Sausage Party

Director: Conrad Vernon, Greg Tiernan (2016) BBFC cert: 15

Supermarket foodstuffs come to life and take on a mind of their own in this saucy animated comedy.

The  cheerfully offensive stoner humour is stuffed with racial and religious stereotypes indulging in an orgy of sex, booze and drugs. It’s an acquired taste and bound to offend many, but once it gets cooking on gas it offers some bite-sized satisfaction.

Each evening the products sing to celebrate the day they’ll be picked from the shelves and taken out to ‘the great beyond’ by the gods of the aisles, the customers.

However when a hot dog sausage and his bun discover their real purpose in life, they struggle to convince their friends of the truth.

They’re also being chased by the Douche, a feminine hygiene product who wants revenge for the thwarting of his plan to reach the afterlife.

Seth Rogen, Kristen Wiig, Jonah Hill, James Franco and Michael Cera provide the voices with Salma Hayek plays a tacos looking to spice up her life.

Defiantly and unapologetically rude from the off, this is an adult treat and definitely not one for the kids.

@ChrisHunneysett

 

 

Birdman

Director: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu

This extraordinarily ambitious black comedy about a desperate actor having a nervous breakdown is funny, sexy, brave and bold.

Michael Keaton, former star in blockbusting Hollywood superhero franchise Batman plays Riggan Thomas, former star in the blockbusting Hollywood superhero franchise Birdman.

That was twenty years ago and now Riggan, aware of his age and lack of artistic legacy, wants to reboot his career as a serious artist by starring and directing in a Broadway adaptation of an important literary work.

However he’s beset by professional and personal problems – not least being haunted by his gravel voiced masked-man alter ego of yesteryear who preys on his many insecurities.

As an accomplished actor Riggan is an untrustworthy guide to his own existence and it may be best not believe anything he says, sees or shows us.

He has re-mortgaged his house to pay for the production but influential critic Tabitha Dickinson (Lindsay Duncan) threatens to bury the show and a former employee wants to sue him.

His daughter Sam (Emma Stone) is out of rehab and last minute replacement actor Mike (Edward Norton) is re-writing his lines and stealing the limelight.

Meanwhile co-star girlfriend Laura (Andrea Riseborough) is pregnant and manager Jake (Zach Galifianakis) is constantly lying to him.

Dressing rooms are trashed amid scenes of fights, affairs, drunks, drugs, and attempted suicide.

It all leads to an astonishing scene in Times Square where Riggan clutches at his rapidly shrinking dignity.

As shamelessly superb camerawork (Emmanuel Lubezki) and editing (Douglas Crise, Stephen Mirrione) create the astonishing illusion of a single continuous shot that lasts the entire film.

Dynamic and fearless performances embrace the vanity of the flawed characters and offer moments of insight creating an exhausting, energetic and constantly surprising experience.

Birdman is a soaring success.

★★★★★