The Dead Girl

  • Directors: Karen Moncrieff
  • Producers: Eric Karten, Gary Lucchesi, Tom Rosenberg, Kevin Turen, Henry Winterstern
  • Writers: Karen Moncrieff
  • Genres: Drama, Mystery, Thriller
  • Actors: Toni Collette, Brittany Murphy, Rose Byrne, Marcia Gay Harden, Mary Beth Hurt, Kerry Washington

The Dead Girl is a quintet of stories about seemingly unrelated people whose lives converge around the murder of a young woman (portrayed by Brittany Murphy). The characters in the film are linked not only by their connection to her murder, but also by the difficult hand that life has dealt them. The film scrutinizes their inner struggles to overcome or surrender to their misfortunes.

The first story, titled The Stranger, focuses on Arden (Toni Collette), a quiet and diffident woman who lives with and cares for her verbally abusive, invalid mother (Piper Laurie). Arden is the character who finds the titular body and alerts the authorities, much to her mother’s dismay. She later encounters Rudy (Giovanni Ribisi), a grocery clerk obsessed with serial killers, and agrees to meet him for a date. While Arden prepares for the date in secrecy, her mother calls for her assistance. Upon her arrival to her mother’s room, Arden is berated with questions as to her appearance. Arden reacts angrily and attacks her mother before packing her suitcase and leaving home. She then meets Rudy and has masochistic sex with him.

The second story, The Sister, revolves around Leah (Rose Byrne), a depressed forensics student who prepares the titular body for an autopsy. She is obsessed with the idea that the body belongs to her sister who went missing a number of years ago. She resents the fact that her parents (Mary Steenburgen and Bruce Davison) are still searching for her lost sister and won’t accept that she is not coming back. When Leah convinces herself that the dead girl was her sister, she feels great relief and begins a relationship with her colleague, Derek (James Franco). Their blossoming romance is cut short, however, when she finds out that the dead girl is in fact not her sister. Leah is overwhelmed with sorrow and regret, but finds some solace in Derek, whom she asks for help.

The fifth and final story is called The Dead Girl and takes place a few days before Krista, the titular character, is murdered. Although she has had a hard life, Krista has a positive outlook and a sweet nature. She buys a big stuffed toy and asks her john, Tarlow (Josh Brolin), to drive her to Norwalk where her daughter lives, as her daughter’s birthday is the next day. Tarlow refuses at the last minute, however, so she has to borrow her landlord’s motorbike. Before she sets off, however, she attacks Tom (Dennis Keiffer), a man who had recently just beaten her girlfriend, Rosetta. She rings Rosetta and tells her that she’ll pick up her daughter and all three of them will move away and start a better life together. She asks Rosetta to tell her she loves her, but Rosetta simply tells her she has to go back to bed. Krista continues her journey to Norwalk but the motorbike breaks down and she has to hitchhike the rest of the way. She hitches a lift with Carl, who promises to take her to Norwalk. She is elated that she will make it there in time for her daughter’s birthday. The story ends with Krista smiling in the passenger seat of Carl’s car, wearing a pink vest previously seen in the storage space found by Ruth (Carl’s wife). She notes the time, 12:13 a.m., which was seen written on her arm while Leah (the Sister) was examining her body in the morgue.

The Last Kiss

  • Directors: Tony Goldwyn
  • Producers: Gary Lucchesi, Tom Rosenberg, Marcus Viscidi, Andre Lamal
  • Writers: Paul Haggis Zach Braff, Gabriele Muccino
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance
  • Actors: Zach Braff, Jacinda Barrett, Rachel Bilson, Casey Affleck, Blythe Danner, Tom Wilkinson

Michael and his live-in girlfriend Jenna appear to be enjoying the perfect relationship: Jenna is pregnant prior to the opening of the film and her parents are pressuring the pair to get married. Jenna claims that Michael’s work pressures and her own dissertation rendered it an inopportune time for marriage. The real reason, unbeknownst to anyone, is that Michael feels trapped and scared. Although he considers Jenna an ideal companion, Michael is harboring second thoughts.

