It's Friday night! Time for dinner and a movie. This weekend, there's something for everyone. Looking for some mindless action? Another Predators reboot coming your way, complete with Oscar winner Adrien Brody. (Yeah, that is as weird as it sounds.) Planning a night out with the kids? Steve Carell and Jason Segel get animated in the charming Despicable Me. Craving something more meaty? Julianne Moore and Annette Bening play a lesbian couple falling apart at the seams (thanks to Mark Ruffalo) in the award-worthy The Kids Are All Right.
Despicable Me: In this animated family comedy, self-proclaimed super-villain Gru, voiced by funnyman Steve Carell, thinks he's the badassest guy around. That's why he's set out to steal the moon and foil his arch-nemesis, Vector (Jason Segel). One hitch: He's got to nab Vector's shrink gun in order to zap the moon to a more manageable size. The plan: Adopt three orphan girls -- the eldest voiced by Miranda Cosgrove, whom you'll kids will know from iCarly -- who'll help Gru infiltrate Vector's domain via his penchant for coconut cookies. But try as he might to maintain his villainous ways, Gru can't help but be charmed by his newfound family over tea parties and roller coaster rides. Hardly unpredictable, this family comedy doesn't have the layered storytelling of a Shrek or Toy Story 3. But the film's still a sweet summer charmer, worthy of a night out with the kids, who are sure to fall hard for Gru's too-cute Twinkie-esque minions.
Predators: After a series of increasingly disappointing sequels, producers have decided to harken back to the original with this remake starring, uh, Adrien Brody and Topher Grace? Okay, so these guys hardly seem like action hero types, but they actually take on the mantle of super-warriors fighting of alien invaders quite assuredly, leading a rag-tag multi-culty crew after they all wake up mid-air while parachuting down into some random jungle. Jacked up Oscar-winner Brody (who gained 25 pounds for the film) and fellow "serious thespian" Grace (who quit That 70s Show to take on movies like In Good Company and Spider-Man 3) both take their roles seriously here, but you can almost picture the pair taking the piss in their trailers about getting to play with such big guns and creepy CGI-ed aliens. But the concept here, what little there is of one, is that this motley crew was chosen specifically to be pitted against these non-descript aliens, who like to take down other life forms for fun. In a more sensical turn, Laurence Fishburne turns up briefly as a mercenary who's managed to outsmart the unintelligent aliens for a more than a decade.
The Kids Are All Right: Lisa Cholodenko's (High Art, Laurel Canyon) latest centers on Nic, a driven and domineering doctor (Annette Bening) and Jules, a a stay-at-home mom (Julianne Moore), two halves of a longtime lesbian couple and parents to college-bound over-achiever Joni (Mia Wasikowska, Alice in Wonderland) and the younger Laser (Josh Hutcherson, Journey to the Center of the Earth), a confused and angsty teen. Frustrated, Laser decides he wants to know who he really is -- and asks his sister to use her newly legal status to find the man who donated the sperm that fathered both of them. Enter Paul, played by the affable Mark Ruffalo as a free-spirited and occasionally unthinking restaurant owner (complete with motorcycle), whose entrance to the scene further disrupts the barely there order that held the family together. As the family is seduced by the charms of their newfound father figure, they all fall apart -- but it isn't as heavy as it seems. A endearing dramedy with genuine laughs, the film's strength is in the deep relevance and universality of its characters and their predicament -- despite the "alternate" lifestyle depicted here. Layered and subtle, the performances here are award-worthy (Bening as sharp and incisive as she was in the gorgeous Mother and Child), and the film's family-forward message will stay with you long after the lights have come back on.
Here's a sneak peek:
What will you be watching this weekend?
Photo via Focus Features