Inside Out – 5

To its credit, I was able to sit through the whole movie (having nowhere else to go), and it was clearly much better than all the animated trailers that preceded it (and I count Pan in that category). It was clever in concept – that is, positing five emotions as drivers of how we feel at any time, although I have no idea how the writers decided that Joy is primus inter pares. Still, the “chase” scene near the end was as ridiculous as the chase scene in every action movie. I also have no idea who the intended audience is for movies like this, but it didn’t quicken my desire to be a grandparent.

Nobody From Nowhere (Un Illustre Inconnu) – 6

A very bizarre story, slightly more engaging than annoying, in which an undistinguished real estate agent tries out the personas of his clients. Perhaps it is intended as a meditation on identity: do clothes make the man, or will a wax mask do it, or the voice? Or do you have to take on his personal relationships as well? But why does our “hero” choose a reclusive violinist as the personality he will inhabit for the rest of his life? And why do we think his imposture, which defies credibility in the first place, will hold up during five years in prison? And why does he willingly go in for a crime he didn’t commit? And how could the police possibly pin the non-crime against the wrong person on him? And how dare the director start his film at the end, go into flashback mode to tell the story, then carry the plot another half-hour after we reach what we thought was the end? And who would have bought an apartment from this “nobody” in the first place?

Number One Fan (Elle L’Adore) – 8

An attractive but slightly loony fan of singer Vincent Lacroix is asked, as a favor, to dispose of his girlfriend’s body and then, as a result, is treated as a murder suspect. Meanwhile, the police team investigating the disappearance is having their own, typically French, problems. Lives are hanging in the balance, but it’s not really that serious, as there was no murder in the first place. “Oh, what a tangled web we weave,” etc., seems to be the message of this droll detective thriller, anchored by the wonderful character remarkably performed by Sandrine Kiberlain. Clever, delightful, and like the best French movies, it couldn’t have cost much to make.

Trainwreck – 7.9

This Judd Apatow-Amy Schumer flick featured every cliche in the rom-com book, but hey, it’s a pretty good book! I laughed pretty much the whole way through every silly scene, enjoying the company of all the characters, from Bill Hader and Tilda Swinton to Brie Larson to LeBron James and Chrissie Evert. The reviews I’ve seen have been unduly negative, but 1) I’ve never seen Amy Schumer’s Comedy Central show, so wasn’t comparing the movie to anything and 2) even though the dirty jokes were told by a woman, I wasn’t looking at this as any kind of feminist statement. Nothing was “real,” except in the sense of parody, but this was a far more recognizable world than Spy.

Amy – 8

An awfully good documentary about Amy Winehouse on several levels. It captured her art. It captured her tortured personal life. Other than her mother, it showed us all the important people around her, bad and good. It told her story, pretty much from beginning to end. Going in, I knew her name. Leaving, I felt I knew her. What made the documentary exceptional was the access the director had to intimate moments, home movies, family and friends as well as clips of the public persona, so we could see what was going on behind the scene. And then there was the paparazzi effect: as we watched, we scorned the ruthless cameramen who made her life hell while taking in their pictures ourselves. We are not as bad as Jay Leno, cracking jokes about Amy’s drug dependency, but the movie feeds us this story, and we eat it up.

Spy – 6

Allison Janney adds gravitas to any role, and I felt grounded whenever her deputy director of the CIA was onscreen. Not so much everyone else, but Jason Statham and Miranda Hart were perfect hoots and Rose Byrne was utterly gorgeous. Of course, it was Melissa McCarthy’s movie, which was both a strength and weakness: you couldn’t take her seriously, so there wasn’t much for the jokes to play off of. Her humor is better in a supporting role.