Despicable Me 3 ** ½
Dir: Eric Guillon and Kyle Balda and Pierre Coffin
*ing: (voices of) Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Trey Parker, Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gaier
The Despicable Me animated series is definitely showing signs of franchise fatigue. Number three is certainly better than the mess that was the spin-off Minions movie, but nothing here says that this is a must watch. A thin storyline (in fact, there are two – the second, funnier one involves the Minions escaping from a prison) has the reformed super-villain Gru (Steve Carell) and his long-lost twin Dru (also Carell) learning to get along while also taking on a super-villain, former child TV star, Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker) gone bad (shades of The Incredibles here). At the same time, Dru’s new bride, Lucy (Kristen Wiig) has to learn to become a mum for her new daughters.
The jokes are a bit forced here, certain scenes are stretched out too long and the characterisation is a bit sketchy. Sure the Minions are still amusing and Gru’s daughters are still cute but there’s just not enough meat on the bones.
Cut to chase: Better than the Minions movie but not as good as the first two in the series.
Dir: Ashtar Sayed
*ing: Raveena Tandon, Madhur Mittal, Divya Jagdale
If you’ve seen Sridevi’s Mom then there’s no real reason to watch its inferior cousin, Maatr (though it should be noted that the Raveena Tandon starrer was released first). After a horrible crime is committed and the police expresses its helplessness, Vidya (Tandon) takes it upon herself to inflict vengeance upon the perpetrators in a storyline that becomes more and more implausible as it goes along. Maatr also has lesser interesting characters than Mom and while Tandon is fine in the title role she also has less psychological layers to explore.
Cut to chase: A lesser cousin of Sridevi’s Mom.
Get Out ***
Dir: Jordan Peele
*ing: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford, Catherine Keener, LilRel Howery
Horror comedy isn’t exactly an easy genre to pull off successfully. Fright Night (the 1983 original) and Zombieland are two of the few that I can think of off the top of my head. Now add Get Out to the list, a timely (in this age of Trump) subversion of some horror and drama tropes as a young African American travels with his white girlfriend to her parents’ country estate for a weekend. The movie works really well in its pointed jabs on race relations in the US (and, indeed, the world) but plays its hand a bit too early on the horror front and some plot twists could have easily not been so openly telegraphed. That being said, Get Out is certainly worth a look.
Cut to chase: Watchable and timely horror comedy.
Snatched * ½
Dir: Jonathan Levine
*ing: Amy Schumer, Goldie Hawn, Randall Park
Amy Schumer scored big with her first starring vehicle, Trainwreck (though I was less enamoured of it than some critics). But Snatched has her playing merely a variation of her character in the earlier movie – purposeless, semi-alcoholic, oversexed and in need of learning some valuable lessons about life – just less funnily and less successfully so. Even the presence of Goldie Hawn, playing Schumer’s mother (in need of some life lessons of her own) and returning to the big screen after a gap of 15 years, doesn’t help. You can see the plot – the mother-daughter duo go off on a South American vacation and end up getting more than they bargained for – straining at the seams. The stars and director Jonathan Levine try desperately to extract some laughs from certain set pieces and some very broadly sketched characters but neither the scenes nor the characters really work.
Cut to chase: Botched might be a more appropriate title.
Rating system: *Not on your life * ½ If you really must waste your time ** Hardly worth the bother ** ½ Okay for a slow afternoon only *** Good enough for a look see *** ½ Recommended viewing **** Don’t miss it **** ½ Almost perfect ***** Perfection