'Free Birds' (Reel FX / Relativity Media)

Review: ‘Free Birds,’ Rise Up, My Turkey Brothers, Rise Up

Gobble gobble! Owen Wilson, Woody Harrelson, and Amy Poehler star in a charming animated movie that suggests alternative items for your Thanksgiving menu. Continue reading Review: ‘Free Birds,’ Rise Up, My Turkey Brothers, Rise Up

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Review: ‘Despicable Me’

The minions of 'Despicable Me'
Two of the many minions of 'Despicable Me'

Delightful and droll, Despicable Me is also refreshingly modest. And it’s fun.

All animated films fall under the shadow of mighty Pixar, which has set the gold standard. But that doesn’t mean that every animated film must follow the same pattern. Directed by Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud, Despicable Me is less story-driven and more gag-oriented than the typical Pixar outing, and less dialogue-oriented than the usual Dreamworks product. It plays like an interconnected series of skits and blackouts, tied together with the connective tissue of a featherweight fable.

Really, it’s a comic misadventure, featuring a villain as the good guy. Tall and dressed in black, Gru (voiced by Steve Carrell) should be a fearsome sight, but instead he’s a bit pathetic and sad. We quickly learn that he only became a villain to win the affections of his unsupportive mother (voiced by Julie Andrews). He’s a lost little boy seeking approval.

Continue reading “Review: ‘Despicable Me’”