Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Gigantic (2009)

Do we ever get what we want? Brian sells mattresses in a warehouse store. His father and older brothers have material success; he wants a child. He's applied to adopt a baby from China. A man who appears homeless seems to be stalking Brian with violent intent. He meets Happy, the daughter of a rich, quirky customer. She doesn't stick to anything, but she and Brian hit it off, except for her vomiting when she learns about his adoption idea. He wants her to meet his family, and there's a call about the adoption. What will Happy do?

Director: Matt Aselton
Writers: Adam Nagata and Matt Aselton
Stars: Paul Dano, Zooey Deschanel and John Goodman

Centurion (2010)

It is A.D. 117 and the Roman garrisons are struggling to contain the Picts, the Celtic inhabitants of the Scottish Highlands. The Picts under their king, Gorlacon, are perfecting guerilla warfare and are eliminating Roman outposts one by one. Centurion Quintus Dias is the only survivor of a Pictish raid and is taken prisoner. In the meantime, the Roman governor of Britannia wants to obtain favour with the central administration, hoping to secure a transfer back to the comforts of Rome. He dispatches the Ninth Legion to the front under General Titus Flavius Virilus, providing him with a mute female Brigantian scout, Etain.

Director: Neil Marshall
Writer: Neil Marshall
Stars: Michael Fassbender, Dominic West and Olga Kurylenko

Monday, November 29, 2010

JSA: Joint Security Area (2001)

In the DMZ separating North and South Korea, two North Korean soldiers have been killed, supposedly by one South Korean soldier. But the 11 bullets found in the bodies, together with the 5 remaining bullets in the assassin's magazine clip, amount to 16 bullets for a gun that should normally hold 15 bullets. The investigating Swiss/Swedish team from the neutral countries overseeing the DMZ suspects that another, unknown party was involved - all of which points to some sort of cover up. The truth is much simpler and much more tragic.

Director: Chan-wook Park
Writers: Seong-san Jeong and Hyeon-seok Kim
Stars: Yeong-ae Lee, Byung-hun Lee and Kang-ho Song

Pontypool (2009)

The film is set in a radio station in Pontypool, a small village in Ontario, Canada, where one day the morning team starts taking reports of extreme, bloody incidents of violence occurring in town. As the story unfolds, the radio staff soon realizes the violence that is ripping society apart is due to a virus being spread through the English language. That in turn poses a problem for a yappy radio jock and his staff holed up in the broadcast booth housed in the basement of the town's abandoned church as a slaughter rages beyond its walls.

Director: Bruce McDonald
Writer: Tony Burgess
Stars: Stephen McHattie, Lisa Houle and Georgina Reilly

Azumi (2004)

Followed by Azumi 2: Death or Love (2005). In Japan in times of war among clans, the master samurai Gessai raises ten orphans in the mountains, one of them the girl Azumi, and they become experts in martial arts. When they are teenagers, the master assigns them to a mortal test, and then the five survivors travel with him with the mission of killing three evil warlords of clans and keeping their nation united without plunging again into a bloody war.

Director: Ryûhei Kitamura
Writers: Yu Koyama (comic) and Mataichirô Yamamoto (screenplay)
Stars: Aya Ueto, Kenji Kohashi and Hiroki Narimiya

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Fall (2008)

At a Los Angeles hospital in the 1920s, Alexandria is a child recovering from a broken arm. She befriends Roy Walker, a movie stunt man with legs paralyzed after a fall. At her request, Roy tells her an elaborate story about five men of widely varied backgrounds who are on a quest to kill a corrupt provincial governor. Between chapters of the story, Roy inveigles Alexandria to scout the hospital's pharmacy for morphine. As Roy's fantastic tale nears its end, death seems close at hand.

Director: Tarsem Singh
Writers: Dan Gilroy and Nico Soultanakis
Stars: Lee Pace, Catinca Untaru and Justine Waddell

Code 46 (2004)

A love story set in a Brave New World-type near-future where cities are heavily controlled and only accessible through checkpoints. People cannot travel unless they have "papelles," a special travel permit issued by the totalitarianistic government, the "Sphinx". Outside these cities, the desert has taken over and shanty towns are jammed with non-citizens - people without papelles forced to live primitive lives. William is a family man who works as a government investigator. When he is sent to Shanghai to solve a case of fake papelles, he meets a woman named Maria. Although he realizes she is behind the forgeries, he cannot help but fall completely in love with her. He hides her crime and they have a wild, passionate affair that can only last as long as his papelles: 24 hours.

