Re-Watch: Miss Congeniality (2000)

Miss Congeniality
Director: Donald Petrie
Writer: Marc Lawrence, Katie Ford, Caryn Lucas
Cast: Sandra Bullock, Michael Caine, Benjamin Bratt, Candice Bergen, William Shatner, Ernie Hudson, John DiResta, Steve Monroe, Heather Burns, Melissa De Sousa
Seen on: 19.1.2018
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Plot:
Gracie (Sandra Bullock) has always be a tomboy and feels more than comfortable in the guys’ club that is the FBI. But when there’s a threat that somebody wants to bomb the Miss USA pageant, her partner Eric (Benjamin Bratt) finds that Gracie really is the only FBI agent who could pull off going undercover as a contestant. She just needs a bit of refinement which shall be provided by old Miss USA coach Victor (Michael Caine). Gracie is not happy about it at all, but she’ll go through with it, causing a lot of confusion in the pageant with every step she takes.

When I saw the film the last time, probably around 10-15 years ago, I was still able to laugh about Miss Congeniality. But the film, unfortunately, didn’t age well.

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Faa yeung nin wa [In the Mood for Love] (2000)

Faa yeung nin wa
Director: Kar-Wai Wong
Writer: Kar-Wai Wong
Cast: Maggie Cheung, Tony Chiu-Wai Leung, Ping Lam Siu
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 31.10.2017
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Plot:
Su Li-Zhen (Maggie Cheung) with her husband and Chow Mo-Wan (Tony Chiu-Wai Leung) with his wife happen to move into the same apartment building on the same day. Their friendly neighborly relationship changes though, when they both realize that their respective spouses have an affair with each other. In trying to figure out how this happened, they start to become closer themselves.

In the Mood for Love is a beautiful, deeply sad film that absolutely made me fall in love with it and then broke my heart.

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You Can Count on Me (2000)

You Can Count on Me
Director: Kenneth Lonergan
Writer: Kenneth Lonergan
Cast: Laura Linney, Mark Ruffalo, Matthew Broderick, Rory Culkin, Jon Tenney, J. Smith-Cameron, Gaby Hoffmann, Amy Ryan, Kenneth Lonnergan
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 21.10.2016

Plot:
Sammy (Laura Linney) and Terry (Mark Ruffalo) have always been close as siblings, but ever since Terry left their small hometown, they only rarely see each other. Now Terry is back and Sammy is overjoyed, as is her son Rudy (Rory Culkin). But the reason Terry is back is quite prosaic – he needs money and would prefer to get it an leave pretty immediately. But as he connects with Rudy and re-connects with Sammy, he ends up staying longer than intended.

Watching You Can Count on Me so shortly after Manchester by the Sea was an intersting experience, as it both reveals how much time Lonnergan has spent circling around pretty similar themes and how much he has grown as a filmmaker. You Can Count on Me is by no means a bad movie, but compared to Manchester, it’s nowhere near as polished.

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Living in a Box (2000)

Living in a Box
Director: Jörg Kalt
Part of: FrauenFilmTage
Seen on: 26.2.2016

“Plot”:
Almost 20 years ago, Kalt and cinematographer Eva Testor visited the Hotel 17 in New York. It was the location for Woody Allen’s Manhattan Murder Mytery, but also provides permanent home for a few people who all ended up staying much longer than they expected. Four of those are the people they interviewed for this documentary.

Eva Testor – who was already the cinematographer for Meine Mutter war ein Metzger – told us after the film that they were actually shooting Shops Around the Corner (which took a while to finish and is coming out this year), and Living in a Box just happened in the margins of that shoot. They found four of the permanent residents, shot interviews with them (one only wanted audio recordings) and shot a bit of footage in the hotel and that’s what became the film.

