All posts by Tim Lammers

Movie review: ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’

“Spider-Man: Homecoming” (PG-13) 

Tom Holland puts in an amazing performance in “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” the third time an actor has assumed Spidey’s costume in the past 15 years following turns by Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield.

Following his introduction to the world of the Avengers in “Captain America: Civil War,” Peter Parker (Holland) returns to high-school life as a 15-year-old in New York City. Waiting for his next call from Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) to join the Avengers for his next mission, Peter struggles with how he can best serve his friendly neighborhood as he awkwardly stumbles through adolescence and newfound responsibility as a superhero.

The film offers a completely fresh take on Spider-Man from a film standpoint, introducing new characters and a fresh villain with the Vulture (the always great Michael Keaton). Despite his large presence in the film’s trailers and clips, Downey is only in the film about 5 minutes, but he makes the most out of every second.

Lammomter: 8.5 (out of 10)

Listen to Tim’s review of “Spider-Man: Homecoming” with Mike Compton on KQRS-FM.

Interview: ‘Despicable Me 3’ screenwriters Cinco Paul & Ken Daurio

Four years after his last big screen adventure, the former supervillain-turned-agent of good Gru is back with “Despicable Me 3,” the latest animated family comedy from acclaimed screenwriters Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio.

Together with Illumination Entertainment founder Chris Meledandri, the trio became a force to be reckoned with right out of the gate in 2010 with Illumination’s first film “Despicable Me.” The blockbuster hit told the unique story of how the adoption of three orphaned sisters softened the heart of the world’s most devious supervillain, Gru (voiced by Steve Carell). The success of the first film, of course, to the 2013 smash “Despicable Me 2,” where the Gru meets the love of his life with Lucy (voice of Kristen Wiig), an Anti-Villain League super-agent.

“We ultimately landed on the fact that these movies are ultimately about family,” Paul, along with Daurio, said in a phone conversation this week from Los Angeles. “Although I don’t think we’ll be e

ver able to touch the emotion of that first movie, because there’s something special about Gru becoming a dad and the girls changing his life. We feel like each movie we’re going to expand the family, and deal with the challenges of things like sibling rivalry, or in this film, Lucy becoming a stepmom. She’s so accomplished as an agent, but feeling so insecure about being a mom now.”

New in theaters Friday, “Despicable Me 3” finds Gru and Lucy in a quandary after they’re both fired by the AVL after failing to apprehend the notorious former ’80s child star-turned-supervillain Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker) after he pulls off an elaborate heist. Out of work and going broke, Gru’s fortunes change when finds out he has a long, lost brother named Dru (also voiced by Carell), a very rich and successful pig farmer. Gru soon discovers, though, that Dru amassed his riches thanks to their dad, who, as it turns out was the world’s greatest supervillain in this time — and Dru wants his brother to get back into the game.

Paul and Daurio said the “Despicable Me” film series was never planned as a trilogy or even a franchise. In fact, their goal was just to get the first film made.

“We were hoping, ‘Maybe they’ll let us make another movie’ — not necessarily a sequel, but we were just hoping the company would get going and we would be on our way making films, never thinking this would become a franchise,” Daurio said. “We just thought, ‘This is this really a fantastic story about three little girls and this supervillain, and how they changed each other’s lives,’ and thought was going to end there.”

But once they were approached by Universal to create the first sequel, they realized that the first film had a theme that they could build upon in a meaningful way.

“When we met with Chris Meledandri about it, we realized, ‘Ah! Gru needs love.’ He found one kind of love by becoming a dad and now he needs another kind of love, so we found him romance with Lucy in the second film,” Paul said. “That was the same process with this third movie. While he has kids and while he has a wife, maybe there’s another kind of love that he hasn’t experienced yet, which would be sibling love — brotherly love.”

“Once the door opened to a sequel, everything became a possibility,” Daurio added. “Now it’s a lot easier for us to think of sequel ideas because we’ve seen how big the family can get and the opportunities we have for exploring the family dynamic.”

Universal Pictures

Also included in the “Despicable Me” family are Gru’s Minons, who, of course, got their own prequel movie last year. Like the possibilities with Gru’s story, Paul and Daurio said the opportunities for new and exciting Minion storylines are endless.

