A Journey Through the Emotions of a Little Girl
By Skip Sheffield
Far in man… not far out.
Pixar Animation’s “Inside Out” explores the vast world within the mind of a young girl named Riley. This movie is as much for adults as it is for children; maybe more so. The human brain is one of the most complex systems in the universe. Making it understandable through the magic computer animation is a tall order indeed.
If anyone is up for the challenge it is co-directors Peter Docter (“Up”) and Ronaldo Del Carmen (“Ratatouille,” “Brave,” “Monsters University”), who also co-wrote the original story. Riley is a fairly ordinary Minnesota girl who is crazy about hockey and loves her friends. When her dad gets a new job in San Francisco, Riley’s emotions fall into turmoil. Though Joy (voice of Amy Poehler) is Riley’s dominant emotion, Joy is often at odds with her nemesis Sadness (Phyllis Smith), who means well but drags down everyone and everything she touches. Riley’s dark side, Anger is vividly expressed by acerbic comedian Lewis Black. Bill Hader’s quivering voice expresses Fear and Mindy Kaling curls her lip in Disgust. Riley herself is voiced by Kaitlyn Dias. Mom’s lovely voice is provided by Diane Lane while not-so-dear old dad is Kyle MacLachlan. There are many other characters, all representing emotions and feelings within Riley. The story itself is quite simple. Feeling overwhelmed and disillusioned, Riley concludes the best solution is to buy a bus ticket and go back to Minnesota. Any of us who are still in touch with our inner child know that it can be a scary place. Emotions are so fresh, real and confusing. Here they are presented visually in a great and perilous adventure. Will it fly over the heads of children? I don’t think so.
Al Pacino as a Lovelorn Texas Locksmith?
That’s what Pacino is in “Manglehorn.” Pacino has often been accused of over-acting. As Angelo “A.J.” Manglehorn he is so dialed down he barely has a pulse. Manglehorn is a man of many regrets. The biggest is the love of his life whom he lost to bad choices and a stretch in prison. Now he works and lives alone in a crummy double-wide. His closest friend is a cat. Into his life wanders a pretty bank teller named Dawn (Holly Hunter, looking careworn). Dawn seems as lonely as A.J., and she sees in him something he can’t see in himself. But Paul Logan’s screenplay can’t really be called a romance. Director David Gordon Green (“Pineapple Express”) seems content to stay on the downbeat side of life with his Gloomy Gus non-hero. This one is for hardcore Pacino fans only.