MOVIES.IE’s ONE TO WATCH!
INSIDE OUT (USA/TBC/102mins)
Directed by Pete Docter and Ronaldo Del Carmen. Starring Amy Poehler, Mindy Kaling, Bill Hader, Lewis Black, Kaitlin Dias, Richard Kind, Diane Lane, Kyle McLachlan.
THE PLOT: Joy (Amy Poehler) came into being as an emotion in Riley’s (Kaitlyn Dias) head the moment she was born, quickly followed by Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Fear (Bill Hader), Disgust (Mindy Kaling) and Anger (Lewis Black). As Riley has grown, they have protected her, and helped her make decisions, but when Riley’s family moves from Minnesota to San Fransisco, and Joy and Sadness become lost in Riley’s mind, they must band together to return to headquarters and help Riley deal with the changes in her life.
THE VERDICT: Director Pete Docter has, over the years, made some of the most beloved Pixar films, in Up and Monsters, Inc. The studio has seemed lost in recent times, turning to unnecessary sequels to keep telling stories The fantastic news, however, is that INSIDE OUT is smart, funny, imaginative and sad; a wonderful return to from for Pixar.
Amy Poehler leads the emotion gang as Joy. Fans of PARKS AND RECREATION will know that Poehler does bubbly and fun incredibly well, and she really does embody the character’s name. Phyllis Smith is lovely as Sadness, making her not outright despair, but feel like the sadness that creeps over you while waiting for a bus in the rain. Mindy Kaling plays Disgust as a tween girl; grossed out by everything, Hader makes fear comedic and jumpy, and Lewis Black brings righteous rage to Anger. Richard Kind does lovely work as Riley’s almost forgotten imaginary friend Bing Bong, creating the balance between joy and sadness that is the film’s ultimate message.
The story, based on Pete Docter watching his young daughter struggle with her emotions, and written for the screen by Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve and Josh Cooley is essentially an adventure movie with some heartfelt soul searching blended in for good measure. The dialogue is sweet and smart, and although we spend much of the film in Riley’s head, she feels like a fully realised and rounded character. The film also has a hearty dose of nostalgia for forgotten childhood, as Riley is on the cusp of puberty and the massive change this brings. The world of Riley’s mind is filled with clever quirks – trains of thought, dream weavers whose place of work is like a Hollywood Studio and Islands of Personality – as well as explanations as to why ad jingles are never forgotten, while parts of our childhood that inform who we are, are lost.
Directors Pete Docter and Ronaldo Del Carmen make INSIDE OUTa well paced adventure movie, filled with warmth and heart. The message of the film is one of inclusivity and hope, andrealising that without the lows, the highs just aren’t as sweet. There is also the sweet feeling that Riley’s emotions want to protect her, even though they are often as lost as she is. Inside Out is well paced and fun, with the laughs and tears coming in equal measure, to create a surprising and beautifully animated film that will touch adults and kids alike.
In all, INSIDE OUT is a sweet, funny, warm and beautiful. Poehler and Smith form the emotional heart of the film, and their adventure isboth thrilling and heartbreaking. INSIDE OUT is a beautiful return to form for Pixar, and just as endearing and nostalgic as we could hope from Pixar director Pete Docter.
Review by Brogen Hayes
YOU’RE UGLY TOO (Ireland/15A/78mins)
Directed by Mark Noonan. Starring Aiden Gillen, Lauren Kinsella, Jesse Morris, Erilka Sainte, George Pistereanu.
THE PLOT: After her mother dies, Stacey (Lauren Kinsella) is sent to live with her uncle Will (Aidan Gillen). Stacey is full of anger at her life, and Will has been released from prison on compassionate leave to care for her, so the two must find a way to make this new relationship work.
THE VERDICT: YOU’RE UGLY TOO is a low-key Irish drama about the sacrifices we make for the ones we love, and finding a way to make a strange new situation work. Aidan Gillen is on strong form as former convict Will. It is clear that the character is trying his best to make the situation work, but his old habits are hard to break, and come back with a vengeance. Gillen makes Will sensitive and caring, but with a darker side that only shows now and again. Lauren Kinsella plays Stacey as a typical Dublin ruffian who, at 11 years old, would buy and sell you if you gave her half a chance. The relationship between Will and Stacey is a joy, however, as he is constantly trying to impress her, and she is too cool to be on what she considers to be an old man’s level. The rest of the cast is made up of Erika Sainte and George Pistereanu.
