The Girl Next Door

  • Directors: Luke Greenfield
  • Producers: Charles Gordon, Harry Gittes, Marc Sternberg
  • Writers: Stuart Blumberg, David T Wagner, Brent Goldberg
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance
  • Actors: Emile Hirsch, Elisha Cuthbert, Timothy Olyphant, James Remar, Chris Marquette, Paul Dano

Ambitious Westport High School senior, Matthew Kidman dreams of a career in politics. He has been accepted to prestigious Georgetown University, but will only be able to afford it if he can win a large scholarship. With graduation approaching, he struggles to find anything truly memorable about his high school experience. However, his luck changes when he meets his beautiful next door neighbour Danielle. The outlandish Danielle and the steady Matthew each turn out to be the perfect complement for the other, and they are immediately smitten with one another. However, the relationship is challenged when Matthew discovers through his porn-enthusiast friend Eli that Danielle was recently an adult film actress under the stage name “Athena”.

Following Eli’s advice on how to deal with this incredible revelation, Matthew takes Danielle to a sleazy motel. Danielle guesses that Matthew has discovered her past and punishes him by performing a humiliating striptease and offering herself to him sexually. When Matthew becomes distressed and asks why she is degrading herself for him, Danielle calls him out on his base intentions and abruptly ends the relationship. Matthew goes to Danielle’s house the following day and attempts to reconcile with her, but learns that she is returning to the porn industry, and is leaving for Las Vegas with her ex-boyfriend, porn producer Kelly.

Hugo Posh and Matthew make millions from the video. Hugo Posh keeps his word and pays for Samnang to come to the USA, while Matthew has enough money to attend Georgetown and take Danielle to DC with him. The final scene is Matthew driving into Georgetown University in a BMW Z4. Matthew’s story ends with him getting the girl of his dreams and a chance at the future he has always wanted.

Speed Racer

  • Directors: Larry Wachowski, Andy Wachowski
  • Producers: Andy Wachowski, Larry Wachowski, Joel Silver
  • Writers: Andy Wachowski, Larry Wachowski
  • Genres: Action, Family, Sport
  • Actors: Emile Hirsch, Christina Ricci, John Goodman, Susan Sarandon, Kick Gurry, Roger Allam, Matthew Fox

Speed Racer (Emile Hirsch) is an 18-year-old whose life and love has always been automobile racing. His parents Pops (John Goodman) and Mom (Susan Sarandon) run the independent Racer Motors, in which his brother Spritle (Paulie Litt), mechanic Sparky (Kick Gurry), and girlfriend Trixie (Christina Ricci) are also involved. As a child Speed idolized his record-setting older brother Rex Racer (Scott Porter), but Rex was disowned by Pops for his decision to join a corporate racing team and was publicly defamed for appearing to cheat in a race. He was then killed while racing in the Casa Cristo 5000, an incredibly intense cross-country racing rally notorious for rough and foul play. Now embarking on his own career, Speed Racer is quickly sweeping the racing world with his skill behind the wheel of the Mach 5, but remains primarily interested in the art of the race and the well-being of his family.

Mr. Royalton (Roger Allam), owner of conglomerate Royalton Industries, offers Speed an astoundingly luxurious lifestyle in exchange for signing to race with him. Speed is tempted but declines due to his father’s distrust of power-hungry corporations. Angered, Royalton reveals that for many years the key races have been fixed by by corporate interests, including Royalton himself, to gain profits. He threatens Speed’s career and family, making good on these threats by having his drivers force Speed into a crash that destroys the Mach 5 and bombarding his family’s business with lawsuits. Speed decides that he must do something to stop Royalton and save the Racer business, and an opportunity to do so arises in the form of Inspector Detector (Benno Fürmann), head of a corporate crimes division. Racer Taejo Togokhan (Rain) claims to have evidence that could indict Royalton but will only offer it up if Speed and the mysterious masked Racer X (Matthew Fox) agree to race on his team in the Casa Cristo 5000. Taejo believes that a win could substantially raise the stock price of his family’s racing business and thus cause a proposed Royalton-arranged buyout to be more expensive. Speed agrees but keeps his decision secret from his family.

