Corpse Bride

  • Directors: Mike Johnson, Tim Burton
  • Producers: Tim Burton, Allison Abbate, Jeffrey Auerbach, Joe Ranft
  • Writers: John August, Caroline Thompson, Pamela Pettler, Tim Burton
  • Genres: Animation, Comedy, Fantasy, Music, Romance
  • Actors: Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Emily Watson, Tracey Ullman, Paul Whitehouse, Joanna Lumley, Albert Finney

In a Victorian era town, the Everglots, a family of recently bankrupt aristocrats, reluctantly agree to marry off their daughter Victoria to the timid Victor Van Dort, son of nouveau riche fishmongers. Despite their initial uneasiness about the situation, having never before met, Victor and Victoria hit it off immediately. Unfortunately, after his clumsiness ruins their wedding rehearsal (accidentally lighting Victoria’s mother’s dress on fire), Victor is banished until he can learn to recite his wedding vows properly. Victor wanders deep into the forest while practicing, eventually performing a flawless mock recital. In doing so, he places his bride’s wedding ring on a tree root resembling a human hand. However, it turns out it is a hand, which comes to life and grabs Victor by the arm. Emerging from the earth is Emily, the “Corpse Bride,” a beautiful undead girl in a moldy bridal gown who declares Victor her husband.

Emily takes Victor to the Land of the Dead, where Victor learns how she was jilted, murdered and robbed while trying to elope with a mysterious stranger, and had been waiting for her true love to return ever since. Victor tries to flee from Emily, who finds and attempts to bond with him, even reuniting him with his beloved and long-deceased dog as a wedding present. Dearly wishing to return to Victoria, his own true love, Victor tricks Emily into returning him to the Land of the Living under the pretense of introducing her to his still-living parents. Just as Victor reunites with Victoria, Emily discovers them and spirits Victor away back to the Land of the Dead. Feeling betrayed, Emily gets into an argument with Victor, climaxing with Victor telling her that their marriage was a mistake. Heartbroken, Emily leaves thinking Victor only loves Victoria for being alive while she herself is not.

After Victoria and Barkis’ wedding, the town erupts in panic as the dead arrive, but their fear is replaced with joy when the living residents recognize their loved ones among the dead; Barkis, however, is shocked to discover that Victoria is penniless. During the ceremony, Emily spots the heartbroken Victoria and realizes that Victor’s death will cheat her out of a happy life, calling off the ceremony before Victor drinks the poison and reunites him with Victoria. Barkis then crashes the party to reclaim Victoria, with Emily recognizing him as the man who jilted, murdered and robbed her. Victor engages Barkis in a sword fight (though Barkis is the only one with a sword while Victor is armed with a dinner fork). Before Barkis can land a killing strike, Emily takes the blow instead, completely unscathed. Upon being ordered to leave, Barkis proposes a mock-toast to Emily and drinks the wine intended for Victor; however, he does not realize it is poisoned until it’s too late and dies within seconds, the outraged dead proceeding to make hell out of his afterlife. Content that Victor can now live happily with Victoria, Emily finds herself at peace and ascends to the heavens in the form of hundreds of butterflies as Victor and Victoria watch on.

The Proposition

  • Directors: John Hillcoat
  • Producers: Chris Brown, Chiara Menage, Jackie O Sullivan, Cat Villiers
  • Writers: Nick Cave
  • Genres: Crime, Drama
  • Actors: Guy Pearce, Ray Winstone, Emily Watson, Danny Huston

Set in the Australian outback in the 1880s, the movie follows the series of events following the horrific rape and murder of the Hopkins family, allegedly committed by the infamous Burns brothers gang.

The film opens in a brothel during a violent gunfight between the police and Charlie Burns’ (Guy Pearce) gang, which ends with the deaths of all of the gang except for Charlie and his younger, mentally slow brother, Mikey (Richard Wilson), who is wounded. Captain Stanley (Ray Winstone) proposes a proposition to Charlie: he and Mikey can go free of the crimes they have committed if Charlie kills his older brother, Arthur (Danny Huston). Arthur is a mercurial psychopath who has become something of a legend and is so vicious that the aboriginal tribes refer to him as “The Dog Man” and both the police and the aboriginals refuse to go near his camp. Captain Stanley muses that perhaps the bounty hunters will kill Arthur in time and then states his intention to civilize the harsh wilderness he has been forced to live in by bringing Arthur to justice and uses Mikey as leverage. Charlie has nine days to find and kill Arthur, or else Mikey will be hanged from the gallows on Christmas Day.

