Ken Daurio

Ken Daurio

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Despicable Me 3 Review

Very Good

Actually the fourth film in the series (don't forget the prequel Minions), this animated super-villain comedy continues the wildly hyperactive antics of Gru and his yellow sidekicks, blending hilarious references with crazed action to keep the audience laughing. It's so jam-packed with gags that the movie leaves the audience feeling a little bewildered along the way, since we never get a chance to lock into either the story or characters before we're off for another manic set-piece. But it's a lot of fun.

We catch up with Gru (Steve Carell) and his wife Lucy (Kristen Wiig) as they've just been outfoxed by arch-nemesis Bratt (Trey Parker), a former 1980s child TV star gone very, very bad. Sacked by the Anti-Villain League, Gru and Lucy are unsure how they're going to support their three adopted daughters (Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gaier and Nev Scharrel). Then they discover that Gru has a twin brother he never knew about. So they head to a remote island nation, where they meet Dru (also Carell), who lives in splendour on his epic pig farm. But Dru dreams of being a villain like their late father, so he convinces Gru to offer him some training. And, pretending that it's a heist, Gru takes Dru along on a mission to capture Bratt.

Every scene is a riot of jokes, mainly poking fun at 1980s movies, music, TV shows and fashion. Bratt is hilariously annoying, with his awful moustache and mullet, and a lair that recreates the set from Olivia Newton John's Physical video. But these witty touches fly at the screen so quickly that they only just register before there are another five gags upon us. The frantic pacing is enjoyable even if it's rather exhausting, mainly because the characters are so endearing. Carell and Wiig once again bring their impeccable timing to their roles, mixing comedy with some surprisingly sweet emotion in their parallel storylines: Gru as he learns to be a brother and Lucy as she yearns to be seen as a mom to the girls, two of whom have little subplots of their own.

Continue reading: Despicable Me 3 Review

The Secret Life Of Pets Review

Very Good

From the team behind Despicable Me and Minions, this high-energy adventure makes up for its rather simplistic story by filling the screen with lively characters, silly dialog and colourful animation. There's nothing terribly distinctive about the movie, as most of the gags feel recycled and everything bounces across the surface without generating any resonance either in the humour or emotions. But it's a lot of fun while it lasts.

In a cosy Manhattan apartment, the happy rescue dog Max (voiced by Louis C.K.) lives with his owner Katie (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt's Ellie Kemper). The moment she steps out of the door on the way to work, he's already bored and waiting for her to come home. So he hangs out with the other pets in the neighbourhood, including lovelorn pomeranian Gidget (Jenny Slate) and food-obsessed cat Chloe (Lake Bell). Then Katie brings home another stray, the gigantic brown furball Duke (Eric Stonestreet), who immediately starts challenging Max's alpha-dog status. As war breaks out between them, they find themselves stranded in the city, caught up with a sewer-dwelling gang of abandoned pets led by the adorable but intense bunny Snowball (Kevin Hart). Meanwhile, Gidget and Chloe recruit some help to find them, including a grumpy hawk (Albert Brooks) and an ageing basset hound (Dana Carvey).

The plot basically consists of a series of chaotic chase sequences that build up to a climactic scene straight out of a Die Hard movie. Each character and plot element is over-constructed, which eliminates any sense of honest emotion or loose interaction, but the characters are likeable simply because they're so ridiculous. The animators use a lot of colour and a tactile variety of furry textures. And the actors have a lot of fun with the characters. Hart is, of course, the scene-stealer as the fast-talking kingpin who uses his cuteness as a weapon. And while C.K. and Stonestreet are endearing as the story's protagonists, it's Slate and Bell who win over the audience in the funniest, most complex roles.

Continue reading: The Secret Life Of Pets Review

Despicable Me 2 Review


Very Good

With the same teams of writers and directors, this sequel sticks closely to the winning formula of the 2010 original: pile on so much snappy humour and colourful wackiness that no one will worry about the plot. So the film is sweetly engaging and relentlessly hilarious, but there's nothing particularly inventive or memorable about it.

