Thursday, September 29, 2011

Melancholia (2011)

A meditation on depression and the end of the world. The first half of the film focuses on the emotionally troubled newlywed Justine as her sister, Claire, throws her a lavish wedding party. As her lack of emotional stability begins to take a toll on Justine's brand new marriage as well as the party -- and old wounds are exposed -- Claire's wealthy husband John knows a great deal about a planet that is on a possible collision course with Earth. The second half of the movie focuses on Claire, who ends up taking her sister in after the marriage collapses, and also begins to fear that John is hiding apocalyptically bad news.

Director: Lars von Trier
Writer: Lars von Trier
Stars: Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Kiefer Sutherland
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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Drive (2011)

Driver is a Los Angeles wheelman for hire, stunt driving for movie productions by day and steering getaway vehicles for armed heists by night. Though a loner by nature, Driver can't help falling in love with his beautiful neighbor Irene, a vulnerable young mother dragged into a dangerous underworld by the return of her ex-convict husband Standard. After a heist intended to pay off Standard's protection money spins unpredictably out of control, Driver finds himself driving defense for the girl he loves, tailgated by a syndicate of deadly serious criminals. But when he realizes that the gangsters are after more than the bag of cash in his trunk-that they're coming straight for Irene and her son-Driver is forced to shift gears and go on offense.

Director: Nicolas Winding Refn
Writers: Hossein Amini (screenplay) and James Sallis (book)
Stars: Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan and Bryan Cranston
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Children of Dune (2003)

Follows Dune (2000). Officially based on two of Frank Herbert's science fiction novels, Dune Messiah and Children of Dune. The story was set in the year 10,103: Having deposed the evil emperor of the desert planet Arrakis, the messianic Paul Atreides was firmly installed as the planet's supreme "Muad'Dib," as well as the guardian of Arrakis' life-enhancing spice supply. Unfortunately, Paul's efforts to unify his kingdom have had the residual consequences of bloodshed and tyranny. It fell to Paul's twin children, Ghanima and Leto II, to thwart the villainous machinations of the planet's deposed matriarch, Princess Wensicia, and the beautiful but insane Princess Alia.

Director: Greg Yaitanes
Writers: John Harrison (screenplay) and Frank Herbert (novels)
Stars: Alec Newman, Julie Cox and Ian McNeice
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Monday, September 26, 2011

The Girl Next Door (2004)

Matthew Kidman is a straight-laced and highly ambitious high school student who plans to study at Georgetown University and dreams of a career in politics. While most of his classmates are in the throes of an epidemic of senioritis, Matthew is obsessed with schoolwork and has a hard time relaxing and having fun. But he finds himself a bit less focused on his future career when Danielle, a beautiful 19-year-old blonde, moves in next door. Danielle is playful, spontaneous, and doesn't always remember to draw her shades, and before long Matthew is head over heels in love. Danielle soon finds herself taken with Matthew as well, but their relationship takes an unusual turn when he discovers that, before she moved to town, Danielle had a successful career as a porn actress. Matthew is able to convince Danielle that she's cut out for better things in life than appearing in porn videos, but his advice doesn't especially please Kelly or Hugo, two porn moguls who figure Matthew owes them big-time after convincing their leading lady to drop out of the adult industry.

Director: Luke Greenfield
Writers: David Wagner and Brent Goldberg
Stars: Emile Hirsch, Nicholas Downs and Elisha Cuthbert
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Saturday, September 24, 2011

9 (2009)

The time is the too-near future. Powered and enabled by the invention known as the Great Machine, the world's machines have turned on mankind and sparked social unrest, decimating the human population before being largely shut down. But, as our world fell to pieces, a mission began to salvage the legacy of civilization; a group of small creations was given the spark of life by a scientist in the final days of humanity, and they continue to exist post-apocalypse. One of these creations, 9, emerges to display leadership qualities that may help them survive and possibly even thrive. It is only by chance that he discovers a small community of others like himself taking refuge from fearsome machines that roam the earth intent on their extinction. Despite being the neophyte of the group, 9 convinces the others that hiding will do them no good. They must take the offensive if they are to survive, and they must discover why the machines want to destroy them in the first place. As they'll soon come to learn, the very future of civilization may depend on them.

Director: Shane Acker
Writers: Pamela Pettler (screenplay), Shane Acker (story)
Stars: Elijah Wood, Jennifer Connelly and Crispin Glover
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Based on the 2005 short film of the same name by Shane Acker, found just below:

Hell Ride (2008)

Two rival biker gangs, the Victors and the Six-Six-Sixers, have been at war for years. On July 4th, 1976 the Six-Six-Sixers kill and burn the Victors' president's wife. Now, 32 years later, they're getting revenge. The Victors are headed up by the gang's president, Pistolero, The Gent, and recently added member Comanche. The Six-Six-Sixers is lead by Billy Wings, a ruthless biker who uses an air powered crossbow.

