REVIEW: Despicable Me 3 [2017]

“I love the combination of Gummy Bears and meat” You have to give Illumination credit because they chose to cultivate an animated niche able to set them apart from Pixar rather than simply seek to copy their blueprint. Their path brings them closer to Dreamworks and yet we can still pick out the difference because Christopher Meledandri‘s style strips things even further down to a level of pure entertainment. So it’s no coincidence that his flagship property Despicable Me has now spawned two sequels to go along with a spinoff,…

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REVIEW: Mower Minions [2016]

“Chop-ah chop-ah” The Minions used to be adorable little sidekicks—hilarious creatures ripe for slapstick in a secondary role to the film they were in (Despicable Me). And then they became bigger than the franchise that spawned them. Toys were made, companies recruited them to sell products, and their own feature length film was inevitably released in theaters. That’s all well and good because I am the first to say I enjoy those goobers as much as the next person. But why is Illumination transforming them into dead horses? Are they…

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REVIEW: Despicable Me 2 [2013]

“Do not do your business on the petunias” When we last saw super villain Gru (Steve Carell) in Despicable Me he had just returned the moon to its rightful place in the sky, retired from evil, and become a father to the three sweetest little girls ever: Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier), and Agnes (Elsie Kate Fisher). He had turned over a new leaf after youthful innocence thawed his heart a la how Cindy Lou helped the Grinch grow his in the classic Dr. Seuss tale. It’s the kind…

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REVIEW: Rise of the Guardians [2012]

“Merry Christmas! Happy Easter! Don’t forget to floss!” It was only a matter of time before someone turned our favorite holiday-bound mythical creatures into superheroes. Unsurprisingly it’s William Joyce who did. By no means a household name, he isn’t a stranger to the world of youthful fantasy with credited work as a conceptual artist (Toy Story and A Bug’s Life), television show creator (“Rolie Polie Olie”), and author of cinematic adaptations earning box office success (Meet the Robinsons inspiration A Day with Wilbur Robinson). His latest project coined The Guardians…

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REVIEW: Hop [2011]

“See you later. Enjoy your life of privilege.” What do you get when you mix Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory with The Santa Clause? Why another redundant holiday flick to tickle the kiddies and leave Mom and Dad clueless to the appeal, of course. Between the coronation of a new Easter Bunny, the betrothed having cold feet and a dream of drumming to fame and fortune, and a human forever lambasted for believing he once saw the mythical creature being willing to do anything to become him, you can…

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Top Ten Films of 2010: Dark Fantasy Cinema

This list is accurate as of post-date. So many films and not enough time to see them all—141 seen is this year’s number—the potential for future change is inevitable, but as of today here are the best … I remember thinking around April that there hadn’t been a truly great film released yet. After summer came and went with little to cheer about, I feared 2010 would be a gigantic bust containing a ton of decent to good films, but only a handful of great ones. And then—like it seems…

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REVIEW: Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore [2010]

“I’m 65% sure, I can go to 67% … Oh, look! A potato bug” Remember those days of spoof films like Scary Movie, Superhero Movie, Date Movie, and ‘Insert Generic Genre Title’ Movie? Oh, that’s right, we haven’t left that abysmal period of cinematic history behind quite yet. But instead of inundating Middle Schoolers with fart jokes and actors who laugh at themselves, Hollywood has gone to the children. I’ve never seen Cats & Dogs, so I don’t know if that was a real film or not, however, its sequel,…

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REVIEW: Despicable Me [2010]

“Oh yes, I have pins and needles I’m sitting on” Yet another hat is thrown into the ring. Illumination Entertainment joins the stiff competition of Hollywood animators, bringing along with it a stellar voice cast and the ever-present 3D format. Christopher Meledandri—the man behind Fox’s steady rise into becoming one of the top three studios of the medium alongside Pixar and DreamWorks—left his executive job to head up this new company, pilfering artist Chris Renaud to co-direct the firm’s debut Despicable Me with Pierre Coffin. Let’s just say that it’s…

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