THE DVD SHELF: Chaplin's "City Lights," Welles' "The Stranger" and "Despicable Me 2"

By Steven Suskin
24 Nov 2013

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From the sublime — which we consider "City Lights" and "The Stranger" to be — to the ridiculously sublime. "Despicable Me," a computer-animated film starring the voice of Steve Carell as the despicable title character, was a major hit when it opened in 2010 — so much so that it was followed this summer by — what else? — "Despicable Me 2" [Universal]. It proved to be an even bigger hit, almost doubling the original's $500-plus million gross, and reported to be the most profitable film in the 100-year history of Universal Pictures.

"Despicable Me 2" is also subversively clever and exceedingly funny. The first film told of arch-villain Dru — he steals the moon — who finds himself altogether reformed by three cute orphans he has adopted. The sequel shows the caring father, who now uses his "mad scientist" powers to manufacture jams and jellies, being called back into the spy business to foil a dastardly plot. The humor is so fast and warped that you can't help but sit back and root for all those bright yellow, gibberish-speaking Minions who populate Dru's droll universe.

The Blu-ray, which is accompanied by a DVD and a downloadable digital copy, includes commentary by the directors, features on those adorable Minions, and "3 new mini-movies starring the Minions."

(Steven Suskin is author of "Show Tunes", "The Sound of Broadway Music: A Book of Orchestrators and Orchestrations," "Second Act Trouble," the "Broadway Yearbook" series and the "Opening Night on Broadway" books. He also writes the Aisle View blog at The Huffington Post. He can be reached at