Captain Stanley and Martha, who had become increasingly paranoid as they were ostracized by the townspeople after the flogging, let their guard down to have a peaceful, civilized Christmas dinner. Just then, Arthur and Samuel shoot open the door and invade their home. Arthur pulls Captain Stanley into the other room and brutally beats him, while Samuel taunts his wife. Arthur then shoots Captain Stanley in the shoulder, after which he calls Samuel to the room. Samuel pulls Martha into the room. As Samuel attempts to rape Martha, Charlie walks in and informs Arthur of Mikey’s death; Arthur ignores the news and encourages Charlie to listen to Samuel sing quoting how he does so like a bird. Charlie walks up to the unsuspecting Samuel and shoots him point blank in the head, then shoots Arthur twice, after saying simply, “No more.” After this Arthur walks out of the house. Charlie looks at a gun on the table and then tells Captain Stanley “I’m going to be with my brother.” Charlie leaves the house and follows a trail of blood to find Arthur hunched over on a hill nearby and sits down next to him. Arthur states that Charlie has finally stopped him and asks what he will do now, and then slowly dies as his brother watches the blood red sunset of the outback.

Red Dragon

  • Directors: Brett Ratner
  • Producers: Dino De Laurentiis
  • Writers: Screenplay, Ted Tally, Novel, Thomas Harris
  • Genres: Drama, Thriller
  • Actors: Edward Norton, Anthony Hopkins, Ralph Fiennes, Harvey Keitel, Emily Watson, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Mary Louise Parker, Anthony Heald, Frankie Faison

In his Baltimore townhouse, famous local psychiatrist Dr. Hannibal Lecter hosts a dinner party. The main subject of conversation over dinner is the disappearance of a local musician who was criticized for playing several wrong notes at a concert that Lecter attended. He then serves what the guests see as a delicious meal.

After dinner, Lecter is visited by Will Graham, a young gifted FBI agent, with whom he has been working on a psychological profile of a local serial killer. Edible body parts of the victims, such as the kidneys and liver were removed from the bodies after being killed, and Graham is convinced that the killer is actually a cannibal. During the consultation and brainstorming session, Graham discovers evidence implicating Dr. Lecter in the murders, shortly before Lecter returns and attacks Graham, wounding and nearly killing him before Graham resists and subdues him.

Lecter is subsequently sentenced to life imprisonment in an institution for the criminally insane while Graham, severely traumatized by the experience, retires from the FBI.

Years later, another serial killer appears. Nicknamed the Tooth Fairy, he stalks and murders seemingly random families during sequential full moons. Hoping to speed things up and capture the killer before his next attack, Special Agent Jack Crawford seeks out Graham and pleads for his assistance. Graham, believing the death of another family to be an unbearable burden on his conscience, reluctantly agrees. After checking over the crime scenes, with only minimal insight, he comes to the realization that most of his previous successes were achieved due to the insightful collaborations of Dr. Lecter, and concludes that he must once again visit Lecter and seek his help in capturing the Tooth Fairy.

It is learned in Hannibal that Lecter chose his victims based on his belief that they were rude in some manner. In the film, it is mentioned that he had attended the concert in which the missing musician had played the wrong notes, ruining the piece. This falls directly into Lecter’s definition of someone being rude. Since Red Dragon was written before Hannibal, this was also not mentioned in the book.

Punch Drunk Love

  • Directors: Paul Thomas Anderson
  • Producers: Paul Thomas Anderson, Daniel Lupi, Joanne Sellar
  • Writers: Paul Thomas Anderson
  • Genres: Drama, Romance
  • Actors: Adam Sandler, Emily Watson, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Mary Lynn Rajskub

Barry Egan (Sandler) owns a company that markets themed toilet plungers (“fungers”) and other novelty items. He has seven overbearing sisters who ridicule him regularly, and leads a very lonely life punctuated by fits of rage. In the span of one morning, he witnesses a bizarre car accident, picks up an abandoned harmonium from the street, and encounters Lena Leonard (Watson), who orchestrated the meeting after seeing him in a family picture belonging to his sister Elizabeth (Mary Lynn Rajskub), a co-worker of Lena’s.

Barry calls a phone sex hotline for conversation, but the operator attempts to extort money and sends her four henchmen brothers to collect. This complicates his budding relationship with Lena, as well as his plan to exploit a loophole in a Healthy Choice promotion and amass a million frequent flyer miles by buying large quantities of pudding (based on the true story of David Phillips). After Lena leaves for Hawaii on a business trip, Barry decides to follow her. He arrives and calls one of his manipulative sisters to learn where Lena is staying. At first, Barry explains that he is in Hawaii on a business trip by coincidence, but he soon admits that he came to pursue a romantic relationship.

Barry tells Lena his story and begs her for forgiveness, pledging to use his frequent-flier miles to accompany her on all future trips. She readily agrees, and they embrace happily. The final shot of the movie shows Lena approaching Barry in his office while he plays the harmonium. She puts her arms around him and says, “So, here we go.”