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This Weekend: Head to Disney's Big-Budget Western 'The Lone Ranger,' Sundance Hit 'The Way, Way Back' and 'Despicable Me 2'

Thompson on Hollywood By Anne Thompson and Ryan Lattanzio | Thompson on Hollywood July 3, 2013 at 2:19PM

This holiday weekend, two family-oriented tentpoles will be vying for American eyeballs: Disney's cinematic "The Lone Ranger" and Universal's "Despicable Me 2." We recommend both.
'The Lone Ranger'
'The Lone Ranger'

This holiday weekend, two family-oriented tentpoles will be vying for American eyeballs: Disney's "The Lone Ranger" and Universal's "Despicable Me 2." We recommend both. Plagued by production hiccups, "The Lone Ranger" has received flack from critics, but cinephiles, it's on the screen for you to savor. Yes, at two and a half hours with a budget of $250 million, it's too long and pricey, but don't deprive yourself of the visual and aural splendors of the most expensive western ever made, lovingly and reflexively, by the team that brought you those dreadful "Pirates of the Caribbean" films--and "Rango." The movie is ironic yet sincere, historic yet fictional, mythic yet comedic. Armie Hammer is well cast as an innocent lawyer who grows into manhood as a Texas Ranger. Depp plays deadpan Comanche Tonto as a sexily athletic warrior.

“Despicable Me 2” brings back the gibberish-burbling taxi-yellow Minions, who provide so much of the physical comedy,  and the girls, as they were in the first film, are delightful. Steve Carell completely disappears, vocally, into Gru, and it’s one of the better things he’s ever done. What the movie needs is a villain. 

The indie film to see this weekend is "The Way, Way Back" which debuted at Sundance and opens Friday. A coming-of-age comedy that brims with sweetness and bite, this is a showcase for 16-year-old Liam James as Duncan, and the irresistible Allison Janney as the brazen lush next door to the summer vacation home he shares with mom (Toni Collette). 

Also in limited release Friday is Michael Winterbottom's latest collaboration with Steven Coogan -- whose voice you can hear in the "Despicable Me" sequel -- "The Look of Love," which met with mixed response at Sundance.

A roundup of the week's releases below, and trailers after the jump.


The Way, Way Back Dirs. Jim Rash & Nat Faxon, USA | Fox Searchlight | Cast: Allison Janney, Amanda Peet, Toni Collette, Steve Carell, Maya Rudolph | 87% FreshEntertainment Weekly: "There's something slightly formulaic and familiar about Nat Faxon and Jim Rash's coming-of-age film... but not enough to dampen its crowd-pleasing charm." | Our TOH! interview with Rash and Faxon.

Despicable Me 2 Dir. Chris Renaud, USA | Universal | Cast: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Russell Brand, Steve Coogan | 75% Fresh | The Hollywood Reporter: "While the new edition doesn’t quite catch that inspired spark, there’s still plenty to enjoy here courtesy of those zippy visuals and a pitch-perfect voice cast." | Our TOH! review.

The Lone Ranger Dir. Gore Verbinski, USA | Disney | Cast: Armie Hammer, Johnny Depp, Tom Wilkinson, Helena Bonham Carter | 25% Rotten | Variety: "This over-the-top oater delivers all the energy and spectacle audiences have come to expect from a Jerry Bruckheimer production, but sucks out the fun in the process." | Our TOH! review and roundup.


The Look of Love Dir. Michael Winterbottom, UK | IFC Films | Cast: Steve Coogan, Imogen Poots, Anna Friel | 68% Fresh | The Guardian: "This is a shallow but watchable movie, and it nicely conveys the world of semi-respectable Soho porn..." | Indiewire's interview with Winterbottom here. | Our TOH review

Stuck in Love Dir. Josh Boone, USA | Millennium | Cast: Kristen Bell, Jennifer Connelly, Logan Lerman | 57% Fresh | Slant: "The movie aims for an admirable balance, but fatally upsets that equilibrium in its hurried resolutions."

This article is related to: The Lone Ranger, The Way, Way Back, Despicable Me 2, The Look of Love

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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.