Andy and Larry Wachowski, the folks behind the Matrix trilogy, have taken the iconic but decidedly low-tech 1960′s Japanese cartoon character and put the pedal to the metal with dazzling effects and electrifying action. Do what Speed Racer does — put on your red socks and GO!
Even as a child, Speed Racer could only think of one thing, making cars go as fast as possible. Not surprising — he was surrounded by racing. The family business was race cars. His father (John Goodman) built them and his older brother drove them. When his brother is killed in a crash, Speed (Emile Hirsch) takes over. On and off the race track he battles the competition, even when they do not fight fairly. By his side are his parents, his little brother, his and his girlfriend Trixie (Christina Ricci, looking like a real-life version of an anime heroine with her enormous eyes).
The plot is pretty much the same as the cartoon series, meaning light-weight and a little incoherent. Basically, evil forces are trying to stop Speed from winning the race. The sections with the kid brother and his chimp are slow points for everyone over age 9 but it is all great fun, with a hero to believe in and visuals that are both reassuringly retro and stunningly innovative. Every wallpaper and fabric, each car, helmet, and racetrack is meticulously designed to evoke a mash-up between Speed’s Norman Rockwell-style, solidly heartland home and the souped-up super space age world outside. The Wachowskis re-invent the color wheel with reds and yellows that make fire engines and school buses seem pale.
The dialogue is pared down to essentials: “You think you can drive a car and change the world? It doesn’t work like that!” “Maybe not, but it’s the only thing I know how to do and I gotta do something.” The plot is no more significant (or confusing) than in the cartoon originals. All we need to know is that in the world of Speed Racer you can drive a car and change the world — if you drive it very, very fast.
There have been a number of very successful films lately that show one or more high school kids participating in some form of ultimate competition, usually involving dance or sports. The form is as predictable as a limerick: Good-hearted but sullen and misunderstood New Kid comes to school with a tragic backstory to overcome. New Kid has natural talent. Snotty Type thinks he/she is all that. New Kid tries to show off and suffers humiliating defeat. New Kid learns important lessons about life (often from Wise Teacher). He/she and begins to develop a romantic relationship with Love Interest and a friendship with Goofy Sidekick, who is there to provide wisecracks and very often additional motivation by being at risk. Just in time for the big show/game, New Kid finds he/she has the nerve, the skills, and the eye of the tiger. And who is in the audience? Not just Love Interest, but PPP — Previously Prohibiting Parent.
They finally got Dr. Seuss right in this warm-hearted and heart-warming story of the elephant who is “faithful 100 percent” and the world on a little speck of dust that he rescues.
Jim Carrey provides the voice of Horton, an elephant with a gentle soul who teaches the jungle animal children. When a frail plant is carelessly trampled underfoot, he stops to pat it carefully back into the ground. And when he hears a tiny voice coming from a dust mote, he races after it to tenderly place it on a clover. He finds a way to communicate with the voice, which belongs to the Mayor of Whoville (Steve Carell). Each is surprised to find out that there is a world beyond the one he thought of as everything there was.
Once again a politician is in disgrace and once again his wife appears at his side at the press conference. While he admits his mistakes, she stands there in silent support. What is she thinking? Of the sacrifices she made over the years, the time spent smiling, shaking hands, pretending to be interested, wishing she was alone with her family or pursuing her own interests? Of the humiliation of seeing her family’s most personal information dissected by pundits and cackled over by people who have never contributed to the public good?
An excellent BBC miniseries starring Juliet Stevenson explores what might be on the mind of one such woman. It is called, of course, “The Politician’s Wife.”
"Guardian of the Galaxy's" Awesome Mixtape One of the many pleasures of "Guardians of the Galaxy," opening this week, is the soundtrack featuring some 70's classics from an "Awesome Mixtape" played by Peter "Star Lord" Quill (Chris Pratt). Here are some of the highlights.
"Hooked on a Feeling" by Blue Swede
Comic-Con 2014: Day 2 Day 2 of Comic-Con included: an interview with "Sharknado" and "Sharknado 2" screenwriter Thunder Levin, a buggy lunch with Boxtrolls, press events with the directors and casts of four films, and appearing on the Rotten Tomatoes panel, where each attendee was given a paddle with a ripe tomato on on
Thank You! This Site is 19 Years Old This Week! It seems like yesterday, but it was 19 years ago this week that I first began writing reviews online as The Movie Mom®. Anyone remember Prodigy? The first appearance of my website was via the Sears-owned online service, so long ago it does not even turn up in Wayback searches. At the time, we
Interview: Dan Cohen of "Alive Inside" Dan Cohen is the gifted and passionately committed man who transforms the lives of people with dementia and other severely debilitating diseases. He is featured in the documentary "Alive Inside." He is the founder of Music and Memory, which provides resources to help bring these programs to peopl
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