REVIEW: THE SIN EATER (aka THE ORDER)

CAST

Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight)
Shannyn Sossamon (Sleepy Hollow)
Benno Furmann (In Darkness)
Mark Addy (Game of Thrones)
Peter Weller (Star Trek Into Darkness)

The film’s premise is that there is another way to heaven than adherence to the practices of the Roman Catholic Church. A secular Sin Eater can remove all taint of sin, no matter how foul, from the soul just before death. The purified soul can then ascend into heaven. The Roman Catholic Church, according to the film, considers this heresy.Heath Ledger plays an unhappy and disillusioned priest, Alex Bernier, a member of a fictitious religious order The Carolingians which specializes in fighting demons and other hell spawn. Father Dominic, the head of the Carolingians, has died in Rome under suspicious circumstances and Alex leaves the United States to investigate. In Rome, Alex visits the morgue and sees strange markings on Dominic’s corpse. After some investigation, he comes across a book that explains the markings as being the sign of a Sin Eater’s work. He heads to the Vatican, where an official tells him that Sin Eaters don’t exist and that Dominic may not be buried on sacred ground because he had been excommunicated for his beliefs. Alex, moving ever farther from his vocation, defies his superiors and secretly reads a holy service over the body and buries Dominic in the Carolingian cemetery (the service takes place off screen but is referred to later).Thomas Garrett, another Carolingian (there seem to have only been a total of three including Dominic), arrives in Rome to help investigate Dominic’s death. Early in the film we meet Mara Williams, an artist Alex once exorcised, who has escaped from a mental hospital and come to Alex at his church in the USA because she has a feeling that something terrible is going to happen to him. The police come looking for her, but Alex lies and denies that he’s seen her and through this exchange we learn that Mara was in the hospital because she had tried to kill Alex during the exorcism. Mara goes to Rome with Alex after promising that she won’t try to kill him again.Cardinal Driscoll (Peter Weller), who is introduced at the beginning of the film and who is tipped to be the next Pope, arrives in Rome from the USA and gives Alex a special dagger. According to a fragment of parchment Alex and Thomas find among Dominic’s books, the dagger is to be plunged into the Sin Eater while reciting a text in Aramaic. Alex and Thomas take these instructions to mean that the dagger and incantation will kill the Sin Eater and they begin hunting for the Sin Eater and the remainder of the parchment instructions. Thomas leads Alex to a nightclub where they are taken to the underground base of operations of a masked man called Chirac, the ‘Black Pope.’ The Black Pope owes a favor to Thomas and Alex asks where to find the Sin Eater. The Black Pope then hangs three people and tells Alex to ask his question of the dying men who can see what the living cannot. One of the dying tells Alex a riddle that leads to a rendezvous with the Sin Eater.On the way out of the Black Pope’s headquarters, demons attack and injure Thomas, but Alex saves him and gets him to a hospital. Alex leaves Thomas in the hospital and meets the Sin Eater, William Eden, at St. Peter’s Cathedral who explains that he has been a Sin Eater for centuries, taking over for an earlier Sin Eater (a Carolingian priest) who ate the sins of Eden’s brother. Eden is