Movie reviews - 2004-09-09

  • 2004-09-09
This week - The Terminal- Catwoman- Zatoichi

The Terminal

Director: Steven Spielberg

Just before Viktor Navorski (Tom Hanks) arrives at Kennedy Airport, New York, his home country of Krakozhia ceases to exist when rebels overthrow the government. His passport is now worthless, and he can neither go back nor enter the U.S.A. This forces him to make a home in the no-man's-land of the airport. "The Terminal" is Steven Spielberg at his most sentimental, and caught up in all the soppiness, he becomes unfocused. His usually deft touch has crumbled with this movie. The narrative suffers from some considerable gaps and most of the characters are more like caricatures. The story itself is romantic, and the message is life affirming - "The Terminal" might have been these things too, if it didn't so dramatically overstep the boundary between heart-gripping and mushy gush. I ¾

Julie Vinten

"The Terminal" finds Tom Hanks in Oscar-quality form as he and Steven Spielberg work together for the third time. The California-born Hanks has never been better, nor for that matter has Spielberg's directing. Who would have thought that the story of a man trapped in an airport terminal could be so fresh and completely engrossing. As astounding as it may sound, the plot is based on the real-life case of an Iranian refugee who found himself stuck at Paris' Charles de Gaulle Airport in 1988. While Viktor Navorski's (Hanks) East European country is caught up in a revolution, he becomes a non-entity without a passport. He adapts, learns English and survives. An excellent supporting cast, which includes Catherine Zeta-Jones and Diego Luna, offers stylish entertainment for the entire family. IIII

Laimons Juris G


Director: Pitof

Halle Berry might look sexy in a leather suit, but a few scrumptious purrs can't save this atrocity of a movie. When timid graphic designer Patience (Halle Berry) is murdered, she gets resurrected by an Egyptian cat, making her the vengeful Catwoman. This movie packs some utterly ludicrous scriptwriting together with painfully bad acting, show-off cinematography and miserable editing. This is a farce more than anything else, and it's funny in all the wrong places. The special effects are so embarrassingly lousy, it's almost impossible to comprehend that they were made in the post "Spider-man" and "Lord of the Rings" era. It's a sad thing when a perfectly good concept is killed off in such a brutal manner, but it's a fact: "Catwoman" belongs in the litter box. ½

Julie Vinten

How did the lusciously talented Halle Berry and Sharon Stone wind up in this absolutely awful catastrophe? Practically all of the reviews for "Catwoman" are unanimous in condemning it. This reviewer wholeheartedly agrees for the most part. However, award-winning Berry rises above the inane bullshit to deliver an over-the-top camp performance. Crawling on all fours, the actress stretches her thespian skills to the limit. She is utterly gorgeous as the camera feasts on her extraordinary beauty. The camera loves her as it loved Garbo. Forget about the embarrassing so-called script, which bears no sane resemblance to Bob Kane's original cartoon creation. Berry claws her way out of this purrfectly detestable mess with flying colors. She proves herself worthy of more respectable parts than this smelly box of kitty litter. III

Laimons Juris G


Director: Takeshi Kitano

This is Takeshi Kitano's tribute to the character of Zatoichi, the blind swordsman, who featured in about 30 Japanese movies from the early 1960s to the late 1980s. It's also a very colorful and skillfully polished samurai movie. It tells the tale of the nomad Zatoichi who, in 19th century Japan, arrives at a mountain town run by the cruel gang-leader Ginzo. Though "Zatoichi" has its fair share of blood and guts, it's one of Takeshi Kitano's more accessible movies because it's light-spirited, humorous and ultimately just wants to entertain. Kitano also stars in the title role with his usual charisma. And as a director, Kitano has an absolutely unique style. In fact, nobody around makes movies quite like he does. And that's saying something. IIII

Julie Vinten

If you're an avid film fan then you won't want to let "Zatoichi" go by without a look. This movie is a good example of what inspires Quentin Tarantino. It's the story of the blind wandering masseur who is also an expert swordsman. There have been 30 films made about this odd hero. Based on the most popular 1960s TV program in Japan, cult-favorite Takeshi Kitano creates a small work of art. Kitano not only directed, he wrote the script and is the star of the show too. The weird tap-dancing finale will blow your mind sufficiently enough to put a permanent big smile on your face. As required of a samurai epic, it's gruesomely violent, but at the same moment it's bloody entertaining. It's as Japanese as sushi. IIIII

Laimons Juris G