AUSTIN POWERS IN GOLDMEMBER (2002)

Directed By: Jay Roach

Written By: Mike Myers & Michael McCullers Cinematography: Peter Deming

Editor: Jon Poll & Greg Hayden

Cast: Mike Myers, Beyoncé, Michael Caine, Seth Green, Michael York, Verne Troyer, Robert Wagner, Fred Savage, Mindy Sterling, Diane Mizota, Carrie Ann Inaba, Nobu Matsuhisa, Nichole Hiltz, Aaron Himelstein, Josh Zuckerman, Tommy Tiny Lister, Jim Piddock, Masi Oka, Clint Howard, Michael McDonald, Tom Cruise, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kevin Spacey, Danny DeVito, Steven Spielberg, Quincy Jones, Britney Spears, Burt Bacharach, Donna D’erico, Fred Stoller, Brad Grunberg, Greg Grunberg, Scott Aukerman, Nikki Ziering, Nathan Lane, Katie Couric, Ozzy Osbourne, Sharon Osbourbe, Kelly Osbourne, Jack Osbourne, John Travolta, Rob Lowe

Upon learning that his father has been kidnapped, Austin Powers must travel to 1975 and defeat the aptly named villain Goldmember, who is working with Dr. Evil.


This Is where the franchise jumped the shark. It got too big and popular for it’s Own good Believing it’s Own hype. Not only referencing itself but making fun of itself to be part of laughing with others. Which ends up damaging itself and not as much fun as the previous films.

The opening plays more like an mtv movie awards spoof than a witty or memorable opening. 

It also doesn’t help that mike Myers was taking out his problems over the problems he was having on a film project SPROCKETS with Ron Howard (supposedly) which is why Seth green dons a similar look as Howard towards the end.

The film is filled with stunt casting that makes it feel more like an homage. Having Michael Caine is more of a co-star than Beyoncé as the current love interest. Where it seems she is only in the film more out of popularity. Just as many of the cameos seem there only for their then current popularity and to be in on the jokes. Rather than it being more organically funny. 

It feels constantly like the steam has run out of the premise. As this is more mike Myers seems to make it more of an occasion to make it a show to try out and play more characters almost similar to Eddie Murphy in THE NUTTY PROFESSOR. 

The film just feels like gags and leftover fat from the previous films with tired jokes and bad attempts at pop culture humor. 

This could almost be like one of those spoof films that came out at the end of the year. That made fun of bee trends in all media culture but tried to tie it under one bow like DATE MOVIE or EPIC MOVIE or MEET THE SPARTANS. This franchise started off as an homage and felt original and now has become a spoof itself.

The second film in the franchise was good but while stretching it seemed to go all the way with what still worked. This feels like it was left out of shape and warped working in those perimeters.

If you enjoy mike Myers this film is for you more as a completist. But this feels like him at his most mega maniacal. As the film is just him going through excess

He also believes his own hype. Trying to bring in modern celebrities and have them make more fun of themselves but also show their own clout. As there truly is no reason for them to be here other than to show off. It comes off as begging whoever is popular at the time to guest star in the movie to get more surprises and show a sense of being somewhat timeless, it also truly dates itself, even though it tends to jump through time periods anyway. 

Grade: C-

PUMPKIN (2002)

Directed by: Anthony Abrams & Adam Larson Broder
Written By: Adam Larson Broder 
Cinematography: Tim Shurstedt
Editor: Richard Halsey & Sloane Klevin 

Cast: Christina Ricci, Hank Harris, Brenda Blethyn, Dominique Swain, Marisa Coughlan, Sam Ball, Harry Lennix, Nina Foch, Caroline Aaron, Melissa McCarthy, Julio Oscar Mechoso, Michael Bacall, Erin Bartlett, Amy Adams, Michelle Kruseic, Shaun Weiss 

Perky, perfect Carolyn and her Alpha Omega Pi sisters plan to win Sorority of the Year by impressing the Greek Council with a killer charity: coaching mentally challenged athletes for the regional Challenged Games. When Carolyn’s assigned to coach Pumpkin she’s terrified at first, but soon sees in him something she’s never seen before: gentle humanity and honest clarity that touches her soul. To the horror of her friends and Pumpkin’s overprotective mother, Carolyn falls in love, becoming an outcast in the process. As Carolyn’s “perfect life” falls apart, Pumpkin teaches her that perfect isn’t always perfect after all.