Speed enters the Grand Prix against great odds: Royalton has placed a bounty on his head that the other drivers are eager to collect, and he is pitted against legendary Hall of Fame driver Cannonball Taylor (Ralph Herforth). Speed overcomes a slow start to catch up with Taylor, who uses a cheating device called a spearhook to latch Speed’s car to his. Speed uses his jump jacks to expose the device to video cameras and cause Taylor to crash. Speed wins the race, having successfully exposed Royalton’s crimes. Racer X, who is watching the race, reveals through a flashback montage that he is indeed Rex, having faked his death and undergone plastic surgery to change his appearance as part of his plan to save his family and the sport of racing. He chooses not to reveal his identity to his family, believing it would do more harm than good. The Racer family celebrates Speed’s victory as Speed and Trixie kiss, and Royalton is sent to jail.

Milk

  • Directors: Gus Van Sant
  • Producers: Dan Jinks, Bruce Cohen, Michael London
  • Writers: Dustin Lance Black
  • Genres: Biography, Drama, Romance
  • Actors: Sean Penn, Emile Hirsch, Josh Brolin, Diego Luna, James Franco, Alison Pill, Victor Garber

Milk opens with archival footage of police raiding gay bars and arresting patrons during the 1950s and 1960s, followed by Dianne Feinstein’s November 27, 1978, announcement to the press that Milk and Moscone have been assassinated. Milk is seen recording his will throughout the film, nine days (November 18, 1978) before the assassinations. The film then flashes back to New York City in 1970, the eve of Milk’s 40th birthday and his first meeting with his much younger lover, Scott Smith.

Unsatisfied with his life and in need of a change, Milk and Smith decide to move to San Francisco in the hope of finding larger acceptance of their relationship. They open Castro Camera in the heart of Eureka Valley, a working class neighborhood in the process of evolving into a predominantly gay neighborhood known as The Castro. Frustrated by the opposition they encounter in the once Irish-Catholic neighborhood, Milk utilizes his background as a businessman to become a gay activist, eventually becoming a mentor for Cleve Jones. Early on, Smith serves as Milk’s campaign manager, but his frustration grows with Milk’s devotion to politics, and he leaves him. Milk later meets Jack Lira, a sweet-natured but unbalanced young man. As with Smith, Lira cannot tolerate Milk’s devotion to political activism, and eventually hangs himself.

The last scene is an aerial shot of the candlelight vigil held by thousands for Milk and Moscone throughout the streets of the city. Pictures of the actual people depicted in the film, and brief summaries of their lives follow. This includes a note that Dan White’s lawyers used the infamous Twinkie defense to get White’s conviction reduced to voluntary manslaughter.

Taking Woodstock

  • Directors: Ang Lee
  • Producers: Ang Lee, James Schamus
  • Writers: James Schamus
  • Genres: Comedy, Music
  • Actors: Demetri Martin, Jonathan Groff, Eugene Levy, Emile Hirsch, Liev Schreiber, Jeffrey Dean Morgan

The film, based upon the book of the same name, follows the true life story of Elliot Tiber (Demetri Martin), an aspiring Greenwich Village interior designer whose parents owned a small motel in Upstate New York and at the time held the only musical festival permit in the entire town of Bethel, New York. Tiber offered both the Catskills motel and the permit to the Woodstock Festival’s organizers.

The film also focuses on Tiber’s life as a closeted gay man hiding his marijuana as well as sexual orientation from his family, and his self-discovery following the Stonewall Riots.

