Cruel Intention (1999)

Director: Roger Kumble

Writer: Roger Kumble (Screenplay) Choderlos de Laclos (Novel)

Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe, Reese Witherspoon, Selma Blair, Louise Fletcher, Joshua Jackson, Eric Mabius


Plot: Two vicious step-siblings of an elite Manhattan prep school make a wager: to deflower the new headmaster’s daughter before the start of term.

Tagline – What you can’t have, you can’t resist.

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Darkly Delicious


Story: Cruel Intentions starts as the elite prep school step siblings Kathryn (Gellar) and Sebastian (Phillippe) are planning their next conquests in making the fellow students or authority figures pay for going against them. Kathryn wants to destroy new student Cecile (Blair) for dating her ex-girlfriend, while Sebastian wants to break the new headmaster’s daughter Annette’s (Witherspoon) belief about waiting for sex before marriage.

We watch how the two navigate their way through the elite to achieve their goals only for Sebastian to start to change from his seductive ways.


Thoughts on Cruel Intentions


Characters – Kathryn is the two faced elite society girl, two the parents she is the good polite guide for their daughters through the prep school, with her brother and friends she plays people however she wants to get things done, she holds grudges and has power over her step-brother, to help her enjoy seeing people fall. Sebastian has a reputation that has seen him go through the girls at the school, he gets what he wants but is bored of the easy girls that can be pushed around. He sets his sights on the new headmaster’s daughter which will give him a new look on life. Annette is the headmaster’s daughter that has sworn off sex before marriage, she is determined not to let Sebastian take advantage of her and break her code, knowing the truth about his past.

PerformancesSarah Michelle Gellar was known for her bad ass Buffy the Vampire Slayer when this movie came out, this performance broke her typecast and showed that she could do a much darker role. Ryan Phillippe is wonderful in this role, you can see how he plans to get ahead at every step of the way believing his confident character. Reese Witherspoon bought us the innocent character we now know her for, we need her to be strong, she is and that look makes her look the part perfectly. This is easily one of he best cast movies of recent years.

StoryThe story takes us into the elite prep school life where the kids are free enough to be planning their next sexual conquest because money is no longer an issue for them. Seeing how the story plans out is interesting from early on to the finish as the plans between the characters and how the step-siblings manipulate the people in their lives is twisted. The pace of the story is great too, it never feels like it lets up from start to finish. It does however show how stupid rich kids can be because they have never learnt morals.

RomanceThe romance in this film is a complete mix, we get to see how romance can be used just for sex and how it can change people to become better people.

SettingsThe New York setting is perfect for this movie, it shows how the elite school kids can get up to the most pointless behaviour because of boredom and belief they have the power over anyone.

Scene of the Movie –
The fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me These kids never go to school.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful dark romantic thriller, that uses the music perfectly, has brilliant performances and is easily one of the most watchable films out of the late 90s.


Overall: Special movie that hasn’t aged a day.




Joseph Gordon-Levitt Weekend – Stop-Loss (2008)

Director: Kimberly Peirce

Writer: Kimberly Peirce, Mark Richard (Screenplay)

Starring: Ryan Phillippe, Channing Tatum, Abbie Cornish, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Victor Rasuk, Timothy Olyphant, Ciaran Hinds, Rob Brown


Plot: A veteran soldier returns from his completed tour of duty in Iraq, only to find his life turned upside down when he is arbitrarily ordered to return to field duty by the Army.

Tagline – The bravest place to stand is by each other’s side.

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Must Watch Movie


Story: Stop-Loss starts as we see the army unit that is touring in Iraq, they come under attack losing men, Brandon King (Phillippe) and Steve Shriver (Tatum) return home with their unit for a weekend of leave with Tommy (Gordon-Levitt) and Eyeball (Brown).

The weekend in Texas shows the effects on war has had on the soldiers, Steve becoming a violent drunk, while Tommy is suffering from losing his best friend on that last mission, Brandon tries to keep them in line while he is about to eave himself. Brandon gets stop-loss meaning he must return to Iraq, but he isn’t going to return, going on the run AWOL from the army with Michelle (Cornish), Steve’s girlfriend, as he wants to find a way to leave the army, while also showing the effects of the war on him.


