INSIDE OUT (U)
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 Min-nesota 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.
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.