Surprisingly for a film that came together quite spontaneously and is short to boot (only 30 minutes), it feels extremely well-rounded. I have seen films that don’t manage that sense of purpose, or maybe meaning is the better word, with much more extensive planning. They found extraordinary people in a fascinating place and managed to capture their respective qualities. A wonderful film.

hotel17

Re-Watch: Mission: Impossible II (2000)

Mission: Impossible II
Director: John Woo
Writer: Robert Towne
Based on: The TV Series
Sequel to: Mission: Impossible
Cast: Tom CruiseThandie Newton, Dougray Scott, Ving Rhames, Richard Roxburgh, John Polson, Brendan Gleeson, Rade Serbedzija, William Mapother, Dominic Purcell
Seen on: 3.8.2015

Plot:
Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is tasked with retrieving the stolen Chimera virus: a supervirus that kills within a short amount of time. To get it, he is supposed to recruit thief Nyah (Thandie Newton), but as it turns out not for her skill set but rather for the fact that she used to date Ethan’s former co-agent who is responsible for the theft of the virus, Sean Ambrose (Dougray Scott). Ethan is uncomfortable involving Nyah in all of this, especially since he finds himself falling for her.

Holy fuck, I had forgotten how absolutely atrociously bad Mission: Impossible II is. It’s abysmal. It’s frankly astounding that they ever got to make another film in the franchise because this film was certainly bad enough to irrevocably kill it.

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Re-Watch: Komm, süßer Tod [Come, Sweet Death] (2000)

Komm, süßer Tod
Director: Wolfgang Murnberger
Writer: Wolf HaasJosef Hader, Wolfgang Murnberger
Based on: Wolf Haasnovel
Cast: Josef Hader, Simon Schwarz, Barbara Rudnik, Michael Schönborn, Bernd Michael Lade, Nina Proll, Karl Markovics, Reinhard Nowak
Seen on: 13.7.2015

Plot:
Simon Brenner (Josef Hader) used to be a police man, but after a, let’s call it a disagreement with his boss, he lost his job and now works as an ambulance driver together with Berti (Simon Schwarz). Brenner is not a very ambitious person and has settled in that life. But when a nurse and a doctor are murdered, and shortly afterwards one of his colleagues and another colleague is accused of the crime, his routine gets shaken up and Brenner finds himself investigating, rather in spite of himself.

Komm, süßer Tod has an excellent sense of humor and an interesting crime story, so it’s not surprising that it was the start to probably Austria’s most successful cinema series, even though from a film-making perspective it’s actually quite abysmal.

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Pitch Black (2000)

Pitch Black
Director: David Twohy
Writer: Jim Wheat, Ken Wheat, David Twohy
Cast: Vin Diesel, Radha Mitchell, Cole Hauser, Keith David, Rhiana Griffith

Plot:
A spaceship crashlands on an unknown planet, steered by Carolyn (RadhaMitchell) who takes over from the captain. The ship carried a few passangers, most of them civilians. But among them are also Riddick (Vin Diesel), prisoner of William Johns (Cole Hauser) who is transporting him to a penal colony. While everyone is anxious at first about Riddick, the fact of the matter is that the only thing more dangerous than Riddick himself on this planet are the creatures that inhabit it.

Pitch Black is one of those rather claustrophobic space thrillers and it works rather well. Though the sometimes rather cheap look hurts the film a bit, I did enjoy it.

pitchblack

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Re-Watch: X-Men (2000)

X-Men
Director: Bryan Singer
Writer: David Hayter
Based on: The Marvel Comics series
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Anna Paquin, Famke Janssen, Halle Berry, James Marsden, Rebecca Romijn, Ray Park, Tyler Mane, Bruce Davison, Shawn Ashmore

Plot:
The world is changing and so are humans. Ever so slowly “mutants” are emerging – humans one step further in the evolution of things who have special powers. Marie (Anna Paquin) is one of them. When her power kicks in, she runs away from home and quite accidentally meets Logan (Hugh Jackman), another mutant. Together they end up at Professor Xavier’s (Patrick Stewart) school for mutants and get caught in the war that is brewing between Xavier, his old friend Eric (Ian McKellen) and the humans.

It’s been ages that I saw the film and I have to say that it holds its own quite well, even after all this time. Yeah, it has the occasional headdesk-worthy dialogue, but it’s fun, has a good cast and treats its premise with respect. Very enjoyable.

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