Mark Noonan’s screenplay focuses on a new family unit trying to do good in the face of troubles, health issues and an inability to change. The dialogue is clever enough, and exposition comes when it is needed, but not in waves of clunky dialogue. In reality, not a whole lot happens in You’re Ugly Too, but it is a careful examination of family and finding a way to make a painful situation work.
As director, Noonan allows the action to unfold in front of the camera, without ever making the situations feel forced or staged. As well as this, the performances are strong, and the relationships between the characters feel real and natural. There are some narrative structures thrown in to make the film feel worthwhile, but they work for the most part, and the film is fairly well paced; enough to keep the audience engaged.
In all, YOU’RE UGLY TOO contains strong performances from Gillen and Kinsella, is carefully written and well directed. An engaging look at modern families in Ireland and a powerful debut from Mark Noonan.
Review by Brogen Hayes
THE LEGEND OF BARNEY THOMSON (Canada | UK/15A/96mins)
Directed by Robert Carlyle. Starring Robert Carlyle, Emma Thompson, Ray Winstone, Tom Courtenay, Ashley Jensen.
THE PLOT: Barney Thomson (Robert Carlyle) is a Glaswegian barber who wishes he had made more from his life. Prone to outbursts of anger, he is finally fired but as he begs for his job back, he accidentally kills his boss and, with a serial killer on the loose, decides to get rid of the body and hope for the best. Of course, nothing ever seems to go Barney’s way, and a series of unfortunate events later, he finds himself a reluctant and pursued serial killer.
THE VERDICT: Although Robert Carlyle seems to be having a great time on TV at the moment, with recent roles in ONCE UPON A TIME and SGU STARGATE UNIVERSE, it seems like a long time since we have seen him on our cinema screens. This week, all of that changes with Carlyle not only playing the lead role in THE LEGEND OF BARNEY THOMSON, but also taking over behind the camera, with his directorial debut.
Carlyle plays Thomson as a man who seems bewildered at how he has meandered through his life, and wishes for more. Swinging between anger and bewilderment, Carlyle makes the character warm and unfortunate enough for the audience to root for him. The real star of the show here, however, is Emma Thompson as Barney’s overbearing and ultimately cruel mother Cemolina. Thompson is hilarious and vitriolic as Cemolina, and it is she that shines through every scene that she is in. Ray Winstone sticks with type and plays angry and disappointed police officer Holdall, Ashley Jensen steps away from the nice woman roles she is known for and curses up a blue streak as Detective Inspector June Robertson, and Tom Courtenay turns up as Chief Superintendent McManaman.
The story, written for the screen by Richard Cowan and Colin McLaren, is a dark, violent and profane look at a disappointing life that suddenly becomes extraordinary… For all the wrong reasons. The dialogue is not only filled with some incredibly inventive insults – ‘You look like a haunted tree’ being a standout – but it is twisted and twisting enough to keep the audience engaged for the most part. Towards the end, audience sympathy for Thomson does begin to wane a little, but the final resolution is not only deliciously dark, but wonderfully funny.
As director, Robert Carlyle captures the dark side of Glasgow, the rapid fire insults and wit of its inhabitants and the balance between dark bloody violence and twisted humour. The characters are rounded out enough for the audience to engage with them, and he has directed a standout performance from Emma Thompson. The pacing of the film, however, is a little sloppy. The film runs out of steam in its final act and, at times, feels way longer than its 96 minute running time. The film is beautifully and carefully shot, however, with even the grimiest of locations looking stylish and oddly beautiful.
In all, THE LEGEND OF BARNEY THOMSON is a stylish and clever directorial debut from Robert Carlyle. The careful balance between gore and laughs is struck, for the most part, and although the novelty and shine wear off the film in the final act, there is enough here to keep the audience engaged and rooting for the anti-hero. Carlyle carries the film ably as the title character, and Emma Thompson is perhaps the best – and most vulgar – she has ever been. With THE LEGEND OF BARNEY THOMSON, Carlyle proves that while he still has some lessons to learn, he is a director to watch out for.
