Film Review : Inside Out (2015)

IMDB Score – 8.7
Rotten Tomato Score – 98%
Metacritic Score – 94/100

Directed By – Pete Doctor
Starring – Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Richard Kind, Bill Hader, Lewis Black, Mindy Kaling, Diane Lane, Kyle MacLachlan, and Kaitlyn Dias

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.

I’m back. It’s been a few weeks since my last review. I’ve been busy with work and trying to get rid of this flat tire I have for a stomach. Work and gym can take up a large portion of your day. I finally got out to the theater since the debacle that was Jurassic World. Ant Man and Trainwreck should be following this shortly, but first I had to get out to see something I’ve been waiting for a long time to see…PIXAR BACK IN FORM!

I’ll start this by saying that I have not seen Cars 2 or Brave. I hated the first Cars movie and I just haven’t gotten around to seeing Brave. I will say however that it has been a long time since we got the four film streak of Ratatouille, Wall-E, Up, and Toy Story 3. I missed those days. Finally an original idea comes back into our minds with the help of the wonder animators over at Pixar. It has to do with the brain. It has awesome voice actors I love. I’m in. I’m ready. Let’s get to this.

I have to comment on the short that preceded the film first. Guys, it was nice. I know a lot of people are REALLY digging it, my friend who saw the movie with me included, but I don’t see the huge deal. The short is about a volcano out in the ocean and how he would like a lady volcano to do whatever it is volcanoes are supposed to do when they have feelings and presumably sex organs. The whole thing is sung in a Hawaiian ukulele song by the who main characters. It was nice. I didn’t really get emotional like other people did because it was a simple story that got dark but you just KNEW it was going to get happy again. It. was. nice. Moving on…

I loved the film. There is a certain point that the great films by Pixar reach where it is hard to rank them as to which one is your favorite. I feel, on a first viewing, that Inside Out can join those rankings. I’m talking about Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Wall-E, and The Incredibles status. They took a fresh idea and built this fully functioning world that not only came off believable, but sucked you into the film by connecting so deeply through emotion. I mean, that’s what this whole film is about right? Emotions? Inside Out takes emotions and highlights just how powerful and important they can be in our life. I’ve always held the idea that you need to be in tune with all of your emotions to be a balanced person and this film just took that idea and ran with it.

If for some reason you haven’t seen the previews…here’s the premise. Riley is a 12 year old girl living with her parents in Minnesota. Inside her head is a vast network of “things” that help work Riley’s brain. The key five figures in this world are her basic emotions Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger, and disgust. They control how Riley feels throughout her life in their little headquarters. Riley has to move to California and that act sets in motion a series of events that cause Joy and Sadness to have to work together to figure out how to save this little girl from turning into an emotionless teenager we have all seen on Law and Order SVU.

That’s some deep shit. I don’t even know of kids are supposed to GET all of that stuff. I mean, there are plenty of adults, myself included, that have no grasp of how their emotions work. Asking kids to understand these deep philosophical and neurological ideas was a task that Pixar subsequently fucking nailed. NAILED.

The script was able to balance the line between showing us what was going on inside Riley’s head and what was going on outside of her head perfectly. It was never confusing and it was always concise and fluent. I can’t say enough about the script really. It’s kind of flawless. The only thing I can say is that my favorite character Bing Bong happens to be a recycled Toy Story-esque character who has been forgotten after the child they love has grown up. It still didn’t prevent Bing Bong from being my favorite character. I won’t even explain Bing Bong cause I had no idea he was in the movie until I saw it and the fucking cotton candy elephant knocked me on my ass.

Speaking of that, Pixar has once again proven that it can handle some SERIOUS emotional circumstances with grace and without coming off too heavy handed. Scenes in this film are just as emotionally powerful as the beginning of UP, the end of Finding Nemo, and of course “THAT” scene in Toy Story 3. Especially with Bing Bong. Oh, Bing Bong. I love you so.

The film just tackled growing up so damn well. You don’t know how to feel. You want what you had when you were a kid and full of joy. Things start going in the other direction and sadness all of a sudden has a bigger role to play in your life. Kids have to be able to learn how to deal with sadness and realize that it’s a perfectly normal and important part of life and Inside Out delivered that message beautifully. The thing I love most about the film though is that there were no real heroic acts of triumph or superheros overcoming a villain. There was no villain in this film. Not even a hint of one. This allows kids to be able to get the true meaning of the film which is that you’re not always going to succeed in life. There is going to be sadness and things will change but if you try your best to go with that wave of life then you should be able to come out okay. I thought it was a much better film than say Wreck It Ralph which has similar vibes but ultimately fizzles out by the end.

