Sausage Party

This movie is NOT for everyone. Its crude, vulgar and crass. Its childish and rude, dumb and full of sex, swearing and violence. Here’s the trailer in case it has slipped under your radar:

Now with swearing:

That poor toilet roll.. I linked the second trailer because it shows the level of swearing in the dialogue much better, the characters use swear words as naturally as any other word, so its pretty frequent. Rated R in the US and 15 here in the UK, Sausage Party is going to be controversial. Seth Rogen (Pineapple Express, Superbad) is the writer behind this one, the famous Hollywood pothead success story himself, and the voice cast is actual pretty great, featuring Salma Hayak, Michael Cera, Edward Norton (although you wont recognise his voice) and James Franco.

When i heard about the film and the premise; food stuffs that are alive, that’s something i was immediately very interested in! If you follow my blog or Instagram at all you’ll know p-slice and maybe you’ll have seen hotdog guy or another food related character. I think they’re great! So i went into this film, especially after seeing the trailer, kind of excited. I wanted to see how far they took the characters on their adventures after finding out they are eaten by the gods, and how they would handle that as filmmakers. After seeing the film, i wasn’t disappointed.

We are so used to seeing into the lives of ‘blank’ – bees, ants, toys, cars, pets/animals, etc, the animation industry has been doing it for a while – this was a refreshing take on that whole shabangalang.

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Don’t quote me on this but apparently Sasha Baron Cohen said it was the single craziest thing hes ever seen in his life. Borat. Borat said it was the craziest thing hes ever seen in his entire f*cking life. Borat said that. So if that doesn’t intrigue you i don’t know what will. [http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/movies/sacha-baron-cohen-appalled-by-seth-rogens-rrated-cartoon-sausage-party-20160316-gnkrou.html]

This film has a story-line, heroes and a villain, romance.. I’m not saying its good though, but its a decent little film and has a plot, as long as you aren’t easily offended and you enjoy that kind of humour its alright. If you don’t like South Park its unlikely you’ll enjoy this, i feel like those audiences will heavily overlap. It has its moments, and i have to say i was actually totally shocked at the places the film went with its characters, but its could have gone further, just.But it went there and made fun of everything, maybe its not exactly clever, but its genuinely unique and fresh, its something new in so many ways without actually doing all that much new.

So yeah, this isn’t really a review. More of a ‘hey guys there’s this silly movie where food is all alive and they believe humans are gods but then they find out we eat them and its crazy!’ Really r-rated animations don’t happen enough, they are always aimed more at younger more inclusive audiences, so i hope this movie opens the doors for more of the same. I heard someone say this will open the flood gates for more r-rated animated movies and i really hope that’s the case.

Oh yeah before i forget, there are some people claiming its full of racism so:

Writing on the Birth Movies Death website, Devin Faraci said: ‘The ethnic jokes in aren’t just there because they’re funny – and holy s*** are many of them unbelievably funny – they’re there because the script is directly engaging what they mean.

‘This is a movie where all the different foods are split up into aisles, and each food has a dedication to its own aisle, and each aisle has its own beliefs and religion, and Frank travels through them all trying to bring everybody together.

 ‘The movie is, in its own jokey way, celebrating the differences among nations and peoples while also reminding us that those differences are only skin deep.’

Just something to think about, stereotype jokes/ mocking stereotypes = racism for some people. I know the film pushed boundaries with its humour, but its hardly the most controversial thing to exist and be enjoyed by audiences, i think everyone will have to make their own mind up if they enjoy it or not really. It wont resonate with everyone.

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Anyway onto the other stuff, the main reason for this blog post. There have been allegations that the animating staff were mistreated on this film. I don’t pretend to have a  deep understanding of this topic, but as an animation student i’m interested, so here’s what I’ve found so far:

http://www.cartoonbrew.com/feature-film/sausage-party-directors-conrad-vernon-greg-tiernan-making-2016s-outlandish-animated-film-142425.html

Here’s the question and response from Greg (director):

The production cost for the film has been reported in the entertainment press as being around $20 million.

