Saturday, December 31, 2011

Gigantic (2008)

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
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Friday, December 30, 2011

Dorian Gray (2009)

Fresh-faced and innocent, Dorian Gray arrives in London to move into the house he has inherited. Almost immediately he falls under the influence of amoral and calculating Lord Henry Wotton, leading to a life of increasing debauchery and even violence. Through many years Gray stays as young-looking as ever, while a portrait painted when he arrived grows old, reflecting his increasing excesses. Eventually the picture, now secreted in his attic, becomes almost hideous to behold. When true love finally enters his life he realises he must guard his secret at all costs.

Director: Oliver Parker
Writers: Oscar Wilde (novel) and Toby Finlay (screenplay)
Stars: Ben Barnes, Colin Firth and Rebecca Hall
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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)

The last months of Jesse James's life, from meeting Robert Ford, a 19-year-old who idolizes Jesse, to the day Ford shoots him. Jesse's a wanted man, living under a pseudonym, carrying out a train robbery, disappearing to Kentucky, and reappearing to plan a bank holdup with Robert and Robert's brother as his team. The rest of the gang is dead, arrested, or gone from Missouri. Whenever Jesse's around, there's tension: he's murderous, quixotic, depressed, and cautious. Ford wants to be somebody and wants the reward. Friendship becomes rivalry and the quest for fame becomes obsession. On April 3, 1882, things come to a head: Jesse is 34, Robert 20. Ford becomes famous, reenacting the shooting on stage, facing down the label "coward," shot dead in 1892.

Director: Andrew Dominik
Writers: Andrew Dominik (screenplay) and Ron Hansen (novel)
Stars: Brad Pitt, Casey Affleck and Sam Shepard
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Monday, December 26, 2011

In Time (2011)

In the not-too-distant future, where time is literally money, and aging stops at 25, the only way to stay alive is to earn, steal, or inherit more time. To avoid overpopulation, time has become the currency and the way people pay for luxuries and necessities. The rich can live forever, while the rest try to negotiate for their immortality. Will Salas lives life a minute at a time, until a windfall of time gives him access to the world of the wealthy. Though too late to help his mother from dying, he teams up with a beautiful young heiress to outrun a police force known as the 'time keepers' and destroy the corrupt system once and for all.

Director: Andrew Niccol
Writer: Andrew Niccol
Stars: Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried and Cillian Murphy
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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Noise (2007)

The noise was bothersome when David Owen first moved to New York City, but back in those early days it was almost endearing in an odd sort of way; a forgivable manifestation of urban vitality, or so he had led himself to believe. These days the incessant barking of car alarms, traffic, and frustrated commuters seems to be driving David insane, never allowing him the opportunity to concentrate or focus on the task at hand. While this distraction is at first only bothersome on a superficial level, however, the thing that really riles David is that he is completely powerless to remedy the problem. As the days go on and the noise on the street seems to amplify in David's ears, he makes the decision to take up arms against the unseen intruder. Initially, David is content to simply let the air out of tires or leave notes on windshields when the owners of cars fail to turn off their alarms. When this approach fails to yield acceptable results, David's subversive urban sabotage techniques quickly evolve into full-blown acts of vandalism. After spending a night in jail, David confesses to his wife that he is in fact the urban folk hero who has come to be known by the public as "The Rectifier" for his repeated attempts to hold those responsible for urban noise pollution accountable for their auditory transgressions. When his wife voices concern about such extreme and irrational behavior, David dutifully agrees to give up his career as a noise-fighting vigilante. But try as he might, David simply cannot repress his lingering urge to strike back against such a formidable enemy.

Director: Henry Bean
Writer: Henry Bean
Stars: Tim Robbins, William Hurt and Bridget Moynahan
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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Kissing Cousins (2008)

Amir is a heartbreaker... literally. As a relationship termination specialist, he provides dumping services for disgruntled daters and spends his days delivering the bad news to unsuspecting lovers across Los Angeles. Though Amir claims he is just the messenger, the job makes him cynical and, as a result, the last bachelor in his group of friends. This becomes clear when his recently-engaged best friends tells him he can no longer be his Best Man because of bad relationship karma. When Amir returns to his family's home for Thanksgiving, he is reunited with his long-lost cousin, Zara, who decides to hitch a ride back to LA with him. As a joke, the two cousins pretend to be a couple in front of Amir's friends and their charade comes dangerously close to going too far.

