Dir:Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda
Starring: (voices of) Sandra Bullock, Jon Hamm, Michael Keaton, Allison Janney, Jennifer Saunders, Pierre Coffin
With the stupendous box-office success of the two Despicable Me movies and the Minions providing much of the laughs in the burgeoning franchise, it was only inevitable that those gibberish-spouting (they speak some weird – but very funny – amalgamation of Spanish, French, Japanese and sheer nonsense), little yellow creatures would get their own movie.
So here we are. The Minions have struck out on their own in a movie which chronicles their origins – where they come from, why they need to serve an evil boss, where did they get those blue dungarees from. Fair enough (not that I really needed to know all that – the Minions are funny enough as is) but the future flunkies of Gru really needed a better script to do them justice. The movie begins amusingly enough starting off in the beginnings of time and following the Minions through history as they search for the perfect bad guy to work for. But once three of the Minions, Kevin, Bob and Stuart (all voiced by co-director Pierre Coffin) arrive in New York in 1968 and then on to London, the movie practically sputters to a stop. Even the introduction of the main bad guy (or, to be more precise, bad gal) of the movie, Scarlet Overkill (Sandra Bullock) adds no zip to the proceedings. Bullock has no memorable (or funny) lines to spout – and that’s a major crime, what’s a bad guy without some choice bon mots – and neither is she able to make Scarlet unique in any other way. Other characters – such as Michael Keaton and Allison Janney as the Nelsons, small-time criminals – are dispensable as well. However, Jon Hamm fares better as Herb Overkill, Scarlet’s hipster hubbyand mad inventor and Jennifer Saunders has a bit of fun as Queen Elizabeth. Still, the flimsy main plot (a scheme involving the theft of the British royal crown), its many holes and the feeble script are too formidable a foe for the Minions or Herb or the Queen to overcome.
For this Minions fan their first movie is a major disappointment. The best thing about it may be its 60s-infused soundtrack.
Cut to chase: The Minions are funny, the movie isn’t.
Burying The Ex***
Starring: Anton Yelchin, Ashley Greene, Alexandra Daddario, Oliver Cooper
Joe Dante made his name gleefully marrying horror and comedy in a celebration of B-movies with films like Gremlins (and its sequel) and Small Soldiers and here he returns to his favourite genre after a number of years away in television-land. This affectionate celebration of horror and zombie movie tropes in a tale of a clingy girlfriend returning from the dead to haunt her monster and horror film buff of a boyfriend is perfectly suited to Dante’s sensibilities and with the popularity of everything zombie these days (zombies are the new vampires) the timing seems to be right as well for such a project. Happily, Dante doesn’t disappoint.
The appropriately low-budget feature packs in some good laughs and some appropriately timed shocks and Dante is well-supported by his cast. Ashely Greene bites into her role as Evelyn with relish, mixing cheerleader perkiness with appropriate levels of crazy. Anton Yelchin strikes the right balance between henpecked and horny as Max, the object of Evelyn’s affections. Oliver Cooper just looks the part as Max’s sleazy, greasy half-brother andAlexandra Daddario (recently seen as Dwayne Johnson’s daughter in San Andreas) plays Olivia, Max’s horror movie-loving soulmate (they meet at Val Lewton double-bill) and he finds her hard to resist (don’t we all – there’s hardly anybody to match Daddario in the comeliness department these days) much to Evelyn’s annoyance.
This unassuming movie may not readily pop up on your radar but you could do worse on a slow afternoon than check this one out – especially if you’re into horror-comedies.
Cut to chase:There’s a good bit of life in this zombie horror-comedy.
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