Wondering what to watch? This week: cartoon multiverses, and violence! Perhaps an odd response to some of the sunniest weather of the year so far, but with the approaching of summer also comes the desire for spectacle. Leading the pack is B-movie wunderkind turned beloved blockbuster maverick Sam Raimi with his last horror film Drag Me to Hell, a fine and fun display of the mild-mannered director’s surprising and entertaining mean streak.
Then there’s horror of a different kind: the horror of being pranked by your buddies in Jackass 4.5, a sort of ‘cut for time’ compilation to accompany the recently released Jackass Forever. Our pick of the week though belongs to what many are calling the best Disney+ original movie to launch on the platform — the return of Chip 'N' Dale.
Read more: New on Prime Video in May
Please note that a subscription may be required to watch.
Chip 'N Dale: Rescue Rangers (2022) - Disney+ - Pick of the week
Disney's most ambitious crossover movie of the year so far — sorry Doctor Strange — is a film about talking chipmunks. John Mulaney and Andy Samberg voice the titular critters, who are brought together three decades after the acrimonious end of their TV show Rescue Rangers. Chip is working in insurance, while Dale has paid for a CGI cosmetic makeover and is hustling on the convention circuit. They soon find themselves having to do some real detective work in order to save one of their friends from a horrible fate.
Read more: Everything new on Disney+ in May
What follows is a delightfully madcap journey through a modern spin on Who Framed Roger Rabbit, directed by The Lonely Island's Akiva Schaffer and featuring dozens of cameos from inside and outside the Disney canon.
Watch a behind the scenes clip from Chip N Dale
It's a movie powered by wild comedic energy, with rat-a-tat one-liners coming thick and fast from Dan Gregor and Doug Mand's script. Samberg and Mulaney are charmingly silly throughout, while the likes of Seth Rogen, Will Arnett and KiKi Layne show up for enjoyable supporting roles.
But the real pull here is the onslaught of cameos, easter eggs and inside jokes. They're so inventive, bizarre and surprising that even Marvel's multiverse will look on with envy.
Also new on Disney+: The Valet (2022)
Jackass 4.5 (2022) - Netflix
A 21st century landmark born out of the daredevil, outsider antics of skateboarding culture that struck like lightning with bored suburban teenagers, Jackass is genuinely as American as apple pie. It was a testament to cinematic slapstick; the crew’s ingenious and often subversive framing of it owing as much to the cinema of Keaton and Chaplin as much as it does MTV and the boom of home video culture.
Once disparaged by a moralising media class concerned that the youth were being corrupted by Johnny Knoxville and the gang pranking each other, the franchise has since become viewed with a beloved nostalgia, and the latest film Jackass Forever was received with the warmth of a dear old friend.
Watch a trailer for Jackass Forever
Forever interesting because of how much has changed — and how much has stayed the same — in the ten years since the crew’s previous film Jackass 3D. What has changed? Well, they’re older now, a little more mellow, and new blood has joined the ranks including the likes of Odd Future’s Jasper.
What has stayed the same? Well, they’re not any wiser, with Forever even going as far as to include a side-by-side comparison of old stunts that have been reimagined and made even more severe from their original conception, as though to prove that age hasn’t beaten the gang yet.
Read more: New on Netflix in May
4.5 expands on the frequently death-defying, always stupid stunts with deleted takes and gags cut for time, to tell the nature of such would spoil the surprise. It’s less of a cinematic construction and more of a special features bonus than Forever, but there’s enough in here to make fun viewing for those with a strong stomach.
Also on Netflix: A Perfect Pairing (2022)
Drag Me To Hell (2009) - BBC iPlayer
The outrageous ending of Drag Me To Hell recently did the rounds online and inspired some conversation about its story of the loan officer Christine Brown, who begins the film by denying a woman the extension she needs to keep her home.
Not long afterwards, her comfortable life takes a dramatic turn for the worse, Christine becoming convinced she’s been cursed, though her boyfriend remains skeptical. Christine’s last hope seems to lie in a psychic who claims that he can help her lift the curse and keep her soul from being taken to hell.
Arguably the last real Sam Raimi movie (the subsequent Oz the Great and Powerful as well as Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness feel even less within his control than the notoriously troubled Spider-Man 3), the delicious meanness of Drag Me To Hell shows the director truly in his element.
Also on iPlayer: Early Man (2018), Ordinary Love (2019)
The Transporter (2002) - Disney+
A profoundly stupid throwback to the days of Hollywood cinema that was desperately attempting to incorporate the successes of 90s Hong Kong action cinema into its own oeuvre, The Transporter, co-directed by the astounding Corey Yuen (Yes, Madam and She Shoots Straight) and the so-so Louis Letterier (Now You See Me, The Incredible Hulk), tries to find a halfway point between their two styles, when really it should have been a lot more of the former’s work.
The story is that of a former Special Forces officer named Frank Martin (Jason Statham), who as the eponymous ‘transporter’ will deliver anything, to anyone, for the right price, no-questions-asked. But Frank finds out that his latest cargo is actually alive — a bound and gagged Lai being smuggled to France by a shady American businessman. Frank’s carefully managed business of course spirals out of control, working to save her while eluding a detective.
Read more: New on Netflix in May
It’s very visible in its great and frequently absurd action scenes — such as a fight where Statham douses himself in oil — but not quite enough to make it the classic it could have been. Some fun patter between Statham and co-star Shu Qi livens up proceedings but the film can’t help but feel stale once out of Yuen’s hands, and one wishes he had more control. Still, a wild leap for Statham on his way to becoming a beloved figure of Hollywood action, and a Sunday afternoon staple.