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Classics with the Classic

Extra Butter with Bart Wilson presented by Tiffin Drive-In Theater Archives for 2023-06

Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark

Get your history books out and archaeologist thinking caps on because it’s time to review Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. Directed by the legendary film maker Stephen Spielberg (Jaws, E.T., Saving Private Ryan) comes a tail of exploration, education, action, and mystery.


The film follows history professor Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) as he races around the world to retrieve ancient artifacts for museums to prevent other explorers from finding them just to sell to the highest bidder. In this story, Jones is asked by the U.S. government to find the Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis discover it. Will he be able to find it in time? And what are the consequences of opening the Ark?


When you think about lists for classic blockbuster films this must be at the top of that list. What makes this a great film is the story, the acting, and the practical effects that were used in making the set pieces. Set pieces now a days have become CGI stages that don’t give you that “awe” factor anymore. When watching this movie, everything you see is a tangible thing that you could touch. It makes the viewing experience ten times better because you can feel the actual distress caused by the real traps or action sequences. This is the reason why the movie won 4 Oscars (Best Art Direction/Set Decoration, Best Sound, Best Film Editing, and Best Effects/Visual Effects). This film also has one of the best opening sequences in movie history as Indiana retrieves the golden idol. It’s so well shot and the set piece for it is outstanding. It really sets the tone of the movie and gets you acclimated to the titular character. On top of that, the acting by Harrison Ford and the other actors is phenomenal. To go from Star Wars to this was such a smart move by Ford. He’ll be forever remembered as Indiana Jones, Hans Solo and Jack Ryan (for all the Clear and Present Danger and Patriot Games fans out there).


I really wish movies today kept this classic feel. Unfortunately, with the evolution of technology, we continue to move further away from the use of practical effects that made older movies so special. Those movies have a very special place in my heart as a cinema fan. This film is so memorable because it immediately draws you into the story and makes you want to support a character that you barely know. Plus, you get to watch him beat up Nazis and that is pretty satisfying to watch. This movie will always be a classic. If you haven’t watched it, do it now! Well, maybe not immediately, but set some time aside and watch it on a Friday night with the family. You won’t regret it.


Rating: 5 out of 5

The Flash

Zooming into theaters this past weekend was The Flash. The first ever feature film for the DC superhero is helmed by director Andy Muschietti (Directed IT and IT Chapter 2). So, let’s head into the speed force and talk about this ambitious fast paced film.


We follow Barry Allen (Ezra Miller) who is trying his best to make it through life by balancing his personal life and superhero persona. Barry is also trying to find evidence to exonerate his father for being falsely accused of murdering his mother. While dealing with these issues, Barry helps Batman (Ben Affleck) save civilians from a botched robbery. Once that is dealt with, Barry goes on a run that results in him going back in time. With this ability, Barry talks to Bruce Wayne about the possibility of going back in time to prevent his mother’s murder. Bruce highly recommends not to change the past, but Barry doesn’t listen. This results in Barry creating an alternative universe where his mom is alive, but he comes face to face with a teenage version of himself. He then finds out that there are no meta humans in existence and General Zod (Michael Shannon) has just invaded Earth to turn it into Krypton. To save Earth, Barry will need the help of Batman (Michael Keaton) who isn’t the one he knows in his universe and Supergirl (Sasha Calle) not Superman. A darker entity looms in the distance, and that is the one pulling all the strings to make these events happen.


This film was a lot of fun, heartfelt, and action packed. I think Ezra Miller did a great job portraying Barry once again, and he had to not only play one version of the character but two. Michael Keaton was amazing as Batman. That’s all I can really say because it was like he never left that role since he was in Batman Returns (1992). I really enjoyed Sasha Calle’s portrayal of Supergirl, and I hope she reprises the role again in future DC movies. Even though he’s in it for a bit, Ben Affleck was great as Batman and Bruce Wayne. Some of the dialogue they gave him was extremely powerful, and it is sad to see that this will be the last time he’ll be in the cape and cowl. Kiersey Clemons is also in this film as Iris West, but I felt like her role could have been taken out. Her character didn’t serve as much of a purpose to the story, and that made her less intriguing. Aside from the acting, the CGI in this is rough, but I feel like it didn’t take me completely out of the film. I think the story and dialogue helped a lot, making the CGI issues less notable. There are some cameos in this that are fun to see and some that are questionable, especially the very last scene of the movie. If you want to stay to the end of the credits for the post-credit scene, you can, but it was not worth it.


