Little by little I’m getting caught up on all these summer movies I’ve been meaning to review! In fact, as of this moment, I don’t have ANY NEW MOVIES in line to review!!! …But I will after this weekend. Lol. Anyway, I wanted to knock these two films out with another one of my Duets. One of these films is as wonderful as everyone expected, I believe. As for the other…honestly, it’s not that bad. At least in my opinion. But we’ll see what you guys think. Let’s get to it! 🙂
Synopsis: “A dying real estate mogul transfers his consciousness into a healthy young body, but soon finds that neither the procedure nor the company that performed it are quite what they seem.” –www.imdb.com
The High Notes:
- Ryan Reynolds and Matthew Goode. Reynolds is, of course, as charming as ever as leading man Damian—or rather a younger version of leading man Damian (the older version is played by Ben Kingsley). Really, I think it’s pretty impossible not to like Reynolds in everything he does. And despite his name, Goode does bad very well. He just has one of those sinister English voices, you know? They’re both great, and I think their scenes together are among the best.
- The concept. Maybe it’s nothing ground-breaking, but I thought it was a neat little idea. Honestly, I don’t think it’s such a stretch to think that one day in the not-so-distant future the rich will be able to achieve immortality with some crazy mind transplant machine…but maybe I’ve been watching too much sci-fi stuff. Haha. Either way, it’s fun to explore the idea.
- The action. Shoot-outs, car chases, fist fights, etc. Really, what more could you ask for from an action/sci-fi thriller? It works.
The Low Notes:
- Some of the most important characters are pretty bland. I don’t want to spoil anything, but we meet a couple of characters who end up playing a vital role in the film, and…well, I could understand why one of them wasn’t very developed because she’s just a little kid (Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen), but her mom (Natalie Martinez) could use some more personality.
- Ben Kingsley is kind of wasted in this. He’s the focus of the first 20 minutes or so, but then he’s just…gone. I realize that’s kind of essential for this story, but, I mean, it’s Ben Kingsley. Seems like a shame to have someone that awesome around for such a short amount of time.
- This film doesn’t stand out from the crowd. It’s a decent amount of fun and explores some cool things, but it doesn’t go far with those concepts or really distinguish itself among similar sci-fi thrillers. It’s not bad, really—certainly not as bad as the critics are saying. The real problem, I think, is the wasted potential because it could be significantly more interesting.
The Staccato Version: Self/less won’t be winning any awards by a long shot, but as far as pure popcorn entertainment goes, it really isn’t bad. Reynolds and Goode make it an enjoyable enough film—even if it doesn’t exactly wow us. If you’re a fan of either of those actors, it’s worth a rental, maybe even a matinee ticket if you’re looking for a way to kill time.
My Grade: B
Synopsis: “After young Riley is uprooted from her Midwest life and moved to San Francisco, her emotions—Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust, and Sadness—conflict on how best to navigate a new city, house, and school.” –www.imdb.com
The High Notes:
- The vibrant animation. Pixar pretty much always has visually spectacular films, but I think this is one of my favorites as far as that goes. I think the design of the inside of Riley’s (Kaitlyn Dias) head is brilliant—I love the glowing memory orbs and the colorful islands that represent important aspects of her life. And I think the designs of the emotions are really cute. Fun fact: according to director Pete Docter, the looks of the emotions are based on various shapes. Joy (Amy Poehler) is a star, Sadness (Phyllis Smith) is a teardrop, Anger (Lewis Black) is a fire brick, Fear (Bill Hader) is a raw nerve, and Disgust (Mindy Kaling) is broccoli. Personally, I think that’s some pretty clever animation.
- The fantastic voice cast. Poehler embodies the exuberance of Joy. Smith has such a pitiful voice as Sadness that I couldn’t imagine anyone else in the role. Black is…well, if you’ve ever heard Black’s voice, you know that he was basically born to play Anger. Hader is pretty much a vocal chameleon, and he does a fantastic job per usual as frantic Fear. Kaling puts forth all of her sass and attitude as diva Disgust. Newbie Dias does a commendable job as young Riley, and Diane Lane and Kyle MacLachlan are just as good as her parents. Oh, and Richard Kind is also a solid choice for Bing Bong, whom I will not explore in great detail for fear of spoilers. 😉
- The range of feels. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve felt so many feels from a Pixar movie since the first few minutes of Up (*heart-wrenching sob*). The film reaches you on a deeper level emotionally because it ties in to things that pretty much everyone has experienced at some point in his/her life. It’s definitely a stronger film because of this.
The Low Notes:
- Though some of the world inside Riley’s head is explored, I actually was hoping to see more. I think the islands in particular would’ve been fun to see, though I understand why the film doesn’t spend much time on them. I even thought it would’ve been interesting to meet a few more of the characters in Riley’s head. There’s always a risk of spreading the story too thin by introducing too many of these places or people, but I enjoyed the film’s take on such a delightfully abstract idea so much that in this case, I think less is just less, and that’s a shame.
- I wonder if, for a kids’ movie, this one’s almost too Maybe the film won’t hit the younger kiddos quite as hard, but the ones in elementary school or so—especially kids that age who have recently moved or undergone some kind of big life change—might get a little too depressed. It ends on a happy (and hilarious) note, but even so I can’t help wondering if the feels get a smidge too heavy.
- For me, it just doesn’t outdo many of the other Pixar films. I know, I know—I shouldn’t compare them. They’re all so different that doing that isn’t fair. But I can’t help it. While I think the creativity, the animation, and the cast are all just as strong (maybe even a bit stronger) than your average Pixar film, I think the plot could’ve been better. It just felt very…simplified. Know what I mean? I don’t know. Maybe I’ve just seen so many Pixar films and I’m beginning to recognize a formula. Either way, I felt there was something lacking there, though only by the tiniest degree.
The Staccato Version: Despite my nitpicking, Inside Out really is a fun, beautiful, crazy creative film with loads of laughs and a few solemn, emotional moments that might prompt you to dig out that Kleenex you put in your purse (because you should always be packing those when attending a Disney movie). Plenty of stuff in this film for adults and kids to appreciate equally. Definitely worth a movie ticket. I’m gonna go ahead and call now: here’s our Animated Feature Film Oscar winner for 2016. Once you’ve seen it, I’m sure you’ll agree.
My Grade: A-