Director: Michael Winterbottom
Writer: Frank Cottrell Boyce
Stars: Tim Robbins, Samantha Morton and Om Puri

Maniacts (2003)

A pair of escaped mental patients looking to start life anew far away from the insanity of modern society settle down with a psychic farmer before their cover is blown in director C.W. Cressler's reckless tale of love and psychosis. Joe is a serial killer confined to the sterile white hallways of the Edgemare Mental Institution. After Joe makes the acquaintance of like-minded female murderess Beth, the pair quickly realizes that they share a unique and intense bond that can never be broken. After Joe escapes, Beth is left to fend for herself against the Edgemare staff, who torture her in an attempt to find out where Joe is hiding. Soon, Joe realizes that he cannot survive without Beth, so he heads back to Edgemare to break his lover free and release the other rampaging inmates in the process. Though the pair's initial bid to lie low on the farm of a kindly psychic named Boley finds them successfully eluding their captors for the time being, their cover is soon blown when it proves impossible for Joe and Beth to mend their murderous ways.

Directors: Curt Cressler and C.W. Cressler
Writer: C.W. Cressler
Stars: Jeff Fahey, Kellie Waymire and John Furlong

Mean Creek (2004)

When Sam Merrick is beaten up by local bully George Tooney, Sam's older brother Rocky and his friends Clyde and Marty plan to pretend it's Sam's birthday to "invite" George on a boat trip in which they would dare him to strip naked, jump in the lake, and run home naked. But when Sam, his girlfriend Millie, Rocky, and Clyde see George as not much of a bad guy, they want to call off the plan, but Marty refuses. Will the plan go ahead as planned?

Director: Jacob Aaron Estes
Writer: Jacob Aaron Estes
Stars: Rory Culkin, Ryan Kelley and Scott Mechlowicz

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Renaissance (2006)

Paris, 2054: a dark Rotoscope world of shadows and right angles. Ilona Tasuiev, a brilliant young scientist, is kidnapped, and her employer, Avalon, a major health and beauty corporation, wants her found. Karas, a jaded police captain, is assigned to find her, fast. He seeks help from her sister, Bislane, and they are soon uncovering identify theft, missing files, and hints that something back in 2006 may explain what's going on. Ilona's mentor, Avalon's vice president, a Japanese researcher, an underworld boss, and Bislane's drug connection all figure in the mix. So does an attraction between Karas and Bislane. What's behind the kidnapping? Who's the victim?

Director: Christian Volckman
Writers: Alexandre de La Patellière and Mathieu Delaporte
Stars: Daniel Craig, Catherine McCormack and Jonathan Pryce

Bubba Ho-Tep (2002)

Based on the Bram Stoker Award nominee short story by cult author Joe R. Lansdale, Bubba Ho-tep tells the "true" story of what really did become of Elvis Presley. We find Elvis as an elderly resident in an East Texas rest home, who switched identities with an Elvis impersonator years before his "death", then missed his chance to switch back. Elvis teams up with Jack, a fellow nursing home resident who thinks that he is actually President John F. Kennedy, and the two valiant old codgers sally forth to battle an evil Egyptian entity who has chosen their long-term care facility as his happy hunting grounds.

Director: Don Coscarelli
Writers: Joe R. Lansdale (short story) and Don Coscarelli (screenplay)
Stars: Bruce Campbell, Ossie Davis and Ella Joyce

Pandorum (2009)

Two crew members are stranded on a spacecraft and quickly - and horrifically - realize they are not alone. Two astronauts awaken in a hyper-sleep chamber aboard a seemingly abandoned spacecraft. It's pitch black, they are disoriented, and the only sound is a low rumble and creak from the belly of the ship. They can't remember anything: Who are they? What is their mission? With Lt. Payton staying behind to guide him via radio transmitter, Cpl. Bower ventures deep into the ship and begins to uncover a terrifying reality. Slowly the spacecraft's shocking, deadly secrets are revealed...and the astronauts find their own survival is more important than they could ever have imagined.

Director: Christian Alvart
Writers: Travis Milloy (screenplay) and Travis Milloy (story)
Stars: Dennis Quaid, Ben Foster and Cam Gigandet

Friday, November 26, 2010

The I Inside (2004)

A man named Simon awakens in a hospital not recalling the last two years. As he begins to find out things from his past he discovers his ability to move from the year 2002 to the year 2000. By doing this he meets a link between the two time periods. As if being unable to recognize his wife, and learning that his brother has died, were not bad enough, dreams of a woman he once loved come to him regularly. Simon must negotiate the terrain between fact and fiction in order to figure out what happened to his life.

Director: Roland Suso Richter
Writers: Michael Cooney (play) and Michael Cooney (screenplay)
Stars: Ryan Phillippe, Sarah Polley and Piper Perabo

The United States of Leland (2003)

Leland is an imprisoned teenager doing time for the stabbing murder of a disabled boy. Prison writing teacher Pearl Madison gets caught up in the story with the intention of making a book out of it, especially when he finds out that Leland's father is the famous novelist Albert Fitzgerald. Pearl's investigation uncovers some of the details and effects of the murder for everyone involved, including the victim's parents, Harry and Karen Pollard. Becky is the teenage junkie who is both Leland's ex-girlfriend and the victim's sister. The situation also complicates the relationship between Becky's older sister, Jennifer, and her sensitive boyfriend, Allen. Leland slowly discloses his sad vision of the world.

