Category: Film District
Taglines: Ask not why you were imprisoned. Ask why you were set free.
A provocative, visceral thriller that follows the story of an advertising executive (Josh Brolin) who is abruptly kidnapped and held hostage for 20 years in solitary confinement. When he is inexplicably released, he embarks on an obsessive mission to discover who orchestrated his bizarre and torturous punishment only to find he is still trapped in a web of conspiracy and torment.
Oldboy is an American remake of Park Chan-wook’s 2003 South Korean cult film, which is based on the Japanese manga with the same name published 1996-1998. Directed by Spike Lee and written by Mark Protosevich, the film stars Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen, and Sharlto Copley.
The film was released on November 27, 2013. It was the last film to be distributed by FilmDistrict, before Focus Features absorbed the company in October 2013. It received a mixed reception from both critics and audiences, with praise towards the acting and visual style, but criticism for the comparisons to the original and adding nothing new to the film. The film was a box office bomb, being one of Lee’s worst-performing films of his directing career.
About the Story
In 1993, alcoholic advertising executive Joe Doucett (Josh Brolin) ruins a meeting with a potential client, Daniel Newcombe (Lance Reddick), by hitting on his girlfriend. Afterwards, Joe gets drunk, and goes to a bar owned by his friend Chucky (Michael Imperioli), who refuses him entry. While stuck outside, he spots a woman with a yellow umbrella, before being knocked unconscious.
He awakens in an isolated hotel room and finds he is a prisoner. His captors provide him with basic hygiene items and meager portions of processed Chinese food, along with a pint of vodka with every meal to prevent withdrawal. Through the TV, Joe hears that he has been framed for the rape and murder of his ex-wife and that his daughter, Mia, has been adopted. After being prevented from committing suicide, Joe starts writing Mia letters, gives up drinking, and spends the next 20 years planning his revenge. He gets in shape, becomes a skilled boxer by watching televised matches, and compiles a list of everyone who might be responsible for his imprisonment, with Newcombe being the prime suspect.
In 2013, Joe watches an adult Mia being interviewed by a TV show called “Unresolved Mysteries of Crime”, and claiming she would be willing to forgive him if he returns. Suddenly, he is drugged and awakes in a box in a field, with money and a cell phone. He spots the woman with the yellow umbrella, whom he chases to a nearby clinic; there he meets Marie Sebastian (Elizabeth Olsen), a nurse who offers to help him. Joe refuses help but takes her card.
He later visits Chucky and tells him what happened. He receives a mocking phone call from the mastermind behind his imprisonment, The Stranger (Sharlto Copley). After learning Newcombe died in a plane crash, Joe investigates the other names on his list, and learns they are all innocent. He eventually passes out from dehydration, and Chucky calls Marie, who gives Joe medical treatment.
Marie reads the letters Joe has written for Mia and offers to help him. With her, Joe is able to locate the restaurant that provided the food he was given in captivity and follows a man who arrives to take a large order to an abandoned factory, which is where he was held captive. Joe confronts the owner, Chaney (Samuel L. Jackson), and tortures him into giving him a taped conversation in which he discusses the terms of Joe’s imprisonment with The Stranger. Joe is then forced to fight off all of Chaney’s men, one of whom stabs him in the back. Joe then is then returned to Chucky’s bar, where he meets The Stranger himself and his bodyguard Haeng-Bok, the woman with the yellow umbrella, who has kidnapped Mia.
Directed by: Spike Lee
Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen, Sharlto Copley, Lance Reddick, Hannah Simone
Screenplay by: Garon Tsuchiya, Nobuaki Minegishi, Mark Protosevich
Production Design by: Sharon Seymour
Cinematography by: Sean Bobbitt
Film Editing by: Barry Alexander Brown
Costume Design by: Ruth E. Carter
Set Decoration by: Maggie Martin
Music by: Roque Baños
Release Date: November 27, 2013
The famed horror team of director James Wan and writer Leigh Whannell reunite with the original cast of Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Lin Shaye and Ty Simpkins in Insidious Chapter 2, a terrifying sequel to the acclaimed horror film, which follows the haunted Lambert family as they seek to uncover the mysterious childhood secret that has left them dangerously connected to the spirit world.
