Inside Out (movie review)

Inside_Out_(2015_film)_posterTremendously entertaining, visually gorgeous and deeply touching, Inside Out might just be the best movie that I have watched so far this year.

Released by Disney and Pixar, Inside Out tackles the mind of an 11-year-old girl where five personified emotions (Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust) deal with her daily activities and experiences. Now, she has to deal about moving in to a new place, a new school and a new neighborhood with the help (or burden?) of these five emotions.

Kudos to the movie’s directors Pete Docter and Ronnie del Carmen for visualizing a unique story the way the moviegoers experienced it. Such a good story isn’t put to waste because of their careful directing. The voice actors are so alive in the film, especially Amy Poehler who voiced out Joy, of course. I remember her stint in Parks and Recreation wherein she played Leslie Knope, a very jovial character who’s the heart of that great comedy series. Her co-actors in the movie are also perfect for their roles: Phyllis Smith (who really looked like Sadness haha), Saturday Night Live’s Bill Hader (Fear), Lewis Black (troubling Anger) and Mindy Kaling (a shoo-in for the playfully sarcastic Disgust). The animation, the graphics and the visual effects are beyond amazing, while the musical score fills everything in that make the movie perfect.

There are three things that I have pondered in this movie.

One, you can’t just be solely happy in life. There are certain things that we can only learn from experiencing other emotions. Sadness is what we feel when we’re hurt or rejected. If you come to think about it, feeling sad is not that bad. Of course, nobody wants to be sad but there are times when inevitable things happen that makes us experience it. This feeling of being down is nasty, but we could somehow turn it into a way that can work for us. Sadness can make us realign our thoughts about things, including what made us sad in the first place. Also, it’s a way for us to know the people who really care about our feelings. It’s also a truth that sadness can force us to really move on. It’s been said for a lot of times that we should refuse anger if we can. In a way, that’s correct for we might not be thinking straight if we really are angry. But truthfully, we can use it as a gauge on what really upsets us that makes us move to change what it is. Fear is there to know our limits while disgust can be used to really know what we like and dislike.

Two, the team up of Disney and Pixar is still the best out there for animated films. They might have hit a bit of a rocky road for the past few years, but they have proven with Inside Out that they’re definitely still the best in the field. Only they can consistently show those popping visuals that carry out a very inventive story about the emotional center of the human mind that touches every heart of those who watch. While watching, I think I’ve seen (in my peripheral vision) that a daddy (who was with his wife an kid) sort of sighed and sniffled during the very emotional scenes.

Three, if the creators can find a way to make a sequel out of this movie, I’ll be more than willing to watch it in the silver screen!

Inside Out’s movie rating by the pondering movie fan: 5 out of 5


Catching Fire


Catching Fire is one of those rare occurrences  that a sequel of a movie is much, much better than its predecessor. Whether it’s because of the bigger budget or a better director, the movie is certain to give the moviegoer a great film experience upon watching.

Faithful adaptation. I have read the book where the movie is based and I can say that this movie version is much more faithful than The Hunger Games. It’s been roughly two years since I’ve read it but after watching one scene after another, glimpses of what I have read suddenly came back. It seemed like it was only recently when I have read the Suzanne Collins book. Bulk of what really happened in the book came alive on the big screen. Thanks to the movie’s screenwriters, Michael deBruyn and Simon Beaufoy, the story in the movie is as faithful as the one in the book.

Great acting. Ten minutes into the film, I was already feeling the drama and the heaviness of its themes. Jennifer Lawrence (as Katniss) and Josh Hutcherson (as Peeta) are, without a doubt, two of the best actors in this generation. They make small scenes seem big and important with the way they act: their nuances, their delivery of lines, their movements. They made me believe once again in their characters. Meanwhile, I like the supporting cast much more in this movie than the last one. They were more into their elements. Just look out for Woody Harrelson as Haymitch, Elizabeth Banks as Effie, Stanley Tucci as Caesar Flickerman, Phillip Seymour Hoffman as Plutarch and Doland Sutherland as President Snow who were among the stand-outs. The main villain (Sutherland) was more menacing in this movie. Few of his dialogues might just give you the creeps.

Amazing visuals. The visual effects are made so well they effectively blended on their scenes. It’s certain they will still catch your attention when they do appear. I am especially impressed during the Quarter Quell wherein the effects used are much, much more believable than the ones used during the first movie.

Good musical score. The sounds used for the entire movie are not just appropriate to the scenes: they served to amplify the movie’s take on fear, dwelling on hope and touch on bravery.

It will keep you glued. For me to stay focused on the movie for more than two hours is a great feat. It has caught my attention early on and stayed that way all throughout. Such great directing by Francis Lawrence made me so curious scene after scene about how the movie’s going to play out. And I am impressed by how the movie turned out.

Hope conquers fear. Hoping amidst fear is immensely presented in this movie. Katniss, being the new beacon of hope for the people, is initially afraid to bear the torch of rebellion. But with the help of her friends and allies, she’s able to carry on and continue the fire that aims to overturn the wretched form of government that they have.


Catching Fire’s movie rating by the pondering movie fan: 5 out  of 5