Here's a look at the new movies I saw this week.
Starring: Ansel Elgort, Jon Hamm, Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx, Lily James, Elza Gonzales
Synopsis: This is the latest from director Edgar Wright, and it's unlike anything he's done before. This is a high-octane action film full of great car chases, tense moments, a kicking sound track and a fun romance between Baby (Elgort), a get away driver, and Debora (James), a diner waitress. It's a story that goes in ways you don't expect and features some unbelievable driving sequences and style. This has been one of the hits of summer, and it's one of the best movies of the year so far. The final act felt a little cliche and a little less interesting, but I loved the very ending and the way the film was put together. This is a heck of a ride, and one well worth seeing on the big screen.
Rating: R for violence and language throughout. Enter with caution.
Verdict: Four stars out of four.
The Big Sick
Starring: Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Ray Romano, and Holly Hunter
Synopsis: Summer is a time when we get a slew of different kinds of films. Some are animated. Some are action films. Some are big, broad comedies. But almost all of them are big, star-driven films with massive budgets. But summer can also be a time when some smaller films find a release and find an audience. Personal stories and slices of life that connect with audiences burned out on the big budget and craving something more intimate. We’ve seen that a couple times this summer. First, in late June, “Baby Driver” was an action film that was cut from a different cloth, and the audience responded. Now, we’ve gotten our second surprise hit of the summer, “The Big Sick.” It’s a different kind of story and a different kind of comedy, but the real emotions and beautiful performances have helped it connect with audiences. This is such a raw and real story, it’s fair to wonder where the inspiration for it came from. It is, in fact, based on the story of Kumail, who co-wrote the screenplay with his wife, Emily Gordon. That, of course, makes this story even sweeter and more meaningful. This is Kumail and Emily sharing their unique and powerful love story with the world. Director Michael Showalter (“My Name is Doris,” “Wet, Hot American Summer”) and producer Judd Apatow (“Knocked Up,” “The 40 Year Old Virgin”) saw something in this script and help it to come to life in a beautiful way. Kumail, best known for his work as Dinesh on the HBO comedy “Silicon Valley,” does a great job in the lea role. I’ve always appreciated his comedic style and timing on “Silicon Valley,” but he does a great job with the more dramatic material here, too. The rest of the cast is good as well. Romano and Hunter do a beautiful job as Emily’s parents, offering a slightly different role for them. And Kazan is delightful as Emily. There is such a light sweetness to her and their relationship that it really draws you in. I also enjoyed the exploration of being an up-and-coming stand up comedian. Kumail’s group of friends and peers — including Bo Burnham, Aidy Bryant of “SNL,” and Kurt Braunholer — are funny together and add to the depth and dimension of the story. “The Big Sick” is unlike any movie I’ve seen this year, and unlike any love story I’ve seen in film. It’s beautifully told and acted and hooks you from the opening moments to the closing credits.
Rating: R for language including some sexual references. Enter with caution.
Verdict: Four stars out of four.
Despicable Me 3
Starring: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, and Trey Parker
Synopsis: For this third outing in the series, Gru (Carell) and Lucy (Wiig) are settling into being married and partners for the Anti Villain League. Lucy is also trying to figure out what it means to be a parent. When an encounter with Balthazar Bratt (Parker) doesn't go as planned, they both find themselves unemployed. But when Gru meets his twin brother Dru (Carell), and learns of his family's history of villainy, he's faced with a choice of how to move forward. What will Gru choose? This film is a lot like the others, but it is starting to feel a little predictable and stale. Many of the best moments are in the trailer. I like the Minions, here returned to a more fitting support role. And there's some fun and amusing moments. This will be a winner for kids, but for adults looking for depth this will be a bit of a let down.
Rating: PG for action and rude humor
Verdict: Two stars out of four.
Friday, July 21 — "Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets," "Dunkirk," "Girls Trip"
Friday, July 28 — "Atomic Blond," "The Emoji Movie"