In 1986, a medium named Carl calls upon his friend Elise to help discover what is haunting Lorraine Lambert’s son, Josh. After hypnotizing Josh, Elise attempts to find the location of Josh’s “friend” (an old woman who appears in photographs of Josh) through playing Hot or Cold. After warnings from Josh, Elise makes her way to his bedroom closet and is scratched along the arm. As a result, Lorraine, Carl, and Elise agree that making Josh forget his astral projection abilities is the best thing to do.
Twenty-five years later, Josh’s wife Renai is under questioning by a police detective about the death of Elise. Unsettled by the theory that her husband is a killer, Renai rejoins with her family as they relocate to Lorraine’s house. As everyone goes to bed, Renai begins witnessing strange occurrences throughout the house. Josh, who is suspected by Renai to be inhabited by the old woman, tells her not to worry and that everything will be okay.
The next day, Renai sees a woman wearing a white dress sitting in the living room. Following the cries of her baby throughout the house, Renai comes face-to-face with the woman in white and is knocked unconscious. During this time, Lorraine visits Elise’s colleagues Specks and Tucker to seek an explanation behind the strange events. In doing so, they call upon Carl, who listens to Lorraine’s story and attempts to contact Elise on the other side using word-dice.
Through the dice, they are told to find answers at the “Our Lady of Angels” hospital (the former workplace of Lorraine). Led through the hospital to the ICU, Lorraine recounts a story of a patient named Parker Crane, who committed suicide by jumping off the roof many years ago. The four decide that Elise is leading them to this man’s house. After breaking into Parker’s home, they find a black gown and veil as well as newspaper clippings about a man referred to as “The Dark Bride” who kidnapped and murdered several people while dressed as a woman. It is then revealed to them that it was not Elise speaking through the dice, but actually Parker’s mother.
After Renai recovers with Josh at her side, Lorraine arrives home and insists that she, Renai, and the kids get away from Josh. In the car, she explains the origin of “The Dark Bride” and the theory that the real Josh is trapped in the Further. At this same moment, Carl arrives at the house to drug the possessed Josh while Specks and Tucker monitor from their van parked outside. The plan fails, however, and Josh incapacitates Carl, Specks and Tucker. After receiving a message saying everything is okay, Lorraine and Renai return to the house only to be ambushed by Josh.
Locking Lorraine in the closet, Josh attempts to choke Renai but is knocked over the head with a bat by Dalton, who has returned home with Foster. Renai and the children then escape to the basement where they barricade themselves in the laundry room. Lying down in a corner with a tin can telephone, Dalton falls asleep and returns to the Further to rescue his father. Simultaneously, Josh begins making his way into the room by hammering through the drywall.
Meanwhile, in the Further, the real Josh stumbles upon Carl and the two look for Elise, finding her at the Lambert’s previous home. The three then proceed to Parker’s house where they witness his mother, the woman in white, abusing him as a child in attempt to convince him that he’s a girl. The mother notices the group observing and locks Carl and Elise out of the room. When Josh turns around, the room is dark and filled with standing bodies covered by sheets.
Upon finding Parker’s mother amongst the bodies, the two engage in a fight. Just as the mother is about to choke Josh to death, Elise enters the room with the help of young Parker and saves Josh by hitting the mother from behind with a rocking horse. After the three escape the house, they are met up by Dalton who assists Carl and Josh in returning to real time by following the string from the tin can telephone.
Insidious Chapter 2
Directed by: James Wan
Starring: Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Lin Shaye, Ty Simpkins, Barbara Hershey
Screenplay by: Leigh Whannell, James Wan
Production Design by: Jennifer Spence
Cinematography by: John R. Leonetti
Film Editing by: Kirk M. Morri
Costume Design by: Kristin M. Burke
Set Decoration by: Lori Mazuer
Music by: Joseph Bishara
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of terror and violence, and thematic elements.
Studio: Film District
Release Date: September 13, 2013
Taglines: Revenge is coming.
