Posts Tagged ‘speed racer

10
May
08

Movie Review: Speed Racer

 

 

 

So this is what the ADD instant-gratification kids are into these days.

 

Starring Emile Hirsch, Christina Ricci, John Goodman, Susan Sarandon, Matthew Fox, and Richard Roundtree. Directed by the Wachowski Brothers.

 

When I was growing up, I watched “He-Man,” “Transformers,” and “G.I. Joe;” I was a kid of the Eighties. That being said, I had never watched the 1960’s cartoon “Speed Racer,” until I was much older and discontent with the latter-90’s cartoon offerings. With it having been released on DVD I watched a little of it with my younger brother and trust me, it didn’t take much speed to catch onto “Racer.” But I digress.

 

This movie’s (and I stress this is a movie, not film) storyline is this: Speed(Hirsch) is a racecar-obsessed kid living in a Technicolor world that looks like “Willy Wonka” on steroids. His childhood love Trixie (Ricci) helped him through high school and is his best friend/ love interest. After winning a race he’s visited by Corporate Owner Royalton (Roger Allam), your quintessential villainous “I can buy your existence” kinda guy, who makes an offer to Speed that unless Speed signs for him, his entire family and life are in jeopardy. This doesn’t bode well with Speed or his dad Pops (Goodman), Mom (Sarandon), his younger brother Spritle (Paulie Litt) or chimp Chim-Chim. Speed is approached by the infamous Racer X (Fox) and Taejo (Rain) to compete in the Casa Christo, the race of thieves, thugs, lowlifes and the desperate; it’s also the race where Speed’s brother was killed. Will Speed win it and go on to the Casa Grande, THE race where he can win a $1 million prize and show-up Royalton? Who is Racer X?

 

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, while I watched the movie the main question going on inside my head was: how do I review this thing. It’s not cheesy. It’s not boring. It’s not bad. Unfortunately, it’s not great, either. What settled in my head was this thought: there is a road between genius and madness, and this movie rips across it with reckless abandon.

 

On a technical level, this is one of the best green-screened movies I’ve ever seen. Yes, it is as visually assaulting as the trailer, with everything in crisp Technicolor; red, blue, orange, black, white, gray, green… if it couldn’t be done in the background, it was done digitally. The length of time the characters were on screen, the car racing, just about everything was done at “ludicrous speed.” (thankya, Mr. Brooks) If you try to get a handle on everything going on in a scene, you’d still be scratching your head over the first ten minutes of the movie.

 

What I will say is that the Wachowski’s have turned conventional storytelling on its ear. The quick-cuts and green-screening together with how they approached the “Speed Racer” formula… it may not be the greatest thing in the world, but it’s an approach that will soon take notice in filmmaking. Watch for it.

 

As for the acting… the “minor” actors of this movie seemed to have more fun than the major ones. Matthew Fox impressed me in the fact that I could believe in his character and that he can do more than crying on cue (sorry “Lost” fans). The other actor having fun with the movie was Richard Roundtree, who I would have never guessed would be in this movie.

 

All-in-all, I enjoyed the movie. My only complaints are that the characters were two-dimensional, and that this movie seemed to suffer from what the Speed fought against: corporate profit for the sake of profit. I wish it had been more fun to watch.

 

My grade: B (overall)

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29
Apr
08

May 2008 Movie Releases

 

 

 

 

“Iron Man” – Robert Downey, Jr. is Tony Stark. Based on the comic book superhero. Opens May 1, 2008

 

“Made of Honor” – Patrick Dempsey’s best friend is Michelle Monaghan and upon returning from a business trip to Scotland, she’s engaged! And she wants Dempsey to be her maid of honor! But Dempsey is in love with her! Will I make it to the trash can in time before I puke? Opens May 2, 2008

 

“Son of Rambow” – British indie flick about a pre-teen kid in the 1980’s who is filming his own action movie, despite the fact that his stuntman/camera guy is of a different faith. And as usual, everyone wants to be in the movie. Opens May 5, 2008

 

“The Babysitters” – Katherine Waterston is a high school senior that picks up a few bucks by babysitting then goes for the gold with the children’s parent, John Leguizamo. She soon enters a spiral of hooking up her girlfriends with “upstanding” family men. Will there be an Unrated version of this? Opens May 9, 2008

 

“Redbelt” – Chiwetel Ejiofor is a martial arts instructor who saves the life of a Hollywood star and is propelled into a big time martial arts fight that he doesn’t want to do anything with. Was Van Damm-age asking for too much money? Directed by David Mamet. Opens August 21, 2008

“Speed Racer” – Here he comes… here comes Emile Hirsch . Yes, Emile Hirsch is Speed, Christina Ricci is Trixie, Matthew Fox is Racer X, Susan Sarandon and John Goodman are Speed’s parents… I’m gonna watch it for the visuals. Opens May 9, 2008

“The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian” – It’s been 1 year for the kids, and about 1300 years for Narnia. Peter, Susan, Lucy, and Edmund return (the actors playing them as well) to a different Narnia. Check out the trailer! Opening May 16, 2008

“What Happens in Vegas” – Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher wake up to find that they’re married to each other. Not based on a Britney Spears stunt… Opens May 16, 2008

 

“Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” – I don’t care what it’s about; I’m camping out for tickets! Star Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Shia LeBeouf, John Hurt, Ray Winstone, and Jim Broadbent. Opens May 22, 2008

 

“How the Garcia Girls Spent Their Summer” – Three generations of Mexican women struggling with romance. Stars Elizabeth Pena and America Ferrera. Nothing witty here. Opens May 23, 2008

 

“War, Inc.” – John Cusack is a hitman hired by Dan Akyroyd to kill a Middle-Eastern oil minister. Think “modern ‘Grosse Pointe Blank.’” Also stars Marisa Tomei and Hilary Duff. Opens May 23, 2008

 

“The Foot Fist Way” – A martial arts instructor catches his wife cheating and goes on a downward spiral until he finds redemption. Supposedly, this movie was left for Adam McKay and Will Ferrell to watch and they watched it 10 times in a row before buying it. Opening May 30, 2008

 

“Meet Dave” – Formerly “Starship Dave,” Eddie Murphy is a giant spaceship inhabited by miniature aliens, the commander of which is Eddie Murphy. Uh, yeah. Opening May 30, 2008

“Sex and the City” – If you know anything about the HBO show, you’re doing better than me. Opens May 30, 2008

“The Strangers” – Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman are a couple who move into a new house, only to be told that they are going to die. Supposedly inspired by real events. And I thought MY neighborhood was bad… Opens May 30, 2008