There's elements of Flushed Away, Toy Story and plenty of others in this tale of New York household pets left to fend for themselves while owners are away earning a living. Happy pup Max gets a new roommate in Duke, whom initially upsets the tranquility equilibrium but when they find themselves out on the mean streets, the two them have to work together to survive. Encountering a bunch of bad dudes including a manic bunny, our pals work their way out of each challenge, all the while friends at home are mounting a rescue mission.
Predictable and short in the creativity stakes, there's nothing here that hasn't been done before and I found myself emitting the critic's yawn with some regularity by the end. However it's amusing enough to recommend as a kids adventure and certainly my fellow cinema goers under the age of 8 seemed to squeal with excitement at the expected antics of animals caught in humorous circumstances. I have to admit the sequence with the overweight cat going ballistic at the party with bowls of snacks as cats do did raise a smile from this grump bum.
Overall, one for the kids and I probably should have saved for the grandmuppets. Still one can't get it right all the time can one. 7/10.
Movie Review #175 SAUSAGE PARTY.
OK, I thought long and hard whether to do a review on this but for fear of being labelled prude by a certain offspring, I've decided to chance it. I should have done a bit of homework first but....I didn't and assumed this was the latest CGI animation effort from the Pixar or Dreamworks production line. After all we've had CGI renderings around toys, prehistoric animals, monsters under the bed, super heroes, ogres & race cars so this take based on the lives of Fast Moving Consumer Packaged Goods (FMCPG) on the supermarket shelf seemed like an amusingly original concept. And in some ways it is plus has some really good digs at politics, race, religion, the movie industry, nationalism, academia, foreigners & Stephen Hawking amongst others but that's where the amusement kinda halts.
Problem for me is it's interlaced with every second word as one that would make the angels cry and is underpinned with overly generous lashings of sexual innuendo to the point where it really must be considered adult rated and certainly not for kids (think Toy Story meets South Park). Frank, voiced by Seth Rogan, is a frankfurter sharing a pack with seven others next to Brenda, a bread roll sharing a similar pack on a shelf in Shopwells (surely a pinch from the drive-in movie scene from Grease?). Along with everyone else, they look forward to life in the Great Beyond, a heaven-like existence that starts once purchased & taken home by one of the gods i.e. a supermarket customer.
Through a series of mishaps they discover that the GB might not be all it's cracked up to be and end up being split up and spread across various parts of the retail floor, encountering an array of interesting perishables and non-perishables whilst endeavouring to discover and subsequently reveal the truth about the GB. Adventure journey ensues that culminates in a mass orgy at the conclusion at which everyone feels good and does it with rapturous abandon that would make Sodom & Gomorrah look like a Sunday afternoon picnic.
Have rated this leaving the language and innuendo on the shelf so it's a 6.5/10, otherwise it might have been a negative score.
Bonus fact: did you know innuendo is Italian for suppository?
Free State of Jones
Movie Review #4965 FREE STATE OF JONES.
Historical biopic of Newton Knight, social justice warrior of the wild frontier. Set in the period immediately prior to the end of and the few years after the American Civil War, it tells of a Confederate deserter who heads off into the southern swamps with a bunch of runaway slaves and fellow deserters in order to escape the perils of war. Also the oppression of the Confederacy in forcibly acquiring civilian assets for the war effort and persecuting any fools who choose to resist.
Nods in a few directions with hints of The Patriot and Django, down to even using some of the same sets as the latter e.g. the Southern homestead.
Matthew McConaughey sits in the lead seat playing Mr Knight as just that, in shining armour and riding the proverbial white horse of justice and freedom. The history books tell us that the real fellow was perhaps not quite as virtuous as this portrayal and while others around him fall by the wayside, he doesn't get anything other than a dog bite.
Interplaying with a parallel storyline of some 85 years in the future influenced by the history of the main story, it's a bit overly long and loses a little bit if direction after the end of the war. However notwithstanding, it does succeed in raising heckles against the injustices and perpetrators thereof experienced by these folks and serves to demonstrate how the victories won through these struggles have contributed to where we find ourselves today.
Overall MConaughey's is the best of the performances then I would expect no less (he's probably paid 20x more than the others combined).
I'm a movie nut from way back with my first ever being The Hallelujah Trail from 1964. Ever since, I've been mesmerized by the giant screen, and the darkness that went on forever. Despite the infernally uncomfortable seats, (plus having to stand for God Save the Queen), I've been enticed ever since to duck into a theatre whenever I can for a few hours of escapism.