very charismatic and talks with Alex about the priest’s desires, and Alex admits he wants Mara. He then goes and presumably tells Mara this, and they make love. Afterward, Alex leaves Mara asleep and goes to Eden, who tells Alex that he is tired and ready to die and asks Alex to take his place. Alex has the dagger with him, but is curious and so doesn’t use it to kill Eden. Instead, he assists Eden with a sin eating ritual. But in the end, Alex refuses Eden’s offer because he has decided to leave the priesthood to be with Mara.Later Alex returns to their lodgings and finds Mara near death, an apparent suicide. In actuality, Eden slit her wrists and left her for Alex to find. Mara is beyond medical help and Alex quickly performs the sin eating ritual so that she can go to heaven. After absorbing Mara’s sins, though, Alex sees that there is no sin of suicide on Mara’s conscience and realizes Eden’s deception. Alex goes after Eden to kill him. The rationale that leads Alex to perform the sin eating ritual instead of giving Mara Roman Catholic Last Rites is that Alex has already made the decision to leave the priesthood to be with Mara and he has broken his vows of obedience and of sexual abstinence. He therefore considers himself ineligible to offer Mara Last Rites.Meanwhile, the injured Thomas is out of the hospital and goes to see the Black Pope who reveals himself to be Cardinal Driscoll. Driscoll shows Thomas the second half of the parchment which instead of being instructions on how to kill a Sin Eater is actually instructions on how to become a Sin Eater. The entirety of Alex’s and Mara’s lives have been a plot among Dominic, Eden and Driscoll to entrap Alex. Eden wants to die, Driscoll wants to be Pope and Dominic wanted the financial resources to pursue arcane knowledge. Driscoll prevents Thomas from leaving to warn Alex.  Alex cannot find Eden and returns to the Black Pope to learn where Eden is. The Black Pope (face hidden) tells Alex again to ask the dying. Alex recognizes that Thomas is the man being hanged, and frees him using a pistol. However, Thomas’s throat is too injured by the noose to tell Alex the truth of the parchment. Alex finds Eden and stabs him with the dagger while reciting the incantation. He quickly realizes what is actually happening but it is too late, Eden’s powers are transferred to Alex, and Eden, happy to be free of his burden of the sins of others, dies. In the mean time, St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome crumbles around them.Thomas, who arrives at the scene too late to prevent the transfer, vows he will find a way to save Alex, even if it means killing him. Alex informs the church about Driscoll’s activities and Driscoll is ruined. Driscoll then decides to kill himself and calls on the Sin Eater, now Alex, to remove his sins. Driscoll slits his wrists and when he is near death, Alex tells him that he knows that Eden and Driscoll caused Mara’s death. Alex does not eat Driscoll’s sins but forces them down Driscoll’s throat. Driscoll dies a painful death and presumably goes straight to hell. The Sin Eater William Eden used his power to accumulate wealth. The Sin Eater Alex Bernier decides to act as a power for good, saving only those who deserve it and allowing evildoers to die in sin.This film creates a sense of doom and inevitability that constantly grows with its progression. That is what drew me to keep watching. I am not generally a fan of Religious horror. I shall gladly make an exception for The Sin Eater.

