Predators

  • Directors:
  • Producers: Robert Rodriguez, Elizabeth Avellan
  • Writers: Michael Finch, Alex Litvak
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller
  • Actors: Adrien Brody, Topher Grace, Alice Braga, Laurence Fishburne, Danny Trejo, Walton Goggins, Oleg Taktarov, Mahershalalhashbaz Ali, Louis Ozawa Changchien

The film follows a mercenary named Royce who is abducted by alien creatures known as the Predators. He is released onto an alien planet—which acts as a game reserve—along with seven other humans, who with the exception of a disgraced physician, are all cold-blooded killers consisting of mercenaries and convicts. Royce reluctantly leads the group of elite warriors as they come to realize they have been brought together to this planet as prey for a new breed of Predator.[3] While battling to survive against these creatures, they come across an American soldier known as Noland who was brought to the planet years ago as game, but has managed to survive by hiding from the Predators in a cave. Noland reveals that the Predators have been hunting humans by dropping them on this planet for many years. [4]

Hollywoodland

  • Directors: Allen Coulter
  • Producers: Glenn Williamson
  • Writers: Paul Bernbaum
  • Genres: Biography, Crime, Drama, History, Mystery, Thriller
  • Actors: Adrien Brody, Diane Lane, Ben Affleck, Bob Hoskins, Molly Parker, Robin Tunney, Caroline Dhavernas

The movie begins in Beverly Hills on June 16, 1959, at the home of TV star George Reeves with a police investigation underway and Reeves’ lifeless body on his bed. The police rule the death a suicide. The focus of the film then shifts to Louis Simo, a private investigator more interested in generating an income than in devotion to his clients. A man named Chester Sinclair is paying Simo to spy on his wife under the impression that she is cheating on him. Simo simply accepts his money and takes pictures outside of a building where she goes to from time to time. On a visit to see his son, Simo reacts to the boy’s lackluster demeanor and asks his ex-wife Laurie what is wrong. She tells him it’s because the actor who plays Superman has shot himself. Simo learns from a former colleague on the police force that the Reeves suicide has aspects that the cops don’t want to touch. Simo, sensing the potential for making a name for himself, begins investigating the case and notes several apparent conflicts with the official version of Reeves’ death. Simultaneously Simo bickers with Laurie over his failures as a father, particularly now when his son seems so troubled.

The story of Reeves’ quest for fame and success and Simo’s realization of how that quest is paralleled in his own existence causes the detective to reevaluate his life. Simo watches another home movie, this one of himself and Laurie and their son in happier days. The film ends with Simo coming to Laurie’s house wearing a suit and tie, and greeting his son hopefully.

King Kong

  • Directors: Peter Jackson
  • Producers: Jan Blenkin, Carolynne Cunningham, Fran Walsh, Peter Jackson
  • Writers: Screenplay, Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Story, Merian C Cooper, Edgar Wallace
  • Genres: Adventure, Romance
  • Actors: Andy Serkis, Naomi Watts, Jack Black, Adrien Brody

The film opens in New York City, 1933, at the height of the Great Depression. Having lost her job as a vaudeville actress, Ann Darrow is hired by troubled filmmaker Carl Denham to be an actress in his new motion picture against the famous and popular actor Bruce Baxter. With time running out, Ann signs on when she learns her favorite playwright Jack Driscoll is the screenwriter. As the SS Venture sails across the ocean, they slowly fall in love. As for Carl, a warrant is out for his arrest and Captain Englehorn begins to have second thoughts, following the fears of his crew over the legend of Skull Island. Despite his attempt to turn around, the ship is sucked up into fog and crashes into one of the encircling rocks.

Carl and his crew explore a seemingly deserted village against a wall. As they explore, Carl spots a native girl and offers her chocolate but she attacks, and Carl and the crew realize the village isn’t deserted. Then, a member of Carl’s film crew gets impaled by a spear, Ann notices and screams, a roar beyond the wall responds and the crew are attacked by the natives. The matriarch vows to sacrifice Ann to “Kong”. Just as Carl is about to be killed, Englehorn and the sailors break up the attack and return to the damaged ship. They finally lighten the load on the ship to sail away, until Jack discovers Ann has been kidnapped. On the island in a sacrificing ceremony, Ann is tied to a wooden drawbridge by the natives and lowered to the other side of the wall across a moat-like ditch in the ground. The crew arrived armed, and started killing all the natives. But are too late as Kong appears to claim Ann, and glares back at Carl, and then disappears with Ann into the jungle as Carl watches from the opposite side of the wall. A rescue party is organized, and Captain Englehorn gives them 24 hours to find her. In the meantime as Kong holding Ann moves quickly through the jungle and shakes her around, Ann discovers the remains of the previous sacrifices, and stabs Kong’s hand with her ceremonial necklace, much to Kong’s surprise. Hearing the rescue party approaching, Kong grabs Ann as she tries to run from him and takes her deeper into the jungle.

