The Damned United

  • Directors: Tom Hooper
  • Producers: Andy Harries, Grainne Marmion
  • Writers: Peter Morgan, David Peace
  • Genres: Drama, Sport
  • Actors: Michael Sheen, Jim Broadbent, Colm Meaney, Timothy Spall

After failing to qualify for the 1974 World Cup, England manager Alf Ramsey is sacked and replaced by Don Revie, the highly successful manager of Leeds United. Revie is replaced at Leeds by Brian Clough, a former manager of Derby County and a fierce critic of Leeds’s style of play under Revie. Much attention is called to the fact that Clough’s longtime assistant, Peter Taylor, has not joined him at Leeds, and Clough claims in an interview to Yorkshire Television that the team cannot possibly have been happy under Revie, due to the violent and physical nature of their game.

The roots of Clough’s conflict with Revie are depicted as happening in a 1967 FA Cup match between Leeds, who were then leading the First Division (though they did not win it that season) and Derby, who were struggling near the bottom of the Second Division. Clough assumes Revie to be a similar man to himself, owing to the fact that they grew up in the same part of Middlesbrough; come the day of the match however, Revie either ignores Clough or fails to make him out in the crowd upon entering Derby’s Baseball Ground stadium. The match proves to be a tough affair, and despite their best efforts Derby lose 2–0 to Leeds.[1] Clough initially blames the brutality of the Leeds players, but he and Taylor recognise that their side simply aren’t good enough on a technical level and so remedy the problem by signing veteran Dave Mackay, along with several other young players. The club’s frugal chairman, Sam Longson is extremely anxious about the investment and more so the fact that Clough didn’t bother to consult him about signing Mackay. However, Derby win the Second Division title in 1969, and the following season once more face up to Leeds, the defending First Division champions… and promptly lose 5–0.

In the film’s epilogue, the audience is told that Don Revie proved a complete failure as an England manager, and afterwards never worked in football in his home country again, spending the rest of his career working in the Middle East. Brian Clough and Peter Taylor meanwhile reunited at Nottingham Forest, where he repeated his prior achievements with Derby by taking them up and winning the First Division, and this time bettered both Revie and his own spell at Derby by winning two European Cups in succession. The film ends by branding Clough “the best manager that the English national side never had.”

Blood Diamond

  • Directors: Edward Zwick
  • Producers: Gillian Gorfil, Marshall Herskovitz, Graham King, Paula Weinstein, Edward Zwick
  • Writers: Charles Leavitt
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Drama, Thriller
  • Actors: Djimon Hounsou, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Connelly, Michael Sheen, Arnold Vosloo

Set during the Sierra Leone Civil War in 1999, the film shows a country torn apart by the struggle between government soldiers and rebel forces.[1] The film portrays many of the atrocities of that war, including the rebels’ amputation of people’s hands to discourage them from voting in upcoming elections.

The film begins with the capture of Solomon Vandy (Djimon Hounsou), a Mende fisherman, by the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels when they invade the small Sierra Leonian village of Shenge. Separated from his family, Solomon is enslaved to work in the diamond fields under the command of a Warlord called Captain Poison (David Harewood) while his son Dia is conscripted into the rebel forces, the brainwashing eventually turning him into a hardened killer. The RUF use the diamonds to fund their war effort, often trading them directly for arms. While working in the RUF diamond fields as a forced laborer, Solomon finds a large, pink diamond inside a big, broken pipe in the diamond fields. Claiming that he must go to the toilet, Solomon hides the diamond between his toes to try and sneak it away to bury it. However, moments before government troops launch an attack, Captain Poison sees Solomon hiding the diamond. Captain Poison is injured in an attack by government forces before he can get the stone, and both he and Solomon are taken to prison in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone.

Solomon travels to London and, with the help of Bowen, he trades the diamond to Simmons for £2,000,000 and the reunification of his family, making the exchange as Solomon’s wife and children arrive via a Lear Jet at a London airport. Bowen, who secretly photographs the deal, later publishes a magazine piece exposing the trade in “conflict” or “blood” diamonds. The film ends with Solomon smiling at the photograph Maddy took of Archer earlier, now published in her magazine along with the complete story of their journey, before addressing a conference on blood diamonds in Kimberley, South Africa, describing his experiences. This refers to an actual meeting that took place in Kimberley in 2000 and led to the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, which seeks to certify the origin of diamonds in order to curb the trade in conflict diamonds.

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…

Frost Nixon

  • Directors: Ron Howard
  • Producers: Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner
  • Writers: Peter Morgan
  • Genres: Drama, History
  • Actors: Michael Sheen, Frank Langella, Kevin Bacon, Oliver Platt, Sam Rockwell, Matthew Macfadyen, Rebecca Hall, Toby Jones, Andy Milder

A series of news reports documents the role of Richard Nixon (Langella) in the bugging of members of the Democratic National Committee in the Watergate complex up until news that the House of Representatives is likely to vote to impeach Nixon. The film then cuts to a behind the scenes view of Nixon making his resignation speech. Nixon is shown leaving the White House in a helicopter and flying away.

Meanwhile David Frost (Sheen) is finishing an episode of his talk show Frost Over Australia, until he comes off set to see Nixon entering the helicopter on a television. He asks a producer to ascertain the worldwide viewing figures for the event.

A few weeks later in the London Weekend Television (LWT) central office, Frost discusses with his producer and friend, John Birt (Matthew Macfadyen), the possibility of an interview. When Frost mentions Nixon as the subject, Birt doubts the likelihood that Nixon would be willing to talk to Frost. Frost then tells Birt that 400 million people watched President Nixon’s resignation on live TV.

Nixon is shown recovering from illness in La Casa Pacifica, in San Clemente, California, discussing his memoirs with literary agent Irving “Swifty” Lazar (Toby Jones), who tells the former president of a request by Frost to conduct an interview. Lazar mentions that CBS was offering $350,000 to Frost’s $500,000. In a series of cutaway interviews, Lazar explains how he managed to talk Frost up to $600,000.

Shortly before Frost returns to the UK, he and Caroline visit Nixon in his villa and Frost thanks him for the interviews. Nixon questions Frost if they really had a discussion on the phone, and asks what they discussed. Frost replies “cheeseburgers,” and bids goodbye to Nixon and leaves. The closing titles describe Frost’s future successes and Nixon’s continued controversy and absence from political activity until his death in 1994.

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.