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    John Berchmans
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    Hey there guys, and welcome to Movie Monday. This is something we used to do in my video class, where we talk about what movies we say over the week and rate them out of 5 popcorn bags. Since there isn’t a place to just talk about movies on these forums, I thought it would be a good idea to bring this over to here.

    Anyway, here’s the movies that I’ve seen recently (future posts of mine will be shorter, since this is covering movies I’ve seen over the last month). Also, there will be spoilers for anyone who cares about these films.

    Cars: This has always been one of my favorite Pixar movies as a kid, and watching it much older I still feel like it gets way too much flack. lightning McQueen is one of my favorite Pixar characters: his transformation from self-conceded jerk into a genuinely caring person is very slow and gradual. There’s never one big moment where his character suddenly changes, unlike a lot of these types of character arcs. This is also the first Pixar film to really make social commentary a focus of the story. Seeing how Radiator Springs got completely bypassed by the Interstate and watching how the characters react when they find out that no one is coming back is heartbreaking, and makes you think about all of the places in the real world that suffered a similar fate. I’ve never understood why people hate Mater so much either: he’s a bit grating in Cars 2 for sure, but in this film he’s a great comic relief character that always gets a lot of laughs out of me. Of course, just like most Pixar films, the animation has aged incredibly, the soundtrack is banging, and the score is perfectly woven throughout. It does have some rough plot points and perhaps too many adult jokes (I never realized there were so many!), but Cars is still a film that I think really holds up well, and doesn’t get enough respect. 4 popcorn bags out of 5.

    Cars 2: Another film that I think gets way too much hate. I used to think this was the weakest Pixar film, but after rewatching it for the first time in many years I actually think it’s better than Brave and The Good Dinosaur. In concept it’s a very weird left turn from the previous film, and Mater as the protagonist who has the reconcile with his stupidity is not something anyone wanted to see. BUT I think the execution is actually quite strong. The spy car characters are entertaining, the action is wacky and fun, and the mystery is engaging, even if it’s not the hardest to figure out, and the bad guy’s plot really doesn’t make any sense. It’s also a lot darker than most other Pixar films in a very crazy way: there’s actually a body count in this film, which I just can’t get enough of. And I still think this film has a lot of good laughs (the gags with Mater accidentally activating his spy gear are especially great) even if it’s not as funny as the last. The animation is still great, but the soundtrack and score definitely aren’t as good. Overall I still think it’s one of Pixar’s weakest films, and a big step down from the first, but it’s certainly not an awful film like a lot of people think it is, and I think it holds a lot of value as a guilty pleasure. 3 popcorn bags out of 5.

    National Treasure: I really wanted to enjoy this film, since I’d heard so many things about it, but the plot is just so distractingly bad. There’s massive holes that are just impossible to avoid, like the fact that Ben refuses to steal the declaration of independence so he can find the treasure, so Ian decides to steal it himself, but then Ben changes his mind and decides to steal it anyway so that Ian doesn’t get it, because he thinks Ian is going to destroy it (even though Ian said he just wanted to borrow it, and later GIVES IT BACK to Ben) so he steals it and then uses it to find the treasure anyway. Why not just team up with Ian? There’s no reason fro this conflict to exist: they both want the same thing and end up pursuing the same goal in almost the exact same way. Or the fact that Abigail is so dead set on stopping Ben and Riley, but then just changes her mind and joins them on their quest to break the law and falls in love with Ben. And then there’s the treasure itself, which is actually not one treasure but a massive room filled with treasure, which doesn’t make any sense since this is something that has supposedly been passed down for millennia. How do you just take a MASSIVE FUCKING ROOM OF TREASURE and move it to a different location. As the plot just gets stupider and stupider and they keep chasing after more MacGuffins (as if the freaking Declaration of Independence wasn’t enough) I just found my brain struggling to comprehend anything that was happening, and it took all the fun out of the movie. The plot is where most of my problems lie, but not all of them. Nicholas Cage’s performance is real bad: he feels like a parody character in a film that mostly takes itself very seriously. There’s even a scene where Abigail says to him “that’s not how real people talk” and I think that was just the actress saying that for real and it ended up in the film. The score also has that problem where it tries to be epic at points where nothing is happening, which just gets super grating. There are a few redeeming qualities, like Justin Bartha, who gives a great performance and has the only entertaining character in the film, and the fact that the plot is so stupid the film that does have some entertainment value on first watch. Also Diane Kruger is pretty hot. But I wouldn’t recommend this film. 2 popcorn bags out of 5.

