Movie reviews: “Minions: The Rise of Gru” and more

This image released by Universal Pictures shows characters, from left, Stuart, Gru, voiced by Steve Carell, Bob and Kevin in a scene from "Minions: The Rise of Gru." (Illumination Entertainment/Universal Pictures via AP)

Sydney, 2022-07-01 07:00:00. Movie reviews: “Minions: The Rise of Gru” and more


Minions: GRU Rise: 3 stars

This image released by Universal Pictures shows characters from the left, Kevin, Bob, Stewart, and Gro, voiced by Steve Carell, in a scene from “Minions: The Rise of Gru.” (Illumination Entertainment/Universal Pictures via AP)

This nonsense hasn’t been fun since The Three Stooges. Over five movies, frenetic tic-tac-shaped Minions, and ridiculous companions to ex-villain Gru (voiced by Steve Carell), have brought the most kid-friendly mayhem on screen since Curley said, “Neuk, nuk, nuk,” the first time.

Their new movie “Minions: The Rise of Gru,” now showing in theaters, sets a new standard for absurdity.

Set in San Francisco in the year 1976, the story begins with a 12-year-old puppy and his dream.

“There are a lot of bad guys in the world,” he says. “But I would be a super villain.”

To fulfill his evil wish, he gives interviews to become a member of Team Vicious 6. Which is the best outlaw team in the world. But he was not taken seriously. Absolutely.

“I’m so mean,” says Gru proudly. “You don’t want to cross me.”

“Evil adults steal powerful ancient stones and wreak havoc,” says Bill Bottom (Taraji P. Henson), the newly appointed head of Vicious 6, who took over from former Wild Knuckles (Alan Arkin). “Not for the little bad guys who should be in school learning, take a break and suck their thumbs! Come back when you do something sinister to impress me!”

To prove he’s got what it takes to be a super-villain, Gru steals something near and dear to peach-hole-sized hearts in Vicious 6, a precious zodiac stone. Rather than impressing Belle Bottom, the heist turns her against Gru and his loyal minions. With crazy, bad, and dangerous Episode 6 on their tail, Gru is kidnapped by Wild Knuckles. “My favorite villain is also the kidnapper,” Gru is surprised. “This would be a great opportunity if you didn’t kill me.”

Cue client chaos.

“The Minions: The Rise of Gru” gives fans of the series exactly what they want – no deep thoughts, just sublime absurdity.

If you were to get all the movie critics about it, I suppose you could say the dominant theme is that beautifully inspired mayhem that follows Minions wherever they go. But this is not a movie with layers of subtext or a lot of formative elements. There’s an epilogue, a story resolution, but why am I overthinking this? It’s short, fast and stupid with a message that’s easy to digest, as Armistead Maupin always says, to find your logical, not biological, family. Or, as Gru says, “Find your tribe and never let them go.”

More enthusiastic than art, it’s designed for kids, and I’m sure they’ll devour it while parents patiently sit through the 85 minutes of running time.

Marcel the scalloped shoe: 4 stars

This image released by A24 shows a scene from “Marcel the Shell with Shoes On,” released June 24. (A24 via AP)

“Marcel the Shell Wears Boots” is part poignant and part silly and adorable.

In the new movie, now showing in theaters, a resourceful one-eyed sea shell with a pair of pink shoes, voiced by Jenny Slate, searches to find community after family turmoil. Marcel may be an inch-wide mollusk, but his experience of loss, grief, and joy feels more human and authentic than most of the films he starred in as, you know, real humans.

From this shell’s point of view, we know that Marcel lives in an Airbnb, which was once the home of an unhappy couple and is now a stopover for tourists. When they separate, Marcel’s extended family vanishes, possibly mistakenly caught in the couple’s rush to leave the house and their relationship behind.

Still, Marcel and his grandmother, Connie (Isabella Rossellini), find resourceful and often hilarious ways to survive and thrive in an often empty house.

When recently estranged director Dean (Dean Fleischer-Camp, who directed and co-created Marcel with Slate) and his inquisitive dog, he moved in, Marcel found a friend and collaborator. Dean is drawn from a mixture of Marcel’s curiosity (have you ever eaten berries?) and discernment, and begins documenting life at Airbnb in a video he intends to post to YouTube. “It’s like a movie,” explains Marcel Laconi. “But nobody has any streaks and nobody even knows what it is while they’re working.”

As the video spreads, Marcel wonders if this newfound fame could help him track down his family.

“Marcel the Shell with Shoes On” is a documentary style depiction, with beautiful paused animation to bring Marcel and Cooney to life. The star of the show is Slate’s honest vocal performance, which is at once childlike and wise. Marcel is a unique character. Cool, it feels like he just walked away from a Pixar movie, bringing with him a character to spare, but also a level of self-awareness and empathy rarely played to such a high level in family movies. Big-screen entertainment may be about slugs, but it feels personal and intimate.

Rossellini brings warmth to Kony, in a performance resembling a grandmother’s hug. Comfortable, wise, and a little forgetful, she is Marcel’s announcer and mentor. “Marcelo, let’s forget about the fear,” she says. “Just take the adventure.”

