The Last King of Scotland

  • Directors: Kevin Macdonald
  • Producers:
  • Writers: Novel, Giles Foden, Screenplay, Peter Morgan, Jeremy Brock
  • Genres: Biography, Drama, History, Thriller
  • Actors: Forest Whitaker, James McAvoy, Kerry Washington, Simon McBurney, Gillian Anderson

The film opens in Scotland in 1970 as Nicholas Garrigan (James McAvoy) graduates from medical school. Faced with the dull prospect of joining his bourgeois father in the family’s village practice, he decides instead to seek adventure abroad by taking up a position in a Ugandan missionary clinic run by Dr. David Merrit (Adam Kotz) and his wife Sarah (Gillian Anderson). Garrigan quickly becomes attracted to Sarah; she enjoys his attentions, but refuses to engage in an extramarital affair with him. This reveals that one of Garrigan’s character flaws is his attraction to married women; this will become significant later in the film.

Coinciding with Garrigan’s arrival in Uganda, General Idi Amin (Forest Whitaker) is concluding a successful coup d’état to overthrow incumbent president Milton Obote. The two men meet at the scene of a minor car accident, where Garrigan treats Amin’s injured hand. Amin who admires Scotland for its long resilience under English rule, is delighted to discover the doctor’s nationality. Garrigan is impressed by Amin’s charisma, affability, and by his vision of an egalitarian golden age for Uganda. Their friendship is cemented when Amin exchanges his military shirt for Garrigan’s “Scotland” T-shirt. Some days later, Amin invites Garrigan to become his personal physician and to take charge of modernising the country’s health care system. Garrigan accepts, leaves the clinic, and moves to Kampala.

Forty-eight hours later, Israeli forces stormed Entebbe and liberated all but one of the hostages. International public opinion turned against Amin for good. When he was finally overthrown in 1979, jubilant crowds poured onto the streets. His regime had killed more than 300,000 Ugandans and expelled tens of thousands of Asians who had made Uganda their home for years. Amin died in exile in Saudi Arabia on 16 August 2003. Nobody knows if that was the date he dreamed about.

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.

Lakeview Terrace

  • Directors: Neil LaBute
  • Producers: Jeffrey Graup, James Lassiter, David Loughery, Will Smith
  • Writers: David Loughery, Howard Korder
  • Genres: Crime, Drama, Thriller
  • Actors: Patrick Wilson, Kerry Washington, Samuel L Jackson

Single father and LAPD officer, Abel Turner (Samuel L. Jackson) lives in Lakeview Terrace with his two children, Marcus, and Celia. A couple moves in to the house next door, Chris and Lisa Mattson (Patrick Wilson and Kerry Washington). Abel is noticeably disturbed to find that they are interracially married.

Chris readies to leave for work in the morning one day, and there is a blank parking ticket on his windshield, because his fender exceeds the line of the curb; signed “AT,” for Abel Turner. When Chris arrives home that night Abel approaches the car and pretends to be a car-jacker, and chides Chris for listening to rap music.

Later that week Chris and Lisa have sex in their swimming pool unaware that Abel’s children are watching. Abel arrives home to see this spectacle, and is upset. Abel angles his home security floodlights so they shine into Chris and Lisa’s window, keeping them awake, clearly meant to be payback for their carelessness.

Abel’s children are playing in their yard, and their ball goes into Chris and Lisa’s yard. Lisa works from home, and when they come over to retrieve their ball, Lisa strikes up a friendship with the kids, and asks them to bring their father over for a house-warming party they are having. The flood light problems continue and Lisa says she will talk to Abel.

Abel later enters their home, hoping to retrieve the criminal’s cell phone to avoid implication. Chris returns home, unexpectedly, and thanks Abel for helping him. Chris then discovers the attacker’s cell phone and calls it. When Abel answers he realizes he was behind the home invasion. Chris and Abel fight out to the street, and Abel shoots Chris in the shoulder after Chris provokes Abel by talking about his deceased wife. The police shoot Abel, and kill him. Chris and Lisa are reunited.

4 Rise of the Silver Surfer

  • Directors: Tim Story
  • Producers: Avi Arad, Bernd Eichinger, Ralph Winter
  • Writers: Screenplay, Don Payne, Mark Frost, Story, John Turman, Mark Frost, Characters, Stan Lee, Jack Kirby
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
  • Actors: Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Michael Chiklis, Chris Evans, Doug Jones, Julian McMahon, Kerry Washington, Laurence Fishburne

Set two years after the first film, Reed Richards and Sue Storm are preparing for their wedding. A silver object enters Earth’s atmosphere, radiating cosmic energy that creates massive molecular fluctuations and causes deep craters at locations across the Earth. The government approaches Reed to build a sensor to track the movements of the object.

