BABY DRIVER

I am a massive Edgar Wright fan.  His previous movies, Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, Scott Pilgrim, and World’s End (and the television series Spaced) are all instant classics.  I love all five of them to varying degrees.  He displays such an incredible visual eye and sense of humor.  The crazy camera angles and quick shots.  The goofy characters.  The amazing action scenes.  Anytime a new Wright movie comes out, I’m excited.

I consider Baby Driver to definitely be the weakest of the five, but I still enjoyed it a great deal.  It’s a very enjoyable film, but it only felt like half of an Edgar Wright film.  The other half was a traditional staid crime drama like something from Michael Mann.  There were long stretches of the film where I just was not engaged.  It doesn’t help that the main character is a quiet and often solemn socially withdrawn young man.  He just was not charismatic or interesting to me at all.

There are certainly moments of Wright-ian brilliance sprinkled throughout the movie.  Whenever there’s an action scene, it’s absolutely thrilling and imaginative.  The side characters played by the likes of Kevin Spacey, Jon Hamm, and Jamie Foxx are over the top but developed and interesting.  All three of them had character evolutions I didn’t really see coming.

As for the romance angle, it certainly works in a clichéd sort of way, but Debra never feels like a fully developed character to me.  She really comes off as a stereotypical love interest waitress unfortunately.   Baby Driver is a great movie and makes a wonderful use of music (even if it’s not necessarily my kind of tunes).  It is half of a brilliant movie, and half of a good movie.

DESPICABLE ME 3

I’m a big fan of Despicable Me.  I really love the distorted art design of the figures.  Gru is a great character and had a really interesting story with being a lonely super villain who adopts three young girls for a scheme and gets redeemed by them.  The Minions of course were hilarious sidekicks.  And the villain was pretty good.  The second movie was a mild disappointment, mainly for a completely uninteresting storyline and villain.  I liked seeing Gru working for the good guys and falling for a woman, but the undercover investigation in the mall and the Luchador wrestler bad guy were a total snooze fest.  As for the Minions Movie, it was alright and amusing, but they really could not carry a story on their own.  They work as a seasoning, not a main course.

The third (or forth, depending on your count) movie was a pleasant surprise.  The 1980s style villain voiced by Trey Parker from South Park was a great choice and really elevated the storyline.  There were some legitimately cool action sequences too.  Gru meeting his twin brother was a good plot and made for some good jokes.

The Minions also have an excellent subplot where they leave Gru and get thrown in jail.  There were some legitimate big laughs from them being in prison.  The third act also had some great big action sequences that top anything else they’ve done before.

CARS 3

I truly love Pixar films… with the glaring exception of the Cars franchise.  They just really feel like a complete cash grab to sell toys for me.  The stories and morals and jokes all feel beneath the normal standards of Pixar.  Everything just screams generic kids animated movie, right down the cheap models of the cars themselves.  The second one was even more of an embarrassment, staring Mater of all characters on an international spy race.  Good gravy.

Furthermore, to quote our good friends at The Retro Convo… how does the movie world work?  Did humans ever exist in this world?  If they didn’t, why do the cars have doors and inner spaces for someone else to sit?  If the humans used to be there, what happened to them?  Are there any other life forms in this world?  To my recollection the only other life we ever saw were flies… which appeared to be cars.  And the clouds form car tracks in the sky.  Dinosaurs apparently existed because there’s a company called Dinoco with a dinosaur logo.  And they use oil.  But who constructs the stadiums and buildings?  The only vehicles we see with fine appendages are the pit crews.  Who constructs the radios and electronics?  How are cars born?  Do they have sex?  Are they constructed?  If so, what gives a car it’s “soul”?  Why does a car die?  What happens when it dies?  I guess I’m not supposed to be thinking about such things… which again points to the superficiality of this franchise versus other Pixar films.

Anyway, Cars 3!  I suppose it’s the best of the three, but I still didn’t find it memorable.  The moral and story continues to be painfully obvious with very little subtlety.  There’s a couple mild gags and nice car chases, but nothing to the level of Pixar.  The best thing I could say about it is that it was nice to see the spotlight passing to a lady car.