“Marcel the Shell with Shoes On” takes on a ridiculous idea, which could sit on the shelf next to other children’s films about talking creatures, and raises it up with a sense of humanity and the transformative power of friendship.

This one inch tall figure is way beyond his height.

THE FORGIVEN: 3 stars

Jessica Chastain and Ralph Fiennes in a scene from The Forgiven. (courtesy of TIFF)

The franchise satire of the upper classes, “The Forgiven,” starring Ralph Fiennes, Jessica Chastain and now playing in theaters, is almost entirely moral with no morals.

Based on Lawrence Osborne’s 2012 novel of the same name, “The Forgiven” is about a couple on their way to a week-long party in the desert of Morocco. It’s the drunken Brit, the fanatic David (Ralph Fiennes), and she’s Joe (Jessica Chastain), a bored, tongue-sharp American.

After an afternoon of drinking, they head out into the dark desert for a “long road trip”. Along the way, “Amidst the Bloodless Nowhere,” David felt the effects of the age’s wine, hitting and killing Idris (Omar al-Ghazawi), a young fossil seller who got down from the front of the car. They load the body in the back seat, go to the party for dinner and more drinks. David scoffs, “Baby is nobody.”

The hosts (Matt Smith and Caleb Landry Jones), who brag that they threw the best party in all of West Africa, contact the police, who quickly closed the case, deeming it an accident. Idris’ father arrived the next morning asking that David accompany him to the boy’s burial. “It is right and proper that the man responsible for his death should do so,” says the father. “It’s the habit.”

David reluctantly agrees. “What does matter somehow,” he says. “Everyone thinks I’m guilty.” David’s modest ride stands in stark contrast to Joe, who takes advantage of the more fun aspects of life at the party.

“The Forgiven” is a story about the collision of East and West. Director John Michael McDonagh puts his wealthy, corrupt characters in a place where, because of their money and power, the rules simply don’t apply to them.

It’s an intriguing hypothesis, which is shown in the fencing events in the film; David and Joe, separated by distance and purpose for most of the film’s runtime. They take different paths, but both are destined for some kind of punishment – the reward for their sins – but as the shroud of decadence covers Joe’s journey, and clouds of existential dread over David’s journey, The Forgiven ceases to provide a kind of enlightenment for its characters.

The manifestations of exploitation of the poor and the violence inherent in the story remain, but are left unchallenged. Despite the unforgettable climax, the ultimate understanding and judgment of the characters and situation is up to the viewer to untangle.

With such rich material available, The Forgiven’s ambiguity is frustrating, but compelling due to Fiennes, Chastain, Smith, Said Taghmaoui, who lends real warmth to the character of driver Anwar, and Mourad Zaoui as house manager and translator. Oh Hamid.

the master. Malcolm List: 3 stars

This photo posted by Bleecker Street shows Zawy Ashton in a scene from “Mr. Malcolm’s List.” (Ross Ferguson/Bleaker Street via Associated Press)

The skirts might be more straightforward and the dialogue straight from Jane Austen, but make no mistake,” Mr. Malcolm’s List, “A new romance now showing in theaters, is the kind of romantic comedy that has kept Drew Barrymore and Katherine Heigl busy for years. The only thing missing is the traditional rom running through the airport and in the arms of a lover, an omission that occurred due to a period of time, not due to a lack of trying.

Based on the bestselling novel of the same name by Susan Allen, the film begins with a bad history between London’s most eligible bachelor, Mr. Jeremiah Malcolm (Sope Dirisu) and the passionate but lackluster (“Thinking causes very deep grooves of the forehead,” she says) Julia Thistlewhite (Zawi Ashton). She puts her hopes up on a marriage proposal, but he seems more inclined to talk about politics, a subject she doesn’t know much about.

Despite her best efforts, the night ends as they go their separate ways. The next day, to Julia’s horror, the newspaper carried a caricature of Mr. Malcolm waving at her with a slot, “Next!”

It turns out that Mr. Malcolm has a list of requirements for his potential new bride. Candidates must be able to speak in a reasonable manner, display an elegance of mind, be of a tolerant nature and have good relations of good society, among other requirements. Julia’s sin? Not knowing the newly enacted corn laws and their eyelashes fluttering a lot.

Julia is horrified by the publicity. “I would like Mr. Malcolm to receive the reward he deserves,” she says. To that end, she recruits Selena Dalton (Frida Pinto), an out-of-town country mouse, to give her a crash course in high society to seduce Malcolm. When he falls in love with her cuteness, Julia will produce her own menu and will be “judged and found willing before the whole good community,” just as she was.

You know the rest and if you don’t, you haven’t seen rom com before. This juicy movie-up is in Katherine Heigl’s style with high-brow accents and the promise of a ripped bodice or two. Mix jealousy, deception, and handsome alternate love interest in the form of Captain Henry Osori (Theo James) and comedic relief from Laughing Mrs. Covington, played by gorgeous Broadway star Ashley Park, and you have a transformative, yet predictable thriller.

“Mr. Malcolm’s List succeeds mostly because of an attractive, diverse cast that breathes life and plenty of character into the Balinese genre.

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