Greg Tiernan: Neither Conrad or I can confirm or deny that actual figure, but all I will say is that when Conrad pitched the movie to us, and we made our pact and vow to Conrad, and to Seth and Evan, and eventually to Megan Ellison at Annapurna and to Sony Columbia, we knew damn well that we could deliver a movie that looks like a $150 million movie for a fraction of the cost. That’s about as close as I can get to confirming or denying that figure. In general, that’s the whole reason we started the studio 13 years ago. After working in the L.A. industry for many years, I could see so much money just needlessly thrown down the toilet in making a lot of these movies. It doesn’t have to cost that much money when you’re well organized, and you have your mind set on the goal of what you want to do, and you get the job done with a small, determined crew. But yeah, let’s just say it was a lower budget movie.

Now here’s the (now seemingly infamous) comment below the article:

The production cost were kept low because Greg would demand people work overtime for free. If you wouldn’t work late for free your work would be assigned to someone who would stay late or come in on the weekend. Some artist were even threatened with termination for not staying late to hit a deadline.

The animation department signed a petition for better treatment and paid overtime. When the letter got to Annapurna they stepped in and saw that artist were payed and fed when overtime was needed.

Over 30 animators left during the coarse of the production due to the stress and expectations. Most of them left before the paid overtime was implemented. This was met with animosity and was taken as a personal insult to the owners. Their names were omitted from the final credits despite working for over a year on this film.

Worrying no? Although its basically an anonymous poster here, so is it true? Well its not the only comment, keep reading if you’re interested but there are more entries by supposed ex-employees who claim similar stuff – even leaving amicably due to visa problems but still being uncredited in the movie.

Certainly the risk of being blacklisted from the industry is a real concern in the movie industry in general, or at least the fear of being blacklisted definitely seems to exist. But Annapurna appears to have made things right in the end.. right?

Well…. Here’s an open letter from the VFX Union UK:

http://vfxforum.org/2016/08/sausage-party-nitrogen-open-letter/

It’s sad to say, but stories of poor working conditions are becoming an embarrassingly regular occurrence in our industry. From the infamous MPC Variety article, to the Life of Pi Oscar debacle, time and again we’ve found our industry’s troubles in the spotlight. We’ve seen reports of a client saying “If I don’t put a visual effects shop out of business (on my movie), I’m not doing my job”. We’ve seen a facility exec tell an audience that if you don’t like long hours then you should get out. We’ve seen hundreds of VFX artists left off the credits of Star Trek Beyond. We’ve seen friends and colleagues forced to uproot their lives and move around the globe to chase tax-breaks and production whims. The question is this: when are things finally going to change?.

We would like to invite everyone around the world who’s read Nitrogen’s story and recognised these horror stories to join their local VFX union. We’ve started a process here in London. However, our recognition bids are only one piece of the puzzle. If you’re waiting for us to fix everything for you world-wide, then you’re in for a long wait. This is a big industry, and we can’t change the whole thing without you. We need to act together.

People are not doing nothing, and the papers are obviously happy to report on it, so there’s that: Examples of that:

http://www.nme.com/filmandtv/news/-sausage-party-hit-by-claims-its-animation-team-we/414843

‘Sausage Party’ Animators Allege Studio Used Unpaid Overtime

https://www.inverse.com/article/19973-sausage-party-animator-abuse-highlights-industry-issues

I feel like this quote from the above link sheds further light on the issue:

“All they have to do is outsource it to a job shop, and let the job shops bid on the work, and they’ll lowball each other to get it. It is a low-margin business, because everybody is bidding against one another.”

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So yeah, that’s Sausage Party, love it or hate it, either way peoples reactions to this movie (and its trailers) are the best. [Evil finebros link:]

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Jon Burgerman

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Jon Burgerman is an artist who studied Fine Art here at Nottingham Trent University and has gone on to become a huge success story. He exhibits his work internationally and lives in New York now and he’s won many awards for his art.

