Prove your humanity: 6   +   3   =  

How much can you ever really know about someone? The answer, I suspect, is very little, hence why we’re all so horrendously bad at working out what other people want. Films at least provide an insight into other minds, though rarely as explicitly as Pixar’s latest. The stand-out release of the week, there’s also boxing, dance music and mercenary action to enjoy.

Pixar, it’s good to have you back. After a disappointing spell since Toy Story 3 (2010), at least by the US animation studio’s ridiculously high standards, Inside Out gets everything back on track. If you’ve ever wondered what goes on inside our heads, director Pete Docter and his team have the answer. Apparently, five emotions rule the roost: Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust and Anger. When things start to go wrong, it’s up to Joy, voiced by the excellent Amy Poehler, to save her young charge. It’s funny, sad, beautiful to look at, and features an imaginary friend called Bing Bong. One of the films of the year.

It’s a very different ascetic in Southpaw, where a scarily buff Jake Gyllenhaal takes to the ring to pummel people in the face, all the while trying to avoid having the features he’s made a decent living from re-arranged. It sounds like standard boxing fare as he weighs up quitting while his luck still holds, and the reviews are mixed, but if ever a sport has proven remarkably proficient at giving us good films, it’s boxing.

Dance music sometimes gets a bad rap; what with all the naff remix CDs and horrendously gaudy music videos. Eden brings back the cool, showing the rise of French touch (think along the lines of Daft Punk) through a fictional DJ. A French film that has received widespread acclaim, it also includes a couple of faces more familiar to the English speaking world such as Greta Gerwig. This needs to be seen in the cinema for the sound system more than anything. Otherwise, you’re just not doing it justice.

Jake Gyllenhaal isn’t the only actor who has been hitting the weights recently. Sean Penn looks a new man in The Gunman, an attempt to merge crazy Liam Neeson action with a social conscience. Out now on DVD, it was panned on release, but I have a soft spot for the film as Penn’s former mercenary finds the past resurfacing after an assassination carried out in the Democratic Republic of the Congo almost a decade before. It’s got nowhere near the depth it pretends to have, but it provides a decent ride.

Well that’s that. I bid you farewell for another week, and will return next time with Tom Cruise on the latest of many impossible missions.

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