Friday, June 19, 2015

Inside Out

Tonight I saw Inside Out, starring the voices of Amy Poehler and Phyllis Smith.

Pixar has done it again. They've gone and created a visually stunning, colorful, magical film that not only pleases the aural senses, but pulls your heart out and presents it to you on a platter.

Riley (Katilyn Dias) is a happy-go-lucky 11-year-old girl living a cozy life with her parents in Minnesota until one day everything changes: the family moves to San Francisco for her dad's job.

She keeps a brave face and tries not to get too upset when the house they arrive to is nothing like the one they left, and the moving van with all their stuff is delayed. The emotions inside of her are fighting the good fight to keep her safe and content, but Sadness (Smith) keeps grabbing her memories and forcing them to change shape. In an effort to keep Riley from getting dismal, Joy (Poehler) tries to rescue those memories and in the process gets catapulted out of "headquarters," leaving only Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black) and Disgust (Mindy Kaling) to rule her feelings.

Soon Riley is miserable at her new school, mad at her parents and ready to run back to the Midwest where she can again find happiness. Joy and Sadness have to do whatever it takes to get back inside headquarters to prevent her from going too far down the dark path.

What an amazing metaphor for an adolescent brain!

Didn't we all feel like a crazy train wreck of emotions during those years? Or was it just me because my parents put me through a move when I was the same age as Riley's character? I'm bargaining that most young people—male and female—feel so much uncertainty as their mind and body matures that they're often overwhelmed.

The voice actors here are well-known, but thankfully it's not distracting, because they're so perfectly suited to their assigned emotion (especially Smith, who everyone will remember from the American version of The Office).

I laughed, I cried, I mused, I remembered, I reflected, I hurt, I healed... I loved this film.


Saturday, June 06, 2015


Tonight I screened the documentary Tig.

I remember opening my email in October of 2012 and seeing one from Louis C.K. that started like this:

Greetings to the people and parts of people that are reading this. 
Hi. This is Louis. I'm a comedian and you bought a thing from me. 
Well, I'm writing to tell You that there is a new thing you can buy on 
my website It's an audio standup set by not me but 
another comedian named Tig Notaro. Why am I selling someone else's 
comedy on my website? 
This film answers that question and so many more. 

It begins with a chronicle of the horrible life events that Tig endured leading up to her cancer diagnosis (which is the news that led to the standup set that Louis C.K. mentioned in that email) and progresses almost to present day as she navigates reclaiming her career and building a family.

Sounds depressing, eh?

Don't think that for a minute. This was the most hilarious, life-affirming, just-what-anyone-going-through-anything-should-see documentary that I've ever witnessed. Throughout death and disappointment—and facing more death—Ms. Notaro sees the funny in everything and can't help but deliver it. That's the entire film. Whether she's in front of an audience or chatting with loved ones, she's making herself (and anyone exposed to her) laugh. 

I enjoyed learning how she endured all of the tragedy, and was inspired by her strength throughout. 

Though I did purchase her routine at the time, and knew of her previous struggles, I had no idea what she has faced since then and I was so (relieved and) thrilled to see her walk into our Q & A after the film, healthy and strong in good spirits.

The film is dangerously raw and heartbreaking .... so basically perfect.


Tig screened at the 41st annual Seattle International Film Festival. It will be released on Netflix July 17.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

The Little Death

Tonight I screened The Little Death, starring Josh Lawson and Kate Box.

There are many ways to participate in and enjoy sex—the couples in this film give several methods a lighthearted spotlight in this story about relationships.

In a suburb of Sydney, a community seems to be plagued by various 'issues' in the bedroom. One pair has tried desperately for three years to conceive, making sex more routine than pleasurable; another sees a counselor for their lack of communication and begins role play as a homework assignment.

Perhaps less conventional, there's a man who wants his wife primarily while she's sleeping and another couple who promises to nurture the fetishes of the other only to discover one of them is horrific.

Add to that a deaf man who asks a sign language interpreter to translate phone sex and a cookie-baking sex offender who has just moved into the neighborhood and you have quite a tale to tell.

I laughed throughout, and so did the rest of the audience.

The way these men and women are portrayed is comical, but not too far-fetched to be real. From their difficulties come real challenges and the absurdity of how they're presented makes them accessible.

I hope to see more from director Josh Lawson (who also stars in the film) because he's found a refreshing new way to tell a story.