Monster

  • Directors: Patty Jenkins
  • Producers: Charlize Theron, Mark Damon, Clark Peterson, Donald Kushner, Brad Wyman
  • Writers: Patty Jenkins
  • Genres: Biography, Crime, Drama, Romance, Sport
  • Actors: Charlize Theron, Christina Ricci, Bruce Dern, Lee Tergesen

After moving to Florida, Aileen Wuornos (Theron), a prostitute, meets Selby Wall (Ricci) in a bar. Selby takes to Wuornos almost immediately, as she likes that Wuornos is very protective of her, even though she notices that the older woman is deeply disturbed. They have a small romantic encounter at a roller rink and quickly become committed to one another, and move into a motel.

After being raped and brutalized by a client (Lee Tergesen), Wuornos murders him and decides to quit prostitution. Eventually, it becomes difficult to pay the bills and Wuornos tries to find legitimate work, but finds it difficult because she has no real qualifications, is uncultured, and has a very bad temper. Desperate for money and resentful of the men who use her for sex, she commits several murders, each more brutal than the last, robbing her victims after killing them. (The last man she kills is actually not a customer, but a man merely offering Wuornos a ride home.)

Wuornos is eventually arrested and speaks to Selby one last time while in jail. Selby reveals incriminating information over the telephone and Wuornos realizes Selby is with the police. To protect Selby, Wuornos states she committed the murders alone. During Wuornos’ trial, Selby testifies against her.

Aileen Wuornos was convicted and sentenced to death.

Labyrinth

  • Directors: Jim Henson
  • Producers: George Lucas
  • Writers: Dennis Lee, Jim Henson, Terry Jones
  • Genres: Adventure, Family, Fantasy, Musical
  • Actors: Jennifer Connelly, David Bowie, Toby Froud

Protagonist Sarah Williams (Connelly) is a 15-year-old who loves reading and acting out fairy tales, whose parents are divorced and whose mother is a moderately famous actress. The movie opens with a scene of Sarah rehearsing lines from her book Labyrinth in a park. While trying to remember the final line of a speech in the book, she loses track of time, forgetting that she must babysit her infant half-brother, Toby. Upon belatedly remembering this, she runs home to find her stepmother Irene waiting angrily for her. They quarrel, after which Irene leaves with Sarah’s father on a date, while Sarah remains behind to babysit Toby. Here, the already furious Sarah realises that her treasured teddy bear, Lancelot, is missing from her room. Storming into Toby’s room, she finds Lancelot and reprimands Toby, whereupon he begins to cry. Sarah, possibly to tease him further in revenge, begins rehearsing more lines from Labyrinth, telling an account of a maiden granted special powers by the King of Goblins. According to the story, the girl (whom Sarah apparently uses to represent herself) could no longer stand her life and wishes for goblins to take away her screaming baby brother. As she ends the story and turns off the light, she remarks, “I wish the goblins would come and take you away…right now”, whereupon Toby suddenly stops crying. Worried, Sarah enters his room, to find that Toby has vanished.

In Toby’s room, she gives him Lancelot, then returns to her room. As Sarah clears her dressing table, she seems confused about whether she has undergone the turning point in her life between childhood and adulthood. Hoggle appears, along with Ludo and Sir Didymus, as images in the mirror. They seem to be bidding her goodbye as she leaves behind the fantasies of childhood, but remind her that they will still be available “should you need us”. Sarah insists she presently needs them, whereupon they appear in her bedroom. The film closes as the Labyrinth’s creatures celebrate in her room. Outside, the owl Jareth watches the party and then flies away into the night.

Flashdance

  • Directors: Adrian Lyne
  • Producers: Don Simpson, Jerry Bruckheimer, Tom Jacobson, Lynda Rosen Obst, Peter Guber, Jon Peters
  • Writers: Tom Hedley, Joe Eszterhas
  • Genres: Drama, Romance, Music
  • Actors: Jennifer Beals, Michael Nouri

Blue-collar worker, eighteen year-old Alexandra (Alex) Owens (played by Jennifer Beals) is a dancer in a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania bar at night and a welder at a steel mill during the day. She lives on her own in a converted warehouse with her pit bull, Grunt. Her dream is to obtain a place at a prestigious dance school, the (fictional) Pittsburgh Conservatory of Dance and Repertory. During one of her performances at Mawby’s, the bar where she works, she attracts the attention of Nick Hurley (Michael Nouri) who is the boss of the steel mill, and he learns that Alex is one of his employees.

