Movie Reviews: Brotherly Love & A Race Car in Candyland

Today was my official "bad movie" day, but a funny thing happened... neither movie was all that bad. Sure one movie was about 3 teen brother rock stars who perform in 3D and pretend they won't have sex till marriage, and the other was about a teen race car driver in candyland... but when it comes down to it, they were both enjoyable, and who can argue with that?

Brotherly Love - Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience

Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience was quite an experience from the beginning. Arriving at the theater, if you were over 2 ft tall, you already stuck out like a sore thumb. And if you weren't wearing a Jonas Brothers t-shirt, squealing uncontrollably, or touting a Chastity belt (sorry, ring), then forget about it, you were just really uncool. So why did I go? Because I knew it would be laughable amounts of fun, and it was just that, from the beginning.

Nick (16), Joe (19) and Kevin (21) are three brothers who hit the big time not too long ago with their breathy, bordering on whiny, poppy pop act, and have continued to make teenage girls faint and hyperventilate hysterically in droves ever since. These days they are considered gods, big enough to even warrant a spot on Barbara Walter's People of the Year special. They strut around NYC, amongst a myriad of other major cities, wearing incredibly metrosexual clothing and flaunting their commitment rings, bringing even the mothers of these weeping fans to ask, "what do you see in these guys?" Apart from the younger two's incredibly well sculpted arms, what they see in the Jonas Bros is the new ultimate female fantasy; the Beta male. What is a Beta male you ask? He's pretty much everything the Alpha male isn't. He's anywhere from a little to  very nerdy (but in a cute way), he knows more about the computer and online social networking than he does about football or the stock market, he wears scarves, and he may even wear glasses. While the middle bro Joe has enough Alpha-ish charisma to go around for everyone, the youngest (the talent) and the oldest (the likely closeted awkward one) are quintessential Beta males, drawing girls in with their dreamy sensitive smiles that say "I'm here, and I care what you think or what you wear" (Kevin might even know what label it is).  

On Friday the 27th, their 3Dimensionalized concert hit theaters and now if there was anyone out there who hadn't heard of the trio before, they damn well do now. I don't listen to their music in my car, or even on my iPod, but lord knows whenever I hear S.O.S. come on, I'm compelled to crank it up. They are just fun, and now it's even semi-cool to like them, even in my 20 something age bracket. In terms of the movie itself, here are some reasons why you may (or may not) want to see it:
  1. They Actually, literally "Crunk" it out (you'll know what I mean when you see it)
  2. They bare some skin (albeit briefly)
  3. They point at you constantly and throw their pics in your face (the 3D makes this all actually quite alarming)
  4. They do acrobatic jumps and flips that would make even the Olympic team proud
  5. Big Rob makes a cameo appearance on stage
  6. When they sing, it feels like they're singing just for you (That is a direct quote from the theater ladies room)
I'll understand if even after all of this, you still don't want to spend a disgusting $15 to go sit a theater with ray ban knock offs on your face, while listening to the impossible fantasies of 15 year olds, only to see a movie about the new Hanson. Seriously, I won't blame you if you skip it. But with that said, if you see it with the right people, in the right spirit, it can be a surprisingly jovial experience filled with laughter and love that will bond you and your viewing partner/s together for life. 

Under no circumstances should you see it alone, unless you're just creepy.

Short and Sweet

Sugary sweet teen dream come true. Watch in amazement as they look right at you try to touch their unattainable hologram bodies.

UPDATE: They came in at #2 in box office sales on their opening weekend making only $12.7 million, behind Madea Goes to Jail which made $16.5 million... ouch. Guess the world domination's gonna take longer than they thought.   

A Race Car in Candyland - Speed Racer
Everything you've heard about Speed Racer is true, and I don't happen to think that's a bad thing. In fact, after reading A.O. Scott's disillusioned review, I thought, this might be a movie for me. My obsession with color and all things eyecandy has already been made abundantly clear, so when I heard there was a whole movie, created entirely around the concept of "bursting a giant bag of digital skittles," as Scott puts it, I immediately wanted to race (ha) over to the theater. But between whatever I had going on at the time, and a lack of funds to support the cost of an IMAX ticket for anything besides Dark Knight, I never made it there. Luckily for me the DVD has come down so drastically in price now, that I just bought the damn thing and had a little viewing party. 

The film did everything I wanted it to, and nothing I didn't expect. For tender hearted fans of the original animated show, tread carefully, this is not what you remember from the '70's. Much of the old spirit of the cartoon, the wide-eyed innocence that you may be attached to, is gone and replaced with purple helicopters and rainbow roads. Speed Racer doesn't really have anything to do with heart beyond a cheesy attempt to show a loving '50's-esque family. It's all about how fast the cars go and how saturated the colors can possibly be. The movie offers nothing deep or profound, think of it more as a slide show from a Japanese video game arcade, which I think is an awesome premise for a film. 

Emile Hirsch as "Speed" Racer doesn't particularly shine in the part, as he wasn't given much of a script to work with, But he's nice to look at, and besides, he's already proven his acting cred to me with roles in the amazing Into The Wild and The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys (look for him this August in Ang Lee's Taking Woodstock). I don't think he takes anything away from the film, given that all the acting is sub-par, and ultimately not very important to your enjoyment. let's just say he squeaks by through managing to master the "I'm thinking about something serious face." Speed's girl, Trixie, played by a shockingly thin Christina Ricci pops up on screen wearing her signature pink barrettes, and says things like "you can do it Speed Racer!" Her presence in the movie is there only for their final kiss (which was fairly lame), and to stay true to the original characters. Truthfully, I wouldn't have noticed had she disappeared from the film altogether. Racer X, played by Matthew Fox of Lost Fame, is laughable, but then again I can only assume he's supposed to be. I don't know whether it's natural or if he's stuffing, but all done up in his leather/spandex racing suit, it's hard for your eyes not to travel southward to an embarrassingly prominent package. In any event, every line out of his mouth is a raging cliche, in fact, every line out of every one's mouth is a raging cliche. You can also find Susan Sarandon (how did they manage to snag her?), John Goodman, and Roger Allam (who you might recognize from V For Vendetta) as other various Speed Racer regulars. There's also a little brother played by Paulie Litt, who I can only imagine hails from Nickelodeon commercial land, and a chimp. Nothing too surprising there, if you're familiar with the show. The gist is that the characters don't end up seeming to matter to the Wachowski brothers as much as the graphics.

The plot also is secondary, apart from the fact that allows for the movie to showcase unbelievable video game inspired imagery for lots and lots of racing. Speed's natural racing instincts have made him a prime candidate for any racing company, bringing him offers from wealthy conglomerates like Royalton Industries, trying to woo him away from working for his father's small company. The story follows his battle for the win, and includes flashbacks from his younger years. Your eyes can't sit still for even a second without fear of missing something. So if you're looking for a good character piece, full of motivation and nostalgia, then Speed Racer is not for you. But if you're looking for Mario's Rainbow Road to come to life right before your very eyes, go see Speed Racer and let your eyes enjoy for a bit.

Short and Sweet

Watch and taste the rainbow.

Fav Quotes

"Oh my god, was that a ninja?"
"More like a 'non'-ja. Terrible what passes for a ninja these days."
-Trixie and Pops Racer 


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