Director: Amyn Kaderali
Writer: Amyn Kaderali
Stars: Samrat Chakrabarti, Rebecca Hazlewood and Rachael C. Smith
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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Killer Elite (2011)

Based on a shocking true story, Killer Elite pits two of the world's most elite operatives - Danny, an ex-special ops agent and Hunter, his longtime mentor - against the cunning leader of a secret military society. Covering the globe from Australia to Paris, London and the Middle East, Danny and Hunter are plunged into a highly dangerous game of cat and mouse, against the cunning leader of a secret military society), where the predators become the prey.

Director: Gary McKendry
Writers: Matt Sherring (screenplay) and Ranulph Fiennes (book)
Stars: Jason Statham, Clive Owen and Robert De Niro
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Monday, December 19, 2011

Tristan & Isolde (2006)

After the collapse of the Roman Empire, King Donnchadh of Ireland has become the de facto ruler of England, but one of his underlings, Lord Marke, dreams of uniting British forces with an eye toward self-rule. One of Marke's most valuable allies is Tristan, Marke's protégé, who has become a brave warrior since he was rescued by the lord after his parents were murdered by Irish forces during a battle. While Marke and Tristan dream of banishing Ireland's presence in England, Tristan has a secret he's been hiding from Marke -- after suffering serious wounds during a hard-fought battle, he was rescued and nursed back to health by Isolde, King Donnchadh's daughter, and the two fell deeply in love. But the couple were separated after Tristan returned to England, and when Donnchadh attempts to quell the British uprising by staging a tournament among the nation's greatest warriors, an extreme and rather personal surprise is in store for Tristan.

Director: Kevin Reynolds
Writer: Dean Georgaris
Stars: James Franco, Sophia Myles and Rufus Sewell
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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Our Idiot Brother (2011)

Every family has one: the sibling who is always just a little bit behind the curve when it comes to getting his life together. For sisters Liz, Miranda and Natalie, that person is their perennially upbeat brother Ned, an erstwhile organic farmer whose willingness to rely on the honesty of mankind is a less-than-optimum strategy for a tidy, trouble-free existence. Ned may be utterly lacking in common sense, but he is their brother and so, after his girlfriend dumps him and boots him off the farm, his sisters once again come to his rescue. As Liz, Miranda and Natalie each take a turn at housing Ned, their brother's unfailing commitment to honesty creates more than a few messes in their comfortable routines. But as each of their lives begins to unravel, Ned's family comes to realize that maybe, in believing and trusting the people around him; Ned isn't such an idiot after all.

Director: Jesse Peretz
Writers: Jesse Peretz and Evgenia Peretz
Stars: Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks and Zooey Deschanel
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Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (2009)

Follows The Girl Who Played with Fire (2009). Lisbeth Salander lies in critical condition, a bullet wound to her head, in the intensive care unit of a Swedish city hospital. She’s fighting for her life in more ways than one: if and when she recovers, she’ll be taken back to Stockholm to stand trial for three murders. With the help of her friend, journalist Mikael Blomkvist, she will not only have to prove her innocence, but also identify and denounce those in authority who have allowed the vulnerable, like herself, to suffer abuse and violence. And, on her own, she will plot revenge--against the man who tried to kill her, and the corrupt government institutions that very nearly destroyed her life.

Director: Daniel Alfredson
Writers: Ulf Ryberg (screenplay) and Stieg Larsson (novel)
Stars: Noomi Rapace, Michael Nyqvist, and Lena Endre
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Friday, December 16, 2011

The Girl Who Played with Fire (2009)

Follows The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009) and followed by The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (2009). Having returned, Lisbeth Salander falls under suspicion of having committed the murder of a journalist and his girlfriend as well as her guardian Nils Bjurman. Meanwhile, the publisher of "Millennium" magazine, Mikael Blomkvist, has built an empire on his ability to shake up the establishment. Approached by a young journalist with evidence that high-ranking Swedish officials are involved in sex trafficking and crimes against minors, the incensed magazine publisher launches a comprehensive investigation that threatens to implicate some of the most powerful politicians in the country.

Director: Daniel Alfredson
Writers: Jonas Frykberg (screenplay) and Stieg Larsson (novel)
Stars: Noomi Rapace, Michael Nyqvist and Lena Endre
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Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009)

Followed by The Girl Who Played with Fire (2009). Forty years ago, Harriet Vanger disappeared from a family gathering on the island owned and inhabited by the powerful Vanger clan. Her body was never found, yet her uncle is convinced it was murder and that the killer is a member of his own tightly knit but dysfunctional family. He employs disgraced financial journalist Mikael Blomkvist and the tattooed, ruthless computer hacker Lisbeth Salander to investigate. When the pair link Harriet's disappearance to a number of grotesque murders from almost forty years ago, they begin to unravel a dark and appalling family history. But the Vangers are a secretive clan, and Blomkvist and Salander are about to find out just how far they are prepared to go to protect themselves.

