Richard speaks to “CTV News at 11:30” anchor Andria case about the best movies and television to watch this weekend. This week we have a look at “Minions: The Rise of Gru,” the charming “Marcel the Shell with Shoes On” and the Ralph Fiennes/Jessica Chastain drama “The Forgiven.”
Watch as I review three movies in less time than it takes to shuck an oyster! Have a look as I race against the clock to tell you about the supremely silly “Minions: The Rise of Gru,” “Marcel the Shell with Shoes On,” the tiny mollusk with a huge heart, and the period rom com “Mr. Malcolm’s List.”
Not since the Three Stooges has nonsense been this much fun. Over five movies, the frantic, Tic Tac-shaped Minions, the silly sidekicks to former supervillain Gru (voiced by Steve Carell), have brought the most kid friendly anarchy to the screen since Curly said, “Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk,” for the first time.
Their new movie, “Minions: The Rise of Gru,” now playing in theatres, sets a new standard for silliness.
Set in 1976 San Francisco, the story begins with awkward twelve-year-old Gru and his dream.
“There are a lot of villains in the world,” he says, “but I am going to be a supervillain.”
To make his evil wish come true, he interviews to become a member of the world’s top outlaw team, the Vicious 6. But, he is not taken seriously. At all.
“I am pretty despicable,” Gru says proudly. “You don’t want to cross me.”
“Evil is for adults who steal powerful ancient stones and wreak havoc,” says Belle Bottom (Taraji P. Henson), the newly-appointed head of The Vicious 6, who took over from the former, recently deposed Wild Knuckles (Alan Arkin). “Not for tubby little punks, who should be at school learning, taking a recess and sucking his thumb! Come back when you’ve done something evil to impress me!”
To prove he’s got what it takes to be a supervillain, Gru steals something near and dear to the peach-pit sized hearts of the Vicious 6, their prized Zodiac Stone. Instead of impressing Belle Bottom, the theft turns her against Gru and his loyal Minions. With the mad, bad and dangerous to know Vicious 6 on their tail, Gru is kidnapped by Wild Knuckles. “My favorite villain is also my kidnapper,” marvels Gru. “This is going to be a great opportunity if you don’t kill me.”
Cue the Minion mayhem.
“The Minions: The Rise of Gru” provides fans of the franchise exactly what they want, no deep thoughts, just sublime silliness.
If you want to get all film critic-y about this, I suppose you could say the leitmotif is that of sweetly-inspired mayhem that follows the Minions wherever they go. But this isn’t a movie with layers of subtext or loads of diegetic elements. There is a denouement, a resolution to the story, but why overthink this? It’s short, fast and stupid, with an easily digested message of, as Armistead Maupin always says, finding your logical, not biological family. Or, as Gru says, “find your tribe and never let them go.” More zesty than arty, it’s made for kids, who I’m sure will gobble it up, while parents sit patiently through the 85 minute runtime with visions of the Three Stooges dancing in their heads.
Richard sits in on the CTV NewsChannel with news anchor Marcia MacMillan have a look at the weekend’s big releases including “The Secret Life of Pets 2,” “X-Men: Dark Phoenix,” the indie drama “Mouthpiece” and the rockumentary “Echo in the Canyon.”
A weekly feature from ctvnews.ca! The Crouse Review is a quick, hot take on the weekend’s biggest movies! This week Richard looks at “The Secret Life of Pets 2,” “X-Men: Dark Phoenix” and the indie drama “Mouthpiece.”
Richard has a look at the new movies coming to theatres, including the housebroken sequel “The Secret Life of Pets 2,” the cosmic bonfire of CGI flames “X-Men: Dark Phoenix” and the nostalgic 60s doc “Echoes in the Canyon” with CFRA Morning Rush host Bill Carroll.
You get three stories for the price of one in the 100% Louis CK-free “The Secret Life of Pets 2.” The episodic sequel to the 2016 animated hit front loads a lot of plot into its snappy 87 minutes but doesn’t forget to blend in life messages for kids on finding inner courage. “The first step in not being afraid,” says wily old sheepdog Rooster (Harrison Ford), “is acting like you are not afraid.”
Jack Russell Terrier Max, previously voiced by CK, now sounds like Patton Oswalt. He and his odd couple pal, the shaggy Newfoundland mix Duke (Eric Stonestreet), now must now share their Brooklyn home with a new roommate, their owner’s (Ellie Kemper) new baby Liam. The toddler’s presence raises Max anxiety level—”He is perfect,” Max says fretfully, “and I will keep him safe.”—until the family takes a trip to the country and he meets Rooster, a Yoda-like character who teaches him to be himself and not be an overprotective helicopter parent for Liam.
Meanwhile Max’s girlfriend, a vivacious Pomeranian named Gidget (Jenny Slate), must take lessons in how to act like a tabby from her catnip-loving feline friend Chloe (Lake Bell) to rescue Max’s favorite squeaky toy from an apartment overrun by cats.
Then, when Molly (Kiely Renaud) starts dressing bunny and former flushed pet Snowball (Kevin Hart) in cute superhero pajamas he believes the hype and behave like a movie crime fighter. His skills are tested when a brave Shih Tzu named Daisy (Tiffany Haddish) asks him to assist on a dangerous mission. “I don’t mean to sound dramatic,” she says, “but a poor defenseless animal needs saving.”
Themes of inner courage and facing fears are woven through each story and come together the last twenty minutes or so as the pets all join forces.
The Gidget and Snowball storylines have the kind of playfulness you expect from Illumination, the company that gave us the anarchic jellybean-shaped Minions. Max’s life-altering adventures on the farm, which take up a great deal of the scant running time, feels borrowed from other, better kid-friendly fare like the “Toy Story” franchise.
The voice work is a mixed bag. Ford is a howl as the gruff old timer who imparts life-changing advice. If they do another of these “Pets” movies he should graduate to main character status. Slate is a hyperactive bundle of energy and Hart and Haddish are a fun duo that add much spark to their segment. Oswalt, so distinctive in “Ratatouille,” doesn’t teach Max any new tricks.
“The Secret Life of Pets 2” feels like three episodes of a “Pets” television show banged together to (almost) feature length. Pet lovers may recognize and enjoy some of the behavior—a cat coughing up a hairball on her sleeping owner and the protective nature of Max and Rooster—but it won’t beat spending the day with your real-life, cuddly pet.
Richard sits in on the CJAD Montreal morning show with guest host Ken Connors to talk the new movies coming to theatres including the housebroken sequel “The Secret Life of Pets 2,” the cosmic bonfire of CGI flames “X-Men: Dark Phoenix” and the nostalgic 60s doc “Echoes in the Canyon.”