This film tries to be subversive in that it tries to satirize 1950s forbidden romance melodramas. While also trying to be one with a few modern sensibilities. As well as more humor that tends to be cynical at times.

Where it seems like the whole world will be shattered because of this romance between a sorority college girl and a mentally challenged man she meets while trying to do charity work.

That at times can be seen as in bad taste, but ultimately remains sweet. 

Most of the characters here come across as stereotypes at first until the film allows them to show more depth. At first, it seems fairly typical but then becomes more subversive.

Though there is sex it is delivered in a more subdued manner, Except for one scene.

The film plays more like a teenage melodrama. Though too mature for them. So it might appeal to college-aged audiences. It is also a film full of bright colors 

The film seems to try to be naughty and a little controversial to gain more interest. Almost like a stunt, but as it goes along proves itself to be a little more conventional.

Though it does show a nice transition for the characters. From living their lives in a kind of young dreamworld and then being awakened to the harsh truth of reality and the world outside of college.

The soundtrack is very catchy and achieves a life of its own. As I was obsessed with it and one particular song immediately after watching the film. It ended up being the thing I remember most about the film:

The reason I discovered it was the cast. Especially Star Christina Ricci. As this was a time when she seemed to be the independent film girl. After BUFFALO’ 66 and THE OPPOSITE OF SEX. Though this doesn’t rise to the same level as those films. Here she gives an earnest performance. As most of the film is built around her character.

This feels like a film that is missing writer/director John Waters’ touch as he might have made it a little more sharp and grotesque to a degree. Though the filmmakers here seem to win for his territory with a little more modesty and sweetness, that can be bitter, with touches of bad taste. Lacking the camp needed. As a throwback to simple times and exposing the ridiculous class traditions with humor 

GRADE: C

LOVE, LIZA (2002)

Directed By: Todd Louiso
Written By: Gordy Hoffman 
Cinematography: Lisa Rinzler 
Editor: Katz & Anne Stein 

Cast: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Kathy Bates, Jack Kehler, Stephen Tobolowsky, Erika Alexander, Sarah Koskoff, Kelli Garner 

Following the unexplained suicide of his wife Liza, a web designer turns to gasoline fumes and remote-control airplanes while avoiding an inevitable conflict with his mother-in-law.


Philip Seymour Hoffman takes a stoner character who could have easily been more a comedic performance on any other film. Despite the tragedy that surrounds him and makes him heartfelt and all too human that is recognizable. 

It’s a poignant performance where we find out the cause of his addiction. We see the beginnings and the depths he goes through to feel numb to hide from fears and emotions. After the death of his wife.

It’s a mesmerizing performance that brings an extra sadness knowing his own tragic end in life. Making you wonder how parallel it close might have been to this performance. 

We see his mother-in-law’s emotional reactions. She wants to be nurturing but is also falling apart and is looking to him to help her grieve but finds nothing. 

At times the film veers close to seeming like it will be a quirky slice of life that will teach the character life is worth living and appreciating for so many unpredictable reasons, but the film is smarter than that and brings him back to reality after time to time finding peace on a lark. Like his developing friendship with a fellow recluse. 

The film explores how the world reacts and moves on as normal, but he is stunted or held back in his grief. Whereas his addiction is as odd as it is. Seems to be the only way for him to move forward. Even if in destructive ways. 

It’s a film built more on performances and the strength/Charisma of the lead actor than a conveniently plotted three-act structure.

It’s a lonely journey barely populated but it does certainly meet the characters. Who brings a little definition to a wide-ranging performance and film that likes to wander with no clear path. It constantly feels strong yet singular as one of the fears of the main character is that he caused his wife’s death or he wasn’t good enough for her when she needed him.

