Will Ferrell is the titular evil-doer, a blue-headed alien whose home planet is destroyed and whose infant rocket is bumped off course by the escape-pod of extraterrestrial neighbor, Metro Man (Brad Pitt). While Metro Man ends up being adopted by wealthy, loving human parents, Megamind crashes into a prison for the “criminally gifted,” where he’s raised to believe it’s good to be bad. Thus begins a lifelong rivalry, with the brainy blue bad guy and his fish-like minion—named Minion (David Cross)—attempting to defeat their self-centered, Superman-like archnemesis. Unsurprisingly, this involves kidnapping ace reporter Roxanne Ritchi (Tina Fey) and employing a diabolical new weapon. Director Tom McGrath underlines and telegraphs every gag with a “get it?” repetitiveness that probably works for 7-year-olds but will inevitably irritate their elder chaperones. Not that the tots will “get” references to Shepard Fairey’s Obama poster (with the nefarious Megamind using the slogan “No you can’t!”). (Jeff Meyers)
Yes, she’s just that good. Director Stephen Frears and screenwriter Peter Morgan tackle a then-unprecedented global media-political scrum with their new drama—a week-long focus on Great Britain and the royal family following the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, in Paris—and Helen Mirren’s fastidious Queen Elizabeth II makes it all work.
plumbs this most visibly media-mediated era as a behind-the-scenes match of wills between a self-advocated proponent of the new, modern England and the living icon of old, traditional Britain that takes place as a series of phone calls between a reticent, obstinately opinionated queen and her jittery new prime minister, Tony Blair (a canny Michael Sheen). Blair, elected in a landslide in May 1997, has his first term tested following Diana and Dodi Al-Fayed’s Aug. 31 crash, which starts a verbal end game between the new PM and his call for a public funeral and display of grief and Elizabeth’s insistence that the royal family, on retreat at their Balmoral Estate, treat the tragedy in a private, dignified manner. Frears unobtrusively handles his story, letting the masterful Mirren—effortlessly nailing the queen’s public image and making it palpably steely and vulnerable—carry this intelligent, talky treat. (Bret McCabe)