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 has a look at the new movies coming to theatres, including the reboot of “Hellboy” starring David Harbour as Big Red, the stop-motion animated “Missing Link,” the Ethan Hawke bank heist “Stockholm” and the kid-friendly “Mia and the White Lion” with CFRA Morning Rush host Bill Carroll.
At the end of “The Best of Enemies,” a new historical drama starring Taraji P. Henson and Sam Rockwell, we meet the real-life inspirations for the characters. Like so many based-on-a-true story films that have come before it, it feels as though a documentary about the actual folks would have been more enjoyable than the recreation.
Set in 1971 North Carolina, Henson plays Ann Atwater, an African-American civil rights activist. Her group, Operation Breakthrough, aids local people with legal advice, housing and a multitude of other social concerns. It’s an uphill battle. Atwater often finds herself at odds with the openly racist town council. One member even turns his chair away when Atwater speaks. Providing unofficial support to the council is good-old-boy C.P. Ellis (Rockwell), president of the town’s KKK chapter.
When the council rules to send Black kids back into an unsafe school the NAACP gets involved, forcing the council to bring the issue before a community charrette, essentially a ten day a meeting in which town folk on both sides of the problem come together to debate. Community organizer Bill Riddick (Babou Ceesay) chooses two unlikely co-chairs, Atwater and Ellis. Both are unsure if they can work together but the stakes are too high on either side for them to decline the invitation. “Riddick is about to hand the keys to school integration,” says town official Carvie Oldham (Bruce McGill), “and you are going to lock the door.”
After a tense start the sworn enemies find common ground. Despite her personal feelings for Ellis, Atwater responds to his family situation with empath and compassion. Ellis begins to acknowledge the frustration and helplessness of the people he has held in such little regard for his entire life.
“The Best of Enemies,” comes with the best of intentions. Writer-director Robin Bissell details the lives of the two main characters but, it must be asked, How, in a movie about school integration, is the focus on Ellis? It seems tone deaf to present a story of integration in schools that features a climactic speech by a KKK president. Ellis’s life is presented in detail. We learn about his family life, business and spend time inside several KKK gatherings, including one where he is named the region’s Exulted Cyclops. Trouble is, we don’t get the same info on Atwater. Henson does an admirable job of breathing life into the character but Atwater is more or less treated like a supporting player in her own story.
It’s not to say “The Best of Enemies” doesn’t have some interesting moments. Civil rights icon Howard Clement (Gilbert Glenn Brown) delivers a stirring speech detailing a parent’s love for their child, adding “our kids have a whole different menu of pain to deal with.” In smaller moments like that the film’s message of bridge building and empathy ring loud and clear. It is just a shame that this historically significant tale suffers from a skewed POV and predictable plotting.
Richard joins CP24 anchor Jee-Yun Lee to have a look at the weekend’s new movies including “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part,” the creepy kid movie “The Prodigy” and the Taraji P. Henson comedy “What Men Want.”
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia McMillan to have a look at the weekend’s big releases including the sensory overload of “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part,” the silly fun of “What Men Want” and the revenge flick “Cold Pursuit.”
Richard has a look at “Cold Pursuit” and the Liam Neeson controversy, the outer space Lego adventure “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part,” the creepy kid movie “The Prodigy and the supernatural comedy “What Men Want” with Taraji P. Henson with CFRA Morning Rush host Bill Carroll.