despicable me 2 (u) 4/5 if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Directors Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud have stayed true to the old maxim in this fizzy sequel to their delightful 2010 computer- animated adventure.
Despicable Me 2 may not quite hit the dizzy heights of the original and lacks some of the heart-tugging emotion and warmth that epitomised Gru's journey from cackling arch-villain to surrogate father, but young audiences won't care a jot. The humour is just as endearingly silly and the action sequences are bigger, including a James Bond-style opening sequence over the Arctic Circle.
It begins shortly after events of the original, with reformed supervillain Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) living in unconventional domestic bliss with his girls Margo, Edith and Agnes.
1skullduggery and now devotes his bunker to the production of jams and jellies. When a new threat to global peace emerges, Lucy Wilde (Kristen Wiig) from The Anti-Villain League stuns Gru with her lipstick taser and press gangs him into working for the good guys to uncover the mastermind responsible for the theft of a top secret serum.
The trail leads to a mall where Gru and Lucy pose as co-owners of a cupcake shop.
This inspires a few paternal oohs and aahs as Gru navigates the road bumps of parenthood. A gooey romantic coda that turns back the clock to 1994, is the icing on a delicious, if familiar, cake.
In the first film, the Minions proved a star attraction, scene- stealing with googly-eyed gusto, so screenwriters Ken Daurio and Cinco Paul have pushed the diminutive yellow sidekicks to the fore.
But the film's reliance on the Minions for almost every snigger is noticeable and their charm starts to wear thin during the end credits, which shamelessly plugs the stand-alone Minions movie planned for next year.
the heat (15) 3/5 a couple of years back, Bridesmaids wooed UK audiences with the sweary antics of six 30-something women behaving badly. It was nominated for two Oscars, including a richly-deserved nod for Melissa McCarthy as best supporting actress, with her unforgettable portrayal of a singleton desperate to get her man. Any man.
McCarthy's comic whirlwind blows to gale force 10 once again in The Heat, an oestrogen-fuelled cop caper that proves ladies can be every bit as politically incorrect and rough and tumble as the lads.
In a rare instance of perfect Hollywood casting, she is paired with Sandra Bullock, one of the few A-list actresses willing and, more importantly, able to humiliate herself on screen for our amusement.
New York FBI agent Sarah Ashburn (Bullock) is sent to Boston, with the promise of promotion if she can work with the local detectives to bring down a drug kingpin named Larkin.
To land the scalp, she reluctantly buddies up with loose cannon cop Shannon Mullins (McCarthy).
If the litmus test for any comedy is how often you laugh out loud, then The Heat sizzles.
Bullock and McCarthy are a formidable double-act, the latter spitting in the eye of subtlety as she bulldozes through supporting cast, cackling as grown men tumble in her wake.
The initial rivalry between the characters mellows, inevitably but not unpleasingly, into sisterly solidarity. The two leads spark off each other brilliantly, milking laughs from a patchy script.
red 2 (12) 3/5 so you can teach old dogs new tricks, after all. Or so it seems in Red 2, the action-packed sequel to the 2010 comedy thriller about a team of retired assassins who run rings around their junior colleagues.
Inspired by a DC Comics series, this testosterone-fuelled caper is a hugely entertaining and polished piece of nonsense, which ramps up the action sequences as the silly plot ricochets between Paris, London and Moscow at dizzying speed.
Bruce Willis, John Malkovich and Helen Mirren lock and load once again with giddy abandon. Joining the fray is Korean action man Lee Byung-hun, whose martial arts skills are given plenty of screen time.
The original mix of comedy and explosions with a dash of romance is garnished with Sir Anthony Hopkins reliving his Hannibal Lecter glory days as a mentally unstable scientist.
The incendiary cocktail goes down a treat, delivering big laughs without needing to engage your brain too much to keep track of the usual array of crosses, double-crosses and sly twists.
the world's end (15) 2/5 the end is nigh in the concluding chapter of director Edgar Wright and actor Simon Pegg's so-called Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy, which began with Shaun Of the Dead and was followed by Hot Fuzz.
Alas, the third time is a charmless exercise in male bonding, spiked with elements of The Stepford Wives as five childhood pals reunite to complete a legendary pub crawl in their sleepy home town, only to discover the locals have been replaced by robots.
The film's fictional community of Newton Haven boasts the UK's first roundabout, built circa 1909, and Wright and Pegg's haphazard script fittingly goes round in circles as the cowriters attempt in vain to bring their madcap ideas to satisfying fruition.
The tone veers wildly between science fiction, comedy, action and horror. It's all anchored by an exuberant performance from Pegg as the most instantly unlikeable and irritating antihero to swagger out of British cinema. A prologue set in June 1990 sketches the bonds of friendship between five teenagers, who fail to complete a crawl of 12 pubs, culminating in a final, glorious pint at The World's End.
Two decades later, Gary (Pegg), decides to reunite them to complete the booze-fuelled feat known as the Golden Mile.
"This time we are going to see it through to the bitter end - or the lager end!" Gary tells Andrew (Nick Frost), Steven (Paddy Considine), Oliver (Martin Freeman) and Peter (Eddie Marsan), who have all grown up, got jobs and settled down.
Tensions are inflamed when Oliver's sister, Sam (Rosamund Pike), whom Steven has always fancied, turns up.
Romantic overtures are forgotten when Gary unmasks the strangely emotionless residents as robotic doppelgangers.
This peppered with cameos, none of which produce big laughs or distract from implausibilities in the plot. If this is the end, it's a disappointing one.
A service of YellowBrix, Inc.
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