Movie and DVD Reviews

"Cars 3" Press Day Brings Out Owen Wilson,

Hi everyone!

Cars 3 releases in theaters on June 16th, 2017 and we were invited to the press day to learn more about the new film. Our correspondent went to several different press conferences that day. For this article, the participants were Owen Wilson (Lightning McQueen), Armie Hammer (Jackson Storm), Cristela Alonzo (Cruz Ramirez), Kerry Washington (Natalie Certain), Brian Fee (Director) and Kevin Reher (Producer).

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Review: "Despicable Me 3" Offers 80s Nostalgia and a Lot of Laughs

Hi everyone!

Despicable Me 3 is now out in theaters, and we had the chance to preview it a couple of days ago. I have been a big fan of the franchise (especially the Minions) since the first film debuted in 2010. While the third installment doesn't best either of the other two films, there is a lot of fun to be found in the new movie. One of my favorite aspects is all the 80s throwback scenes and references - I was a teenager during that decade, so it's nostalgic for me. But even if you don't remember the 80s, there is a lot more to like about Despicable Me 3.

Gru (Steve Carell) still has an adventurous life without villainy and his wife Lucy (Kristen Wiig) is adjusting to life as a mom to three girls. Gru gets fired from the Anti-Villain League due to not capturing villain Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker), who was once a child star in the 80s and has never left that decade outwardly and inwardly. Lucy also ends up being terminated. Bratt wants to steal the biggest diamond in the world, and this is one of several story threads that play out during the film. Soon, Gru learns that he has a long-lost twin brother named Dru (also voiced by Carell) - Dru is much more blessed in the hair department than Gru, though in most other ways they look just alike. Gru's mom (Julie Andrews) confirms that they are twins, saying that the parents actually had divorced and each took a son and then never contacted the other. The one thing the two brothers have in common is that each was a disappointment to his parent.

Gru, Lucy and the girls head to Dru's home in Freedonia. Dru lives in a massive mansion built from a pig farming business, and pigs are a recurring theme as well at this point. Dru wants to be a super villain like his brother was, and his gadgetry looks like it came out of a James Bond film. Gru doesn't want to be a villain again, but he is up for the adventure with his brother, with both of them having different outcomes in mind.

The Minions do figure into the film and they provide fun comic scenes, but they aren't quite as front and center as they have in the past. Some end up in jail, and a couple of others are still with Gru and his family. Just thinking about all the plot lines in the film, it's amazing what was stuffed into 90 minutes - it felt longer, but not in a bad way. Agnes (now voiced by Nev Scharrel) is still into unicorns, and ends up in search of one with Edith (Dana Gaier) while the family is based in Freedonia. Margo (Miranda Cosgrove) is finding her footing with her new mom. Gru and Dru go through their own angst trying to figure out their relationship as they go after Bratt, who is all about the bubble gum, 80s music, and dance battles.

Despicable Me 3 is just a really fun romp, not as strong as it's predecessors in that the movie bounces around quite a bit to get to its ending. But I laughed out loud a lot, and the stress of the drive to the theater - 2 hours through thunderstorms - melted quickly. I look forward to seeing Despicable Me 3 again soon.

Despicable Me 3 is rated PG in part due to a little off-color humor, though it's minimal and kids will laugh. One of those scenes is in the first official trailer above. This is a family film that is all about family.

This summer, you can meet Gru, Dru and the Minions (including the jail Minions) at Universal Studios Orlando through August 19th, 2017! Here are our two videos from our last visit to Universal. The first features Gru and Dru and two Minions.

And here are the Minions in jail.





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Blu-Ray Review: "Beauty and the Beast" Offers Substantial Bonus Material In Addition to Story Retelling

Hi everyone!

We received the Blu-ray combo pack of Beauty and the Beast to review. This movie became an instant classic, standing next to the original animated film that celebrates 25 years this year. And while the bonus features aren't plentiful (neither are they meager), several are excellent and substantial.

Here is the Blu-ray review, along with the original review of the film that I wrote.

"Bambi" The Walt Disney Signature Collection Blu-ray Review

Hi everyone!

Bambi has been released as part of The Walt Disney Signature Collection. Now celebrating 75 years, this classic animated film is as affecting as ever. There are also a few new bonus features here, which are combined with previously released ones.

I am not reviewing the film as almost everyone has seen it sometime in their lives. The animation looks beautiful here, and seeing the work that was put into it - including the multiplane camera that gives some of the scenes their depth - is a treat. If you haven't every seen Bambi, it really runs the gamut from happy and romantic to dark and sad. In other words, it is very similar to most other Disney films in that way and one character dies (and even if you haven't seen the movie, you likely know who it is).

Original Voices of Bambi and Thumper, Donnie Dunagan and Peter Behn Talk "Bambi" During 75th Anniversary Home Video Event

Hi everyone!

We sent one of our California correspondents for the Bambi home video press day release that commemorated the 75th anniversary of the movie. The event featured the original Bambi and Thumper voice actors, Donald (Donnie) Dunagan and Peter Behn. It was one of those type of events that I wish I was in California for, but it's really a treat to get to hear and see their conversation. The Bambi Signature Collection 75th anniversary Blu-ray releases on June 6th, 2017.

Becky Cline with Donnie Dunagan and Peter Behn

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