“The Lone Ranger” (Action/Western: 2 hours, 29 minutes)
Starring: Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer, William Fichtner and Tom Wilkinson
Director: Gore Verbinski
Rated: PG-13 (Violence and some suggestive material)
Movie Review: Older Native American warrior Tonto (Depp) tells the story of how he and District Attorney John Reid (Hammer), a deputized Texas Ranger, becomes the Lone Ranger, a masked lawman, riding to restore justice to the Wild West that is overrun with wanted criminals led by Butch Cavendish (Fichtner).
Gore Verbinski and Johnny Depp worked with each other for three of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” films. They team up again for “The Lone Ranger,” a very entertaining return to a character many grew up watching on television.
“The Lone Ranger” is a well-thought-out film. It has a good story that works with plenty of story telling, which involves intelligent foreshadowing and good characterizations. It is a comical Western. The laughs are as forthcoming as the action. They provide good entertainment.
Depp is good again as an odd character, although it is regrettable producers did not find a Native American to play this role. Deep makes Tonto as solid a character as the film’s titular Lone Ranger, whom Hammer plays fittingly. Hammer has a noble, handsome appeal, a superhero charm. Hammer and Depp are a good team.
Some talented actors join the virtuous duo. Fichtner is cunning as the film’s ruthless villain. He makes Butch Cavendish an intriguing mixture of Dr. Hannibal Lecter and any of the black-hat-wearing cowboy outlaws of yesteryear’s Westerns. To round out the main players, Tom Wilkinson plays Cole a wealthy railroader with an astute appeal.
Add great stunts and visual scenes, and “The Lone Ranger” is spectacular. It is a worthy retreat from the heat as a summer flick. Trust me, Ke-mo sah-bee.
Grade: B (Hi-Yo, Silver! Good!)
“Despicable Me 2” (Animation/Adventure: 1 hour, 38 minutes)
Starring: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Russell Brand and Benjamin Bratt
Directors: Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud
Rated: PG-13 (Violence and brief crude humor)
Movie Review: If one has not seen “Despicable Me” (2010), it would be worth it. “Despicable Me 2” continues the story. While not as adventurous as its prequel, also directed by Coffin and Renaud, “2” still manages to entertain with heart.
This outing, ex-villain Gru (Carell) has gone from superbad to superdad to his three daughters. He is out of the evil game and now making a new life creating new types of jellies with his sidekick, Dr. Nefario (Brand). Lucy (Wiig), a member of the Anti-Villain League, disrupts Gru’s life when she kidnaps him. The League approaches Gru for an undercover mission. Reluctantly, Gru takes the mission to find a super-villain responsible for stealing PX 47, a liquid that turns any animals into violent beings.
This sequel becomes an adventure that finds romance and action mixed with Gru and one of his daughters. The mixture is not as touching as 2010’s “Despicable Me,” but it still works to evolve these characters.
Gru and others here are easy to like. This exists because the people voicing these characters are likable. Their voices are easily relatable. Carell is dependable as always. Carell easily makes Gru agreeable. You feel for him, even when he does not deserve it. Wiig is a nice feminine match for him. Brand continues to shine as Dr. Nefario, and Bratt is grand as the suave Mexican restaurant owner. Of course, the biggest humorous moments come from Gru’s Minions. These yellow, Twinkie-shaped beings are a hoot.
The animation is better here while keeping the feel of the original. Together, these aspects work well. They easily produce a film that is easy to enjoy.
Grade: B (The opposite of despicable, again.)
“The Lone Ranger” (Action/Western: 2 hours, 29 minutes)
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