Weekend Viewing Roundup: Mini[on] review of Despicable Me 2

Happy Sunday everyone! Hope your Summer weekend was a fun one! It’s a mellow one after a hectic few weeks for me, though my hubby’s triathlon race can’t be described as such. Strong thunderstorm nearly canceled the entire thing, but fortunately the short distance still went on, phew! So, did you see any new releases this weekend? Ah well, looks like Pacific Rim actually lost to two sequels. I guess it’s to be expected that Despicable Me 2 would reign at the box office but man, apparently 7% Rotten Tomatoes score doesn’t deter people from going to see Grown Ups 2 [shrugs], earning a whopping $42 mil, which is $4 mil more than Pacific Rim 😦


My weekend watching:

MansfieldPark1999Mansfield Park (1999) – rewatch

ACatinParis
A Cat in Paris
(2010)


And here’s my mini review of…

DESPICABLE ME 2

DespicableMe2_Banner
When I first rented the first movie, I instantly fell in love with those yellow minions, so I was thrilled when I heard they had a bigger part in this movie. In this sequel, ex-supervillain Gru (Steve Carrell) is adjusting to family life, as adopted father to three adorable girls Margo, Edith and Agnes. He and his crew of Dr. Nefario (Russell Brand) and his legion of minions now attempt an honest living in the jam & jelly business. That is until the Anti-Villain League (AVL) enlist his help to investigate the latest major heist of a secret Arctic lab.

The movie is as fast-paced as the original, it didn’t take long before I was swept away into the colorful world of Gru & co. The whole kidnapping scene has a playful homage to 007, complete with the amphibious car/boat/plane a la The Spy Who Loved Me). The arrival of a couple of new characters add a dose of fun and hilarity to the story: Lucy Wilde, Gru’s AVL partner and Eduardo, owner of a Mexican restaurant Salsa, in the mall where Gru & Lucy’s going undercover. Lucy’s pretty much tailored perfectly for Kristen Wiig‘s comedic chops, but Benjamin Bratt actually has pretty good comic timing. Oh, I also love Steve Coogan as the AVL director Silas Ramsbottom. Just like the minions, Silas and Eduardo already look hilarious before they even opens their mouths!

DespicableMe2_Stills

I find Gru to be a pretty fun and likable lead due to Carrell’s charms, but it’s hard to refute that the wacky-but-lovable minions supplied the most laugh-out-loud moments in their endless mischief and shenanigans! Kudos to Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud for creating such uproariously funny characters with these minions, even creating a certain ‘minion language’ that’s all their own but somehow still make out what they’re saying. At the same time, I do think they might work better as supporting characters though, as they might be overwhelming if the movies revolves entirely on these mischievous little guys!

I have to say though that the story is pretty thin, as the creators rely heavily on these irresistible characters. The plots are predictable and the even mawkish at times, but yet this movie still delivers on a fun family entertainment. The scenes of Gru and his girls, especially the adorable Agnes (Elsie Fisher), who dreams of having her own mother, tugs your heartstrings. I think the moral of the story about family and loyalty comes across, which is quite a feat in itself as it could’ve easily been drowned out by the riotous energy of the supervillains battle. I wish I had gone to a matinee showing though, I don’t know that it’s worth $10 at the cinema. I didn’t go for the 3D but the visuals are certainly gorgeous to look at, which is to be expected as the quality of animated features have improved significantly in the past few years. I’d say, if you like the first movie, then you probably get a kick out of this one as well.

Three and a half stars out of Five

3.5 out of 5 reels


So that’s my weekend folks, what did YOU watch this weekend?

My [California] Weekend Roundup

Hello everyone! Hope y’all had a nice weekend. Yes I know it’s a bit late of a weekend roundup, but I spent the last five days in sunny California, which was a much-needed break.

