Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang

  • Directors: Susanna White
  • Producers: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Lindsay Doran
  • Writers: Emma Thompson, Christianna Brand
  • Genres: Comedy, Family, Fantasy
  • Actors: Emma Thompson, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Ralph Fiennes, Rhys Ifans, and Maggie Smith

In England during the Second World War, teenager Norman (Asa Butterfield), a younger boy and a girl live at a farm with their mother, while the father is away as a soldier. Two spoiled cousins, a boy and a girl, are evacuated from the city and join them. At first the two groups quarrel.

Nanny McPhee (Emma Thompson) arrives, telling the mother that she has been assigned to this family, and that the mother does not have to pay her a dime. With discipline and magic, she transforms the family’s lives. In the process, she herself transforms from ugly to beautiful, just like in the first film.

The farm is owned half by the mother, half by her mean brother-in-law. The brother wants to buy the mother’s share, and uses mean tricks to force her to do so. First he releases her pigs, which would be a serious financial loss, but Nanny McPhee and the children find and return them. Then he gives them a forged Killed in action notice regarding the father. Norman feels in his bones that his father is still alive, and after going to London with Nanny McPhee and one of the cousins it turns out that the father is “only” missing in action. Meanwhile the other children manage to delay the mother signing the contract.

The father returns safely. Nanny McPhee leaves, as she is no longer needed.

Away We Go

  • Directors: Sam Mendes
  • Producers:
  • Writers: Dave Eggers, Vendela Vida
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama
  • Actors: John Krasinski, Maya Rudolph, Jeff Daniels, Carmen Ejogo, Jim Gaffigan, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Josh Hamilton, Allison Janney, Melanie Lynskey, Chris Messina, Catherine O Hara, Paul Schneider

The film opens with a young couple, Verona De Tessant (Maya Rudolph) and Burt Farlander (John Krasinski), in bed and about to engage in oral intercourse. However, Burt soon notices that Verona “tastes” differently, and explains to her that it might be a potential sign that she is pregnant. She promptly slaps him across the face in disbelief, causing him to tumble out of the bed.

About 6 months later, we find Verona well into her pregnancy with a baby girl, and Burt trying to find ways to make himself a good parent for their newcoming baby (trying to take on skills like carpentry and woodcarving, which he mistakes as “cobbling”, the craft of shoemaking). They begin to analyze their lives, wondering if they are “screwups”, as they are both in their early 30’s and still struggling to provide an actual home and demands to meet their daily needs and fulfilling lives (and also unmarried, as Verona fails to see the point in doing so). They then visit their only family in the area, Burt’s parents, Gloria and Jerry (Catherine O’Hara and Jeff Daniels), only to find out that they have decided to move to Antwerp, Belgium for 2 years, leaving a month before the baby is due, since it was one of their lifelong goals. Frustrated at their selfishness and ill-thinking, Verona and Burt decide it’s best to try and find somewhere else to live and to raise their family, as they have no other reason to stay in the area now that Burt’s parents are leaving.

While sitting outside in the yard, Verona then recounts a story about her father trying to grow an orange tree in the yard of their old house, to not much success. So, Verona, her mother, and her sisters went out with pineapples and various other fruits, duct tape, and string, and hung up the fruits on the tree to please their father, making him laugh considerably. She remembers this fondly, causing the couple to then travel to her old home, and realizing that it truly is the place that they should make as their new home. The film closes with Burt and Verona on the patio of the house, overlooking the nearby lake together.

Monster House

  • Directors: Gil Kenan
  • Producers: Robert Zemeckis, Steven Spielberg, Jack Rapke
  • Writers: Dan Harmon, Rob Schrab, Pamela Pettler
  • Genres: Animation, Family, Fantasy, Mystery
  • Actors: Mitchel Musso, Sam Lerner, Spencer Locke, Steve Buscemi, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jason Lee

A preteen boy, D.J. Walters (Mitchel Musso), spends a lot of his free time spying on the house across the street and its owner, Mr. Nebbercracker (Steve Buscemi), a crotchety old man who terrorizes anyone who steps anywhere on his lawn or close to his house. DJ has seen and documented Nebbercracker taking toys from kids that have stepped in his grounds. His parents (Catherine O’Hara and Fred Willard), dismiss his comments as “kid talk” and leave town for the weekend, during which he is to be cared by Elizabeth or “Zee” (Maggie Gyllenhaal), DJ’s apathetic babysitter.

