Thursday, December 16, 2010

Waking Life (2001)

Dreams. What are they? An escape from reality or reality itself? Waking Life follows the dream(s) of one man and his attempt to find and discern the absolute difference between waking life and the dreamworld. While trying to figure out a way to wake up, he runs into many people on his way; some of which offer one sentence asides on life, others delving deeply into existential questions and life's mysteries. We become the main character. It becomes our dream and our questions being asked and answered. Can we control our dreams? What are they telling us about life? About death? About ourselves and where we come from and where we are going? The film does not answer all these for us. Instead, it inspires us to ask the questions and find the answers ourselves.

Director: Richard Linklater
Writer: Richard Linklater
Stars: Ethan Hawke, Trevor Jack Brooks and Lorelei Linklater
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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Secret of Kells (2010)

Young Brendan lives in a remote medieval outpost under siege from barbarian raids. But a new life of adventure beckons when a celebrated master illuminator arrives from foreign lands carrying an ancient but unfinished book, brimming with secret wisdom and powers. To help complete the magical book, Brendan has to overcome his deepest fears on a dangerous quest that takes him into the enchanted forest where mythical creatures hide. It is here that he meets the fairy Aisling, a mysterious young wolf-girl, who helps him along the way. But with the barbarians closing in, will Brendan's determination and artistic vision illuminate the darkness and show that enlightenment is the best fortification against evil?

Directors: Tomm Moore and Nora Twomey
Writers: Tomm Moore (story) and Fabrice Ziolkowski (screenplay)
Stars: Evan McGuire, Brendan Gleeson and Mick Lally
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Altered (2006)

Fifteen years ago, five men were abducted by aliens. Only four returned. Now, these same four men have managed to capture one of the creatures who killed their friend and ruined their lives. It's time for payback but payback swings both ways.

Director: Eduardo Sánchez
Writers: Jamie Nash (screenplay) and Jamie Nash (story)
Stars: Misty Rosas, Paul McCarthy-Boyington and Brad William Henke
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Spiral (2007)

A reclusive telemarketer has only one semblance of a friend: His telecommuter boss. But the telemarketer's social circle seems to improve greatly when a whimsical co-worker enters his life. Only, as he begins to sketch his new friend's portrait, disturbing "voices" from the phone man's past threaten to lead him into a network of destruction.

Directors: Adam Green and Joel Moore
Writers: Jeremy Danial Boreing and Joel Moore
Stars: Joel Moore, Amber Tamblyn and Zachary Levi
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The Disappearance of Alice Creed (2010)

Two criminals, Vic and Danny, kidnap Alice Creed. They fastidiously set-up an apartment building and handcuff Alice to the bed, all in a careful attempt to make sure that she won't escape and they won't get caught. But what do Vic and Danny really want with Alice? And is Alice cunning enough to foil their plans and escape?

Director: J Blakeson
Writer: J Blakeson
Stars: Gemma Arterton, Eddie Marsan and Martin Compston
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Cracks (2009)

The story follows a clique of six girls whose dynamic is thrown off kilter by the arrival of a beautiful new Spanish student Fiamma. The hazy summer days by the lake provide the perfect setting for Fiamma's wild and intriguing tales of her travels in India with her father. Miss G is captivated but it's not long before ripples appear on the surface and the cracks beneath emerge in the relationship between teacher and pupil.

Director: Jordan Scott
Writers: Ben Court and Caroline Ip
Stars: Eva Green, Juno Temple and María Valverde
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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Adam (2009)

Soon after moving in, Beth, a brainy, beautiful writer damaged from a past relationship encounters Adam, the handsome, but odd, fellow in the downstairs apartment whose awkwardness is perplexing. Beth and Adam's ultimate connection leads to a tricky relationship that exemplifies something universal: truly reaching another person means bravely stretching into uncomfortable territory and the resulting shake-up can be liberating.

Director: Max Mayer
Writer: Max Mayer
Stars: Hugh Dancy, Rose Byrne and Peter Gallagher
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Mr. Brooks (2007)

Earl Brooks is a highly respected businessman and was recently named Portland's Man of the Year. He hides a terrible secret however: he is a serial killer known as the Thumbprint Killer. He has been attending AA meetings and has kept his addiction to killing under control for two years now, but his alter ego, Marshall, has re-appeared and is pushing him to kill again. When he does kill a couple while they are making love, he is seen and photographed by someone who also has his own death and murder fetish. In a parallel story, the police detective investigating the murder is having problems of her own. She is going through a messy divorce and a violent criminal who had vowed revenge some years before has escaped from prison and is after her.

Director: Bruce A. Evans
Writers: Bruce A. Evans and Raynold Gideon
Stars: Kevin Costner, Demi Moore and William Hurt
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Venus (2006)

Maurice and Ian are successful but aging actors, close friends whose conversation revolves around theatrical shop talk and the infirmities of septuagenarianism. Ian in particular is fearful that death is right around the corner, so he agrees to let his niece's daughter Jessie move in to his flat to care for him. Jessie, a provincial girl in her early twenties, turns out to be a nightmare for Ian, a hard-drinking, rude, and dismissive twerp. But Maurice sees something else in the girl, a potential for humanity which blossoms under his kindness and gentle guidance. Something else blossoms, for Maurice, as well: romantic love for a girl fifty years younger.