Director: Larry Bishop
Writer: Larry Bishop
Stars: Larry Bishop, Dennis Hopper and Michael Madsen
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Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009)

Many centuries ago, Dr. Parnassus won immortality in a bet that found the malevolent Mr. Nick coming up short. While few would be foolish enough to try their luck against the powers of darkness a second time, Dr. Parnassus did precisely that -- this time trading his mortality for youth on the understanding that his firstborn would become the property of Mr. Nick when the child reaches his or her 16th birthday.Flash-forward to the present day, and Dr. Parnassus' daughter, Valentina, is about to celebrate her sweet sixteen. Dr. Parnassus is desperate to save his little girl from her fiery fate, so when Mr. Nick arrives to collect, he senses the good doctor's malaise and cooks up a wager too enticing to refuse: Dr. Parnassus and Mr. Nick will each compete to seduce five souls, with possession of Valentina going to whoever manages to complete the task first. As the competition begins to heat up, a mysterious man named Tony appears. Could Tony be the one man capable of helping Dr. Parnassus win the competition and save Valentina?

Director: Terry Gilliam
Writers: Terry Gilliam and Charles McKeown
Stars: Heath Ledger, Christopher Plummer and Lily Cole
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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Æon Flux (2005)

400 years in the future, set in the year 2415, Aeon Flux is a mysterious assassin. Four centuries after a virus nearly annihilated the human race, leaving only five million survivors in a utopian city called Bregna. Aeon is struggling to destroy the Goodchild regime led by its namesake, Trevor Goodchild, the ruler of Bregna and a descendant of the man who found a cure for the deadly virus. As instructed by the Handler, Aeon is assigned to assassinate Goodchild, but there are deeper secrets to be discovered, and conspiracies to be foiled.

Director: Karyn Kusama
Writers: Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi
Stars: Charlize Theron, Frances McDormand and Sophie Okonedo
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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Memento (2001)

Leonard is a man who is struggling to put his life back together after the brutal rape and murder of his wife. But Leonard's problems are different from those of most people in his situation; he was beaten severely by the same man who killed his wife. The most significant manifestation of Leonard's injuries is that his short-term memory has been destroyed; he is incapable of retaining any new information, and must resort to copious note-taking and Polaroid photographs in order to keep track of what happens to him over the course of a day (he's even tattooed himself with a few crucial bits of information he can't get along without). Leonard retains awareness that his wife was brutally murdered, however, and he's convinced that the culprit still walks the streets. Leonard is obsessed with the notion of taking revenge against the man who has ruined his life, and he sets out to find him, getting help from Natalie, who appears to be a sympathetic barmaid, and Teddy, who claims to be Leonard's friend, even though Leonard senses that he cannot be trusted.

Director: Christopher Nolan
Writers: Jonathan Nolan (short story) and Christopher Nolan (screenplay)
Stars: Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss and Joe Pantoliano
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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Yellowbrickroad (2011)

One Morning in New England, 1940, the entire population of Friar New Hampshire - 572 people - walked together up a winding mountain trail and into the wilderness. They left behind their clothes, their money, all of their essentials. Even their dogs were abandoned, tied to posts and left to starve. No One knows why. A search party dispatched by the U.S. Army eventually discovered the remains of nearly 300 of Friar's evacuees. Many had frozen to death. Others were cruelly and mysteriously slaughtered. The bodies of the remaining citizens are still unaccounted for. Over the years, a quiet cover-up operation managed to weave the story of Friar into the stuff of legends and backwoods fairy tales. The town has slowly repopulated, but the vast wilderness is mostly untracked, with the northern-most stretches off limits to local hunters and loggers. In 2008, the coordinates for the trail head were declassified...

Directors: Jesse Holland and Andy Mitton
Writers: Jesse Holland and Andy Mitton
Stars: Cassidy Freeman, Anessa Ramsey and Laura Heisler
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Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005)

Arthur Dent is a very ordinary man who is having a truly unusual day -- after discovering that one of his best friends, Ford Prefect, is actually an alien, Ford tells him that the planet Earth is going to be destroyed so that otherworldly forces can make room for construction of a hyperspace bypass. Since Arthur accidentally saved Ford's life years ago, Ford does him a favor -- he first gets him a ride on a spaceship passing by, and then presents him with a guidebook that will tell a beginner everything he needs to know as he hitchhikes through outer space. Along the way, Arthur encounters such interstellar notables as sleazy Galaxy president Zaphod Beebelbrox, the girl of his dreams Tricia McMillan, perpetually glum robot Marvin, interplanetary construction magnate Slartibartfast, and cult leader Humma Kavula.

