Get Low

  • Directors: Aaron Schneider
  • Producers: Richard D Zanuck, David Gundlach
  • Writers: Screenplay, Chris Provenzano, C Gaby Mitchell, Story, Chris Provenzano, Scott Seeke
  • Genres: Crime, Drama, Romance, Thriller
  • Actors: Robert Duvall, Sissy Spacek, Bill Murray, Lucas Black, Scott Cooper

No one really understands Felix Bush (Robert Duvall), who lives as a hermit deep in the woods. Rumors surround him, like how he might have killed in cold blood, and that he’s in league with the devil. So the town is surprised when Felix shows up in town, demanding a “living funeral” for himself. Frank Quinn (Bill Murray), the owner of the Funeral Parlor, sees an oppurtunity for some money, and agrees to let the townsfolk tell Felix Bush the stories they’ve heard about him. Things get messy when an old mystery is brought back by Quinn’s protege Buddy Robinson (Lucas Black), involving a local widow named Mattie Darrow (Sissy Spacek). When Felix’s funeral rolls around, however, he’ll tell the townsfolk exactly why he’s been alone in the woods for so many years.

Das Cabinet des Dr Caligari

  • Directors: Robert Wiene
  • Producers: Rudolf Meinert, Erich Pommer
  • Writers: Hans Janowitz, Carl Mayer
  • Genres: Horror, Thriller
  • Actors: Werner Krauss, Conrad Veidt, Lil Dagover, Hans Twardowski

The deranged Dr. Caligari and his faithful sleepwalking Cesare are connected to a series of murders in a German mountain village, Holstenwall. Caligari presents an example of a motion picture “frame story” in which most of the plot is presented as a “flashback”, as told by Francis.

The narrator, Francis, and his friend Alan visit a carnival in the village where they see Dr. Caligari and the somnambulist Cesare, whom the doctor is displaying as an attraction. Caligari brags that Cesare can answer any question he is asked. When Alan asks Cesare how long he has to live, Cesare tells Alan that he will die before dawn tomorrow – a prophecy which is fulfilled.

Francis, along with his betrothed Jane, investigate Caligari and Cesare, which eventually results in Cesare kidnapping Jane. Caligari orders Cesare to kill Jane, but the hypnotized slave refuses after her beauty captivates him. He carries Jane out of her house, leading the townsfolk on a lengthy chase. Cesare falls to his death during the pursuit, and the townsfolk discover that Caligari had created a dummy of Cesare to distract Francis.

Francis discovers that “Caligari” is actually the director of the local insane asylum, and, with the help of his colleagues, discovers that he is obsessed with the story of a monk called Caligari, who, in 1093, in northern Italy used a somnambulist to murder people as a traveling act. After being confronted with the dead Cesare, Caligari reveals his mania and is imprisoned in his asylum.

A “twist ending” reveals that Francis’ flashback is actually his fantasy: he, Jane and Cesare are all inmates of the insane asylum, and the man he says is Caligari is his asylum doctor, who, after this revelation of the source of his patient’s delusion, says that now he will be able to cure Francis.

A Perfect World

  • Directors: Clint Eastwood
  • Producers: Mark Johnson, David Valdes
  • Writers: John Lee Hancock
  • Genres: Crime, Drama, Thriller
  • Actors: Kevin Costner, Clint Eastwood, Laura Dern

The film is set in Texas in the fall of 1963. Robert “Butch” Haynes (Kevin Costner) and Terry Pugh (Keith Szarabajka) are convicts who have just escaped from a Huntsville prison. Fleeing from the clutches of the law, the pair stumble into the kitchen of a house where eight-year old Phillip Perry (T. J. Lowther) lives with his devout Jehovah’s Witness mother and two sisters. Needing a hostage to aid their escape, Butch grabs the boy, who meekly accompanies them. The trio’s journey starts off on an unpleasant note as Butch is forced to shoot his fellow escapee with a stolen revolver, following the latter’s attempts at molesting the child. With his partner out of the way, the convict and his young victim take to the Texas highway in a bid to flee from the pursuing police.

