1. Minions (Universal, 4,301 Theaters, 91 Minutes, Rated PG for action and rude humor, Rotten Tomatoes rating at press time: 54% Fresh [115 Reviews]): Okay, Hollywood. I know that it’s summer and all, but come on. Theater counts should be announced by Box Office Mojo by Thursday night. Okay? I like having a correct number up there, else it looks sloppy. And I don’t like hunting for them.
This film focuses on the adorable, Twinkie-like critters from the Despicable Me films. We see how they came upon their chosen profession and we join them as the serve their first master, the world’s first female supervillain, Scarlet Overkill (Voiced by Sandra Bullock). Their task: steal Queen Elizabeth’s crown.
Universal is expecting big things from the Minions, hoping for a $100 million opening weekend. Considering how many kids make a beeline to Minions merchandise, that might be a safe bet.
2. The Gallows (New Line, 2,720 Theaters, 81 Minutes, Rated R for some disturbing violent content and terror, Rotten Tomatoes rating at press time: 15% Fresh [39 Reviews]):The TV ads try to equate the killer in this film with classic horror villains of the past due to his use of a noose as his weapon of choice. They should also play up the “killings taking place in a high school during a special event” gimmick as well. Granted, a school play is relatively minor compared to the prom, but it still counts.
That play is called The Gallows and over 20 years ago, a student lost his life at the school during a performance of it. On its anniversary, the school drama club decides to revisit the play to honor the kid who died. Big mistake.
This is filmed in the “found footage” style, a horror trope as prevalent as the iconic killer or high school horror, only not so far removed as to make it quaint or unique as of yet.
3. Self/Less (Focus Features, 2,400 Theaters, 113 Minutes, Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence, some sexuality, and language, Rotten Tomatoes rating at press time: 21% fresh [63 Reviews]): I don’t mean to be cruel, but if you had the chance to transfer your brain into another person’s body, would it be Ryan Reynolds? No offense to Mr. Reynolds, but he’s pushing 40. He might still have abs that you can open beer bottles with, but his hair is starting to hike backwards. Wouldn’t you pick someone younger, someone with a whole lot more life to live?
Anyway, the premise of the film is that rich, yet cancer-stricken Ben Kingsley has his consciousness transported into Reynolds’ body. He thinks the body is a blank slate he can simply take over. To his horror, he discovers Reynolds was once a living, breathing human being himself, and his consciousness is starting to reboot and reassert itself.