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REVIEW: THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS

CAST

Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight)
Lily Cole (Snow White and The Huntsman)
Johnny Depp (Public Enemies)
Colin Farrell (Intermission)
Jude Law (Spy)
Christopher Plummer (The Last Station)
Andrew Garfield (The Amazing Spider-Man)
Verne Troyer (Austin Powers 2 & 3)
Tom Waits (Mystery Men)

Doctor Parnassus’ theater troupe, which includes sleight of hand expert Anton, confidant Percy, and Parnassus’ daughter Valentina, performs outside a London pub. The troupe’s main attraction is a magical “Imaginarium”, which offers whoever enters it a choice between difficult self-fulfillment or easy ignorance. After a drunkard is swayed to the latter, Parnassus says he has lost another one to Mr. Nick, a suave personification of the Devil. Mr. Nick reminds Parnassus that in three days Valentina turns 16, and her soul will be his. Hundreds of years ago Mr. Nick tricked Parnassus into gaining immortality, after making a wager similar to his current predicament.As the troupe crosses a bridge, Anton spies someone hanging beneath it. They rescue the man, who spits out a golden pipe when revived. Claiming to have amnesia, he joins the troupe as a barker. Parnassus becomes despondent over the impending loss of his daughter. Mr. Nick visits Parnassus, revealing the hanging man is a disgraced philanthropist named “Tony”. He offers Parnassus a wager: Valentina can stay with whoever wins five souls first.Tony convinces the troupe to remodel the show into a more modern act. While performing, Tony lures a posh woman into the Imaginarium and follows her, where they enter a pastel-coloured dream-world representing the woman’s imagination. The woman’s imagination also changes Tony’s face; upon discovering this, he dances elegantly with her, and they spy a motel run by Mr. Nick. Tony convinces the woman to take a gondola toward a pyramid alone, winning a soul for Parnassus. Tony falls back out of the Imaginarium, returning his face to normal; the woman exits shortly after and gives the troupe a vast sum of money. When three other women enter, each emerges elated; and thus Parnassus wins three more souls. Four Russian gangsters, to whom Tony owes money, are taken by Mr. Nick when they chase Tony into the Imaginarium. The score becomes four souls apiece.With the bet nearing its end, Parnassus reveals Valentina’s conception to her: after ageing from immortality, Parnassus made a new pact with Mr. Nick to be youthful again, in order to win the heart of a woman he loved. In exchange, any child he fathered would become Mr. Nick’s property at age 16. Valentina attempts to run away, but Tony enters the Imaginarium to give his soul to Parnassus; in exchange, Parnassus must teach him the trance that powers the dream world. Valentina returns as he tries to enter the mirror, but Anton blocks them, having discovered that Tony is a fraudulent charity scammer.Tony fights off Anton, pushes Valentina into the Imaginarium and joins her. Influenced by Valentina’s desires, Tony’s face changes again, and they float along a beautiful river in a gondola. After an impoverished child disrupts their boat trip, Tony transforms into a philanthropist speaking at a fundraiser. Anton, following the pair into the Imaginarium, appears as an outspoken child and exposes Tony as a fraud. A mob pursues Tony as the landscape disintegrates, causing Anton to fall into a void. Distraught and angry over her father’s bargain and a lifetime of hiding of the truth from her, Valentina gives her soul to Mr. Nick. Disillusioned by the easy victory, Mr. Nick offers Parnassus to trade Valentina for Tony. Chased by the mob, Tony flees to a gallows, but Parnassus confronts him, holding Tony’s pipe and a copy. Parnassus challenges Tony to choose which pipe is genuine. He chooses wrongly, inserts the copy in his windpipe, and is hanged. Mr. Nick keeps his word and Valentina is freed, but Parnassus is not told where she is, and is abandoned to wander in the Imaginarium.Parnassus emerges years later, finding Valentina is married to Anton and they have a daughter. He watches them from outside a restaurant window, but when tempted to join them, he is stopped by Percy. Teaming up once more, Parnassus and Percy sell toy theatre replicas of the Imaginarium and the troupe on a street corner. Mr. Nick invites Parnassus over to him, but Percy puts an end to the temptation.The acting is good, with Lily Cole surprisingly impressive and old hands Christopher Plummer and Tom Waits leading by example. Terry Gilliam direction combines the fantastical and the ordinary in a way that only he can. It is the first time he has participated in the writing process for two decades and this film has an autobiographical feel as Doctor Parnassus tries to entice with stories and the imagination only to be met by cynical crowds. This effort to wow the public may not move them away from CGI and is short of his best, but it is still entertaining and favourable over films which lack charm, imagination and storytelling.

REVIEW: A KNIGHT’S TALE

CAST

Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight)
Mark Addy (Game of Thrones)
Rufus Sewell (Hercules)
Paul Bettany (Captain America: Civil War)
Shannyn Sossamon (Sleepy Hollow)
Laura Fraser (Breaking Bad)
Alan Tudyk (Firefly)
James Purefoy (Solomon Kane)

At a jousting tournament in 14th-century Europe, young squires William Thatcher, Roland, and Wat discover that their master, Sir Ector, has died. If he had completed one final pass he would have won the tournament. Destitute, William wears Ector’s armour to impersonate him, winning the tournament and taking the prize.

Although only nobles are allowed in tournaments, William is now inspired to compete and win more prizes. Roland and Wat would rather take their share of coins and leave, but William convinces them to stay and train him to joust. Along the way to his first tournament in Rouen, the trio encounters a young Geoffrey Chaucer, who is also destitute and agrees to forge the patent of nobility that will allow William to enter under the assumed name of “Sir Ulrich von Liechtenstein” from Gelderland. At the tournament, William is brought before Simon the Summoner and Peter the Pardoner: Chaucer has a gambling problem and is in their debt. William demands Chaucer be released and promises payment.

