Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron (2002)

Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron
Director: Kelly AsburyLorna Cook
Writer: John Fusco
Cast: Matt Damon, Daniel StudiJames Cromwell
Seen on: 13.08.2015

Plot:
Spirit (Matt Damon) grows up in a herd of wild horses and as he grows, he becomes their leader. But one day men, white soldiers and settlers, turn up in the horses’ territory. Spirit tries to save everyone and ends up getting captured himself and brought into a fort where the Colonel (James Cromwell) tries every trick in the book to tame him. But Spirit won’t be broken and even manages to escape with the help of native Little Creek (Daniel Studi). The Colonel doesn’t give up that easily though.

When I was a kid, I was a horse girl. I went horseback riding for many years; I read countless horse books; I nearly broke my jaw when I fell off a horse once (not the only time I fell) and decided I had to rent that particular horse permanently for a while. That’s how obsessed I was. But I was just a little old for Spirit – it came out when I was 17 and pretty much past the horse thing. But my niece has the DVD and in a moment of nostalgia, I decided to watch it. I think if I had seen it 20 years ago, I would have loved it. But now, while the horses are cute, I am not really sold on the film.

Spirit_Stallion_of_the_Cimarron

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Darkness (2002)

Darkness
Director: Jaume Balagueró
Writer: Jaume Balagueró, Fernando de Felipe
Cast: Anna Paquin, Lena Olin, Iain Glen, Giancarlo Giannini, Fele Martínez, Stephan Enquist
Seen on: 01.04.2015

Plot:
Regina (Anna Paquin) and her family – mother Maria (Lena Olin), father Mark (Iain Glen) and her little brother Paul (Stephen Enquist) – have just moved to Spain. Her father used to grow up there, but left the country when he was a child. His father Albert (Giancarlo Giannini) is still there, though, and looking forward to his grandchildren. But there is something about the rather remote house they’re living that doesn’t seem quite right. And it doesn’t take long until mysterious things start happening.

Darkness has its moments, but it also has an insistent and incessant sound design that annoyed the hell our of me and surprisingly weak performances by its cast.

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28 Days Later… (2002)

28 Days Later…
Director: Danny Boyle
Writer: Alex Garland
Cast: Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Noah Huntley, Brendan Gleeson, Megan Burns, Christopher Eccleston
Seen on: 01.03.2015

Plot:
After a group of animal rights activists tries to free monkeys that have been infected with a rage virus, all hell breaks loose. But Jim (Cillian Murphy) knows nothing of that – he wakes up in hospital 28 days later to find an apparently empty world. Looking for an explanation and narrowly avoiding the infected, he finds Selena (Naomie Harris) and Mark (Noah Huntley) who fill him in. Together they take up the fight for survival.

I have heard many good things about 28 Days Later… and so my expectations were very high. While the film is solid and good, it couldn’t quite match those expectations. But that doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy it.

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Murder by Numbers (2002)

Murder by Numbers
Director: Barbet Schroeder
Writer: Tony Gayton
Cast: Sandra Bullock, Ben Chaplin, Ryan Gosling, Michael Pitt, Agnes Bruckner
Seen on: 23.02.2015

Plot:
Richard (Ryan Gosling) and Justin (Michael Pitt) are at opposite ends of the high school feeding chain, but they are equally brilliant and equally bored by their lives. So they hatch a plan to commit the perfect murder and actually carry it out. Homicide detective Cassie Mayweather (Sandra Bullock) and her new partner Sam Kennedy (Ben Chaplin) are put on the case and Mayweather soon realizes that something is fishy. Quickly she finds herself in a dangerous game with Richard and Justin.

Murder by Numbers is nothing revolutionary, but it is a nice watch, especially for Cassie Mayweather who is a pretty great character and the generally good performances.

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Heaven (2002)

Heaven
Director: Tom Tykwer
Writer: Krzysztof Kieslowski, Krzysztof Piesiewicz
Cast: Cate Blanchett, Giovanni Ribisi, Remo Girone, Stefania Rocca

Plot:
British Philippa (Cate Blanchett) has been trying and trying to get the Italian police’ attention regarding her husband’s death but was continuously ignored. So she decides to plant a bomb in the office of the man she holds responsible for her woes. Only that things go bad and she kills four other people instead. She is arrested quickly and demands that her interrogations are held in English, not Italian. A young officer (Giovanni Ribisi) takes over that duty and falls in love with Philippa, deciding that he has to help her.

