Category Archives: 2000

Movies released in 2000.

Review: Battle Royale

Director: Kinji Fukasaku
Year: 2000
Score: 7.5/10

Shamelessly excessive but wholly compelling precursor to The Hunger Games. It doesn’t necessarily all make sense, and giving the audience a coherent explanation for what’s going on hardly seems a priority for director Kinji Fukasaku, yet it’s hard not to enjoy the ultra-violence even when melodrama threatens to overwhelm.

Some of the characters are extremely cool. Some of the dialogue – such as when a dying girl tells a dying boy who she has a crush on that he “looks cool” – less so.

The music is strangely old-fashioned and derivative, as though blending together the scores of Western (as in non-Asian, not cowboys) matinee specials from decades long past. At times I thought I could hear the strains of John Williams’ Star Wars theme.

Apparently Quentin Tarantino has cited this as his favourite film, and its influence (on his work and others’) is plain to see. Look out for a yellow outfit that I assumed was one of the inspirations for Uma Thurman’s get-up in Kill Bill, though apparently the inspiration actually came from the Bruce Lee film Game of Death.

The plot gets silly at times, and in some ways I think The Hunger Games is actually an improvement (sacrilege, I know), but it’s definitely worth checking out. Just try to ignore the parts that don’t add up or tip from the good kind of over-the-top to the embarrassingly bad kind.

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Review: Small Time Crooks

Director: Woody Allen
Year: 2000
Score: 7.5/10

This scene in the sole reason Small Time a Crooks needs a 3D rerelease, pronto.

This scene in the sole reason Small Time a Crooks needs a 3D rerelease, pronto.

One of Woody Allen’s more enjoyable late-career offerings. While it may not have much depth or meaning, it has at least three things in its favour: a funny script, funny characters and funny situations. I’m not usually a fan of Tracey Ullman (apart from her amusing performance in Robin Hood: Men in Tights), but she’s wonderful in this. Allen is his usual self. It goes in such an unexpected and rewarding direction after Ullman’s character’s cookie business takes off; we get a ‘One Year Later’ time-jump, and then perhaps the best part of the film, a hilarious sequence in the form of a TV news report or documentary to get us up to speed. On the other hand, the sequence toward the end involving Allen and a safe is a misfire, generating very few laughs.

Review: Chocolat

Director: Lasse Hallström
Year: 2000
Score: 5.5/10

I was greatly disappointed by this, though I can’t recall the basis of my high expectations. The cast is fine (though Johnny Depp doesn’t seem hugely interested) and the direction is adequate. However, the central conflict is so obvious, clichéd and predictable that it’s very difficult to invest in at all. The filmmakers seem to believe they’re presenting a potent fable – though doing so with a delightful tone, and with chocolate!; who can resist? – but it comes across as a movie trying too hard to win its audience over. The romance is also quite flat. Despite all this, it’s watchable enough if you can get past the predictability.

Review: Requiem for a Dream

Director: Darren Aronofsky
Year: 2000
Score: 7.5/10

Harrowing portrait of four characters whose lives are chewed up and spat out by drug addiction and delusion. There are some images in this movie that are so horrific I’ll never forget them. It’s a very good movie, but one I never need to see again. Ellen Burstyn is phenomenal; her transformation is completely believable and incredibly disturbing. Interesting and effective use of Kronos Quartet music. The style is flashy at times (particular in the use of fast cut montages, split-screen sequences, and SnorriCam shots), but it all works quite well and is done for good reasons. My reluctance to score this higher is due to the fact that by the end I was left wondering if it had really given me anything new (other than some new images to haunt my dreams); the underlying ‘drugs are bad, m’kay?’ message has been told countless times before, and though Darren Aronofsky denies that this is a movie about drugs, I’m not entirely convinced.