Freaky Friday (2003)

Freaky Friday
Director: Mark Waters
Writer: Heather Hach, Leslie Dixon
Based on: Mary Rodgers‘s book
Cast: Jamie Lee Curtis, Lindsay Lohan, Mark Harmon, Harold Gould, Chad Michael Murray, Stephen Tobolowsky, Christina Vidal, Ryan Malgarini, Haley Hudson, Rosalind Chao, Lucille Soong, Willie Garson, Julie Gonzalo
Seen on: 13.4.2020
[Here’s my review of the 1976 version.]

Content Note: racism

Plot:
Anna (Lindsay Lohan) and her mother Tess (Jamie Lee Curtis) don’t get along very well. While Tess is preparing for her wedding to Ryan (Mark Harmon), juggling a demanding career and just published a book, Anna is less goal-oriented. In fact, her interests only lie in her band – together with her friends Peg (Haley Hudson) and Maddie (Christina Vidal) – and Jake (Chad Michael Murray), the boy she’s been crushing on from afar. When things come to a head at a family dinner in a Chinese restaurant, the restaurant owner (Lucille Soong) decides to take matters into her own hands and hands Anna and Tess two fortune cookies that the crack open. When they wake up the next morning, they have swapped bodies – and both have to learn that things aren’t easy for either of them.

Before I watched the film, I could have sworn that I had seen it, even if that was many years ago. But now that I did watch it, I’m pretty sure that all I saw of it were gifsets. In any case, Freaky Friday is fun enough, despite the racist twist on the “curse”, and there are definitely some interesting points to make when you compare it to the version that came almost 30 years before.

The film poster showing Anna (Lindsay Lohan) dressed all business-like and Tess (Jamie Lee Curtis) in a rock get-up, both with shocked facial expressions.
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What a Girl Wants (2003)

What a Girl Wants
Director: Dennie Gordon
Writer: Jenny Bicks, Elizabeth Chandler
Based on: William Douglas Home‘s play The Reluctant Debutante
Cast: Amanda Bynes, Colin Firth, Kelly Preston, Eileen Atkins, Anna Chancellor, Jonathan Pryce, Oliver James, Christina Cole
Seen on: 3.1.2020

Plot:
Daphne (Amanda Bynes) lives with her mother Libby (Kelly Preston), an artist and a free spirit. Daphne has never met her father, she only has a photo of him and knows that he is British. Taking a leaf out of her mother’s book, she decides that the best thing she could do is get on a plane, fly to London and find him. So that’s what she does. And things start pretty well. She meets the cute musician Ian (Oliver James) and she actually quickly finds her father – Henry Dashwood (Colin Firth), who is running for political office at the moment and could not learn about an illegitimate teenage daughter at a worse time. So they have a lot of stuff to figure out.

I was actually not sure if I had seen What a Girl Wants before. It feels like I must have, but having seen it now, I’m now certain that I hadn’t before. Anyway, it’s fun in many ways and if you’re looking for 90 minutes entertainment that doesn’t need you to think for a single second, it could be just the film for you.

The film poster showing Daphne (Amanda Bynes) dressed in a shirt with the USA flag standing in front of two beefeaters.
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The Room (2003)

The Room
Director: Tommy Wiseau
Writer: Tommy Wiseau
Cast: Tommy Wiseau, Juliette Danielle, Greg Sestero, Philip Haldiman, Carolyn Minnott, Robyn Paris, Mike Holmes
Seen on: 26.1.2018
1-gif-review

Plot:
Johnny (Tommy Wiseau) is successful, rich and has a beautiful fiancée, Lida (Juliette Danielle). With his tight circle of friends – tightest of all being Mark (Greg Sestero) – he has a happy and pretty much carefree life. His wedding is fast approaching, but something is happening with Lisa: she seems to take a sudden interest in Mark. And Mark can’t withstand her manipulations.

The Room is famous for being one of the worst movies ever. It’s so bad that it has garnered a cult following. You’ve got to see it to believe it – and I have to say that seeing it is an absolute experience, especially when you’re watching it with a crowd.

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How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003)

How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
Director: Donald Petrie
Writer: Kristen Buckley, Brian Regan, Burr Steers
Based on: Michele Alexander and Jeannie Long’s comic
Cast: Kate Hudson, Matthew McConaughey, Kathryn Hahn, Annie Parisse, Adam Goldberg, Thomas Lennon, Michael Michele, Shalom Harlow, Robert Klein
Seen on: 21.1.2018
1-gif-review

Plot:
Andie (Kate Hudson) writes a How to-column for a magazine and she’s in need of a new idea, especially since she wants to write something of more substance. She may get the chance to do so if she writes a column on how to lose a guy in 10 days. Meanwhile ad executive Ben (Matthew McConaughey) has to prove that he knows what women want. He proposes a bet, promising to make any woman fall in love with him. His colleagues accept – and point to Andie as the object of his plot. As they both work towards opposite goals, their dates are quite tumultuous.

How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days was suprisingly charming and didn’t veer into the condescending romantic direction that movies about covert bets usually do. It’s not a revolutionary film, but I enjoyed it.

