Review: ‘Inside Out’

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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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Review: ‘It Follows’

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What is it? Why is it following a group of interconnected teenagers in the Detroit suburbs? How can it bend the laws of space and time as it pursues you?

These are a few of the many questions left unanswered by It Follows—the second feature from David Robert Mitchell, and easily the best horror film of the past year (sorry Babadook). As the tension builds and it grows more frightening, you’ll find that you’ll easily forgive this masterful, beautifully filmed story of teenage peril for its elision of pure logic.

In fact, you’ll be too scared to think about much of anything, though I believe Mitchell, who also wrote the film, had a great deal on his mind when conceiving of his unknowable but prominent threat. It’s true: the film stands on its own as a fantastical, intense nightmare, and a superb piece of filmmaking. But one can also conceive of It Follows as a parable, a warning about teenage loneliness in a world filled to the brim with the judgment of adults.

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