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Thread: INSIDE OUT (Pete Doctor 2015)

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    INSIDE OUT (Pete Doctor 2015)

    Pixar's Inside Out (Pete Doctor 2015)



    Even pixar kids need to get the blues

    The images of Pixar are familiar: everywhere, heavily advertised, with game and toy offshoots, and nearly every year for twenty years another big new one. They are computer animated and don't try to look hand drawn or naturalistic, content to resemble puffy plastic dolls. They are not ironic about this, like the Warner Brothers Lego Movie or the Belgian stop-motion animation A Town Called Panic. These films had a more sophisticated appeal because of their direct reference to their own artificiality. In Inside Out, the little girl protagonist is seen a couple times up close looking like a "real" girl, but it's a throwaway. Perhaps the puffy plastic is deemed more reassuring.

    Sometimes Pixar movies present a well-realized world, such as the French restaurant of Ratatouille, the dystopian present and more dystopian future in WALL-E. But often they get so involved in something or other the artificiality doesn't matter, or becomes the thing. Inside Out is about psychology, or morality, or morale. Most of its action takes place "inside," in a notional unseen world of personified humors, moods, or mental elements, mainly as they appear in the head and heart of a ten-year-old girl called Riley. We see her transplanted from her original Minnesota home, friends, and girls hockey team by her parents, who move to San Francisco (the show-home of Pixar, which is located in Emeryville, California, across the Bay). This is for her father's job, presumably a "start-up," though details, filtered through Riley, are vague.

    The movie is a better-than-average Pixar product, and pretty original, though it's sort of a throwback to things like comedies of humours and morality plays (being a throwback not being a bad thing, but better if done knowledgeably). This is a film for kids, even if parts of it go over their heads. It also draws, if feebly, on Freudian psychology. Its dreams are candy-coated -- or toned in pretty blue for cuddly sadness. Its message is a key bit of psychobabble: we have to feel our feelings. We have to feel our sadness in order to move on to something new. Riley gives up taking a Greyhound bus back to Minnesota on her own and just tells her mom and dad she misses "home." "We miss home too," says her dad. Mom and dad and Riley all hug, and she can get her spirit back and join a new, San Francisco, hockey team at eleven, and face the mystery of puberty.

    Everyone, in Inside Out, has his or her butch or femme console of directors. They comprise Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger, Disgust. And there is other stuff, lots, in fact. There is an Imaginary Friend, who for a while plays a key role in trying to save Riley from despair over the move to San Francisco. (You have to hand it to the Pixar folks: they are content to make San Francisco, the shimmering City by the Bay, look like a pretty grim place, as it looks to Riley in her early days there.) There is a Hollywood studio in Riley's head that produces her dreams (huge missed irony op there). There is a section for Abstract Thought. There is the Unconscious, where "the bad things hide." And there are mazes and mazes of high wall files of glowing cubic temporary and permanent memories. For some reason Joy seems to be in charge, and she bustles about, making sure days are good and (positive) memories are preserved. But Sadness, a frumpy, plump, blue-colored, but rather sweet young woman, has an important role to play that will be realized later.

    Like Toy Story and so many other animations, Inside Out occupies a lot of its time with a mad chase whose purpose we are in dire danger of forgetting along the way. In it Joy, Sorrow, and the Imaginary Friend collaborate in negotiating complicated, nightmarish landscapes and obstacles trying to catch a notional train back to somewhere so they can save Riley from -- what? Perhaps herself. Or this is Joy's aim, till she has the aperçu that embracing Sadness can be the essential stepping stone to new. . . Joy. Riley learns to accept her sadness and express it to her mom and dad, and her mom and dad learn the important lesson that when their child is sad or angry it's an important indicator of things going on that she needs to share.

    This does resemble the old dramas of the "humours," which grew out of an ancient system of psychology of four personality types based on body liquids, of which there were imagined also to be four: blood (sanguine), phlegm (plegmatic) yellow bile (choleric), and black bile (melancholy). The sanguine person would be gregarious, hopeful, chatty, and upbeat -- like Joy here, though Joy lacks some of the nuances, being mainly just a nervously manipulative type, focused only on Riley having good days. The plegmatic personality may be the most complex one, since it comprises inwardness, contemplation, reserve, but also patience, tolerance, and more. We realize that Pixar's plumping for "Disgust," "Fear," and "Anger" means they're focused on quick reactions rather than the subtleties of human behavior. They see us as in danger of being repelled, running away, flying off the handle, or bursting into tears. In modern terms Inside Out might relate to the concept of "cognitive therapy," which teaches that we can recognize our feelings as they arise and realize they are not us, and can be changed (or perhaps waited out). And Inside Out's subtlest messages may be about the complexities of having to relinquish childhood memories in order to grow up, and parents having to allow that.