Meanwhile, Texas Ranger Red Garnett (Clint Eastwood), riding in the Governor’s sleek airstream trailer, is in hot pursuit of the duo. With criminologist Sally Gerber (Laura Dern) and trigger-happy FBI sharpshooter Bobby Lee (Bradley Whitford) in tow, Ranger Garnett is determined to recover the criminal and the hostage before they cross the Texas border. The plot thus alternates between a manhunt unfolding on one level, and on the other, the blossoming of a tender bond between the convict and his “prisoner.”

The fact that Garnett is a disappointed man at the end (despite the fact that his mission of recovering the hostage has been a success) is indicative of the fact that he perhaps knew, from previous encounters with Butch Haynes, that he was essentially a good man at heart, driven by circumstances to become the cold-blooded killer he was perceived as.

Five Minutes of Heaven

  • Directors: Oliver Hirschbiegel
  • Producers: Eoin O Callaghan, Stephen Wright
  • Writers: Guy Hibbert
  • Genres: Crime, Drama, Thriller
  • Actors: Liam Neeson, James Nesbitt, Anamaria Marinca

Lurgan Northern Ireland, 1975. A low level civil war has been underway, with the Irish Republican Army targeting British loyalists and the loyalist Ulster Volunteer Force exacting revenge on Catholics they claim are militant republicans. Alistair Little, 16 is the leader of a UVF cell, eager to be blooded. He and his gang are given the go ahead to kill a young Catholic man, James Griffin, as a reprisal and a warning to others. When the hit is carried out, Joe Griffin – the 11-year old little brother of the target – watches in horror his brother is shot in the head. Thirty years later Joe Griffin and Alistair are to meet, on camera, with a view to reconciliation. Alistair has served his sentence, and peace may have been agreed to in N. Ireland, but Joe Griffin is not coming on the program for a handshake. Unbeknownst to the production team, he intends to stick a knife in his brother’s killer – live and on the air.

The first act depicts a reconstruction of the murder of 19-year-old Jim Griffin by 17-year-old Alistair Little (Mark Davison) on 29 October 1975. Jim’s 11-year-old brother Joe witnesses the killing. Little goes to prison for 12 years.

Little is speaking metaphorically, and means for Griffin to kill Little off in his head, in so doing they can both move on. Griffin very shakily lights up a cigarette as Little pulls himself up against a wall and limps down the road. The following day, Griffin attends a group sharing. He shares to the group that he wants to be a good father for his daughters and he cries. In the end, he calls Little to tell him, “We’re finished.”

Doomsday

  • Directors: Neil Marshall
  • Producers: Benedict Carver, Steven Paul
  • Writers: Neil Marshall
  • Genres: Action, Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller
  • Actors: Rhona Mitra, Bob Hoskins, Malcolm McDowell

In 2008, the Reaper virus infects Scotland, resulting in the country being walled off by the British government. A Scottish woman brings her little daughter, injured in one eye but otherwise healthy, to soldiers for rescue. The mother convinces them to airlift her daughter and gives her daughter an envelope. Years pass after the successful quarantine, with the contained population apparently dying off. Decades later, the virus, thought to be contained, reappears in London. Prime Minister Hatcher and his puppeteer Canaris share with domestic security chief Captain Nelson news of survivors in Scotland, believing a cure may have been found. They ask him to send a team into the walled-off area to find medical researcher Dr. Kane, who was last known to be working on a cure when Scotland was quarantined. Nelson chooses Major Eden Sinclair, the little girl now grown up with a cybernetic eye replacing her lost eye, to lead the team.

Inside the wall, while investigating Kane’s last known location, Sinclair and her team are ambushed by plague survivors. As some team members are killed, Sinclair and Dr. Talbot are captured while Sergeant Norton and Dr. Stirling manage to escape. Sinclair is interrogated and tortured by the leader of the survivors, Sol. Dr. Talbot is barbecued alive by the cannibalistic survivors. During the cookout, Sinclair escapes from her cell and comes across Kane’s daughter, Cally, also imprisoned. Freed by Sinclair, Cally leads her to a waiting train manned by her friend Joshua, and Norton and Stirling meet up with them to escape from Sol and his men. The train takes them to the mountains, where they take a shortcut through a hidden military facility to the castle where Kane dwells. They are surrounded by Kane’s medieval soldiers, Joshua is killed, and everyone else surrenders to Kane’s medieval men. Sinclair discovers from Kane that the survivors are naturally immune and that he has been warring with his son, Sol. There is no cure for the virus. Sinclair defeats Kane’s executioner, Telamon, in an open arena within the castle, and her teammates help her escape from the castle. They retreat to the facility and find a Bentley in storage to use as escape, though Norton is killed in the process.