Director: Roger Michell
Writer: Hanif Kureishi
Stars: Peter O'Toole, Jodie Whittaker and Leslie Phillips
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Monday, December 13, 2010

TiMER (2010)

When implanted in a person's wrist, a TiMER counts down to the day the wearer finds true love. But Oona O'Leary faces the rare dilemma of a blank TiMER. Her soul mate - whoever and wherever he is - has yet to have a TiMER implanted. Staring down the barrel of thirty and tired of waiting for her would-be life partner to get off the dime, Oona breaks her own rules and falls for Mikey, a charming and inappropriately young supermarket clerk with a countdown of four months.

Director: Jac Schaeffer
Writer: Jac Schaeffer
Stars: Emma Caulfield, Michelle Borth and John Patrick Amedori
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Daft Punk's Electroma (2006)

Hero Robot #1 and Hero Robot #2 are two androids clad in ever-present motorcycle helmets. The two drive through the desert en route to Inyo County, CA, where the entire population, regardless of age, dresses in identical attire. Upon arrival in the town, the two enter a scientific facility where experimenters pour hot latex over their helmets to make nightmarish flesh-covered masks that infuriate town residents. The robots then embark on a lengthy trek across an endless expanse of salt flats.

Directors: Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel De Homem-Christo
Writers: Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel De Homem-Christo
Stars: Peter Hurteau, Michael Reich and Helena Stoddard
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I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK (2007)

A young woman who believes she's a cyborg hears voices and harms herself while at work making radios. She's hospitalized in a mental institution where she eats nothing and talks to inanimate objects. She's Young-goon, granddaughter of a woman who thought she was a mouse (and whose dentures Young-goon wears) and a mother who's a butcher without much social grace. Young-goon comes to the attention of Il-sun, a ping-pong playing patient at the institution who makes it his goal to get her to eat. Will he succeed? Which way does sanity lie?

Director: Chan-wook Park
Writers: Seo-Gyeong Jeong, Chan-wook Park
Stars: Su-jeong Lim, Rain and Hie-jin Choi
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Mr. Nobody (2009)

Nemo Nobody leads an ordinary existence at his wife's side, Elise, and their three children, until the day when reality skids and he wakes up as an old man in the year 2092. At 120, Mr. Nobody is both the oldest man in the world and the last mortal of a new mankind where nobody dies anymore. But that doesn't seem to interest or bother him very much. The only questions that preoccupy him in the present is whether he lived the right life for himself, loved the woman whom he was supposed to love, and had the children whom he was meant to his purpose is to find the right answer.

Director: Jaco Van Dormael
Writer: Jaco Van Dormael
Stars: Jared Leto, Sarah Polley and Diane Kruger
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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Immortal (2005)

New York in the year 2095 has evolved into a comic-book like, sci-fi metropolis. A giant pyramid hovers over the city, where the Gods of Ancient Egypt dwell, unknown to the mortals below. One of the gods', Horus, status as an Immortal is revoked. With his time running out, Horus has unfinished business to settle in the city against a backdrop of political intrigue, corporate corruption and impending revolution.

Director: Enki Bilal
Writers: Enki Bilal
Stars: Linda Hardy, Thomas Kretschmann and Charlotte Rampling
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The Machine Girl (2008)

Ami is a typical college girl. She's bright, friendly, popular and athletic, with nothing to set her apart from other girls her age other than the fact that she is an orphan, left to care for her younger brother after her father committed suicide after being falsely accused of murder. But while there is tragedy in their past, the siblings' future looks good, except for one thing. Ami's brother has racked up a considerable debt to another boy at school, and that boy just happens to be the heir to a clan of vicious ninja-yakuza. Ami's brother can't pay, violence breaks out and in the course of trying to avenge her brother, Ami is captured by the clan. They torture her and hack her arm right off. Ami escapes, barely alive, and is taken in by the owners of a machine shop who build her a customized, bullet-spewing arm. From that point, the quest for revenge is on in earnest.

Director: Noboru Iguchi
Writer: Noboru Iguchi
Stars: Minase Yashiro, Asami and Kentarô Shimazu
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2046 (2005)

He was a writer. He thought he wrote about the future but it really was the past. In his novel, a mysterious train left for 2046 every once in a while. Everyone who went there had the same recapture their lost memories. It was said that in 2046, nothing ever changed. Nobody knew for sure if it was true, because nobody who went there had ever come back- except for one. He was there. He chose to leave. He wanted to change.

Director: Kar Wai Wong
Writer: Kar Wai Wong
Stars: Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Ziyi Zhang and Faye Wong
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Saturday, December 11, 2010

Hush (2009)

Tired and irritable, Zakes Abbott drives home along the motorway, his girlfriend, Beth, asleep beside him. Failing to spot his exit he speeds across the causeway, cutting up a white van and barely avoiding an accident. Apoplectic with rage, the truck driver gives chase, and as he violently overtakes the tailgate flips up revealing a woman bound and bloodied in the back. But before there is time for a second look, the door is slammed shut and Zakes is left bewildered and wondering if what he saw was real. Later at a service station, Zakes' fears grow when Beth goes missing, and as he begins a frantic search, he is enticed into a deadly game of cat and mouse on the deserted motorway. But being the sole witness to the earlier scene, how does he convince others of his desperate need for help?

Director: Mark Tonderai
Writer: Mark Tonderai
Stars: William Ash, Christine Bottomley and Andreas Wisniewski
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