Movie Review: Inside Out (2015)

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Pete Docter’s animated Inside Out (B) is like a really inventive improv skit that wears out its welcome. It plumbs the goings-on inside a tween’s mind through the antics and skulduggery of five personified interior monologues. Color coded to match the memory marbles that the protagonist is losing, these sensory sprites (Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust and Fear) must summon every trick in the book to help the young lady keep it all together when her family uproots from Middle America to the West Coast. TV comedy stars Amy Poehler and Phyllis Smith shine brightest as polar opposites; others such as Mindy Kaling are a bit wasted in underwritten voice roles. The overall conceit is intellectually stimulating as the film ponders how life’s most profound memories graft a combination of laughter and tears. Therapists will have a field day with the insider cognitive references; the rest of us may struggle to remember if the film had any big laughs or payoffs aside from set pieces and set-ups that mildly amuse. There’s a fine line between tickle and treacle. Aside from some delightful sentiment conjured up by the hero’s childhood imaginary friend (Richard Kind), there wasn’t much of an emotional arc. And the characters in the brain are lost a bit too long in the poppy field of forgetfulness as they race to re-unite and provide mental balance for viewers to remember why we’re supposed to care. Disney has done this cranium command before, but Pixar has made proceedings a bit too clever by half. Overall it’s got lots of great qualities but doesn’t quite win best personality. [Note: The animated short Lava that appears before the film is an enchanting take about the ballad of a lonely volcano and made all the better with new immersive Dolby technologies in select theatres].

A Word About #DolbyCinema:

I had the good fortune of viewing Inside Out courtesy of friends at Dolby. My screening was held at the new Dolby Cinema at AMC Prime now open at AMC North Point Mall 12 in Atlanta.

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Dolby Cinema at AMC Prime combines Dolby Atmos, the highest quality immersive sound system, with the dazzling, colorful images of Dolby Vision. Journalists who have been to early Dolby Cinema screenings are calling the experience revolutionary. Geoffrey Morrison of CNET called Dolby Cinema “a breathtaking cinema experience.” Ryan Waniata of Digital Trends said the combination of Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos is “mind-blowing.” This movie is one of the first titles shown in the Dolby Cinema format, so it’s a perfect way to be introduced to this revolutionary new movie experience. #DolbyCinema

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Inside Out by Disney Pixar Presented in Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision

I've reviewed films for more than 20 years. Current movie reviews of new theatrical releases and direct-to-video or streaming films are added weekly to the Silver Screen Capture movie news site. Many capsule critiques originally appeared in expanded form in my syndicated Lights Camera Reaction column.

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Posted in 2015, Rent It Tonight
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