Speed Racer

Speed Racer
I don't know a lot about Speed Racer aside from what I've gleaned from the theme song over the years -- apparently, the young man's a demon on wheels -- so, in many ways, I'm the best possible audience for Larry and Andy Wachowski's new big-screen interpretation of the character. Originally a Japanese animation program exported and re-dubbed for the American market in the '60s, Speed Racer has now been revived and revitalized for now. And the Wachowskis have created a blast of pure pop family fun; Speed Racer's a bright, bold visual spectacle designed for kids.

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An American Crime

An American Crime
One of the questions I've most heard being asked about An American Crime by those who haven't seen it is: Why would anyone want to make a movie about the brutal torture and murder of a 16-year-old girl? The answer, at least as director Tommy O'Haver gave at the world premiere of the film at Sundance, was two-fold. First, that the case happened when he was a teenager living in Indiana, and the murder of Sylvia Likens has haunted him his entire life; and second, that he wanted to explore and try to understand how such a horrific series of events happened. The basic facts of the tragic death of Sylvia Likens are well-known; numerous books and case studies have been written about the case. Sylvia (Ellen Page) and her younger sister Jenny, who had polio, were left in the care of Gertrude Baniszewski (Catherine Keener) by their father Lester, a carnival worker, so that he and his wife could go work the circuit. Lester Likens had only met Gertrude one time before he agreed to leave his daughters in her care for $20 a week.

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Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties

Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties
When all the children at the movie theatre with their great big smiles and their gigantic handfuls of Milk Duds and popcorn butter look as if they're being transformed into adults with tax problems right before your very eyes, then you know something's not quite right.

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Tale of Despereaux

Tale of Despereaux
As animated films go, The Tale of Despereaux represents adequate family entertainment. The quality is nowhere near the level we have come to expect from Pixar but, since there are no Pixar films in theaters this time of year, The Tale of Despereaux makes an acceptable substitution. It's on par, or perhaps a little better, than Dreamworks' cash-grab, Madagascar 2. Nevertheless, this is not top-flight animation. While the voice acting is fine and the story is nicely paced, the visuals are disappointing. The Tale of Despereaux looks like it was made about 10 years ago and, at a time when even mediocre animated films can generally boast a stunning look, this movie's uninspired animation is a source of disappointment.

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Feast of Love

Feast of Love
It's a little surprising to encounter a film like Feast of Love in multiplexes, because it is made for adults. After a summer of pyrotechnics and incredibly dumb scripts, it's a change of pace to find something that aspires to run for 100 minutes without a gunshot or an explosion. A romantic drama based on Charles Baxter's difficult-to-adapt novel, the film takes us along the rocky journey associated with falling in love. The screenplay combines philosophy, melodrama, and clichés to engaging effect. Feast of Love's greatest strength is that it's about people and involves universal emotions. It's not great art but it is enjoyable soap opera.

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Parent Trap

Parent Trap
It never fails to amaze me that something as essentially light and pointless as Disney's remake of The Parent Trap can clock in at over two hours in length. This is one of those movies that has difficulty sustaining any kind of comic or dramatic momentum for 90 minutes, so the final half-hour turns into a real endurance contest. Of course, the original The Parent Trap, a 1961 film that pushed all the same "cute" buttons, was saddled with virtually the same bloated running time, which offers a partial explanation as to why Nancy Meyers and Charles Shyer felt they had to confine audiences to their seats for so long.

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Homeless to Harvard: The Liz Murray Story

Homeless to Harvard: The Liz Murray Story
Based on a true story. Liz Murray is a young girl who is taken care of by her loving, but drug-addicted parents. Liz becomes homeless at 15 and after a tragedy comes upon her, she begins her work to finish high school.

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HellBent

HellBent
It's the night before Halloween. A gay couple out on a date are making out in a car when a bare-chested killer in a devil mask suddenly appears and decapitates them with a sickle.

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Child's Play 5: Seed of Chucky

Child's Play 5: Seed of Chucky
Six years following the events of Child's Play 3 and Bride of Chucky, the film opens with Glen (Billy Boyd), the apparent "son" of Chucky and Tiffany; born at the expense of his estranged mother Tiffany dying immediately after he was born (this is shown at the end of Bride of Chucky) and living a life of embarrassment and abuse as a ventriloquist's dummy who shortly said he found him long ago in the cemetery of where Glen's mother died. Desperate to know his parents (after seeing behind the scenes footage of the Child's Play movie-within-a-movie on TV), Glen escapes and tracks them down to Hollywood.

