ParaNorman (2012) Trailer

ParaNorman is an animated film about a misunderstood boy who can speak with the dead, takes on ghosts, zombies and moronic grown-ups to save his town from a centuries-old curse. Directed by Chris Butler, Sam Fell and starring Anna Kendrick, John Goodman and Leslie Mann, ParaNorman opens on August 17, 2012.

Confessions of a Shopaholic (2009) – Movie Review

Confessions of a Shopaholic is a movie based on Sophie Kinsella’s novels — Confessions of a Shopaholic and Shopaholic Takes Manhattan.

SPOILER WARNING: Plot and/or ending details follow.

Isla Fisher in "Confessions of a Shopaholic"
Isla Fisher in "Confessions of a Shopaholic"

Rebecca Bloomwood (Isla Fisher) works in an unpopular magazine publishing company in Manhattan as a journalist and she has a strong urge to shop for clothes, bags and shoes all the time. When she sees a beautiful green scarf which she doesn’t have enough money nor credit limit to buy, she cheats her way into buying all the hotdogs from a man with a check in exchange for cash and hotdogs by telling everyone she needs to buy a scarf for her dying aunt. A man from the street purchases a hotdog and gives Rebecca the $20 dollar she needs to buy the scarf. When she goes for an interview with Alette magazine, she is told that the position has been filled and the person who has taken the position, Alicia (Leslie Bibb) walks by. Rebecca is disappointed but admit Alicia has long legs. As she leaves while telling Allon, Dante West’s receptionist she purposely buys the green scarf for the interview, Allon introduces her to a job at Successful Saving. When Rebecca goes for a job interview with Luke Brandon, the editor of financial magazine Successful Saving, she realizes he is the man from who she had borrowed the money.

Feeling disappointed at not getting the job at Alette magazine, Rebecca writes drunken letters to Alette magazine and Successful Saving, but she has wrongly posted them the one another. Impressed by her "out of the box" thinking, Luke Brandon hires her on the spot and she is given another assignment. Instead of completing the assignment, she goes to a clothes sale and ends up with bags of clothes and shoes. After realizing the expensive cashmere pullover she has bought is only 5% cashmere and the rest acrylic, she writes an article about it and uses an anonymous nickname "The Girl with the Green Scarf" and not long, she becomes an instant hit when readers send letters, TV shows invites her for a talk show and even the boss, Edgar West (John Lithgow) calls in to compliment.

Impressed by her success, Luke invites Rebecca to a conference and an important ball in Miami. In the process of picking up the clothes for Luke for the ball, Rebecca finds out that Luke’s mother is none other than the famous socialite Eleonor Sherman and his parents were divorced when he was young.

During a "Live" TV show, Rebecca is publicly humiliated by the debt collector, Derek Smeath who has been chasing her for the debts for almost a year. Luke is hurt to know Rebecca lies to him all this while but he still finds her as a source of inspiration.

When Rebecca goes back to New York, a debt collector arrives at her doorstep. Her housemate, Suzy (Krysten Ritter) warns her through a phone call and she has to enter her apartment through the backdoor. Suzy recommends Rebecca to join a Shopaholic Anonymous group.

Rebecca decides to sell all of her clothes with the help of the Shopaholic Anonymous participants. She hesitates to sell the green scarf but a blonde woman buys it for $300. With the successful sale, she manages to repay her debt and she turns up at Derek Smeath’s office with the $9,000 she owes all in jar of coins.

Rebecca bumps into Luke in the street and Luke gives her back the green scarf revealing he’s the man behind both bidders and Rebecca ends up working for Luke’s new magazine.

Overall, Confessions of a Shopaholic is quite amusing and Isla Fisher who plays the adorable copygirl in Definitely, Maybe plays her role well. Worth watching for the laughs and the satisfaction is almost like when you shop for something using credit card. The feeling is so complete and happy.

My ratings: 7 out of 10.

Gigantic (2008) Trailer

Gigantic is a romantic comedy starring Zooey Deschanel (Yes Man, The Happening). The movie is about a mattress salesman Brian Weathersby (Paul Dano) who finds his plan to adopt a Chinese baby augmented by the arrival of a young woman, Happy (Zooey Deschanel), who comes into his workplaces, falls asleep on one of the beds, and starts to affect his life upon waking up. The movie will be released on June 26, 2009 in the UK and on April 3, 2009 in US (limited).

Speed Racer (2008) – Movie Review

Speed Racer is a movie based on the popular 1960s Japanese anime series of the same name. The movie stars Emile Hirsch as Speed Racer whose older brother Rex (Scott Porter) died in a racing accident a decade ago.

SPOILER WARNING: Plot and/or ending details follow.

The race cars in Speed Racer are beautiful like candies
The race cars in Speed Racer are beautiful like candies

The movie opens with flashback of Rex’s racing days mixes with Speed Racer’s attempt to beat Rex’s record at a race. After the flashback is over, it is learned that Rex is killed in an accident in The Crucible race many years ago. When Speed becomes popular despite having not won a Grand Prix just yet, Royalton (Roger Allam), the owner of Royalton Industries pays the Racer’s family a visit. Royalton makes Speed a lucrative offer. After considering, Speed pays Royalton a visit only to reject the offer, angering Royalton while he learns that Royalton has been cheating and fixing races all the while.

When he does not qualify for the Final Grand Prix after Royalton’s effort to him out of the races, Speed with his Mach 5 joins Racer X (Matthew Fox) and Taejo Togokhan (Rain) to enter The Crucible in order to expose the Royalton’s dirty business. Since his family does not support him to enter The Crucible as that’s very dangerous race where his brother is killed, Speed and his girlfriend Trixie (Christina Ricci) fool his dad by telling him they are going on a skiing holiday.

Speed Racer (Emile Hirsch) and his supportive girlfriend Trixie (Christina Ricci)
Speed Racer (Emile Hirsch) and his supportive girlfriend Trixie (Christina Ricci)

As Pops Racer (John Goodman) and Mom Racer (Susan Sarandon) find out about Speed racing in The Crucible, they want him to leave the race but eventually show him their full support. When Speed wins The Crucible together with Racer X and Taejo, Taejo betrays them by not exposing Royalton’s secret.

Horuko (Yu Nan), Taejo’s sister comes to find Speed in order to give him a special access card which will allow him to gain a wild card entry into the Grand Prix race since her brother, Taejo is not interested in the race and she feels ashamed of his family’s wrongdoing.

In the end, Speed manages to win the Grand Prix with his new Mach 6 car and Royalton is exposed. Quite a happy ending and predictable plot but the movie is just awesome with the candy-like buildings, landscapes and cars. Speed Racer reminds me of colorful movie The Cat in the Hat but with a mixed of Hanna-Barbera’s popular animated series, Wacky Races with everybody trying to whack everyone’s else during the race. Maybe since Hanna-Barbera is absorbed into Warner Bros. in 2001, they incorporate Wacky Races into Speed Racer.

Overall, the movie is wonderful to watch as besides the never-seen-before stunning visual effects, it has its amusing moments especially with Paulie Litt as Spritle, Speed’s younger brother and his chimpanzee pet, Chim Chim.

My ratings: 8 out of 10.

Speed Racer (2008) Trailer

Based on the classic Japanese animated series, Speed Racer is definitely one of the must-watch movie of 2008.