The Private Lives of Pippa Lee

  • Directors: Rebecca Miller
  • Producers: Brad Pitt, Lemore Syvan
  • Writers: Rebecca Miller
  • Genres: Drama
  • Actors: Robin Wright Penn, Alan Arkin, Keanu Reeves, Monica Bellucci, Julianne Moore, Maria Bello, Blake Lively, Winona Ryder

As a teenager nearly driven mad by her complacent pastor father Des and bipolar mother Suky, whose neurotic behavior is precipitated by an addiction to amphetamines, Pippa Sarkissian runs away from her rural home and seeks refuge with her father’s sister Trish in New York City. She is startled to discover her aunt is a lesbian and living with Kit, a dominatrix who specializes in photographing sadomasochistic scenes. Falling under Kit’s influence, Pippa rapidly descends into an underworld of illegal drugs and promiscuous sex. She is rescued from her decadent lifestyle by Herb Lee, a charismatic publisher 30 years her senior. They wed, have two children, and live a very comfortable life until Herb’s multiple heart attacks force them to sell their Manhattan apartment and settle in a retirement community in suburban Connecticut, where Pippa develops a sleep disorder. By far the youngest of all the residents, she finds herself becoming bored and restless and beginning to unravel until she meets her neighbor’s emotionally damaged son Chris, who becomes an unlikely confidante and unexpected lover. Pippa’s unswerving devotion to her husband is tested when she discovers he is having a fling of his own with Sandra Dulles, an attractive woman — even younger than his trophy wife — who has a long list of neuroses of her own.

A Christmas Carol

  • Directors: Robert Zemeckis
  • Producers: Jack Rapke, Steve Starkey, Robert Zemeckis
  • Writers: Screenplay, Robert Zemeckis, Story, Charles Dickens
  • Genres: Animation, Drama, Family, Fantasy
  • Actors: Jim Carrey, Gary Oldman, Cary Elwes, Colin Firth, Bob Hoskins, Robin Wright Penn

A Christmas Carol is a Victorian morality tale of an old and bitter miser, Ebenezer Scrooge, who undergoes a profound experience of redemption over the course of one night. Mr. Scrooge is a financier/money-changer who has devoted his life to the accumulation of wealth. He holds anything other than money in contempt, including friendship, love and the Christmas season. But an encounter with the ghostly figure of Jacob Marley sets the stage for a mysterious and magical encounter with three phantasmic beings to help him realize the true magic of Christmas itself.

Beowulf

  • Directors: Robert Zemeckis
  • Producers: Steve Bing, Jack Rapke, Steve Starkey, Robert Zemeckis
  • Writers: Neil Gaiman, Roger Avary
  • Genres: Animation, Action, Adventure, Fantasy
  • Actors: Ray Winstone, Anthony Hopkins, Angelina Jolie, Crispin Glover, Robin Wright Penn, John Malkovich, Brendan Gleeson, Alison Lohman

Set in Denmark, the film opens with King Hrothgar (Anthony Hopkins) celebrating the construction of his new mead hall, Heorot. The noise of the celebration echoes into Grendel’s (Crispin Glover) cave and torments him. In a mad fury, Grendel breaks into the hall and kills many people. After being challenged by Hrothgar, Grendel runs off into the night. Back at his lair, Grendel is admonished by his unseen mother for attacking the humans and possibly inviting retribution. She calms down after Grendel tells her that he did not harm Hrothgar.

Meanwhile, Hrothgar closes Heorot and proclaims that he will give half of his kingdom in gold to any man who can defeat Grendel. Beowulf (Ray Winstone) and his men arrive by ship from Geatland and convince Hrothgar to reopen Heorot. Beowulf’s credibility is challenged by Unferth (John Malkovich), the King’s most trusted advisor. Beowulf proceeds to tell a tall tale of how he slew several sea serpents in a past adventure to convince the people of Heorot that he is capable of killing Grendel. Hrothgar offers Beowulf his Golden drinking horn, a trophy taken after a battle with the dragon Fáfnir, in the event that Grendel is destroyed.

Beowulf and the dragon fall to the shores far below. The dragon reverts to the golden man of Beowulf’s dream, whom Beowulf realizes is his son. Beowulf then dies in Wiglaf’s arms. The latter, still refusing to believe his friend is anything but a hero, finally listens to Beowulf’s confession.

Unbreakable

  • Directors: M Night Shyamalan
  • Producers: M Night Shyamalan, Barry Mendel, Sam Mercer
  • Writers: M Night Shyamalan
  • Genres: Fantasy, Mystery, Thriller
  • Actors: Bruce Willis, Samuel L Jackson, Robin Wright Penn, Spencer Treat Clark

Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson) is born with Type I osteogenesis imperfecta, a rare disease in which bones break easily. As a child he is taunted by other children, who nickname him “Mr. Glass”. Drawing on what he has read in comic books during his many hospital stays, Price theorizes that if he is frail at one extreme, then perhaps there is someone strong at the opposite extreme.

Security guard David Dunn (Bruce Willis) is also searching for meaning in his life. He gave up a promising football career to marry his love Audrey (Robin Wright Penn), but their marriage is dissolving, to the distress of their young son Joseph (Spencer Treat Clark). Returning from a job interview in New York, David is the sole survivor of a horrific train wreck that kills 131 of the 132 passengers, sustaining no injuries. He is contacted by the adult Elijah, who proposes to a disbelieving David that he is a real instance of the kind of person after whom comic-book superheroes are modeled. David tries to ignore him, but Elijah stalks him and his wife, trying to get his attention. David’s son Joseph already idolizes his father and easily believes his father is a superhero, but Audrey believes that Elijah Price has probably become mentally ill as a result of the stress of his frailty.

In the closing act of the film, David attends an exhibition at Elijah’s comic book art gallery and gets to meet Elijah’s mother (Charlayne Woodard). After talking with Elijah in the back room of his studio, David shakes his hand and discovers in horror that Elijah orchestrated three fatal disasters, causing hundreds of deaths–the last being David’s train accident. Elijah insists that the deaths were justified as a means to find David. He explains that his purpose in life is to be the villain to David’s hero, even going so far as to suggest that his childhood moniker, “Mr. Glass”, should have alerted him to the fact that he was always a villain. The final captions reveal that David led police to Elijah, who was committed to an institution for the criminally insane.