It's been six years since the last Cars movie (there were two Planes movies in that time), and the filmmakers have wisely decided to go back to basics for this one. After the sequel's foray into global spy mayhem, this movie keeps its focus on the race track. There's still that nagging lack of logic in the premise: a world of cars living like people, except that there are no people. But the oddest thing about this movie is that its themes are aimed at grown-ups, not children.
It opens as Lightning McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson) is at the top of his career, winning every race and celebrated as a rock star. Then young upstart Jackson Storm (Armie Hammer) beats him, using high-tech training methods. To boost his speed, McQueen's sponsor (Nathan Fillion) sets him up with hot new trainer Cruz (Cristela Alonzo). But the old-school McQueen doesn't like simulators; he wants to feel sand in is tyres. So he takes Cruz on a cross-country trip to tap into his roots and show her the purity of racing on a dirt track. This involves seeking out salty old trainer Smokey (Chris Cooper) as McQueen prepares for a make-or-break race. Meanwhile, a TV pundit (Kerry Washington) drastically cuts McQueen's odds of winning any more races at all.
It's unlikely that kids in the audience will be able to identify with the central idea that you need to recognise when it's time to step aside for the younger generation. But then, they're mainly watching these movies for the vroom-vroom action, then buying the merchandise and recreating the races at home. The plot is for the adults, really, and this film provides a very nice story arc for McQueen (and Cruz as well). There is also, of course, a non-stop barrage of automotive puns and sight gags, silly side characters and wacky action. The stand-out scene is a riotous demolition derby in the mud.
Continue reading: Cars 3 Review
Former Piston Cup Champion Lightning McQueen was a hero in his day, but it seems in the last few years technology has improved so much that he is constantly being out-run by newer and more advanced models. His latest rival is the super-speedy newcomer Jackson Storm, whose arrogant attitude makes McQueen desperate to beat him once and for all. Naturally, he's being bugged constantly about his plans for retirement, but to him it only feels like yesterday that he was a rookie himself making waves in the racing world. It doesn't matter how many tricks he learns to up his game, however, he'll never be the racer he once was. But his friends are nonetheless determined to train him up to be the best he can be, led by the young and enthusiastic technician Cruz Ramirez. He might never be able to match Jackson's speed, but that doesn't mean he can't outsmart him on the track.
Continue: Cars 3 - Extended Trailer
Lightning McQueen may be a legendary name in the Piston Cup Championship history, but as time wears on, space must be made for the racing cars of the future. He has to start realising that his days of being a freshly-painted rookie are long over, and with each generation the champions only get stronger and faster. He's not coming first anymore because of the expertly designed newest vehicle models; in fact, he's just suffered a major crash at the Los Angeles International Speedway which has put him out of action for some time. But he's just not ready to pack it all in just yet, even with competition the likes of the high-tech Jackson Storm. McQueen enlists the help of an enthusiastic young race technician named Cruz Ramirez, who teaches him that there are ways he can make it to the top again - he's just got to think outside the box.
Continue: Cars 3 Trailer
Lightning McQueen is a legendary Piston Cup champion who might have shown humility and sportsmanship in the first movie, but 'Cars 2' was all about the heroism of his best pal Mater. This time, Lightning McQueen is back in the front seat, but he's not quite the car he used to be. He'd seen it coming since he was a rookie, but now he's about to realise that he can't be a champion forever when the newer generation of racers display a velocity that he can't begin to compete with. He's been forced out of action, but he's determined to continue what he loves to do. No longer able to rely on his old friends, he enlists the help of a young technician who is also in the midst of planning her own winning scheme.
Continue: Cars 3 - Teaser Trailer
The filmmakers behind Tangled and Wreck-it Ralph join forces for this entertaining animated action comedy, which has clearly been planned as a franchise-launcher. Energetic and funny, the movie is packed with wonderfully engaging characters and animated with clever visual inventiveness. But even though it's a lot of fun, it's difficult to escape the feeling that Disney is trying to sell us a whole new range of products.
The setting is a world populated only by animals, where predators and prey have learned to get along. The story centres on feisty rabbit Judy Hopps (voiced by Ginnifer Goodwin), who grew up under pressure to work in the family carrot-farming business. But she wants to be a cop, even though no bunny has ever made the force. Top of her class at police academy, she's assigned to the Zootropolis Police Department, where Chief Bogo (Idris Elba) makes her a meter maid. But she's too ambitious to write parking tickets all day, and teams up with con-artist fox Nick (Jason Bateman) to look into the strange case of a missing otter, which might be linked to a series of unexplained events in which predators suddenly became aggressive and dangerous.
