Review: Trainwreck

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DIR: Judd Apatow • WRI: Amy Schumer • PRO: Judd Apatow, Barry Mendel • DOP: Jody Lee Lipes • ED: William Kerr, Peck Prior, Paul Zucker • DES: Kevin Thompson • MUS: Jon Brion • CAST: Amy Schumer, Bill Hader, Brie Larson

Even if you’re not a fan, we’re all familiar with the bog-standard rom-com. Every year at least two sets of impossibly attractive Hollywood A-listers grin at us from buses and billboards. Those hetro couples standing back to back; perhaps she’s giving him a stern/disapproving look, while he shrugs/winks cheekily to camera. Oh, how she will fix him by act three. Trainwreck is a nice subversion of an overused trope.

What’s initially impressive about Trainwreck is the sheer weight of the marketing campaign behind it. Hot-as-s**t Amy Schumer and the accessible, popular Judd Apatow are both massive box -office draws. Unfortunately, what often happens with highly anticipated movies such as this, is the let-down. For example, we all thought Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues was going to have more hilarious one-liners than it did. And The Phantom Menace. That is all. Just The Phantom Menace. Trainwreck certainly promised a lot; what could be more hilarious than a hot mess of a girl teamed with the nerdy, nice guy?

Shumer’s character, also an Amy, is an exaggerated version of her stand-up persona. Taught to avoid commitment at a young age by her philandering father, she spends her spare time boozing and meeting men. Amy’s forced to interview Aaron Conners (Bill Hader), an accomplished sports doctor, for the trashy magazine she works for – and finds herself more attached than she’d planned. I don’t blame her, the chemistry between Bill and Amy is ‘pulpable’. Bill’s performance is both relatable and absolutely adorable, while Amy’s shows an impressive range and depth we’ve not seen from her before. He works well with Amy’s comic timing It should also be noted that a good chunk of the film’s comedic highlights are delivered via the supporting roles of Vanessa Bayer, Tilda Swinton, John Cena and LeBron James.

The difference between Trainwreck and most other Hollywood comedies is that the trailer and released clips do not contain every funny moment or plot point in the film. In fact, there’s a consistent vein of humour throughout, even in sombre moments. This is a perfect moment to pay tribute to a sex scene that is so awkward it would make Ricky Gervais cringe. However, ultimately the best thing about this film… and I’m going to pause as moments like this are so rare…  is that it delivers more than it promised. It’s surprisingly insightful, and features moments of emotional depth delivered by likeable, complex characters.

 

Gemma Creagh

16 (See IFCO for details)
124 minutes

Trainwreck is released 14th August 2015

Trainwreck – Official Website

 

 

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Review: Inside Out

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DIR: Pete Docter, Ronaldo Del Carmen • WRI: Pete Docter, Ronaldo Del Carmen • PRO: Jonas Rivera • ED: Kevin Nolting • MUS: Michael Giacchino • DES: Ralph Eggleston • CAST: Kaitlyn Dias, Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Richard Kind, Bill Hader, Lewis Black, Mindy Kaling, Kyle McLachlan, Diane Lane

 

Celebrated animation filmmaker, writer and six-time Oscar nominee Pete Docter has honed his craft for the past twenty years in quirky box office hits such as Toy Story, A Bug’s Life, Monster’s Inc. and Up. The concept for Docter’s latest collaboration with Disney•Pixar came to the director in 2009 when he became aware of clear behavioural and developmental changes in his daughter’s personality as she approached adolescence. Set inside the mind of prepubescent Riley Anderson, Inside Out explores the psychological angst aligned with the transition from childhood into teenhood from the perspective of the emotions that drive such maturity, producing an absorbingly complex and sophisticated narrative that emotively stirs both on a visceral and intellectual level.

 

Hockey-mad Riley is happy with her carefree life in Minnesota. When her parents suddenly decide to move to San Francisco, everything changes for the young girl, provoking her emotions to spiral out of control. Aware of the suffering she endures, Riley’s five dominant emotions become activated in the Headquarters of her conscious mind, where Joy, Anger, Disgust, Fear and Sadness control how she copes with the challenging ventures in a new school and home. When Sadness, who can nullify other emotions by touching Riley’s memories and turning them to sadness, creates a new, sad core memory, Joy’s attempts to destroy it sees her inadvertently releasing Riley’s other core memories and shutting down her personality islands. As chaotic instability in Riley’s mind ensues, Joy and Sadness attempt to rescue the core memories before the other emotions can dominate her fragmented being, consigning Riley to a life of solitude, misery and sadness.

 

Twenty years since Pixar transfigured the animation filmmaking process with trailblazing innovation in Toy Story and after the recent shaky offerings of Cars 2 and Monster’s University failed to reach the dizzy heights Pixar audiences have become accustomed to, the studio’s fifteenth feature produces an abundance of spectacularly detailed CGI effects combined with an intricately ambitious narrative, which sees Pixar not only return to top form but indeed raise the bar further within animation filmmaking itself. Pursuing an existentially complex yet compassionate narrative trajectory, Inside Out is a rousing rollercoaster of tumultuous thrills balanced by nuanced characters whose raw sensitivities execute the growing pains of childhood with depth, poignancy and intuition. Palpably psychological in tone, the film dissects the profound complexities buried deep within the conscious mind through an erudite and witty script, to make visible the internal suffering of a young girl on the brink of great change, while sedating such cerebral intensity with childlike playfulness and jaunty humour as the activated emotions experience their own hilarious inner vicissitudes.