Director: Matthew Ryan Hoge
Writer: Matthew Ryan Hoge
Stars: Ryan Gosling, Don Cheadle and Kevin Spacey

The Chumscrubber (2005)

Dean is a disaffected teenager living in a California suburb that's beautiful on the surface but populated by families who live emotionally vacant lives, with the parents often too wrapped up in their own problems to pay attention to their children. One day, Dean discovers his best (and only) friend, Troy, has killed himself. While Troy's mother hasn't figured out her son is dead just yet, Dean opts not to tell her, and besides, his own parents don't appear very concerned. Dean, however, does have reason to worry -- Billy, Lee, and Crystal are three bullies who used to buy drugs from Troy, and they want Dean find Troy's remaining stash and give it to them. When Dean refuses to cooperate, the bullies decide to get tough and kidnap Dean's little brother; however, they end up taking the wrong child and Dean grudging finds himself trying to rescue a child he doesn't know. Meanwhile, as the adults in the neighborhood begin to emotionally implode, "the Chumscrubber" becomes a common presence in town -- a comic book and video game character represented by a decapitated post-apocalyptic teenager who has become an unavoidable pop-culture icon.

Director: Arie Posin
Writers: Arie Posin (story) and Zac Stanford (screenplay)
Stars: Jamie Bell, Camilla Belle and Lou Taylor Pucci

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Black Death (2010)

The year is 1348. Europe has fallen under the shadow of the Black Death. As the plague decimates all in its path, fear and superstition are rife. In this apocalyptic environment, the church is losing its grip on the people. There are rumors of a village, hidden in marshland that the plague cannot reach. There is even talk of a necromancer who leads the village and is able to bring the dead back to life. Ulric, a fearsome knight, is charged by the church to investigate these rumors. He enlists the guidance of a novice monk, Osmund to lead him and his band of mercenary soldiers to the marshland, but Osmund has other motives for leaving his monastery. Their journey to the village and events that unfold take them into the heart of darkness and to horrors that will put Osmund's faith in himself and his love for God to the ultimate test.

Director: Christopher Smith
Writer: Dario Poloni
Stars: Eddie Redmayne, Sean Bean and Carice van Houten

The Human Centipede (First Sequence) (2009)

Followed by The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) (2011). Two pretty but ditsy American girls are on a road trip through Europe. In Germany, they end up alone at night with a broken car in the woods. They search for help and find an isolated villa. The next day, they awaken to find themselves trapped in a terrifying makeshift basement hospital along with a Japanese man. An older German man identifies himself as a retired surgeon specialized in separating Siamese twins. However, his three "patients" are not about to be separated but joined together in a horrific operation. He plans to be the first person to connect people via their gastric systems. By doing so, he plans to bring to life his sick lifetime fantasy, the human centipede.

Director: Tom Six
Writer: Tom Six
Stars: Dieter Laser, Ashley C. Williams and Ashlynn Yennie

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Highwaymen (2004)

Since the hit-and-run murder of his wife five years ago, Rennie Cray has crisscrossed America in his souped-up, stripped-down '68 Plymouth Barracuda, pursuing her killer. The man he seeks in a high-speed, high-stakes game of cat-and-mouse is James Fargo, a merciless, wheelchair-bound pyschopath. Through a series of mechanical innovations, Fargo has turned his rampaging '72 Cadillac Eldorado into a monstrous extension of his own twisted body and mind. Now, their deadly battle of wits and wills is about to move into overdrive. And caught in their headlights is a tormented beauty who unwittingly holds the key to their ultimate showdown.

Director: Robert Harmon
Writers: Craig Mitchell, Hans Bauer
Stars: James Caviezel, Rhona Mitra and Frankie Faison

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Go-Getter (2007)

In Eugene, Oregon, Mercer, 19, wants to tell his wayward half-brother, 18 years older than he, that their mother has died. He has an address in Shelter Cove, so he steals a car from a car wash and heads south. Nothing is simple: his brother is gone, but he left resentment Mercer has to deal with. He gets an address in Reno and stops in Fallon to hook up with a girl he knew in middle school. Reno's a bust, but she promises sex if Mercer will drive her and two friends to Mohave. His plans go awry. From time to time, the car's owner calls him on a cell phone left in the car. Her arch but friendly voice gives Mercer needed empathy. Will he ever find his brother, and if so, what then?

