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Movie Review: ‘Cars 3’ Burns Out What Little Gas It Had

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Cars 3 Movie Review MovieSpoon.com

[dropcap]I[/dropcap] find myself with questions I shouldn’t be asking for the premise of Cars 3, but could you blame me? This surprisingly somber and sentimental entry of the saga focuses on when the automotive citizens of this cars-only universe get old. There are now newer, flashier and younger (?) racers that are replacing the old guard. What happens when the older cars are too old to compete? Do they sellout to get new parts and drive faster?

Cars 3 Movie Review MovieSpoon.com

Lightning McQueen creeps up on the lead.

Apparently not as this is rarely brought up, leading me to believe that part replacement in this world is either a sign of shame or not possible. Older cars seem to retire from racing, but what awaits them in old age? The cars can apparently die, but do they end up in junkyards? For that matter, how are cars created/born into this world? One could go mad trying to figure this out, so I’ll switch gears before I blow a gasket.

Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) is not the same hotshot racer he once was. His glory days are behind him as the sport becomes dominated by the next wave of speedsters, looking down with pity and contempt on the older models. The new champion on the racing circuit is Jackson Storm (Armie Hammer), enhanced with neon lights, the latest in high-tech automotive materials and expert training on a state-of-the-art simulator.

With all of McQueen’s familiar racing pals having retired, and part replacement some unspoken taboo, the only option for the aged racer is to train. He’s already done that before, but now he has teamed up with a spiffy new sponsor (Nathan Fillion) who will offer him the latest in car training that doesn’t even require leaving a building. Teamed up with the eccentric trainer Cruz (Cristela Alonzo), McQueen is subjected to car treadmills, car exercises and car Zen-like meditation. A car is apparently not one with himself unless he names his tires.

Cars 3 Movie Review MovieSpoon.com

Trouble on the raceway.

If this was intended as a grand send-off for the series, it’s a little underwhelming that it plays as an atypical sports drama of a former champion making one last leap for the gold. It sticks so close to this formula that it seems to forget that this story takes place in a world of cars. What if McQueen has some problems with his engine? There’s mention that leaking motor oil is a sign of being elderly, with drip pans akin to diapers. It never seems like McQueen actually has a real issue with age so much as he has a loss of confidence and focus on the track. Wasn’t this his problem in the first movie? Returning to such familiar means of training and concentration gives the film a sense of deja vu and likens it more to a sports picture about returning to your roots. The first film that comes to mind is Rocky V, a film that even Stallone thinks is the worst of the series.

Related: Movie Review: ‘The Mummy’ Shuffles and stumbles with Monsters and Adventure

McQueen’s training begins indoors with Cruz, but he takes the initiative to abandon technology and get his tires dirty for real racing. All these young cars and their fancy phones and video games are no substitute for the actual thing, a mindset that attempts to paint McQueen as an older fella. He brings along Cruz for his runs, but ends up teaching her more about how to drive on sand and how to drift. They form a solid mentor relationship, even if Cruz’s bubbly personality appears as a replication of other Pixar pixies. I doubt that Cruz’s mantra of “I am a fluffy cloud” will be as catchy or memorable as Dory’s “just keep swimming.”

One stop on McQueen’s outdoor adventure is a demolition derby. Cars are locked in a cage of a track where muddy and dirty cars assault one another. This seems like it would be an intense action sequence, especially with biggest opponent being a horned school bus that collects license plates as keepsakes. And, yet, this scene is treated more like a silly hootenanny…where cars smash into each other.

Cars 3 Movie Review MovieSpoon.com

This actually looks kind of terrifying.

But, wait, wasn’t McQueen in a horrific crash at the beginning of the film? How is it now funny that cars are smashed, dinged, toppled, crumpled, scraped and lodged into one another? This could have been a thrilling Mad Max style battle, but perhaps that’s too intense for a G-rated movie about cars. I guess there needs to be some fun in this rather somber tale of nostalgia, considering McQueen’s comic relief bucktoothed pal Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) is kicked to the sidelines for this picture, most likely a result of his piggish screen time in Cars 2.

