The Gallows And here's the latest entry in the genre of Horror Flicks That Scare Audiences Silly As Long As They're Being Observed Through Night-Vision Glasses. I mean, what better arbiter is there of a flick's fear quotient than an ad that shows a bunch of teenagers leaping for the ceiling while bathed in a bilious green light that makes them look as shocked and surprised as Bin Laden in the last act of Zero Dark Thirty? It's a wonder the tactic hasn't been applied to pictures of all stripes: dateless paralegals weeping openly at the latest romcom! Hipster dudes stroking their beards thoughtfully to a Duplass picture! Lindsey Graham watching Magic Mike XXL and gently touching his pants! The possibilities, as they say, are endless. (R)
Minions As a 100-percent yellow-blooded American, I'm never less than thrilled to witness any new appearance by the Minions, whether it's on a toy shelf, in a simple commercial or in a full-fledged feature film. So I don't wanna sound remotely skeptical about this prequel, which traces the rise of their race from the dawn of time to great moments in history. (Shades of Zelig!) But ... but ... OK, but refresh my memory here: Wasn't it established in Despicable Me 1 that Gru himself had created the Minions to do his specific bidding? Wasn't it the whole idea that this supposed kid-phobe so secretly yearned to have his own children that he had grown a multitude of them in his lab without even realizing his truest motivation? If I'm wrong, I saw a whole lot more depth in that movie than was intended. Ah, whatever. Banana. (PG)
Self/Less Here's a story idea for ya: Wealthy old fossil transfers his mind and soul into a hot young himbo's body, only to find out that the donor's consciousness has unfinished business that must be attended to. Sound compelling? It sure worked when it was the Rock Hudson vehicle Seconds, and an episode of the 1970s NBC series Circle of Fear, and 32 percent of all short stories published in science-fiction magazines in America during the 20th century. But hey, none of them had Ben Kingsley or Ryan Reynolds. Those guys don't just jump at any el cheapo genre script you toss at them, do they? Not before Bush 43 became president, anyway. Behind the director's megaphone is Tarsem Singh, the guy R.E.M. used to keep hiring to do their videos because his turban pissed off the red states. Oh, and he also made a movie in which Jennifer Lopez entered the mind of a killer. Now there's a body-swap scenario to chew on. Look out, single Affleck! (PG-13)
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