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Memorable Movies

Mark Tregoweth
Mark Tregoweth

Anita and Me - 2002 **** (92 Minutes) - If you only see a handful of films make sure you include the bittersweet comedy Anita and Me.

This captivating tale is about a girl coming to terms with her culture while wanting to be part of another culture around her.

No its not another coming of age melodrama, in fact its one of the funniest and most refreshing films of the year.

Twelve-year-old Meena Kumar is a British-born Indian girl living in a village in the British Midlands in the 1970’s.

At the beginning she longs to be blonde and carefree like her neighbor, 14-year-old wayward Anita.  Her suburban life is surrounded by eccentric relatives and odd-ball friends as she copes with the arrival of a baby brother and a hardcase grandmother  from India.  Through all this  Meena discovers herself  and finds value in being who she is.

The story was adapted from the novel of the same name by its author Meera Syal a British born woman of Indian decent.  A strong and real plot lets you laugh along with Meena as she takes her journey.

Chandeep Uppal steals the film with her performance Meena Kumar. Leading a strong supporting cast are several leads from TV’s

The Kumars at number 42 ,  film veteran Lynn Redgrave, and Kathy Burke ‘Linda’ from TV’s Gimmie Gimmie

Don’t go along expecting a smooth Hollywood comedy, this is a slice of life that isn’t predictable or contrived and has characters so real it’d be a pleasure to know them.

Identity - 2003  ****1/2 (90 minutes) - Caught in a rainstorm (that lasts throughout the entire film) eleven strangers are forced to spend the night at a rundown motel in the middle of nowhere. The characters scarcely have time to introduce themselves when a bloody death count starts up around them.  Survivors are left to figure out who the killer so they can make it through the night alive, but is that the real story or is there more?  The storyline is straightforward yet so intensely edgy that you can't help but be sucked in as you try and fail to, anticipate the clever plot twists and turns.

Breathing life into the film is a solid cast led by John Cusack who gets to flex some acting muscles we've never seen him use before, along with Gary Busey, Rebecca De Mornay, Amanda Peet and Ray Liota, the misfit characters are well cast and as a whole far better than what you might expect in a movie of this genre.

Director James Mangold entices you to join in and play the game as he manages to deal the right card at the right time ensuring you’ll never second-guess him.  Masterminding the film though is writer Michael Cooney who if this film is anything to go by will most certainly be a name to watch in the future.

A little bit of Agatha Christie, a whole of Alfred Hitchcock, Identity brings the thriller genre into the new millennium.  If you go to see this movie - and you should, expect the unexpected and enjoy the ride it will ingrain itself in your mind and when its all over you may well want to turn around and see it again.

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