Category: Films


Identity [2003]

Director: James Mangold
Actor: John CusackRay LiottaAmanda PeetAlfred MolinaJake BuseyRebecca De Mornay

When a nasty storm hits a roadside motel in the middle of Nowhere, Nevada, ten strangers are all forced to get to know eachother while they ride out the storm. There’s a former hooker (Peet), going home to Florida to start a new life exploiting an orange grove, there’s a small family, mother – injured in a car accident at the start of the film – and her almost autistic son, and his step father, an incredibly nervous man who looks like a door-to-door salesman. Then there’s the ex-cop turned bodyguard/limo driver (Cusack), who, together with his client, a washed out actress, was driving LA when he hit the aforementioned mother on the road. There’s a newly wed couple, who got married for all the wrong reasons, the girl being insecure and the guy being a hot head. There’s teh motel manager, who later turns out to be anything but. And there’s the cop (Liotta), who’s escorting a prisoner (Busey).

When one by one they start dying, they find out that they’ve got more in common than they originally thought, and that the last one to remain will determine the outcome of a courthearing, deciding the fate of a death-row serial killer at the eve of his execution, which is taking place in another place and time.

The film is really very well done. It’s a “whodunnit” film with a nice twist. It’s well worth the rental fee.


Zatôichi [2003]

Director: Takeshi Kitano
Actor: Takeshi Kitano

A traditional Japanese film, misunderstood and under-rated, with people leaving the cinema half-way, and snorting derisively at the last scene, a large tapdancing act, featuring most of the actors and seemingly unrelated to the rest of the film.

Zatôichi, a sword saint – or kensai – is walking the earth like Caine from Kung Fu, hiring out his services as a masseur and spending his nights in gambling dens. He’s blind, and nobody knows that his walking stick is really a well disguisedkatana, the samurai’s sword. He keeps his profile low, and his identity hidden, known only as “old masseur,” presumably because otherwise he’d be challenged by everyone who could lift a sword.

He comes upon a small village where two yakuza clans are fighting it out for supremacy over the village, and is taken in by one of the widowed peasant women, living just outside the village. Her nephew spends his time by the old masseur’s side in the gambling dens at night, terrible at gambling and riding the wave of luck and fortune that the blind masseur seems to hold. They get caught up in the gang-war as soon as Zatôichi exposes the gambling den for cheating.

Meanwhile, a wandering ronin, a disgraced or masterless samurai, and his wife walk from village to village, looking for the man that disgraced him in a fight, causing him to lose his rank as samurai. His wife is ill, and in order to pay for all the expenses, he hires his sword out to the highest bidder, as a soldier, bodyguard or assassin. He finds work with one of the warring yakuza clans.

During the same time, the old masseur meets up with two geishas, who were orphaned a decade ago when their parents, and family were murdered by one of the warring yakuza clans in the village as they were looking for the riches of their father, a wealthy rice-merchant. They used the money stolen from their family to start their criminal operations in the village. The two, a boy and a girl, survived by pretending to be geishas and plying the men with alcohol and robbing them afterwards. They are looking for revenge.

All in all these three stories converge at the same time, in the same village, during the same gang-war.

I loved this film, and it’s the only film that can get away with the appaling CGI that makes up some of the sword fighting. Daki, go see this film.


Underworld (2003) [2003]

Director: Len Wiseman
Actor: Kate BeckinsaleScott SpeedmanWentworth Miller

After a lot of debate surrounding this film, and it’s supposed great likeness to Vampire: The Masquerade, I decided I wanted to see it, despite the bad reviews it got among some of my friends. Of course, living in Europe, I had to wait a couple of months to do so, and so patiently I waited. Until a couple of days ago, in a fit of boredom, I downloaded the DVD rip and watched the film.

I’m definitely going to see this film in the cinema. (RIAA, I also downloaded that big bastard of a file, so don’t come a-huntin’, please) I don’t think my puny computer monitor did the “visuality” of the film any justice. It looks awesome. I mean…perfect. This is exactly how I want these type of films to look. Blade was different, but equally brilliant in that respect – the second film was so-so, but the first one had something cold, steely and very menacing about it. I was talking to one of my friends about the film – one of the ones that gave it such a bad review – and she wholeheartedly agreed that the film looked nice…

…but that the acting and story simply sucked ass. The acting wasn’t that good, true. I got the feeling that they tried to make up for it with cold, angsty, brooding stares and English accents, but it wasn’t that bad. It wasn’t Syngenor or anything.

The story was, I think, befitting of the first of a series of films, which, I think – depending on the amount of money Sony ends up making off of this – will be the case. The entire story is, though a bit cliché here and there, not entirely bad and from what I could see not filled with contradictions and logical discrepancies that usually plagues films like these.

Kate is hot, in fact, I think all the people in that film are very good looking, and looks very good in her rubber and latex outfits. Oh! Oh! I almost forgot; God, do I love the fact that, physically, werewolves are much stronger than vampires. Cool! Cool! Cool! Suddenly, vampires aren’t the almighty uber-creatures that they always get made out to be in films. Also, kuddos for the accent on age being a determining factor in strength. Very well done.


Solaris [2002]

Director: Steven Soderbergh
Actor: George ClooneyNatascha McElhone

My first interaction I had with this film was with its website, which is pretty good, and with its soundtrack, which is even better. The story reeked of Event Horizon, which it really isn’t. It deals with similar things, but Event Horizon is done somuch better. Also, Solaris is a love drama, whereas Event Horizon is a horror/thriller. Another book/film that this movie borrows from heavily is Michael Crichton’s Sphere, but as it doesn’t measure up to Event Horizon, here Solaris also falls short.

Mediocre film, though stunningly done, with an excellent soundtrack.

Mystic River

Mystic River [2003]

Director: Clint Eastwood
Actor: Sean BeanTim RobbinsKevin BaconLaurence FishburneMarcia Gay HardenLaura Linney

This film is a brilliantly acted out drama recieving solid acting from all actors involved. Special mention goes out to Sean Penn and to a limited degree Tim Robbins, who both are phenomenal in the film. We see Kevin Bacon is a good guy role, as well as a heavier Lawrence Fishburne in a role which is not Morpheus aspired at all. It’s good to see how didn’t get type-cast right after the Matrix Trilogy.

Three neighbourhood friends grow apart to become entirely different men the day that one of them is taken by people impersonating police officers and is raped for several days before managing to escape.

Sean Penn, a former hijacker and strong-man who now runs a local family supermarket finds his oldest daughter dead by an unknown assailant. Kevin Bacon, now a federal agent, and his partner Lawrence Fishburne are charged with the investigation, while it seems to point in the direction of Tim Robbins, who plays Dave, a not-so-intelligent guy, and the one who was taken when they were younger, leaving him deeply confused.

I recommend this to everyone, since it has a very broad appeal, I think.