Did I mention the film is also hilarious? I did forget that. There was a goddamn Chinatown reference in this. CHINATOWN REFERENCE. I loved it. The voice acting was top notch from Poehler Black, and Smith and the world building made me wish the film were four hours long. I could spend all day with the memory janitors. Hysterical.

See the film. It’s a return to top form for Pixar and a serious look at how our emotions shape and change our lives. It’s a great film for kids going through such changes or parents who have a kids going through those changes. Maybe you’re just like me and got all teary eyed because it reminded me of how I went through that period of my life and how I’m handling THIS one. Great job Pixar.

5/5




Super Trailmix and 2015 Film Preview

You may have noticed a very reduced rate in Trailmixes. There is a reason for that. I have come to loathe trailers. I don’t watch them anymore. The television shows I watch are 95% on Netflix or Hulu. I’m cutting the fucking cords. Coincidentally, my film going experiences have actually gotten better. No stale jokes. No known plot twists. No expectations. It’s a much better experience. I do however like to look forward to what is going to be coming out in the next year. I’ll ad some trailers in here where I can but for the most part it’ll be a list of what I’m eager to see this year. Have fun.

I’m not going to sort these by release date because some of them don’t have one yet. I’ll just bunch them together. You’ll be fine.

Star Wars : The Force Awakens

Directed By – JJ Abrams
Starring – Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fischer, Mark Hammill, Gwendoline Christie, Adam Driver, and Andy Serkis

Uhhh, yeah, how could this not be the first movie that pops into my head. Sure the prequels were utter failures. Sure I hated Star Trek Into Darkness. I didn’t hate Star Trek though. I also loved Super 8. I love that there is a new cast mixed with our old friends. The trailer, which is only a tease, looks like a film that will mixed practical effects with special effects. This is a good sign. I’m excited for it. I’m not going to watch the full trailer whenever it gets released. The anticipation of what it could look like is enough to get me excited.

Releases December 18th, 2015

Inside Out

Directed By – Pete Doctor
Starring – Diane Lane, Kyle MacLachlan, Amy Poehler, Mindy Kaling, Bill Hader, Lewis Black, and Phyllis Smith

ORIGINAL PIXAR MOVIE! YES! Yeah, I know, Brave was original and disappointing. This however is being directed by the man that gave us Up and Monster’s Inc. This is a very good sign. The voice talent is new and intriguing. I’m a sucker for anything Bill Hader. Hopefully this puts Pixar back on the map for top notch animated films.

Releases June 19th, 2015

Midnight Special

Directed By – Jeff Nichols
Starring – Kirsten Dunst, Adam Driver, Michael Shannon, and Joel Edgerton

A thriller/sci-fi film about a father and son who go o the run after learning the son has special powers, directed by the man who brought us Mud and Take Shelter. Both those films were huge successes in my eyes, especially Take Shelter. That film still haunts my dreams. This was hopefully supposed to be ready last year but has been pushed to the end of this year. Should be great per usual.

Releases November 25th, 2015

Knight of Cups

Directed By – Terrence Malick
Starring – Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Natalie Portman, Imogen Poots, Antonio Banderas, Wes Bentley, Brian Dennehy, and the voice of Ben Kingsley

Terrence Malick makes the best trailers. They’re always so grandiose as if you’re about to see something that will change the way you view the universe. Actually, I think that’s what Malick always aims for. He wants you to think differently after seeing every one of his films. The guy is amazing and surprisingly underrated. You never really hear his name brought up with the great filmmakers working today. It’s a shame. In this film it looks like he’s trying to make a psychological Wolf of Wall Street. Who knows, maybe he’ll tell us the story of Jesus in the middle of it. He does that sometimes. Looks wonderful.

Releases December 11th, 2015

Mad Max : Fury Road

Directed By – George Miller
Starring – Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, and Nicholas Hoult

Well, this looks completely bonkers. If anybody else was at the helm of this I wouldn’t be as excited but since Miller is back to direct this, the remake seal of death cannot be slapped on and I have more promise for it. Whatever happens, it’s going to be a wild fucking ride. Seeing Tom Hardy in anything is worth the price of admission really. What’s to lose?