Kong eventually stops Jack’s taxi, knocking Jack unconscious, he then sees Ann down the street, which calms him down before he can kill Jack. They share a quiet moment on a frozen lake in Central Park then are interrupted by the military. Kong heads to the Empire State Building and climbs to the top. While observing the dawning day, Kong repeats the sign for “beautiful” Ann had used in his lair, causing a shocked Ann to realize his intelligence. Before Ann is able to attempt further communication, they are again attacked by the military. Kong makes his last stand against the Curtiss Helldivers,[3] on the summit of the observation spire, downing three of them. Ultimately, Kong is hit by several bursts of gunfire from the surviving planes, and gazes at a distraught Ann for the last time before falling off the building to his death. Jack finally reaches Ann and comforts her. In the aftermath, hundreds of people and reporters run to Kong’s lifeless body and look in amazement. A man tells Carl that the airplanes got him. But Carl says, “It wasn’t the airplanes. It was Beauty killed the Beast.”

Splice

  • Directors: Vincenzo Natali
  • Producers: Guillermo Del Toro
  • Writers: Vincenzo Natali, Doug Taylor, Antoinette Terry Bryant
  • Genres: Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller
  • Actors: Adrien Brody, Sarah Polley, David Hewlett

Two young scientists (Brody and Polley) achieve fame by splicing human DNA with the DNA of different animals to create a new creature[2]. In the process they ignore their society’s ethical and legal boundaries. The scientists name their creature “Dren”, which is initially a deformed female infant, however it rapidly develops into a beautiful but deadly winged human-chimera.[3]

The Brothers Bloom

  • Directors: Rian Johnson
  • Producers: Wendy Japhet, Ram Bergman, James D Stern
  • Writers: Rian Johnson
  • Genres: Adventure, Comedy, Crime, Drama, Romance
  • Actors: Rachel Weisz, Adrien Brody, Mark Ruffalo, Rinko Kikuchi, Maximillian Schell, Robbie Coltrane

The film opens during the childhood of the orphaned protagonists, Stephen (Mark Ruffalo) and Bloom (Adrien Brody). Stephen, the older of the two, instigates various acts of dishonesty and mayhem, while younger brother Bloom is content to play along the shenanigans. The brother’s unrepentant mischief making causes their constant eviction from one foster home to the next.

Eventually, the brothers are transferred to a close-knit small town filled with friendly children their age. Bloom begins to long for the comfort of a normal and honest social life, and develops a crush on one of the girls there. Stephen, realizing he can use his brother’s interest in the children, manipulates his brother into befriending their schoolmates in order to execute their first big con.

Stephen has Bloom convince his new friends that a mysterious old man told him of a cave that contains a magical creature. The man, Bloom claims, will reveal the location of the cave for $30. The children believe the story, collect $30 among the group, and venture out to the cave. Stephen hides inside the cave just out of their sight, waving a lantern to hint at the magic fairy just out of sight. The excited children run toward the light. Bloom, caught up in the moment, runs too, but, catching sight of his brother, remembers the hollow con and becomes disheartened. The other children, however, are gleeful as they gallop through the muddy cave. Later, however, the fuming parents of the hoodwinked children confront the brother’s foster parents. The boys return the $30, but end up profiting through the con’s true target: they take a cut of the profits made by the town’s lone dry cleaner, who benefited by cleaning the muddy clothes of the bamboozled children. The brothers are soon evicted to another foster home.

Later, Bloom wakes up in the car and slowly discovers that Stephen’s blood stain on his shirt has turned from red to brown (earlier in the film, it is noted that the one flaw of fake blood is its inability to change color). The scene changes back to Stephen, who is dragging the chair to the center of the stage. Still bleeding from the gunshot, he slowly sits down and it is shown he has the Queen of Hearts up his sleeve (revealing he knew what card Bloom would be thinking about) and dies. Bloom, realizing what actually happened, breaks down on the side of the road while Penelope is trying to comfort him. She tells him what Stephen once told her, “That there are no such thing as unwritten life. Just a badly written one.” She tells him that they’re going to live like they’re telling the best story in the whole world. As they’re leaving, Bloom reminisces about another thing Stephen had once told him, “The perfect con is one, where everyone involved gets just the thing they wanted.” For Penelope and Bloom, what they wanted was life with each other, while for Stephen it was happiness for his brother. The two drive off into the distance as the film ends.