Upon a chance encounter at a wedding, Michael meets Kim, whom he confides in about his relationship. Kim guesses he is about to break up with Jenna and becomes flirtatious. While Michael becomes intrigued by Kim’s youthfulness, openness, and spirit, he does not succumb to temptation. The two part ways with Kim telling Michael where she attends school and where she usually hangs out.

Michael eventually seeks her out at the Memorial Union but tells Kim he was in the area only because of a client meeting. Kim senses his interest and, while Michael drives her home, invites him to a party. Michael accepts. Back in the office, Michael constructs an excuse to be away from Jenna on the night of the party. He asks Chris, his friend and co-worker, to cover for him in case Jenna calls. Chris suspects Michael has met another woman and wishes to avoid becoming involved, as Chris himself has just left his wife; he knows first hand how painful a breakup can be. Michael denies the existence of another woman and merely says he will ‘be with an old college friend.’

Michael follows her back and finds himself locked out. He stakes out on the front porch until Jenna agrees to talk. Both day and night, wet and dry, Michael remains at the front door with many neighbors taking notice and some even providing beverages to him. Stephen even proceeds to drive by in his car and notices Michael, who sees him. A proud smile develops on his face as he drives off, indicating that Michael has taken his advice seriously. Slowly but surely, she begins to relent, first tossing out a blanket during a cold evening, then dropping off a sandwich the next day. During the evening of what would have been his third night on the porch, Jenna breaks her silence and speaks to Michael through the closed door. She laments about mourning the loss of the relationship like the loss of someone’s life. Later that evening, Jenna opens the door and Michael goes inside.

Fame

  • Directors: Kevin Tancharoen
  • Producers: Mark Canton, Gary Lucchesi, Tom Rosenberg, Richard Wright
  • Writers: Aline Brosh McKenna, Allison Burnett
  • Genres: Musical
  • Actors: Paul McGill, Paul Iacono, Debbie Allen, Kelsey Grammar, Charles S Dutton, Kay Panabaker, Megan Mullally

“A reinvention of the Oscar-winning hit film, Fame follows a group of actors, singers, dancers and artists over four years at the New York City High School of Performing Arts, a diverse, creative powerhouse where students from all walks of life are given a chance to live out their dreams and achieve real and lasting fame…the kind that only from talent, dedication and hard work.

“In an incredibly competitive atmosphere, plagued by self-doubt, each student’s passion will be put to the test. In addition to their artistic goals, they have to deal with everything that goes along with high school, a tumultuous time full of schoolwork, deep friendships, budding romance and self-discovery.

“As each student strives for his or her moment in the spotlight, they’ll discover who among them has the innate talent and necessary discipline to succeed. With the love and support of their friends and fellow artists, they’ll find out who amongst them will achieve fame.”

Crank High Voltage

  • Directors: Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor
  • Producers: Michael Paseornek, Tom Rosenberg, Gary Lucchesi, Skip Williamson, Richard Wright, David Rubin
  • Writers: Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor
  • Genres: Action
  • Actors: Jason Statham, Amy Smart

The film opens with a sequence designed to look like a classic video game, depicting Chev Chelios’ (Jason Statham) fall from a helicopter during the final moments of the original Crank. Immediately after his fall, he is scooped off the street via snow shovel by group of Chinese medics and removed from the scene.

He wakes up in a makeshift hospital and sees doctors removing his heart while Johnny Vang (Art Hsu) watches. The doctors place Chev’s heart in a red cooler with a padlock, and place a clear plastic artificial heart in his chest. Chev passes out. He wakes up, and escapes. He notices a yellow battery pack is attached to him. After a gunfight and the interrogation of a thug, Chev learns the location of Johnny Vang – the Cypress Social Club.

Chev calls Doc Miles (Dwight Yoakam), who tells him that he has been fitted with an AbioCor Artificial heart. Once the external battery pack runs out, the internal battery will kick in and he will have one hour before it stops working. He crashes his car in the middle of the conversation, destroying his external battery pack. In order to keep going, Chev has the driver use his jumper cables on himself, and runs to the Club.

