Saturday, June 27, 2015
Dir. Pete Docter
Time and time again Pixar loves to play with audience's emotions, and with Inside Out, studio "brain trust" member Pete Docter literalizes the feelings we all go through both during the best Pixar flicks, and as we grow up and mature into who we are. The film follows an 11-year old girl named Riley who's making a big transition by moving from the Midwest to San Francisco. Cutting between the real world and inside Riley's mind, we see how the anthropomorphized emotions of Joy (voiced by Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Fear (Bill Hader), Disgust (Mindy Kaling), and Anger (Lewis Black) attempt to guide her through this stressful event via a central control room. Because Inside Out is dealing mostly with an everyday, mundane subject like the stress of moving to a new city, at times it feels as though the stakes are considerably lower than other Pixar adventures, but the way the film cleverly takes abstract psychological concepts that are universal to the human experience and makes them palatable for audiences of all ages, while making it both funny and heartwarming in typical Pixar fashion, makes Inside Out stand strongly alongside any other masterpiece from the studio.
Tuesday, June 16, 2015
Dir. Colin Trevorrow
It's strange to think, but after three movies in the Jurassic Park franchise, we've never really seen what the park would've looked like had it been open to the public. Not until Jurassic World that is. Safety Not Guaranteed director Colin Trevorrow gives the park the "Disney World" treatment, showing the island up-and-running, filled with awestruck families from around the world in what looks like John Hammond's wet dream. But, it wouldn't be a "Jurassic" movie without the idea of controlling nature literally biting the characters in the ass. Jurassic World is a very stupid, CGI-heavy mess of a B-movie, hammed up to the nth degree. Nearly every human character is completely insufferable, and it pretty much retreads the same ground as Jurassic Park, without any of the intelligence or mastery of tension that Spielberg brought to the original. But, similar to San Andreas, this is so-bad-it's-good territory, and if you manage your disappointment levels (or if you flat out don't care about logic or character development), it's not a complete waste of a summer matinee.
Tuesday, June 2, 2015
Dir. Brad Peyton
It's kind of funny that San Andreas, a big-budget, massive-destruction disaster flick, is released the week after Tomorrowland, a film that explicitly preaches against this kind of tragedy-turned-entertainment. While it's true that turning something like a city-leveling earthquake, an event that could actually happen, into a popcorn thrill ride may be a little distasteful to victims of real natural disasters, I was able to shut my brain off just enough to brush all that off. You can call it the desensitization of modern society, I just call it a "blockbuster." All that stuff aside, San Andreas is your standard disaster movie fare - it has literally every cliche you could possibly think of - but its cast and over-the-top campiness somehow made it work for me.