After discovering his less villainous side, Gru (Carell) is now trying to go legit with his sidekick Dr Nefario (Brand) and their horde of mischievous yellow minions. Gru is also enjoying the challenges of being a father to his lively adopted daughters Margo, Agnes and Edith (Cosgrove, Fisher and Gaier). Then he meets the undercover spy Lucy (Wiig) and her boss Silas (Coogan), who ask for his help hunting down the bad guy who stole a secret government chemical. Gru reluctantly takes the job, and his suspicion falls on Eduardo (Bratt), not because he looks just like former fellow villain El Macho, but because Margo is in love with his surly teen son (Arias).

As before, the film mixes cute family sentimentality with wacky cartoon slapstick in which everyone gets smashed, pounded and blown up but emerges unscathed to face the next bit of outrageous mayhem. The violent undercurrents are sometimes a little disturbing, especially when children are talking about murder, but the movie's wildly ridiculous tone constantly reminds us to stop taking anything seriously. Thankfully, we're constantly distracted by the whizzy, action-packed animation, which makes especially witty use of the 3D.

Continue reading: Despicable Me 2 Review

The Minions Are Back! 'Despicable Me 2' Full Trailer Finally Arrives (Trailer And Pictures)


Steve Carell Elsie Fisher Dana Gaier Miranda Cosgrove Kristen Wiig Steve Coogan Pierre Coffin Cinco Paul Ken Daurio

Gru And The GirlsGru And The Girls

The Despicable Me 2 trailer is finally here seeing the return of your favourite Despicable Me characters including former supervillain Gru, his beloved foster children and his faithful Minions, as well as some entertaining new additions to the Despicable Me cast.

We got the slightly bizarre teaser over a year ago showing nothing more than the funny yellow aliens that serve Gru (Steve Carell) performing an adorable rendition of The Beach Boys' hit song 'Barbara Ann'; it certainly managed to keep the plot under wraps though it was far from a disappointing introduction into the much anticipated sequel to this Golden Globe nominated flick. Following Gru's evil plot to steal a shrink ray and hijack the moon in the first film, he adopted three young girls named Agnes (Elsie Fisher), Edith (Dana Gaier) and Margo (Miranda Cosgrove) after taking pity on their misfortune. This time round, it looks like Gru has taken fatherhood in his stride and devious deeds seem to be the last thing he's thinking about, particularly as the eldest girl is getting, well, a little too old for his liking. Just as the prospect of a quiet life looms, however, he is abducted by a feisty agent (Kristen Wiig) from the Anti-Villain League, headed by the pompous Silas Ramsbottom (Steve Coogan) who wish to use him to help save the world from a new evil - and Gru is well up for the challenge!

Continue reading: The Minions Are Back! 'Despicable Me 2' Full Trailer Finally Arrives (Trailer And Pictures)

Hop Review


Very Good
What could have been a painfully childish animated Easter romp is given a shot of deranged humour and an above-average cast of voices and cameos. This makes it rather a lot more fun than expected.

Fred (Marsden) is a slacker whose parents (Cole and Perkins) finally force him out of the house. With some help from his sister (Cuoco), he gets a job interview and a mansion to housesit. But any promise is upended when he meets a talking rabbit named EB (voiced by Brand), who would rather be a rock drummer than follow his destiny as the Easter Bunny. Meanwhile on Easter Island, a disgruntled chick named Carlos (Azaria) is plotting a coup against EB's father (Laurie).

Continue reading: Hop Review

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Ken Daurio Movies

Despicable Me 3 Movie Review

Despicable Me 3 Movie Review

Actually the fourth film in the series (don't forget the prequel Minions), this animated super-villain...

The Secret Life of Pets Movie Review

The Secret Life of Pets Movie Review

From the team behind Despicable Me and Minions, this high-energy adventure makes up for its...

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Despicable Me 2 Movie Review

Despicable Me 2 Movie Review

With the same teams of writers and directors, this sequel sticks closely to the winning...

Hop Movie Review

Hop Movie Review

What could have been a painfully childish animated Easter romp is given a shot of...

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