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Classics with the Classic

Extra Butter with Bart Wilson presented by Tiffin Drive-In Theater Archives for 2023-08

Gran Turismo

Sony’s new film Gran Turismo directed by Neil Blomkamp is based on a true story that puts a racing gamer in a car on the actual racetrack.

 

The film follows Jann Mardenborough (Archie Madekwe) who is an avid gamer addicted to the game Gran Turismo. His father finds his interest in gaming an issue because he won’t be able to make a living off that lifestyle. Well, Mardenborough’s luck changes when the marketing director of Nissan, Danny Moore (Orlando Bloom), offers him the chance to compete with other Gran Turismo gamers to become a real race car driver. Mardenborough beats out the other gamers and becomes the face of Nissan racing. We then follow Mardenborough through his first couple of races as he is coached by former driver Jack Slater (David Harbour). Will Mardenborough succeed and make his way to the podium? Or will he crash and burn in the end?

 

I had a somewhat enjoyable time watching this film. I say somewhat, because the thing that really sold the movie for me were the race sequences with Madekwe and Harbour’s acting. Outside of that the film had some generic storytelling where the father disapproves Jann’s lifestyle and then there’s a love interest that felt unnecessary to the story. The whole plot with his family felt pointless because we see his family at the beginning of the film and then they show back up at the very end. So, when it got to an emotional part between Jann and his dad, I felt nothing because this is basically the first time we see him since the beginning of the movie. Other than those issues I think the racing sequences were well done from the cinematography to the dialogue between Jann and Jack. I think Blomkamp did a great job making the viewer feel like they’re a part of the race too.

 

Aside from the romantic interest and family storyline the racing part of the story was well done. The video effects, cinematography, dialogue, and the racing sequences were engaging and felt like a video game. Do I recommend seeing this in theaters? No, I think you can wait for this to come out on streaming and check it out then. I do recommend watching it at least once.

 

Rating: 3 out of 5

 

Blue Beetle

The DC Universe is back again with the new superhero movie Blue Beetle directed by Angel Manuel Soto.

 

In the film, Jaime Reyes (Xolo Mariduena), a recent college graduate, receives a device called the Scarab from Jenny Kord (Bruna Maquezine), the daughter of Ted Kord and former head of Kord Industries. Jaime is tasked to keep this hidden from Jenny’s aunt, Victoria Kord (Susan Sarandon), who seeks to use this device to create super soldiers. Even though Jenny tells Jaime not to mess with the Scarab, he does anyway. In doing so, the device activates and fuses to Jamie’s body, turning him into the Blue Beetle. Victoria sends mercenary Carapax, also known as The Indestructible Man, from Kord Industries to hunt Jamie down. He will need the help of his family and especially his tech savvy uncle, Rudy Reyes (Mario Lopez), to take down Kord Industries.

 

I really enjoyed watching this movie over the weekend. The action sequences were a lot of fun and the comedy was great. It felt like I was watching a phase one Marvel movie set in the DC Universe. This is very weird to say because a lot of DC films are a little darker and grittier than Marvel. I think Mariduena did an excellent job as Jaime and the Blue Beetle. I thought he was the perfect choice to play this character and hopefully we will see more of him in the future. The other big takeaway for me was how the Reyes family is the focal point of the film. I think Soto did a great job of showing this family that is struggling on all ends of the spectrum, but they never give up. You also feel you’re a part of the family throughout the movie. So, when something emotional happens, you’ll feel the same way the family feels. I think the story and characters were written exceptionally well to portray the family aspect, which is a big testament of the movie. Other than that, the film seems a tad generic for the superhero storyline, and that the villains were uninspired. It seemed like they really wanted this to be about the family and then have the villains sprinkled in to create some tension.

 

Overall, this is a movie that families should see in theaters. Not because it’s a superhero film, but because it is a movie about a family that must deal with adversity. A lot of families go through similar situations (minus the superhero part) that can be relatable. I think you’ll have a fun time with a lot of laughs and some moments that will leave you in “awe.” Check this film out at least once in theaters.

 

Rating: 3.7 out 5

The Last Voyage of the Demeter

Bram Stoker’s Dracula chapter “The Captain’s Log” comes to the big screen with The Last Voyage of the Demeter directed by André Øvredal.

