Freeze Frame: “Minions: The Rise of Gru” (PG), “The Forgiven” (R), “Official Competition” (R), “Mr. Malcolm’s List” (PG)

“Minions: The Rise of Gru” is the fifth movie in the hit animated “Despicable Me” franchise. The kids are already tuned in, but the makers of this origin story cleverly place the action in the 1970s to give adults a cagey nostalgia hit. We learn how Gru met the yellow fellows and how he fulfilled his aspirations to become a great villain. Fast, funny and appealingly goofy, “Minions: The Rise of Gru” hits the family-friendly sweet spot.


The lives of the decadent idle rich get skewered in the dark and unsettling drama “The Forgiven.” Ralph Fiennes and Jessica Chastain lead a terrific cast in this dour affair about a group of jet setters on vacation in remote Morocco. Things get complicated when one of them hits and kills a Moroccan boy with his car. While well-made and skillfully acted, “The Forgiven” is a bit too preachy and obvious for its own good.


Penelope Cruz. Antonio Banderas and Oscar Martinez star in “Official Competition,” a caustic Spanish comedy that lampoons the movie industry. Three egotistical artists, a director and two actors, join together to adapt an acclaimed novel for the big screen. Their pretentiousness and vanity are exposed in this self-aware, very ‘meta’ satire. “Official Competition” is an observant lampoon that will work best for movie buffs. Others, beware.


The likable period romance “Mr. Malcolm’s List” plays like a lost Jane Austin story. In 1800s England, a landed gentleman is the object of a revenge plot when it’s discovered that he’s employing a strict list of requirements while searching for a bride. Frida Pinto and Sope Dirasu lead an engaging and diverse cast. Fans of “Bridgerton” may want to add “Mr. Malcolm’s List” to their viewing list.

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