I was somewhat forced into going to see the first outing of the Despicable Me series a few years back. I was home for the holidays staying with friends, and their kids were itching to go see the film for the umpteenth time and they slyly used the excuse of, “Moooom, it’s at the dollar movies now! It’s only a dollar!” In the end, my gal Carla made the kids pay for their own tickets from their piggy bank, and all was well with the world. I was reluctant to go. The whole thing seemed silly and the title here in Spain of Gru: My Favourite Villain sounded well…ugh…despicable. As often I am, I was wrong.
This summer comes a historical recount on the history of these little minion characters. The film Minions is very cute, somewhat silly, certainly funny but not as well done as its predecessors. What I found so clever was the film’s beginning used as a historical backdrop through time, and the Minions' presence throughout pivotal times in history is absolutely cute and hilarious. When they get into modern times however, things kind of head south story-wise. Still, the film will captivate a large audience and a nice box office take, as it certainly has the same appeal for the tykes as its villainous forerunners! ###
Michel Gondry became such a respected and known name in my uni household due to his extensive art projects that modern man calls music videos. Famed for his out-of-the-box French vids and then his mainstreams work for the likes of Bjork, the Chemical Brothers, Lenny Kravitz and Daft Punk, when his first feature film that was a box office success was released in 2004, he was hailed as a new visionary in filmmaking. Since then, while his oeuvure has been eclectic, it hasn’t truly galvanised the same accolades and audiences as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, though perhaps The Science of Sleep came close. His latest release here in Spain, The We and The I, actually played the film fest circuits and made a wee bit at the box office in other English-speaking markets as far back as 2012.
Gondry boldly tackles the all-too-real view of a group of Bronx teens as they head home for the summer after the last day of class. Coming from NYC, I saw this constantly though never experienced it at that age due to a rather protective, somewhat privileged upbringing. This visceral look at how inner city teens relate and interact is at once surprising and then daunting in its task. Understanding that task is vital to understanding the essence of what I believe Gondry wants to show in his film. The realities presented by teenagers are vivid and usually hidden by cruel insecurities, bullying and taunts masking the bad intentions, pain and often abuse that define them by the rearing of their parents. Intense. Uncomfortable. Not for everyone. ##-1/2
The New Zealand vampire comedy What We Do in the Shadows is so camp and tongue-in-cheek, it should come with a disclaimer. Frankly, it's quite low-budget, well-acted and absolutely hysterical. The mockumentary focuses on a group of vampires who have congregated and lived together for hundreds of years in various places over many epochs throughout history. It feels like a mix of Christopher Guest, vampires, and The Real World rolled into one and should really be seen to be understood lest I spoil the gags and jokes. Silly, irreverent, and a bit brilliant! Leave it to our Kiwis! ###-1/2
See you soon, lovelies!