In Scotland, Sinclair, Cally, and Stirling run into Sol’s men on the highway and lead them on a car chase. Sol attempts to hijack the Bentley, but while he is on the roof, Sinclair plows the car through a roadblocked bus, decapitating him. Using a GPS cell phone also taken from the facility, Sinclair summons a government gunship and hands over the cure to Canaris: the immune survivor Cally from whose blood a vaccine can be replicated. Canaris, who arrives with the gunship, shares his plan with Sinclair to withhold the cure for political reasons and invites her back to London. Sinclair chooses to stay and goes to find her old home located at the address on the envelope her mother had left her. Nelson, having been given the envelope by Sinclair before she left on the mission, finds her there. Sinclair provides Nelson a video of her conversation with Canaris, which she recorded with her cybernetic eye. Nelson takes the recording back to London and airs it publicly, exposing Canaris’ plan to hold back the cure. Sinclair returns to the location where she and her team were first attacked by the cannibalistic tribe and, presenting them with Sol’s severed head, is cheered as their new leader.

Lake Placid

  • Directors: Steve Miner
  • Producers: David E Kelley, Michael Pressman
  • Writers: David E Kelley
  • Genres: Action, Comedy, Horror, Thriller
  • Actors: Bill Pullman, Bridget Fonda, Oliver Platt, Brendan Gleeson, Betty White

An officer of Maine Fish and Game researching American beaver populations is scuba diving in Black Lake, Aroostook County, Maine, when he is savagely attacked and bitten in half by something unseen in the water. A tooth is found in the diver’s remains and, as it appears to be a prehistoric fossil, a request is made for assistance to the Natural History Museum in New York City. Paleontologist Kelly Scott (Bridget Fonda) gets the job, mainly because her boss, with whom she has had an office affair, wants her out of his way so that he can pursue another relationship with one of Kelly’s co-workers.

Upon arriving in Maine, Kelly informs Fish and Game officer Jack Wells (Bill Pullman) and Sheriff Hank Keough (Brendan Gleeson), who himself witnessed the fatal attack, that the tooth appears to be reptilian in nature, and is not a fossil, but something much more recent. They also meet Delores Bickerman (Betty White), one of few people living on the lake, who claims to have killed her husband.

Later that afternoon, a helicopter arrives at the camp where we are introduced to Hector Cyr (Oliver Platt), an eccentric mythology professor, flamboyant multi-millionaire and crocodile enthusiast who believes, despite Hank’s intense skepticism, that the creature doing the attacks is indeed a crocodile. While the four are out exploring the lake, the creature is shown settling under Kelly and Hank’s canoe. Hector’s radar begins to pulsate as Kelly and Hank are thrown off their canoe and into the water.

The last scene shows Mrs. Bickerman feeding bread crumbs to what appears to be many baby crocodiles implying the two adults were a mating pair. During the end credits the surviving adult crocodile is seen tied to the back of a flat-bed truck speeding down a road.

The Burrowers

  • Directors: JT Petty
  • Producers: Peter Block, Alex Franklin, Robert Hall, Lauren Kisilevsky, William Sherak, Jason Shuman, Alton Walpole
  • Writers: JT Petty
  • Genres: Horror, Thriller, Western
  • Actors: Clancy Brown, William Mapother, Laura Leighton, Sean Patrick Thomas, Robert Ri chard

When a family of Dakota Territory pioneers is violently abducted and a posse is assembled to venture into the badlands and rescue them, the frightening truth they discover in the hills leads them to believe man may not be the only hunter stalking the Old West. The year is 1879, and beyond the fringes of civilization a handful of courageous pioneers maintain settlements while exploring the unknown territories. One night, under the shimmering Western stars, a family from one of these settlements is brutally dragged into darkness by a group of unknown invaders. At first the kidnappers are thought to be hostile Native Americans, and a posse forms to bring the family back home safely. Venturing out into the unmapped territories is an Irish immigrant desperate to find his lost love, a naïve teen eager to prove his worth, a former slave seeking his fortune after gaining his freedom, and a hardened pair of battle-weary Indian fighters. But nature’s wrath and the tomahawks of hostile tribes aren’t the only threats that this group will be forced to contend with, because as the bodies begin to multiply and the truth about the abductors gradually emerges, these rescuers will find out that there are forces in this world that can’t be described in human terms — and that seem to have motivations beyond our comprehension.