These darker films are built on characters and performances. Seems to be like most actors more the type he preferred. That offers a more intimate experience and more richness for an actor to offer. Performances that feel more lived in, like in the film JACK GOES BOATING that can come off as tragedies.

A tragedy, desperation not a movie to see cinematic beauty necessarily more organic. At one point it becomes a road trip movie 

In the end, the film actually does have a symbolic ending. Starting over a new at first thought we should never find out what was in the letter left for him that he carries throughout  but by actually revealing the contents of the letter it allows for closure and an ending of sorts 

Grade: B-

TALK TO HER (2002)

Written & Directed By: Pedro Almodovar 
Cinematography: Javier Aguirresarobe
Editor: Jose Salcedo

Cast: Javier Camara, David Grandinetti, Leonor Watling, Rosario Flores, Mariola Fuentes, Geraldine Chaplin

After a chance encounter at a theater, two men, Benigno and Marco, meet at a private clinic where Benigno works. Lydia, Marco’s girlfriend and a bullfighter by profession, has been gored and is in a coma. It so happens that Benigno is looking after another woman in a coma, Alicia, a young ballet student. The lives of the four characters will flow in all directions, past, present and future, dragging all of them towards an unsuspected destiny.


When it comes to Director Pedro Almodovar, With certain films his attention to detail is mesmerizing by even just the appreciation to women their style dress mannerisms and femininity is fascinating and he pulls us in 

Especially for a filmmaker who has always been artistic but also an early provocateur looking more to shock it seems Maybe now,  we Just pay more attention to every aspect of his filmmaking. Such as Melodrama, sense of color and suspense

As he seems to base his later films around stories and the works of noted authors he is a fan of, trying to match the depth and tone of their work.

Which might be why this film feels like reading a book. Introductions are made for our main characters but we really don’t know their situations, emotions, motivations or history until the film. Keeps moving and chooses to make the revelations of the twisted stories and personal histories. 

As things aren’t always as they seem. It feels like watching Two love stories that are parallel, but then come together. Though it could also be seen by the end. As before , that leads to the worthwhile love story of two damaged people brought together.

As one character stays a victim throughout. As she is more an object of fascination and infatuation. A kind of ideal, who is violated without her knowledge or permission. Then in the end. Looks to get into a romance with someone involved with her attacker of sorts.

It’s a film that challenges you. As the audience might not like or agree with the ending. As one romance is cut short though has time to blossom, yet find out it was ending. The other romance never truly existed. As it had a promising start until extreme acts ended it before it could truly start.

As the character of Benigno could be seen as hopeless romantic, but is more a stalker. Who gets his chance to be near his obsession. Ultimately being devoted to her care and taking care of her, but also getting to be physically intimate with her. Which he never treats as sexual or abused in that way at first. In fact he seems asexual sexually as though he loves her. He seems attracted and flirtatious with Marco in their friendship. 

It would seem he lives up to the ultimate title of caregiver. He also seems to idolize women as when he first falls for Alicia, it is while he is taking care of his own dying mom and it seems once she is gone. Out of loneliness his care and loving feelings are transferred to Alicia. just as he is devoted to her in the hospital, but opens up and shows feelings for Alicia even as his co-worker obviously likes him but he stays blind to it.

In fact until he is inspired by a silent movie (in a shocking and visually stunning scene) he never gets sexual. The one time he does in a selfish and undefendable act, is when he is finally punished. Throughout the movie we never really see sex, but it is introduced and we are thrown in The emotional pull of it. 

Where it gets more troubled is that this act actually brings upon a kind of miracle… a cure. Where he suffers and deserves to for her recovery and it feels like a minor religious allegory of it all. It also causes a salvation for his friend Marco

Throughout the film there are artistic touches that only add color to the characters and situations. In the end what should be simple is so haywire emotionally, but has beautiful conclusions. Albeit dark and in moments that feel sumptuous.

Even in the bullfighting sequences more the alpha but most emotional of the couple. She always feels more in control. As physically stronger and masculine yet always needing to be saved and supported in life.

