Overdrive (2017) [Fantasia International Film Festival 2017]

A duo of car thief brothers runs into trouble after making a deal with a local crime boss in the South of France.

Written by Michael Brandt and Derek Haas and directed by Antonio Negret, Overdrive is a fun car heist film with exhilarating chases, twists, turns, and beautiful vintage cars.  It takes a few cues from The Fast and the Furious, Gone in 60 Seconds, the Transporter series, etc and makes them all its own.  The use of the car is definitely a plot device, but it works quite well here.  The characters are not particularly deep, but as the film is mostly action car porn, it doesn’t really matter in the end.  What matters is that they are believable enough to take the viewer through the story and its twists and turns while being entertaining and fun to watch.  This film is one of those that is made for the fun of it and not to pass on some kind of grand message, something that is perfectly fine and well done here.

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The Fate of the Furious (2017) [Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital]

With the death of Paul Walker and the unstoppable ego of Vin Diesel, “The Fate of the Furious” signals a rock bottom point in the movie series that we haven’t seen since “Fast and Furious.” As the series runs on fumes, the writers and producers are working over time to introduce us to dynamic new anti-heroes, all of whom can’t make “Fate of the Furious” worth watching. Unless you’re a completionist, or a hardcore Kurt Russell fanatic, “Fate of the Furious” is a convoluted and painfully long follow up that tries very hard to fill the void Paul Walker left when he died.

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The Fate of the Furious (2017)

At this point you know what you’re getting with the “Fast and the Furious” movie series, but they also seem to be thinking of new ways to get ridiculous. While you can’t really expect realism with these movies (seriously, gravity does not exist in this world), “Fate of the Furious” reaches new heights of absurdity that it becomes comical; and not the good kind of comical, either. Where James Bond had “Die Another Day” where he surfed a tsunami on a plane door and parachute, “The Fate of the Furious” has its own “jump the shark” moment. But this one involves a missile chasing a car, and Dwayne Johnson merely leaning out of a high speed car and pushing the missile away with his hand, allowing it to divert in to the car of a bad guy. It’s that point where I realized that it’s about time for the series to come to an end.

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The Wraith (1986)

TheWraith“The Wraith” is goofy nonsensical eighties fun and it’s a childhood favorite that hasn’t aged much at all. The mix of punk rock and Mad Max gear head aesthetic has worked in the favor of “The Wraith” for a long time, making it a really unusual oddity of the mid eighties that embraces its absurdity. It has a good time as a revenge thriller with a supernatural bent that uses cars as a means of inspiring some chills. Whenever our avenging angel or “Wraith” comes rolling up in his supernatural black hot rod, it’s a surefire indication that no one is going to come out of the experience alive. I’ll be the first to admit that not a lot of “The Wraith” makes too much sense.

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Munster Go Home! (1966)

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One of my favorite qualities of “Munster Go Home!” is that it advances the mythology the Munsters, and extends their family bloodline. Unlike the Addams family, the Munsters aren’t all monsters. And Herman is actually the Frankenstein monster, except he was adopted by the Munster family and given their last name, hence his namesake. That doesn’t explain why grandpa is called Grandpa Munster, but hey, this is a family with a vampire mom and werewolf son, so you have to suspend some kind of disbelief here and there. “Munster, Go Home!” was a flop initially, which is sad considering the film really lends merit to the original series. It improves on its universe while keeping everything that made the original series so lovable.

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Børning (2014) [Fantasia Film Festival]

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FANTASIA FILM FESTIVAL

Roy is a racing enthusiast who takes it a step too far and crashes his car with his pregnant girlfriend on board. As his child makes her debut in the world, he is taken to jail for his illegal street racing. Fast forward about a decade and a half, Roy now run a car-part/repair shop called Stallion Parts and obsesses over his yellow Mustang. His daughter Nina comes to spend time with dad as her mother and family go on holiday. As Nina tries and tries to get to her father, to get to know him and build a relationship, he prepares for a big race and mostly ignores her, even forgetting she’s there at times. On race day, Nina tries one more time to get his attention, but to no avail. She then decides to mess with is car in revenge causing him to lose the race. TT, Roy’s car racing arch nemesis since the start of his passion, sees this as a perfect taunt opportunity and the two decide to race across the length of Norway to finally decide who the best driver is.

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Fast & Furious 7 (2015)

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“It’s never goodbye…”

It’s shocking that not only is “Fast & Furious 7” not only the best entry in the series yet, but it’s also one of the best movies of the year. It’s exciting, it’s engrossing, it’s fun, and goddamn, it’s a heartbreaking last go around for Paul Walker. I say this as someone who openly hated these movies after the first film, but here I am years later, getting teary eyed at the end of a “Fast & Furious” film. In fact, this is also one of the most human sequels of the series, since it deals a lot with consequence, and revenge. Shortly after “Fast 6,” the group finds out that their latest heist has granted them a death ticket. The brother of Owen Shaw (Luke Evans) has come to wreak unholy vengeance on Dominic Toretto and his crew.

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Fast & Furious 6 (2013)

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Unlike “The Expendables,” which purports to bring all stars together and pit them against perilous circumstances, “Fast and the Furious” is the film accomplishing the concept. It’s rid itself of the pretenses of being a franchise, and has embraced the fact that each movie is just a two hour episode of an extended series, and has brought together all of the best stars from the previous movies of the “Fast and the Furious” movies. It even has its own opening credits. And what’s more is that the stakes are raised more and more with each movie right down to the potential for a child’s life being risked.

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