When Charles “Chowder” (Sam Lerner), DJ’s best friend, loses his basketball on Nebbercracker’s lawn, DJ ventures there to recover it, but Nebbercracker appears and grabs DJ, who then starts screaming. This causes him to collapse from a stroke, seemingly dead. While Nebbercracker is carried away by the paramedics, a gold key is dropped, which DJ scoops up.

That night, DJ gets a call from Nebbercracker’s house (which was just eerie moaning from the other end). He calls Chowder and they agree to meet at a construction lot. There, they decide to investigate the house. When Chowder tries to ding-dong-ditch the house, it comes to life and attempts to eat him. They run back to DJ’s house and spend the night watching across the street. Unknown to them, Zee’s boyfriend, Bones (Jason Lee), has already been “swallowed” by the house.

The film ends with the kids returning to the hole where the house was, and Chowder, DJ, and Jenny helping Nebbercracker return all the toys. During the credits, it is shown that everyone that was eaten by the house crawls out of the basement bewildered but unharmed.

Donnie Darko

  • Directors: Richard Kelly
  • Producers: Adam Fields, Nancy Juvonen, Sean McKittrick
  • Writers: Richard Kelly
  • Genres: Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi
  • Actors: Jake Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone, Drew Barrymore, James Duval, Beth Grant, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Mary McDonnell, Holmes Osborne, Katharine Ross, Patrick Swayze, Noah Wyle

Donnie Darko (played by Jake Gyllenhaal) is a troubled teenager in suburban Virginia in October 1988. He appears to be suffering the symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia. At the start of the film, he has recently stopped taking his medication. His parents, Rose and Eddie (Mary McDonnell and Holmes Osborne) and his sisters, Elizabeth and Samantha (Maggie Gyllenhaal and Daveigh Chase), are concerned about him. One night at dinner, Donnie and his sister get into a profane argument during which Elizabeth reveals she knows Donnie is no longer taking his medication. Rose confronts Donnie in his bedroom asking him where her little boy has gone and who the stranger is who has taken his place. As she leaves the room, she hears him call her a “bitch” from the other side of the door. Feeling guilty, Donnie resumes taking his medication. On October 2, however, he sleepwalks and meets Frank (James Duval), a man in a menacing bunny costume. Frank tells him that in 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes and 12 seconds, the world will end. While he is outside, a jet engine mysteriously crashes through the roof of the Darkos’ house, destroying Donnie’s bedroom.

As Eddie drives Donnie to the office of Dr. Thurman (Katharine Ross), Donnie’s therapist, Eddie nearly runs over Roberta Sparrow, also known as “Grandma Death” (Patience Cleveland). A senile old woman who spends her days walking back and forth from her house to the mailbox across the street, Grandma Death whispers in Donnie’s ear that all living things die alone. This greatly troubles Donnie, who worries that life has no meaning.

It is once again October 2. Donnie is in bed, creating a predestination paradox. On this occasion, he chooses to stay in bed, presumably to prevent the harm he caused to several lives in the tangent universe, including Gretchen, the girlfriend he will never meet. Shortly after he goes to sleep, the jet engine from the red eye flight on October 30 crashes through the roof, killing him. In a deleted scene from the director’s cut DVD it is revealed that he was actually impaled by a piece of wood from the broken roof while performing an act of self-gratification, though the removal of this from this film proper makes its canonicity questionable. All the people affected by Donnie’s actions awake as if from a nightmare, having some fragments of memories remaining: Frank, Elizabeth’s boyfriend, subconsciously touches his right eye. Jim Cunningham, perhaps in guilt and remorse for being a pedophile, a hypocrite and phony, awakens crying. As Donnie’s body is taken away, Gretchen, having never met Donnie, rides by the Darkos’ house on her bicycle. She learns from a neighbor boy what has happened and waves to Rose, who is smoking a cigarette. There is an air of mutual recognition between them.

