‘Cars 3’ is nostalgic close to ‘Cars’ trilogy

‘Cars 3’ is nostalgic close to ‘Cars’ trilogy

With a star-studded cast and an already large fan-base, Cars 3 is speeding into theaters. Lightning McQueen fans will buzz with excitement from the high energy movie. Before the film, a new Pixar Short was released called, “Lou.” This short film was written and directed by Dave Mullins and follows the school bully in learning to share by an unseen monster in the lost and found box. After this, the energetic opening scene to Cars 3 showed a daring Lightning McQueen zooming around the race track with a cheering crowd, closely followed by his friendly competitors. Suddenly, a new type of race car appears, taking over all the races and pushing the older cars into retirement. McQueen spends the rest of the film fighting for his rightful place within the racing community, refusing to give up what he loves the most. Long-time Cars fan Sinney Chan noted that one of the film’s best aspects was its focus on female and minority empowerment. “They added in a female statistical analyst and pushed the main female character, Cruz, into the racing spotlight. This made me really happy to see, and I hope a lot of younger girls got the message.” Upon release, the third Cars movie is already expected to hit the box office hard with around $60 million from 3,900 theaters in its opening weekend. The production of this film, directed by Brian Fee, started in the summer of 2014, and the previous director, John Lasseter, promised an emotional tone to the film. The beautiful landscape animation mixed with the touching plot line allowed for Lasseter’s promise to come true. As...
‘The Mummy’ is lifeless first entry into ‘Dark Universe’

‘The Mummy’ is lifeless first entry into ‘Dark Universe’

The Mummy is a bad remake buried under good summer flicks such as Wonder Woman. Despite Tom Cruise leading the tale, one does not necessarily expect a critically-acclaimed or award-winning film when going in to see The Mummy — simply an entertaining, thrilling monster movie, but The Mummy fails to deliver even this. Cruise stars in the film, his character a man who goes around searching for ancient artifacts and loot to sell on the Black Market. He then unearths the tomb of an Egyptian princess who was put to death after murdering her father, her stepmother and her baby half-brother. However, once this ancient tomb is unearthed, Princes Ahmanet is awakened, unleashing “fury” and a plan to bring the Egyptian god of death to life through Nick Morton (Cruise). Nick, of course, isn’t having this, so he meets up with Dr. Henry Jekyll  and does a lot of running, yelling and a little bit of fighting. His companion and ancient Egypt expert Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis) does all of this right beside him too, except the quality of her lines are reduced to screaming “Nick!” more than half the time, unfortunately diminishing her to damsel-in-distress status and wasting the potential of a decently good character. The Jekyll/Hyde storyline is distracting and unnecessary, leaving viewers questioning the purpose of Russell Crowe’s character(s). From the trailer, The Mummy looks to be a scary film, or at least a little thrilling. However, after watching the movie, it appears all of the “scary” scenes were utilized in the trailer, presenting a monster movie without a scary monster. Honestly, I find the 1932 version...
DC finally gets it right with ‘Wonder Woman’

DC finally gets it right with ‘Wonder Woman’

Wonder Woman is a breath of fresh air in a line of previously underwhelming DC films. Gal Gadot stars as the Amazon princess crafted by clay — her performance a triumphant achievement in portraying such an iconic character. Gadot brings both a strength and beauty to Princess Diana, who exhibits a relentless drive and desire to embrace her heroism rather than run from it. The origin story hearkens to the original classic superhero films such as Christopher Reeve’s Superman, and also somewhat parallels Marvel’s Captain America with its World War focus. The story is not particularly unique, but its emphasis on providing a heroine who the “world of men do not deserve” is new in such a male-dominated genre. The tale begins with Wonder Woman as young Princess Diana growing up on a peaceful island of only Amazon women who are adept at fighting and protecting their utopian community — a stark contrast to the way women are treated when Diana arrives in World War I London on a mission to stop the war. Gadot does an excellent job of mixing worldly innocence with classic superhero charm and skill once arriving in London, with Chris Pine portraying her sidekick and love interest, Captain Steve Trevor. Pine and the rest of the cast do an admirable job, but their respective characters remain flat and stereotypical, one of the few weaknesses of the film. Behind the camera is Patty Jenkins, who directs an atypical DC film focused on story, preferring to show the horror of war and fighting instead of its glorification. This is not to say that Wonder Woman’s fight...
‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ may be best movie of summer

‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ may be best movie of summer

If Guardians of the Galaxy fans were hoping for a worthy sequel, they’ve got it. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 might not be a classic like the first movie, but it definitely is worth watching, and viewers will leave the theater smiling and satisfied with many unanswered questions finally answered. The film opens with the Guardians – Star-Lord (aka Peter Quill), Gamora, Drax, Rocket and Baby Groot hired to protect precious batteries owned by a powerful and elite alien race, the Sovereign, from a space monster. When Rocket steals some of the batteries, the Guardians then find themselves on the run from the Sovereign. Along the way, Peter’s father finally reveals himself. Remember in the first movie when Peter (spoiler) is able to hold an Infinity Stone without dying? Moviegoers finally have the answer as to why that is possible when Ego (Kurt Russell) arrives. Even though this is a superhero movie, the real theme throughout the Marvel masterpiece is finding your family — and who truly is your family. Drax says it best: they’re not friends (as Nebula calls them), they are family. This movie isn’t just about saving the Galaxy after all; it’s about realizing that sometimes what you’ve been searching for your whole life is right in front of you. On a less-serious note, fans will absolutely love the way the characters have developed since the first movie. Baby Groot is adorable and is the tiny hero that the Guardians never realized they needed. Drax is funnier in this movie as well and has opened up a lot more to everyone. Gamora has also softened...
‘Gifted’ excels with talented cast

‘Gifted’ excels with talented cast

A big-name cast leads the way in Gifted, a melodrama with a thought-provoking tone. McKenna Grace (Designated Survivor, Once Upon A Time) plays Mary Adler and carries the film on her own. The pint-sized actress is similar to the Fanning girls, Dakota and Elle, in her “giftedness” on the screen at such a young age. She stars in the film as the protagonist who has an exceptional talent in mathematics. Chris Evans (The Avengers, The Nanny Diaries) is Mary’s single Uncle Frank, who struggles with how to deal with his niece’s profound gift. Frank had been homeschooling Mary, but enrolls her in the local public elementary school to start first grade. Due partially to the environment she was raised in, Mary has a strong attachment to her uncle and begs him not to make her go, but Frank tells Mary that he’s taught her “all he knows.” Despite her academic talent, Frank doesn’t plan on enrolling her in sort of special program to strengthen this talent. Begrudgingly, Mary attends school, and her teacher immediately recognizes her mathematical ability. Frank’s British mother, who has been absent all of Mary’s life, is contacted concerning Frank’s insistence on not enrolling Mary in a gifted program at a different school to hone her ability. This escalates into a custody battle between Frank and his mother, played by Lindsay Duncan (About Time, Birdman), which is what the remainder of the film centers on. This conflict overtakes the plot just a little too much, rather than focusing on Mary’s gift, which is the most engrossing and engaging part of the film. Gifted’s best quality is...
Rev your engines for the ‘Fate of the Furious’

Rev your engines for the ‘Fate of the Furious’

The Fast and Furious franchise gets another high-octane, action-packed addition with The Fate of the Furious. The movie is the eighth film in the saga and sticks to the same street racing and over-the-top stunts rubric that led to the franchise’s early success in 2001 with Fast and Furious. The cast is full of the same lovable characters such as Dominic Torreto (Vin Diesel) and Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson). It also features some who are new to the film such as Charlize Theron (The Italian Job) and Jason Statham (The Transporter Trilogy). F. Gary Gray directs — the fifth director of the saga — and is a veteran in the action film genre, having directed movies such as Law Abiding Citizen and The Italian Job. The film begins with Dominic and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) on their honeymoon in Cuba. “Dom” soon has to put his racing skills to the test and raced in his cousin’s beat up 1949 Chevrolet Fleetline against a 1956 Ford Customline. The backbone of the franchise has always been larger-than-life stunts and tons of explosions. However, this movie features a more interesting storyline. Dom’s relationship with his family is intriguing, especially for those who are hardcore fans of the franchise. Moviegoers get a deeper look into Dom’s psyche, and what makes him who he is. Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson are both action juggernauts, allowing for an interesting conversation surrounding the question of who would win in a fight. Viewers have already started a Twitter war, using the hashtags, #teamVin and #teamDwayne. The franchise is the highest grossing movie franchise in Universal Studios history, and...