Director: Martin Hynes
Writer: Martin Hynes
Stars: Lou Taylor Pucci, Zooey Deschanel and Jena Malone

Outlander (2008)

Kainan, an extraterrestrial, is running from the annihilation of his colony. Unbeknownst to him until it’s too late, one of the creatures responsible for the colony’s destruction has snuck onboard his ship, causing it to crash land on the nearest planet – which just happens to be Earth. Kainan awakes from the crash to find his fellow astronaut dead and the creature long gone. After being captured by a Viking tribe led by Rothgar and his daughter Freya, Kainan must convince the Vikings that the creature he hunts is real before it is too late for all of them.

Director: Howard McCain
Writers: Dirk Blackman, Howard McCain
Stars: James Caviezel, Sophia Myles and Ron Perlman

Monday, November 22, 2010

Wristcutters: A Love Story (2006)

A likeable young man despite his depressive disposition, Zia puts blade to wrist only to find that the pain of life doesn't end with the coming of death. Now trapped in a bleak metaphysical landscape populated entirely by suicide victims blearily searching for the joys that eluded them in the physical realm, Zia soon learns that the love is one of the latest arrivals in the dreary land of the dead. As Zia sets out to locate his ill-fated former companion and experience the joys that eluded the couple in life, he is joined in his quest by a lovelorn Russian rocker named Eugene and an accidental tourist named Mikal, who's looking for a way out of the sorrowful stir.

Director: Goran Dukic
Writers: Goran Dukic (screenplay) and Etgar Keret (short story)
Stars: Patrick Fugit, Shea Whigham and Tom Waits

Altitude (2010)

Five teens take to the sky in a small airplane, and encounter a supernatural force beyond human comprehension after a mysterious function sends them climbing to impossible heights, and straight into the heart of a massive storm. Their radio fried and their controls unreadable, the frightened flyers soon realize that something unspeakable is lurking in the clouds, and it's determined to snatch them right out of thin air.

Director: Kaare Andrews
Writer: Paul A. Birkett
Stars: Jessica Lowndes, Julianna Guill and Ryan Donowho

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Hunter Prey (2010)

The Prometheus has dropped out of orbit. Communications and life support systems are down. Situation Critical: Status of Crew and Prisoner unknown. With orders to catch their Alien Prisoner alive the surviving crew of the spaceship Prometheus pursue a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse with their escaped prisoner on a deserted and barren planet. But, who is the hunter and who is its prey?

Director: Sandy Collora
Writers: Sandy Collora
Stars: Isaac C. Singleton Jr., Clark Bartram and Damion Poitier

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Primer (2004)

At night and on weekends, four men in a suburban garage have built a cottage industry of error-checking devices. But, they know that there is something more. There is some idea, some mechanism, some accidental side effect that is standing between them and a pure leap of innovation. And so, through trial and error they are building the device that is missing most. However, two of these men find the device and immediately realize that it is too valuable to market. The limit of their trust in each other is strained when they are faced with the question, If you always want what you can't have, what do you want when you can have anything?

Director: Shane Carruth
Writer: Shane Carruth
Stars: Shane Carruth, David Sullivan and Casey Gooden

Valhalla Rising (2010)

1000 AD, for years, One Eye, a mute warrior of supernatural strength, has been held prisoner by the Norse chieftain Barde. Aided by Are, a boy slave, One Eye slays his captor and together he and Are escape, beginning a journey into the heart of darkness. On their flight, One Eye and Are board a Viking vessel, but the ship is soon engulfed by an endless fog that clears only as the crew sights an unknown land. As the new world reveals its secrets and the Vikings confront their terrible and bloody fate, One Eye discovers his true self.

Director: Nicolas Winding Refn
Writers: Roy Jacobsen and Nicolas Winding Refn
Stars: Mads Mikkelsen, Maarten Stevenson and Alexander Morton

Friday, November 19, 2010

Dark Corners (2006)

Upon awakening to the shriek of her alarm clock in the early hours of the morning, Karen Clarke gets out of bed, walks to the bathroom, and receives the shock of her life upon glancing at the mirror and discovering that she has been badly beaten. With no memory of the violent confrontation that led to her apparent pummeling and nothing but a mysterious locker key to guide her, the young mortuary worker attempts to go about her daily duties preparing bodies for pre-funeral viewings. Soon after a corpse suddenly sits upright and curses Karen for an unknown transgression, the frightened girl finds herself being relentlessly pursued by a villain who seems to have escaped from her worst nightmares. When Karen falls back asleep, however, she is surprised to find that she has taken on the persona of Susan, an average girl with a normal job and a decidedly sane existence. Now, if she could only figure out which is the dream, and which is the true reality. Perhaps the strange locker key she has recently discovered will help to unlock this troubling mystery.

Director: Ray Gower
Writer: Ray Gower
Stars: Thora Birch, Toby Stephens and Christien Anholt
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