Alex’s best friends also work at Mawby’s, and they have their own dreams of fame. Jeanie Szabo (Sunny Johnson) is a waitress who aspires to be a professional ice skater, and Jeanie’s boyfriend Richie Blazik (Kyle T. Heffner) is a cook who wants to be a professional stand-up comedian. Also prominent in the film is Johnny C. (Lee Ving), who runs the local strip club, the Zanzibar, and is invariably accompanied by his strong but dense bodyguard Cecil (Malcolm Danare). Johnny C. visits Mawby’s to check out the dancers, and tries to recruit both Alex and Jeanie to work at the Zanzibar.

At the audition, Alex falls over at the start of her routine, but starts again and completes the routine successfully. In the final scene, Alex runs out of the Conservatory building with a smile on her face and is hugged by Nick, who gives her a bunch of red roses. The ending of the film does not say directly whether Alex wins a place at the Conservatory as a result of her audition.

30 Days of Night

  • Directors: David Slade
  • Producers: Sam Raimi, Ted Adams, Rob Tapert
  • Writers: Steve Niles, Stuart Beattie
  • Genres: Horror, Thriller
  • Actors: Josh Hartnett, Melissa George, Danny Huston, Ben Foster, Mark Boone Junior, Mark Rendall

Barrow, Alaska, is preparing for its annual “30 Days of Night”, a period during the winter when the sun will not be seen for a month: some inhabitants leave for Fairbanks or other parts south. As the town gets ready, the Stranger (Ben Foster) rows ashore from a large ship and once in Barrow, he sets about sabotaging the town (stealing and burning cell phones, killing all the sled dogs) in the belief that the vampires will make him one of them if he helps them with their plans.

Barrow’s sheriff, Eben Oleson (Josh Hartnett) investigates these crimes. As he does so, he learns that his estranged wife, Stella Oleson (Melissa George), missed the last plane out of town and will have to spend the 30 day period in Barrow. Although they try to avoid one another, when Stella confronts the Stranger in the town diner, she helps subdue him and take him to the station house.

From the jail cell, the Stranger taunts Eben, Stella, Eben’s teenage brother, Jake (Mark Rendall) and grandmother, telling them that death is coming for them. Just then, vampires attack the local telecommunications center and power supply, rendering the town dark and cut off from the outside world. Eben goes to the telecommunications center and finds the operator’s head on a spike. He and Stella then go through town, warning all the residents to lock themselves indoors and load all weapons.

Eben and Stella watch the sunrise together. While Stella rests on Eben’s shoulder, they share one last kiss. Stella holds Eben tightly in her arms as the light of sun brightens. His body begins to burn and he lets out a bloodcurdling scream. Seconds later he dies, his body turned to ash. The end of the film is marked as Stella closes her eyes, cradling Eben’s ashen corpse.

Zombie Strippers

  • Directors: Jay Lee
  • Producers: Larry Schapiro, Andrew Golov, Angela J Lee
  • Writers: Jay Lee
  • Genres: Comedy, Horror
  • Actors: Robert Englund, Jenna Jameson, Penny Drake, Roxy Saint, Jessica Custodio, Tito Ortiz

The film opens with a news montage explaining that it is set in a dystopic near-future in which the second Bush Administration — which has been elected to a fourth term (even though the actual U.S. Constitution limits the president to just two terms, or, 10 years total) — has disbanded the United States Congress; has banned public nudity nation-wide; and, is embroiled in wars with France, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Canada, and Alaska (which has seceded from the U.S.A.). Facing a situation in which there are more wars than there are soldiers to fight them, a secret laboratory run by Dr. Chushfeld (Brad Milne) in Sartre, Nebraska has developed a virus to re-animate dead marines and send them back into battle. However, the virus has broken containment and infected test subjects and scientists are at risk of escaping the lab. A team of marines codenamed the “Z” Squad is sent in to destroy the zombies, but one of the marines named Byrdflough (Zak Kilberg) is bitten and escapes. The infected marine ends up in an alley outside an underground strip club named Rhino. The marine dies and awakens as a zombie that goes into the club.

The remaining humans in the club struggle to survive until the “Z” Squad burst in to destroy the zombies. But they discover that the zombies were allowed to escape by the Bush Administration, in the hopes that the ensuing zombie plague would distract Americans from their gross mishandling of the war effort and the economy.

