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from The News And Times.
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Minions: The Rise of Gru
NEW YORK (CNS) — A ’70s vibe adds verve to the animated origin story “Minions: The Rise of Gru” (Universal).
Thus director Kyle Balda’s addition to a franchise that began with 2010’s “Despicable Me” draws on such nostalgic tropes as blaxploitation movies, kung fu films and Tupperware par-ties, not to mention the memorable — for better or worse — music of the period.
The result is a generally wholesome and breezy bit of entertainment. But a minor ingredient in the mix plays on Catholic sensibilities in a way that may prove slightly grating to parents of faith.
At the height of the disco era, paradoxically good-hearted would-be supervillain Gru (voice of Steve Carell) is a still a preteen boy living with his overbearing mother (voice of Julie Andrews). Yet he already yearns to join the Vicious 6, a crew of famed criminals founded by martial arts master Wild Knuckles (voice of Alan Arkin).
In an effort to impress his heroes, Gru swipes a jewel-studded pendant endowed with magi-cal powers that can be used for evil purposes. But complications imperil him, and the Min-ions — the diminutive, comically incomprehensible creatures whom he’s taken under his wing — scramble to rescue their beloved leader.
The laughs provoked by screenwriter Matthew Fogel’s script come frequently and its emphasis on loyalty, teamwork and true friendship is pleasing. But the fact that the Vicious 6 numbers among its members a traditionally habited religious sister called — what else? — Nun-Chuck (voice of Lucy Lawless) may not sit well with some viewers.
Initially present simply to play up her punning moniker, Nun-Chuck’s fleeting screen time is mostly devoted to harmless sight gags. Yet she does make the sign of the cross at one point and consistently holds her hands together in a prayerlike pose.
While impressionable moviegoers should probably not be introduced to the subtleties of what is or is not acceptable about this silly character, teens — like their elders — will easily shrug off the momentary lapses of taste involved in her depiction. Then they can return to riding along with the rollicking, though sometimes diffuse, proceedings.
The film contains much comic mayhem, brief irreverent and mild scatological humor and glimpses of partial rear cartoon nudity. The Catholic News Service classification is A-II — adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association rating is PG — parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children.
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from BBC News – Home.
At least 19 people, including one child, have died in overnight Russian missile strikes on Ukraine’s southern Odesa region, Ukrainian officials say.
The state emergency service, DSNS, says nearly all of the victims were in a nine-storey building hit by one missile in the village of Serhiyivka.
At least two people, including the child, were killed in a separate strike on a holiday resort in the village.
Russia has fired dozens of missiles on Ukrainian cities in the past few days.
The DSNS said the missiles hit Serhiyivka at about 01:00 on Friday (22:00 GMT Thursday).
It released footage showing firefighters searching for survivors in the wreckage of the nine-storey building.
They were also seen carrying what looked like the body of one of the victims in a bag.
The DSNS says 38 people, including six children, were injured in the Russian strikes.
Maryna Martynenko, a DSNS spokeswoman in the Odesa region, told Ukrainian TV that the building’s external wall was damaged, and a nearby shop was set ablaze after the strike. Firefighters later put out the fire.
She said 60 rescuers were currently working at the site.
As many as 150 people are believed to have lived in the building.
The child killed at the holiday resort was a 12-year-old boy, said Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of President Volodymyr Zelensky’s office. He added that three people, including two children, were still under the rubble.
Yulia Bondar, 60, was staying in a building nearby.
“We heard three explosions and now there is nothing left of the recreation centre,” she told the BBC. “The village is very quiet, we never thought this could happen.”
Ms Bondar said few people were at the centre as people tended not to stay there overnight.
Ukrainian officials said three missiles were launched from Russian warplanes over the Black Sea.
Odesa regional administration spokesman Serhiy Bratchuk said Soviet-era X-22 missiles were believed to have been used.
Moscow has so far made no public comment.
Ukraine had hoped that the Russian withdrawal on Thursday from the strategically important Snake Island would ease the threat to Ukraine’s biggest Black Sea port of Odesa and wider region.
Russia said it had withdrawn its garrison as a “gesture of goodwill” to prove it was not obstructing grain exports from Odesa and other Ukrainian ports – but Ukraine dismissed that claim, saying Moscow continued to shell its grain stores.
In separate developments on Friday:
- Ukraine’s military said Russian troops were focusing on encircling Ukrainian soldiers in the eastern city of Lysychansk, aiming “to establish complete control over the Luhansk region”
- The death toll from Monday’s Russian missile strike on a busy shopping centre in the central city of Kremenchuk rose to 19, with 62 injured, the DSNS said
- Overnight, Russian troops shelled the Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Mykolaiv regions in Ukraine’s north, north-west and south, local officials said