Weekend Movies: No Noose Is Good Noose

Pack up the family because the ‘Despicable Me’ spin-off has arrived just in time to clean out your wallet while the kids are all out of school. If you can scrounge up a few bucks after that, you can also see a generic horror flick and/or a flashy action thriller.

While I liked the two ‘Despicable Me‘ movies, there’s no denying that this weekend’s ‘Minions‘ spin-off is a cheap studio cash-grab. This one takes the little yellow sidekicks, somewhat explains their existence, and shows us what they were up to prior to joining forces with Gru. The first half may be the playful fun that we expect from this franchise, but the second half is an absolute bore. Sandra Bullock’s flat vocal performance doesn’t help, nor does the meandering and trying-too-hard screenplay.

Sequel mania is driving me bonkers. I’m ashamed that original and creative movies aren’t marketed nor pushed by their distributors, causing them to ultimately under-perform. (See last year’s ‘Edge of Tomorrow‘.) Director Tarsem Singh is back with an attempt to redeem himself from the awful ‘Mirror Mirror‘. ‘Self/less‘ kicks off by introducing us to a dying billionaire (Ben Kingsley) who’s taking the rich man’s path to immortality. For the small fee of $250 million, he can cheat death and insert his soul into a lab-created living body. After taking on a new life in the body of Ryan Reynolds (so, $250m is all it costs to get a body like that?), strange things start happening. The more he learns, the more dangerous his new life becomes. Expect a decent thriller with some great visuals and actions scenes. Although ‘Self/less’ isn’t perfect, it has the type of refreshing original content that’s more deserving of attention than most sequels and spin-offs.

The third wide release of the weekend is the shameless micro-budget horror film ‘The Gallows‘. Written and directed by a pair of no-names and staring a bunch of no-names, the 81-minute Found-Footage flick tells the story of a high school where tragedy struck 20 years earlier during a school play. A group of dumbass students decide to “honor” the deceased via a revival, but we all know how this is going to turn out. Knowing how bad most Found-Footage movies are, don’t expect much.

Finally, in limited release we can see Robin Williams’ last on-screen performance in ‘Boulevard‘. In the drama, the late actor plays a 60-year-old man who secretly decides to confront his homosexuality without his wife’s knowledge. As he begins a relationship with a younger man, he has torn feelings. He truly loves his wife and doesn’t want to hurt her, but he’s also tired of hiding and actually enjoys his new relationship. I have yet to see ‘Boulevard’, but the performances and overall tone are said to be pretty great.

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