Last Chance Harvey

  • Directors: Joel Hopkins
  • Producers: Tim Perell, Nicola Usborne
  • Writers: Joel Hopkins
  • Genres: Drama, Romance
  • Actors: Dustin Hoffman, Emma Thompson, Kathy Baker, James Brolin

The film follows in parallel two lonely people: Harvey (Dustin Hoffman) is an American commercial jingle writer, whose dream – long ago given up – was to be a jazz pianist, and whose unpalatable job is in jeopardy. Kate (Emma Thompson) is a single Londoner, cautious about romance after past disappointments, who works at a boring job collecting statistics at Heathrow Airport, and gets frequent calls from her neurotic mother and none from anybody else.

Harvey travels from New York to London for his daughter’s wedding, briefly encountering Kate and rather rudely refusing to fill her questionnaire. His daughter Susan (Liane Balaban) has a strained relationship with him, and when Harvey tells her that he will not be staying for the wedding reception because of work, she informs him that she has chosen to have her stepfather (James Brolin) walk her down the aisle. He attends the ceremony, then attempts to return to New York but misses his plane, then learns at Heathrow that he is being fired from his job. Drowning his sorrows at an airport bar, he meets Kate, initiating a conversation, which leads to lunch and then they stroll alongside the River Thames. They grow close and she convinces him to attend the wedding reception. He agrees, but only if she’ll come with him.

At the reception, Harvey redeems himself with his daughter and Kate begins to fall for him. They walk and talk until sunrise and then make a date to meet again at noon. Harvey is unable to make the meeting, however, and must track Kate down later to try to make amends.

Bride Wars

  • Directors: Gary Winick
  • Producers: Kate Hudson, Matt Luber, Alan Riche, Peter Riche, Julie Yorn
  • Writers: Greg DePaul, June Raphael, Casey Wilson, Karen McCullah Lutz, Kirsten Smith
  • Genres: Comedy, Romance
  • Actors: Kate Hudson, Anne Hathaway, Candice Bergen, Chris Pratt, Bryan Greenberg, Steve Howey, Kristen Johnston

Emma (Anne Hathaway) and Liv (Kate Hudson) are best friends who have planned every detail of their weddings since childhood. At the top of their bridal “must have” list: a ceremony at New York’s ultimate bridal destination, the Plaza Hotel. Now, at age 26, they’re both about to get married, they’re about to realize their dreams, and they’re about to live happily ever after. Or maybe not. When a clerical error causes a clash in wedding dates–they’re now to be married on the same day!–Liv, Emma and their lifelong friendship are put to the ultimate test. Liv, a successful lawyer who is used to getting what she wants, including the perfect job and the perfect man, won’t settle for anything less than the perfect wedding she has dreamed of for years. Emma, a schoolteacher who has always been good at taking care of others, but not so much in looking after herself, discovers her inner Bridezilla and comes out swinging when her own dream wedding is imperiled. Now, the two best friends who’d do anything for each other find themselves in a no-holds-barred, take-no-prisoners struggle that threatens to erupt into all-out war. The girls both attempt to “sabotage” the other’s wedding, including Liv making Emma’s tan go bright red, and Emma sending Liv a “treat” of chocolate cookies in order to make her fat,so she can’t fit inside her dress, showing up at one’s bachelorette party and dancing suggestively with male strippers, dying one’s hair blue, which ends up ruining their relationship. These shenanigans go on, then when the wedding day comes, Liv earlier gave her assistant a DVD of Emma dancing drunkenly during a Spring Break bash, but gave him the original DVD and told him to change it back, because she was finished with the fighting. He ends up ignoring her request saying, “You’ll thank me one day.” The DVD shows up at Emma’s wedding as she walks down the aisle, making Emma angrily storm into Liv’s wedding and tackle Liv. Liv bursts into tears and apologizes for ruining Emma’s big day. Emma’s boyfriend announces that Emma isn’t the girl he thought he was marrying. Emma then tells him that he is in love with the Emma he met 10 years ago, not the Emma that she is now. She realizes that the guy she was going to marry isn’t the right guy for her, and calls off the wedding. They share a hug as she takes off the ring, and he walks out of the hall. Emma and Liv make up and the wedding is restarted, this time having Emma give away Liv. During the wedding dance after Liv gets married, Emma is asked to dance by Nate (Bryan Greenberg), Liv’s brother, and the two hit it off. As the film ends, Liv and Emma catch up about a year later: Emma is now married to Nate and the past is forgotten. Both ladies announce that they are pregnant, and they learn that both babies are due on the same day. This time instead of arguing, both women rejoice at being parents for the first time.

