Weekend film reviews: ‘Despicable Me 4,’ ‘MaXXXine,’ ‘Space Cadet’

Steve Carrell and Kristen Wiig return to voice Gru and Lucy in “Despicable Me 4.” Credit: Youtube.

The latest film releases include Despicable Me 4, MaXXXine, Space Cadet, and Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F. Weighing in are Christy Lemire, film critic for RogerEbert.com and co-host of the YouTube channel Breakfast All Day, and Alonso Duralde, film critic and co-host of movie podcast Linoleum Knife.

Despicable Me 4

Steve Carrell and Kristen Wiig return to voice Gru and Lucy in this latest installment of the animated franchise. 

Lemire: “There's nothing cohesive going on here. It's a bunch of different ideas. It's multiple movies at once and yet also feels completely airless. I laughed here and there at some of the minion antics. … They are the draw, of course. There is one running bit where a minion is stuck in a vending machine, and that is literally the highlight of the movie.”

Duralde: “We have the minions becoming superheroes, a lot of stuff, but none of it adds anything [or] melds together in an interesting way. The superhero minion thing, they’re really pushing in the marketing of this film, but it's not funny or clever or anything cool. And I say that as somebody who is here for the minions.”


Mia Goth reprises her role as Maxine Minx, an adult film star pursuing her dream of becoming a famous actress, but is being targeted by the infamous serial killer known as the Night Stalker. This is the third installment in the X film series from filmmaker Ti West.

Lemire: “This has style for days. And it is in LA in the 80s that is not a glossy, opulent version of LA. It is grimy, it is sleazy. It is neon signs from peep shows, washing the streets and lurid colors. In the beginning, it's thrilling because Maxine is in the middle of it. … But as she finds that all her friends are being killed around her, she ends up being tamped down in a way that is disappointing. This is my least favorite of these three movies because it squelches the thing about Mia Goth that is so exciting as a screen presence, which is that she's volatile and unpredictable. … And here there was a safe quality where she's getting carried along by the plot. She literally becomes a passenger in our own movie at one point.” 

Duralde: “They do put this movie in the context of the Satanic Panic of the 80s, which fits it well. You will also see shoutouts to Chinatown — RIP Robert Towne — and other films like that. So on that level, as a horror movie about other horror movies, I enjoyed it. Is it as good as Pearl? No. But … Goth has co-written all of these films, and she's very much a participant in creating this character in this world. So I think she's terrific as always. But … the movie gives her less to do than you would expect from a character who is so driven and ambitious.” 

Space Cadet

Emma Roberts stars as Rex, a party girl and barmaid, who always wanted to be an astronaut.

Lemire: “This is pleasant as a diversion. It is extremely lightweight and light-hearted and not a terrible way to spend the afternoon if you're flipping around on [Amazon] Prime and looking for something easy to watch that you're gonna forget immediately afterward. … Emma Roberts is just extremely likable, and this basically allows her to Legally Blonde her way through the NASA space program.” 

Duralde: “Poppy Liu is the real scene stealer of the movie. You know her from Hacks and The Afterparty. … It’s the classic ‘outsider makes good and maybe they didn't go to your stuffy Ivy League universities, but they've got other skills that they bring to the table.’ And it's fluff. It's nonsense, but if you're looking for media that encourages young girls to study STEM and be interested in physics and mechanical engineering, you could do worse than this.” 

Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F

Forty years after the franchise debuted, Eddie Murphy reprises his role as Axel Foley. This also features John Aston, Judge Reinhold, Kevin Bacon, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. 

Duralde: “What's amazing is that this is a movie that is not just returning to this character after 40 years, but addressing the elephant in the room that this guy's still doing the same job after 40 years. And maybe that's not a good thing. … I was shocked that this movie really works. It is the Top Gun: Maverick of action comedy sequels, down to the title colon character name in the title.” 

Lemire: “There is a shootout on Wilshire Boulevard at Doheny in front of the Lumiere Music Hall, which is staged thrillingly. There's a bit with a helicopter in Downtown LA on Hope Street. … I wish it were actually playing in movie theaters. It's on Netflix, and this just feels like it would be a gangbusters summer escapism.” 



  • Christy Lemire - film critic for RogerEbert.com and co-host of the YouTube channel “Breakfast All Day” - @christylemire
  • Alonso Duralde - film critic, co-host of the movie podcast “Linoleum Knife,” author of “Hollywood Pride: A Celebration of LGBTQ+ Representation and Perseverance in Film” - @ADuralde