Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Minions Is Funny But Flimsy

Plus, Self/less and The Gallows misfire, and Spoils Before Dying is a funny noir parody.

by | July 9, 2015 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got an army of little flunkies (Minions, featuring voice performances by Sandra Bullock and Jon Hamm), a man with a new identity (Self/less, starring Ryan Reynolds and Ben Kingsley), and cursed teen thespians (The Gallows, starring Cassidy Gifford and Reese Mishler). What do the critics have to say?


Minions

55%

The two Despicable Me films were ostensibly about evil mastermind Gru, but it was those ovular yellow troublemakers the Minions who were the franchise’s breakout stars. Now they’ve got their own movie — aptly titled Minions — and critics say it’s colorful and funny, though its wacky slapstick gags only partially compensate for the lack of a strong narrative. The movie tells the millennia-spanning story of the Minions and their supervillain servitude; special attention is paid to Minions Stuart, Kevin, and Bob, who team up with the nefarious Scarlett and Herb Overkill (voiced by Sandra Bullock and Jon Hamm) for a daring jewel heist. The pundits say Minions is cute and visually inventive, though the titular heroes may be put to better use as supporting players. (Check out our video interviews with the cast, and flip through our gallery of the best and worst TV and movie henchmen.)



Self/less

19%

Director Tarsem Singh is undoubtedly a strong visual stylist, and his latest, Self/less, has an undeniably intriguing premise. So it’s unfortunate, critics say, when the film shifts abruptly from cerebral sci-fi to generic shoot-’em-up. Loosely based on John Frankenheimer’s eerie 1966 classic Seconds, the film follows ailing real estate billionaire Damian Hale (Ben Kingsley) as he undergoes a risky medical procedure to inhabit a new, younger body. Soon, however, this rejuvenated Damian (now played by Ryan Reynolds) learns there may have been more to the procedure than he was led to believe. The pundits say the performances are fine, but Self/less never achieves the intellectual ambitions to which it aspires. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down Kingsley’s best-reviewed movies, and find out our Singh’s Five Favorite Films.)



The Gallows

15%

The best found footage horror films (The Blair Witch Project, Paranormal Activity) succeed in creating an air of immediacy. Unfortunately, critics say the big problem with The Gallows is that its handheld camera gimmick does little to intensify its bump-in-the-night jolts. Twenty years after the onstage death of the lead actor in a high school play, students from the school decide to revive the production to pay tribute to the dead; spookiness ensues. The pundits say The Gallows has a couple decent scares, but not enough to sell this relatively generic frightfest.

What’s On TV:


Maybe Tomorrow” (77 percent) serves as a dark, stylish diversion from earlier episodes of True Detective, even if it offers a somewhat less-than-satisfying conclusion to a previous cliffhanger.

The Spoils Before Dying (82 percent) serves up a jazz noir spoof that could be considered better than its predecessor — for those that appreciate its specific brand of comedy.

Extant (70 percent) amps up the action in Season Two, adding much-needed stamina to shore up Halle Berry’s compelling performance.

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Stations of the Cross, a drama about a German teenager struggling with her faith and the demands of her strict family, is at 95 percent.
  • Tangerine, a dramedy about a wild day in the lives of two transgendered sex workers, is at 92 percent.
  • Do I Sound Gay?, a documentary that explores the nature of the stereotypical “gay voice,” is at 92 percent.
  • The Suicide Theory, a thriller about a despondent man who pays a hitman to kill him, is at 86 percent.
  • 10,000 Km, a drama about a couple trying to hold their relationship together despite the vast distance that separates them, is at 79 percent.
  • What We Did On Our Holiday, starring Rosamund Pike and David Tennant in a comedy about a family that vacations in Scotland amidst marital strife, is at 74 percent.
  • Boulevard, starring Robin Williams and Kathy Baker in a drama about a married man coming to terms with his homosexuality, is at 48 percent.
  • Strangerland, starring Nicole Kidman and Joseph Fiennes in a period drama about a couple searching desperately for their missing children in the aftermath of a huge dust storm, is at 35 percent.

