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Now showing at Brewery Arts Centre 122a,Highgate,Kendal,Cumbria LA9 4HE 01539 725133

  • Amy
  • Inside Out

Amy 3 stars

movie title

Asif Kapadia's controversial documentary about the life and times of singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse featuring contributions from her friends and family. The film details Winehouse's battle with drug and alcohol addiction as well as mental health issues, and charts events leading up to her death from alcohol poisoning at the age of just 27.

  • GenreBiography, Documentary, Musical
  • CastAmy Winehouse.
  • DirectorAsif Kapadia.
  • WriterAsif Kapadia.
  • CountryUK
  • Duration127 mins
  • Official site
  • Release03/07/2015

With her distinctive beehive hairdo, thick eyeliner and deep, soulful vocal delivery, Amy Winehouse became a defiantly outspoken icon for a generation. Born and raised in Southgate, north London, she drew inspiration from the music of Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughan and Tony Bennett, and exorcised personal demons through her songwriting, encapsulating experiences of heartache, abandonment and despair in her emotionally raw lyrics.

"My destructive side has grown a mile wide/And I question myself again," she laments prophetically in the song What Is It About Men on her debut album, Frank. Scarred by the separation of her parents, Winehouse concealed an eating disorder from those closest to her and repeatedly sought personal oblivion in a heady cocktail of alcohol and drugs.

Her death in July 2011, at the same age as Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and Kurt Cobain, sparked a period of national soul-searching. Asif Kapadia's deeply moving documentary charts the turbulent life of the songbird, including contributions from many of her friends and family, and some of the people who worked with her and were touched by her fragility and candour.

Unfolding largely in chronological order, Amy begins with home video footage of a good friend's 14th birthday and meticulously charts her rise to celebrity, incorporating performances, interviews, rare photographs and reminiscences of the people who knew her well.

"If I really thought I was famous, I'd top myself," Winehouse tells one journalist early in the film, her words casting a shadow over subsequent scenes of triumph as Frank leaves critics reaching for superlatives and she storms America with the follow-up Back To Black, earning five Grammy awards including Record Of The Year and Song Of The Year.

The film doesn't pull punches with its depiction of her battles with drug and alcohol addiction, posing difficult questions about the culpability of the media and some of her inner circle in her tragic downfall.

Through Kapadia's lens, her father Mitchell shoulders some of that blame, firstly by advising Winehouse not to go into rehab - "I felt that's Amy's responsibility to get herself well," he offers by way of an explanation - and then by gatecrashing her recuperation on St Lucia with a reality TV crew in tow to bolster his media profile.

Her husband Blake Fielder-Civil is depicted as a similarly destructive influence, including footage of them together in the flat when she first tries crack cocaine. "I tried to sabotage myself and she tried to sabotage herself. Maybe that was our natures," he confesses.

Relationships with Alex Clare and Reg Traviss, which book-ended her roller coaster marriage, warrant only brief mentions but Kapadia would need considerably longer than 127 minutes to delve into every personal tie.

As it is, his elegantly composed memento mori leaves us with a deep sense of sadness and anger as we watch the singer totter towards oblivion, seemingly with no one to shepherd her away from the edge.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Wednesday 29th July 2015
Thursday 30th July 2015

Inside Out 5 stars

From the moment baby Riley opens her eyes, her mood is shaped by five coloured emotions - Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger and Disgust - which bicker behind a large control desk laden with buttons and levers. Joy is the dominant emotion in Headquarters and she safeguards Riley's memories, which are stored as glowing orbs. When Riley turns 11, her parents relocate from Minnesota to San Francisco. Traumatic events such as a first day at a new school nudge Sadness to the fore.

  • GenreAnimation/Cartoon, Comedy, Family, Family
  • CastDiane Lane, Amy Poehler, Kyle MacLachlan, Bill Hader, Phyllis Smith, Lewis Black, Mindy Kaling.
  • DirectorPete Docter, Ronaldo Del Carmen.
  • WriterPete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration102 mins
  • Official sitewww.movies.disney.com/inside-out
  • Release24/07/2015

Despite gargantuan advances in medical science, we still don't fully understand the complexities of the human brain: its ability to process vast quantities of information, solve problems and store memories at speeds that put supercomputers to shame.

Pixar Animation Studios, the wizards who conjured the Toy Story trilogy, contemplate the vagaries of neuropsychology with this visually stunning and emotionally rich comedy, which unfolds predominantly inside the head of a little girl.

This high-brow concept doesn't seem like the most accessible subject matter for a family-oriented computer animation. But directors Pete Docter and Ronaldo Del Carmen elegantly tilt their film at the windmills of the mind and deliver a hilarious, heartfelt and ultimately life-affirming adventure that celebrates childhood innocence, family unity and the power of the human spirit to overcome adversity.

Laughter and tears abound, as well as cute visual gags, ensuring parents will be repeatedly dabbing their eyes while children whoop and gurgle with glee at the slapstick and rollicking action sequences.

A mother (voiced by Diane Lane) and father (Kyle MacLachlan) welcome a baby girl called Riley (Kaitlyn Dias) into the world. From the moment she opens her eyes, Riley's mood is shaped by five coloured emotions - golden Joy (Amy Poehler), blue Sadness (Phyllis Smith), purple Fear (Bill Hader), red Anger (Lewis Black) and green Disgust (Mindy Kaling) - which bicker behind a large control desk laden with buttons and levers.

Joy is the dominant emotion in Headquarters and she safeguards Riley's memories, which are stored as glowing orbs, tinged with the colour of the emotion that prevailed at the time. When Riley turns 11, her parents relocate from Minnesota to San Francisco.

Traumatic events such as a first day at a new school nudge Sadness to the fore. Following an altercation, sworn rivals Joy and Sadness are expelled from Headquarters and find themselves stranded in the labyrinth of Riley's long-term memories.

Aided by Riley's imaginary friend Bing Bong (Richard Kind), Joy and Sadness blaze a haphazard trail on the chugging train of thought back to Fear, Anger and Disgust, who have been left in charge of Headquarters, with disastrous consequences.

Inside Out is Pixar's best film since the holy animated trilogy of WALL-E, Up and Toy Story 3. Docter's script, co-written by Meg LeFauve and Josh Cooley, glisters with imagination, wit and invention, delivering guffaws with detours into the heads of Riley's parents as they attempt to deal with her pre-teenage rebellion.

Vocal performances are note perfect, led by Poehler's exuberant portrayal of Joy and Smith's sincere embodiment of Sadness, who tugs heartstrings as the film reaches its exquisite conclusion.

The film is preceded by a short: a musical love story entitled Lava between two volcanoes called Uku and Lele, directed by James Ford Murphy. Joy and Sadness shared blissful control of my mind throughout.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Wednesday 29th July 2015
Thursday 30th July 2015

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