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2002 in film

Related: 2002 - film

Titles: The Hours (2002) - City of God (2002) - Fernando Meirelles, Kátia Lund - 24 Hour Party People (2002) - Adaptation (2002) - Irréversible (2002) - Russian Ark (2002) - Secretary (2002)

Spun (2002) - Jonas Ĺkerlund [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Spun is an unclassifiable ensemble piece, intentionally bleached of soulfulness and high on visual invention and comic depravity. Set in north Los Angeles, where meth freaks lurch from one motel room to another in search of companionship and a score, the film stars Jason Schwartzman as Ross, whose life is rapidly disintegrating. Fielding phone messages from his mother and trying in vain to reach an old girlfriend, Ross spends most of his time on a feverish circuit with the half-mad Cookie (Mena Suvari) and Nikki (Brittany Murphy), the dangerously paranoid Spider Mike (John Leguizamo), and a macho drugmaker called the Cook (Mickey Rourke). Director Jonas Akerlund's story is nonexistent, but then again Spun is driven by the blurry, hellish energy of a life lived on speed. An obvious influence is Darren Aronofsky's Requiem for a Dream, but Akerlund is interested in nightmarish set pieces than tiny horrors of misfired nerve endings and ravaged time. --Tom Keogh

More films

  1. Hable con Ella - Talk to Her (2002) [DVD, Amazon US]
    Writer-director Pedro Almodóvar makes another masterpiece with Talk to Her, his first film since the wonderful All About My Mother. Marco (Dario Grandinetti) is in love with Lydia (Rosario Flores), a female bullfighter who is gored by a bull and sent into a coma. In the hospital, Marco crosses paths with Benigno (Javier Camara), a male nurse who looks after another coma patient, a young dancer named Alicia (Leonor Watling). From Benigno's gentle attentiveness to Alicia, Marco learns to take care of Lydia... but from there, the story goes in directions that deftly manage to be sad, hopeful, funny, and creepy, sometimes at the same time. The rich human empathy of Almodóvar's recent films is passionate, heartbreaking, intoxicating--there aren't enough adjectives to praise this remarkable filmmaker, who is at the height of his powers. Talk to Her is superb, with outstanding performances from all involved. --Bret Fetzer for amazon.com

  2. The Man Without a Past (2002) - Aki Kaurismäki [Amazon US]
    The spare and quirky comedy of Finnish auteur Aki Kaurismaki is in delightful form in The Man Without a Past. A man (Markku Peltola) awakens after a brutal mugging with no memory; he wanders into the outskirts of Helsinki with his face wrapped like an escapee from a classic horror film. A destitute family helps nurse him back to health and a Salvation Army worker named Irma (Kati Outinen) helps him get a job. Though bureaucrats and policemen who can't seem to cope with this amnesiac's lack of established identity, the amnesiac plants potatoes, manages a rock & roll band, and romances Irma as he builds a new self. Kaurismaki weaves his movies out of small details and careful, cautious steps forward--but by the end, The Man Without a Past has become a rich, engrossing, and very funny portrait of the possibilities of life. --Bret Fetzer, amazon.com

  3. Frida (2002) - Julie Taymor [Amazon US]

    Salma Hayek makes up for many bad movies with her fierce performance in this sumptuous film. Hayek plays the Mexican surrealist painter Frida Kahlo, whose tempestuous life with her unfaithful husband, muralist Diego Rivera (Alfred Molina), drives the story of Frida. Maverick director Julie Taymor (Titus, the Broadway stage production of The Lion King) pulls out a wealth of gorgeous visuals to capture everything from the horrific bus accident that damaged Kahlo's spine to her and Rivera's trip to New York City, where Rivera's political leanings ruptured a commission from the Rockefeller family. Though the script spends too much time telling us how great Frida's painting is (rather than trusting in the power of the images themselves), Taymor's dynamic energy and Kahlo's forceful personality give Frida genuine emotional impact. The superb cast includes Roger Rees, Valeria Golino, Ashley Judd, Geoffrey Rush, Antonio Banderas, and Edward Norton. --Bret Fetzer

  4. Spider (2002) - David Cronenberg [Amazon US]
    Internal madness is hypnotically externalized in David Cronenberg's Spider, a disturbing portrait of schizophrenia. Adapted by Patrick McGrath from his celebrated novel, this no-frills production begins when "Spider" Cleg (Ralph Fiennes, in a daring, nearly nonverbal role) returns to his childhood neighborhood in London's dreary East End, where a traumatic event from his past percolates to the surface of his still-erratic consciousness. Released from a mental institution and left to fend for himself, he pursues elusive memories while staying in a halfway house run by a stern matron (Lynn Redgrave), unable to distinguish between past, present, and psychological fabrication. The distorting influence of Spider's mind is directly reflected in Cronenberg's cunning visual strategy, presenting a shifting "reality" that's deliberately untrustworthy, until the veracity of nearly every scene is called into question. With an impressive dual-role performance by Miranda Richardson, Spider falls prey to its own lugubrious rhythms, but like the acclaimed 1995 indie film Clean, Shaven, it's a compelling glimpse of mental illness, seen from the inside out. --Jeff Shannon for Amazon.com