In the course of competition, William’s armour is damaged. He goads Kate, a female blacksmith, to repair it without payment and goes on to win the sword event at the tournament. In the joust, he faces a Sir Thomas Colville, who withdraws from the tournament after being injured by William, though they exchange a ceremonial pass so that Colville can retain the honour of never having failed to complete a match. The proceedings are observed by Jocelyn, a noblewoman with whom William has become infatuated, and Count Adhemar, a rival both in the joust and for Jocelyn’s heart. In the final joust of the tournament, Adhemar defeats William.
Image result for A KNIGHTS TALEKate joins William’s party and forges new lightweight armour allowing him greater mobility. In the following tournament, Adhemar and William are both assigned to tilt against Sir Thomas Colville, but they learn that he is actually Edward, the Black Prince. Adhemar withdraws, but William continues the match and then addresses the prince by name, further earning Edward’s respect.
Image result for A KNIGHTS TALEAdhemar is called away to the battlefield, and William achieves several victories in his absence. William proves his love for Jocelyn by complying when she first asks him to deliberately lose (in contrast to the countless knights who promise to win in her name), and then, just before he would be eliminated, to win the tournament in her name after all.
Image result for A KNIGHTS TALE
The group travels to London for the World Championship. William recalls leaving his father to squire for Sir Ector and learn to become a knight hoping to “change his stars”. Adhemar has also arrived in London and announces that he is in negotiations with Jocelyn’s father for her hand in marriage. William dominates at the tournament and he returns to visit his father, now blind and living alone in Cheapside, but is discovered by Adhemar, who alerts the authorities to William’s false identity.
Image result for A KNIGHTS TALEWilliam is placed in the pillory, but is defended from the hostile crowd by his friends. Just as the mob reaches its frenzy, Prince Edward emerges from the crowd, noting that his friends’ dedication to him reflects an ability to inspire others that is in the best traditions of knighthood. In acknowledgement of William’s honour, Edward announces that, William is in fact, “beyond contestation”, descended from a noble lineage, and knights him “Sir William”.
Image result for A KNIGHTS TALEWilliam returns to the tournament to face Adhemar in the final match, but Adhemar cheats with an illegal sharpened lance, piercing William’s shoulder and seriously injuring him. Entering the final pass, William is losing by two lances and must unhorse Adhemar to win. He demands to be stripped of his armour while Chaucer buys time by performing the introduction of William that he omitted earlier. Finally he tilts against Adhemar, with his father and Jocelyn in attendance. Bellowing his true name as he tilts, he knocks Adhemar to the ground with a crushing blow. In the ensuing celebration, as Jocelyn and William embrace, Chaucer remarks that he should write this whole story down.Image result for A KNIGHTS TALEThe makers of “A Knight’s Tale” set out to entertain, and did so dutifully.

REVIEW: THE BROTHERS GRIMM

CAST

Matt Damon (Jason Bourne)
Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight)
Lena Headey (Terminator: TSCC)
Monica Bellucci (Spectre)
Roger-Ashton-Griffiths (Game of Thrones)
Mackenzie Crook (Pirates of The Caribbean)
Richard Ridings (The Pianist)
Peter Stomare (22 Jump Street)
Jonathan Pryce (Brazil)

Wilhelm Grimm (Matt Damon) and Jakob Grimm (Heath Ledger) arrive in French-occupied Germany during the early 1800s. They go to Karlstadt to rid the town of a witch’s ghost. After killing the “ghost”, it is revealed that the Brothers Grimm have actually set up a fake witch to trick the town. Afterwards, as they are celebrating, Italian torturer Mercurio Cavaldi (Peter Stormare) takes them to the French General Delatombe (Jonathan Pryce). Delatombe forces them to solve a mystery: The girls of the small village of Marbaden are disappearing, and the villagers are convinced that supernatural beings are responsible. The Grimms are charged with finding who is responsible, and they soon discover that it is the work of a real supernatural force: a beautiful, yet evil, 500-year-old Thuringian Queen (Monica Bellucci) stealing young girls to restore her own beauty. Will and Jake have a complicated relationship; Jake is the smaller, younger, more sensitive one that Will feels he needs to protect. Will is often very hard on Jake (dating all the way back to their childhood, when Jake spent their money that was to be used for medicine for their dying sister on “magic beans”) and orders him around. Will is somewhat of a womanizer and wants to make money, whereas Jake is more interested in fairy tales and adventures. Jake feels that Will doesn’t care about or believe in him; but Will is just frustrated about the way Jake acts so spontaneously, making it hard for Will to protect him.