Final Fantasy VII Advent Children

  • Directors: Tetsuya Nomura, Takeshi Nozue
  • Producers: Yoshinori Kitase, Shinji Hashimoto
  • Writers: Kazushige Nojima
  • Genres: Animation, Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller
  • Actors: Seiyu, Takahiro Sakurai, Showtaro Morikubo, Maaya Sakamoto, Ayumi Ito, English voice actors, Steve Burton, Steve Staley, Mena Suvari, Rachael Leigh Cook, George Newbern, Wally Wingert, Christy Carlson Romano

Two years after the events of Final Fantasy VII, the survivors of Midgar have begun to build a new city, Edge, on the outskirts of the old metropolis. A strange disease known as “Geostigma” has arisen. After Cloud’s showdown with Sephiroth, he has been living with Tifa in Edge. Marlene and an orphaned boy named Denzel have been entrusted to their care. After receiving a message from Tifa, Cloud is attacked by three men, Kadaj, Loz, and Yazoo, who believe that he has hidden their “mother”. The leader, Kadaj, ends the battle as he discovers that Cloud does not have their “mother”. Cloud responds to a message from Tifa, who tells him that the Turks have a job for him. At the meeting place, Cloud discovers that Rufus Shinra is still alive. Rufus attempts to enlist Cloud’s help to stop the trio, but fails. Kadaj arrives and demands that Rufus tell him where to find his “mother”. It is revealed that his “mother” is Jenova’s remains, and is somehow connected to the cause of the Geostigma. The trio are planning a new “reunion” that will culminate in an assault on the Planet.

Loz arrives at Aerith’s church in an attempt to find Jenova’s remains, and is confronted by Tifa. After battling Tifa, he receives instructions on his cell phone to capture Marlene. Kadaj and the gang begin collecting children infected with Geostigma, including Denzel and the uninfected Marlene, and take them to the Forgotten City. Cloud attempts to rescue them but fails, and is quickly defeated, and is then rescued by Vincent Valentine, who reveals to Cloud what the trio is seeking and that it could result in the return of Sephiroth. Cloud agrees to return to Edge and face Kadaj in battle. In Edge, the trio call forth several monsters to attack the populace, including the summon “Bahamut SIN”. While Cloud’s companions deal with Bahamut SIN, Reno and Rude try to take care of Yazoo and Loz until Cloud arrives. Cloud and his friends are able to dispatch the monsters and Bahamut SIN.

Afterward, Cloud appears surrounded by a white light, and Aerith and Zack are heard. Zack tells Cloud that his place is not with them yet, and sends him back. Cloud awakens in a pool of Lifestream-infused water in Aerith’s church, surrounded by his friends and the citizens of Edge. After curing the Geostigma-infected children, he turns and sees Aerith crouching by some children. As she stands and walks to the doorway, she turns back to assure Cloud that she is all right, and steps into a white light with Zack.

From Dusk Till Dawn

  • Directors: Robert Rodriguez
  • Producers: Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino, Lawrence Bender
  • Writers: Story, Robert Kurtzman, Screenplay, Quentin Tarantino
  • Genres: Action, Horror, Thriller
  • Actors: George Clooney, Harvey Keitel, Quentin Tarantino, Juliette Lewis, Ernest Liu, Fred Williamson, Tom Savini, Cheech Marin, Salma Hayek

Fugitive bank robbers and brothers Seth (George Clooney) and Richie Gecko (Quentin Tarantino) are fleeing the F.B.I. and Texas police. During the first few minutes of the film, they hold up and then destroy a liquor store and kill the clerk, a cop and a witness. They then take a hostage, whom Richie later rapes and murders (offscreen).

The Fuller family — Jacob (Harvey Keitel), the father and a pastor who is experiencing a crisis of faith; his son Scott (Ernest Liu); and daughter Kate (Juliette Lewis) — are on a vacation in their RV. They stop at a motel and are promptly kidnapped by the Geckos, who force the Fullers to smuggle them past the Mexican border. Seth and Jacob make an uneasy truce: if the Geckos can make it past the border, Jacob and his family will come out of the ordeal unharmed. They succeed and arrive at the “Titty Twister”, a strip club in the middle of a desolate part of Mexico, where the Geckos will be met by their contact Carlos (Cheech Marin) at dawn. The Geckos demand that the Fullers have a drink with them before leaving, despite Kate’s obvious discomfort.

