#5 – Speed Racer
#6 – Iron Man
#7 – Eagle Eye
#8 – Then She Found Me
#9 – Kit Kittridge: An American Girl
#10 – Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day
Directed by: Andy Wachowski, Larry Wachowski
Written by: Andy Wachowski, Larry Wachowski
Starring: Emile Hirsch, Christina Ricci, John Goodman, Susan Sarandon, Matthew Fox, Paulie Litt, Rain, and Roger Allam
Music by: Michael Giacchino
Release date: May 9, 2008
Synopsis: A young man (Speed) who has grown up surrounded by the world of racing seems to have a gift for the sport. When offered a position by the industrious and dirty Mr. Royalton with Royalton Industries, Speed turns him down – remembering what big companies did to his older brother, Rex. When Royalton goes after the entire Racer family because of Speed’s decision, the young man sets out to prove that the little guy can win.
Why this movie made my top ten:
I’ll admit it. When my husband first told me about this movie, I rolled my eyes and thought that’s one I’ll be sending him to see with someone other than me. It sounded like a geek film. Something I would never be interested in. However, he convinced me to watch it when he got it from Netflix, and I loved it.
I’ve heard lots of “professional” movie critics complain that it’s nothing more than a spectacle, a piece of sugar sweet fluff. This is true. It was meant to be an animated series brought to the realm of real life, and this is precisely what it is. All of the colors are vibrant and brilliant. All the characters are larger than life. There are scenes with ninjas, scenes with little children driving cars, scenes shot entirely as cartoons; all of these add to the “spectacle.” But this bit of fluffy film is made by the Wachowski brothers, so you know it’s going to be special. They make this film over the top – but if you didn’t expect that going in, you don’t know anything about Speed Racer.
This used to be a Japanese anime about a boy who races and fights with his car. The W bros have done a superb job bringing that to the big screen in a way that respects the original silly cartoon but still manages to be an entertaining ride. And makes us all want springs on the bottom of our cars.
Favorite scene: Spritle breaking into Royalton Industries, or possibly the entire Crucible race.
Tagline: Believe It Or Not – He’s The Good Guy
Directed by: Guillermo Del Toro, Mike Mignola
Written by: Guillermo Del Toro
Starring: Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, Doug Jones, Jeffrey Tambor, Luke Goss, Anna Walton
Music by: Danny Elfman
Release date: July 11, 2008
Synopsis: Hellboy and the gang at the BPRD are once again called upon to save the world from Very Bad Things. But when an operation goes wrong, and the BPRD (and Hellboy) are suddenly very much in the public image, “good” and “bad” become very muddled. Toss in an elf prince who wants to wipe every last bit of humanity off of the earth, and, well, things get complicated.
Why this movie made my top ten: I have to add a disclaimer here – Guillermo Del Toro is quite possibly my favorite director working today. He loves film, and he loves a good monster story – and not the bloody splattery kind, either. The *good* kind. Whether it be the Judas bugs in Mimic, the reaper vampires in Blade II, or the Pale Man in Pan’s Labyrinth, the man knows how dream up some crazy / awesome creatures.
And it helps that his movies rock.
Hellboy II is no exception – it’s an entirely fun, visually breathtaking romp around the world with Hellboy and the rest of the BPRD gang in tow. The characters have all grown in realistic ways, and so has the world that the film takes place in. Humanity and the world of magic are both pushing back and forth, fighting for the limited space this world allows. Something has got to give, but who’s to say which one is right and which is wrong? It’s easy to say that humanity is in the right, but when you watch the slow, painful death of the beautiful elemental forest god (the last of its kind) you begin to have doubts. As the villain in the film says, “We die and the world will be poorer for it.”
So, it’s amongst all these grey areas that Del Toro stages his fantastical romp. In between the heavy stuff we get hugely imaginative fight scenes, exciting new characters, breathtaking visuals, and line after line of witty dialogue. It’s absolutely fantastic stuff, and I can’t wait to see what Del Toro does with Middle Earth.
Favorite scene: The Tooth Fairy scene. It’s perfectly balanced delight and horror – something that Del Toro does better than anyone.