Summer moves full steam ahead this week with three big movies and one oddball limited release. For those who found ‘Cars 3’ less than appealing, another animated threequel option presents itself on more than 4,500 screens. Meanwhile, Edgar Wright’s comedic heist thriller races into more than 3,200 theaters and Will Ferrell’s latest comedy places a big bet on more than 3,100 screens.
Although the ‘Minions’ spinoff movie earned a bajillion dollars at the box office, it also earned some pretty harsh criticism for its lack of heart, mindless plot and repetitive humor. Attempting to right those wrongs, Illumination returns to its bread and butter with ‘Despicable Me 3‘. After failing to catch a new villain, Gru (Steve Carell) and his new wife (Kristin Wiig) are fired from the secret agency they work for. When Gru is contacted by a twin brother he didn’t know existed, he takes the family on a globetrotting trip to meet him. Once there, the story splits into four disconnected episodes. What works well in ‘Despicable Me 3’ works very well – like the new trapped-in-the-’80s villain voiced by Trey Parker – but most of the movie is bogged down by mediocrity.
When Marvel Studios attempted to change Edgar Wright’s vision for ‘Ant-Man’ just two weeks prior to shooting, he walked. After seeing the movie that he instead chose to fill his time with, I’m glad he did. ‘Baby Driver‘ is 1950s romantic musical wrapped in the skin of a witty heist movie. Ansel Egort shines as the lead, Baby, a getaway driver who’s indebted to a crime boss played by Kevin Spacey. Baby’s out-of-this-world skills behind the wheel aren’t his only freakish aspect. A childhood accident left him with a constant ringing in his ears, so Baby drowns out the hum with a non-stop music playlist that functions as a soundtrack of B-sides and unheard-of tracks. After fulfilling his driving contract, he plans to walk away with the girl of his dreams (Lily James), but walking away is never easy. The cast of this slick and awesome film includes John Hamm, Jamie Foxx and Eliza Gonzalez. Wright’s films have never been big box office hits and this one likely won’t be either, but ‘Baby Driver’ definitely deserves some mainstream attention.
Once upon a time, Will Ferrell’s comedies were beloved. That affection has since died off, as has the amount of movie in which Will Ferrell appears. Clocking in at 88 minutes and opening with little flare and attention is his latest, ‘The House‘. Ferrell and Amy Poehler play a couple who lose their daughter’s college fund and decide to open an illegal casino to recoup their losses. You know, because the house always wins. When the press screening for my region overlapped with the one for ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’, Warner Bros. wasn’t willing to budge. This leads me to believe that it’s a safe bet to not bet on ‘The House’ at all.
Finally, this week’s deserving indie release is ‘The Little Hours‘, a period piece comedy about three misguided nuns (Aubrey Plaza, Alison Brie and Kate Micucci) who get into some dark and silly shenanigans. When a handsome fugitive peasant (Dave Franco) is taken in by the convent’s priest (John C. Reilly), the unholy nuns lose their minds. I like ‘The Little Hours’ when I reviewed it at Sundance. If you enjoy a dirty little comedy, then I recommend checking it out.