On I Am Big Bird and The Rest of This Weekend's New Film Releases.
Director: Pete Docter.
Writers: Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley, Pete Docter
Cast: Amy Poehler, Mindy Kaling, Phyllis Smith, Lewis Black.
Playing At: Wide.
Believe it or not, it’s been two whole years since we've had a new Pixar movie. Whether or not you ascribe to the theory that they’ve been phoning it in since Toy Story 3, there's no denying that Inside Out is one of the venerable animation studio’s best films, if not their very best. Amy Poehler voices Joy, one of the many emotions inside the head of a 12-year-old girl, competing with Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Disgust (Mindy Kaling), Fear (Bill Hader) and Anger (Lewis Black). That might sound a little odd, but trust me when I say this is an incredibly fulfilling cinematic journey. Like the best Pixar films, it’s funny, sad and insightful. Plus, our own Angela Jones loved it.
Director: Rick Famuyiwa.
Writer: Rick Famuyiwa.
Cast: Shameik Moore, Tony Revolori, Kiersey Clemons, A$AP Rocky.
Playing At: Wide.
One of the most popular films at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, Dope is an enjoyable if somewhat formulaic coming-of-age story. It centers on a black geek named Malcolm who has dreams of Harvard but finds himself caught up in a drug-dealing scheme with his friends (Tony Revolori and Kiersey Clemons). The acting, direction and soundtrack (by Pharrell) are top-notch, but the script is occasionally too clever for its own good. Still, this movie has an energetic vibe that’s hard to deny. Our own Javier Fuentes mostly enjoyed its charms.
Director: Claudia Llosa.
Writer: Claudia Llosa.
Cast: Jennifer Connelly, Cillian Murphy, Melanie Laurent, Oona Chaplin.
Playing At: Angelika Dallas, Angelika Plano.
Jennifer Connelly has had a rough go of it since winning her well-deserved Oscar for A Beautiful Mind. Sadly, this doesn’t look like the comeback vehicle she deserves. Reviews have been mixed to harsh for this film, in which she plays a mother who abandons her son after an accident. Melanie Laurent plays the journalist who tries to reunite them.
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl.
Director: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon.
Writer: Jesse Andrews.
Cast: Thomas Mann, RJ Cyler, Olivia Cooke, Nick Offerman.
Playing At: Angelika Dallas, Cinemark West Plano.
The Audience Grand Prize at Sundance this year went to this dramedy based on young adult novel about a high schooler who spends most of his time with a cancer-stricken classmate. Unlike The Fault in Our Stars, expect way more laughs in this one. And much less making out at the Anne Frank House.
I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story.
Directors: Dave LaMattina, Chad N. Walker.
Cast: Carroll Spinney, Frank Oz, Kevin Clash, Roscoe Orman.
Playing At: Texas Theatre.
Carroll Spinney has been playing Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch on Sesame Street for more than four decades. This doc takes a look at his life and career. Bring some tissues when he talks about working with Jim Henson and genuinely touching the lives of the generations of kids who grew up watching the show.
Live from New York!
Director: Bao Nguyen.
Cast: Dan Aykroyd, Alec Baldwin, Dana Carvey, Jimmy Fallon.
Playing At: Texas Theatre.
Since NBC has relentlessly celebrated Saturday Night Live at every possible turn, I’m not sure if we needed a feature-length documentary on the 40-year-old show. Since it’s not airing in prime time, though, expect a little more insight than the typical retrospective, just like the fantastic book the movie’s based on.
Director: Andrew Disney.
Writer: Bradley Jackson.
Cast: Jake Lacy, Nikki Reed, Kate McKinnon, Beck Bennett.
Playing At: LOOK Cinemas.
Don’t let the horrible poster fool you. There’s more to this film – originally called Intramural – than meets the eye. Jake Lacy (Obvious Child) plays a fifth-year senior who pulls together his old flag football team for one last hurrah in a parody of both college sex romps and underdog sports movies. The cast includes lots of SNL vets, so hopefully there are some genuine laughs in this one. Bonus: Director Andrew Disney is a Fort Worth native. Check out our interview with him from earlier this week.
The Fifth Element.
Director: Luc Besson.
Writers: Luc Besson, Robert Mark Kamen.
Cast: Bruce Willis, Gary Oldman, Milla Jovovich, Ian Holm.
Playing At: Inwood Theatre.
Showings: Friday, June 19 and Saturday, June 20.
I love every ridiculous aspect of this mid-’90s sci-fi blast. Futuristic space opera? Check. Outlandish costumes designed by Jean-Paul Gaultier? Oh yeah. A terrible Southern accent from Gary Oldman? It’s got that, too. And, of course, there's also Milla Jovovich sending every straight ’90s boy’s puberty into overdrive. I miss fun sci-fi. Other than Jupiter Ascending, we don’t really get those anymore. So journey back to the ’90s before everything got so serious.