 

The main protagonist is Clemens (Corey Hawkins) who is seeking help to get back to London because he could not get a job as a doctor due to the color of his skin. While Clemens seeks a ride back to London the story also follows Captain Elliot (Liam Cunningham) as he lets his first mate, Wojeck (David Dastmalchian), know that this will be his last voyage. This will be a voyage the captain will want to forget. The voyage will take the crew from Romania to London with multiple unmarked crates. As the ship sails, the crew’s livestock is slaughtered, and an unidentified woman is found inside one of the crates with bite marks all over her. You soon learn that the woman is Anna (Aisling Franciosi), and she lets the crew know that a being called “Dracula” is on the boat with them. As the four-week voyage continues the crew will have to work together to kill Dracula before they take port in London. The only question is will they be able to survive the last voyage of the Demeter?

 

I found myself really liking this film even though I was hesitant before seeing it. This movie easily could have been the typical scary movie where you anticipate all the scares and even the outcome of the film. Instead, I found myself on the edge of my seat in fear of what would happen to the crew next. I thought the cast did a really good job with their performances. The design of Dracula was great and some of it seemed practical while most of it was CGI. The film also did a great job of making you think you could see Dracula in the background. Sometimes he was, but then there were moments when the effect just played on your imagination. The only quarrels I had with the film were with the character of Anna because it felt like she served one purpose and that was it. It also plays off some movies I am familiar with like Alien for example. This takes away from the movie because it’s just the same story in a different time.

 

The film wasn’t 100% perfect, but I did find myself having a great time. I would watch this again when October rolls around because this has Halloween vibes to it. You can go see this in theater, but I think it would also be okay to wait for it to come out on streaming services.

 

Rating: 3.7 out 5

 

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem

It's time to venture down into the sewers below New York City for "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem.” Bringing the turtles back to the big screen are directors Jeff Rowe and Kyler Spears.

 

The film follows the adventures of the four teenage turtles Leonardo (Nicolas Cantu), Raphael (Brady Noon), Michaelangelo (Shamon Brown Jr.), and Donatello (Micah Abbey). They live with their father Splinter (Jackie Chan) who is a rat. He taught the turtles to be ninjas to defend themselves from humans. The story deals with the turtles trying to be accepted by society. Along the way the turtles become friends with student news reporter April O'Neil (Ayo Edebiri) who helps them do just that. As luck would have it, a mutant named Superfly (Ice Cube) has teamed up with other mutants to build a device to turn every animal into a mutant and take over the world from the humans. All the turtles need to do is take down Superfly, get it on tape and then humans will love them. That should be easy right?

 

I just want to say right off the bat that the animation in this film is spectacular. It looks like someone decided to draw a picture with crayons and then put it in motion. It makes the movie different than any other animated feature I've ever seen. To add to that, the four actors that play the turtles were a pleasant surprise. I thought each actor gave a different performance that made the characters unique. They flowed well with each other, and they really made you feel like these turtles are brothers. The action was spectacular and the comedy that was written in was great. I would think Seth Rogen would take some credit on that because he helped write and produce the film. I did enjoy the story, but it is a story I have seen many times in other movies. .

 

Overall, this film is a funny, action packed, heartfelt ride that families with children from 4 and on should see. I found myself acting like I was a little kid again while watching, remembering the old cartoon series and live action films. It was a satisfying experience that left me wanting to see more.

 

Rating: 4.5 out 5

 

Barbie

The plastic world of a popular toy comes to life with the first live-action film Barbie. Director Greta Gerwig (known for Little Women and Lady Bird) brings to life a popular toy that has been played with by children for generations.

 

The film follows Barbie (Margot Robbie) as she lives her daily life in Barbie Land with different versions of Barbies and Kens. Her world begins to fall apart when a series of odd events occur that force her to leave her world and go to the real world. Joining her to see what the real world is like is Ken (Ryan Gosling) who is also in love with Barbie. This trip changes Ken’s outlook on what its like to be a man living in Barbie Land. For Barbie, the trip helps her realize she must come to terms with the importance of loving oneself for what they are and not what they think they need to be.

 

This was a unique experience to say the least from start to finish. I do want to say that this film isn’t for everybody, but I still found it enjoyable with a powerful message. I thoroughly enjoyed Margot Robbie’s performance in this. She does a great job in comedic roles but when she must be a dramatic actor, she always brings her A-game. On top of that, Ryna Gossling as Ken was fantastic from when he first appeared on screen to his last appearance. The other various Barbies and Kens that appear are also well done even though they don’t have a lot of screen time. The story was okay as the film was more focused on the message than the actual story. This did make some of the movie a tad bit slow to me.

 

All in all, I think this film does a great job bringing Barbie to life in a way that conveys a larger message than the story itself. There are great moments in the movie but sometimes you are left wanting a little bit more of what the film could offer. I think the production design is great and you really do get lost in Barbie Land. That immersion wasn’t quite enough for me to really feel invested in the film, but it was entertaining.

 

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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