Thoughts on Stop-Loss


Characters – Brandon King is the squad leader of his unit, he losses men on his latest tour of duty, but believes he is out with this latest tour, he must remain calm for his men back home while clearly suffering from PTSD from the events. He gets ordered to return to Iraq which he isn’t having leading him to go on the run, searching for answers to stop his return to war. Steve is Brandon’s best friend and fellow star of their home town, he returns home to get married, but his suffering is clearer to see and this puts his relationship with Michelle in the air. Michelle is Steve’s girlfriend, they are meant to be getting married, but when Brandon goes on the wrong, she supports him as her relationship with Steve get worse. Tommy is another member of the unit, he loses his best friend on tour and never recovers, he drinks to get through his nightmares which shows the PTSD he is suffering from, only Brandon can get through to him and with him on the run Tommy is a danger to everyone.

PerformancesRyan Phillippe gives his best performance of his career in this role, he shows the strength his character needs while the weaknesses inside are tearing him up. Channing Tatum broke away from the pretty boys roles first with this role and shows that he does have skills. Abbie Cornish is strong in her role through the film and Joseph Gordon-Levitt is fantastic in the supporting role as the PTSD in his character feels the most destructive.

StoryThe story follows the effects of war on three soldiers returning from a tour of duty in Iraq, they are all suffering from different levels of PTSD and shouldn’t be returning to duty, when one gets Stop-loss he goes on the run, ones behaviour stops him going back with this being the only thing he wants and the third who wanted out but decides he wants to return. While the story shows one man trying to get away from his duty, it shows the larger effects of soldiers that are returning with PTSD and how easily they can just break. This is an important story about treating soldiers with respect by not forcing them to return if they are not mentally capable off because of what they have seen, done or been involved in, and how to support them as they try to return to normal lives.

WarThe war side of this film is shown in what happened to these soldiers and the aftermath of what happens when they return without the support required.

SettingsThe settings show both the world they have been living in Iraq and the home back in Texas as they are in desperate search to get on with their life.

Scene of the Movie –
Brothers fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The lack of support the soldiers get.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most impactful movies when it comes to tackle war, it shows how difficult life away from the tours can tear the soldiers apart in a war they didn’t need to be fighting. This has career best performances from the three lead actors and a story which could easily be a reality to any soldier returning from active duty.


Overall: Must watch war story.




Sarah Polley Weekend – The I Inside (2004)

insideDirector: Roland Suso Richter

Writer: Michael Cooney, Timothy Scott Bogart (Screenplay) Michael Cooney (Play ‘Point of Death’)

Starring: Ryan Phillippe, Sarah Polley, Piper Perabo, Robert Sean Leonard, Peter Egan, Stephen Lang, Rakie Ayloa, Stephen Graham, Stephen Rea


Plot: An amnesiac discovers himself leaping through time between 2000 and 2002 as his past returns to him.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: What is Real?


Story: The I Inside starts when Simon Cable (Phillippe) wakes up after a near death experience where he gets the shocking news that two years have passed since he last remembers anything, he is now married to Anna (Perabo), his brother Peter (Leonard) is dead and the year is 2002.

After believing someone is trying to kill him Simon wakes up back in 2000 straight after his car accident. Continuing to bounce between the time periods Clair (Polley) comes into his life to make things even more complicated for Simon. Simon must figure out what is happening, did he kill his brother and why nobody else will believe his story.

The I Inside is a film that really does its best to keep us guessing, we find it easy t identify each time period which helps because we have different doctors in each time. The mystery does continue to grow as the film unfolds but sadly in the end we end up getting an ending which does answer the questions but makes everything feel slightly flat.


Actor Review


Ryan Phillippe: Simon Cable is our leading man who gets stuck between two time periods the year 2000 where he has a car accident and 2002 where he ends up back in the hospital. Simon ends up having to figure out what is happening, what happened and why he is stuck in this loop of time between the two years. Ryan gives us a good leading performance where he constantly looks confused which is important for his character.

Sarah Polley: Clair is the lover of the 2000 Simon who keeps showing up but she just so happens to be the fiancée of his brother Peter. Sarah does a solid job but doesn’t get enough screen time for her character.

Piper Perabo: Anna is the new wife of Simon in 2002 that he doesn’t remember from 2000. She is very different when the two are alone were she has a grip over him that he can’t control. Piper gives us a performance in this role which is very different in each time zone.

