I'm one of the critics who stood up for the last film from the Wachowskis, and I will say it again: "Speed Racer" deserved better than it got.
The film is not only one of the most technically impressive Blu-ray discs I have, it's also one of the few films that's come out since the birth of Toshi that he and I can rewatch at the drop of a hat. There are older films he's fallen in love with the same way, but as far as first-run films I took him to the theater for, "Speed Racer" may be the one he's seen the most often. I would imagine that those IMAX theatrical screenings were formative experiences for him. I can't imagine what it would have been like to have that experience at three years old, and just how much of a visceral impact it must be.
For older film fans, "The Matrix" may have been a similar experience, which might explain why so many people were so upset by the sequels. The first film was like a lightning bolt to the forehead for many of them, and that film's success transformed the Wachowskis from working screenwriters with one interesting film as directors into an international phenomenon. The strangest part of watching the Fanboy Nation deal with the Wachowskis was all the fall-out from the rumors about Larry Wachowski and the end of his marriage and the gender-issues he was dealing with. I personally don't care, but it is now impossible to mention them without someone making a wise-crack about "Well, I guess you can't call them brothers anymore." Considering the deeply-seeded homophobia that is part of the fanboy community, it's little wonder they don't know what to do when thinking about the Wachowskis now.
The weird part is that their first film as directors, "Bound," should have been a tip-off that these guys have a real empathy for characters who define themselves sexually in unconventional ways. And there was a character in early drafts of "The Matrix" who actually switched genders when going into the Matrix and then coming back out of it. This has been part of the fabric of their work from the start.
For the last six months or so, there have been strange rumors about the Wachowskis working on something, and we've seen a few stills from the set, like one with Arianna Huffington and another with Jesse Ventura. They offered up a few clues about the nature of the film, but nothing that made any sense.
Now, with the Cannes marketplace in full swing, many filmmakers are looking to pin down financing for their next projects, and so details start to leak. In this case, the report on Deadline Hollywood has this to say:
"I'm told they are circulating a new script that brings them back to terrain they covered in 1996's 'Bound', a heist film with a lesbian romance. This one's a drama that focuses on a hard R homosexual relationship between a U.S. soldier and an Iraqi. It's a cinema verite-style treatment that begins in the near future and then spans back over years that include the current war in Iraq. I've heard the siblings completed the script, want to direct it next, and that it is out to financiers."
That would explain why Ventura and Huffington were wearing futuristic costumes in the images we saw from the set. I guess those were test-shoots, since it sounds like they're still looking for funding for the full film. As details become available, it will be interesting to see if this is a real commercial movie or a smaller experimental project. Whatever the case, I'm glad to see them working, and I'm doubly glad to hear that it sounds like they're doing something personal.
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