During the first part of the credits, Doc Miles places Chev’s heart back in (although we don’t see what he does with Poon Dong) while Eve watches (due to the fire, Chev is covered in full-body bandages). At first, it looks like a failure, but after everyone leaves, Chev’s eyes open, and his heart is heard beating leaving the door open for a sequel.

Crank

  • Directors: Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor
  • Producers: Tom Rosenberg, David Rubin, Skip Williamson, Michael Davis, Michael Ohoven, Gary Lucchesi, Richard S Wright
  • Writers: Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor
  • Genres: Action, Comedy, Crime
  • Actors: Jason Statham, Amy Smart, Efren Ramirez, Dwight Yoakam, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Keone Young, Carlos Sanz

Carlito (Carlos Sanz) leads a wealthy and influential Mexican-American and Latino/Hispanic crime syndicate in Los Angeles, simply referred to in the film as the “West Coast Crime Syndicate”. Worried about the encroachment of a group of heavily-armed Chinese Triads into LA, and the effects that may have upon his operations, Carlito orders the contract killing of their leader, Don Kim (Keone Young). Carlito’s best hitman, an English man called Chev Chelios (Jason Statham), is ordered to do the job. However Carlito has underestimated the Chinese and after the hit, the heat from Hong Kong is much greater then Carlito expected. Carlito immediately regrets that the hit may have been “ill-advised” and to ease the pressure Carlito offers the Triads both an explanation and a solution: the hit was nothing to do with him, and Carlito will himself remove certain elements within his own organization who were responsible and operating on their own.

Ricky Verona (Jose Pablo Cantillo), a small time punk and long-time rival of Chev Chelios, uses the opportunity to conspire with Carlito and the Chinese against Chelios, unbeknown to Chelios who believes Carlito is still loyal to him. Whilst Chelios sleeps in his apartment one night, Verona silently breaks in and injects Chelios with the “Beijing Cocktail”. This is a synthetic drug which stops the flow of adrenaline in the body, slowing the heart, and eventually killing the victim. Chelios wakes to find a recorded video made by Verona mocking Chelios and explaining the situation, and that Chelios should only have about an hour left before the poison stops his heart.

In the end it is revealed that Chelios never actually killed Don Kim, in fact sparing his life and telling him to leave LA instead. Towards the end of the movie, Chelios arranges a rooftop meeting with Carlito, Verona and their henchman, who promise him the antidote to the Bejing Cocktail. Don Kim arrives along with his Triads to assist Chelios, and in a vicious shootout many of Carlito’s men are killed. Carlito is killed by none other than an ambitious and treacherous Verona, who then attempts to leave in Carlito’s escape helicopter. The movie concludes with Chelios confronting Verona in the helicopter and as they fight the pair fall from the chopper thousands of feet above LA, and mid-flight Chelios breaks Verona’s windpipe, quipping “I told you I’d kill you, you little bitch!” He then calls Eve on his cell phone, apologizing that he will not be coming back to her. Chelios hits a car, bounces off it and lands right in front of the camera. In the last shot it is implied that his adrenaline is indeed still flowing fast; his nostrils flare, he blinks, and two heartbeats are heard.

Underworld

  • Directors: Len Wiseman
  • Producers: Robert Bernacchi, Gary Lucchesi, Tom Rosenberg
  • Writers: Story, Kevin Grevioux, Len Wiseman, Danny McBride, Screenplay, Danny McBride
  • Genres: Action, Fantasy, Horror, Thriller
  • Actors: Kate Beckinsale, Scott Speedman, Michael Sheen, Bill Nighy, Shane Brolly

Perched on the ledge of a building in a rainy night, two black-garbed vampires known as Death Dealers track a pair of werewolves who are walking on the street below in their human form. The vampires, Selene and Rigel, specialize in assassinating an ancient species of werewolves known as Lycans. Selene’s motivation goes beyond duty; she also wants revenge, for she believes that Lycans slaughtered her family when she was a child. The vampires believe that they defeated the werewolves many centuries ago and killed their leader, Lucian, and that they must now kill off the survivors. As the vampires follow the Lycans into a subway station, the werewolves open fire with submachine guns. After the Lycans retreat from Selene’s barrage of machine pistol fire, she tracks them to their lair, where she hears loud howling and finds out that the Lycans have developed a new high-tech bullet to kill the vampires.

