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June 19th, 2015

Movie Review - Inside Out

Inside Out

Starring: Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Richard Kind, Bill Hader, Lewis Black, Mindy Kaling, Kaitlyn Dias, Diane Lane, Kyle McLachlan, and more.

Directed by: Peter Docter and Ronaldo Del Carmen Story by: Peter Docter and Ronaldo Del Carmen Screenplay by: Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley, and Pete Docter Music by: Michael Giacchino

Premise: Riley's inner emotions thought life was great and couldn't get better - until the family makes a sudden move from Minnesota to San Francisco. Joy, the leader of Riley's emotions, tries to keep everything cheerful and happy, though more and more things start to go wrong. When Sadness's touch suddenly starts turning Riley's happy core memories blue and Joy tries to stop it, everything escalates when the core memories accidentally get swept up and away. Caught along with the core memory spheres, Joy and Sadness struggle to get the memories back to HQ as Riley's internal structure, that which makes Riley Riley, starts collapsing. (Rated PG)


1) Voice Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Pixar chose a great cast not only for the humans in the film, but for their emotions as well. Amy Poehler is perky and very peppy as Joy. Phyllis Smith oozes her Sadness. Bill Hader, Lewis Black, and Mindy Kaling are a blast as Fear, Anger, and Disgust. It is Richard Kind you have to watch out for though, as he pulls at your insides as Riley's old imaginary friend, Bing Bong.

2) Artwork/Animation - Total Thumbs Up: As they've shown over and over again, Pixar knows animation. The whole concept of personifying our emotions and making each of them distinct was a challenge they handled quite well. Each emotion had it's own physical traits and even textures. As we meet other denizen's inside Riley, the variations increase. Bing Bong, as an imaginary friend, was given multiple textures, which are fun to figure out.

There's also a close up of Joy late in the film where you can see her hair is something different than what you thought, and her skin is more like fairy dust, and looked amazing! (I have a secret theory she's an in-joke tying back to Disney's Tinker Bell, but have no proof. Fear and Anger are possibly based on others as well, though I've not been able to track down my memory balls on them yet. Yay for homage!)

As always, Pixar pays a great amount of attention to detail. Be it animated versions of San Francisco or the awesome Cloud City inside Imagination Land. The shortcut to the train station and what happens inside the abstract room made for some fun art choices.

The whole concept and setup for Riley HQ and how the audience is introduced to the wonders of the job as Joy meets Riley after she's born were nicely done. Loved how Joy and the audience discover what happens to memory as Riley gets her first happy moment - visible joy, what a treat!

There were some nice understated bits of information that were shared in the animation. While bits probably easily picked up by our subconscious, they might not pass you by. Pay close attention to Riley's team and then the teams for her father and mother. Subtle clues of the lessons Riley's team must learn that her parent's teams already have. Also, note the leaders in each group and their expressions and mannerism, speaking of different levels of confidence, and even of their very essence and how none are exactly the same. Well done!

The animated short before the main film was very cute. It's called LAVA.

3) Plot/Story - Total Thumbs Up: One of the fun things about Pixar and several other animation companies is how they've adopted the Japanese philosophy that animation is a medium that can be used to tell stories to people of all ages. The one thing Pixar has definitely mastered is the multiple level set up, where you make it fun and bright and fast for the kids, but also deep, layered, and fun for the adults as well.

A ton of themes are woven into the plot - family, hardships, growing up, teamwork, nostalgia, assumptions and how they can be wrong, taking things for granted, being forgotten, and more. All these themes dive and merge and separate much like they do in real life, which gives them a high resonance factor with the audience. Especially to the adults, as they've been on both sides of the equation.

They don't have you weeping openly by the first five minutes like "UP", but the time does come. So, if you tend to cry at movies, take some tissues with you. You'll need them!

At first glance the plot for "Inside Out" seems straight forward, but it's not. Lots of lovely surprises, humor, and fun.

Conclusion: "Inside Out" is another great addition to the Pixar lineup. Lots of fun for the kids as well as angst and fun for the adults. They poke fun at all sorts of things. Definitely worth watching! And stay through the first half of the credits. Watching other people's and animal emotion groups is a hoot!

Rating: 4.25 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price to See Again)

Gloria Oliver
Unveiling the Fantastic



(2015) Fantasy

The King is Dead! Long Live the Undead King!

"What are you implying?"

The magister glided forward and scrunched down beside him.

"That in order to bathe, you must first actually get into the bath."


(2014) Urban Fantasy

It took everything from her, except revenge!

The muscles in my right arm jerked from tension as I tried to make it move and it resisted. A shrill scream inside my head insisted I didn't want to do this. That if I did, there'd be no way to take it back. "I...I'm afraid."


(2011) Young Adult – Fantasy

Which is worse…the monster without or within?


Home—family—the two things he would never have, the two things forever denied him…because of her.

Anger welled inside him, the heat of it suffusing him to the core, gurgling with seething emotions the total opposite of the coolness splashing down from the fountain nearby. Before he realized what he was doing, Jarrin stepped inside the gazebo.

(2007) Young Adult – Fantasy
“Harry Potter meets Dragon Riders of Pern”


“Do you need any help?” she asked. “Just tell me what you want me to do. If you prefer, I’m sure I can round up at least a few people to come over and give you a hand.”

Kel slowly shook his head. “It’s all right. Thanks anyway.” His voice lowered to where she almost couldn’t hear it. “This is all part of my punishment.’

She frowned, not understanding what he meant. “Punishment?”

Kel cocked his head in Clarence’s direction. In a flash, she understood. None of this was an accident. Clarence had landed there deliberately, hoping to make Kel pay for all he went through in the past month. She shook her head, not wanting to believe this, but what the dragon said next took any doubts right out of her head.

(2008) Young Adult – Fantasy
“To save the world she must DIE! Or must she?”


Panic and fear filled with utter helplessness made her dizzy. She knew what would be done with her, she knew what they planned. But there was nothing she could do to stop any of it.

Sharp gasps echoed in her ears as she felt the room’s cold air caress the Eye.

“You were right. She is the one.”

(2002) Adult/YA – Japanese Fantasy Adventure
“The Last Samurai meets Pirates of the Caribbean”


Laying the blade on the floor before him, Toshi parted his kimono until his stomach lay exposed. He tucked his sleeves beneath his legs to hold him upright if he should falter. Ignoring Asano, he took up the blade. His shoulder flared with pain and he tried not to flinch, as he grabbed the blade with both hands. He turned the wakizashi until its sharp point was aimed at his belly, the residence of his soul.

(2004) Adult/YA – Fantasy Mystery
“He tried to forget his past, but his past wouldn’t forget him”


Torren took a step back a sudden shudder racking through him. It was as if he’d never left, as if the boy he’d been would be coming back-though the one who’d loved this room and all these things was long, long dead. That boy died when he’d watched his father’s blood pour forth from his mouth, the end of a sword protruding from his abdomen. That boy died when he survived while everyone else lay dead.

Info, sample chapters, and free reads at www.gloriaoliver.com

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