Read more for the rest of the Cars 3 movie review:

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Izzy

Movie Magic: The De-Aging Technique of The Irishman

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Have you read Izzy yet? If so, you know that Izzy makes the apples that give the Gods their youth and immortality. It also seems Robert De Niro discovered one of Izzy’s apples too… In Martin Scorsese’s upcoming biographical film, he stars as Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran, a labor union leader and alleged hitman for the Bufalino crime family. The trailer for the movie, which will premieres NEXT WEEK (!), also features a “de-aged” De Niro. “We’re so used to watching them as the older faces,” Scorsese said in an interview on the A24 podcast. “Does it change the eyes at all? …If that’s the case, what was in the eyes that I liked? Was it intensity? Was it gravitas? Was it threat?…How do we get that? I don’t know.” Some might consider this magic and I for one can’t wait to see the impact of Izzy’s apples on screen for myself. 😉

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“Captain Marvel” Retains Top Slot at the Box Office

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It’s no surprise that in its second weekend, the first Marvel Cinematic Universe of 2019 is still riding high. Captain Marvel, the latest in the MCU with Brie Larson starring as the lead, generated another $69 million over the weekend, placing its domestic total at $266 million. Tallying up the international box office, the film’s global total to date is $760 million. Despite the online controversy, the film is looking to be another strong box office smash for Disney and Marvel.

As for the premieres for the weekend, and there were plenty, they were all over the map. Just below Captain Marvel was the animated adventure Wonder Park, bringing in $16 million, another film with controversy when the director’s name was removed from the picture after sexual harassment charges. Five Feet Apart, the dying teen drama about a romance amid cystic fibrosis, only came in at #3 with a weekend gross of $13 million. And debuting the lowest in the top 10 for debuts was Captive State, a sci-fi dystopian tale, only making $3 million. The film debuted so low the little film No Manches Frida 2 was able to sneak about it at #6 with a gross of $3.8 million.

Drops were fairly low all around for the returning films, mostly because Captain Marvel was dominating the previous weekend. The only milestone worth noting is that The LEGO Movie 2, after six weeks at the box office, finally cracked $100 million. And the sun is now setting on Green Book’s post-Oscar run by coming in at #10 for the final weekend of its top 10 run over the past few weeks.

View the full top ten weekend box office results below:

Captain Marvel ($69,318,000)

Wonder Park ($16,000,000)

Five Feet Apart ($13,150,000)

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World ($9,345,000)

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral ($8,085,000)

No Manches Frida 2 ($3,894,000)

Captive State ($3,163,000)

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part ($2,135,000)

Alita: Battle Angel ($1,900,000)

Green Book ($1,277,000)

Next weekend, Captain Marvel may very well have some competition when Jordan Peele’s new horror film Us hits over 3,600 theaters.

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“Dragon” Continues To Soar, “Funeral” Close Behind, “Green Book” Back

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With little competition for the weekend, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, the third in the animated fantasy saga, was able to secure the box office once more. In its second weekend, the animated epic made $30 million to push its domestic total to $97 million. So far the film has done about the same as the previous film and is on track to stay in the top 10 for a few more weeks in March.

Debuts this weekend were small with one big exception. Tyler Perry’s latest Madea film, A Madea Family Funeral, naturally made a relatively big splash with its dedicated audience. Starting at #2, the film made $27 million for its first weekend. No word on the budget yet but it’s most likely on a budget as most Tyler Perry productions are, so it’s safe to call this a success, especially for debuting with a box office so close to Dragon.

The rest of the premieres were not as strong at all. Greta, the new thriller starring Chloe Moretz, debuted all the way down at #8 with $4.5 million box office. To be fair, however, the film was in a constant battle for its spot as three other films also reported earnings around $4 million for the weekend. Of note, Green Book, fresh off winning the Academy Award for Best Picture one weekend ago, splashed back into more theaters to arise even higher in the top 10 with its domestic total now sitting at $73 million. Don’t count on it remaining there long as bigger blockbusters will be swooping as we plow through the last remnants of winter movies.

Check out the full listing of the top 10 box office weekend results below:

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World ($30,046,000)

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral ($27,050,000)

Alita: Battle Angel ($7,000,000)

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part ($6,615,000)

Green Book ($4,711,000)

Fighting With My Family ($4,691,284)

Isn’t it Romantic ($4,645,000)

Greta ($4,585,000)

What Men Want ($2,700,000)

Happy Death Day 2U ($2,516,000)

Next weekend is once again all about Marvel as their latest superhero solo film, Captain Marvel, will be appearing in 4,100 theaters.

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