Cars 3

Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson), Shooter McGavin (Larry the Cable Guy) and Dipthong O’Gurk (Anthony Michael Hall) are back as your favorite living, breathing automobiles in Cars 3. That’s right, it’s another animated adventure from the hit-making wizards at Pixar, the most creative and successful company since Motown Records. Incidentally, Motown also happens to have inspired all of Pixar’s movies from the Cars franchise to Please Mr. Postman and its sequel, Twistin’ Postman.

cars 3

After winning the tiebreaker race of the Piston Cup championship in Cars and foiling a secret plot by lemon cars to corner the oil market at the World Grand Prix race in Tokyo in Cars 2, Lightning McQueen, Shooter McGavin and Dipthong O’Gurk have nothing left to prove and are on top of the world as far as they’re concerned. It’s one long ride into the sunset for these old buddies – and what could be a better fate for anthropomorphized vehicles such as these ones.

All respect them for their good spirits that may rule in these perilous times! But it is, unfortunately, certain that the good spirits themselves are lacking, that precisely all the good spirits of automotive technology have left them in the lurch!

As is the hallowed custom with these movies, the plot moves forth by a most comical nature; there is no doubt about that. The way Shooter McGavin and Dipthong O’Gurk have bungled things up this time comes to light at the very beginning, where the task is to investigate the origin of their very souls as living, breathing automobiles.

Soon we are to discover it’s only Lightning McQueen who can board a container ship to Rio de Janeiro to rescue them with enough time to make it to that last and most important race. And we in the audience doff our tricorn hats at the screen, as our parents stare at their phones, faces illuminated by merest gleams.

TL;DR – The signpost to the right road is for Cars 3 the question: what is the real significance of the designations for “good” as spoken by the various anthropomorphic automobiles?

What the rest of the critics are saying:

“There must be some word today from my car so far away, please Mister McQueen look and see if there’s a car, a car for me.” – Gladys Horton, Vanity Fair

“Deliver dee letter, dee sooner dee better!” – Cowart Motley, Variety

“These cars sure can talk!” – Eric D. Snider, EricDSnider.com

“Who has not stared into the headlights of a gassed up automobile and not seen a pair of unblinking human eyes?” – Umair Mamsa, Philadelphia Inquirer

“To this rule that a concept denoting automotive superiority always resolves itself into a concept denoting superiority of the internal combustion engine.” – Millicent Weems, The Guardian

Melonmeter® Score:

68% liquid & seed retention – watermelon_icon_pitr-1979px CERTIFIED JUICY™

Rough Night

Whenever a beloved movie like Date Night goes gangbusters at the box office, Hollywood takes notice and immediately begins developing a sequel. But sometimes, something along the way goes wrong and the sequel actually turns out to be a lot worse than the original. That seems to be what happened with Rough Night, the long awaited sequel to the Date Night franchise.

The first warning you’ll get that Rough Night isn’t going to be nearly as good as Date Night is the casting. The studio was apparently too cheap to cough up the money to pay the original stars (Tina Fey and Steve Carrell) their quote, and so they recast the leads with two much less funny actors: Scarlett Johansson and Kate McKinnon. And while it’s daring to cast Kate McKinnon as a male, no amount of makeup or digital effects can make me believe she’s the same character that Steve Carrell played in the original.

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Kate McKinnon and Scarlett Johansson reprise the roles Steve Carrell and Tina Fey played in the original Date Night.

Another problem with the movie is the plot, which is much less down to earth than the original. Date Night had a premise that everyone could understand: a couple goes out for a fancy dinner but end up being chased by mobsters in a case of mistaken identity. Rough Night goes for something more along the lines of The Hangover but much more confusing.

Phil and Claire Foster (Scarlett Johansson and Kate McKinnon) fight over Phil’s invitation to a raunchy bachelor party in Miami. Phil eventually goes anyway despite Claire’s concerns and ends up on a wild ride with his sex-crazed buddies Buck (Ilana Glazer), Evans (Jillian Bell), Turrance (Leslie Jones), and Reinhold (Zoë Kravitz). Buck hits his head on a bong, Evans finds a dead stripper (Zach Galifianakis) in a closet, Turrance accidentally gets a crazy tattoo and Reinhold hits his head on a windshield and breaks through it ending up on the side of the road but gets up because he still feels okay from being on so many painkillers.

