Category: Films


Ong-Bak [2003]

Director: Prachya Pinkaew
Actor: Tony Jaa

Ting, a young bumpkin from a small village in rural Thailand is the village’s Muy Thai fanatic. He’s a good kid, wants to do good, and devotes his life to Muy Thai and Buddha. He is forbidden by the Buddhist priest of his town to use his Muy Thai for his own advancement. The village is experiencing a heavy drought and everything is done to appease Buddha. It is because of that desire to please Buddha that the priest decides to reject the offer from a big mucker from Bangkok to buy a small religious icon. In retaliation of that rejection he and his thugs decide to take the head of the Buddha statue in their temple in the middle of the night. Distraught, the village decides to send the young volunteer Ting to Bangkok.

Insert 90 minutes of shitbox acting and storyline, but with the most brutal and well choreographed, non-wire martial arts action I’ve seen in a long, long time.

Grifter, go and rent this film whenever you can find it on DVD.


Mindhunters [2004]

Director: Renny Harlin
Actor: Val KilmerChristian SlaterJonny Lee MillerLL Cool J

When this film was over, I thought; “What a waste of 106 minutes.” Now that I’ve given it some thought I realise I was too harsh on this film. It really doesn’t hit the spot that it wants to, but it’s not altogether bad. Jonny Lee Miller (a.k.a. Sick Boy in Trainspotting, and Dade in Hackers) was back, and I always enjoy seeing him. LL Cool J is making a bit of a name for himself and Christian Slater and Val Kilmer…well, they were put on the bill like Steven Seagal was put on the bill of Critical Decision; in order to add a few well-known names to an almost no-name cast.

The story is about a group of young, up-and-coming FBI profilers – those are the used-to-be-the-coolest-law-enforcement-profession since forensic detective took over when CSI started becoming popular. These profilers make an educated guess as to what profile the perpetrator fits so that a hunt for them is made easier. They are required to get into the mindset of often very disturbed sociopaths in order to be a step ahead of them. Supposedly, really good profilers know what a sociopath is going to do before the sociopath does. Anyway.

They are being taught by Val Kilmer’s character, an eccentric veteran profiler whose methods are considered questionable by his superiors. But he gets the job done, and he gets it done well, so they give him plenty of leeway. One of the perks of his job is that he gets access to a military training island, secluded from the rest of the world, in order to stage a realistic profiling case where the killer is at large and the group has to find him.

The fun starts when people in the group are being killed off by incredibly elaborate traps, set by the killer. They find out that training time is over, and that it’s all for real. Worse yet, as time progresses it looks more and more like the killer is one of them.

See it when you’re bored. That way you won’t be disappointed.

Van Helsing

Van Helsing [2004]

Director: Stephen Sommers
Actor: Hugh JackmanKate Beckinsale

This is a popcorn movie. Mary Shelly fans run and fucking hide because they’ll leave not one thing standing of your beloved books. Van Helsing, who really is a cross between Buffy the Vampire Slayer, James Bond and Batman fight the Forces of Darkness (capital F, capital D), not one at a time, no…all at once! If you’re hoping it sounds worse than it is, tough luck. It really is pretty shite, story-wise. It’s fun-filled and action packed, but the story is as flimsy as the clothing on Dracula’s brides.

Good things? Sure. The single coolest thing about this film is the atmosphere, which is rich and beautiful. They had a lot of money and they sure used it. It looks beautiful, even if some of the CGI wasn’t always up to snuff. The Victorian atmosphere is almost Burton-esque, and very well maintained. Too bad Van Helsing – who’s name is Gabriel, and not Abraham for some reason – is walking around with hand-powered circular saws and a gas-powered, high velocity, full automatic…crossbow. It’s just a little weird.

Another good thing about the film is Richard Roxburgh’s acting, which is rather good, if comical at times. He certainly lends some credibility to the acting department.

Another good thing is Ms Beckinsale’s hot body. Yes, she does it again, she never ceases to satisfy. After Underworld and Van Helsing, she should beware of being type-cast, though.

Shite, but amusing.


Monster [2003]

Director: Patty Jenkins
Actor: Charlize TheronChristina Ricci

This is a biographic story about a highway prostitute who was executed for killing several men in the state of Florida during the 80s. Aileen Wuornos, or Lee, is played by Charlize Theron, whom you won’t recognise after her make-over and the extra 30 pounds she’s carrying around. Her performance is absolutely astounding, and I fully support her getting an academy award for this part, handed to her on Febuary 29th, which is, incidentally, the Aileen Wuornos’ birthday.

The story picks up when Lee and Selby – whose real name was Tyria – meet while Lee is even further down on her luck than she normally is. They fall in love and Lee is determined to provide for Selby. She does so by doing what she’s been doing since she was 13; hooking. During an encounter with a man set out to rape her, she kills him in self defense, takes his money and car and goes back to Selby. During the following few months she kills more men in a two-fold act of earning some money, as well as taking revenge on the men who raped her when she was young, and the men who used her throughout all her life.

A very strong film about a beaten woman desperately clinging on to her one true love while running from the police and fighting her own deamons.


Gothika [2003]

Director: Mathieu Kassovitz
Actor: Halle BerryPenélope CruzRobert Downey Jr.

Miranda [Berry], a young and upcoming psychiatrist at a large Arkham Assylum-like psychiatric facility for the criminally insane finds herself working the curious case of a girl named Chloe, who says she’s being raped by the Devil. Chloe doesn’t seem to have all her marbles straight and in session gone bad manages to “infect” Miranda with the same problem, for on her way back home one stormy evening, while taking a detour, she almost runs over a girl. Upon inspection the girl seems to be unhurt by the near-collision. She’s naked, confused, and bleeding. When Miranda offers her a coat she grabs her, and they are both engulfed by flame. The next thing Miranda knows, she’s locked up in the psychiatric facility, accused of brutally hacking her husband apart. She tries to retrace her steps, to figure out what’s going on. Who’s the girl? Did Miranda kill her husband? And what has Chloe got to do with it?

This film deals, very accurately, with the concept of trust, when everyone thinks you’re crazy. You can’t trust people who think you’re crazy, because they don’t believe you’re telling the truth.

Good film. One of the few horror films I actually found compelling and frightening.