Soon after entering the club, chaos ensues as the employees and strippers are all revealed to be vampires. Most of the patrons are quickly killed, and Richie is bitten by the star stripper, Santanico Pandemonium (Salma Hayek), and bleeds to death. Only Seth, Jacob, Kate, Scott, a biker named Sex Machine (Tom Savini) and Frost (Fred Williamson), a Vietnam War veteran, survive the attack. The slain patrons — including Richie — then come back to life as vampires, forcing Seth to kill his own brother.

Kate asks Seth if she can go with him, but he rebuffs her. She (in the RV) and Seth (with Carlos) go their separate ways after Seth gives Kate some cash. As they leave, the camera pans back to reveal that the “Titty Twister” was actually the top of a buried ancient Aztec temple, presumably the home of vampires for centuries, and that hundreds of trucks and bikes have been toppled down the side of the cliff.

Boogie Nights

  • Directors: Paul Thomas Anderson
  • Producers: Paul Thomas Anderson, Lawrence Gordon, Lloyd Levin
  • Writers: Paul Thomas Anderson
  • Genres: Drama
  • Actors: Mark Wahlberg, Burt Reynolds, Julianne Moore

Handsome but naïve high school dropout Eddie Adams (Mark Wahlberg), emotionally abused by his domineering, alcoholic mother, is discovered by porn director Jack Horner (Burt Reynolds) at a suburban club owned by Maurice Rodríguez (Luis Guzmán). He then gives himself the screen name of Dirk Diggler, whose extraordinary endowment and youthful charisma make him an instant award-winning star in the adult entertainment business. His success allows him to buy a new house, an extensive wardrobe, and his most prized possession: an orange Chevrolet Corvette. Aware of Jack’s goal of making films that draw audience members with their plots as much as their sex scenes, Dirk and his best friend/fellow porn star Reed Rothchild (John C. Reilly), who aspires to be a magician, suggest a series of action films starring themselves as Brock Landers and Chest Rockwell. The film series become a runaway success.

Assistant director Little Bill (William H. Macy) is married to a porn star (Nina Hartley) who constantly humiliates him by having sex, frequently in public, with other men. At a New Year’s Eve party marking the start of the 1980s, he shoots her and her lover and then turns the gun on himself in front of the guests. This marks a major turning point, as most of the characters’ lives take a turn for the worse as the new decade begins. The film moves from one character to another, showing their attempts to make lives for themselves in the adult film industry and their failures when they leave it. Jack’s porn empire flounders after his main source of funding, Colonel James (Robert Ridgely), is imprisoned for possession of child pornography. His new financier, Floyd Gondoli (Philip Baker Hall), insists on cutting costs by shooting on videotape, a format that Jack detests. He is also unhappy with the lack of scripts and character development in the projects Gondoli expects him to churn out as quickly as possible. He tries to revitalize his career by having Rollergirl (Heather Graham) ride with him in a limousine while they search for random strangers to have sex with her in the back seat while a crew tapes it. When the man they choose insults Rollergirl and rudely tells Jack his movies aren’t good anymore, Jack and Rollergirl severely beat him and leave him bleeding and half-conscious on the street.

Now addicted to cocaine and methamphetamine, Dirk finds it increasingly difficult to achieve an erection and frequently falls into violent mood swings. He has a falling out with Jack during a film shoot, and he and Reed decide to pursue their dream of rock and roll stardom, a move supported by Scotty (Philip Seymour Hoffman), a gay boom operator who adores and emulates Dirk. However, their addictions lead them to squander all their money and render them unable to pay the recording studio for the demo tapes. Desperate for money, Dirk tries to prostitute himself with a man, but he is assaulted and robbed by a gang of thugs in a homophobic assault. Dirk, Reed and their friend Todd (Thomas Jane) attempt to scam Rahad Jackson (Alfred Molina) by selling him a half-kilo of baking soda disguised as cocaine for $5,000, and Todd is killed in an ensuing gunfight. Frightened by his brush with death and weary of his wasteful existence, Dirk reconciles with Jack. The film ends with several characters living in Jack’s house as their own version of a family.