When Selene arrives at the vampire coven’s ornate, gated mansion, she recounts the evening’s events, and urges an attack on the Lycans, but the vampire regent Kraven tells her to drop the matter. Selene realizes that the Lycans may have been following a human, Michael Corvin, which would be very unusual behavior and secretly continues her investigation. Meanwhile, in an underground Lycan lair, a scientist named Singe is testing blood from kidnapped descendants of the ancient Corvinus family, to try to find a pure source of the ancient and powerful Corvinus blood type. Soon after Selene finds Michael, the pair are attacked by werewolves, including Lucian, the original Lycan leader, who still lives. After Lucian bites Michael on the shoulder, Selene helps Michael escape, and the two become romantically attracted to each other.

Selene and Michael flee the Lycan lair, now an enemy from both Lycan and Vampire covens. Back at the mansion, Singe’s blood seeps through the trapdoor of the sarcophagus of the remaining Elder, Markus, a carrier of the original Corvinus Strain. When his eyes open, they are vampire blue but then turn pitch black, the eyes of a hybrid…

Underworld Rise of the Lycans

  • Directors: Patrick Tatopoulos
  • Producers: Len Wiseman, Tom Rosenberg, Gary Lucchesi, Skip Williamson
  • Writers: Len Wiseman, Danny McBride
  • Genres: Action, Fantasy, Horror, Thriller
  • Actors: Bill Nighy, Michael Sheen, Rhona Mitra, Kevin Grevioux, Steven Mackintosh, and Kate Beckinsale

The film tells the story of the origins of Lucian (Michael Sheen), who was the first werewolf able to take human form – to be called Lycans. Viktor (Bill Nighy), the ruthless elder of the vampires, took him home after killing his werewolf mother in a raid. Viktor envisions a race of werewolf slaves for his vampire clan that, conceivably, could keep guard during the daytime hours and toil for the vampires. As Lucian grows up at Viktor’s home, his young daughter, Sonja (Rhona Mitra), develops an attraction to the young Lycan, and Lucian becomes fond of Sonja as well.

It is revealed that Viktor has a tacit relationship with the human population of the area, whereupon he agreed to protect them from the wild werewolves that roam the countryside in exchange for a tithe. As a collection of human nobles come to meet with the vampire council for protection from the werewolves in exchange for this aforementioned tithe, Sonja goes out to guard them. Lucian hears the Lycans near Sonja and steals a horse and sword from a nearby Death Dealer. Wild werewolves proceed to attack and kill the nobles, causing Lucian to engage in a battle with them. When Lucian takes off his collar and changes into a Lycan in order to protect himself, the wild werewolves back down to his howl and leave before Lucian is shot down by Viktor’s men. Viktor, despite grudgingly acknowledging that Lucian saved his daughter, notes that Lucian still transgressed the laws of the coven by taking off the collar that kept him in check (by preventing him from changing into a Lycan) and feels betrayed by what he thinks of as his favorite pet. Subsequently, he locks Lucian away after having him whipped thirty times with a three pronged chain-bladed whip.

The film ends with the opening scene of the first Underworld, with the audio from the scene where Kraven tells Selene that it was Viktor who murdered her family, rather than the Lycans. That Viktor spared her because she reminded him of Sonja, the daughter he condemned to death.

Citizen Game

  • Directors: Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor
  • Producers: Tom Rosenberg, Gary Lucchesi, Richard Wright, Skip Williamson
  • Writers:
  • Genres: Sci-Fi, Thriller
  • Actors: Gerard Butler

Set in the near-future, mind-control technology has taken society by storm and a multiplayer on-line game called “Slayers” allows humans control other humans in mass-scale. Simon controls Kable (Gerard Butler) the on-line champion of the game, and with his every move tracked by millions, his ultimate challenge becomes regaining his identity and independence by defeating the game’s mastermind (Hall) through launching an attack on the system that has imprisoned him.[1]