Robert Sean Leonard: Peter Cable is Simon’s brother, Clair’s fiancée but he is dead and Simon is accused of killing him over a battle for their family’s estate. Robert gives a solid performance but doesn’t get enough screen time.


Support Cast: The I Inside has a supporting that keeps us knowing which time period we are in and which help find the final answer to what is going on.

Director Review: Roland Suso RichterRoland gives us a good mystery about what is happening.


Mystery: The I Inside gives us a mystery about what is happening which leave u wondering what is going on and it is the highlight of the film.

Sci-Fi: The I Inside brings us into the time travel element nicely without it being a full blown impact in the film.

Thriller: The I Inside tries to keep us guessing what is going on.

Settings: The I Inside keeps most of the settings inside the hospital which helps make everything feel more contained for the characters.
Special Effects
: The I Inside doesn’t really have too many special effects but the few it uses work well.

Suggestion: The I Inside is a film to try if you love a time travel mystery, but it won’t go down as one of the best of recent years. (Try It)


Best Part: The Mystery

Worst Part: Supporting characters don’t get enough time.


Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $8.8 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

Tagline: Sometimes it is hard to come back.


Overall: Time travel film that keeps you wondering what is happening next.


I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)

logoDirector: Jim Gillespie

Writer: Kevin Williamson (Screenplay) Lois Duncan (Novel)

Starring: Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe, Freddie Prinze Jr, Bridgette Wilson, Anne Heche, Johnny Galecki, Muse Watson


Plot: When four friends Julie (Hewitt), Helen (Gellar), Barry (Phillippe) and Ray (Prinze Jr) accidently run a stranger over they dump the body in the ocean. One year later upon Julie’s return to town she receives a letter say ‘I know what you did last summer’. Someone knows what they did but who?


After The Accident

After The Accident

Verdict: Slasher that has a good mystery about it

Story: This is one film that doesn’t follow the novel very well at all replacing suspense with hack and slash. The story turns into who done it? and for some unknown reason kills off people who had nothing to do with the accident. The way the main four are haunted comes off well, where the killer sends them messages in person, letter or symbols. In the boom of slasher films this stands well with them but in today’s cinema it comes off like a bit of a let-down. (7/10)


Actor Review: Jennifer Love Hewitt – Julie the good moral based character who wants to do the right thing but gets pressured into keeping quiet. Is the one who gets most haunted by the killer and has to survive and scream in the final battle. Jennifer does scream queen very well but doesn’t add enough to the smart solving the mystery side to her character. Babe Watch Award (7/10)


Actor Review: Sarah Michelle Gellar – The typical dumb blonde who dreams are unrealistic and after high school and ends up in a 9-5 job. Strong supporting role and but hide to see her as damsel in distress after Buffy The Vampire Slayer had started. (7/10)


Actor Review: Ryan Phillippe – Tough sports guy who is destining to become a bid name footballer only doesn’t after the incident. Is very good as the tough guy who is actually is very vulnerable plays the character very well. (8/10)


Actor Review: Freddie Prinze Jr – The poor guy of the group, has had to work for everything he has ever achieved and won’t be able to get out of the small town. Freddie is good in the role which would be considered his breakout role leading him to bigger and better role. Breakout Performance Award, Lesley Stud Muffin Award (8/10)


Director Review: Jim Gillespie – Puts together some suspense but not enough. This is the high point of the guy’s career which is saying he could have done a lot better with the material he had been given. (5/10)

Horror: Some good suspense and has to get some credit with the idea of trying to create an iconic weapon used in all the kills. (7/10)

The Killer

The Killer

Chemistry: The chemistry between the characters creates real friends of past and present. (8/10)

Believability: Urban Legend stuff (1/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Oscar Chances: No

Chances of Sequel: Has two sequels

Suggestion: Slasher fans will enjoy this and if you asked me for a horror film in the late 90s I would suggest this one, nowadays it has dated and with the new era of horror this can’t stand next to them for horror. (Late Night TV)


Best Part: The creation of the icon weapon.

Worst Part: Tries to offer different people to be the killer only to kill them off very quickly.

Trivia: Jennifer and Sarah actually audition for each other’s roles.

Similar Too: Scream


Overall: A simple slash lacking blood and gore.


Lesley’s Rating 85%

Rating 70