Long ago, King Childeric I came to the forest to build a city while the Queen experimented with black magic to gain eternal life. A plague swept through the land, and she hid in her tower, while her husband and everyone below her perished. Her spell granted her immortal life, but not the youth and beauty to go along with it. Her youthful appearance now only exists in her mirror, the source of her life, as an illusion and nothing more. She needs to drink the blood of twelve young girls to regain her beauty; ten have already been reported missing. The Queen is working an enchantment to regain her beauty with the aid of her werewolf huntsman and his magic axe, crow familiars, and various creatures in the forest. The Grimms, with the help of Cavaldi and Angelika (Lena Headey), a knowing huntress from the village, intend to destroy the Mirror Queen. After another girl goes missing, Cavaldi takes the Grimms and Angelika back to Delatombe. Because they have failed, Cavaldi is ordered to kill both the Grimms; but, after convincing Delatombe that the magic in the forest is actually caused by German rebels, he sends them back. While Cavaldi stays behind with Angelika in the village, the brothers attempt to get into the tower. Jake succeeds and discovers the Queen and the power of her mirror. Meanwhile, another girl, named Sasha, is captured despite Angelika and Cavaldi’s efforts to save her.

Jake rides into the forest alone after a spat with Will, who follows him. After mistaking a dummy that is smashed into the tower for Jake, Will realizes that Jake needs him to believe in him and assists Jake in climbing up the tower. On the roof of the tower, Jake notices twelve crypts in which the twelve victims must lie. When Sasha’s body comes up from a well, the werewolf takes her to a tomb. After rescuing Sasha and taking the werewolf’s magic axe, the Grimms return to the village. Delatombe captures the brothers and believes them to be frauds. French soldiers begin burning down the forest, and Cavaldi represses his sympathy to the brothers, but they are eventually saved by Angelika. The werewolf is revealed to be Angelika’s father, who is under the Queen’s spell. It turns out that he is only able to keep on living due to an enchanted spike that is lodged into his chest and, without such, the spell is broken. Angelika is drowned by her father, becoming the 12th victim. The Brothers reach the tower while the Queen breathes an ice wind that puts out the forest fire. Delatombe notices that the Grimms have escaped and goes after them with Cavaldi. When Cavaldi refuses to kill the Grimms, Delatombe shoots him but is later impaled by Will.

Will and Jake enter the tower, where Will falls under the Queen’s spell when the Queen takes the enchanted spike from Angelika’s father and thrusts it into Will’s chest. Jake shatters the enchanted mirror in the tower, preventing the Queen from completing the spell that will restore her youth. With the last of his strength, Angelika’s father destroys the rest of the mirror by jumping out of the window with it; and Will, attempting to save the Queen, tries to take back the mirror and falls with him, and both men are killed. Outside, Cavaldi survives, having donned the Grimm’s faux-magic armor. He finds Will’s body and recites an Italian curse, and the tower falls apart. Jake escapes, and Cavaldi informs Jake that he can break the spell and awaken Angelika with a kiss, which in turn resurrects the other girls and Will. With the menace gone and their daughters returned to them, the villagers of Marbaden celebrate and give their heart-felt thanks to the brothers. Cavaldi stays in the village and joins the villagers for the feast. Angelika kisses both the Grimms and tells them that they are always welcome at the village. The Brothers Grimm decide to pursue a new profession, presumably recording fairy tales, although they are now wanted criminals of the state. One of the Queen’s crows is seen flying off with the last shard of her mirror, still holding the Queen’s watchful eye and presumably, her living soul.


If you think about this film enough to ask questions like, “if evil magic was real, how come the brothers are famous instead of having been discredited the first time they pretended to fight off a real evil presence and it continued to haunt people?” then you will be disappointed. However, if you are willing to suspend disbelief, you’ll be in for an entertaining summer popcorn treat.

REVIEW: THE DARK KNIGHT


CAST

Christian Bale (The Fighter)
Heath Ledger (A Knights Tale)
Michael Caine (Quills)
Maggie Gyllenhaal (Secretary)
Gary Oldman (Red Riding Hood)
Morgan Freeman (High Crimes)
Aaron Eckhart (I, Frankenstein)
Monique Gabriela Curnen (Lie To Me)
Cillian Murphy (Inception)
Chin Han (Arrow)
Nestor Carbonell (Bates Motel)
Eric Roberts (Amityville Death House)
Anthony Michael Hall (The Dead Zone)
Keith Szarabajka (Angel)
Colin McFarlane (Doctor Who)
Michael Jai White (Spawn)
William Fichtner (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)

A Gotham City mob bank is robbed by a group of thugs wearing clown masks. While doing the job, they double cross and kill each other one by one. The remaining thug reveals himself to be the Joker and leaves with the money. District attorney Harvey Dent leads a campaign against the organized crime in the city, to the applause of its citizens. Through Gordon, he requests to collaborate with Batman, and lends Gordon a petitioned search warrant for five banks with suspected mob ties. Wayne Enterprises cancels its deals with Chinese accountant Lau as CEO Lucius Fox questions Lau’s legality. Bruce Wayne intrudes on Dent’s date with Rachel Dawes and offers to support the DA through a fundraiser.

