This week at the movies, we’ve got mixed emotions (Inside Out featuring voice performances by Amy Poehler and Mindy Kaling) and risky business (Dope, starring Shameik Moore and Zoë Kravitz). What do the critics have to say?
Visually daring, narratively complex, technically groundbreaking: Pixar’s best work has been all this and more, redefining the term “family entertainment” in the process. Critics say Inside Out is another triumph for the studio, an audacious, funny, complex film that pulls off a seemingly impossible conceit. Riley is an 11-year-old girl whose family has relocated from Minnesota to San Francisco, and she’s struggling with her emotions, which are personified by a group of colorful avatars that live and work in her brain. But when Joy (voiced by Amy Poehler) and Sadness (Phyllis Smith) find themselves stuck in the recesses of her memory banks, Riley’s mental state becomes increasingly precarious. The pundits say the Certified Fresh Inside Out, with its energetic voice performances and breathtaking animation, can stand alongside Ratatouille, WALL-E, and Up as a superior example of Pixar’s advancement of the medium. (Check out our video interviews with the stars, along with our countdown of every Pixar movie by Tomatometer.)
Dope flies in the face of summer movie conventions: it’s a Sundance-approved teen comedy with a cast of up-and-comers that confounds expectations at nearly every turn. Critics say the film is a breath of fresh air — it’s energetic and thoughtful, and it could prove to be a star-making vehicle for talented newcomer Shameik Moore. A bookworm whose taste for 1990s fashion and music makes him an outcast at school and in his neighborhood, Malcolm (Moore) dreams of getting accepted to Harvard. However, when he winds up in possession of a bag full of drugs, our hero must come up with a plan to unload the product without ending up in serious trouble. The pundits say Dope has occasional bumpy patches, but mostly, it’s an insightful, warm-hearted film that’s bursting with personality.
“Mother’s Mercy” wraps up a particularly dark Game of Thrones season with a finale that delivers strong character work and and a handful of appropriately bleak cliffhangers.
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell sets engaging performances against an enchanting canvas, even if some of the magic from the source material gets lost along the way.
True Detective‘s second season stands on its own as a solid police drama, with memorable moments and resonant relationships outweighing predictable plot twists.
Also Opening This Week In Limited Release