Review by Brogen Hayes
BEST OF ENEMIES (USA/IFI/87mins)
Directed by Robert Gordon and Morgan Neville. Starring Gore Vidal, William F. Buckley, John Lithgow, Kelsey Grammer, Noam Chomsky, Reid Buckley,Dick Cavett.
THE PLOT:While covering the Republican and Democrat National Conventions in 1968, ABC chanced upon the idea of having Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley hash out the issues on national television. What followed changed American television forever, and ended up haunting the two men for the rest of their lives.
THE VERDICT: Filmmakers Robert Gordon and Morgan Neville delve behind the scenes of television history, reminding audiences of the power of debate, but getting tangled in the myth of the men in front of the camera.
The film is told through the debates themselves, readings from the works of William F. Buckey – voiced by Kelsey Grammer – and Gore Vidal – voiced by John Lithgow – as well as interviews with Buckley’s brother Reid, TV producers, biographers and politial commentators. The film goes into great detail about the men, their ideologies, their hatred for one another and the political and cultural climate at the time, but this often to its detriment.
Directors Robert Gordon and Morgan Neville weave the story together well; giving insight into American TV audiences at the time, as well as just what ABC were trying to do and the obvious similarities between these two men who seemed to despise one another. The trouble is that once they start delving too far into the background of the central personalities, momentum and audience engagement is lost. Thank god then, that they have the footage of the sniping, biting and clever debates between Buckley and Vidal to back them up.
In all, BEST OF ENEMIES tries to give too much background into a series of famous TV debates, and perhaps this is the fault of the running time. The debates themselves are fascinating insights into the art of the insult, but the film becomes too tangled between past and present for it to feel cohesive and engaging for its entire running time.
Review by Brogen Hayes
Directed byMia Hansen-Løve. Starring Félix de Givry, Pauline Etienne, Vincent Macaigne, Hugo Conzelmann, Zita Hanrot, Roman Kolinka, Hugo Bienvenu, Greta Gerwig and Brady Corbet.
THE PLOT: Mia Hansen-Løve’s film EDEN follows Parisian DJ Paul (Félix de Givry), as he spends 20 years trying to make a name for his DJ outfit Cheers, and goes through several relationships, battles with addiction and falls into debt.
THE VERDICT: EDEN is a strange sort of film, filled with decent garage and house music, but not much by way of a story, the film feels like a travelogue through Paul’s life and, as a character who doesn’t seem to learn anything until it is far too late in his life (and in the film), this leads to a musically grand but generally disappointing film.
The cast is made up of Félix de Givry, Pauline Etienne, Vincent Macaigne, Hugo Conzelmann, Zita Hanrot, Roman Kolinka and Hugo Bienvenu with cameo appearances from Greta Gerwig and Brady Corbet. As the film follows Paul – who does not go on much of an emotional journey – the rest of the characters flit in and out of the action, with little chance to develop the people they play into anything other than background players.
Mia Hansen-Løve and Sven Hansen-Løve’s story follows a man who tries to make it as big as his contemporaries Daft Punk – whose music is liberally used throughout the film – but instead descends into a life of drugs and debt. The script is thin, with many club scenes used to fill in the gaps and bridge the time between 1993 and 2013. This leaves the film feeling rather pointless, although there is an argument for the film being so thin since Paul has little meaning in his life. It may not be an accurate or particularly satisfying argument, however, as there seems little point in flashing the years on the screen and dragging the audience through yet another club scene.
As director, Mia Hansen-Løve keeps the pacing of the film at a steady crawl, but never seems compelled to make the characters anything other than superficial. Even as Paul periodically returns to his worried mother, he never seems to listen to anyone but himself. The look of the film is strong, however, and the music enjoyable, so this goes some way to making EDEN engaging, but with a running time of 131 minutes, capturing the feel of the club scene is one thing, but without a strong narrative the film feels drawn out and laboured.
In all, EDEN has a wonderful soundtrack, some strong stylistic choices and some fun club scenes, but the lack of a story and rounded characters means the film falls from being an exploration of struggle and failure into a journey through the life of a self absorbed DJ who seems to learn little through his life.
Review by Brogen Hayes