A species, called “Burrowers” by the Natives, used to subsist on buffalo. When white settlers depleted the Buffalo the species began to survive on human meat – first hunting nearby Indians and later the settlers. One tribe in particular, the Ute, have experience in combating the hunter-species. The “Burrowers” first lace their victims by cutting them and drugging them with a toxin. The victim is then buried alive and eaten only after decomposition has begun. By the time the film’s protagonists meet up with the Ute their number is severely depleted, but the Ute method of drugging someone already infected with “Burrower” toxin proves effective. When the “Burrowers” go to eat the twice drugged victim they themselves fall asleep and are vulnerable, especially to the rays of the sun. However, the surviving member of the posse, the Irishman Coffey, is unable to discover exactly what the Ute used to drug the “Burrowers”. The film ends with the suggestion that the “Burrower” attacks will continue. In addition to the environmental message about changing ecosystems the film assesses prevailing attitudes towards Blacks and Natives amongst the settlers in the West, with especial focus on the brutality of the US cavalry.

Funny Games U S

  • Directors: Michael Haneke
  • Producers: Hamish McAlpine, Christian Baute, Chris Coen, Andro Steinborn
  • Writers: Michael Haneke
  • Genres: Crime, Drama, Horror, Thriller
  • Actors: Naomi Watts, Tim Roth, Michael Pitt, Brady Corbet, Devon Gearhart

The film begins with a well-to-do family – George, his wife Ann, his son Georgie and their dog – arriving at their lake house. Their next-door neighbor pays a visit, accompanied by two young men, Peter and Paul, whom he introduces as friends. The two men begin imposing themselves on the family’s courtesy, and in the process destroy their phone and ruin all their eggs. Eventually a frustrated Ann demands that the men leave, asking George to eject them from the premises. Peter breaks George’s leg with George’s golf club and the two men take the family hostage. They force the family to participate in a number of sadistic games in order to stay alive. When some of the family’s other neighbors arrive for a visit, Ann passes the men off as friends until the visitors leave.

Paul asks if the family wants to bet that they will be alive by 9:00 in the morning, though he doubts that they will win. Between playing their games, the two men keep up a constant patter, and Paul frequently ridicules Peter’s weight and lack of intelligence. He describes a number of contradicting stories of Peter’s past, though no definitive explanation is ever presented as to the men’s origins or motives. Georgie tries to escape and runs to the gate. He attempts to climb the locked gate but changes his mind and goes to the neighbors’ house passing through the water. Inside the house Georgie attempts to shoot Paul with a shotgun, but the gun fails to go off. Paul returns him to the living room, along with the gun. After a few more games, the men play a counting-out game between the family members on the basis that who ever gets counted out will be shot, but Georgie suddenly panics and makes a run for his life, which results in him getting shot dead, after which they both leave with Paul a little annoyed that Peter didn’t follow the rules to the letter.

George and Ann weep for their loss, but eventually resolve to survive. Ann flees the house while George, with a broken leg, tries to get help with the malfunctioning phone. Ann struggles to find help, but eventually Peter and Paul reappear, capture her, and return to the house. Stabbing George, the men attempt to force Ann to choose for her husband between a drawn out death with the knife or a quick death with the shotgun. The gagged and bound Ann, however, seizes the shotgun that is sitting on the table in front of her, as Paul explains the rules of the game, and kills Peter. After this, Paul is outraged, and confiscates the shotgun. He then begins to curse, and becomes frantic, and starts looking for the remote for the television. After finding it, he rewinds all the occurrences back to where Ann is about to grab the shotgun, breaking the fourth wall. On the ‘do over,’ Paul catches her arm, and says that she isn’t allowed to break the rules. They then kill George and take Ann out on the family’s boat early the next morning. Around eight o’clock, they nonchalantly throw the bound Ann into the water to drown, thus winning their bet. They dock at the house of the neighbors that had previously visited the family, and request some eggs, thereby restarting their cycle of murder.

