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Film Reviews: W, Speed Racer (DVD)

Written by Alison Myers on February 24, 2009

Alison Myers reviews ‘W’ and Speed Racer (on DVD)

‘W’.

Oliver Stone’s latest biopic tracks the life of Dubya from his booze-soaked college days to halfway through his second term as President.  Whether you love or loathe the ex-pres, you can’t deny his is a remarkable story and one deserving of a major film.  The problem with making this film now is that the faces of the characters are terribly familiar, as are the faces of the actors portraying them, and there’s often a curious morphing effect between the two that I found distracting.  ‘W.’ is an engrossing and even-handed film, liberally peppered with classic Dubya quotes but also with plenty of insight into his transformation and motivations.   Oliver Stone and screenwriter Stanley Weiser have done their research to produce what feels like a fair depiction of the man, which will probably disappoint his supporters and detractors alike, not to mention the conspiracy theorists.  4 stars.

‘Speed Racer’ (DVD)

The Wachowski brothers’ latest film was one of my absolute highlights of last year. I was incoherent for about 30 minutes afterwards, still trying to process what I’d just seen. OK, it doesn’t have the intellectual attractions of ‘The Matrix’ or ‘V for Vendetta’, and is in many ways the complete opposite – bright, boisterous and fun –  but in terms of story-telling, film-making technique and innovation it is absolutely in the same league. I could have done with much less of the kid and the chimp but they were comparatively minor irritations.  The other performances are fun and charismatic, and the racing scenes are gobsmackingly awesome. The Wachowski brothers tried and failed to reproduce the phenomenon that was ‘The Matrix’ with its two disappointing sequels. They’ve obviously moved on. Their fans should do the same, and enjoy seeing their formidable talents unleashed in a new direction. 4.5 stars

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