    Sonic the Hedgehog: I enjoyed this film a lot more than I though I would. This film definitely gets Sonic right: not only is his design so much better than it would have been, but Ben Schwartz’s vocal performance perfectly nails the manic energy of Sonic’s personality. He also has a really compelling arc of realizing that he’s fabricated this world where he knows everyone, but in reality he’s completely isolated and alone: deep stuff for a kid’s film. James Marsden gives a much better ‘acting in front of a cartoon character” performance than Hop, and the other human actors are fine, but it’s Jim Carrey who easily steals the show on that front. The dialogue is actually pretty funny and strong too, except for the awful product placement (Paramount is the worst at product placement. His performance is so hammy and entertaining, and he steals every second he’s onscreen. It’s nothing like the video game interpretation of Eggman, but I actually think I like it more. The story overall has good messages and strong action setpieces, though it still struggles with the same flaws that most “cartoon characters come to the real world” movies do, like cheap humor and a lack of the original franchises’s setpieces. The weird thing about this film is that it feels like the people involved do have love for the Sonic franchise, and that love peeks out in moments like the beginning, the end credits, and Sonic’s character. But because they were corporate mandated to make this film the way they did, we get weird shit like Sonic’s owl mom who has to hide him from a bunch of evil Ninja’s, rings that teleport him to other worlds, and Tails being some sort of scout from another world. I can’t help but feel that it would have been better if it took place in the Sonic universe form the games, but it has enough effort put behind it to rise above most video game adaptations, and leave me exited to see where they take this new Sonic in future films. 3 popcorn bags out of 5.

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    John Berchmans
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    Feel free to chime in and talk about the movies you’ve seen recently.

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    The2ndAvenger
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    I saw Maleficent: Mistress of Evil on Friday. I’ll give it 3 popcorn bags out of 5. Mindlessly entertaining, with some strong performances. There were some major plot-holes, and we weren’t given enough time with Chiwetel Ejiofor’s character to care when he died.

    I also saw fragments of Prince Caspian, which I’ve seen before several times. I’ll give that 3.5 popcorn bags out of 5. The acting isn’t stellar, but it’s serviceable. Sergio Castellito, I think, steals the show as King Miraz. Ben Barnes does an okay job of pretending to be of Meditteranean descent as Caspian (which is summarily ignored in Voyage of the Dawn Treader). The romance between Anna Popplewell’s Susan and Caspian (not a part of the books) seems a little unnecessary, but it works. The cinematography is excellent. Also, I think Prince Caspian is the most violent PG movie I’ve ever seen (which, in the grand scheme of things, is not that violent). I also find it funny that the cast included Peter Dinklage and Warwick Davis, who I always joke are the only actors Hollywood ever uses to portray little people. Davis was also in Maleficent 2, where he was a poorly fleshed out character.

    "It is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in an argument." - William Gibbs McAdoo

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    The2ndAvenger
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    National Treasure: I really wanted to enjoy this film, since I’d heard so many things about it, but the plot is just so distractingly bad. There’s massive holes that are just impossible to avoid, like the fact that Ben refuses to steal the declaration of independence so he can find the treasure, so Ian decides to steal it himself, but then Ben changes his mind and decides to steal it anyway so that Ian doesn’t get it, because he thinks Ian is going to destroy it (even though Ian said he just wanted to borrow it, and later GIVES IT BACK to Ben) so he steals it and then uses it to find the treasure anyway. Why not just team up with Ian? There’s no reason fro this conflict to exist: they both want the same thing and end up pursuing the same goal in almost the exact same way. Or the fact that Abigail is so dead set on stopping Ben and Riley, but then just changes her mind and joins them on their quest to break the law and falls in love with Ben. And then there’s the treasure itself, which is actually not one treasure but a massive room filled with treasure, which doesn’t make any sense since this is something that has supposedly been passed down for millennia. How do you just take a MASSIVE FUCKING ROOM OF TREASURE and move it to a different location. As the plot just gets stupider and stupider and they keep chasing after more MacGuffins (as if the freaking Declaration of Independence wasn’t enough) I just found my brain struggling to comprehend anything that was happening, and it took all the fun out of the movie. The plot is where most of my problems lie, but not all of them. Nicholas Cage’s performance is real bad: he feels like a parody character in a film that mostly takes itself very seriously. There’s even a scene where Abigail says to him “that’s not how real people talk” and I think that was just the actress saying that for real and it ended up in the film. The score also has that problem where it tries to be epic at points where nothing is happening, which just gets super grating. There are a few redeeming qualities, like Justin Bartha, who gives a great performance and has the only entertaining character in the film, and the fact that the plot is so stupid the film that does have some entertainment value on first watch. Also Diane Kruger is pretty hot. But I wouldn’t recommend this film. 2 popcorn bags out of 5.

    It might just be because I’m a history buff, but I liked National Treasure (3.5 popcorn bags out of 5, perhaps?). I don’t usually like “so bad its good” movies, but this one, I felt, was truly awesome. I guess I have to suspend my criticism once in a while. (But not always – the sequel was just awful).

    "It is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in an argument." - William Gibbs McAdoo

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