Category Archives: Film Reviews

Despicable Me 2 #FilmFriday

Happy Film Friday! Continuing with my theme of sharing with you my family’s school holidays entertainment views… here are our thoughts on:

Despicable Me 2

Gru is back ~ and so are his minions. Gru is now cast in the role of the adorable step father of Margo, Agnes and Edith. He’s shed his villainy ways and is deeply embroiled in the production of Jams and Jellies, ably (if perhaps reluctantly) assisted by his gadget man, Dr. Nefario.

Gru experiences all the joys of single parenthood right down to the persistent, if calamitous, match-making by one of his neighbours. All’s well in the Gru household until… Anti-Villain League Agent, Lucy Wilde, appears in Gru’s life and tries to recruit him in pursuit of the Uber-villain who is about to use a mutagen to produce the most evil monsters.

Gru declines initially, but after his gadget man resigns and owing to Lucy’s persistent stalking, he relents. Cue spy-movie style stakeouts, surreptitious minion abductions, and a grand-finale show-down.

Despicable Me has definitely grown on me. Having resisted its charms for more months than I care to count, I finally gave in a few weeks ago and let the children purchase and watch a copy of Despicable Me (1) which, to my surprise, I greatly enjoyed. I was therefore quite keen to watch the sequel, and I’m pleased to report that I loved it.

There’s something really sweet and touching about Gru’s oddly clumsy, unorthodox yet effective, approach to step-fatherhood. His minions lead a happy and jolly existence that, frankly, makes me want to join them. The kids adore him (his kids, and mine!). The suspense plot is convincing, if comical, and the blossoming romance is adorable, especially as Gru is completely oblivious to Lucy’s ever-developing crush on him (well, he would be, wouldn’t he?).

There are a few scenes right towards the end in the grand finale that might unsettle very young viewers, but the film has a U rating overall and is suitable for all audiences.  My two certainly adored every minute. We laughed and nearly-but-not-quite-cried (happy tears!) and bit our nails. Everyone was disappointed when the film came to an all-too-soon ending!

My 8-year-old says: EXCELLENT! I liked the purple minions best.

My 6-year-old says: BRILLIANT! I loved the big party at the end!

We give Despicable Me 2….

5 Stars!

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Smurfs 2

It’s Film Friday! As per last week, I thought I’d bring you something entertaining during the school holiday season. This week’s selection is particularly suitable for children! My boys took me to see…

Smurfs 2

I have to admit, I love these little blue guys. I remember the TV series from when I was young, as well as the feature films, and of course it so happens that I have a whole army of Smurf figures–recently recovered from the depth of the attic and now cherished by my children. How’s that for lasting value?

So actually, I was quite looking forward to this cinema outing, and I wasn’t disappointed.

The story is a variation on a theme, as expected. Evil Gargamel is still intent on his quest for world- and Smurf-domination. It so happens that he is now a famous ‘magician’ touring the world with his show, and when the film starts, we find him in Paris. He has created a new brand of mini creatures whom he calls the Naughties. They look like Smurfs except they’re grey, just like Smurfette used to be.

Speaking of… the story begins when Smurfette has a birthday which she thinks everyone has forgotten. Feeling sad and abandoned and very much doubting her Smurf-ness, Smurfette wanders off into the woods where she gets ‘enchanted’ by her grey look-alike and Gargamel’s latest creation, the feisty Vexy. Smurfette lets herself be taken…and then taken in by Vexy and her counterpart, Hackus. While the three of them get up to all sorts of nonsense in Paris, Papa Smurf launches a rescue mission that involves the New York Winslows (played by Neil Patrick Harris and Jayma Mays) as well as Patrick Winslow’s estranged step-dad (Brendan Gleeson).

The Verdict?

“It was very, very, very good.” (My 8-year-old)

“It was amazing ~ I’m lost for words.” (My 6-year-old; and these were his exact words!)

Needless to say, I enjoyed it too. The story was strong enough to hold my interest, the special effects were convincing, and there were plenty of jokes to keep an adult audience entertained while the children burst with laughter at the more obvious meaning. I particularly enjoyed the shenanigans around the duck-formation and the slapstick scenes it brought about.

My kids were truly mesmerized, and I didn’t hear a peep from them for the entire duration of the film–which had the added benefit of leaving me quite chilled and relaxed for the first time that day. If you’re looking for something to entertain the kids on a rainy day (or even if it isn’t raining); or if you’re an adult with a nostalgic fondness for your own childhood Smurfs, Smurfs 2 is definitely worth seeing.

4 Stars!

THE HEAT

Happy Friday! Seeing as that it’s the school holidays, I thought I’d entertain you with a movie review. If you can get a sitter for the kids, I thoroughly recommend checking this out! The Heat is a 15 Certificate in the UK.

THE HEAT

I’d seen the trailer and it got me hooked. I like Sandra Bullock in her ditzy power-woman roles. Miss Congeniality is an all-time favourite, as is The Net. As is, incidentally, The Proposal. Unsurprisingly, I was keen to see her latest film. So keen in fact, that I managed to catch it on opening night here in Lincoln. I can’t recall the last time a film drew me to the cinema on opening night!

The basic story is this. Uptight and somewhat unpersonable, know-it-all-and-is-never-wrong FBI agent, Sarah Ashburn (Sandra Bullock), would like that promotion. Her interpersonal issues and the universal dislike of her co-workers stop her boss awarding her said promotion. Instead, he sends her on a ‘choice’ assignment to Boston to take down a drug lord. Perhaps if she succeeds, the promotion may be on offer.

Within about five minutes of arriving, Sarah unwittingly and unknowingly locks proverbial horns with her soon-to-be partner, Shannon Mullins (Melissa McCarthy). You see, Sarah does everything by the book. She quotes the book quite a lot too, she’s like a walking encyclopedia. Shannon is a bit of a rogue cannon with extremely colourful language. Speaking of cannons… we soon discover that Shannon has a fridge full of… guns. Her food stores seem to consist of days-old sandwiches that she repeatedly tries, and fails, to pass on to McCarthy. It takes the agents a while to rub together, but when they do, they are truly a force to be reckoned with.

The plot was gripping with a twist that brewed and brewed and brewed…and then twisted once more upon itself, surprising the audience as much as Mullins and McCarthy. The clash between the two agents’ outlook on the right way of doing things, and the extremely feisty character and colourful language of Mullins set up deadpan joke after joke that had the audience laughing and cheering, even in the goriest of circumstances.

Favourite quotes?

Mullins: You’re giving her beauty advice? Do you even own a fucking mirror?
Mullins: 
Is that really what you want to say?  Because you’re saying that out loud.
Ashburn: … tongue in cheek! [You’ll get this when you see the movie, I promise!]

Bullock delivers a solid performance, as expected; she aced the role at every turn. Yet to me, it was the outstanding delivery by McCarthy that really made the film. I’m fairly sure that I recall seeing an interview with Sandra Bullock during which she explained that a lot of the comedy moments were unscripted and simply ‘erupted’ because of the chemistry between the actors. I may have misunderstood, but I can certainly believe that happening ~ Bullock and McCarthy are a dream team!!

THE HEAT is a nail-biting thriller with intense suspense and peppered with hilarious belly-laugh moments all the way through. If you’re only going to see one film this summer, I suggest you make it this one.

FIVE STARS!