Mob leaders Maroni, Gambol and the Chechen holds a videoconference with Lau, who has taken their funds and fled to Hong Kong. The Joker interrupts, warns that Batman is unhindered by the law. He offers to kill Batman in exchange for half of their stolen money. Gambol instead puts a bounty on the Joker, but is killed by him shortly after. The mob ultimately decide to ask the Joker for help. Batman finds Lau in Hong Kong and brings him back to Gotham to testify against the mob, and Dent places 549 criminals in custody. On TV, the Joker threatens to keep killing people unless Batman reveals his identity. As part of Joker’s plan, Commissioner Loeb and the judge presiding the mob trials are killed. The Joker plans to kill Mayor Anthony Garcia at Commissioner Loeb’s funeral, but Gordon sacrifices himself to save him. Dent learns that Rachel is the next target.

Bruce decides to reveal his identity, but Dent publicly admits being Batman before Bruce does. Dent is taken into protective custody, but the Joker appears and attacks the convoy. Batman comes to Dent’s rescue and Gordon, who faked his death, arrests the Joker. With the Joker behind bars, Gordon is promoted to Commissioner. Rachel and Dent are escorted away by policemen who are controlled by Joker. Batman interrogates the Joker, who taunts him before revealing that Rachel and Dent have been trapped in separate locations rigged with explosives. Batman races to save Rachel, while Gordon and his men head off to save Dent. Batman arrives at the building, realizing that the Joker sent him to Dent’s location instead. As the building explodes, half of Dent’s face is burned and he is hospitalized. Gordon fails to save Rachel in time. The Joker escapes the jail with Lau.

Coleman Reese, an accountant at Wayne Enterprises, sees the Tumbler’s design in the company file. He publicly claims to know Batman’s identity. The Joker burns the mob’s money along with Lau, and kills the Chechen. In response to Reese’s claim, he states that he no longer wants to know who Batman is. He threatens to destroy a hospital if Reese isn’t dead, and Reese becomes a public target. Gordon orders the evacuation of all the hospitals in Gotham and go to secure Reese. The Joker finds Dent in a hospital and manipulates him into seeking revenge for Rachel’s death. He destroys the hospital and escapes with a bus of hostages. Dent goes on a killing spree, killing people responsible for Rachel’s death, including Maroni.

At night, two ferries are rigged with explosives; one ferry containing civilians and the other containing prisoners. The Joker promises to blow each of the ferries by midnight or if someone tries to escape, but will let one live if it blows up the other. The passengers refuse, and Batman and the SWAT raid the Joker’s building. Batman apprehends the Joker, who gloats that he has corrupted Dent and undone his achievements.  Gordon arrives at the building where Rachel died, where Dent threatens to kill Gordon’s son in revenge. Batman arrives, but Dent at shoots him. Before Dent can determine the fate of Gordon’s son with his coin, Batman tackles him off the building to his death. Batman persuades Gordon to preserve Dent’s image by holding Batman responsible for the murders. Gordon relents, and a manhunt for Batman ensues.

This sequel continues the darker style and throws more violence into the mix. Batman Begins was a great introduction to a new re-imagining, and Dark Knight makes things bigger and better making it one of the greatest comic book movies of all time.

