Opening in Orlando: Baby Driver, The House and more

The House
The House


Baby Driver Boy, if you only read the synopsis, this thing would be a must to avoid. By count, it's the 1,537th movie released in the last five years that concerns a low-level mob employee trying to escape the life and settle down with his girlfriend. And of course, the animating incident that sets the plot in motion is a heist gone ... well, I'll let you finish it. (Native? With the wind? Baby gone? No, "bad." Other acceptable answers would include "wrong.") Yet this is no mere Besson/Statham throwaway, having instead been directed and written by the esteemed Edgar Wright – his first film since exiting Ant-Man at the 11th hour. And it's been racking up the tributes since premiering at this year's South by Southwest. Further, it's one of those movies that seems to have actually lived up to its promise of a killer soundtrack, incorporating tunes by everybody from the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion to the Damned to Golden Earring. Basically, you're going to hear every record Shaun didn't throw at that zombie in his backyard. All it's missing is a track from that classic Small Faces album, Ogden's Nut Gone ... bad? No, Flake. Sheesh. (R)

Despicable Me 3 "We're going back to villainy!" announces Gru, and not a moment too soon. That whole turn to the good side in 2 never really sat well. (I still think he should have become a Julian Assange-type international anarchist playing all sides against one another, but what's done is done.) Seeing animation's greatest modern antihero get his evil back is cause for celebration indeed, even if it takes a hoary plot trope like a long-lost brother to bring it about. The only question now is how much of an audience is left to enjoy this hoped-for renaissance: 2015's Minions pulled in less at the domestic box office than the preceding Despicable Me 2. On the one hand, Minions was just a spin-off movie and probably shouldn't be judged against the fully fledged entries in the series; on the other hand, the Minions are the highest-profile draw of the franchise and everyone knows it. Back on that first hand, Minions outranked DM2 in terms of international ticket sales. Borrowing your buddy's hand, I'm on record as saying that the international box office isn't the ultimate arbiter of success the studios would have you believe. So I guess all we can safely predict about this third outing is that it's going to do better than Baywatch. And you don't need to find a fourth hand for that. (PG)

The House So we've officially reached the point at which major film releases are based on plots from Bob's Burgers. Just as the Belcher kids once turned the basement of their restaurant into an illicit gambling den, so do Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler become underground casino kingpins in this first directorial effort from Andrew J. Cohen, writer of the Neighbors flicks. Somehow, I think we're going to end up feeling that Louise did it better. But the script was the object of an intense bidding war between the studios, so maybe there's some fun to be had here after all. And as Gene once said, I'd be open to fun. (R)

Also playing:

Band-Aid Zoe Lister-Jones wrote and stars in this comedy about a squabbling couple who channel their frustrations with each other into music by forming a band. They might be on to something, because look how it worked for Ike and Tina. I mean Jack and Meg. I mean John Doe and Exene. OK, I got nothin'. Fred Armisen is the creepy drummer who lives next door. (In the movie, I mean, not in real life. Although that might also be the case.) (NR)

Tubelight Hey, remember Little Boy, that 2015 faith-based film that got lambasted for presenting the Hiroshima bombing as the answer to a young kid's prayers? Well, somebody in India decided to remake it. Only this time, the setting is not World War II but the Sino-Indian War, which I don't seem to recall ending in a nuclear explosion. Then again, I didn't think there were any robots at the Round Table, and Michael Bay sure set me straight on that one! (NR)

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