Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 (2013)

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Flint Lockwood now works at The Live Corp Company for his idol Chester V. But he’s forced to leave his post when he learns that his most infamous machine is still operational, and is churning out menacing food-animal hybrids. (IMDb)
Amped-up animation featuring the fantastically imaginative foodimals (the accompanying puns were a delight as well) keeps this thing afloat in spite of the generic and painfully predictable plot (the left-hanging dad neglect thread probably would have been more interesting; the environmentalist sub-theme that came to a head in another wacky climax certainly was). The main characters lost a little of their luster, but Chester V was a pretty funny addition (see his super bendy arms).
6.5/10 (Alright)

 

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Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009)

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A local scientist is often regarded as a failure until he invents a machine that can make food fall from the sky. But little does he know, that things are about to take a turn for the worst. (IMDb)
The “frustrated young adult failure with big dreams and a disapproving dad” opening act is generic, but sharp humour keeps it engaging (see Flint’s “saying what I’m doing!”) and a wild second half makes up for it, with its fantastically animated food action (see especially the meatball mission) and emotional climax (see dad, translated) as potent as the barrage of self-aware (“The disaster seems to be hitting all the major cities first”) and wacky (see macaroni head) hilarity leading up to it.
8/10 (Great)

 

Sausage Party (2016)

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A sausage strives to discover the truth about his existence. (IMDb)
The puns are okay, but the creative anthropomorphic food premise is funniest in its extreme plays on humanity’s physical aspects; namely, death (see the flour shell-shock scene, kitchen massacre) and sex (see the outrageous ending orgy). It swings and misses everywhere else, moving from a promisingly hilarious opening musical number to a swear-overloaded script with nary a clever joke, and a religion-related thesis just as lacking in subtlety. The meta-ending also felt silly and unnecessary.
6.5/10 (Alright)

Inside Out (2015)

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After young Riley is uprooted from her Midwest life and moved to San Francisco, her emotions – Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness – conflict on how best to navigate a new city, house, and school. (IMDb)

Numerous creative anthropomorphisms and objectifications of the mind entertain (room of abstract thought), intrigue (the idea of personified emotions controlling another person doesn’t always click but there is lots of potential–see the charming final glimpses into other minds), and move (the pit of forgotten memories, crumbling identity islands). Simple and sweet stories with nice messages on both levels lose a little bit of impact and depth of characterization by having to share screen time.

7.2/10

Superbad (2007)

Two co-dependent high school seniors are forced to deal with separation anxiety after their plan to stage a booze-soaked party goes awry. (IMDb)

Hill’s uninhibited diatribes and Cera’s patented awkwardness highlight relatable high-school comedy here that soon explodes into a wildly eventful booze-filled, sex-inspired Friday night romp with hilarious one-off characters and a juicy side-plot featuring two drunk cops and the unforgettable “McLovin”. To the film’s added benefit, hints of mature teen-culture commentary are subtly laced throughout the raunchy humour, coming to the forefront in a surprisingly mellow and endearing final scene.

7.7/10

The Skeleton Twins (2014)

Having both coincidentally cheated death on the same day, estranged twins reunite with the possibility of mending their relationship. (IMDb)

The screenplay here is fairly formulaic in structure as far as indie dramedys go, with cycles of music-video scenes of personal reflection or vague comedic resolve following those of conflict. That said, its execution is excellent (thanks to wonderfully genuine performances from Hader, Wiig, and Wilson), its central relationship unique (i.e. non-romantic), and its subject matter darker (albeit resolved in a disappointingly easy ending) which set it a step above many of its genre counterparts.

7.3/10