    The contrarian critic Armond White is right when he says in National Review that the American media are excessive in worshipping Pixar projects, but that this one is "not so bad." For a child, and for some adults, its mechanistic interpretation of psychology may be useful. It will be a new child mythology, though any good hand-illustrated children's book is worth a half dozen Pixar movies, and anything hand-animated or stop-motion would look better. Mr. White is also right in saying, in the same review, that when his idol Stephen Spielberg doesn't direct the Spielberg film, it's rarely much good. This true of the new Jurassic one.

    Inside Out, 94 mins., debuted at Cannes May 2015; half a dozen other festivals; opening theatrically from mid-June all over, US release 19 June, UK 24 July.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 06-20-2015 at 11:27 PM.

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    Great stuff Chris.
    That new Jurassic World is doing killer business. I'm kinda non-plussed by the Jurassic franchise, I don't think anything can top the original. That was a landmark movie on many levels. Pixar has always been top-notch with their work, but I admit I've only seen 3: Toy Story, Cars, and Monsters Inc. Maybe they've lost some of their shine?
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

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    Thanks, Johann.

    A mother I know sat through the new JURASSIC with kids last weekend and said the adults were laughing at the acting throughout, when not snoozing. The kids had a great time. Maybe adults who like it are revisiting a youth they are reluctant to leave.

    The Pixar moivies are highly competent committee efforts, with much narrative ingenuity. I had some good things to say about TOY STORY 3, but pointed out how much more I liked A TOWN CALLED PANIC and Wes Anderson's FANTASTIC MR. FOX. Not to mention the visual style of many small independent animated fils I have seen in the SF Animation Festival with the Best of Annecy, which I've only covered twice, unfortunately. Until you've seen the inventive, sophisticated images far-flung independent animators are doing, you can't judge. When you've seen the best of Annecy, you won't like the homogenized American product so much any more maybe. I like the outer fringes; I followed the more risqué anime for a while decades ago. But I like real films of real people and prefer Wes doing that.

    My favorite Pixar movies have been WALL•E , RATATOUILLE, and THE INCREDIBLES, and I parted company with Oscar on UP. I have kept abreast of their products, except that I have not seen any of the ones with the words "monsters" or "cars" in them.

    To me the pervasive satisfaction with Pixar is proof that people don't know or care how things look. Pixar images are not only homogeneous, they're ugly. But a lot of work goes into them, and it gets results in slick product. I just would rather watch FANTASTIC MR. FOX not only because of the richer more real images, but for the subtler, wittier dialogue and better voice cast.

    You can still watch the Rex the Dog "Bubbalicious" video animation HERE. I love it when minimal means are used to stimulate our imaginations and funny bones. Ditto with PLATO from the 2011 Annecy festival, which plays with dimensionality. Or BIG BANG BIG BOOM, which makes the world its animation canvas.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 06-22-2015 at 05:06 PM.

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    Chris seems to be mysteriously psychological

    Chris never comes out to declare a simple and straight forward statement as to his opinion of this movie. It seems to be somewhere between pretty good and not great. He uses ironically the same psychobabble as the movie but in much more complicated terms as Inside Out uses in simplistic terms as if this will somehow help its reader to understand Chris's opinion and basis for his opinion of this movie. But for me I got pretty lost.

    Chris also notes how the quality of the animation is not as crisp or detailed as other contemporary animated movies, but its hard to tell what his opinion of the animation used in Inside Out really is. Chris offers up a good summary of the plot and nice observations of some of the experiences and descriptions of the movie. Yet it's hard to tell exactly what the problem Chris has with the movie and what could have been done to make it better.

    Personally, I believe its a strength of this movie which so far is getting rave reviews by audience members that this animated movie without the typical special effects and press for authentic realistic detail is able to make such an impression. The movie's strength appears to lie in the great storyline for children that probes the inner workings of the importance of emotions using scientific principles translated to young people and presented on the big screen. The nicely emotive music is just perfect in denoted a connective bond between the movie's emotive outpouring with instilling the same within the audience. Among the best movies of the year in my opinion, live action or not.

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    FRENCH TITLE, FRENCH POSTER FOR THE FILM
    ITS ALLOCINÉ PRESS RATING IS 4.4/5.


    'Tabuno often says this about Chris...' (Why do you always talk about me in the third person?) but it's not so hard to see I'm not a fan of Pixar, but recognize the importance of their products and have admired some. I did not say the quality of the animation is " not as crisp and detailed" as I would like. To me the creatures all look like hard round plastic toys, a feature I noted is used ironically to good effect in other animations, such as THE LEGO MOVIE and A TOWN CALLED PANIC. I have made clear in the past that I like stop-motion animation, (as in PANIC, or in FANTASTIC MR. FOX, with its use of furry dolls), and like independent animations that show the mark of a single auteur, and I gave some examples above in my reply to Johann, which has links so you can watch them. There is a lot of difference and innovation in these indie animations, often seen at the premier European animation fest at Annecy, France (see YouTube for more examples). But mainly I just object to the ugly, kitschy look of a lot of Pixar product, the garish colors, the tasteless general look. I think the popularity of Pixar shows an indifference to aesthetics. They're plenty crisp, and detailed, I guess. I'm just surprised people are so indifferent. I'm an artist; I have an artistic background and care about the look of films. Granted, Pixar films are like a lot of other animations, not far from old Disney ones. But classic Disney was another world. And they were hand-drawn. As I prefer stop-motion, I prefer hand-drawn. As for INSIDE OUTSIDE, I think you can see I'd rate it as pretty good, or not bad, which is about the same thing. Its anthropomorphizing of selected elements of personality and mind is something new, at least for them, and worthy of looking into. Leading the plot into a big chase to catch Riley's "Train of Thought," though, was a disappointing, if conventional, direction.