The Village

  • Directors: M Night Shyamalan
  • Producers: Sam Mercer, Scott Rudin, M Night Shyamalan
  • Writers: M Night Shyamalan
  • Genres: Mystery, Thriller
  • Actors: Bryce Dallas Howard, Joaquin Phoenix, Adrien Brody, William Hurt

The movie starts out at a funeral of a child in a small village. The death date on the tombstone establishes the date as 1897. As the story progresses, it is revealed the villagers live in fear of nameless creatures in the woods that surround the village. They have built a barrier of oil lanterns and watch towers that are constantly manned to keep watch for “Those We Don’t Speak Of”. It is explained that the villagers have a long-standing truce with the monsters; the villagers do not go into their woods, and the creatures do not enter their village. Even so, dead, skinned bodies of small animals are starting to appear around the village.

After the funeral, Lucius Hunt (Joaquin Phoenix) asks the village elders for permission to pass through the woods to get medical supplies from “the towns”. His request is denied and, later, he is admonished by his mother, Alice (Sigourney Weaver), for wanting to go to the towns, which the villagers describe as “wicked places where wicked people live”. It is revealed in that scene that the Elders seem to keep dark secrets of their own in the form of black boxes, the contents of which they keep hidden from their own offspring. After Lucius makes a short venture into the woods, the creatures leave warnings around the village in the form of splashes of red paint (referred by the villagers only as “the bad color”) on all the villagers’ doors.

It is revealed that the village was actually founded some time in the late 1970s, when Edward Walker, professor of American History at the University of Pennsylvania, approached other people he met at a grief counseling clinic after his father had been murdered. He asked them if they wished to join him in “an idea” he had. From this apparently grew “the village”, a secluded town in the middle of a wildlife preserve purchased with Edward’s family fortune, a place where they would be protected from any aspect of the outside world (the head ranger named “Jay” in the ranger station, played by Shyamalan seen reflected in a glass door, fills in several plot points; the Walker estate pays to maintain the ranger corps, the rangers make sure no one goes into the wildlife preserve to “disturb the animal(s)”, the Walker estate “paid off” the government to keep the entire wildlife preserve a “no-fly zone”). Once the village was created, it appears the original “Elders” rolled the clock back to the late 19th century to what they thought was a simpler, more peaceful time.

The Pianist

  • Directors: Roman Polanski
  • Producers: Roman Polanski, Robert Benmussa, Alain Sarde, Gene Gutowski
  • Writers: Ronald Harwood
  • Genres: Biography, Drama, Music, War
  • Actors: Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann

Wladyslaw Szpilman, a famous Polish Jewish pianist working for Warsaw Radio, sees his whole world collapse with the outbreak of World War II and the invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939. After the radio station is rocked by explosions from German bombing, Szpilman goes home and learns that Great Britain and France have declared war on Nazi Germany. He and his family rejoice, believing the war will end quickly.

When the Nazis’ armed SS organization occupies Warsaw after the regular army passes on, living conditions for the Jewish population gradually deteriorate as their rights are slowly eroded: first they are allowed only a limited amount of money per family, then they must wear armbands imprinted with the blue Star of David to identify themselves, and eventually, late in 1940, they are all forced into the squalid Warsaw Ghetto. There, they face hunger, persecution and humiliation from the SS and the ever present fear of death or torture. The Nazis became increasingly sadistic and the family experiences and/or witnesses many horrors inflicted on their neighbours.

Before long, the family, along with thousands of others, are rounded up for deportation by train to the extermination facility at Treblinka. Szpilman sees his brother reading from Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice. He asks him to read aloud, and he reads: “If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? If you wrong us, shall we not revenge?” Szpilman remarks that it is an appropriate play for their situation. His brother responds, “That’s why I brought it.” As the Jews are being forced onto cattle cars, Szpilman is saved at the last moment by one of the Jewish Ghetto Police, who happens to be a family friend.

As newly-freed prisoners of a concentration camp walk home, they pass a fenced-in enclosure of German prisoners of war, guarded by Soviet soldiers. A German prisoner, who turns out to be Hosenfeld, calls out to the passing ex-prisoners. Hosenfeld begs one of them, a violinist of Szpilman’s acquaintance, to contact Szpilman to free him. Szpilman, who has gone back to playing live on Warsaw Radio, arrives at the site too late; all the prisoners have been removed along with any trace of the stockade. In the film’s final scene, Szpilman triumphantly performs Chopin’s Grand Polonaise brillante in E flat major to a large audience in Warsaw. Title cards shown just before the end credits reveal that Szpilman continued to live in Warsaw and died in 2000, but that Hosenfeld died in 1952 in a Soviet prisoner-of-war camp.