It feels like we are watching lives with a bit of serendipity, not a movie or a story. Yet we are still showcased the more interesting parts 

Oddly this film is exactly what I thought it would be but still amazing. As it unfolds like a novel and feels nurturing and strangely full. Even though at heart it is disturbing if you think deep about it. it is also romantic

Grade: B+

ORANGE COUNTY (2002)

Directed By: Jake Kasdan 
Written By: Mike White 
 Cinematography By: Greg Gardiner 
Editor: Tara Timpone 

Cast: Colin Hanks, Jack Black, Schuyler Fisk, John Lithgow, Catherin O’Hara, Leslie Mann, Carly Pope, Lily Tomlin, Chevy Chase, Dana Ivey, Brett Harrison, Natasha Melnick, Harold Ramis, Kyle Howard, Mike White, Fran Kranz, Nat Faxon, Monica Keena, Lizzy Caplan


Shaun Brumder is a local surfer kid from Orange County who dreams of going to Stanford to become a writer and to get away from his disfunctional family household. Except Shaun runs into one complication after another starting when his application is rejected after his dim-witted guidance counselor sends the wrong application. So, Shaun goes to great lengths with a little help from his girlfriend Ashley and his drugged-out loser brother Lance to get into Stanford any way they see fit.

Screenwriter, Mike White seems so seething with ideas and quirky characters ready to bust out on screen. You want to follow in further stories and adventures with the characters. So they usually feel like extended pilots for a new series. Maybe it’s his background in television writing. In turn, his television series always seem like set-ups for films. While he is usually a writer-director here he only handles the script.

Jake Kasdan directs the film. He usually is an inspired comedy director. He has a more subdued, subtle dead own style when it comes to style and scripts. with films like ZERO EFFECT, BAD TEACHER and THE TV SET

This feels like a film that is distracted as we see the cavalcade of well-known actors. Half the time the film’s scenes feel like a set-up for a celebrity cameo. Like there are most to the other characters but we only get to see them at their craziest. Trying to make the celebrities more recognizable or introduce them to a younger audience. The film also plays it smart even when stupid.

This film feels like an MTV film while it tries to match its demographic and quirky style for a built-in audience. That leaves the film inspired but also grasping for something. So that it works more times than not, but still doesn’t shine. Maybe because it seems to try too hard.

Jack Black plays well in the film. What a lot of critics have labeled him, as here I found him quite humorous. As the film has a bunch of standout hilarious scenes, Involving him, but though top-billed he is more here as a supporting actor.

The film’s humor is more sold by more minor performances and supporting characters. Rather than the set-up’s

The leads and the director are both children of Hollywood superstars. They more than hold their own though these are ones they could play in their sleep.

This film feels like a minor work not deep at all. It’s mildly amusing. All could do better and have this seems to like them trying to be more mainstream.

Plus the premise of the film is that his writing is so good because of the characters in his stories. Only they aren’t characters as much as real people. So he is just writing his real-life not that creative. Which is what goes against the premise. At least as far as the ending goes. And seems dependent on.

Plus it feels like his decision at the end is supposed to be heartwarming. It more feels deceptive like he needs more material and inspiration.

Through as much as I criticize. I find myself re-watching it from time to time. It has a highly rewatchable quality. The film is short and sweet. It’s a fun time while it lasts, but never comes close to being a classic

I can’t call it a good movie, more of a precious film that doesn’t seem forced. That younger people can look at it like it belongs in a museum. Like our own personal definite gift shop as a souvenir for others to share and see.

It really says you are a good writer. If you can tell the truth and bring it all together to be told vividly for an audience.

