Film Review: Minions (dir by Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda)


Minions_posterThe Minions, everyone’s favorite group of little yellow weirdos from the first two Despicable Me films, now have a movie of their very own!  Earlier tonight, Jeff and I braved a theater that was full of hyperactive little children and we watched Minions.

I have to admit that I was really looking forward to seeing Minions.  After all, I loved both of the Despicable Me movies and, much like Through the Shattered Lens co-founder Arleigh Sandoc, I thought the minions were pretty adorable.  Along with the fact that they were just so weird that you couldn’t help but love them, the minions were distinguished by the wonderfully cheerful approach that they took towards their work.  Even when one of them was accidentally launched into space during the original Despicable Me, he continued to smile.  He was just happy to be a part of the project.  Seriously, who wouldn’t want a bunch of minions to do her bidding?

Now, it was established during the first Despicable Me movie that the minions were specifically created by the super villain Gru.  However, Minions reimagines their origins.  Now, we discover that the minions have existed since the beginning of time and, apparently immune from aging, they have always sought to serve a villainous master.  During the film’s opening, we watch as they serve a Tyrannosaurus Rex, Dracula, and Napoleon.  Unfortunately, the minions’ combination of enthusiasm and stupidity proves fatal to most of their employers.

Eventually, the minions find themselves exiled to Antarctica.  After several centuries, the minions find themselves suffering from depression and ennui.  Finally, three brave minions (all voiced by director Pierre Coffin) volunteer to go out into the world and find a new master to serve.  Kevin is the responsible leader.  Bob is the cute, enthusiastic one who always carries a teddy bear with him.  (Bob also has heterochromia, just like me!)  And finally, Stuart is the one who likes to play his guitar.

Kevin, Bob, and Stuart get in a rowboat and eventually, they reach New York City.  However, it turns out that the year is 1968 and there is a serious shortage of evil super villains to serve!  Not only is Gru just a child but Bill Clinton hasn’t even launched his political career yet!  Eventually, though, our three minions learn about Villain-Con, being held in Orlando, Florida.  Hitching a ride with a family of aspiring bank robbers (Micheal Keaton is the voice of the father), the minions reach Orlando and eventually, they end up working for Scarlet Overkill (Sandra Bullock) and her husband, Herb (Jon Hamm).

Scarlet explains that, ever since she was a little girl, she has wanted to be the Queen of England.  But she doesn’t have the crown!  She orders Kevin, Stuart, and Bob to get that crown and reads them a bedtime story about three minions who failed to get a crown and were subsequently killed by an angry wolf.  AGCK!

This leads to our three minions going to London and, since it’s 1968, that also leads to a lot of good (if predictable) songs on the soundtrack.  As a result of several odd incidents, Bob is briefly the King of England.  And things only get stranger from there…

The children in the audience loved it but, at the same time, I could never bring myself to like Minions as much as I wanted to.  Minions just doesn’t have as much heart as Despicable Me.  There’s no moment in Minions that’s anywhere close to being as joyful as the “It’s so fluffy” scene from Despicable Me.  The minions are fun supporting characters but they don’t quite work as well as protagonists for a 91 minutes film.  Sandra Bullock tries really hard as Scarlet Overkill but she just doesn’t have the right voice for the character.  Part of Sandra Bullock’s appeal, after all, is that she not only looks but sounds like she’s totally down-to-earth and that’s one thing that Scarlet definitely is not.  Jon Hamm, however, is hilarious as the vacuous Herb.

Minions is a cute movie that doesn’t really make much of an impression.  Kids will love it, though.  And, even though I would never actually eat there, I’m still going to go by McDonald’s and order a Happy Meal so I can get the little minion that’s inside.

(Especially if it’s one of those cursing minions…)

Cursing Minions

Film Review: Lady Terminator (1989, dir. H. Tjut Djalil as Jalil Jackson)


Lady Terminator (Barbara Anne Constable)

Lady Terminator (Barbara Anne Constable)

It’s all here. She hunts down and kills innocent people on her way to her target. She rams a car into a police station in order to get to her target. She drives after the protector and her target while having a shootout. She appears as the Lady Terminator naked. She takes two guys to the back of a car where a snake comes out of her vagina and bites off their dicks, killing them so she can take their clothes.

What? Arnold didn’t bite off any dicks? Well, that’s because this isn’t The Terminator. This is Lady Terminator. Here, if a dick isn’t shot off, then it’s bit off by what we will refer to as the vagina snake.

The movie begins in the past where an evil queen takes a man to bed and kills him during sex. Then another man is brought in, but this time it goes differently. She gets into position, a snake slithers out of her vagina, he grabs it, it turns into a knife, and she’s banished. By banished, I mean she swears she’ll have her vengeance on his great-granddaughter in 100 years, appears outside on the beach, and walks into the ocean to join forces with evil. Isn’t that one of the most absurd openings to a movie you’ve ever heard of?

We jump to the future and meet Tania. She’s not a lady, she’s an anthropology student, as she reminds the sea captain. You see, she’s going to investigate the legend of the South Sea Queen. The lady who liked biting off dicks. She visits a library to have an encounter with a ridiculous character who knows exactly what she’s talking about, warns her, but gives her what she’s looking for anyways. You know, standard stuff.

She gets a boat, goes underwater, winds up on a bed, and the snake goes up her vagina. Makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? At this point I think we need to stop and notice that we have learned an important lesson. Fifty Shades Of Grey taught us that if you are a female English major then you’ll end up negotiating the use of butt plugs. But Lady Terminator teaches us that if you are a female Anthropology major then a snake will go up your vagina and turn you into a killing machine. Maybe major in Computer Science instead. Just saying.