“One of the first ideas for this movie was that the Minions should go to prison. We thought that would be really fun,” Paul said with a laugh. “As writers, we just wanted to lock the Minions up for a little while. We just thought the Minions would play great in jail. That sequence is so much fun.”

While Paul and Daurio originally conceptualized the Minons on the page, they say the characters truly took shape, quite literally, under the auspices of director Pierre Coffin. The filmmaker, who has directed all three “Despicable Me” films and “Minions,” not only came up with the design of the yellow, pill-shaped henchmen, he also does all the voices for them.

Paul and Daurio said that for “Despicable Me 3,” Coffin was also pivotal in the shaping of the scene where the Minions inadvertently land in the middle of a singing competition, putting their unique brand of gibberish to work as only the characters can.

“That was an idea that Pierre came in with early in the process of making the film,” Daurio recalled. “He said, ‘I have this idea for a Minions scene and I can’t explain it to you, so I’m going to just show it to you’ — and he played us the Gilbert and Sullivan song you see performed in the film.”

Movie review: ‘Despicable Me 3’

“Despicable Me 3” (PG)

The evil genius-turned-anti-villain agent Gru is back with “Despicable Me 3,” an amusing sequel that despite its efforts, doesn’t quite live up to its predecessors.

This time around, Gru (voice of Steve Carell) and his super-spy wife, Lucy (Kristen Wiig), are tasked to catch a former ’80s child star-turned-super villain Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker) — but when their efforts fall short, they’re fired from the Anti-Villain League.

Gru’s fortunes’ change, however, when a mysterious figure shows up at his house to tell him that he has a long lost brother named Dru (Carell again), a rich pig farmer who reveals to Gru that their father was also a super villain, and he wants his brother to get back into the business of evil villainy.

Hear Tim’s review of “Despicable Me 3” with Tom Barnard on KQRS.

While “Despicable Me 3” is loaded with laughs, the film feels like it doesn’t quite have the heart of the original. The element of the first “Despicable Me” that made it so grand was it’s unexpected emotional quality, where Gru took in three orphaned sisters wanting a new home. The whole family is back for “Despicable Me 3” and while they’re dealing with new, relatable issues, the narrative simply feels like it’s missing something.

If you’re hoping for more Minion madness with “Despicable Me 3” you’ll definitely get it, even though they don’t get nearly as much screen time as they did in their own prequel movie last year. The characters make the most out of every second they’re on screen, though, especially in the film’s laugh-out-loud hilarious scenes where the whole gaggle of Gru’s yellow, pill-shaped henchmen are rounded up and sent to prison, striped outfits and all.

Lammometer: 7 (out of 10)

Watch Tim’s review of “Despicable Me 3” with Adrienne Broadus on KARE 11.

Movie review: ‘Cars 3’

“Cars 3” (PG) 

Pixar gets back to basics with mixed results with “Cars 3,” a semi-entertaining sequel that’s better than “Cars 2,” but far inferior to the brilliant 2006 original.

Owen Wilson is back as the Lightning McQueen, the once champion hotrod-turned-aging machine that can’t quite keep up to the high-tech cars that are taking over the racing circuit. Pushing himself to the limit, Lightning gets into a catastrophic crash, and once repaired he must determine whether he’s going to get back on track or come to grips that maybe his best days are far behind him.

The film in many ways repeats what we’ve seen in the original, save a few new characters to help set up the film’s core narrative. Larry the Cable Guy is back and funny as ever as Lightning’s dimwitted best friend Tow Mater, but is woefully underused.

Hear Tim’s review of “Cars 3” with Tom Barnard on KQRS.

On the plus side, the late Paul Newman’s voice (from previously unused material) is also utilized in flashback scenes, which gives weight to the film’s wonderful sub-narrative about the importance of mentorship. Ultimately, “Cars 3” isn’t a bad film, just a barely above average one from a studio that we’ve come to expect a lot more from.

Lammometer: 6 (out of 10)

Watch Tim’s review of “Cars 3” with Zachery Lashway on KARE 11.