Deep Blue Sea (1999)

Deep Blue Sea
Director: Renny Harlin
Writer: Duncan Kennedy, Donna Powers, Wayne Powers
Cast: Thomas Jane, Saffron Burrows, Samuel L. Jackson, Jacqueline McKenzie, Michael Rapaport, Stellan Skarsgård, LL Cool J, Aida Turturro
Seen on: 22.5.2021

Plot:
Dr. Susan McAlester (Saffron Burrows) and her team have been working on a cure to Alzheimer’s by experimenting on sharks. But after one of their sharks escaped from the research facility, attacked a ship and fortunately got brough back in by shark wrangler Carter (Thomas Jane) before anybody died, Susan is in trouble with the company that funds her research. She promises quick results and the company owner Russell Franklin (Samuel L. Jackson) wants to pay their research facility a visit. But once they start their final test, everything goes to hell.

I am reasonably certain that I watched Deep Blue Sea already at some point, but I don’t actually have any memory of seeing it before, so I’m not labeling this a re-watch. If I had remembered, I probably wouldn’t have watched it again. While it does have some nice moments, for the most part it’s pretty cringey.

The film poster showing a shark with his mouth open wide behind Susan (Saffron Burrows), up to her breast in water.
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Re-Watch: But I’m a Cheerleader (1999)

But I’m a Cheerleader
Director: Jamie Babbit
Writer: Brian Peterson
Cast: Natasha Lyonne, Clea DuVall, Melanie Lynskey, Katrina Phillips, Katharine Towne, Joel Michaely, Douglas Spain, Dante Basco, Kip Pardue, Cathy Moriarty, Bud Cort, Mink Stole, RuPaul, Eddie Cibrian, Michelle Williams, Wesley Mann, Richard Moll, Julie Delpy
Seen on: 16.5.2021
[Here’s my first review.]

Content Note: (critical treatment of) homomisia, conversion therapy

Plot:
Megan (Natasha Lyonne) comes from a good Christian household, is a cheerleader, has a boyfriend. That’s why she is completely blindsided when her parents (Bud Cort, Mink Stole) suddenly cart her off to True Direction, a “rehabilitation facility” for turning homosexuals into heterosexuals. There Megan undergoes rigorous training together with other kids in the same position. But what happens when you put five lesbians into a room? Well, sparks fly – and so Megan finds herself drawn to Graham (Clea DuVall).

When I watched But I’m a Cheerleader for the first time, I hadn’t realized yet that I was into women myself, and let me tell you, the film hits differently when you know you’re queer. I definitely liked it more now than I did back then (though I did like it then, too). In fact, I adored it.

The film poster showing Megan (Natasha Lyonne) in a pink ball gown, holding a cheerleading pompom.
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Re-Watch: Never Been Kissed (1999)

Never Been Kissed
Director: Raja Gosnell
Writer: Abby Kohn, Marc Silverstein
Cast: Drew Barrymore, David Arquette, Michael Vartan, Molly Shannon, John C. Reilly, Garry Marshall, Sean Whalen, Cress Williams, Octavia Spencer, Leelee Sobieski, Jeremy Jordan, Jessica Alba, Marley Shelton, Jordan Ladd, Katie Lansdale, Branden Williams, James Franco
Seen on: 1.4.2021

Plot:
Josie (Drew Barrymore) is a copyeditor at the Sun-Times, but she would like to be a reporter. Her chance comes quite surprisingly when her unpredictable boss (Garry Marshall) tells her to go undercover at a high school to figure out what kids these days are up to. Josie is so excited about the opportunity, she doesn’t remember that she was bullied in high school. But once she is back, all her old memories flood back again. Maybe this time, though, Josie has a chance to do better.

It has been many years that I watched Never Been Kissed, but I remembered it very fondly. I’m happy to report that it is still an utterly charming film with a cute love story.

The film poster showing Josie (Drew Barrymore) sitting on the floor, one of her knees pulled to her chest.
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The Iron Giant (1999)

The Iron Giant
Director: Brad Bird
Writer: Tim McCanlies, Brad Bird, Brent Forrester
Based on: Ted Hughes‘ novel The Iron Man
Cast: Eli Marienthal, Jennifer Aniston, Harry Connick Jr., Vin Diesel, James Gammon, Cloris Leachman, Christopher McDonald, John Mahoney, M. Emmet Walsh
Seen on: 27.1.2021

Plot:
Hogarth (Eli Marienthal) is a bright, curious child, prone to adopting critters and with a love of everything SciFi. His single mother Annie (Jennifer Aniston) has her hands full with him and with work. One night, Hogarth sees something weird in the forest next to his house and goes to investigate. What he finds is a giant metal robot from outer space in some distress, and Hogarth can’t just walk away – he helps. But a robot of its size is bound to draw attention – and not every attention is good.

I missed The Iron Giant when it came out and it had been on my watchlist ever since (that hasn’t kept me from using the ever useful “ART” gif). I finally made it, and I’m glad I did. It’s a really sweet, fun film with very nice animation.

The film poster showing the Iron Giant, a huge robot, standing in a forest, cradling Hogarth in his hands.
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Ravenous (1999)

Ravenous
Director: Antonia Bird
Writer: Ted Griffin
Cast: Guy Pearce, Robert Carlyle, David Arquette, Jeremy Davies, Jeffrey Jones, John Spencer, Stephen Spinella, Neal McDonough, Joseph Runningfox, Bill Brochtrup, Sheila Tousey
Seen on: 17.8.2018

Plot:
After a promotion that his superior feels was actually unearned, Captain John Boyd (Guy Pearce) is reassigned to Fort Spencer, middle of nowhere. The fort is small and there are only a handful of soldiers posted there. Soon after his arrival, a man (Robert Carlyle) shows up at the fort. He is in bad condition and once he finds a little strength, he starts telling them of his party who turned to cannibalism to survive. The soldiers in the fort know they have to do something about them.