Two of my best friends recently moved to San Diego and Tempe, Arizona respectively, so it was sort of a mini-reunion for my hubby and I as the four of us spent the entire Fourth of July weekend together. It’s quite a hectic trip as we ended up not only visiting San Diego and La Jolla but we also made it to Los Angeles, Long Beach and the picturesque Catalina Island. Suffice to say, there’s no time left for movie-going, which actually suits us just fine. It was awesome to watch the spectacular San Diego fireworks right from our hotel as it’s right on the Bay! Thankfully they didn’t have the snafu like last year when it all exploded at the same time.

As you might’ve guessed, my La Jolla visit wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the La Jolla Playhouse at the University of California San Diego. Classic Movie buffs would know the non-profit theater was founded by my crush Gregory Peck, along with Mel Ferrer and Dorothy McGuire.

LaJollaPlayhouse

Though I wasn’t at the movies, I did spend some time with some iconic movie characters in Hollywood 😉 We didn’t originally set out to go to L.A. but we sort of decided on a whim Friday afternoon and it turned out to be a blast! Here are some pics we took of the character impersonators on the famous landmark by the the TCL Chinese Theater (formerly Grauman Chinese Theater). Only on the streets of Hollywood that lifelong nemesis Batman and The Joker would be the best of friends 😀 Too bad the photo was blurred but it was a hoot seeing superhero rivals Superman & Spider-Man counting money together, ahah. I wonder how much these guys make in a day.


My favorite is Wolverine as the guy’s looks just like Hugh Jackman it’s uncanny! There were actually two Wolverines in the same spot by Jackman’s Hollywood Walk of Fame’s star, but the bigger guy’s sideburns actually looks more like Elvis, ahah.

Oh, and of course I had to take a picture on Gregory Peck’s hand/footprint at the TCL Chinese Theater. Look at how tiny my hand is compared to Mr. Peck’s 😀

Hollywood_GregoryPeck_handprint

DespicableMe2MinionsNow, as far as box office is concerned, even as I looked up to The Lone Ranger statues atop the Masonic Temple Building next to the El Capitan theater, somehow I knew the movie’s gonna be a big bomb for Disney. Sure enough, according to Terrence’s Movie News Monday and Tim’s Box Office Prediction, Despicable Me 2 left that ultra expensive ($200 mil) Western Comedy in the dust. Certainly the 25% rating on Rotten Tomatoes didn’t help matters, though some folks actually dug it, i.e. Fogs actually gave the movie an A-. I probably would end up renting The Lone Ranger as I missed the screening, but I might see a matinee showing of Despicable Me 2 as I adore those overalls-wearing yellow minions!!!

Well, as I said last week, it’s been a s-l-o-w return to blogging for me. I even missed Five for the Fifth this weekend which is a bummer, but ah well, it’ll definitely be back next month. In any case, I’ve got some post ideas in the works and of course reviews and guest posts from our *staff* Jack Deth and Ted S. I’ll be seeing a screening of Pacific Rim tomorrow, so hopefully I’ll be able to review it by this weekend.


Now indulge me, how was YOUR weekend movie watching? Any new favorites?

Weekend Roundup: Comic-con, 007 & Despicable Me

Happy Monday all!

Well I *survived* the Comic-con weekend, that is I haven’t exploded from jealousy from reading all those tweets and coverage of those who were lucky enough to be there!

Dan Fogarty of FogsMovieReviews had an extensive coverage of the event, check out this awesome costume gallery and his thoughts of why Comic-con is so world-renowned. He was kind enough to send me these two pics via Twitter from Hall H where both The Hobbit AND Man of Steel‘s panel were held.

Armitage starring as Thorin in The Hobbit

The unbelievably gorgeous Man of Steel himself … Henryyyyyyyy!

Oh my, I tell you, if I had already been screaming at the top of my head seeing Andrew Garfield last year, they might have to carry me off in a stretcher seeing those Richard Armitage and Henry Cavill back to back! [swoon…]

So thanks Fogs!!

