Review: ‘Inside Out’

InsideOut1

In Inside Out, Pixar’s latest effort (and its best since Toy Story 3), writer-director Pete Docter wonders what those little voices in our head look like. More importantly, he wonders what they do. The film supposes that as we grow, so too do our emotions evolve. They may be as hesitant about change as we are, and sometimes they lose control when we need them most; but they remain an inextricable, unique part of our being.

By crafting a vibrant inner-world to off-set the all-too-realistic urban malaise of the outer, the marvelous Inside Out works on multiple levels: as an often hilarious and highly emotional journey for a set of emotions personified, and as a relatable, melancholy coming-of-age narrative for Riley, the girl whose mind we come to know intimately.

Even at its most hi-jink-filled—and the film does verge into hokey, jokey territory—Inside Out maintains a soulful, mature core energy, as Riley (Kaitlyn Dias), by way of Joy (Amy Poehler) and Sadness (Phyllis Smith), learns that all emotions are valid, purposeful, and necessary.

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The Year Ahead: Films To Look Forward To In 2015

Avengers

I recently wrote in my post-Oscar piece that the months ahead look bleak for cinema. That’s both true and not.

Within the context of a discussion around awards season, with the Academy Awards being the February pinnacle of the previous year’s best films, the prestige movies typically do not get released until the fall and winter months, between October and December. There are always outliers—The Grand Budapest Hotel came out in February 2014 and summer hits Guardians of the Galaxy and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes received Oscar nods in several categories—and those are appreciated. They’re also very legitimate reasons to get pumped up about the cinematic landscape of 2015!

So, moving past the prestige awards season complex we can really find a great deal of movie-going pleasure in the months ahead. There’s genre fare, sure-thing action hits, and plenty of drama to be excited about. Here I’ve compiled a list of the films I am itching to see; take a look and let me know what you cannot wait to pay way too much money to check out in theaters! Continue reading

And The Oscar Goes To…

OSCARS!

Isn’t this all that really matters?

The day after the Oscars is always a bit of a sad one.

First of all, it is (and always will be) a Monday, a.k.a. work doldrums at an all-time high.

Second, a lot of time, energy, and expectation gets funneled into what will inevitably be a relatively slow-paced reveal…of exactly what you expected. Dealing with that realization year after year doesn’t make it any less melancholy.

And third, you realize that in all likelihood it will be several months until you see any movies likely to be nominated for Oscars next year (though I am holding out hope for Paddington and Kenneth Branagh’s new Cinderella adaptation—which is kind of perfect—to receive some craft awards).

Still, it is worth recapping the evening and unearthing the gems, of which there were many this year! Political speeches, Julianne Moore’s inevitable but oh-so-satisfying triumph, two outstanding performances, and other fun awaits… Continue reading

The 87th Annual Academy Awards: Hopes, Dreams, And Predictions

Oscars

On Sunday, the 87th Annual Academy Awards will be given to the actors, writers, designers, technicians, producers, and director of the “best films” of the year. Of course the Academy voting body gets it wrong (in this writer’s humble opinion) far too often. But film being a subjective art, those who care about the recognition received by our favorites hold out hope that this year—every year—things will be different.

The 2015 awards are shaping up to be a relatively unpredictable bunch. Birdman and Boyhood are fighting it out for the best picture and best director spots, the best actor race has Michael Keaton and Eddie Redmayne on the bubble, and the screenplay awards are impossible to predict with 100% certainty. Basically, it’s a fool’s errand, but I’m gonna lay my predictions out there anyway.

For each of the categories (save for the shorts and docs, about which I regrettably know next to nothing), I will list my prediction for who/what will win, who/what should win, and who/what should have been nominated.

For those who care to read on, here are my thoughts on the 87th Academy Awards: Continue reading