Ravenous had been on my watchlist for a very long time and while I didn’t love it, it was really good. I’m glad I finally got around to it.

The film poster showing an opened mouth.
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Romance (1999)

Romance
Director: Catherine Breillat
Writer: Catherine Breillat
Cast: Caroline Ducey, Sagamore Stévenin, François Berléand, Rocco Siffredi
Seen on: 6.10.2016

Plot:
Marie (Caroline Ducey) is very much in love with her boyfriend Paul (Sagamore Stévenin), but Paul doesn’t want to have sex with her. Her increasing sexual frustration leads her to encounters with other men – be it Robert (François Berléand) who work in the school she works at, or Paolo (Rocco Siffredi) who she picks up in a bar. All the while Marie still tries to keep her relationship with Paul alive.

Romance is an interesting film that provokes discussion about sex, relationships and power. Though I found myself disagreeing with a lot of the conclusions it seems to draw, I enjoyed the thought experiments that come with watching it.

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Deine besten Jahre [Your Best Years] (1999)

Deine besten Jahre
Director: Dominik Graf
Writer: Markus Busch, Bernd Schwamm
Cast: Martina Gedeck, Tobias Moretti, Tim Bergmann, Carla Hagen, Wolfgang Hinze, Mona Seefried, Marian LöschBirge Schade, Monika Woytowicz
Seen on: 20.4.2016

Plot:
Vera (Martina Gedeck) seems to lead a perfect life: she’s the heiress of a successful company that is run by her husband Manfred (Tobias Moretti) who is devoted to her and their son Max (Marian Löschl). Then Vera starts to discover a first crack in the facade: Manfred seems to be having an affair. In an attempt to save their relationship, she whisks him away on an impromptu holiday. But very quickly Vera finds her life crumbling around her entirely and the only one who seems to be always there for her is former company employee Andreas (Tim Bergmann).

Deine besten Jahre is a strange film, made even more unusual because it’s a TV production. What starts as a normal family drama takes some surprising and sometimes downright experimental turns leading to a fascinating film that takes a while to settle.

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Meine Mutter war ein Metzger [My Mother Was a Butcher] (1999)

Meine Mutter war ein Metzger
Director: Jörg Kalt
Writer: Jörg Kalt
Cast: Jiri Bábek, Pavel Zvaríc, Christoph Müller, Sebastian Blomberg, Andrej Losin
Part of: FrauenFilmTage
Seen on: 26.2.2016

Plot:
Two students need to transport a body from Vienna to Russia which is a pretty expensive thing to do officially. So they decide to pretend that the body was simply drunk and to smuggle it to Russia by night train.

Meine Mutter war ein Metzger is a short film that was shot pretty much without a budget and in black and white, making it feel older than it actually is. But that doesn’t hurt the film at all. Neither does the fact that I can’t quite believe that the outlandish story is based on actual events like the film claims. Whether it’s half-true, all-true or all-made-up, it’s a funny film with awhole lot of black humor. I wouldn’t have minded if it had been longer.

meinemutterwareinmetzger

Nordrand [Northern Skirts] (1999)

Nordrand
Director: Barbara Albert
Writer: Barbara Albert
Cast: Nina Proll, Edita Malovcic, Astrit Alihajdaraj, Tudor Chirila, Michael Tanczos, Georg Friedrich, Brigitte Kren, Margarete Tiesel
Seen on: 12.2.2016

Plot:
Jasmin (Nina Proll) and Tamara (Edita Malovcic) were in school together when they were kids, but have since drifted apart. While Tamara is working as a nurse and dating Roman (Michael Tanczos), leading a relatively stable life, Jasmin is drifting at the edge of the politically right scene, moving from guy to guy and none of them are particularly nice. Their paths cross again, when they both end up getting an abortion on the same day. And somehow this time their connection seems to stick.

Nordrand is a smart film that looks closely at harsh social circumstances in Vienna. And it’s also a film with vivid characters that are lovingly set in scene.

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Re-Watch: Cruel Intentions (1999)

Cruel Intentions
Director: Roger Kumble
Writer: Roger Kumble
Based on: Pierre Choderlos de Laclos’ epistolary novel
Cast: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe, Reese Witherspoon, Selma Blair, Louise Fletcher, Joshua Jackson, Eric Mabius, Sean Patrick Thomas, Swoosie Kurtz, Christine Baranski, Tara Reid
Seen on: 7.2.2016
[This concludes my Dangerous Liaisons marathon. At least until I can get ahold of the other adaptations.]

Plot:
Sebastian Valmont (Ryan Phillippe) and Kathryn Merteuil (Sarah Michelle Gellar) are step siblings, united in their love to manipulate and destroy the people around them, a skill they have so artfully mastered that their ploys don’t fall back on them. Both have a new project: Valmont is trying to seduce Annette Hargrove (Reese Whitherspoon), the new principal’s daughter, who is widely known for her chastity pledge and that before school starts. Kathryn, on the other hand, is looking for revenge on an ex-lover who just dumped her for the naive Cecile (Selma Blair). So she enlists Valmont’s help to completely corrupt Cecile.

I was 14 when Cruel Intentions came out, 15 by the time I saw it the first time and I think that it is one of the defining teen movies of my generation. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good film, though it definitely does have its strengths, but it is very hard to view it separately from its influence.

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