  5. Sex is Comedy (2002) - Catherine Breillat
    Breillat has encapsulated her beliefs about filmmaking in her latest movie, Sex Is Comedy. It's almost self-parody, the story of a female director shooting an intimate film with a recalcitrant male lead, but it's a far cry from those loving recreations of the movie world such as François Truffaut's La Nuit américaine. --http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jhtml?xml=/arts/2003/07/19/bfmof19.xml

  6. Phone Booth (2002) - Larry Cohen [Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    By some lucky quirk of fate, Phone Booth landed on Hollywood's A-list, but this thriller should've been a straight-to-video potboiler directed by its screenwriter, veteran schlockmeister Larry Cohen, who's riffing on his own 1976 thriller God Told Me To. Instead it's a pointless reunion for fast-rising star Colin Farrell and his Tigerland director, Joel Schumacher, who employs a multiple-image technique similar to TV's 24 to energize Cohen's pulpy plot about an unseen sniper (maliciously voiced by 24's Kiefer Sutherland) who pins his chosen victim (a philandering celebrity publicist played by Farrell) in a Manhattan phone booth, threatening murder if Farrell doesn't confess his sins (including a mistress played by Katie Holmes in a thankless role). In a role originally slated for Jim Carrey, Farrell brings vulnerable intensity to his predicament, but Cohen's irresistible premise is too thin for even 88 brisk minutes, which is how long Schumacher takes to reach his morally repugnant conclusion. --Jeff Shannon for amazon.com

  7. Far from Heaven (2002) - Todd Haynes [Amazon US]
    This uniquely beautiful film--from one of the smartest and most idiosyncratic of contemporary directors, Todd Haynes (Safe, Velvet Goldmine)--takes the lush 1950s visual style of so-called women's pictures (particularly those of Douglas Sirk, director of Imitation of Life and Magnificent Obsession) to tell a story that mixes both sexual and racial prejudice. Julianne Moore, an amazing fusion of vulnerability and will power, plays a housewife whose husband (Dennis Quaid) has a secret gay life. When she finds solace in the company of a black gardener (Dennis Haysbert), rumors and peer pressure destroy any chance she has at happiness. It's astonishing how a movie with such a stylized veneer can be so emotionally compelling; the cast and filmmakers have such an impeccable command of the look and feel of the genre that every moment is simultaneously artificial and deeply felt. Far from Heaven is ingenious and completely engrossing. --Bret Fetzer for Amazon.com

  8. The Vagina Monologues (2002) - Eve Ensler [Amazon US]
    Anyone who has only seen celebrities perform Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues--or, for that matter, anyone who hasn't seen them at all--should give themselves the present of this HBO special, which captures Ensler's own performance. Some of the monologues--on topics ranging from the word itself (and other words), hair, orgasms, and more--are cute, some are shocking, but all are grounded in Ensler's clear intelligence, sardonic wit, and her crisp and supple voice. The simplicity of the performance is augmented with interviews with other women talking about their vaginas and interviews with Ensler herself. It's amazing that even in the 21st century many women are still uncomfortable with their sex organs; this bracing, wonderful, and deeply funny performance may open things up. --Bret Fetzer, Amazon.com

  9. Demonlover (R-Rated Edition) (2002) [Amazon US] The most fearless film yet by France's idiosyncratic Olivier Assayas (Irma Vep) is an unholy marriage of ruthless corporate thriller and sinister science fiction. Connie Nielsen is the American "ice princess" in a French multination, an ambitious executive whose betrayals and invasive tactics would make her a villain in any other film. Here she's just a pawn in a shadowy conspiracy that may involve contemptuous new assistant Chloe Sevigny and fellow dealmaker Charles Berling and takes her from the legal (if unsavory) commerce of Japanese Internet porn to the brutal market of underground pornography. Assayas directs his modern corporate nightmare with a voyeuristic style, a hard eye for disturbing images, and more passion than explanation. It isn't his most audience-friendly film, but his portrait of international commerce and image culture in the 21st century is impassioned and haunting--cinema for viewers hungry for ambitious and provocative filmmaking. --Sean Axmaker, amazon.com

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