Mission Impossible III

  • Directors: J J Abrams
  • Producers: Tom Cruise, Paula Wagner
  • Writers: Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, J J Abrams
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Thriller
  • Actors: Tom Cruise, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ving Rhames, Michelle Monaghan, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Billy Crudup, Laurence Fishburne, Maggie Q, Simon Pegg, Keri Russell, Eddie Marsan

Six years after the events of Mission: Impossible II, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) has retired from being an IMF team leader, instead opting for a quiet life with his fiancée Julia (Michelle Monaghan), a hospital nurse. During their engagement party, Ethan receives a call from his old friend John Musgrave (Billy Crudup), who provides him with a disposable camera. After viewing a video hidden in the camera, he finds out Musgrave wants him to rescue Agent Lindsey Farris (Keri Russell), Ethan’s protégé, who has been captured in Berlin by Owen Davian (Philip Seymour Hoffman), a prominent dealer in the international black market. He reluctantly agrees to participate in the mission and meets the team which has been selected for him, consisting of Declan Gormley (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), Zhen Lei (Maggie Q), and his old partner, Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames).

The team assaults an enemy stronghold in Berlin and extracts Agent Farris successfully, who had been taped to a chair, but she dies during their escape when an explosive capsule placed inside her head detonates. After Lindsey’s funeral, Ethan is notified of a “package” sent to him by Lindsey, and discovers that it is a microdot hidden in a blank postcard. Ethan discusses its possible importance with Luther and both decide to keep its existence a secret.

Back at headquarters, Ethan is congratulated for his heroic actions, and then leaves for his honeymoon with Julia, with the blessing of his applauding teammates and promises for another mission which the White House is keen to contact him about. Ethan isn’t sure whether or not he’s going to retire, but promises to think about it and Brassel promises to tell him what the Rabbit’s Foot really is if he does come back.

Kiss Me Deadly

  • Directors: Robert Aldrich
  • Producers: Robert Aldrich
  • Writers: Story, Mickey Spillane, Screenplay, A I Bezzerides
  • Genres: Crime, Drama, Film-Noir, Thriller
  • Actors: Ralph Meeker, Albert Dekker, Paul Stewart, Cloris Leachman

Ralph Meeker plays Mike Hammer, a tough Los Angeles private eye who is almost as brutal and corrupt as the crooks he chases. Mike, and his assistant/secretary/lover, Velda(Maxine Cooper), usually work on “penny-ante divorce cases”.

One evening on a lonely country road, Hammer gives a ride to Christina (Cloris Leachman), an attractive hitchhiker wearing nothing but a trench coat. She has escaped from a nearby mental institution. Thugs waylay them and force his car to crash. Hammer regains consciousness in some unknown location where he hears Christina screaming and being tortured to death. Hammer next awakens in a hospital with Velda by his bedside. He decides to pursue the case, both for vengeance and because, “She (Christina) must be connected with something big” behind it all.

The twisting plot takes Hammer to the apartment of Lily Carver (Gaby Rodgers), a sexy, waif-like blond who is posing as Christina’s ex-room mate. Lily tells Hammer she has gone into hiding and asks Hammer to protect her. It turns out that she is after a mysterious box that, she believes, has contents worth a fortune.

“The great whatsit”, as Velda calls it, at the center of Hammer’s quest is a small, mysterious valise that is hot to the touch and contains a dangerous, shining substance. It comes to represent the 1950s Cold War fear and nuclear paranoia about the atomic bomb that permeated American culture.

The original American release of the film shows Hammer and Velda escaping from the burning house at the end, running into the ocean as the words “The End” come over them on the screen. Sometime after its first release, the ending was crudely altered on the film’s original negative, removing over a minute’s worth of shots where Hammer and Velda escape and superimposing the words “The End” over the burning house. This implied that Hammer and Velda perished in the atomic blaze, and was often interpreted to represent the apocalypse. In 1997, the original conclusion was restored. The DVD release has the correct original ending, and offers the now-discredited truncated ending as an extra. The movie is described as “the definitive, apocalyptic, nihilistic, science-fiction film noir of all time – at the close of the classic noir period.”[2]