"Despicable Me 2"
"Despicable Me 2" is a sequel that builds on the goodwill of the 2010 blockbuster, advances the story and delivers top-notch PG-rated entertainment.
It finds the once villainous Gru (voice of Steve Carell) over the moon for the three orphaned sisters he adopted. Gru and Dr. Nefario are trying to replace villainy with vittles, namely jellies and jams. However, their fruity concoction is awful, which allows Gru time to join forces with the Anti-Villain League to sniff out a secret enemy with a serum that turns subjects into oversize, ravenous, purple creatures.
Gru and an AVL agent, Lucy (Kristen Wiig), have a "meet cute" involving a lipstick Taser and a kidnapping in a car worthy of James Bond and his gadget gurus. Although Gru insists he doesn't love Lucy, the girls sense she might be a good match for the man terrified by the notion of dating.
Gru and Lucy go undercover in a mall where the super villain supposedly has set up shop and where a boy catches Margo's eye. At the same time, some of the minions start to disappear in a mystery that might be tied into Gru's bigger mission.
Russell Brand once again speaks for Dr. Nefario, and new voices include Benjamin Bratt and Ken Jeong. Directors Chris Renaud and Pierre Coffin speak Minion, literally here, providing the voices of the yellow thumb-shaped creatures with one or two eyes looming large behind goggles, and skinny arms and stubby legs.
"Despicable Me 2" is good, giggly fun, not too scary for the little ones and with enough adventure, 007-style gizmos and dating disasters to keep adults engaged.
Extras include commentary with directors and behind-the-scenes featurettes on "Gru's Girls" and gadgets. Also, on Blu-ray: three mini-movies starring the Minions and a making-of the mini-movies; deleted scene; and more.
Rated PG for rude humor and mild action.
"Fast & Furious 6"
"Fast & Furious 6," arriving on DVD just weeks after Paul Walker's death, pares the franchise to the essentials: fast cars that somersault through the air, stunts that defy gravity or logic, and women who look like SI models turning up to watch street racing. Throw in a hip-hop heavy soundtrack and you have a movie perfect for young men.
The story opens months after the Rio heist in the fifth movie left the crew on the lam, scattered around the globe and with $100 million.
Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) and girlfriend Elena (Elsa Pataky), along with Brian (Paul Walker), Mia (Jordana Brewster) and their newborn, are living in the Canary Islands when Dwayne Johnson's lawman Hobbs comes calling.
He is on the trail of another crew, this one led by the paramilitary-trained demon driver Owen Shaw (Luke Evans), who is building a "nightshade" device that could trigger widespread doom and destruction. Hobbs plays the most important card in his deck to convince Dom and the others to reunite and head to London to track down Shaw and his criminal comrades.
Justin Lin, directing for a fourth time, revisits the themes of family and home but concentrates on big, loud, cra-zee action scenes and stunts involving planes, tanks and automobiles and drivers who are launched into the air like Flying Wallendas.
Extras include commentary with director Lin; deleted scenes; four-part making-of featurette; and set visit with Diesel. Also, on "Blu-ray": extended version; commentary by the actors; behind-the-scenes footage; "Planes, Tanks and Automobiles" four-part featurette.
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action and mayhem throughout, some sexuality and language.
This disarming film proves Joseph Gordon-Levitt's deftness behind the camera and in front of a computer screen, writing.
The movie starts as a raunch-fest, reveling in crass language and frank discussions about the relative merits of computer-generated ecstasy over the old-fashioned kind. But somewhere along the way, the comedy seamlessly morphs into an incisive satire and, finally, an extremely affecting story about the value of intimacy between two real people -- not actors, not avatars.
Contains strong graphic sexual material and dialogue throughout, nudity, strong language and drug use.
Extras include HitRECord Shorts "My Favorite Things: Request Video," "My Favorite Things Remix: Film Preservation," "Love of Objects" and "Vinegar." Also, on Blu-ray: a making-of and other featurettes.
-- The Washington Post
This women's-friendship drama threaded with erotic undertones is a visually lush, utterly lifeless adaptation of a little-known Doris Lessing novella.
Robin Wright and Naomi Watts play Roz and Lil, lifelong friends who have nurtured their otherworldly bond in a pristine coastal town in Australia. After a brief preamble in which the two cavort and swim as children, and an equally perfunctory sequence in which Lil's husband is mourned after his death in a car accident, "Adore" gets down to cases several years later, when the women -- now in their 40s and smashingly fit -- watch their 19-year-old sons surf and loll in the sun with tanned, feral grace.
"They're like gods," one of the women marvels from the shore. Watching Roz's son, Tom (James Frecheville), and Lil's son, Ian (Xavier Samuel), it's impossible not to see the transgressive appeal of the romantic pairings that ensue after a relaxed dinner and a few glasses of wine. "Adore" is animated by the forbidden, whether in the form of homosexuality, symbolic incest or simply the sight of a woman over 40 pursuing sexual pleasure.
Contains sexual content and profanity.
-- The Washington Post
Also this week:
*"Doc Martin, Series 6": The doctor tackles fatherhood and the return of his mother.
*"Battle of the Year": A break-dancing crew returns to its roots.
*"Zombie Night": Two families must fight zombies to survive the night.
*"Jump": Romantic thriller follows three seemingly unconnected sets of young people.
*"Angels Sing": Film that reminds us a little Christmas cheer can go a long way.
*"The Ultimate Life": A rich man begins to question what's important in his life.
*"The Seasoning House": Deaf and mute Angel (Rosie Day) is abducted and sent to a Balkan brothel.
*"Cult Movie Marathon: Volume One": Includes "Invasion of the Bee Girls," "The Devil's 8," "Unholy Rollers" and "Vicious Lips."
*"Mary Poppins 50th Anniversary": This Julie Andrews movie is being re-released.
*"Game: the Sixth Season": TV series about women who have a boyfriend, husband or son on the same professional football team.
*"Touchy Feely": Comedy about finding your place in the world.
*"The Gene Autry Show: The Complete Television Series":Includes 91 episodes of the western series.
*"The Nature of Genius": This collection features DVD and Blu-ray versions of two outstanding documentaries - "Inspirations" and "Me & Isaac Newton."
*"American Bomber": Disgraced ex-soldier looks to become first American-born suicide bomber.
*"Muppet Movie Collection": Includes "Muppet Treasure Island" and "The Great Muppet Caper."
*"Anchorman:Legend of Ron Burgundy Giftset": Includes film on Blu-ray.
*"The Rooftop": Life changes when a man meets his dream girl, a billboard beauty.
*"Saving General Yang": A small band of fighters face an army of thousands.
-- Rick Bentley, McClatchy Newspapers