Meanwhile Claire has tracked down Phil and his goofy companions and she’s ready to Shut. This. Shit. Down. I wouldn’t spoil the ending if there was anything to spoil, but none of it makes any sense anyway. It’s just a series of bizarre set pieces involving a loose pig, a trampoline, and an unfortunate accident with a cement truck.

TL;DR: While Date Night was one of the top six comedies of all time, this sequel is a scattered mishmash that suffers from too many missed opportunities.

What the rest of the critics are saying:

“The bizarre choice to cast female actors in a number of different male roles (and vice versa), using a heavy amount of makeup to make it believable turns out to be the only interesting thing about this by the numbers sequel to Date Night.” – Biffanie Quane, Slant Magazine

“The amount of head trauma in this movie is staggering.” – Vang Anh Trung Nguyên, New York Daily News

“Tina Fey and Steve Carrell aren’t back, baby, and Rough Night suffers for it, big time!” – Eric D. Snider, EricDSnider.com

“I’ve never seen a comedy this joyless and sullen.” – Nikita Urevich, Film Freak Central

“The circus freaks at the very end were my favorite part.” – Thế Lực Ngoc Thi, Toronto Sun

“The loss of Shawn Levy in the director’s chair is deeply felt in this dithering sequel to Date Night.” – Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, AVClub

Melonmeter® Score:

19% liquid & seed retention – watermelon-512  THOROUGHLY LACKING IN JUICE AND SEEDS AND RATHER CANTALOUPE-LIKE TO BE HONEST™

Wonder Woman

Unlike the cartoonish dumb kiddie Marvel movies, Warner Brothers’ DC Cinematic Universe movies have always maintained a more serious tone and deeper sense of purpose. Wonder Woman follows this proud tradition, telling a story of honor and duty in a chaotic world.

Allow me to offer a brief summary of the plot before proceeding to the discuss the film’s many virtuous qualities. In Act One, Wonder Woman meets the man of her dreams. They fall in love and Wonder Woman gets pregnant.

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That sword is a bit too close for comfort to her very pregnant belly.

In Act Two, Wonder Woman and her boyfriend struggle through a period of uncertainty. Wonder Woman also has to temporarily stop fighting crime for the sake the unborn child living inside of her. This act concludes with Wonder Woman and her boyfriend agreeing to do the right thing and get married.

In Act Three, Wonder Woman has the baby and almost immediately gets pregnant again. She realizes that her true calling is to be a loving wife and mother, and chooses to hang up her golden lasso and shield for good. Wonder Woman and her husband and two kids settle into a nice house out in the suburbs, and then the movie ends.

Wonder Woman is a celebration of everything we find noble about humanity. Wonder Woman and her spouse struggle through periods of doubt and indecision like we all do. We are thrilled to watch them overcome devilish thoughts of straying from the righteous path.

While missing the cool-ass cinematography and production design of Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman makes up for it with a heartwarmingly funny script by Judd Apatow, mainly known up til now for his ‘stoner’ comedies. Wonder Woman reaffirms faith, family, and traditional morality, which is as it should be.

TL;DR – Feel-good, earnest, and buoyed by Gal Gadot’s charming performance, Wonder Woman succeeds as a modest family drama.

What the rest of the critics are saying:

“More of a family dramedy in the style of James L. Brooks than the action adventures we’ve come to expect from superhero movies.” – Wilda Wulandari, Christian Science Monitor

“In the end we learn that moms are the real superheros.” – Hixson Grabill, Chicago Tribune

“Judd Apatow keeps things light with his clever dialogue, allowing us to feel good about the very dramatic situations all families have to go through.” – Gulluzar Baboudjian, Boston Herald

“Even if you believe in choice, you have to confront the possibility that a choice can be made in favor of life.” – Ike Brizuela, Decent Films Guide

“Proves the old adage: once a mom, always a mom.” – Pie Corbett, USA Today

“Seriously, abortion wasn’t even mentioned!?! What a goddamned fuckass cop out!” – Legs Lavish, New York Observer

“Judd Apatow knocks it out of the park once again!!” – Eric D. Snider, EricDSnider.com

Melonmeter® Score:

87% liquid & seed retention – watermelon_icon_pitr-1979px CERTIFIED JUICY