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Bee Season

Bee Season
Saul Naumann (Gere) is a somewhat controlling Jewish husband and father. A Religious Studies professor at UC Berkeley, Saul wrote his graduate thesis on the Kabbalah. A devout Jew, his wife Miriam (Binoche) converted to Judaism when they married, and he nurtured his son Aaron (Minghella) into a traditional studious Jew like him. When Eliza (Cross) wins her class spelling bee, they embark on a course of Kabbalah study to help her win. The film follows the family and the spiritual quests upon which they journey, in large part because of Saul: Miriam's attempt to make herself whole, Aaron's religious uncertainty, and Eliza's desire to be closer to her father.

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Drive Thru

Drive Thru
The film opens with a car full of friends led by Brandon Meeks (Edward DeRuiter) with his pal Tony and their girlfriends cruising and vandalizing the streets of Blanca Carne when the group decides to order food at a fast food restaurant called "Hella-Burger". However, while ordering, they are repeatedly insulted through the intercom system. Furious, Tony breaks into the restaurant gun-loaded to "show clown boy what's up". While inside, Tony continues his search for the employee. A concerned Brandon also enters the restaurant (leaving the females unattended in the car) and finds Tony dead with his head in the deep fryer. In a state shock, Brandon is then attacked by a demonic version of Hella-Burger's mascot "'Horny' the Clown". Brandon tries to bargain with semo, but to no avail as he is killed. Horny then makes his way outside and gruesomely kills the two girls in the car.

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Baby Blues

Baby Blues
Based on Andrea Yates and her family, the five children being drowned in the family bathroom by their mother.

In the film itself, which is set in a secluded family farm, the Mother (Colleen Porch) suffers a psychotic break down due to postpartum depression and after her husband, a truck driver, hits the road again after only being home a day. Itís all too much for her and she snaps, begins to break things in the middle of dinner. She then calmly walks away with the baby to the upstairs bedroom.

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Yonkers Joe

Yonkers Joe
Joe (Palminteri) is a small-time con-man and dice-hustler who works with a group of men with similar interests. They shave cards and dice, doing small time cons at card games and union picnics. He's in a long-term relationship with Janice (Lahti) and has a son with Down's syndrome, Joe Jr. (Guiry).

Joe finds out that his son must leave his residential care facility due to age. Joe Jr. has difficulty controlling his anger. He uses profanity and gets into fights. Thus, the residential facility is hesitant to recommend him to the group home for adults and Joe must take his son home, at least for a few weeks. Joe has been looking to make a bigger score, and he begins to hope that such a score could enable him to get his son into the group home. Sure that he could not care for his son, he

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Gung Ho: Working Class Man

Gung Ho: Working Class Man
Hunt Stevenson works for a large car manufacturer that has just been bought out by a Japanese firm. Suddenly finding himself having to justify his own job, hes forced to choose between redundancy or the seemingly inhuman Japanese work ethic that the new owners have brought with them.

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Look @ Me

Look @ Me
Tina Tremaine works for a banking investment company and runs a fantasy website featuring herself. As her modeling career is about to take off, shes kidnapped by one of her Web subscribers. He locks her away in his house in a windowless room wired with sound and video. While her friends and the police start a search, he visits his psychotherapist. Is there any way she can aid in her own escape or will she have to depend on others?

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My Blueberry Nights

My Blueberry Nights
Elizabeths heart is broken. For solace, she drops in late at night a few times at Jeremys diner for blueberry pie a la mode they talk. Once, he watchers her sleep, her head on the counter. Abruptly, she leaves New York City to get away from her pain. She works a couple of jobs in Memphis. There, a heart-broken cop is drinking himself into oblivion, his ex occasionally showing up where he drinks and Lizzy works. Then, shes in Nevada, working at a casino where she uses her savings (she wants a car) to stake Leslie, a busted gambler, in a high rollers game. After, Beth drives Leslie to Vegas where Leslies estranged father lives. Broken relationships. What about Jeremy?

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