Director: Garth Jennings
Writers: Douglas Adams
Stars: Martin Freeman, Mos Def and Sam Rockwell
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Friday, September 16, 2011

Blood: The Last Vampire (2009)

In 1970, the four hundred year-old skilled samurai Saya is sent to the Kanto High School in an American military base in Tokyo by the Council, a secret society that has been hunting vampires for centuries. Saya has the appearance of a teenager but is the tormented half-breed creature with the soul of her human father and the powers and need of blood of her vampire mother. She is obsessed to face the powerful demon Onigen that killed her father. In the base, Saya saves Alice McKee, who is the daughter of General McKee and commander of the base, from the attack of several vampires. When General McKee is killed by a member of the Council, Alice runs to the hotel where Saya is lodged. They join forces and go to the countryside to chase Onigen.

Director: Chris Nahon
Writers: Chris Chow (screenplay) and Kenji Kamiyama (character)
Stars: Gianna Jun, Allison Miller and Liam Cunningham
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The Fountain (2006)

Three stories - one each from the past, present, and future - about men in pursuit of eternity with their love. A conquistador in Mayan country searches for the tree of life to free his captive queen; a medical researcher, working with various trees, looks for a cure that will save his dying wife; a space traveler, traveling with an aged tree encapsulated within a bubble, moves toward a dying star that's wrapped in a nebula; he seeks eternity with his love. The stories intersect and parallel; the quests fail and succeed.

Director: Darren Aronofsky
Writers: Darren Aronofsky
Stars: Hugh Jackman, Rachel Weisz and Ellen Burstyn
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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Road (2009)

A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind and water. It is cold enough to crack stones, and, when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the warmer south, although they don't know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing: just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless cannibalistic bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a rusting shopping cart of scavenged food -- and each other.

Director: John Hillcoat
Writers: Cormac McCarthy (novel) and Joe Penhall (screenplay)
Stars: Viggo Mortensen, Charlize Theron and Kodi Smit-McPhee
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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Attack the Block (2011)

A gang of tough inner-city kids rob Sam as she is walking home in a scary South London tower block. She flees when the gang is attacked by a small alien creature which falls from the sky. While Sam and the police hunt for the gang, a second wave of creatures falls. The gang grabs weapons, mount bikes, and set out to defend their turf. But this time, the creatures are much bigger. Savage and bestial, nothing will stand in their way. And the bunch of no-hope kids who just attacked Sam are about to become her only hope.

Director: Joe Cornish
Writer: Joe Cornish
Stars: John Boyega, Jodie Whittaker and Nick Frost
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Sublime (2007)

Admitted to the surgery ward for a routine colonoscopy, forty-year old George Grieves finds himself forced to confront his greatest fear when his surroundings take an unsettling shift towards the surreal. Immediately after awakening from his anesthesia, George is horrified to discover that the surgeon has performed the wrong operation on him. Now, as George's mental and physical condition begins to deteriorate rapidly, he discovers that something is horribly amiss in the hospital's East Ward. But in order to find out the truth about what's been happening in the East Ward, George will have to come face to face with the most sadistic nurse around, and make a difficult decision that promises to alter the course of his entire life.

Director: Tony Krantz
Writer: Erik Jendresen
Stars: Tom Cavanagh, Kathleen York and Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs
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Monday, September 12, 2011

The Believer (2001)

Danny Balint is a member of a gang of racist skinheads who espouses a vile but well-articulated philosophy of anti-Semitism. Danny also has a secret -- he is a Jew, and was a top student in Hebrew school before he began to ask too many questions about the deeper implications of the teachings in the Torah and the Old Testament, leading to his expulsion. Angry and confused, Danny began to explore the philosophies of the neo-Nazi movement, which he soon came to embrace through a mixture of anger over the tragic history of the Jewish people, bitterness over his experiences in Hebrew school, and a loathing of himself. Danny soon becomes a key member of a skinhead sect led by Curtis and Lina, but while Curtis and Lina believe that the desire for cultural assimilation by many American Jews will lead to their self-destruction, Danny advocates a more direct and violent approach in dealing with the "enemy." Danny gains the admiration of his fellow skinheads for his intelligence and commitment, and wins the affection of Carla, a group member with severe masochistic tendencies. But in time Danny's beliefs begin to shift once again, just as the truth about his background becomes known to his comrades.

Director: Henry Bean
Writers: Henry Bean
Stars: Ryan Gosling, Summer Phoenix and Billy Zane
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