A Wrinkle in Time

March 9, 2018 by  
Filed under Kiko, Reviews

Starring: Storm Reid, Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon
Directed by: Ava DuVernay (“Selma”)
Written by: Jennifer Lee (“Frozen”) and Jeff Stockwell (“Bridge to Terabithia”)

Adapted from the 1962 fantasy novel by Madeleine L’Engle, the cinematic version of “A Wrinkle in Time” is a massive mess. It’s unfortunate, especially since rising filmmaking star Ava DuVernay (“Selma”), who is breaking barriers for women of color behind the camera, will have to chalk this one up as her first dud in a young but impressive career that started with the 2012 award-winning sleeper drama “Middle of Nowhere.”

“A Wrinkle in Time” is a convoluted fairy tale that attempts to turn its nonsensical narrative into something compelling. Sadly, the story, which was considered by many in the industry to be unfilmable (so was “Life of Pi,” and that turned out brilliant), is a bad combination of technobabble plotting, underwritten characters and overdone and unrealistic CGI effects.

When scientist Mr. Murray (Chris Pine) finds a wormhole allowing him to time travel billions of light years, he makes the leap, but gets lost for four years somewhere, we suppose, in all the wrinkles. When his daughter Meg (Storm Reid) finds out she is the only one that can bring him home, she makes a journey to find him inside the depths of time with her little brother, friend and three enchanted beings – Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon), Mrs. Who (Mindy Kaling) and Mrs. Which (Oprah Winfrey).

Far from a future classic, “A Wrinkle in Time” will be relegated to the category where forgotten fantasy family fare like “The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl” takes up space.

Inside Out

June 19, 2015 by  
Filed under Kiko, Reviews

Starring: Amy Poehler, Bill Hader, Lewis Black
Directed by: Pete Docter (“Up”) and Rolando Del Carmen (debut)
Written by: Pete Docter (“Up”), Meg LeFauve (debut) and Josh Cooley (debut)

In its most thematically rich film of the last few years, Pixar Animation Studios returns to form with “Inside Out,” a lively and heartfelt movie that proves the studio probably workshops much bigger ideas than casting Larry the Cable Guy as a rusty old pick up. While “Inside Out” might be a bit too complex narratively for the youngest of moviegoers (“Eternal Sunshine” for kindergarteners, perhaps?), there is still enough silliness mixed with the more serious issues to push this Pixar project ahead of schlock like “Cars” or overrated Oscar winners like “Brave.”

In “Inside Out,” Pixar veteran director/writer Pete Docter (“Up”) and newbie screenwriters Meg LeFauve and Josh Cooley dive deep into the thoughts and emotions of a child by bringing each of these emotions to life through a cast of colorful characters. They may not be as memorable as those in the “Toy Story” franchise, but Pixar does a great job in “Inside Out” casting the voices of the five lead roles – Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black), and Disgust (Mindy Kaling). By anthropomorphizing each emotion, “Inside Out” cleverly attempts to explain just how a child’s mind functions without getting too caught up in the psychological intricacies.

Here, we follow a young girl named Riley (Kaitlyn Dias), who is uprooted by her parents and moved to San Francisco when her father gets new job. Depressed about having to leave all her friends behind, we watch from the inside of Riley’s head as she comes to terms with her new life and how her five main emotions (joy, sadness, fear, anger, and disgust) control her mood and personality in her new environment. When Joy and Sadness are accidentally lost inside Riley’s subconscious, the two emotions must find their way back to the “Control Room” where they can help Riley manage her feelings. Along the way, they must confront Riley’s memories, some of which are fading as she transforms from little girl to young lady.

Much like “Toy Story” and the idea that all childish things must be put away once we reach a certain age, “Inside Out” captures that same kind of emotion that will give older kids the chance to think about the way they react to certain things in their own lives.  There is a message here about how emotion isn’t monotone that is important for moviegoers of all ages. It’s nice to see Pixar finding that sweet spot between entertainment and inspiration again.