This week at the movies, we’ve got fast cars
Hirsch and Christina Ricci),
marital mishaps (What Happens in Vegas,
Ashton Kutcher and
and battle royals (David Mamet‘s
What do the critics have to say?
Sing along with me: “Here it comes, here comes
Speed Racer / It’s getting
bad reviews….” The critics say the Wachowski brothers’ big-screen adaptation of
the old-school toon is loaded with flashy visuals, but is too bombastic and
thinly plotted to resonate. Emile Hirsch stars as the titular hero, who, with
the support of main squeeze Trixie (Christina Ricci), battles it out it out with
Racer X (Matthew Fox) in a cross-county road race that Speed learns is being
unfairly influenced by corporate interests. The pundits say Speed Racer is
too loaded with eye-popping (some say headache-inducing) visuals and too short
on character development and coherent plotting. At 32 percent on the
Tomatometer, you may not want to go (Speed Racer) go to this one. (Check
out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down the greatest movie cars of
How much mileage can a movie get out of the appeal of its stars? With regard to
What Happens in Vegas, the critics say quite a bit — though perhaps not
enough to deal this formulaic romantic comedy a winning hand.
Ashton Kutcher and
Cameron Diaz star as a pair of strangers who stumble into matrimony after
hitting the jackpot; what follows is a battle of the sexes and a tug-of-war over
the money. The pundits say Diaz and Kutcher display solid comedic chops, but are
let down by a predictable plot and a sour undercurrent. At 50 percent on the
Tomatometer, you have even odds of enjoying this one.
With a gift for cryptic language and complex characterization,
David Mamet is
one of America’s most celebrated playwrights. It turns out he’s also a big
martial arts fan. In
Redbelt, Mamet’s passions collide, and critics say
it’s a solid, if not spectacular, combination.
Chiwetel Ejiofor stars as a
Jiu-Jitsu teacher who preaches self-defense; however, after an accident new his
school triggers a series of ominous events, he’s forced to step into the ring.
The pundits say Redbelt features many of the strengths of Mamet’s work:
strong acting (from a cast that includes Joe Mantegna,
Emily Mortimer, and
Allen), intriguing moral dilemmas, and rich dialogue. But some say it’s a little
too tightly scripted to be fully believable. Still, at 64 percent, the scribes
say Redbelt hits pretty hard.
“For next year’s fundraiser, we should just have a cops vs. firemen
Also opening this week in limited release:
“Patti Smith or Sonic Youth?”