This was a movie that followed a lot of your typical superhero movie tropes, but I think there were some new and creative features that made it somewhat unique. I think that this should have come out before Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse. Because of the multiverse aspect, it’s hard not to compare the two. Would I see this again? Definitely, either in theaters or when it’s out on DVD. I think that this is a fun superhero flick that the whole family can watch.


Rating: 3.9 out 4


Transformers Rise of the Beasts

The Autobots are back in action teaming up with a new crew to take down a new big bad villain in Transformers:  Rise of the Beasts. Directed by Steven Caple who is known for directing Creed II.
The movie starts with a story about a race of Transformers (called the Maximals) who are protecting a key that can open portals to different universes. They want to keep this key away from the villain Unicron (Colman Domingo) because he is a Transformer who eats planets. The Maximals escape to Earth to protect the key and the story then picks up in 1994. We’re then introduced to Noah Diaz (Anthony Ramos) who is a former soldier searching for jobs to support his family and brother, who is very ill. The other character we meet is Elena Wallace (Dominique Fishback) who works at a museum on Ellis Island. We then go back to Diaz who ends up taking a job to steal a car that turns out to be Autobot Mirage (Pete Davidson). While that is happening, Elena begins to look at a new artifact the museum received. She then discovers that the key the Maximals had is hidden inside. Both Diaz and Elena will team up with the Autobots and Maximals to defend the key from the Terracons led by Skurge (Peter Dinklage). Who is Unicrons secondhand man when destroying planets. Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) also wants to use the key to get all the Autobots home to Cybertron, but will they be able to succeed against Skurge and Unicron?
I had a lot of fun watching this movie given the amazing action sequences, jokes, and great soundtrack. The CGI in the film was well done and pulled you into the movie. You felt like you were around real robots that could transform into different vehicles. Pete Davidson's performance as Mirage was remarkable and the rest of the cast did great too. I think what helped the actors was a well written script with original jokes that were much better than the not so original ones during the Michael Bay era. Unicron and Skurge were done well as the villains, and they were menacing and relentless throughout the story. Lastly, the music was awesome. It was all from the 90s and felt like a blast from the past. I think that the music also helped the film by adding more flavor to the viewing experience.
Overall, Transformers:  Rise of the Beasts is one of those summer blockbusters you need to head to the theater to see. I like the direction the Transformers franchise is heading, especially with the mid-credit scene that made my jaw hit the floor. I am very excited to see where they will take this story next.
Rating: 4 out 5


Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

Swinging from universe to universe comes the second installment of this animated saga with Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse. Directed by Joaquim Dos Santos (Producer for Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra), Kemp Powers (Writer on Pixar’s Soul), and Justin K. Thompson (Production Designer for Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs franchise).


The film throws you into this insane story by starting off with Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld) in her universe. You get to see certain events occur that lead her to meeting Miguel O’Hara (Oscar Isaac) to join the Spider Society. We then jump to Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) dealing with a “villain of the week” called The Spot (Jason Schwartzman). What seems to be a harmless villain turns into somebody that could destroy the whole multiverse. Miles then teams up with Gwen and the Spider Society to stop the threat, but he must break one of the Society’s codes to save someone dear to him. The only problem is O’Hara will do anything to stop him from doing that.


This movie was a rollercoaster of emotions from start to finish dealing with loss, friendship, loneliness, and family. The story does a great job of sinking its teeth into you and never let's go until the credits hit. I was clinching my fists out of pure stress while sitting through this film. The devastating thing is that this is part one of a two-part story. I liked the fact that this isn’t just about Miles.  They make Gwen's story a big part of the main story as well. The acting by the entire cast was phenomenal and they did a great job portraying their respective characters. Also, the animation blew my mind by how amazing it looked. I know the animaters worked very hard to make the viewing experience unique.


It is a strong start for movies coming out in June and, if you have the time, head out to the theaters to see this movie. Like Uncle Ben says, “with great power comes great responsibility.”


Rating: 4.5 out of 5

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