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Movie reviews: Minions: The Rise of Gru, Mr. Malcolm's List

Not so mellow yellow!
Credit: Universal Pictures

MINIONS: THE RISE OF GRU

A bunch of little yellow guys are about to take over the holiday box office, and I couldn't be more delighted! The Minions are back for a fifth time. We first met them in the original "Despicable Me" movie in 2010. 

This is the origin story of the guy they call their "Mini Boss," Gru, as he's only 12 years old here. No need to sub out Steve Carell. He reprises his voice role as the despicable villain in training, just squeezing his voice a little higher. Set in the 1970s, Gru is trying to prove himself worthy to join a band of super villains who have an opening after ousting their leader, Gru's idol, voiced by Alan Arkin. If only he can steal the powerful Zodiac Stone and prove his worth. A kidnapping complicates things. Taraji P. Henson does some other fun voice work. I also got a kick (pun intended) out of Michelle Yeoh voicing an acupuncturist who teaches the Minions martial arts so they can rescue their captured boss. (Other cameo voices, like Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren, are wasted.)

Carell describes his three main Minions as animated "Three Stooges," and he's not wrong. A fourth named "Otto" is added to the core group here for some extra comedy. These movies always tickle my funny bone. Fun family entertainment, well-animated and written, is always welcome on the big screen.

(Universal Pictures. Rated PG. Running Time 1 hr. 27 mins. In Theaters Only.)

MR. MALCOLM'S LIST

"Bridgerton" fans, if you haven't gotten your fix of Regency Era romance, "Mr. Malcolm's List" is just for you! 

Based on the popular novel, a most eligible bachelor, played by British actor Sope Dirisu, has made a list of his qualifications for a wife. The luminous Freida Pinto is summoned to play a trick on him after he deemed her good friend not worthy of marriage and publicly humiliated her. Pinto's character goes along with the ruse until, of course, she starts to develop feelings for the dashing single man and he for her. You know where this is headed and her friend might just find a mate when it's all said and done, too. 

That said, it is thoroughly charming, and actually, this film was in the works before "Bridgerton."

By the way, those Regency fashions came in handy! Pinto was pregnant while filming "Mr. Malcolm's List" (You can tell if you look closely.) Her husband, by the way, is Cory Tran, an adventure photographer from Dallas. Pinto's co-star,* Zawe Ashton, is pregnant now. She's engaged to "Loki" himself, MCU's Tom Hiddleston.

(Bleecker Street. Rated PG. Running Time 1 hr. 55 mins. In Theaters Only.)

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