The latest film from Woody Allen has opened in Australian cinemas and we saw an advance screening last Monday night at New Farm Cinemas. It had been a few months since I’d been to New Farm 6 which I found charming and Karen and I didn’t miss the opportunity to trek to a nearby Pig’N’Whistle for dinner afterwards. Just up from the Valley, New Farm is choc-full of grand old buildings with history, wealthy yuppies and odd ball personalities. My work for Scenestr has made me more familiar with the suburb, in particular the Brisbane Powerhouse for which I am very grateful.
The opportunity to review a movie, any movie for a magazine is one that is heavily coveted by all contributors. I had just submitted three reviews the previous evening to cap off the Wonderland festival and was happy to be back on assignment that night.
Wonder Wheel is not one of Woody Allen’s best but it does show him continuing to try new things and features some great acting in a cast led by Kate Winslet. You can read more of my thoughts here http://scenestr.com.au/movies-and-tv/wonder-wheel-review-20171207
Produced by Eyeball Media Enterprises Scenestr. is an online national magazine with local offices around Australia. With over twenty years of publishing history they’ve excelled at moving into the digital realm but they remain at heart from the streets. They still publish magazines in print for Perth, Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane every month. If you’re into music they’re a great read but they do cover all of the arts including festivals, stand-up comics, fashion, theatre and film. I feel very fortunate to get to write for them.
“You’re cleverer than you look Q.” says Bond.
“Still better looking than clever you are.” Replies Q.
-Die Another Day
I wonder in such a witty exchange who the makers of Sausage Party see themselves as?
Sausage Party is the anti-Pixar film, a delicious concept in itself and arrives with low brow humour and social commentary. Rogen and his pals understand it’s nice to have some meat on the bones to get people invested; they make their characters likeable and try to say something deep about the human condition along with all the dick jokes. They half succeed. Their ambition here is laudable and the finale really goes for it but I doubt a year from now we’ll be talking about this as a classic of the comedy genre. They’ve fared better making fun of their own celebrity in This is the End and taking shots at Kim Jong Il in The Interview.
A bunch of Weenies (amongst them Seth Rogen as Frank [geddit]) sit in their packets on a supermarket shelf waiting to be bought by the Gods (humans) and taken to the great beyond (the sliding doors at the front of the store) so they can live happily ever after snuggled inside the buns (amongst them Kristen Wiig as Brenda Bunson) next to them. They’ve sat around the store their whole existence waiting to do this. Then one day on the eve of July 4 celebrations, a bottle of Honey Mustard (Danny McBride) comes back talking about horrendous things the Gods do to food having been returned to the store as faulty. Mustard isn’t going back and as the buns and weenies get purchased he seeks to escape the shopping trolley. In the ensuring chaos the food gets separated and so begins a long night of some trying to return to the store and others trying to find out the truth of existence.
Lots of food types of national origins stand in for potshots at those races and culture. The filmmakers are criticising stereotypes and making fun of them too. Commentary about faith ensures, homophobia, slut shaming, the rule of the mob, a Lavash (David Krumholtz) and Bagel (Edward Norton doing an amazing Woody Allenesque voice) don’t know how to share their aisle while the weenie off to the side casually asks “Isn’t there enough aisle to share it?” The West Bank has a square area of 5,640km2, the state of Palestine has a square area of 6,220km2, Israel has a square area of 22,072km2 and the United States of America has a square area of 9,833,517km2. I don’t know why I mentioned that. There’s a Taco voiced by Salma Hayek who might be into buns as much weenies are and a Douche (Nick Kroll) with roid rage who gets his strength from doing things that he wants to be clear don’t make him gay. Some of this is dumb and some of this is smart and even some of it is funny.
When taking the piss out of themselves or genres the film is fairly effective but it ultimately has nothing deep to say. It’s akin to someone pointing out things and saying how silly it all is which is observant but without really offering any insight and solution. Not many of us have answers anymore anyway so that’s fair enough but the best comedy will do that. In the meantime, I’ll come clean I’ve laughed my ass off during the already infamous finale. I remembered a story Mel Brooks once related about what he was told during the making of Blazing Saddles “In comedy if you’re going to go up to the door and knock on it, make sure you’re prepared to step through.” These guys have well and truly entered the house of bad taste and even though I didn’t always laugh throughout I can’t help but applaud them for their audacity.