Weekend Movies: Right Side Up

Dinosaurs currently rule the box office. Although this weekend offers an extremely worthwhile alternative that returns Pixar to its creative and heartfelt form, there’s no way it’ll to topple ‘Jurassic World’. Is there?

While the majority of the Pixar founders have gone on to other less-successful projects, Pete Docter (perhaps the most creative and brilliant of the bunch) has stayed with the beleaguered studio that has released mostly so-so pictures like ‘Cars 2‘, ‘Brave‘ and ‘Monsters University‘ since 2011. With ‘Inside Out‘ Docter gives us the perfection that we once expected from the studio that gave us the unforgettable ‘Toy Story‘ franchise.

The movie (mostly) takes place within a little girl’s mind, showing us the group of emotions (Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust) that collectively create her personality. When her family moves across the country for a work opportunity, the girl’s emotional state is thrown out of whack. The happiest and most influential of her emotions, Joy, has to try to keep it all together in a tale that resembles the journey of ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ with the witty conceptual creativity of ‘Monsters, Inc.’. As we’ve come to expect from Docter’s films, you might want to bring a tissue or two.

I haven’t seen a single online or television ad for it, but Open Road Films is pushing ‘Dope‘ onto more than 2,000 screens this weekend. I can only assume that this is due to its strong reception at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Without a single star, the movie tells the story of a high school kid from a rough Southern California neighborhood. Despite his less-than-privileged background and upbringing, he maintains a positive and a march-to-the-beat-of-your-own-drummer attitude. In trying to achieve aspirations of greatness, he and his friends accidentally get into a little bit of trouble that they have to find their way out of.

Also buzzing from Sundance is ‘Infinitely Polar Bear‘, which Sony Pictures Classics is releasing on a limited screen count. Mark Ruffalo stars as a bi-polar father of two whose ex-wife (Zoe Saldana) goes to school out-of-state and leaves him with the kids. He accepts the challenge with the hope of it healing their broken relationship and restoring the dynamic of their family unit.

David Gordon Green, one of the most unrestrained and refreshingly talented modern filmmakers, also has a new picture hitting three screens. Starring Al Pacino in a performance that’s said to be his best in decades, ‘Manglehorn‘ tells the story of a broken old man who comes to terms with his tragic past through a new friendship with a woman who takes to him (Holly Hunter). Chris Messina co-stars in this drama that appears to strategically unfold piece-by-piece until the big picture is revealed.

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