GRADE: C+

THE NEW GUY (2002)

Directed By: Ed Decter
Written By: David Kendall
Cinematography: Michael D. O’Shea
Editor: David Rennie 

Cast: DJ Qualls, Eliza Dushku, Zooey Deschanel, Parry Shen, Jerod Mixon, Sunny Mabrey, Ross Patterson, Lyle Lovett, Eddie Griffin, Ileana Douglas, Kurt fuller, Matt shogun, M.C. Gainey, Julius Carry, Geoffrey Lewis, Horatio Sanz, Gene Simmons, Kool Moe Dee, Tommy Lee, Henry Rollins, Jermaine Dupri, Jerry O’Connell, Charlie O’Connell, Tony Hawk, Rob Van Winkle 

A high school senior branded uncool in the ninth grade gets himself expelled so he changes his image to cool kid at the town’s other high school.


The film is strange as it is a teen comedy that seems at times to be more of a spoof. Then it just becomes more of a wacky comedy that comes off more as abstract and slapstick but still makes little sense.

Though considering it is directed by a noted comedy writer. Who coincidentally didn’t write the script. So that the film feels cut up from a decidedly longer and more coherent film. Though it doesn’t matter as this is a film you just watch and have fun with what it offers. 

It’s also a movie that is built to build off of trends of the time.

Which would explain the strange number of cameos by rock stars and skaters and recognizable celebrities playing themselves and others throughout for no real reason. 

Though it might hint at, What does end up being truthful about the movie is the character’s passion for music. As it seems to almost be their everything. 

For instance, Lyle Lovett’s Father character makes no sense at all, but he is in the movie throughout. As the Square dad who seems to try to relate and overreact  to his son and his actions 

While the film feels like it got cut to pieces as some storylines and characters disappear or are never resolved. So that instead of plot or character the film tries to give you a Greatest hits version of the story. 

Which makes it feel more like a Frankenstein of teen film cliches. You have seen before Only more heightened and campy comedically. There is even a scene where Eliza Dushku’s character goes to apologize to an old friend who she has shunned and snubbed only for that friend to say “I know” before she can say anything 

Most of the female roles here are more as sex objects and hook up’s. Even Dushku the female lead has two scenes of first her trying in various scantily Clad outfits like bikinis and another scene of her riding a mechanical bull suggestively. More for a male teenage audience. Though she is both the love interest and sex symbol of the film.

The film builds off star Dj Qualls fame from ROAD TRIP. As an early version of McLovin from SUPERBAD. As his character goes from

Dork to cool in a new attitude and look with a lot of Farrelly brothers style comedy. That is gross yet heartwarming and manages to win the Audience over.

The film gave DJ Qualls the rare odd Leading man role. Even if the film Tries to play like more of an ensemble at times. 

Sure the film’s humor is lowbrow but still comes off as innocent or like it doesn’t know any better. Though with it’s juvenile humor it’s

Perfect for its intended audience. Though definitely a testament to the time period in which it was made.

It is filled to the brim with what was hip, but trends change so fast that by the time the film Actually was released. It felt a little past its Time to the audience and worse the film is so low stakes. It doesn’t Make its Mark. 

If anything this movie is more. A guilty pleasure that gets by because of its Silly and fun attitude. This film is put together very loosely with plenty of gags meant to tie the story and characters together with a moral lesson of not labeling and not believing in whatever labels you are branded with. 

GRADE: C

THE TUXEDO (2002)

Directed By: Kevin Donovan 
Written By: Michael J. Wilson &  Michael Leeson 
Story By: Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi & Michael J. Wilson 
Cinematography By: Stephen F. Windon 
Editor: Craig P. Herring 

Cast: Jackie Chan, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Debi Mazar, Jason Issacs, Peter Stomare, Romany Malco, Ritchie Coster 

Jimmy Tong is just a lowly chauffeur for millionaire Clark Devlin, until Devlin has an accident that puts him in the hospital. Tong is sent back to fetch some things for Devlin and unknowingly tries on Devlin’s tuxedo and finds that it gives extraordinary powers to anyone that dons the suit. This discovery thrusts Tong into world of international intrigue and espionage and pairs him with an inexperienced partner.


This is another Jackie Chan American comedy. That usually requires him to either team up with another star of some sort or kids. This film takes more of a middle ground by not being aimed at children as some of the material is more trying to be aimed at an older or maybe even teenage audience with a light touch. Even though one can only see it appealing more to a younger audience. 

Now the film tries to go with what works for him, teaming him up with someone else in action-comedy. Though by this time it seems like he was starring in the same movies. Only with different partners and each time seems to lower the level of quality and appeal. As after the SHANGHAI NOON’s and RUSH HOUR’s none of the other films warranted a sequel.

This time they have him teaming up with Jennifer Love Hewitt an attractive teenage partner. This also leads the film to hint at an improbable suggestion of romance between the two of them. Though he seems a bit long in the tooth for the role.

She seems here more to be the eye candy and comedic prop at times, but at least she has more to do in her role than She usually does Especially physically.

The film has a funny premise as an action-comedy. Where Jackie Chan seems more comfortable with this material. As his character isn’t a natural fighter. All the king fun and stunt hijinks are due to a gadget-laden tuxedo that he never quite gets the handle on that even has him dancing like James brown at a James Brown concert. After accidentally knocking him out. Again this shows you the level of humor.

The film is largely forgettable but is entertaining for what it is worth. It will have you rolling your eyes a bunch. After all, It’s a silly, fun movie you don’t watch for filmmaking.

I will admit the only reason I really wanted to watch the movie for was Jennifer Love Hewitt and Jason Issacs who I am a fan of, here he plays a James Bond-ish secret agent who becomes incapacitated, and Jackie Chan as his bumbling chauffeur has to take over in the mission and through a case of mistaken identity.

This wouldn’t be the type of film one would usually Watch. As you can never take anything in this film seriously especially the threats. Even the New York of the film is obviously In Sets and filmed in Canada.

Seems like a grown up film made for kids. That is how ridiculous and silly the situations and plot are at times.

Luckily in the film when in doubt cut to a shot of jennifer love Hewitt in a tight outfit and low neckline. The film seems to contain less action fight sequences then stunt physical comedy sequences which when Jason issacs wears the suit is special effects but when Jackie Chan dies it it is actual live stunts work, but is filmed the same way so it might as well be special effects

This movie is only worth watching for fans of Jackie Chan exclusively.

Grade: C

SPUN (2002)

Directed & Edited By: Jonas Akerlund 
Written By: Will De La Santos & Creighton Vero 
Cinematography By: Eric Broms


Cast: Jason Schwartzmen, Mickey Rourke, Brittany Murphy, John Leguizamo, Mena Suvari, Josh Peck, Patrick Fugit, Debbie Harry, China Chow, Charlotte Ayana, Julia Mendoza, Eric Roberts, Nicholas Gonzalez, Larry Drake, Rob Halford, Tony Kaye, Ron Jeremy, Billy Corgan 

A drug dealer introduces one of his customers, a ‘speed freak’, to the man who runs the meth lab. A crazy three-day adventure ensues.


This film is just a dirty as the characters it portrays it seems to be trying to send the message of drawing you in with the visuals and showing you the life of a tweaker so you can see how pathetic and disgusting the life is but at times it seems to also make some characters mythically cool like the character of the cook played by Mickey Rourke.. 


Worse all the bad things seem to be played more for comedy than anything else like telling a story. I wanted to like the film but only found a few things noteworthy or fascinating.


Like most movies that involve drugs as central to the plot and addicts as most of the main characters, there is a lot of misadventures that you think are going to add up to something like a plot but it ends up the movie doesn’t really have anything to say. 


Sure visually it is great and the cast is likable but they need better material they inhabit the characters but if the characters are just there with nothing to do then it’s just like the life of tweakers a waste.

The movie is directed by Jonas Akerlund who has directed videos for Madonna, He certainly has an eye for visuals but he needs to find material that matches his eye here he doesn’t find it. There seems to be an epidemic with foreign directors when they make American movies they seem to like to direct stories that focus on the underground and the downtrodden there are little joy’s and mostly bleak existences which is there right to do but at least make it dramatic or interesting that would be nice instead of making it seem like a photoshoot with a theme no substance and all deteriorating gloss. 


 There are some really gross scenes like Mena Suvari having a bowel movement or John Leguizamo’s constant masturbating or the castration of Patrick fugit I can understand the need to be shocking with your dark comedy to be noticed and make a statement.

A drug dealer introduces one of his customers, a ‘speed freak’, to the man who runs the meth lab. A crazy three-day adventure ensues.


it’s just a wasted endeavor here, in fact, the most interesting character is in the movie but really doesn’t do too much and that is Mickey Rourke the movie isn’t all bad it‘s worth a watch but it’s not as good or revolutionary as it thinks it is. 


You get to see The strippers, The dealers, Porn shops, and all the usual taboo material. But for some reason it seems rather tame and not cutting edge. 

The film has a certain hyper stylization in a kind of trash culture. Trying to glamorize it. It’s distracting though while the film tries to offer characterizations to give us in the audience, people to care about and follow. It also uses then and their pathetic was as folly for humor more than anything else.

It also was the beginning of what seems to be Brittany Murphy’s third act where she seemed to play floozies, addicts and simpletons. Ladies who just seemed off. As she is attractive but seems so out of it that you wonder if it is method acting.

As depending when you were introduced to her as an actress. At first she was a child star then she grew up and played supporting characters and then leads that were more romantic comedic or comedic then she changed her look a bit and became more dramatic. Then the third act of her career came in films like THE DEAD GIRL and SIN CITY. If you watched her grow from a Child actress to here. You wondered if this was a new phase in her career or developing a type to play. As she went fro. Cute to sexy to skanky. Though still walking to the best fi her own drummer.


The film was originally intended to be a documentary on Meth Cooks. Instead, they just took the story of a meth addict (Co-Writer Will De La Santos) and his experiences chauffering a meth cook around town in Eugene, Oregan for three days. They just embellished the stories to be more cinematic. 


 GRADE: C-

QUEEN OF THE DAMNED (2002)

Directed By: Michael Rymer
Written By: Scott Abbott & Michael Petroni
Based on the Novels “THE VAMPIRE CHRONICLES” Written By: Anne Rice Cinematography: Ian Baker
Editor: Dany Cooper

Cast: Aaliyah, Stuart Townsend, Marguerite Moureau, Vincent Perez, Lena Olin, Paul McCann, Claudia Black, Bruce Spence, Matthew Newton, Christian Norton 

In this loose sequel to Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles (1994), the vampire Lestat becomes a rock star whose music wakes up the equally beautiful and monstrous queen of all vampires.


While the film is lackluster in certain aspects it does provide a sequel to INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE and is a continuation of the vampire chronicles In The series of books by Anne Rice 

Though the fanfare for this film Seems to be In The legacy of singer and actress Aaliyah who plays the title role and who does before the film could be completed. As this was a great star-making role for her and at the time one of the few modern horror films. To have an African American in a prominent role. So that also helped bring more people of color to be fans of the film. As it at least had representation even if she is the villain in the end 

Narrative wise it is interesting that one of the scariest characters in the previous tale INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE was now the protagonist and more on the run from a more powerful vampire. Even as he has brought about her comeback. Due In part by his arrogance of becoming. A rock star despite vampires usually staying out of the limelight due to being immortal. 

The music isn’t very good and the film comes off as low budget trying to seem bigger and Stuart Townsend in the lead isn’t as charismatic as Tom Cruise who played the role first. He doesn’t even approach flamboyance. Though he does appear scared of the all too powerful vampire played by Aaliyah.

The way they incorporate her into the film is creative considering she wasn’t quite done filming all of her scenes. Though whenever her character seems to move the movements all seem to have a voice of chant. Which comes off as enchanting and freaky.

One of the few aspects that does work here is that it delves more into the history of the vampires and sets up a kind of mythology for them. 

The film is somewhat entertaining though ultimately a failure. Especially as at parts it tries to form a romance between Lestat and a human. That feels forced in this type of film. Especially when there is a mroe important matter at hand. 

In the end, even though the quality of the film feels like mroe a straight to video film for the times. The tragedy that happened catapulted the film into theaters and stands as a kind of living embodiment and dedication to the memory of queen Aaliyah.

Grade: D+

OPEN HEARTS (2002)

Directed By: Susanne Bier
Written By: Anders Thomas Jensen
Cinematography By: Morten Soborg
Editor: Pernille Bech Christensen & Thomas Krag

Cast: Sonja Richter, Mads Mikkelsen, Nicholaj Lie Kaas, Paprika Steen 

When you watch a Susanne Bier film you know you will be put on an emotional path that is in your face the whole time. the film and characters are raw which is emphasized by the grainy film she uses and the fact that most of the scenes are done in full close-up on the character’s faces. it helps that she tends to cast beautiful actors too.

I have seen her Films before this one BROTHERS was my first followed by her English language debut THINGS WE LOST IN THE FIRE. so I knew what to expect watching this film and i was still blown away. Now describing the plot of most of her films they sound like corny melodramas and the plots are, but they are also real. they are so full of emotion and address the things that are not seen in the film’s American counterparts.

The characters here feel full and real and are not afraid to show their unlikeable sides and decisions whereas other films would try to make every character lovable and likable. The thing that amazes me about her films is that on paper they are not the films I would normally watch or enjoy, but through her talented filmmaking and gut-punching scripts she makes them rewarding and essential viewing.

Sonja Richter is so beautiful a virtual screen goddess, Yet, she downplays her beauty for actually fully realizing an emotionally needy young woman. Who is engaged to be married when her boyfriend gets into an accident and ends up paralyzed in the hospital.

The female driver of the other car is so stunned she sends her husband. A doctor to talk to the young woman. Soon they become friends and he becomes her go-to friend especially when her boyfriend refuses to see her. Soon they are becoming more than friends and fall deep in love though they both feel guilty about the situation they go full speed ahead. It is here where the film becomes interesting as it explores all sides of this triangle. It even shows the effects it has on his children.

The film has no heroes, no villains just real people who make mistakes, change their minds, and don’t know what the right decisions are. The film is a multi-layered love story. that is sweet one minute and dark the next with little to no sentimentality. It’s such a gritty love story that scrapes the heart at times. It becomes hard to watch, but you must see ith through to see what happens. How will it end?

Mads Mikkelsen plays the husband he truly shows range as i have usually seen him only as a one-eyed Viking in and a villain in CASINO ROYALE. So him playing a compassionate family man who falls out of love with his wife for an unstable young woman and how it pains him to do it, is so moving.

The film is a DOGME 95 Film which is a decree that is summarized below. As with most DOGME films this one cheats on the rules a bit. but generally stays on with its doctrine. IT’s definitely worth watching and stay true to its artistic spirit.

The goal of the Dogme collective is to purify filmmaking by refusing expensive and spectacular special effects, post-production modifications, and other technical gimmicks.

The filmmakers concentrate on the story and the actors’ performances. They believe this approach may better engage the audience, as they are not alienated or distracted by overproduction. To this end, Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg produced ten rules to which any Dogme film must conform. These rules, referred to as the “Vow of Chastity,” are as follows:[1]

1. Filming must be done on location. Props and sets must not be brought in. If a particular prop is necessary for the story, a location must be chosen where this prop is to be found.

2. The sound must never be produced apart from the images or vice versa. Music must not be used unless it occurs within the scene being filmed, i.e., diegetic.

3. The camera must be a hand-held camera. Any movement or immobility attainable in the hand is permitted. The film must not take place where the camera is standing; filming must take place where the action takes place.

4. The film must be in color. Special lighting is not acceptable (if there is too little light for exposure the scene must be cut or a single lamp be attached to the camera).

5. Optical work and filters are forbidden.

6 .The film must not contain superficial action (murders, weapons, etc. must not occur.)

7. Temporal and geographical alienation are forbidden (that is to say that the film takes place here and now).

8. Genre movies are not acceptable.

9. The film format must be Academy 35 mm.

10. The director must not be credited. (Thanks to Wikipedia) a definite addition to the Film Library

GRADE: A