“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
“You Really Are An Idiot Aren’t You?”
Although I can confess to only recently watching Zoolander, the 2001 satirical comedy directed, written and starring Ben Stiller, this long-awaited sequel was something that I can confess to not entirely looking forward to in a week where so many films share a release schedule and battle for supremacy at the box office. With returning characters such as Ben Stiller as the titular Derek Zoolander, the dim-witted, good-mannered fashion model, resigned to living life as a “hermit crab” due to the loss of wife and son, both of which he believes to be sole responsible for, as well as Owen Wilson and Will Ferrell as Hansel and Mugatu respectively, Zoolander No.2, was in danger of falling into the pit of despair many comedy franchises have been led into over the course of the past decade within cinematic history with awful examples of the genre taking centre stage such as Get Hard and Unfinished Business. Unfortunately for Stiller and co., Zoolander No.2 is a rather unremarkable and most importantly, unfunny continuation of the life of Mr. Zoolander.
Featuring more or less everything that made the first film full of snigger-induced fits, Zoolander No.2 continues the trait of dim-witted Derek Zoolander being incredibly, you guessed it, dim-witted, all-the-while being surrounded by strange celebrity cameos in an attempt to carry on the trend started within the first film, a film in which cameos included David Bowie (RIP), Victoria Beckham as well as everyone’s favourite republican Donald Trump. Now in Zoolander No.2, we have Justin Bieber being shot violently to death, one of the few saving graces of the film, as well as stand-out appearances from Sting, Kiefer Sutherland and Benedict Cumberbatch looking extremely startling as All, the sexually ambiguous male/female model. The problem with the wide range of celebrity cameos is that they attempt to divert from the rather shallow plot and lack of inventive humour and when the screen-time is left solely to the core actors of the movie, Zoolander No.2 fails to live up to the comedic value of its’ predecessor with a rather bland story and jokes that don’t exactly live up to scratch. Another example of a sequel not being as good as the first film, Zoolander No.2 is something that will swiftly be forgotten. The Godfather Part II it is not.
Overall Score: 4/10
1970: A Drug Odyssey
Paul Thomas Anderson films in general, so far, have been films that I haven’t really warmed to. I didn’t really dig Magnolia and I couldn’t stand The Master, so with this in mind, my expectation level going into Inherent Vice was rather flat. After watching it though, it’s safe to say Inherent Vice is probably my favourite Anderson film to date, which in itself is faint praise due to my distaste for his earlier material. The film focuses on Joaquin Phoenix’s, private investigator Larry “Doc” Sportello, and his plot to help his ex-girlfriend have her wealthy boyfriend Mickey Wolfmann committed to an insane asylum, yet that’s as clear as the film’s plot gets, with its’ two and a half hour run-time being full of ambiguity and a distinct haziness which clearly attempts to parallel the drug-infested era of the early 1970’s. The challenging nature of the film will definitely not be for everyone, particularly those who depend on a film’s narrative being explained to the last detail, yet it’s lack of explanation adds a strange layer of mystery, which in itself is rather compelling.
Inherent Vice is full of solid acting, strong comedic moments, and a plot so out-of-control, it ends up being both painful and fascinating, Its’ run-time is way too long, and the film suffers as a result, as many times I began to lose patience and checked how long we had left. Like I said, Inherent Vice is my favourite Anderson film to date, and it makes me want to watch his previous efforts again to see if it was just me and not the films themselves. Peace Out.
Overall Score: 7/10