***

Well, this week is rather lackluster movie-watching for me but hey, we did secure The Dark Knight Rises IMAX tickets for next Saturday night at 7PM, woo hoo!!

I figure it might be less crowded than Friday night, but so far about half of the tickets are sold for Saturday so I think it’ll be as busy. I heard from my buddy Ted that the Man of Steel trailer WON’T be in front of the IMAX showings of the latest Nolan’s trilogy because the film itself is already too long at 2 hrs and 44 minutes. Bummer!! I hope that isn’t true!

Ah well, I can’t wait for Saturday already. This is gonna be an epic weekend alright! So did you all get YOUR tickets yet?

***

I’ve also been in a Bond mood as I had just finished another post for the 007 Chatter series. So I re-watched The Living Daylights, one of my favorite Bond movies is Timothy Dalton’s debut. After all these years I still LOVE this movie (yes despite Joe Don Baker as a lame villain) solely because of Dalton’s performance. Right from that rousing opening sequence and the clever way he’s revealed the first time as the then new Bond, I was done for. I like my James Bond dark and gritty, but Dalton is also such eye candy. Now why wasn’t there a gratuitous scene of him emerging from the water like Craig did in Casino Royale?! 🙂 I even like the sub-plot with the Afghan Mujahideen, that last half hour is exhilarating-ly action-packed and the plane fight scene shows Dalton’s physical prowess.

Then after that, I started watching Dr. No…. the film that started it all. I saw it ages ago but have forgotten much about it. I do remember liking Connery in the role. I was reading the EMPIRE 007 special edition and there’s an article on Dr. No. One of the producers was saying how when Connery left their office, they’d go to the window and watch him walk. They all loved the way he moved and I’d have to agree. There’s such inherent machismo and playfulness that’s so effortless, it’s not manufactured in any way. I LOVE the scene when the famous line ‘Bond, James Bond’ was introduced.

Wouldn’t you know it, it was all inspired by a woman! ‘Trench, Sylvia Trench.’

Anyway, here’s my mini review of…

DESPICABLE ME

Truth be told, I wasn’t all that interested in seeing this movie. The trailer looked fairly generic, and even with the great reviews (81% on Rotten Tomatoes) I kind of forgot about it. But then I saw the trailer for the sequel with those adorable minions singing ‘Ba ba ba ba ba banana… ‘ and I just couldn’t wait to see it!! So yeah, the main draw for me is really those yellow minions in denim overalls and they did not disappoint.

Starring Steve Carrell as Gru, a criminal mastermind whose grand mission is to steal the moon with the use of a shrink rays weapon. His life takes an unexpected turn when he adopts a trio of orphan girls as pawns against his main nemesis, Vector (Jason Siegel). The story itself is nothing special, in fact it’s pretty predictable all around but still it’s quite entertaining. Some reviews compared this to a Pixar movie and though there are some tender emotional moments between Gru and the girls, the plot in this one is far more frivolous and not nearly as tightly-written as say, Toy Story.

I’ve always loved Steve Carrell and his brand of humor shines here in his voice work, even though his Russian-ish accent sounds odd at times. The three orphan girls are such darling and you truly feel for their desire to be loved. In fact, I teared up during such of those moments, yes even despite its predictability that beneath the cold-hearted exterior, Gru is a softie. But to me my favorite characters are those minions!! They didn’t quite overpower the story but definitely a delight every time they appear on screen. Seems like the way the sequel’s trailer is centered solely on them, they might have more screen time in Despicable Me 2? I certainly don’t mind it, I could watch those helium-voiced yellow creatures all day!

Final Thoughts:

I think the idea of villains vs. villains is quite fresh and boasted by wonderful, endearing characters, it makes for quite a pleasant movie for both kids and adults alike. Whoever think of those minions is a genius, I can’t get enough of them! 😀

Three and a half stars out of Five
3.5 out of 5 reels


Well, what did YOU see this weekend, folks? Anything interesting?