REVIEW: 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU

CAST

Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight)
Julia Stiles (Save The Last Dance)
Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Looper_
Larisa Oleynik (3rd rock From The Sun)
David Krumholtz (Mom)
Andrew Keegan (O)
Susan May PRatt (The Gift)
Gabrielle Union (Flashforward)
Larry Miller (Carnival of Souls)
Allison Janney (Spy)
Bianca Kajlich (Rules of Engagement)
Carlos Lacamara (Heroes Reborn)

Cameron James, a new student at Padua High School in the Seattle area, becomes instantly smitten with popular sophomore Bianca Stratford. Geeky Michael Eckman warns him that Bianca is vapid and conceited, and that her overprotective father does not allow Bianca or her older sister, the shrewish Kat, to date. Kat, a senior, is accepted to Sarah Lawrence College in New York, but her father, Walter, wants her to stay close to home. Bianca wishes to date affluent senior Joey Donner, but Walter, an obstetrician worrisome of teenage pregnancy, will not allow his daughters to date until they graduate. Frustrated by Bianca’s insistence and Kat’s rebelliousness, Walter declares that Bianca may date only when Kat does, knowing that Kat’s antisocial attitude makes this unlikely.
When Cameron asks Bianca out, she informs him of her father’s new rule and, as a pretense for allowing her to date Joey, suggests that Cameron find someone willing to date Kat. Cameron selects “bad boy” Patrick Verona, but Patrick scares him off. Michael assists by convincing Joey to pay Patrick to take out Kat, under the pretense that this will allow Joey to date Bianca. Patrick agrees to the deal, but Kat rebuffs his first few advances. Michael and Cameron help him by prying Bianca for information on Kat’s likes and dislikes. Armed with this knowledge, Patrick begins to win Kat’s interest. She goes to a party with him, which enables Bianca to go as well, much to Walter’s dismay.
At the party, Kat becomes upset when she sees Bianca with Joey, and responds by getting drunk. Patrick attends to her, and Kat starts to open up, expressing her interest in starting a band. However, when she tries to kiss him, Patrick pulls away and Kat leaves, infuriated. Meanwhile, Bianca ignores Cameron in favor of Joey, leaving Cameron dejected. Patrick encourages him to go after what he wants and screw what Joey thinks Bianca soon realizes, however, that Joey is shallow and self-absorbed, and asks Cameron for a ride home. Cameron admits his feelings for her and his frustration with how she has treated him. Bianca responds by kissing him.
Joey offers to pay Patrick to take Kat to the prom so he can take Bianca. Patrick initially refuses, but relents when Joey offers him more money. Kat is still angry with Patrick, but he wins her over by serenading her with the accompaniment of the marching band, and she helps him sneak out of detention. They go on a date which turns romantic, but Kat becomes suspicious and angry when Patrick insists that she go with him to the prom, an event she is adamantly against. Bianca is irritated that Cameron hasn’t asked her to the prom, and so accepts Joey’s invitation, but Walter won’t allow it unless Kat goes too. Bianca claimed Kat was always a shrew about it, leading her to confess why she doesn’t want her sister to go with Joey. When they were freshmen, Kat had dated Joey and she succumbed to peer pressure by having sex with him because their friends were doing the same. Afterward she regretted it and Joey dumped her, so Kat vowed to never again do anything just because everyone else was doing it. Bianca insists that she can make her own choices, so Kat agrees to go to the prom with Patrick, and Bianca decides to go with Cameron instead of Joey.
All is going well at the prom until Bianca learns that Joey planned to have sex with her that night and is embarrassed by this. Angry that Bianca has spurned him for Cameron, Joey reveals his arrangement with Patrick, which causes Kat to leave heartbroken and embarrassed. Joey then punches Cameron for stealing his date and using Patrick for his own gain. He is in turn beaten up by Bianca who publicly scolds Joey for embarrassing her and hurting both her sister and Cameron. Bianca and Cameron share another kiss.
The next day, Bianca reconciles with Kat and begins dating Cameron. Walter is still concerned, but Kat wisely tells him that he needs to let Bianca make her own decisions. He admits that Kat is capable of taking care of herself and gives her permission to attend Sarah Lawrence College. For an assignment in which the students were required to write their own version of William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 141, Kat reads aloud a poem titled “10 Things I Hate About You”, revealing that she still loves Patrick. Patrick surprises her with a guitar bought with the money that Joey paid him, and confesses that he has fallen for her. Kat forgives him, and the two reconcile with a kiss.
A classy teen update on Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew, this excellently made and very diverting romantic comedy more than hits all the right comedic buttons as well as the romantic ones. The script’s nicely paced, the slick direction from newcomer Gil Junger’s inspiring and delightful and the end result is predictable but ever-so rewarding.