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I really like his style and although I’ve only recently discovered him as an artist, I’m pretty sure I’ve seen his work before. He has a really cool cartoon modern style and uses bold lines and colours with quirky and off characters. Some of his stuff looks like its surreal or impressionistic, and it seems he draws inspiration from a few different places.

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Some of his exhibitions are fantastic and the art he produces can appear in many different and varied ways and he using many different mediums, allowing him to experiment a lot.

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A tutor here at Nottingham Trent university was telling me how Jon made a website and he used to send stickers (with his illustrations and his website on them) to anyone who signed up for his email list. A few month into doing this he went to the Tate modern in London and he saw one of his stickers on a lamppost! He was using the public to advertise his website and his brand of illustrations and stuff by giving them stickers for free. Stickers are great, and actually designing a set of characters who would work well as stickers and promote yourself is probably great practice – also getting your name and info out there in an often colourful way is a win!

2Jon’s work can be found not only in exhibitions or the street, but also on many different products, from clothing to phone covers and rugs, he’s also worked with Pepsi and his designs were on the cans.

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The official website. http://www.jonburgerman.com/

This http://drawingsofgirlson.tumblr.com/ is a website that’s dedicated to drawings that Jon has made of women he’s seen.

Here http://jonburgerman.tumblr.com is (one of?) his other tumbler accounts.

 

Loving Vincent

First look at the ‘Loving Vincent’ movie trailer – 2016

Van Gogh has always been interesting to me. His art style stood out and each piece is truly recognisable as a Van Gogh, at least to my eye, and his story is intriguing and dramatic and growing up learning about him he definitely stuck out. He was a man who never sold his own masterpieces, but did in fact sell many paintings working for art dealers during his life. Sadly he never really made a success of himself and seemingly went mad, going so far as to disfigure himself gruesomely. A tragic but brilliant man who produced some of the greatest art ever made. I really enjoyed the Dr Who episode where he featured as a character, I can’t help getting choked up when Bill Nighy is describing the genius of Vincent Van Gogh, with Vincent in the room just being overwhelmed by it all, im not sure how this is relevant really, but its emotional! Dr Who can be a bit hit and miss sometimes (forgive me Whovians) but some episodes are truly fantastic pieces of television.

Anyway this animation looks really promising and boasts itself as the first fully painted animated feature film.

Loving Vincent is an investigation delving into the life and controversial death of Vincent Van Gogh, one of the world’s most beloved painters, told by his paintings and by the characters that inhabit them. The intrigue unfolds through interviews with the characters closest to Vincent and through dramatic reconstructions of the events leading up to his death.

This description sounds like the film will be a bit of a thriller, the characters look fantastic so far, i love using characters from his paintings to tell the story.

Loving Vincent features over one hundred and twenty of Vincent Van Gogh’s greatest paintings. The plot, drawn from the 800 letters written by the painter himself, lead us to the significant people and events in the time leading up to his unexpected death.

The fact that it features his work and the story is taken from letter he penned himself has got me really excited to see what they have come up with. It looks like it could be the most amazing tribute to an artist that’s ever been made, it really looks like a labour of love.

Each of the film’s 62,450 frames is an oil painting on canvas, using the same technique as van Gogh, created by a team of 85 painters.

The painters/animators are professional oil painters who were retrained to be animators as well, which was funded partially through a kickstarter and also the Polish Film Institute. ‘Loving Vincent’ is directed by Polish painter and director Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman (Oscar winner for producing “Peter and the Wolf” 2006). The film is produced by the Oscar-winning Studios Breakthru Films and also Trademark Films.

This next video is the ‘concept trailer 2012’ and offers a better insight into the finished project and the direction it looks to be headed in, and it looks really good!!

I’m not sure if there is a release date, or if its even finished (we have the trailer but who knows), but I’m really looking forward to seeing it when it does come out, and maybe it will inspire a new generation of artists and animators!

 

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