I saw the cast of this film and knew that I had to watch it – which meant that I went in without really knowing much about it. It did take me on a quite surprising voyage through twists and turns that I really didn’t expect. And I enjoyed every second of it.

heaven

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Boksuneun naui geot [Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance] (2002)

Boksuneun naui geot
Director: Chan-wook Park
Writer: Mu-yeong Lee, Chan-wook Park, Jae-sun Lee, Jong-yong Lee
Based on: Nobuaki Minegishi
Part of: The Vengeance Trilogy
Cast: Kang-ho Song, Ha-kyun Shin, Doona Bae, Ji-Eun Lim, Bo-bae Han

Plot:
Ryu (Ha-kyun Shin) doesn’t have it easy: his sister (Ji-Eun Lim) is slowly dying of kidney failure, while he slaves away in a factory, trying to raise the money for a transplant. He tried to donate his own kidney, but unfortunately has the wrong blood type. That he’s deaf doesn’t help with things either. Then he stumbles on a possibility to sell his kidney, in exchange for one of the right blood type. Quite illegally of course. But everything goes wrong and Ryu is left with a kidney less, no money and he’s fired from his job – when the official transplant comes through. So he and his girlfriend (Doona Bae) hatch a plan to kidnap the factory owner Park’s (Kang-ho Song) kid (Bo-bae Han). And things only go downhill from there.

Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance is beautifully shot, well told and utterly bleak. It grips you and doesn’t let you go until the very end. Amazing.

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Re-Watch: The Scorpion King (2002)

The Scorpion King
Director: Chuck Russell
Writer: Stephen Sommers, William Osborne, David Hayter
Prequel to: The Mummy Returns
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Kelly Hu, Steven Brand, Michael Clarke Duncan, Bernard Hill, Grant Heslov, Peter Facinelli

Plot:
Memnon (Steven Brand) is taking over the world, one battle at a time, with the help of Cassandra’s (Kelly Hu) prophecies. The few remaining tribes come together and hire Mathayus (Dwayne Johnson) to try and stop Memnon by killing the sorceress. But things go differently than planned and Mathayus finds himself in the desert with a small-time crook (Grant Heslov) and said sorceress who is still very much alive. It seems destiny has a bigger fate in store for Mathayus.

Oh, I can not even begin to explain how much nostalgia is attached to this film in my head. Without that I probably wouldn’t like it as much as I do, though it would still be an amazingly cheesy, entertaining schlockfest.

the_scorpion_king

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Dummy (2002)

Dummy
Director: Greg Pritikin
Writer: Greg Pritikin
Cast: Adrien Brody, Milla Jovovich, Vera Farmiga, Illeana Douglas, Jessica Walter, Ron Leibman, Jared Harris

Plot:
Steven (Adrien Brody) works a thankless office job and still lives at  home, where he dreams of becoming a ventriloquist. And one day he decides to actually go for it. He quits his job and starts training, with the support of his best friend Fangora (Milla Jovovich), who dreams of being a successful singer herself. Steven’s unemployment agent Lorena (Vera Farmiga) even finds a job for him, which leads Steven to express his crush on her in a rather unfortunate way. But bit by bit, he pieces his new life together.

I didn’t expect much of this film, despite the cast, because it apparently just disappeared directly into the bargain bin when it came out. But actually tht disappearance was absolutely uncalled for: it is a very sweet movie with a very nice message.

dummy

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Cinemania (2002)

Cinemania
Director: Angela Christlieb, Stephen Kijak

Plot:
Cinemania follows five of New York’s most avid movie-goers. And when I say that I mean that their entire life revolves around going to the cinema and watching movies – seeing 3 movies a day being pretty much standard for them – even if it means sacrificing all social contacts or any other activities outside of the cinema.

Cinemania is a really nice film. It is interesting to watch, though I didn’t feel like I learned much about the issue. It is just a slice of the lives of these cinemaniacs. And it was also a nice confirmation that I’m not completely crazy yet.

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Re-Watch: The Bourne Identity (2002)

The Bourne Identity
Director: Doug Liman
Writer: Tony Gilroy, W. Blake Herron
Based on: Robert Ludlum‘s novel
Cast: Matt Damon, Franka Potente, Chris Cooper, Brian Cox, Julia Stiles, Clive Owen

Plot:
A man (Matt Damon) is found floating in the middle of the sea with several shot wounds. The doctor on board puts him back together again, but the guy suffers from amnesia. The only clue he has is a number to a Swiss bank account. When he follows that clue, he finds out that his name is Jason Bourne. And he finds himself hunted by several agencies. Finding an ally in Marie (Franka Potente) who gives him a ride, Bourne tries to piece back together his past.

The Bourne Identity is one of our modern classics, and with good reason. It’s tightly paced, very well acted and tells a good story that keeps you interested even after multiple viewings.

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