Director: Jeff Nichols
Writer: Jeff Nichols
Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Tye Sheridan, Jacob Lofland
A modern day Huckleberry Finn displayed through a mild Southern Gothic filter. Nichols seems to love this setting, beautifully photographing life on the river, warts and all. The story is a simple enough fable and generally doesn't feel too heavy-handed in its coming-of-age messages, though I don't feel like the ending works quite as well as the earlier material, tending to be a bit too over-the-top. I also wouldn't argue against a bit of trimming, as the middle section does start to drag a bit. However, the performances from the kids are surprisingly good and McConaughey continues his hot streak with a role that I wouldn't be surprised to see earn him an Oscar nod.
Score: 7 / 10
Despicable Me 2 (2013)
Directors: Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud
Writers: Ken Daurio and Cinco Paul
Stars: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Benjamin Bratt
I'm of two minds with this movie. On the one hand, this is probably a bit funnier than the first one based purely on a LPM (laughs per minute) metric. On the other hand, the thing that made Despicable Me stand out from the crowd was the villain-as-protagonist angle. By making Gru into a purely good family man, they've stripped the franchise of its best attribute and distilled it down to simple, silly fun. Not that there's necessarily anything wrong with that (and I'm sure the kids won't care), but it surely will generate a bit less interest for the adults. Solid, funny, vanilla family entertainment.
Score: 5 / 10