The writers and directors have a great time with the premise, peppering scenes with knowing references mainly to other movies but also to resonant aspects of society, such as the genius casting of sloths as government workers. And there are also much bigger themes rattling around the edges, from how other peoples' expectations constrain us to how politicians use fear to control the public. There's also a cleverly pointed undercurrent about prejudice and diversity. And at the centre, Goodwin and Bateman give solid vocal performances as natural enemies who find a way to trust each other. Of the supporting cast, Elba is the standout as a buffalo who is all bluster.
Continue reading: Zootopia [aka Zootropolis] Review
Martin reprises the role of Tom Baker, father of twelve and husband to wife Kate (the sparkling, grounded Bonnie Hunt). In an effort to bond the family one final time before grandkids are born and chickens fly the coop, Tom cloyingly convinces the clan to vacation at their old lakefront haunt. There, they meet their nemeses: the clean-cut white-teethed Murtaugh family led by perfectionist papa Jimmy, played by the painfully underutilized Eugene Levy.
Continue reading: Cheaper By The Dozen 2 Review
Stolen Summer tells the poignant tale of two energetic 8-year old youngsters living in the hazy days of Chicago circa 1976 where disco music and polyester profoundly dominated the scene. Pint-sized rabble-rouser Catholic schoolboy Pete O'Malley (Adi Stein) is sternly lectured by his teacher and told that he must change his mischievous ways over the summertime. And so Pete is released from school with some serious thinking to do while he basks in the glory days of the upcoming summer. But Pete's overworked firefighter father (Aidan Quinn) and stay-at-home mother (Bonnie Hunt) are harried by all their responsibilities and just don't have the time to cater to all the personal and emotional needs of their brood. Thus, Pete has to find his own way to spiritual salvation.
Continue reading: Stolen Summer Review
Magical indeed -- the way it works is that all those monsters that hide in the closet and scare little kids only do so because they have to -- they use the screams as energy to power Monstropolis, which exists just on the other side of every kid's bedroom closet door in the world.
Continue reading: Monsters, Inc. Review
Taken out of context, the plot of "Return To Me" sounds like a really cheesy gimmick for a movie romance.
David Duchovny plays a man whose beautiful, adoring wife (Joley Richardson) dies in a car crash. Minnie Driver is a heart patient who gets the dead woman's ticker in a transplant. After a respectable amount of time has passed for the purposes of good taste, they meet by chance and fall in love.
Your eyes are rolling, right? But surprise, surprise -- the whole magical-innards angle is merely a jumping off point for a sincere and very funny love story that is easily the best romantic dramedy since "Jerry Maguire."
Continue reading: Return To Me Review
"The Green Mile" begins with a little deja vu. Like Tom Hanks' last mid-Century, Oscar-baiting drama, "Saving Private Ryan," it's bookended by a modern framework that finds an old man reluctantly reminiscing about a difficult year of his life, more than half a century ago.
Because of the familiar faces and the similar prestige posturing, this platitudinous structure invites a little eye-rolling as Dabbs Greer (Reverend Alden on "Little House On the Prairie"), playing the aged Hanks, begins to spin what becomes an engrossing three-hour yarn about a year of extraordinary horrors and miracles on death row in a Louisiana state penitentiary.
Hanks plays prison guard Paul Edgecomb, an unjaded joe in charge of death row who treats people on both sides of the bars with humanity and civility. Set in 1935, the central story opens with the arrival of a kindly colossus of a condemned killer named John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan).
Continue reading: The Green Mile Review
It's been six years since the last Cars movie (there were two Planes movies in...
Lightning McQueen may be a legendary name in the Piston Cup Championship history, but as...
Lightning McQueen is a legendary Piston Cup champion who might have shown humility and sportsmanship...
The filmmakers behind Tangled and Wreck-it Ralph join forces for this entertaining animated action comedy,...
You've seen this before. Steve Martin as the nervous parent awaiting a baby delivery. Steve...
Writer-director Pete Jones serves up a nostalgic slice-of-life in his examination of friendship and faith...
The Pixar boys are at again with Monsters, Inc. taking their computer-animation talents from toys...
Taken out of context, the plot of "Return To Me" sounds like a really cheesy...