Friday, June 19, 2015

Inside Out

Animated feature Inside Out, directed by Pete Docter and Ronaldo del Carmen, is beautiful -- actually and conceptually -- and the smartest film I've seen so far this year. The film stars the voices of Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith and Lewis Black, among others, and tells the story of the emotional upheaval a high-energy 12-year-old girl (Kaitlyn Dias) goes through after she and her parents (Diane Lane and Kyle MacLachlan) move from Minnesota to San Francisco. Most of the storyline focuses of the girl's feelings -- joy (Poehler), sadness (Smith), anger (Black), disgust (Mindy Kaling), fear (Bill Hader) -- as she negotiates her new world and her relationship with her parents. Docter and del Carmen have done something pretty amazing in putting on the screen a story that is rooted solidly in the intangible and successfully anthropomorphizing emotions (light years beyond emoticons, I must say) so brilliantly that both children and adults are captivated. While the entire film is marvelous, a trip through the world of abstract thoughts with the young girl's imaginary friend Bing Bong (Richard Kind) and joy's escape from the land of forgotten memories are truly superb as visual representations of sophisticated notions. They will have you laughing and crying. Highly recommended.

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Queen & Slim

In the soon to be iconic photograph from Melina Matsoukas's distressing Queen & Slim, stars Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith...