Fantasy/US/ English (Japanese subtitles)/113mins
Starring: Jason Isaacs, Jeremy Sumpter, Rachel Hurd-Wood
This made-for-instant-success CG fest tells
the classic Peter Pan like it really was in JMBarrie’s book.
The Disney-panto sentimentality is gone. Instead we have the stirrings
of sexual awakening and intimations of mortality. Peter and Wendy actually
kiss and Hook is a mess of jealousies, bitterness and hatred of youth.
Hook, played by Jason Isaacs, is also Wendy’s dad, so the Freudsters
will be working overtime on this one.
However, the psych stuff does not take away from the ripping yarn. This
Pan is fun, arresting and brings us a bright new talent, Wendy’s
Rachel Hurd-Wood in her first role.
Out of Time
Thriller/US/English (Japanese subtitles)/114mins
Starring: Denzel Washington, Sanaa Lathan, Dean Cain
Director: Carl Franklin
Denzel Washington is the wonderfully ambivalent hero of this film. Is
he the bad guy, or the good guy who’s a bit bad — is he getting
his just deserts for actual crimes, or is he being punished too much?
Washington is the sheriff of a small, sleepy Florida backwater. His marriage
is collapsing and he gets into a torrid affair with a woman who happens
to be dying of cancer. He borrows — or steals — to pay for
his mistress’ treatment a big wad of cash impounded by the narcs.
She dies mysteriously. He becomes the suspect. Things get hectic.
In the Cut
Thriller/US/English (Japanese subtitles)/113mins
Starring: Meg Ryan, Mark Ruffalo, Jennifer Jason Leigh
Meg Ryan, whose face is an synonym of girl-next-door-niceness and innocence,
takes the audience aback by playing a frowsy teacher who is obsessed
by sex. She bonks guys for the exercise. She even bonks guys when they
creepy cops she suspects of gruesome murders.
Someone has left a chopped up piece of murder victim outside her home
and Ryan and the investigating officer get mutually hot. How’s that for
a chat up line: ‘Is that a dismembered limb in your garden or are
you just pleased to see me?’
In the Cut is by turns cool, novel and shambolic.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Horror/US/English (Japanese subtitles)/98mins
Starring: Jessica Biel, Jonathan Tucker, Andrew Bryniarski
Director: Marcus Nispel
New Line Cinema
This Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a pointless remake of the 1974 splatter
movie. Whatever you thought of the original TCM, it had raw power and
some genuine menace. This version adds nothing to the original. Modern
technology allows the makers to up the yuck factor, but mostly it is
a procession of tried and tired out horror flick clichés, cynically
strung together to make a bit more dosh out of the name. For all the hi-tech,
TCM 2003 fails to scare, provide catharsis or even make us care.
Drama/ Denmark, Sweden, UK, France, Germany /English (Japanese subtitles)/177mins
Starring: Nicole Kidman, Paul Bettany, Lauren Bacall
Director: Lars Von Trier
Dogville is a brave cinematic experimentation in which a conventional
set is eschewed for some chalk lines on the studio floor in an attempt
this film the ambience of a stage production. The story psychologically
intense. Nicole Kidman is on the run and seeks shelter in a small town
in the Rockies. At first the townsfolk are kind and supportive, but as
more is learned about the woman, the locals’ attitude changes to
bullying and abuse. Dogville presents a bleak view of human nature but
the artful direction and acting never permit it to become depressing.
Thriller/US/English (Japanese subtitles)/101mins
Starring: Gabriel Byrne, Stuart Townsend, Thandie Newton
Director: Damian Nieman
Shade is a run-of-the-mill card sharks and
gangsters flick. You’ve kind of seen it all before, but there’s enough
here to keep your interest. Townsend and Byrne are professional cheats
playing the LA underground poker circuit. No one here seems to be a genuine
card player, there are just a lot of cheats cheating other cheats. The
winnings from one game turn out to be gangster money and the boss wants
it back. The two card sharks weave a complex mess of lies and borrowed
money and you can see the big scam coming down, but not on whom.
Reviews by Chris Page