Releases May 15th, 2015

Tomorrowland

Directed By – Brad Bird
Starring – George Clooney, Britt Robertson, Hugh Laurie, Kathryn Hahn, and Judy Greer

The trailer is neat. Okay, I have a very big problem with this film. It’s co-written by Damon Lindelof. Look up my Star Trek review and you’ll see why I have a problem with anything he touches. The dude is just too clever and complex for his own good. He has great ideas but can never seem to carry them out for more than an hour before the whole thing explodes into confetti. I’ll take this trailer with a grain of salt. Still, the trailer is really neat.

Releases May 22nd, 2015

The Hateful 8

Directed By – Quentin Tarantino
Starring – Channing Tatum, Walter Goggins, Tim Roth, Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Bruce Dern, Demian Bichir, Michael Madsen, Zoe Bell, and Kurt Fucking Russell

The thoughts I have reserved for Quentin Tarantino go like this…I like he’s an asshole. I think he’s so far up his own asshole that he has become and asshole himself. Like some sort of asshole metamorphosis. Besides that, I also think he’s a fantastic filmmaker. Inglorious Basterds is one of my favorite films of all time alongside Reservoir Dogs. Pulp Fiction gets an ungodly amount of praise but it’s still a bitchin’ film. Quentin just needs to wash the taste of my mouth that he left with the final 25 minutes of Django Unchained. I hated the end so much that I still haven’t rewatched it even though the first two hours were amazing. This film takes place in the West in the post-civil war Wyoming. Finally, he makes a western. It should be a show nonetheless.

Releases November 13th, 2015

Maps to the Stars

Directed By – David Cronenberg
Starring – Julianne Moore, Robert Pattinson, Mia Wasikowska, John Cusack, and Olivia Williams

Looks like David Cronenberg is finally having a go at a David Lynch film. You’re most likely not going to see any bio-horror like his earlier films or his violent realism like in Eastern Promises and A History of Violence. This looks like a straight psychological thriller. The difference is that Cronenberg is behind the camera. I seriously can’t wait for this one. Julianne Moore is on a roll lately and Robby Pattinson wow’d the shit out of me in The Rover. I wanna see what he does next.

Releases February 27th, 2015

The Sea of Trees

Directed By – Gus Van Sant
Starring – Matthew McConaughey, Naomi Watts, Ken Watanabe, and Katie Aselton

Based off of the real Aokigahara Forest in Japan, a forest where hundreds of people go to commit suicide every year, Gus Van Sant gives us a hopefully suspensful and deep film about the value of life. Vice Magazine did a story on The Aokigahara Forest and ever since then I’ve been fascinated. It’s a beautiful forest where people go to die. Fascinating stuff. The fact that Matthew McConaughey is in it is also a big plus.

No Release Date Yet

What We Do in the Shadows

Directed By – Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi
Starring – Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi, Jonathan Brugh, Cori Gonzalez-Macuer, Stuart Rutherford, and Ben Fransham

This has actually already been released mostly everywhere but the US so I’m adding this because I’ve anted to see it so bad and we still have two weeks to go. Looks hilarious and a welcome back to funny after Flight of the Concords ended so damn long ago. Looks silly as hell.

Releases February 13th, 2015

Jurassic World

Directed By – Colin Trevorrow
Starring – Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Judy Greer, Vincent D’Onofrio, and Jake Johnson

Ahhh, sequels/remakes. They’re never as great as you think they’d be are they? Well, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was fantastic, but that was an anomaly. This one has promise though. First off, it stars Chris Pratt. I love this guy. He’s always hilarious and and always seems to be involved with successful films and shows. The other good sign is that Colin Trevorrow is directing the film. His first film, Safety Not Guaranteed, was a pleasant surprise with a sci fi twist. Hopefully this will surprise me as well.

Releases June 15th, 2015

Ex Machina

Directed By – Alex Garland
Starring – Alicia Vikander, Domhnall Gleeson, and Oscar Isaac

The writer of 28 Days/Weeks Later and Sunshine is behind the camera for this sci-fi story about artificial intelligence. The whole trailer gave off a very creepy vibe to me. Oscar Isaac is co-starring which is a great reason to see this one.

Releases April 10th, 2015

Crimson Peak

Directed By – Guillermo del Toro
Starring – Jessica Chastain, Charlie Hunnam, Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska, and Doug Jones

Haunted House love triangle from Guillermo del Toro? Sign me up please. I actually enjoyed Pacific Rim but I’m glad Del Toro is getting back to his creepy roots. It’s been a while.

