Richard and “CP24 Breakfast” host Nick Dixon have a look at some special streaming opportunities and television shows to watch over the weekend including the eight episode Uma Thurman thriller “Suspicion” on Apple TV+, the return of the Minions on Starz in “Despicable Me” and the pam Anderson and Tommy Lee slice-of-life “Pam & Tommy” on Disney+.
Richard and CP24 anchorTravis Dhanraj have a look at the weekend’s new movies, pedal-to-the- metal action of “Baby Driver,” the Coppola-ness of “The Beguiled,” “Despicable Me 3’s” million dollar Minions and the eco satire “Okja.”
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Erin Paul to have a look at the big weekend movies including the wild-and-wooly action of “Baby Driver,” the Coppola-ness of “The Beguiled,” “Despicable Me 3’s” adorable and funny Minions and “Okja’s” tale of super pigs, the people who love hem and the people who want to eat them.
Bob Dylan sang “You gotta serve somebody,” and so it is with the Minions, the curious tribe of yellow jellybean-shaped troublemakers made famous in the “Despicable Me” movies.
They were born to be bad, to work under some of the greatest villains in history, but what are they to do when their old bosses, baddies like T-Rex, Dracula and Napoleon don’t require their services? If you are minions named Bob, Kevin and Stuart (co-director Pierre Coffin who supplied the voices for all 899 minions) you hitchhike to Orlando, Florida and attend the 1968 Villain-Con International looking for work.
The star of Villain-Con is the world’s first female supervillain Scarlett Overkill (Sandra Bullock). “When I started out people said a woman could never rob a bank as well as a man,” she says. “Well times have changed!” Her current evil plan involves stealing Queen Elizabeth’s (Jennifer Saunders) crown and taking over the throne. Hiring the Minions, she arms them with groovy 1960s weapons like a Lava Lamp Gun and a Hypno Hat, they set off on the mission, but when the Minions are involved, even the best laid plans can turn to gibberish.
During the screening the old saying, “Less is more,” sprung to mind. Would “Stand by Me” work if it was only about Ray Brower (the dead body)? How about “Mola Ram and the Temple of Doom”? What can be interesting or fun in small doses doesn’t always work in center stage. Like an orchestra made up of nothing but triangle players, sometimes it’s best to leave an asset in the background.
There is no denying the Minions’ cute appeal and their zest for the surreal side of life is contagious but as characters they’re limited by speaking Minionese, a nonsense language (equal parts Italian, Spanish, French and baby talk) that pretty much rules out sophisticated verbal jokes or long scenes of dialogue. Instead they make noises and frequently sing to stretch the running time to feature length. Don’t even ask about character development. They’re yellow, out of control and loud and that’s all they’ll ever be. “Inside Out” this ain’t.
Not that any of this will matter to kids very much. They love the Minions and they love their Minion stuffed animals. They love the gibberish and the physical humour. So what if there’s not much for anyone over the age of ten? Haters gonna hate. Minions gonna Minionate.
Universal’s first 3D-animated movie “Despicable Me” is a generous mix of German Expressionism, a Spy vs. Spy vibe and The Jetsons. It is stylish, gently funny and should be a big hit with kids and adults alike. It’s not exactly “Toy Story 3” but it is as close as we’re likely to get until the next Pixarian offering comes barrelling into theatres.
Bad guys don’t come much worse than Gru (voice of Steve Carell). He’s a supervillain, complete with minions, an evil genius assistant (Russell Brand), a panda skin rug in his lair and a plan to shrink the moon. The only things standing in his way are Vector (Jason Segel), a Bill Gates look-a-like rival evil overlord who is determined to throw a wrench into Gru’s plan, and Margo, Edith and Agnes (Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gaier and Elsie Fisher) three orphan girls who force him to rethink his diabolical dealings.
“Despicable Me” has lots to recommend it. State of the art 3D animation, good voice work (more on that later) and lots of grin worthy moments, but despite all that it is the jellybean shaped minions who steal the show. They speak gibberish, ineptly do Gru’s bidding and supply most of the film’s memorable laughs. Swag-Are-Us is sure to have shelves full of the little buggers and for once I get it. Dammit! I want a minion, either real or stuffed. Doesn’t matter.
The script stays on track and, with the exception of one jab at Lehman Brothers—they’re the namesake of the Bank of Evil—avoids the trap of peppering the story with current pop culture jokes. Too often kid’s animated movies rely on current references for humor, but looking back, how effective is the Arsenio Hall impression in “Aladdin” for today’s audiences. Funny at the time for sure, but eighteen years later it can hardly be called timeless. “Despicable Me,” like the Pixar films, avoids that trap and instead relies on humor that arises from the situations and characters and a good dollop of heart to sell the story.
More traditionally, for today’s animated features, the casting tends towards big stars, but unlike so many other animated films that shape characters around their celebrity counterparts—“Madagscar” I’m looking at you— “Despicable Me” actually contains some very nice voice work. Carell, the name-above-the-title star could have easily brought his familiar Michael Scott intonation to the role and everyone would have been pleased, but instead he actually creates an unrecognizable voice—it’s sort of a cross between Ricardo Montalban and Bela Lugosi—that is more than just an extension of his well-known comic persona. It’s a great performance even though we never actually see him on screen.
If “Toy Story 3” and “How to Train Your Dragon” hadn’t come out last month “Despicable Me” would be the best animated movie of the year so far.
Sometimes they are diabolical. Occasionally dastardly. They are, of course, supervillains, the evil geniuses who give Superman, Batman and other caped crusaders a reason to get up in the morning.
Supervillains like Professor Moriarty and Dr. Fu Manchu, with their craving for world domination and habit of calling everyone around them “Fools!,” have been scaring moviegoers for decades, but the Professor and the Doctor are rather conventional compared to the Lightning from the 1938 film, The Fighting Devil Dogs.
Lightning was the first crime mastermind to wear a wild costume — a black shiny helmet and robe that later inspired Darth Vader’s outfit — and he set the tone for hundreds of cinematic supervillians.
In this weekend’s Despicable Me, a new supervillain, Gru (Steve Carell), rethinks his plan to steal the moon after becoming a dad. It’s a comedic take on the standard baddie, but nonetheless Gru has most of the accoutrements of his evil trade.
Here’s a checklist:
Having a sinister accent is par for the supervillain course. Gru’s sounds like a cross between Ricardo Montalban and Bela Lugosi, but he is just the latest in a long line of baddies with a brogue. Who could forget Batman & Robin’s icy Mr. Freeze? Played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, the frosty bad guy intoned, “The Ice Man cometh!” in a menacing accent that sounded a lot like, well, Schwarzenegger.
What’s an evil overlord without a diabolical device of destruction? Gru has an arsenal of shrink and freeze rays, but those pale by comparison to Doctor Otto Octavius (Alfred Molina) and his Spider-Man 2 explosive superweapon or the Green Goblin’s Pumpkin Bombs — Jack-o’-lanterns that can melt through a three-inch-thick sheet of steel.
All good supervillains have a motto. Gru could learn a thing or two from the Clown Prince of Crime, the Joker (Jack Nicolson) who cackled, “Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?” to his victims before offing them. It’s catchy, but not as memorable as Mr. J’s other well known quote, “This town needs an enema.” Even better is Terence Stamp’s haughty command “Kneel before Zod!” from Superman II.
Finally, Gru fits the baddie bill but does fall down in one aspect of supervillainy, however; no evil nickname. Perhaps he could take his lead from the Joker a.k.a. “the Harlequin of Hate” and go by the Fiend of Fatherhood.