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Selma & Sofie (2003)

Selma & Sofie
Director: Mia Engberg
Cast: Camilla Carlsson, Sara Lindkvist
Seen on: 15.10.2016

Plot:
Selma (Camilla Carlsson) meets Sofie (Sara Lindkvist) at the pool and feels immediately drawn to her. Despite her boyfriend at home, Selma finds herself actively searching out Sofie.

Selma & Sofie concluded the “Lesbian porn first” special I saw, being the first Lesbian porn film (by and for women) that actually showed explicit sex (the lack of which arguably makes Shadows and Airport not even “real” porn). Despite the explicit sex, the film is more focused on the romance of the story and it’s very sweet indeed. It may not work as well as a porn, but as a love story it’s nice.

Exploration (2003)

Exploration
Director: Joerg Burger
Seen on: 28.03.2015

Plot:
Two women are talking in what is quickly revealed as a psychiatric setting. But who analyzes whom?

Exploration is an interesting short film, but I did call the big twist rather early. Nevertheless it was fascinating to watch.

[SPOILERS]

explorationIt turns out that Exploration is footage of an actual psychiatric training talk, with a psychiatrist playing a patient, and a younger trainee trying to figure out what’s wrong with her. So first the trainee tries to evaluate the performed mental health, than the doctor tries to evaluate the trainee. I thought that would be the case pretty early on, so I leant back to enjoy the acting performance of the doctor – because she was frankly amazing. I do wonder if she would be up to shooting a film. That would be great.

But apart from that performance the film remained too much of a sterile concept, though one that is not without effect.

Summarizing: Interesting.

The Station Agent (2003)

The Station Agent
Director: Thomas McCarthy
Writer: Thomas McCarthy
Cast: Peter Dinklage, Bobby Cannavale, Patricia Clarkson, Michelle Williams, Richard Kind, John Slattery, Joe Lo Truglio, Lynn Cohen

Plot:
Fin (Peter Dinklage) lives a very quiet life working in a model train shop. Until the shop owner and Fin’s only friend Henry (Paul Benjamin) dies and leaves Fin an abandoned train station in the middle of nowhere where Fin decides to move to. There Fin is found by Joe (Bobby Cannavale) who runs a foodtruck for his sick dad and then Fin is almost run over – twice – by Olivia (Patricia Clarkson), a painter going through a rough time. All three are obviously lonely and struggle with human contact in very different ways. But somehow that seems just the perfect recipe.

The Station Agent was a really sweet, entertaining and pretty much wonderful film. There is nothing not to like about it.

thestationagent

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Fear X (2003)

Fear X
Director: Nicolas Winding Refn
Writer: Nicolas Winding Refn, Hubert Selby Jr.
Cast: John Turturro, Deborah Kara Unger, James Remar, Jacqueline Ramel

Plot:
Harry’s (John Turturro) wife Claire (Jacqueline Ramel) was shot and killed. Nobody knows why or by whom. Harry spends all his spare time looking at security footage and trying to piece everything together. He is haunted by visions of Claire which are slowly but surely pointing him in a certain direction. So Harry starts investigating even harder and finds a trace that leads him to Kate (Deborah Kara Unger) and the murderer.

Fear X is an idiosyncratic movie. It’s beautiful to look at, with a mesmerizing performance by John Turturro but it won’t fit any mold easily.

fearx

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2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)

2 Fast 2 Furious
Director: John Singleton
Writer: Michael Brandt, Derek Haas
Sequel to: The Fast and the Furious
Cast: Paul Walker, Tyrese Gibson, Eva Mendes, Cole Hauser, Ludacris, Thom Barry, James Remar, Devon Aoki, Amaury Nolasco, Michael Ealy,
Mark Boone Junior

Plot:
After what happened in The Fast and the Furious, Brian (Paul Walker) now makes his money with illegal car races. At least until the police grab him and suggest that he could do some undercover work for them again. So Brian chooses a partner, Roman (Tyrese Gibson) who he grew up with and together they infiltrate the crew of drug dealer Verone (Cole Hauser), joining Monica (Eva Mendes) who has been undercover there for months.

2 Fast 2 Furious was actually pretty boring. I didn’t care much about the plot or the characters and since I don’t care for cars, either, there was nothing, really, that could have sold this film to me.

2fast2furious

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Re-Watch: Oldeuboi [Oldboy] (2003)

Oldeuboi
Director: Chan-wook Park
Writer: Jo-yun Hwang, Chun-hyeong Lim, Joon-hyung Lim, Chan-wook Park
Based on: Nobuaki Minegishi and Garon Tsuchiya‘s comic
Part of: The Vengeance Trilogy
Cast: Min-sik Choi, Ji-tae Yu, Hye-jeong Kang, Dae-han Ji, Dal-su Oh, Byeong-ok Kim

Plot:
Dae-su (Min-sik Choi) is a drunk who is thoroughly screwing up his and his daughter’s life when he’s kidnapped. After 15 years of imprisonment for reasons unknown to him, he’s released. Still having no clue what happened, he slowly tries to figure things out, find his daughter again and take revenge on whomever imprisoned him.

I remember watching Oldboy for the first time. I was alone at the movies (at the time that was still a rare thing for me) and I practically ripped the armrest out cause of all the tension. When I left, I never wanted to see the film again. But it didn’t let go of me, so I decided to give it another go. And it’s still amazingly good, even if I am a little more jaded.

oldboy

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