Jun 14 2024

Inside Out 2

Building on the basic human emotions of Joy (Amy Poehler), Anger (Lewis Black), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Fear (Tony Hale), and Disgust (Liza Lapira), young Riley (Kensington Tallman) is about to launch into puberty adding a whole host of new characters to her head including Anxiety (Maya Hawke), Envy (Ayo Edebiri), and Ennui (Adèle Exarchopoulos). Learning to navigate new schools, new friends, and new challenges while trying to be the best youth hockey player she can be might be too much. How will Riley ever right the ship? Written by Meg LeFauve, Dave Holstein, and Kelsey Mann and Directed by Mann, this reprisal of Pixar’s wildly creative psychology 101 romp Inside Out (2015) continues to build on the colorful visualization of the human psyche; although, since the majority of the Inside Out “world building” was already established in the previous work, the overall feel is less breakthrough and instead more additive, and thus a little less impressive despite the clearly well researched concepts and ideas. Also of note, a recasting of several of the key characters, Fear and Disgust, previously voiced by Bill Hader and Mindy Kaling, apparently for financial reasons, changes things up a bit and sits as strange considering the level of success that Inside Out was originally met with. Sure, the new voices are fine, but the rationale seems misguided. Meanwhile, true to Pixar standards, the almost paint by number plotline and story follows their recipe for success to a tee. Characters are faced with a challenge and must choose option A or B, but in reality must choose option C to transcend their situation all together. Checking all the boxes for family fun, this encore performance will still have audiences smiling and laughing along the way, cringe and all. Running 96 minutes in length, Inside Out 2 is rated PG.

Jun 7 2024

The Watchers

A young and emotionally tortured woman living in Ireland, Mina (Dakota Fanning), finds herself traveling across the small country to make delivery for her day job. On her way to Belfast, a car breakdown leaves her sidetracked and stranded in a strange and uncharted forest, now, getting home may be nothing but a dream, especially if the mysterious inhabitants of the woods have anything to say about it, but who are they, and what do they want?Written by Ishana Shyamalan based on the short story by A.M. Shine and Directed by Shyamalan this serves as the Freshman attempt at directing for Shyamalan, the daughter of famed Director M. Night Shyamalan. And, like a chip off the old block, this mystical adventure with a mild twist serves as a great jumping off point for the young Director. Visually and auditorily Shyamalan has achieved what few can do right out of the gates, although, some CGI work in act three comes up a bit shy, the end result is a very watchable Teen/Young Adult style film that can be appreciated by older audiences just the same. And, save for some pacing issues in the final act, the overall story arc and is well played out, although the cardinal sin of narration to setup the mystery does kick the film off, grumble grumble. Regardless, at a brisk one hour and forty two minutes of runtime, the film makes sure it does not overstay its welcome, mostly…The Watchers is rated PG-13.

Jun 7 2024

Bad Boys Ride or Die

Will Smith and Martin Lawrence are back as officers Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett called to action to clear the name of their beloved former captain. As it turns out multiple branches of the Miami law enforcement are inundated with rats and ne’er-do-wells, it’s time to clean house, may the hijinks ensue. Directed by the Belgian duo Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, this formulaic buddy cop adventure packs in plenty of call backs and cameos from the last 29 years, and, manages to bring the fun and adventure just as audiences have come to expect. While no real stretches in screenwriting and action sequencing have been made, Adil and Bilall have definitely been taking solid notes from previous Bad Boys (1995) Director, Michael Bay, with a few modernized twists to boot, nice. As for Smith and Lawrence, the chemistry and magic is still present, they’re entertainers through and through, solid. It should also be noted, near the top of the list of producers in this franchise remains, of course, the blockbuster maker, Jerry Bruckheimer, say what you will but his formula for cinematic hits works. Running just shy of two hours this romp is rated R for ridiculous, it’s fun, enjoy the show.