As the wedding begins, Reed’s systems detect the phenomenon approaching New York City, causing a massive power blackout. The object destroys the sensors while the Fantastic Four protect the crowd. The Human Torch pursues the object, discovering that it is a humanoid, a “Silver Surfer.” He confronts the Surfer, who drags Johnny into the upper atmosphere where the lack of oxygen and low air pressure snuffs his flame out, then drops him back toward Earth. Johnny manages to reactivate his powers and survives the fall. Later, when Sue tries to comfort Johnny, she touches his shoulders and their powers switch – he becomes invisible, and she is set on fire; when they touch again their powers revert back. Reed’s examination of Johnny reveals that exposure to the Surfer has set Johnny’s molecular structure in flux, allowing him to switch powers with his teammates through physical contact. Tracing the cosmic energy of the Surfer, Reed discovers that a series of planets the alien had visited before Earth have all been destroyed.

The film ends with the marriage of Reed and Sue in Japan, and the team’s creation of their signature “4” in the sky with the Fantasticar. The credits cut back to a shot of the Silver Surfer’s seemingly lifeless body floating through space. Just as he drifts off the edge of the screen his eyes open and his board races towards him.

Fantastic Four

  • Directors: Tim Story
  • Producers: Avi Arad, Bernd Eichinger, Ralph Winter
  • Writers: Screenplay, Michael France, Mark Frost, Comic Book, Stan Lee, Jack Kirby
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
  • Actors: Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Michael Chiklis, Chris Evans, Julian McMahon, Laurie Holden, Kerry Washington

Dr. Reed Richards (Ioan Gruffudd), a brilliant but timid and bankrupt physicist, is convinced that evolution is triggered by clouds of cosmic energy in space, and has calculated that one of these clouds is soon going to pass near Earth. Together with his friend, the gruff yet gentle astronaut Ben Grimm (Michael Chiklis), Reed convinces his equally brilliant but conceited MIT classmate Dr. Victor von Doom (Julian McMahon), now CEO of Von Doom Industries, to allow him access to his privately-owned space station.

Von Doom agrees, in exchange for control over the experiment and a majority of the profits from whatever benefits it brings. He brings aboard his chief genetics researcher (and Reed’s ex-girlfriend) Susan Storm (Jessica Alba), and her hot-headed brother Johnny Storm (Chris Evans), his private astronaut, who was Ben’s subordinate at NASA but is his superior on the mission, much to Ben’s disgust. The quintet travels to space to observe the cosmic energy clouds, but Reed has miscalculated and the clouds materialize well ahead of schedule.

Victor refuses Reed’s plea to abort the mission, knowing he must produce results to justify his expenditure, no matter the human cost involved. Knowing Ben is space-walking to set up equipment, Reed, Susan and Johnny leave the shielded inner area of the station to rescue him, and Victor closes the shield behind them. Whilst Victor is seemingly safe, the others are exposed to the cloud. Ben receives full exposure out in space, while the others receive a more limited dose within the station.

Ben informs Reed that he has accepted his condition with the help of Alicia Masters, a blind artist for whom he has developed feelings, and the team decide to embrace their roles as superheroes and unite officially as the Fantastic Four. Reed proposes marriage to Susan, who accepts. Doom’s remains are being transported back to his homeland of Latveria when the ship carrying them experiences unusual electronic interference.

Mr Mrs Smith

  • Directors: Doug Liman
  • Producers: Lucas Foster, Akiva Goldsman, Eric McLeod, Arnon Milchan, Patrick Wachsberger
  • Writers: Simon Kinberg
  • Genres: Action, Comedy, Romance, Thriller
  • Actors: Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Vince Vaughn, Kerry Washington, Adam Brody

The film opens with John and Jane Smith, a couple who have been married for “five or six” years but do not remember the last time they had sex, attending marriage counseling. There, they tell the story of their first meeting in Bogotá, Colombia, where they met while both were secretly on the run from Colombian authorities. They quickly fell in love and were married. John later states that Jane “looked like Christmas morning” to him on the day they met.

In reality, however, John and Jane are both skilled assassins working for different firms, both among the best in their field, but both with very different methods of assasination with Jane working out thorough plans and John taking a less analytical approach. Each are concealing their true profession from their spouse. Under these cover stories, John and Jane balance their apparently mundane marriage—which both of them find after a few years to be growing dull and suffocating—with their secretive work. When both are assigned to kill a man named Benjamin Danz (nicknamed “The Tank”), they encounter each other on the job and botch the hit. Believing each had been sent to stop the other from completing their mission, their employers order one Smith to eliminate the other.

The film ends back at the marriage counselor, where the happy Smiths state how much their marriage has thrived, realizing how happy they really are. John then tells the marriage counselor to “ask us the sex question.” He raises ten fingers and whispers “ten,” and the movie ends.