Thursday, July 29, 2010

#36 - Kiss the Girls - 1997

Its Mystery/Suspense week for my Movie Marathon and although I am not sure that this week can live up to last week's grade's, heck I'm not sure if any week can, but it sure does include some good ones and is sure to be a great week of movies, again. The 1st movie I chose to watch this week was Kiss The Girls. This was a great one to start the week because it had several different elements to it that I loved and that were unique to me at a certain point in my life. Below is my detailed review.

Kiss the Girls stars Morgan Freeman as Dr. Alex Cross a Washington DC Detective and book writer who travels to North Carolina to help in the investigation of the kidnapping of his niece, Namoi. This movie also stars Ashley Judd as Dr. Kate McTiernan and Cary Elwes as Det. Nick Ruskin and Tony Goldwyn as Dr. Will Rudolph. Obviously Elwes is mostly known for his role in the Princess Bride and Goldwyn for his role as the villain friend in Ghost. This film also included Jeremy Piven in a small and very brief role as LAPD Henry Castillo. It is rumored that Denzel Washington was originally offered the role but did not take it and I'm glad because as good as Denzel is I believe Freeman is actually a better actor and it wouldnt have been quite as good with Denzel, no offense.

This movie had several different things that I really liked about it besides the action which was overall pretty good however Judd was not half as good in this film as she was in Double Jeopardy. Freeman though is always an all star in all his roles and this was no different. The other elements about this film that I enjoyed was the plot, the setting in which this film took place, and the fact that parts of it, actually the majority of it was filmed in North Carolina! It was filmed in flyover scenes over the University of North Carolina: Chapel Hill and then some of the campus shots were done at Duke University, my basketball team's home!! The forest scenes in this filmed were shot in and around different parts of North Carolina some near Durham itself.

One reason I enjoyed the fact that they filmed the majority of this movie in North Carolina was that it came out just a year after I moved out there. Living in California for my entire life I never realized how pretty and tree filled other states were and I learned that when I moved to NC and I loved it there. Some of the flyover scenes in this film and the action sequences through the woods totally remind me of how it is back there, so beautiful and green, something I miss dearly while living out in haze filled over populated California!! The woods in this film play a major part considering it is there that the villain keeps his victims and also where one is eventually found after being killed. Both the setting of the woods and the candlelit cave prison underground are wonderful elements that play into this film. It adds to the intensity of the suspenseful scenes in this film and had these scenes taken place in a different location the film's flow and suspense would not have been the same.

The story was original and unique. A mysterious killer, name Casanova who kidnaps young college students who are smart and beautiful and then keeps them hid underground in a cave. There were actually two suspects in this film working across the country from each other, one in Los Angeles, CA and the other in Raleigh-Durham, NC. Freeman's character is a gritty DC detective who will stop at nothing to find his niece and with the help of one of Casanova's victims who got free, Judd, they travel to LA and back to try and catch these killers. Goldwyn is an easy to hate villain as it is since after he was slated as the bad guy in Ghost I cannot help but think he is bad in everything but the real Casanova, the NC killer was a shocker. Spoiler alert here. In a very surprising twist Casanova turned out to be Detective Nick Ruskin (Elwes) who was the lead investigator on the NC team investigating the disappearances and murder's of these young women. I personally never saw that ending coming and I thought it was an excellent twist to the film.

This movie was 3 minutes shy of 2 hours but never felt long. Although it was not as fast paced as some suspense thrillers its attention to detail was phenomenal especially when locating the hidden rooms and all the newspaper clippings, strange art, and odd pictures that were found in a very small hidden chamber type room. I really enjoyed this movie and was thrilled when I heard they were making a sequel, Along Came a Spider, which was awesome as well. That included Monica Potter who was even better than Judd but it also kept Freeman as Dr. Cross. Overall I would easily give this film an A!

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