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Sunday, July 12, 2015

Cindy Prascik's Reviews of Self/Less & Minions

Dearest Blog, today the sun came out in the Ohio Valley, so I escaped to the cold darkness of the cinema. On the docket: Self/Less and Minions.

Spoiler level here will be mild, nothing the trailers haven't already given away.

First up: Self/less.

A wealthy, terminally-ill man (Ben Kingsley) undergoes a secret, controversial procedure to transfer his consciousness into a healthy young body (Ryan Reynolds).

Well, dear reader(s), if you've done any Internetting since yesterday, you've probably already seen Self/less bashed every which way from Sunday, called a flop, and held aloft as further proof that Ryan Reynolds just doesn't put butts in the seats. None of that is probably far off the mark, but it's perhaps more harsh than the movie--and Reynolds--deserve.

The basic premise of Self/less--the idea of putting our minds, our personalities, our "souls" (if you believe in such things) into another vessel when our existing ones expire--is not revolutionary, and the movie's means of tackling it is neither new nor special. It feels ho-hum from the outset, and things don't exactly pick up quickly. Laying the groundwork takes a good 45 minutes. Once the film gets moving, the tension is solid and there are a couple decent twists.

The writing is a bit awkward, and any foreshadowing is so obvious they might as well have run a crawl across the bottom: "Pay attention! This will be important later!" Most performances are wooden at best, though Reynolds is as earnest as always. For my part, I think he does the best he can with the material. Matthew Goode is also okay, but there's just not much to work with. Surprisingly, I was never really bored, but I couldn't fairly call it a good movie, either.

Self/less runs 114 minutes and is rated PG13 for "sequences of violence, some sexuality, and language."

Self/less probably isn't *quite* as bad as you've heard, but please don't mistake that for a ringing endorsement.

Of a possible nine Weasleys, Self/less gets four and a half.

Next on the agenda, Minions.

Bet you didn't even know you needed an "origins" story for Despicable Me's lovable little yellow fellows, did ya?

B.G. (Before Gru), the Minions do time with other super-villains.

The Minions are my favorite part of the Despicable Me movies, but even I wondered if their gibberish routine wouldn't wear thin over a full 90 minutes of it. The good news: Minions are still a lot of fun.

The bad news: the story is paper thin and barely holds up for even such a short movie. The voice talent features big names like Sandra Bullock, Jon Hamm, Alison Janney, and Michael Keaton, but nobody is all that interesting. There are a few good laughs, and, for the older fan, some tips of the hat to the time period in which the film is set (including some terrific tunes), but mostly I was fidgeting in my seat and checking the clock.

Minions clocks in at 91 minutes and is rated PG for action and mild rude humor.

Minions are still pretty lovable, but your money would be better spent on a cute, plush Kevin, Bob, or Stuart than on a ticket to this movie. Of a possible nine Weasleys, Minions gets three.

Until next time...



  1. The idea of human consciousness going mobile is an intriguing one: What if you could actually trade minds with another person? 

  2. Lightly Miniony fun throughout, this Minionish comedy should please fans of general Minionishness who don't mind the goofiest Mininionesque gags.


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