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Movie Review: “Despicable Me 3” Entertains but Lacks Depth

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In the first “Despicable Me”, Gru (Steve Carell) discovered the meaning of fatherhood and how rewarding it was to care for three little girls who loved him back. In “Despicable Me 2”, Gru discovered love with his romantic interest, Lucy (Kristen Wiig). In “Despicable Me 3” Gru discovers a twin brother, Dru (also voiced by Carell), whom he never knew he had. And somewhere in all these films he takes down an evil villain more diabolical than him.

The franchise sticks with an adequate formula that entertains enough. But unfortunately with each passing sequel, the films seem to be loosing the heart of the story. “Despicable Me 3” begins with the introduction of a new villain, Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker), who is a washed up 80’s child star that wants revenge on world that turned on him. After failing to take down Bratt during one of his heists, Gru and his now wife, Lucy, are fired from their jobs at the Anti-Villain League. In the midst, of trying to figure his next step, a strange man visits Gru to tell him about a twin brother he never knew he had who needs his help.

Once Gru, Lucy, and the girls arrive at Dru’s very rich mansion, they discover he is not exactly what they expected. For starters, he has a full head of blonde hair, he has an obsession with pigs, and he’s a clumsy, sweet guy who’s desperate to become a villain like his brother once was. While Gru attempts to reconnect to his old “bad guy” days, Lucy is busy trying to have some mother/daughter bonding time with the girls.

Though the twin brother story-line does offer longer legs for the film’s franchise, you have to wonder if it is worth the stretch marks the movies are beginning to show. The family relationships are excellent factors to “Despicable Me”, but it might be wise for the films to put a little more care and thought into their antagonists. At this point they are meaningless obstacles to whatever Gru is hoping to achieve.

Oh and you’re probably wondering about the minions. Yes, there is plenty of minions in this movie. I found there was a little too much of them. But if you love them as much as little kids do, you’re all set. The minions have their own mini adventure side story that you will either find adorable or an absolute waste of time.

“Despicable Me 3” is an overall enjoyable kids film. We’re given a handful of laughs and a decent amount of tender moments. However, for a film that had such a strong start, I had hoped this movie would leave me wanting more instead of worrying about what’s to come.

RATING: 3.5/5

“Despicable Me 3” opens in theaters June 30.

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Movie Review: “The Secret Life of Pets” is a Delightful Treat, But Not Enough Meat

How do our pets act when we’re not around? It’s a question we’re so curious about when we see dogs whimper as we walk out the door. When we see cats comfortably relaxing, and they seem like they could care less as we walk by them. Well, Illumination Entertainment’s newest film, “The Secret Life of Pets” tells us just that. From a cat who raids the fridge, to a dog who loves head-banging to rock music, these are just a few things we get to discover about the daily lives of pets in this film.

The story follows a terrier named Max (Louis C.K.) who has a great relationship with his owner, Katie (Ellie Kemper). And every day when she leaves for work, he anxiously awaits her return. Usually, he kills the time by having some his friends/other pets over to hang out. But his life is turned upside down, when Katie returns home one day with a new dog she got from the pound, Duke (Eric Stonestreet). Max instantly dislikes him, and the two can’t seem to get along. The following day during their group dog walk a fight ensues which results in them getting parted from their dog walker, and leaves them struggling to find their way home.

If this plot sounds somewhat familiar, try replacing the pets with toys. Yes, the premise of the film is essentially the same as “Toy Story”. Unfortunately, “The Secret Life of Pets” just doesn’t properly execute the same heartfelt message.

Don’t get me wrong, “The Secret Life of Pets” is still an enjoyable film and will thoroughly entertain kids. Especially through the biggest standouts of the movie Snowball (Kevin Hart) and Gidget (Jenny Slate), who provide the biggest laughs. Listening to Kevin Hart’s voice on a tiny, cute, little bunny who loathes humans is an ironic and hilarious combination.

I only wish that the film focused a little more on the things that pets do when their owners are gone and when they return home. They graze over the cliché actions we’d expect, but it is quickly over shadowed by a journey of trying to get Max and Duke home.

“The Secret Life of Pets” is absolutely worth the watch, but if you have already seen “Zootopia” or “Finding Dory”, don’t expect this film to come close in comparison. The entertainment value is there, but it lacks the heart and depth that we usually hope for from these family animated movies.

Rating 3/5

“The Secret Life of Pets” hits theaters July 8.

“The Secret Life of Pets” Trailer HD

Interview: Byron Howard & Rich Moore talk “Zootopia”

 

I sat down with directors Byron Howard & Rich Moore to discuss their incredible new animated film, “Zootopia”. We talked about not giving up on your dream job, the stereotypes directors fight against and which message from a film impacted them the most as a kid!

“Zootopia” opens in theaters March 4.

“Zootopia” Interview with Directors Byron Howard & Rich Moore

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Studio Movie Grill Brings Minions to Dallas Metroplex

 

Studio Movie Grill is hitting the streets with minions to give away free admit-two passes. When a minion is seen at the locations listed below and SMG The Colony is mentioned, the minions will give away a free pass, good for two people at any SMG location.

What: Studio Movie Grill The Colony/Minions Promotion

When: Friday, July 10 – Saturday, July 11

Where:

Shops at Legacy – Friday, July 10 (3:00pm – 5:00pm)
5741 Legacy Dr.
Plano, TX 75024

Studio Movie Grill Plano – Friday, July 10 (6:00pm – 8:00pm)
4721 W. Park Blvd.
Plano, TX 75093

Hawaiian Falls – Saturday, July 11 (11:00am – 3:00pm)
4400 Paige Rd.
The Colony, TX 75056

Why: Studio Movie Grill recently announced its upcoming location in The Colony. To get fans excited about the new location, SMG is hitting the streets with minions to give away SMG passes to fans. When a minion is seen at any of the above locations and fans mention SMG The Colony, they will receive a free admit-two pass, good for any SMG location.

About Studio Movie Grill
Studio Movie Grill modernized the traditional movie-going experience by combining first-run movies with full-service, in-theater dining. SMG is characterized in the market today by its continued ability to innovate movie and menu offerings, as well as its dedication to the communities it serves. Considered the industry leader in its rapidly growing segment, SMG currently has 20 locations in 10 states with more expansion on the way. For additional information, please visit www.studiomoviegrill.com.