Anita & Me (2002) Movie Review

Director: Metin Huseyin

Writer: Meera Syal (Screenplay) Meera Syal (Novel)

Starring: Chandeep Uppal, Anna Brewster, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Ayesha Dharker

Plot: Meena, a 12-year-old living in a mining village in the English Midlands in 1972, is the daughter of Indian parents who’ve come to England to give her a better life. This idyllic existence is upset by the arrival in the village of Anita Rutter and her dysfunctional family. Anita is 14, blonde and beautiful – exactly what Meena thinks she wants to be. She becomes part of Anita’s world, but events do not run smoothly. Meena’s growing up – and that brings plenty of changes.

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Sweet Coming of Age Tale

Story: Anita & Me starts as we meet Meena Kumar (Uppal) who lives in a small Midlands town, the daily routine is starting to drive Meena crazy with her parents Papa (Bhaskar) and Daljeet (Dharker) trying to make the life for the future.

Meena’s life takes a change when a new girl Anita (Brewster) arrives in town, which sees her coming out of her shell more, but getting caught in the middle of following her family’s traditions or becoming her own woman.

Thoughts on Anita & Me

Characters – Meena is a young Indian girl living in the Midlands, getting close to reach teenager years, with her always feeling out of place until she meets a new girl in town, one that treats her like one of the friends, while her parents are still trying to keep her driven into the traditions, she is left feeling more out of place than ever as she is torn between the two worlds. Anita is the girl that moves to town, she becomes best friends with Meena, showing her a more English approach of different things in life, teach Meena habits her parents would never have approved off, all while having her own secret. Papa and Daljeet are the parents of Meena that are trying to push her into following the family traditions, not liking her being friends with anyone outside of the family circle.

PerformancesChandeep Uppal in the leading role is great, showing how difficult growing up was for somebody different in a town and never understanding. In the supporting cast we have Anna Brewster being the friend works very well, with the bigger known actors in the family roles showing the strength needing in the key scenes.

StoryThe story here follows a 12-year-old Indian girl living in the Midlands during the 1970s, as she becomes friends with a new girl in town, she is torn between following family traditions and wanting to be a growing teenager. This story does follow the traditions of a coming of age tale, we focus on an untapped market though, showing us how difficult being a young Indian girl, dealing with being different to the rest of the girls in the town, having to follow different traditions and dealing with racism without understanding just how series it is. We do only see the world through the eyes of Meera, who shows how an innocent point of view can see the more series issues in life, with everything coming together in a sweet style.

ComedyThe comedy in the film comes from seeing how Meera witnesses the world, we will laugh at certain things, while understand the pain bought on by others.

SettingsThe film is set in one small Midlands town that sees how one young soon to be teenager is trying to adapt to growing up.

Scene of the Movie – Meera’s letter reaction.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Never getting to the true suffering in Anita’s life.

Final Thoughts This is a beautiful coming of age tale that shows us just how the British world changed with different cultures coming together in life, to give us a new look on life.

Overall: Coming Of Age with a Change.

Jean-Claude Van Damme Weekend – Derailed (2002) Movie Review

Director: Bob Misiorowski

Writer: Jace Anderson, Adam Gierasch (Screenplay) Boaz Davidson (Story)

Starring: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Tomas Arana, Laura Harring, Susan Gibney, Lucy Jenner, Jessica Bowman

Plot: On an out of control train holding hostages and high-tech bio-weapons agent Kristoff (Van Damme) becomes a one man army to derail the terrorists and save the lives of everyone on board!

Tagline – A deadly Virus… Only one way to stop it!

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Easy to Watch Action

Story: Derailed starts when special agent Jacques Kristoff (Van Damme) is assigned one more mission, he must escort highly trained thief Galina Konstantin (Harring) who has secrets America want, the two must travel from Austria across the border by train.

His wife Madeline (Gibney) brings the family on the train to surprise him for his birthday, only to bring tension between the two, just are the terrorist Mason Cole (Arana) plays to cause a biological disaster using the train as a weapon.

Thoughts on Derailed

Characters – Jacques Kristoff is a bio-weapons agent that gets sent on one more assignment to escort an asset across the boarder with a weapon, he must lie to his wife about his target, which he gets caught out on, then he must save the passengers on the train from terrorist that want to use the weapon. Mason Cole is the terrorist that has unleashed the bio-weapon knowing there is a vaccine for the right people, he wants the weapon for his own use and is willing to kill either side. Galina is the thief that needs to be escorted, she has her own set of skills which will be used to keep her ahead of any threats that come her way and she will do whatever to survive. Madeline is the wife of Jacques who decides to surprise him for his birthday with his family only to believe he is having an affair.

PerformancesJean-Claude Van Damme is an action star you can watch in nearly anything and he does nothing wrong in the film. Tomas Arana seems to be trying to doing a John Malkovich impression and not the best. Laura Harring does well enough for the seductive woman that needs escorting. While the rest of the cast are fine without doing much.

StoryThe story here follows a soldier that must protect a train after a terrorist releases a deadly bio-weapon on the passengers and nearby station. This does play out like any action story starring Van Damme, it shows him needing to overcome the odds to protect people or in this case loved ones from disaster. It doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel, it is easy to watch and plays into Van Damme’s strengths without being on the intensity level of most films from the same genre.

ActionThe action lets Van Damme show of his fighting skills like all of his films do, you won’t be watching this one randomly, only if you are a Van Damme fan.

SettingsMost of the film is set on a train showing that the problems being faced are within tight walls that don’t offer an easy out for anybody to get of.

Scene of the Movie – Train top chase.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Split scene action.

Final Thoughts This is a truly typical Van Damme action film, it does everything it needs to without being anything that is truly ground breaking.

Overall: Van Damme 101.