Releases October 16th, 2015

The Look of Silence

Directed By – Joshua Oppenheimer

You mean to tell me that there is going to be a follow up to one of the best movies of 2013? Yeah, I’m excited. The Act of Killing was robbed of an Oscar and if this film is anything like it, I’m going to be floored. I urge you guys to see Act of Killing before seeing this. It’s a masterpiece of documentary film making.

Releases July, 2015

Spectre

Directed By – Sam Mendes
Starring – Daniel Craig, Ralph Fiennes, Monica Bellucci, Dave Bautista, Christoph Waltz, Léa Seydoux, Naomi Harris, and Ben Whishaw

I love Sam Mendes. I think that Skyfall is the best looking James Bond film and one of the best films of the series. I’m sad that Judi Dench is no longer involved with the franchise but honestly, it was time. This should be nothing short of awesome. Dave Bautista? We’ll see. Christoph Waltz? Oh, hell yeah.

Releases November 6th, 2015

In the Heart of the Sea

Directed By – Ron Howard
Starring – Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy, Ben Whishaw, Tom Holland, and Brendan Gleeson

The loved Rush. I thought that Hemsworth was fantastic and can be a fucking star if he isn’t one already. The fact that Howard is now tackling Moby Dick, which to my knowledge hasn’t been done successfully yet, is awesome. Plus, I love boats. This should be fun.

Releases December 11th, 2015

Other titles with minimal information provided…

Sicario – Director Denis Villeneuve (Incendies, Enemy, Prisoners) tells the tale of a FBI aent trying to catch a drug cartel leader. Stars Emily Blunt, Jon Bernthal, and Josh Brolin.

The Lobster – This is the synopsis. “A love story set in a dystopian near future where single people are arrested and transferred to a creepy hotel. There they are obliged to find a matching mate in 45 days. If they fail, they are transformed into an animal and released into the woods.” Director Yorgos Lanthimos, wrote made the batshit insane Dogtooth, comes back probably even weirder. I can’t wait.

The Revenant – Alejandro González Iñárritu, fresh off the success of Birdman, directs Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, and the “now in everything cool” Domhnall Gleeson, in a revenge film set in the 1820s frontier. Yeah, that’s fucking awesome. I can’t wait. Official release is January of next year but it will most likely be shown sooner.

Film Review : Monster’s University (2013)

IMDB Score – 7.4
Rotten Tomato Score – 78%

Directed By – Dan Scanlon
Starring – Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, Helen Mirren, Peter Soh, Joel Murray, Sean Hayes, Charlue Day, Dave Foley, and Nathan Fillion

A look at the relationship between Mike and Sulley during their days at Monsters University — when they weren’t necessarily the best of friends.

I’ve been a fan of Pixar for as long as I can remember. My father and I, up until only recently, made it a small tradition to see the Pixar films in theaters together and while we haven’t gone since Ratatouille, I’ll remember the times we did fondly. Honestly I think we’re just waiting for the right film. “Up” would have been a great film to see with him but the “Cars” films never peaked our interest. I haven’t even seen the second one after the first was so disappointing. While not a big fan of “Monster’s Inc.”, I still wanted to catch this one even though I missed it in theaters and I’m actually glad I waited because I feel I enjoyed it more knowing I didn’t have to pay theater prices to see it. Plus, it would have been a zoo of children.

I think everybody knows the premise of this film and if you don’t it’s not that hard to figure out. The film tells the story of how Mike and Sully met and rose to fame in College to become the scare masters that they eventually became. Honestly, I didn’t care for the story. Pixar is known for throwing in very serious undertones in their stories and in Monster’s University it just seems like they played it as safe as they possibly could. I’ve read this observation with the movie before but it really is just “Revenge of the Nerds” with more hair and teeth. Mike and Sully team a band of rejects and try to overthrow the popular and scarier monsters. I expected more from Pixar.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the movie. It was silly and a lot of fun but really didn’t try to break any grounds. The monsters introduced in the film were top notch and I enjoyed seeing them all interact with each other. The music was fantastic and the colors in this film are gorgeous. It really just boils down to the film being a good family film instead of the groundbreaking story telling machine that Pixar has built itself into. I’m hoping they come out with a few more films like “Wall-E”, “Finding Nemo”, or “Up” in the near future.

3/5