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    Glad you're still around tabuno. Is Chris being "mysteriously psychological"? I don't think so. He's pretty direct.
    He has a point about the "look" of the Pixar characters- they are colorful, but they are basically just random shapes, animated to life. I don't go apeshit over that type of animation. His point about Fantastic Mr. Fox is great. In comparison, Wes Anderson is a few levels above Pixar, and he only did it once! That's talent!

    I'm waiting for the truly amazing, can't-miss-it Pixar movie. I'm sure it will appear. I don't think they've made one of those yet.
    They've come awfully close, but I haven't bought a single Pixar DVD...and I love animation. (see my DC Animated Movies thread...)
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

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    Thamls. Johann, for backing me up on Pixar and FANTASTIC MR. FOX. I just see a world of fabulous inventiveness in the world of animation out there that puts Pixar in perspective, and makes their efficiently promoted audience-pleasers drop down a peg or two. I hope you are right, that they will make an un missable classic one day. They have provided plenty of entertainment with some of their animated films; I have good memories of TOY STORY 3 and WALL-E's first part that spring to mind for me. And that in spite of the generally unappetizing look of their critters and scenes.

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    Got the Message

    Chris made a great point about someone like me without an art background trying to comment on a Chris comment is like trying to tell a master chef that I hate this food and as for cooking I'd probably suggest to people if you would rather not die of food poisoning avoid me. I can't argue with Chris's reasoning on this one.

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    I didn't say anything about you and didn't say I was an expert, just that I have an art background and care how things look. You have every right to disagree with me. I was just trying to explain how I arrived at my opinion about the Pixar look, and Johann (no artist as far as I know) backed me up on the superiority of Wes Anderson's stop-motion animation in Fantastic Mr. Fox.

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    P.s. The brilliant new Indian film COURT directed by Chaitanya Tamhane got US theatrical release yesterday 15 July 2015. It's a fantastic film, one of the best, maybe the best of this year's New Directors/New Films series at Lincoln Center. It is showing at Film Forum in NYC. Should be coming to art houses in the rest of the country.

    See my Filmleaf Festival Coverage review here.

    Also I'm looking forward to Woody Allen's Irrational Man, Jud Appatow's Trainwreck, and Paul Rudd's Ant-Man and The Stanford Prison Experiment all opening tomorrow in NYC and LA, next week here (SF, Berkeley). Trainwreck and Ant-Man here tomorrow.

    Some locations (Landmark Embarcadero SF) have Ken Loach's Jimmy's Hall.


    COURT
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 07-16-2015 at 09:05 PM.

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    Qualitative Awareness

    Chris has the additional artistic education and the vast experience of many film viewings that allows him to observe and perceive movies in a different way than the mass audience. He can experience many things and describe them with words and theory that are perhaps beyond the comprehension of other people. In some ways, Chris can perceive and experience a movie in ways that aren't the same for other people and thus it's really hard to compare reviews of the same movie. In some ways, Chris and I don't really experience the same movie nor even review the same movie because we perceive a movie in much different ways and use different words or even with words but with different meanings. Like Eskimos' who experience snow differently than Americans living in the Continental United States, film buffs have a way of experiencing the more subtle and appreciative fine details often overlooked by those people who can only see and hear the plain language and totality of the media giants who appear to control the message and the medium.

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    In some ways that's true, yes. And writing reviews and having seen a lot of movies, even good recent ones, I ought to be able to make good comparisons that some average viewers might not have mental access to. At the same time I hope I'm not an Eskimo. Sometimes I felt weird when I was young and I don't want to experience that all over now. I'm still a guy at the movies. Our comparison was with Fantastic Mr. Fox though. That's pretty much available to anyone.

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    tabuno- have no fear over disagreeing with anyone. Hold fast to your opinions and perceptions at all times and defend them, even if someone else seems to starkly disagree. Respect is always there (at least from my end ;) and I never take anything personally here. We all love movies and feel like writing about 'em. Let the chips fall and roll with the punches. There is no underlying malice on the website. Belittling is never intended here. Ever.

    And no, I am not an artist and never have been one. I'm a fanboy, an enthusiast. And quite happy with that situation.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

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