Inside Out (Cert U)
Featuring the voices of: Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Bill Hader, Lewis Black, Mindy Kaling, Kaitlyn Dias, Diane Lane, Kyle MacLachlan, Richard Kind, John Ratzenberger.
A mother (voiced by Diane Lane) and father (Kyle MacLachlan) welcome a baby girl called Riley (Kaitlyn Dias) into the world.
From the moment she opens her eyes, Riley’s mood is shaped by five coloured emotions — golden Joy (Amy Poehler), blue Sadness (Phyllis Smith), purple Fear (Bill Hader), red Anger (Lewis Black) and green Disgust (Mindy Kaling) — which bicker behind a large control desk laden with buttons and levers inside the child’s head.
When Riley turns 11, her parents relocate from Minnesota to San Francisco, and Sadness unwittingly challenges Joy for dominance.
The emotions clash and are expelled from Headquarters.
Aided by Riley’s imaginary friend Bing Bong (Richard Kind), Joy and Sadness blaze a haphazard trail on the chugging train of thought back to Fear, Anger and Disgust, who have been left in charge with disastrous consequences.
Inside Out is a visually stunning and emotionally rich comedy, and also Pixar’s best film since the holy animated trilogy of WALL-E, Up and Toy Story 3. Vocal performances are note perfect, led by Poehler’s exuberant portrayal of Joy and Smith’s sincere embodiment of Sadness, who tugs heartstrings as the film reaches its exquisite conclusion.
Directors Pete Docter and Ronaldo Del Carmen elegantly tilt their film at the windmills of the mind and deliver a hilarious, heartfelt and ultimately life-affirming adventure that celebrates childhood innocence, family unity and the power of the human spirit to overcome adversity.
Laughter and tears abound, ensuring parents will repeatedly dab their eyes while children whoop and gurgle with glee at the slapstick and rollicking action sequences.
Southpaw (Cert 15)
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rachel McAdams, Oona Laurence, Forest Whitaker, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Naomie Harris, Miguel Gomez.
Billy Hope (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a giant of the boxing ring, who celebrates retaining his championship belt with his wife Maureen (Rachel McAdams), precocious daughter Leila (Oona Laurence) and lifelong manager Jordan Mains (Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson).
Tragedy strikes and Leila is wrested away from Billy by the courts after he sinks into a mire of alcohol-sodden despair.
In order to reunite his fractured family, Billy must prove to child services officer Angela Rivera (Naomie Harris) that he can be a responsible parent.
To earn enough money to provide a home for Leila, Billy heads back into the boxing ring with the help of old school trainer Tick Willis (Forest Whitaker) to fight his nemesis, Miguel “Magic” Escobar (Miguel Gomez).
Southpaw is a rousing parable of triumph over adversity that won’t knock out any fans of The Champ, Rocky and other displays of pugilistic big screen machismo.
At 123 minutes, Antoine Fuqua’s cliche-riddled contender expects us to go 12 rounds with training montages and a euphoric Eminem soundtrack before the obligatory final showdown of brawn over brains. Gyllenhaal looks in peak physical shape but mumbles his lines, some of which are incomprehensible. McAdams illuminates her limited scenes while Laurence proves she can cry on cue like a leaky tap.
Jackson plays his role with swagger, echoing the capitalist interests of modern sport when his bling-laden promoter grins, “If it makes money, it makes sense.”
Fuqua orchestrates testosterone-fuelled skirmishes inside the ring with brio. Ironically, for a film that packs a wallop during briskly edited bouts, Southpaw delivers only a few light jabs to our heartstrings.
Ted 2 (Cert 15)
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Amanda Seyfried, Jessica Barth, John Slattery, Giovanni Ribisi, Morgan Freeman, Patrick Warburton, Michael Dorn, Cocoa Brown and the voice of Seth MacFarlane.
Potty-mouthed stuffed bear Ted (voiced by Seth MacFarlane) marries brassy checkout girl Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth) and one year later, the honeymoon is over and Ted and Tami-Lynn are arguing incessantly.
Ted’s supermarket co-worker (Cocoa Brown) passes on a nugget of her wisdom: “You better have a baby or your marriage is over”.
The bear lacks the necessary appendage to impregnate Tami-Lynn so the couple approaches an adoption agency.
The application is red flagged because the state of Massachusetts recognises Ted as a piece of property not a person.
Soon after, the bear loses his job and the marriage is annulled. “We take this all the way to Judge Judy if we have to,” bellows Ted’s best friend John (Mark Wahlberg) and the buddies head to court with idealistic attorney Samantha L Jackson (Amanda Seyfried) to uphold Ted’s civil rights.
Ted 2 is a lacklustre sequel, padded with as much fluff as the huggable hero.
Sweetness and romance, which distinguished the original, have been diluted to the point of blandness here and a climactic set piece at a pop culture convention is an unsightly mess.
The second film runs on empty in terms of originality, relying entirely on our affection for the characters to sustain interest.
Direction plods without any urgency and politically incorrect, gross-out interludes are laced with malice.
Between the frequent yawns, writer-director MacFarlane conjures moments of magic — new love interest Seyfried’s a cappella rendition of “Mean Ol’ Moon”; a bizarre yet hilarious cameo by Liam Neeson — but these are fleeting.