The Dark Knight

  • Directors: Christopher Nolan
  • Producers: Christopher Nolan, Charles Roven, Emma Thomas
  • Writers: Screenplay, Christopher Nolan, Jonathan Nolan, Story, David S Goyer, Christopher Nolan, Comic Book, Bob Kane, Bill Finger
  • Genres: Action, Crime, Thriller
  • Actors: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Gary Oldman, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Morgan Freeman

In Gotham City, the Joker robs a mob bank with his accomplices, whom he tricks into killing one another, ultimately killing the last one himself. That night, Batman and Lieutenant James Gordon contemplate including new district attorney Harvey Dent in their plan to eradicate the mob. However, Batman wonders if Dent can be trusted. Bruce runs into Rachel Dawes and Dent, who are dating, and after talking to Dent, he realizes Dent’s sincerity and decides to host a fundraiser for him. Mob bosses Sal Maroni, Gambol, and the Chechen meet with other underworld gangsters to discuss both Batman and Dent, who have been cracking down on the mobster’s operations. Lau, a Chinese mafia accountant, informs them that he has hidden their money and fled to Hong Kong in an attempt to preempt Gordon’s plan to seize the mobsters’ funds and hide from Dent’s jurisdiction.

In Hong Kong, Batman captures Lau and delivers him to the Gotham City police, where Lau agrees to testify against the mob. In retaliation, the mobsters hire the Joker to kill Batman and Lau. The Joker issues an ultimatum to Gotham, stating that people will die each day until Batman reveals his identity. When Commissioner Gillian B. Loeb and Judge Surillo are murdered by corrupt police, the public blames Batman, prompting Bruce to decide to reveal his identity. Before Bruce can turn himself in, Dent announces at a press conference that he himself is Batman and is arrested as part of a plan to draw the Joker out of hiding. The Joker attempts to ambush the police convoy carrying Dent, but Batman and Gordon intervene and capture him. In recognition of his actions, Gordon is appointed the new police commissioner.

The Joker’s plan to destroy the ferries fails after the passengers on both decide not to destroy each other. Batman locates and subdues the Joker, preventing him from destroying both ferries. When Batman refuses to kill the Joker, the Joker acknowledges that Batman is truly incorruptible, but that Dent was not, and that he has unleashed Dent upon the city. Leaving the Joker for the SWAT team, Batman searches for Dent. At the remains of the building where Rachel died, Batman finds Dent holding Gordon and his family at gunpoint. Dent judges the innocence of Batman, himself, and Gordon’s son through three coin tosses. As the result of the first two flips, he shoots Batman in the abdomen and spares himself. Before Dent can determine the boy’s fate, Batman, who was wearing body armor, tackles him over the side of the building. Gordon’s son is saved, but Dent and Batman fall to the ground below resulting in Dent’s death.[5] Knowing that the citizens of Gotham will lose hope and all morale if Dent’s rampage becomes public news, Batman convinces Gordon to hold him responsible for the murders. Gordon smashes the Bat-Signal, and a manhunt for Batman begins.

Happy Endings

  • Directors: Don Roos
  • Producers: Michael Paseornek, Holly Wiersma
  • Writers: Don Roos
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama, Music, Thriller
  • Actors: Lisa Kudrow, Steve Coogan, Jesse Bradford, Bobby Cannavale, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jason Ritter, Tom Arnold

The film follows the lives of a diverse group of mostly middle-class Americans through the emotional ups and downs in their flawed yet very human lives, each loosely connected to each other through a restaurant.

The film follows three interconnected stories. In the first, a woman (Lisa Kudrow) reluctantly agrees to work with a would-be young filmmaker (Jesse Bradford) in order to locate the now grown son she secretly gave up for adoption after becoming pregnant from her stepbrother (Steve Coogan) (who is later found to be gay) 19 years earlier.

In the second story arc, her stepbrother and his domestic partner (David Sutcliffe) are deciding whether or not to confront their friends, a lesbian couple (Laura Dern and Sarah Clarke), regarding the paternity of their son.

And in the third, a young man (Jason Ritter) is involved with a band and trying to keep his father (Tom Arnold) from learning that he is gay, while also dealing with the seemingly gold-digging woman (Maggie Gyllenhaal) who inserts herself into their lives.