See, I wasn't kidding. That's why we call it the vagina snake.

See, I wasn’t kidding. That’s why we call it the vagina snake.

Anyway, once the we really were inspired by the legend of the South Sea Queen and not The Terminator portion is over, the fun begins. And by fun, I mean almost a scene for scene copy of The Terminator, but with some differences to keep it exciting while doing those scenes well.

Emerging From The Water Naked

Emerging From The Water Naked

Lady Terminator Vision

Lady Terminator Vision

Shootout In A Club. Complete with getting shot to the ground, then popping back up.

Shootout In A Club. Complete with getting shot to the ground, then popping back up.

The Car Chase

The Car Chase

Crashing The Car Into The Police Station

Crashing The Car Into The Police Station

Cutting Out The Eyeball

Cutting Out The Eyeball

They even have somebody say Arnold’s name and the Kyle Reese character says, “Come with me if you want to live”. They also have the love scene together. I wish there was more to say, but telling you every added element would be spoiling it.

With all that out of the way. The question is whether this is worth seeing. You see the title. You know it’s a ripoff. You think of the Turks. You wonder is it worth your time.

Hell, yeah! It’s a lot of fun. It’s not as good as the real thing, but they did a damn fine job. I just wish they had made more of these movies with Barbara Anne Constable: Lady Rambo, Lady Die Hard, Lady Under Siege. Considering there is a new, legitimate, Terminator movie out, then this is a perfect way to take a trip back to the original, but with a fun twist.

Carry A Big Gun

Carry A Big Gun

Comic-Con Reel Looks At Star Wars: The Force Awakens Behind-the-Scenes


StarWarsVII

Nothing more to say than Star Wars: The Force Awakens is just 5 months away. It’s a wait made to seem even longer after witnessing the behind-the-scenes reel shown during this week’s San Diego Comic-Con.

May the Force be with you.

4 Shots From 4 Films: Omar Sharif Edition


Today the film world received news that legendary actor Omar Sharif passed away at the age of 83. The acclaimed Egyptian actor would make quite an entrance with his very first English-language film: David Lean’s epic Lawrence of Arabia.

Omar Sharif would go on to star in such film as Dr. Zhivago, MacKenna’s Gold, Funny Girl and Behold a Pale Horse to name a few. He might be recognized by the younger generation in such films as The 13th Warrior and Hidalgo. He would be the vision of the noble romantic whether it was as a warrior, a poet or a leader. He would bring a bearing on-screen that exuded steadfast nobility yet still with a streak of roguish charm.

With each passing year we lose more and more of our classic performers. Now Omar Sharif joins the others who have gone before him but will always live on in our memories of him up on the screen.

4 SHOTS FROM 4 FILMS

Lawrence of Arabia (dir. by David Lean)

Lawrence of Arabia (dir. by David Lean)

Dr. Zhivago (dir. by David Lean)

Dr. Zhivago (dir. by David Lean)

MacKenna'sGold

MacKenna’s Gold (dir. by J. Lee Thompson)

Hidalgo (dir. by Joe Johnston)

Hidalgo (dir. by Joe Johnston)

Fear The Walking Dead Season 1 Trailer


FearTWD

“When civilization ends…it ends fast.”

It was just a matter of time before AMC decided to mine their massive hit of a show, The Walking Dead, with spin-off to maximize it’s dominance over the tv landscape. We’ve been getting teasers leading up to San Diego Comic-Con where AMC released the first official trailer for this spin-off series titled Fear The Walking Dead.

This spin-off series will pull back time from the original series and have it set in the very beginning of the zombie outbreak which leads to the fall of civilization by the time Rick awakes from his weeks-long coma. It will also have it’s location as far and different from the backwoods and backroads of Georgia to Virginia where The Walking Dead is set. Instead this new series will have sunny Los Angeles as the setting. What better location than one of the most densely populated areas in the United States to show the first days and weeks of The Walking Dead timeline.

Unlike some who seem to be getting tired of the zombie craze of the past decade or so, I and a few others here at Through the Shattered Lens still enjoy this zombie apocalypse renaissance. Maybe it’s the inner doomsday preppers in some of us here in TSL that makes these types of shows and stories appealing.

Will Fear The Walking Dead succeed just as much as it’s older sibling? We shall find out when it premieres this August 23rd.

The Walking Dead Season 6 Trailer


TheWalkingDeadS6

“Do you have any idea who you’re talking to?” — Rick Grimes

AMC has unveiled it’s official trailer for the 6th season of TV’s most popular show (so popular that it even beats Sunday Night Football on occasion) during it’s San Diego Comic-Con panel at Hall H.

Last we left the Grimes crew saw Rick Grimes get the go-ahead from Alexandria Safe-Zone leader Deanna Monroe to shoot wife-batterer and neck-slashing Pete in his face. It would’ve been quite a satisfying event if not for Rick’s first BFF, Morgan Jones, suddenly appearing out of the shadows to see him do the deed. This is the same Morgan who went from crazy clear to zen clear who thought all life that wasn’t undead was precious.

So, now season 6 is almost upon us fellow fans of the show and it looks like Rick is turning out to be Alexandria’s shogun with Deanna as the figurehead leader.

Will Rick’s Shane-like attitude to leading this expanded group of survivors be a blessing or be the downfall of another safe-haven for the Grimes Gang? There’s still the Wolves out there who now knows where they are. There’s also the looming shadow of the comic book’s Negan and his Saviors possibly making their appearance which could mean just one thing: WAR.

So, grab those ribs and thick-cut steaks and take a big bite and enjoy the trailer.