 

Delineating a perceptive insight into the psychology of memories through acute emotional intelligence, Inside Out takes a classic, universal coming-of-age narrative and didactically informs through an excess of high-spirited humour and ingenious visual allure. The systematic means by which emotions and memories are stored, processed and transformed by interpreting the symbiotic relationship between the human psyche and interpersonal relationships, serves to bring the often concealed emotional self within the psychology of a child to the forefront in a creatively original and intriguing manner. The film’s narrative entanglements document a child’s complex mental development as it adapts to change and does so with such emotional charge, it poses profound philosophical questions about the nature of human psychology and the necessity to engage with its more melancholic aspects, to attain emotional equilibrium.

Even Riley’s most potent emotion, Joy, finds her optimism persistently challenged and the omnipresence of Sadness, equips Riley’s other conflicting emotions to deal with her unpredictability, demonstrating the necessity to wholesomely embrace a variety of emotions, in order for the self to gain an understanding of the mind and flourish. The narrative’s deep-rooted themes unfold with such intellectual ferocity and at such an accelerated rate, that the labyrinthine script at times, struggles to keep pace with its own velocity, the execution of sharpness often compromised for its phenomenal visual style, sometimes failing to control its philosophies on a completely satisfactory level. But overall, Inside Out can boast a dazzling and compelling style that meets its challenging substance with bucket loads of fun, if perhaps its mature themes may swamp a younger audience.

Aware of its own unrivalled mastery within animation filmmaking, Inside Out is a highly self-reflexive, daring and thought-provoking feature, which provides a groundbreaking perspective on the narrative evolution within animation itself. The film delineates a coming-of-age trajectory, both narratively and technically, that challenges the nature of how animation films are produced and received. Adults will appreciate its wholly elaborate and painstakingly detailed production, while its sheer visual wondrousness will appeal to those whose narrative complexities may at times, overwhelm. While its depth may bewilder on occasion, its ambitious execution in transcending existing animation parameters will reposition the narrative and technical boundaries within contemporary film animation and cement Pixar Animation as the leading figurehead in animated film production.

 

Dee O’Donoghue

 

G (See IFCO for details)
103 minutes

Inside Out  is released 24th July 2015

Inside Out  – Official Website

 

 

 

 

 

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The Skeleton Twins

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DIR: Craig Johnson   WRI: Mark Heyman, Craig Johnson   PRO: Stephanie Langhoff, Jennifer Lee, Jacob Pechenik  • DOP: Reed Morano ED: Jennifer Lee  DES: Ola Maslik MUS: Nathan Larson  CAST: Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader, Luke Wilson

It has become an unspoken trope of the comic actor’s career that they must, at some point, try to “break out” – to land a role with enough dramatic weight that they might slip free of whatever one-liner or  bit role previously defined them in the eyes of the audience. Some succeed, many don’t, but even the most successful of these ventures can often feel like a career move posited in a publicist’s office rather than a genuine desire to break form.

 

Not so with The Skeleton Twins; director Craig Johnson’s second effort sees estranged twins Maggie and Milo reunited after a shared trauma in their lives – namely their separate attempts at suicide on the same day, hundreds of miles apart. With SNL alums Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig taking a turn as the titular twins, this could have easily been a cynical vehicle for actors aiming to establish dramatic chops. Instead what unfolds is a nuanced, understated drama with a biting comic edge that can’t help but be sincere.

 

Fresh from a spell in hospital, a reluctant Milo moves in with his sister, oblivious to the fact that his emergency phone-call only just interrupted her own attempt at an overdose. Appalled at her seemingly picket-fence marriage to the uncomplicated Lance (Luke Wilson), Milo is determined to reconnect with the sister he remembers, only to discover the more that he picks at the threads of her life, the more it unravels.

 

Anchored by excellent performances from all involved (Luke Wilson in particular does surprising things with the dull, puppy-like Lance), it is this quietly desperate edge that sets The Skeleton Twins apart from other mumblecore fare. Where the indie sub-genre is largely typified by protagonists suffering early onset mid life crises or a long awaited coming-of-age, The Skeleton Twins instead revolves around stasis, the quiet traumas that creep up on you.

 

Much will be made of the chemistry between Wiig and Hader, and for good reason – their easy banter is put to great use here, encompassing the improvised skits we’re used to seeing as well as achingly awkward moments where forced punchlines fail to fill the silence. Mishandled, the subject matter could have very easily tipped over into something trite, but instead plays out as something a little more nuanced that resists the urge to tidy up after itself.

Ruairí Moore

12A (See IFCO for details)

169 minutes

The Skeleton Twins is released 7th November 2014
The Skeleton Twins – Official Website

 

 

 

 

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Cinema Review: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2

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DIR: Cody Cameron, Kris Pearn • WRI: John Francis Daley, Erica Rivinoja , Jonathan M. Goldstein  PRO: Kirk Bodyfelt  ED: Robert Fisher Jr., Stan Webb DES: Robert Fisher Jr., Stan Webb CAST: Bill Hader, Anna Faris, James Caan, Will Forte, Kristen Schaal, Terry Crews, Andy Samberg, Neil Patrick Harris, Al Pacino

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 is a comedy/adventure for all ages. Featuring Flint Lockwood, Sam Sparks and all of their friends

Flint Lockwood, who lives in Swallow Falls, gets invited to California by his hero scientist Chester V to join the live Corp company where they have the best inventors in the world.

Chester then sends Flint and his friends to go on a dangerous mission to stop a food-making machine Flint had made back at Swallow Falls

I like the animation and the characters and I loved when there was a leak (leek!) in the boat. The script was well written and the music was good as well and even my mum enjoyed it.

In my opinion the film was on for a reasonable amount of time and thought it was very funny and well written although you would really need to see the first one to understand the second one a little more.

Overall it was very enjoyable.

 Deabhan Murray

Aged 10

G (See IFCO for details)

92 mins

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 is released on 25th October 2013

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 – Official Website

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2YsOtCL6c8

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