‘Minions’ ‘3 Women' ‘Dirty Wars’
Few titles have ever been so accurate: “Minions” has Minions. That’s pretty much it. Sandra Bullock voices a baddie and there’s some kind of a plot. You won’t remember either, and it doesn’t matter. What does matter — and this truly can’t be emphasized enough — is the presence of Minions: the babbling yellow baby whatzits that handily stole the two “Despicable Me” toons from their supervillain star (Steve Carell). The movie could be 90 minutes of them against a white screen staring at you and it would be thoroughly watchable. Their spinoff movie does slightly more than that, though only slightly, and even if it did less that would be OK, too.
In a way, “Minions” and Robert Altman’s 1977 art-drama aren’t that different: They’re both best watched if you’re not overthinking them. The original “Mulholland Dr.,” this is pure mindf—: What looks like a sharply observed character study — of, as it were, two small town women (Sissy Spacek and Shelley Duvall), with a third (Janice Rule) hanging in the wings — turns into something rich and strange halfway through. Altman based it on a dream he had, and his usual roaming camerawork and dense sound mixes prove just as strong a fit for the otherworldly as they do for slices of life. This is actually both: The first half is as mesmerizing as the out-there second, with career peak work from Duvall as a health spa employee as gabby as she is un-self-aware.
And now for something completely different: Here’s a sobering, horrifying doc about civilian casualties during the War on Terror. Piggybacking on acclaimed, intrepid and very, very serious journo Jeremy Scahill, “Dirty Wars” globetrots around Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia and elsewhere, finding case after case in which drone strikes, mercenaries and other weapons of destruction have wound up causing inadvertent harm that’s often covered up. Scahill paints the area as a lawless Wild West with little oversight, regulations and, in many cases, accuracy, the target of a neverending series of campaigns that wind up creating more radicals than they stop.