'Minions: The Rise of Gru' is silliness and songs

Five years after the last “Despicable Me” movie and a dozen years since the first, “Minions: The Rise of Gru” extends the animated franchise without exactly rising to the occasion, delivering a mundane exercise set to an odd 1970s soundtrack. Loud and colorful, it’s likely to divert smaller kids whose comedic tastes run toward rapid-fire mumbling, pratfalls, the occasional exposed yellow butt and flatulence.Continue Reading

'Right to Offend' charts the 'Black Comedy Revolution' from the '60s through today

“Right to Offend: The Black Comedy Revolution” conspicuously overlaps with other recent documentaries, including projects devoted to the legacies of Dick Gregory and Bill Cosby. Yet this two-part A&E production stands out in contemplating the unique role that Black comedians have played in calling out injustice and giving voice to how society has changed across decades.Continue Reading

'Only Murders in the Building' doesn't miss a beat in getting back on the case

Understandably determined not to mess with success, “Only Murders in the Building” returns with a second season that self-consciously plays to its strengths, while layering the new mystery laid out by its cliffhanger ending on top of the old one. It’s every bit as breezy and fun, with lots of winking references to “Season 2” (the podcast, naturally, but you get the idea).Continue Reading

'Westworld' again juggles its pieces but can't escape its own dense maze

“Westworld” returns, featuring several familiar faces in unfamiliar roles, while extending aspects of a third season that creatively sailed off the rails. While there is surely intelligent life out there eager to see where this goes, at this point it’s not so much a question of not being able to follow the series through its convoluted maze as simply not feeling as if it’s worth the energy to try.Continue Reading

'Loot' gives the gift of comedy with Maya Rudolph

“Loot” sounds like a one-note joke on paper — ha ha, an Apple TV+ comedy loosely inspired by the Bezos’ family drama — that doesn’t gain much depth during the first episode. Stick with it, though, and this showcase for Maya Rudolph as a billionaire minted through divorce becomes a sweet if fairly conventional romantic comedy with a few welcome surprises.Continue Reading

Jeff Bridges brings life to the spy drama 'The Old Man'

The spy genre is so well worn one would think there’s not much new to be done, but “The Old Man” largely confounds those expectations, thanks to the stellar combination of Jeff Bridges and John Lithgow. Seeking a precedent for this FX series, the best might be “Robin and Marian,” in which Robin Hood’s swashbuckling met up with the cold realities of creaking bones and geriatric limitations.Continue Reading