DESPICABLE ME 2 (98 mins). What this sequel lacks in a cohesive, well-written script, it makes up for in Minions. Fans of those little, yellow, banana-loving misfits will find plenty to enjoy here. The Minions' hijinks provide the lion's share of laughs in an otherwise frantic and scatterbrained movie. Gru (Steve Carell) finds a love interest, and his three adopted daughters get a new mom. That's about all I was able to make sense of, plot-wise. It's no Monsters University, but your kids will like it just fine. *** out of 5 stars.
THE LONE RANGER (149 mins). Disney had a chance to pull the plug on this project early on, when its proposed budget crept up to $250 million. Instead, they shaved off about $25 million and went full steam ahead, common sense be damned. Seriously, who is this movie for? It's punishingly long at nearly 2.5 hours, and a giant slog to suffer through. There are kernels of an okay idea here, and director Gore Verbinski is no slouch behind the camera, but nothing really works. Johnny Depp's schtick has worn thin at this point, and Armie Hammer is forgettable and bland in the title role. For a summer blockbuster programmed to please, there is no fun or joy to be had here. Avoid. *1/2 out of 5 stars.
KEVIN HART: LET ME EXPLAIN (75 mins). It wastes a lot of time up front (about 20 mins of its scant 75) with a lame skit and documentary footage of fans around the world attending his stand-up act, but once the movie lets Kevin Hart take the stage and do his thing, it's really funny. I caught Hart hosting SNL earlier this year, and was not impressed with his opening monologue (which was basically him doing stand-up), but Let Me Explain proves that he really does have the goods and lives up to the hype. Plus, widely released stand-up comedy concert films are so rare these days, I'll take what I can get. *** out of 5 stars.