Alpha Dog

  • Directors: Nick Cassavetes
  • Producers: Paul Ralph
  • Writers: Nick Cassavetes
  • Genres: Crime, Drama
  • Actors: Emile Hirsch, Justin Timberlake, Bruce Willis, Shawn Hatosy, Olivia Wilde, Sharon Stone, Ben Foster, Amanda Seyfried, Anton Yelchin

Set in November 1999, (but based on events that took place in 2000) Alpha Dog tells the story of Johnny Truelove (Emile Hirsch), a young drug dealer in Claremont, California and his circle of friends, including Frankie Ballenbacher (Justin Timberlake), Tiko “TKO” Martinez (Fernando Vargas) and Elvis Schmidt (Shawn Hatosy). Elvis does household chores for Johnny to pay off a debt and is constantly ridiculed by Johnny and Frankie for being spineless. Johnny’s father, Sonny Truelove (Bruce Willis), supplies his son with the marijuana from which he makes a fortune. Another associate of the gang is Jake Mazursky (Ben Foster), who owes Johnny an $800 drug debt.

After a series of incidents that become increasingly violent, Johnny and his crew drive to Jake’s apartment. After finding their intended target nowhere to be found they stumble upon his brother Zach (Anton Yelchin), and kidnap him. Zach idolizes his cool older brother and resents his overprotective parents, and thus makes very little effort to escape. The crew takes Zach to a number of different locations, including two parties, and he gradually becomes integrated into their circle. Frankie offers him numerous chances to escape, but Zach turns him down, and the two strike up an unlikely friendship. Johnny, however, is becoming increasingly paranoid. He eventually asks Elvis to kill Zach, and Elvis accepts, finally gaining the upper hand on Frankie, who has degraded him throughout the film.

The epilogue shows the after-effects of the crime. Zach’s mother Olivia (Sharon Stone) is interviewed; she talks candidly about her failed suicide attempts and the loss that she has experienced from her son’s murder. All of the gang members are currently serving time: Tiko serving 9 years for the kidnapping, Keith serving at a juvenile facility, until the age of 25, for digging Zach’s grave/2nd degree murder, Frankie serving a life sentence for the kidnapping and Elvis on death row for the kidnapping and murder. Johnny Truelove was the youngest person ever on America’s Most Wanted’s list for 5 years before he was arrested by Interpol in ParaguayAugust 8, 2005 and extradited to California for trial. In real life, Jesse James Hollywood was actually arrested in Brazil on March 8, 2005. If found guilty, he could face the death penalty.

Into the Wild

  • Directors: Sean Penn
  • Producers: Sean Penn, Art Linson
  • Writers: Jon Krakauer, Sean Penn
  • Genres: Adventure, Biography, Drama
  • Actors: Emile Hirsch, Marcia Gay Harden, William Hurt, Jena Malone, Catherine Keener, Vince Vaughn, Hal Holbrook, Kristen Stewart

Into the Wild recounts the life of Christopher McCandless, a real-life National Consortium for Academics and Sports (NCAS)|student-athlete at Emory University, as told by his sympathetic sister. In response to his parents, whom McCandless perceives as materialistic, manipulative, and domineering, McCandless destroys all of his credit cards and identification documents, donates $24,000 (nearly his entire savings) to Oxfam, and sets out on a off-road|cross-country drive in his well-used but reliable Datsun towards his ultimate goal: to travel alone to Alaska and experience its nature firsthand. Along the way, he abandons his automobile in the course of a flash flood, to hitchhike after burning the remainder of his dwindling cash supply. He acquires a Perception Sundance 12 open-water kayak and goes down the Colorado River, into Mexico, and later returns to America via freight train to Los Angeles. Taking a circuitous route, he encounters many unconventional individuals along the way, such as a group of hippies, a farm owner (Vince Vaughn), and a lonely leather worker (Hal Holbrook) who offers to adopt and be a grandfather to McCandless. McCandless purposefully trudges onward to his final destination, arriving in the wilds of Alaska nearly two years after his initial departure. He starts living in a “Magic Bus”, used as a shelter for moose hunters. McCandless finds joy in living off the land and begins to write a book of his adventures. As the spring thaw arrives and he seeks to return from the wild, McCandless is cut off from civilization by the torrents of a swelled river one of his few admitted fears is of water. As his food supply of small game dwindles, he resorts to eating indigenous plants. Although he consults a book that he brought along in order to identify edible plants in the wild, he confuses an edible and a poisonous variety, which shuts down his digestive system and causes him to starve to death. In his final hours, he continues to document his demise in a painful and dramatic denouement.