Tag Cloud

green book PBS mission: impossible teaser New York Comic Con Discovery Channel 45 USA reviews TNT Teen transformers Amazon Prime Grammys TCA Winter 2020 Mary Tyler Moore spinoff VOD hist Photos Sci-Fi crime drama cancelled TV series cancelled television docudrama spanish language SundanceTV Disney Channel Holiday Lifetime Christmas movies Star Trek Sundance TV History miniseries dceu films President award winner parents Dark Horse Comics biography Britbox Lifetime Rom-Com halloween Peacock TV Hallmark Christmas movies Spike TIFF Reality Competition psychological thriller Masterpiece Endgame Walt Disney Pictures all-time war American Society of Cinematographers RT21 elevated horror SXSW Awards Tour Cartoon Network Tarantino Disney BET Awards Apple 2015 dogs Sneak Peek Starz rotten movies we love Funimation Adult Swim theme song Marathons witnail 21st Century Fox social media Bravo supernatural Super Bowl Martial Arts Nickelodeon streaming Lionsgate BBC America OWN spy thriller cinemax Polls and Games Chernobyl Travel Channel game show true crime satire Country Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Rocky BET historical drama 2017 Classic Film science fiction Thanksgiving aliens Hallmark Superheroe adaptation Food Network San Diego Comic-Con PaleyFest Arrowverse psycho mutant Quiz Apple TV Plus TV Land Superheroes Character Guide Action renewed TV shows CBS All Access serial killer documentary Premiere Dates documentaries Certified Fresh FX on Hulu breaking bad medical drama Comedy Esquire dc TLC Fox News dragons A24 Binge Guide The Witch Elton John series boxoffice hispanic 2019 X-Men diversity Baby Yoda cats Spectrum Originals El Rey criterion Showtime ESPN Mary Poppins Returns Amazon Studios zero dark thirty christmas movies sequel child's play dark HBO Max movie HBO VICE crossover BAFTA jamie lee curtis screen actors guild directors comics Red Carpet Sundance FOX richard e. Grant Reality Rocketman Marvel Studios politics NBC based on movie Brie Larson SDCC casting golden globes comedies a nightmare on elm street Ovation AMC video E! zombies Calendar south america scary movies RT History Acorn TV Awards Comedy Central Amazon name the review batman ITV Netflix Cannes Video Games Comic Book GIFs 007 asian-american Winners Animation Lucasfilm twilight CBS Schedule discovery PlayStation Warner Bros. Creative Arts Emmys indie festivals kids space Valentine's Day LGBTQ composers YouTube CW Seed Countdown WGN TV renewals mockumentary Freeform Sundance Now Summer Oscars Election natural history dramedy NYCC 71st Emmy Awards Shondaland Mindy Kaling Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Crackle political drama Infographic Ghostbusters stoner Captain marvel Black History Month Rock USA Network tv talk 24 frames Pop Crunchyroll See It Skip It Winter TV MTV Box Office TCM cults die hard 2018 Pop TV movies Avengers Amazon Prime Video stand-up comedy Spring TV GLAAD Pirates video on demand Universal Opinion Extras Academy Awards Disney+ Disney Plus WarnerMedia book Emmy Nominations Biopics ghosts ABC Epix Turner Classic Movies slashers game of thrones Podcast spider-man Trivia Best and Worst cartoon Black Mirror ABC Family sag awards cancelled Mystery The CW VH1 harry potter cars nature The Purge zombie Drama thriller Interview IFC Films BBC One TBS travel sitcom chucky reboot comiccon police drama Comics on TV cancelled TV shows Set visit Trailer unscripted Musicals justice league Disney Plus MCU canceled Nat Geo doctor who finale YouTube Premium Musical sports E3 free movies strong female leads Paramount independent Heroines 2020 latino technology First Look Fall TV DC Comics Hulu romantic comedy crime thriller Nominations Syfy The Walking Dead First Reviews talk show TCA 20th Century Fox Cosplay Holidays crime 2016 YouTube Red FX National Geographic what to watch spain disaster Watching Series news OneApp Vudu DGA robots blaxploitation Tumblr quibi TCA 2017 Shudder Pride Month GoT anime HBO Go Film Festival cops Netflix Christmas movies Emmys ratings IFC toy story Trophy Talk DirecTV Women's History Month FXX Sony Pictures Year in Review Apple TV+ Music BBC Toys foreign franchise Anna Paquin Fantasy children's TV animated Pet Sematary Family Pixar Tubi Paramount Network facebook Writers Guild of America Marvel Television Film werewolf Western Tomatazos A&E Ellie Kemper 4/20 TruTV canceled TV shows Mary poppins Hear Us Out Kids & Family vampires Song of Ice and Fire CMT MSNBC DC streaming service CNN APB anthology period drama singing competition Mudbound YA Star Wars Stephen King DC Universe Columbia Pictures The Arrangement television indiana jones joker universal monsters screenings cooking Television Academy comic Horror best romance versus binge Turner concert Disney streaming service Marvel critics revenge Christmas blockbuster Logo adventure LGBT