Director: Niels Arden Oplev
Writers: Nikolaj Arcel and Rasmus Heisterberg (screenplay), and Stieg Larsson (novel)
Stars: Noomi Rapace, Michael Nyqvist, and Ewa Fröling
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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Mirrors 2 (2010)

Follows Mirrors (2008). While driving on the road with his fiancée Kayla, Max Matheson has a serious car accident and they both die. However, Max is resuscitated and one year later he is an emotionally disturbed man with the guilty complex for the murder of his beloved fiancée and under psychological treatment with Dr. Beaumont. When his father Jack Matheson reopens the Mayflower Department Store in New Orleans, his security guard Henry Schow has an accident and Jack invites Max to be his replacement to help in his cure. Max accepts the job and his father introduces him to the store manager Keller Landreaux; the buyer Jenna McCarty; and the vice-president of operations Ryan Parker. Max has visions of a dead woman and he foresees the death of Jenna and Ryan in the mirror. Sooner Max finds that he has the ability to see Eleanor Reigns, an employee that is missing, and he contacts her sister Elizabeth Reigns to know details of her disappearance...

Director: Víctor García
Writers: Matt Venne and Sung-ho Kim
Stars: Nick Stahl, Emmanuelle Vaugier and Evan Jones
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Monday, December 12, 2011

Mirrors (2008)

Followed by Mirrors 2 (2010). Ex-cop Ben Carson takes a job as a night watchman at the burned-out ruins of the Mayflower department store. As he patrols the eerie, charred remains of the store, he begins to notice something sinister about the ornate mirrors that adorn the Mayflower walls. Reflected in the gigantic shimmering glass are horrific images that stun Carson. He soon discovers that a deadly threat looms, trapped within the mirrors and reflective surfaces that pervade his everyday life. And if he has any hope of saving his wife and children from a horrifying death, Carson must somehow uncover the truth behind the mirrors - and battle the greatest evil he has ever faced.

Director: Alexandre Aja
Writers: Alexandre Aja and Grégory Levasseur
Stars: Kiefer Sutherland, Paula Patton and Amy Smart
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Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Missing (2003)

Maggie is a young plainswoman raising her daughters in the desolate wilderness of New Mexico. When daughter Lily is snatched by a dark-hooded phantom with shape-shifting powers, Maggie's long-estranged father appears suddenly, offering help. Though stunned by his return, Maggie knows she must swallow both hurt and pride if she is ever to see Lily again. Unaware of the frightening events that lurk in the distance, father and daughter set out to track down the fiend that took Lily. But lying in wait is horror so unspeakable it will change them forever!

Director: Ron Howard
Writers: Thomas Eidson (novel) and Ken Kaufman (screenplay)
Stars: Tommy Lee Jones, Cate Blanchett and Evan Rachel Wood
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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

13 Assassins (2011)

Japan, 1844: as the era of the samurai winds to a close, a sadistic young lord uses his powerful political ties to commit heinous atrocities against the common people. Recognizing the dangers to both his country and its citizens should the lord manage to gain any more power, a concerned government official secretly recruits 13 of the most skilled swordsmen he can find to defeat the evil lord once and for all. But reaching their target won't be easy, because the elusive lord is constantly flanked by legions of fearless bodyguards. Realizing that the bodyguards would decimate his modest task force in a traditional battle, the assassins' leader lays an ingenious trap that will give his men the upper hand, and waits patiently for their prey to take the bait.

Director: Takashi Miike
Writers: Kaneo Ikegami and Daisuke Tengan
Stars: Kôji Yakusho, Takayuki Yamada and Yûsuke Iseya
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Monday, December 5, 2011

Alien vs Ninja (2010)

A monster from outer space gets a less-than-warm welcome from a band of ancient warriors in this over-the-top exploitation picture from writer and director Seiji Chiba. In feudal Japan, a strange flaming object falls from the sky, and when reports of mysterious deaths follow, three ninja warriors are sent out to investigate -- brave Yamata, stealthy Jinnai and their silly sidekick Nezumi. What the ninjas find is outside their previous experience -- a bloodthirsty creature from another world that has arrived on Earth and plans to kill everything in its path. However, the alien didn't count on the tenacity or the fighting skills of the ninjas, and they set upon the creature with the help of sword-swinging female ninja Rin. Of course, the alien didn't travel alone, and it isn't long before the warriors are making mincemeat of a whole platoon of beasts from another ugly world.

Director: Seiji Chiba
Writer: Seiji Chiba
Stars: Mika Hijii, Ben Hiura and Shûji Kashiwabara
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