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Film Review: Cars 3

“You’ll Never Be The Racer You Once Were. You Can’t Turn Back The Clock, Kid, But You Can Wind It Up, Again…”

With the likes of Inside Out and Zootropolis being superb recent examples of when Disney get it bang on in regards to releases from their animation platform, with the latter managing to proclaim itself as one of the few top marked films on this particular film review site, a healthy title if ever there was one, the release of Cars 3 is ultimately a bit of a downer, a sequel to one of Disney’s more middling franchises but too a film which undoubtedly will surpass many releases at the box office due to the nature of the prolonged six weeks summer holidays in which sweet-addicted children swarm your local cinema screening and make you cringe at their unwanted immaturity and annoying little booster seats. Bit harsh I know, but what we have with Cars 3 is ironically a solid entry into the ever-expanding Disney canon, a film which takes no time at all in laying the groundwork for the narrative ahead, with its’ sweet, harmless tone offering more than enough spectacle for the young at heart. whilst an effective array of jokes prove that there is more enough chewy material to satisfy the adults, even when the plot does fall into the realm of cliche and over-sentimentality at times.

Suffering from the inevitability of old age and facing the threat of newer, faster racing vehicles including the likes of the Armie Hammer voiced, Jackson Storm, Owen Wilson’s Lightning McQueen begins to question his suitability on the race track, and with the legendary racer potentially facing the unwanted exposure of falling into past history, McQueen teams up with Cristela Alonzo’s wannabe-racer Cruz Ramirez and Chris Cooper’s legendary racing trainer, Smokey, in order to get back on track and finally overcome the presence of the egotistic Storm. With flashy colours and an explosion of jet-waxed colours from beginning to end, Cars 3 ticks all the boxes in what you would expect from a Disney animation sequel aimed primarily at kids, and whilst the narrative is somewhat obvious and cringey at times from an adult point of view, the smart-witted dialogue and joyous concluding act proves that the film’s existence does hold more than just being that film that you take your kids to see. Whilst the money will keep on rolling and the spin-off merchandise will keep on selling, the concluding edge of the narrative does suggest we have seen the last of the Cars franchise for good, but with Disney not exactly shying away from a quick buck at times, you can’t take anything at face value these days.

Overall Score: 6/10

Film Review: Live By Night

“I Signed Up To Fight In The War. I Went Away a Soldier, I Came Home An Outlaw…”

In order to really make a substantial wave in the genre of gangster movies, one has to stand up upon the shoulders of giants, classic movies which act as the linchpin of cinematic history and are unanimously regarded as plain and simple masterpieces. Whilst the ones that spring to mind include the likes of The Godfather, Goodfellas and Casino, all movies which arrive at the top-end of their respective genre, recent portrayals of the well-worn gangster theme have somewhat added to the notion that the best will indeed never be matched in terms of their overall impact on cinematic history, particularly when you take the likes of Black Mass and Legend in recent years, cases of films which are executed in an overly solid fashion yet are undeniably forgettable in the context of the genre in which they are placed. With Live By Night, the latest pet project from Ben Affleck who follows in the footsteps of movies such as Argo and The Town by writing, directing and starring in the lead role, Affleck takes on the esteemed gangster genre and whilst parts of the film are reasonably commendable, like many have already pointed out already, Affleck’s latest does feel like a quickly jumbled together release, due in part to Affleck’s high-profile role in the DC Universe, resulting in a movie which can only be regarded as a resounding disappointment.

Focusing primarily and wholly generically within the era of prohibition, Live By Night feels too much of a sweeping cinematic slog, attempting to cram in as many narrative swings as possible and subsequently suffering from a wide range of issues such as two-dimensional characters, a laughably stereotypical lead villain and a concluding act which verges on the edge of storytelling at its’ most basic and immature. Whilst Affleck tries to do his best in both a directorial capacity and in the leading role, the overtly familiar feel of the script doesn’t do the film any sense of justice whatsoever, a resounding shame when considering the book on which it was based on, written by Mystic River and Shutter Island author Dennis Lehane. Star of the show belongs entirely to Chris Cooper as the conflicted Sheriff Irving Figgis, whilst Elle Fanning follows on from her superb performance in The Neon Demon by producing a solid, believable performance as Figgis’s daughter with the time she manages to bag on-screen. With previous successes with both Argo and The Town, Affleck’s latest is unfortunately in a completely different ball park in terms of critical success, and whilst I enjoy a good gangster flick as much as the next guy, Live By Night makes Legend look like The Godfather. 

Overall Score: 5/10