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Speed Racer

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Poster for the movie "Speed Racer"

Speed Racer

Go!

20082 h 15 min
Overview

Speed Racer is the tale of a young and brilliant racing driver. When corruption in the racing leagues costs his brother his life, he must team up with the police and the mysterious Racer X to bring an end to the corruption and criminal activities. Inspired by the cartoon series.

Metadata
Runtime 2 h 15 min
Release Date 9 May 2008
Details
Movie Media DVD
Movie Status Available
Movie Rating Good

Speed Racer the film does a fantastic job capturing the feel of Speed Racer the cartoon. Originally broadcast in the late 60’s, the series also gained fame in the 90’s via reruns on MTV. I watched those reruns in the 90’s, a friend recommended the movie, and I will watch anything with John Goodman in it, so I gave this film a shot. Despite box office failings, Speed Racer was a very enjoyable family film. The fun-filled wacky, campy humor of the original show is retained and at the same time updated for modern audiences.

The cast of characters remains largely the same from the original Speed Racer cartoon. The film focuses on the Racer family, particularly the titular Speed Racer. Speed has a strong sense of justice matched by loyalty to his family and racing skills. He is young, but races for what he believes in rather than the greed that has corrupted other racers. Supported by the rest of the Racer family, Speed manages to come out ahead both on and off the race track. His family’s characterization is classic as well, with Spirtle (younger brother) causing trouble with mischief and Pops supporting his son any way he can. Speed’s girlfriend Trixie retains her role as a powerful female figure instead of a damsel in distress. And of course, Racer X is as mysterious and cool as the show always portrayed him.

Now you cannot talk about Speed Racer without mentioning the races. For most of the film, these races take place on huge futuristic tracks that look sponsored by Hot Wheels. One exception is a cross-country race, which is a staple from classic racing cartoons. Speed’s car, the Mach 5, is equipped with so many gadgets it would put James Bond’s rides to shame. The race scenes in Speed Racer are nothing short of epic. No expense was spared on effects to transition the zany races of the cartoon to the big screen.

If you like the Speed Racer cartoon and/or family movies, you will enjoy the Speed Racer film. If you are iffy on the film, watch a few episodes of the cartoon to get a feel for it. Much like the real sport of racing, this movie is designed to do one thing: entertain. Is the plot extravagant? No. Are the characters unforgettable? No. But for a PG-rated family film filled with racing, fighting, and other action, Speed Racer wins first place.

August 27, 2017

The Autopsy of Jane Doe

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Poster for the movie ""

The Autopsy of Jane Doe

Every body has a secret.

20161 h 26 min
Overview

Father and son coroners who receive a mysterious homicide victim with no apparent cause of death. As they attempt to identify the beautiful young "Jane Doe," they discover increasingly bizarre clues that hold the key to her terrifying secrets.

Metadata
Director André Øvredal
Runtime 1 h 26 min
Release Date 21 December 2016
Details
Movie Media DVD
Movie Status Available
Movie Rating Very good

The Autopsy of Jane Doe is one of the most terrifying modern horror films we have. Saying it is one of the scariest films ever would not be much of an exaggeration. Typically, I am not a fan of films where the villain is some unseen force. But this one was good over to get me over my prejudice. Even if, like me, you are not a fan of ghost/haunting movies, watch The Autopsy of Jane Doe. This film puts itself in Blair Witch Project and Babadook territory with how terrifying it is.

Our cast in the film is small, focusing on a father-son pair of morticians for most of the movie. Both characters are fairly normal guys who are relatable. Having a young man plus an older gentleman made for a good dynamic as their terror slowly increases. There are a few supporting characters as well, primarily the young mortician’s girlfriend and the town sheriff who has been investigating a mysterious homicide and brings the Jane Doe to the morgue. While their involvement in the film is somewhat minimal, they are still good characters who play their roles well. And then of course there is the villain of the film but not much can be said about them due to spoilers.

Many modern horror movies just try to make audiences feel disgusted. Throw a few buckets of fake blood all over the screen and add in jump scares here and there. A lot of modern cop dramas and other late air TV programs show people getting their heads blown off and being tortured five nights a week, so simple blood and guts just do not cut it anymore. The Autopsy of Jane Doe is scary because it psychologically messes with you. Audiences will spend most of the film thinking about what could be there. Is it behind the door in front of you? Or is it behind you, lurking in the shadows?

Leaving horror to the imagination is a very strong approach in this genre. For some other forms of storytelling, it is just lazy. You cannot name any timeless classics that are “choose your own ending” books for a reason. But when people are afraid, they tend to imagine whatever they fear most. You become convinced that the monster is lurking in that one particular spot. That at any second, it will jump out and grab you. And then the danger comes from somewhere you did not expect. Maybe you will not even see it coming. The film itself certainly seemed to come out of nowhere with how good it was.

June 25, 2017