Victor (Colin Farrell), a rising gangland player, has infiltrated the crime empire run by ruthless kingpin Alphonse ( Terrence Howard), with the single purpose of making Alphonse pay for destroying his once happy life. As he meticulously orchestrates his vengeance from his high-rise home, Victor watches and is watched by Beatrice (Noomi Rapace), a mysterious young woman who lives in the apartment across from his.
On the surface a fragile woman-child, Beatrice seethes with a rage of her own. When she uncovers Victor’s dark secrets, she threatens to expose him unless he helps her carry out her own campaign of retribution. Each fixated on avenging the past, they devise a violent and cathartic plan that could change their worlds forever.
Dead Man Down is an American neo-noir crime thriller film written by J.H. Wyman and directed by Danish director Niels Arden Oplev. The film stars Colin Farrell, Noomi Rapace, Dominic Cooper, and Terrence Howard, and was released on March 8, 2013. This is Oplev’s first film since The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009), also starring Rapace and scored by Jacob Groth.
About the Production
Explosive, emotional and darkly funny, Dead Man Down is an unusual combination: a gangster chronicle anchored in the story of Victor and Beatrice, each the survivor of a crippling loss, brought together by rage, grief and a thirst for vengeance. The screenplay by J.H. (Joel) Wyman, writer of the Brad Pitt-Julia Roberts adventure The Mexican and showrunner for the cult-hit television series “Fringe,” percolated for six years as the complexities of the story and characters came together.
“Joel is a very meticulous writer,” says producer Reid Shane, a partner with Wyman in Frequency Films and co-executive producer of “Fringe.” “He wouldn’t release this script until he had all the intricacies of the characters worked out completely. Victor is a man of mystery. We aren’t sure whether he’s a good guy or a bad guy. He’s done some terrible things. And Beatrice is very strange in her own way. They go off in a completely different direction than you expect.”
Wyman was approached by Neil Moritz and Ori Marmur of Original Films to adapt a French thriller they were planning to remake as an American feature film. “Joel came back and said, ‘I have a much better thriller that I’m working on right now,'” recalls Shane. “He gave them a copy of Dead Man Down.”
Marmur, who became an executive producer on the film, was immediately intrigued. “The screenplay was unique,” he says. “It’s a revenge thriller, with a lot of unexpected twists and turns. We immediately fell in love with it because it was so different from any of the movies we’d made or that we saw in the marketplace.
“There are moments that are dark and edgy, there are moments that are scary, there are moments that are suspenseful,” he continues. “There’s the struggle between the light and the dark in our two main characters, Victor and Beatrice. All of these great themes were embedded in the screenplay from the start.”
Selecting a director for such unusual material was the subject of much discussion for Marmur and his associates, but they always came back to the same name: Niels Arden Oplev, the Danish-born director who was catapulted to international fame in 2009 by the Swedish film The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
“We all really loved his work on The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” says Marmur. “He brought a great look and sensibility and style to that film, as well as getting amazing performances from the actors. When we spoke with him about Dead Man Down, he had a clear and specific vision for this film, as well as great passion and enthusiasm for the script.”
“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was a phenomenon,” says Reid Shane. “The book had taken the world by storm. Niels was able to capture the drama, the suspense and the action of the story on film. We thought this script had a very similar vibe and that he had the perfect sensibility for that.”
Following the critical acclaim and commercial success of the movie, Oplev had become a hot commodity in Hollywood. He was courted by the major studios and flooded with offers. He was eager to make his first American film, but he passed on a raft of high-profile screenplays before reading Dead Man Down. “I read perhaps 250 scripts in two and a half years,” says the director. “A handful seemed interesting, but the script for Dead Man Down was nearly perfect. Joel Wyman wrote a fantastic script, there’s no question about that. It has an enormous number of twists and turns. Just when you think you know something, something else happens that changes everything.”
The director was drawn to what he says are all the ingredients of a classic and entertaining American film — revenge, action and a mysterious plot that unveils itself little by little. “And inside this whole package is an unconventional love story that audiences have not seen before. The story has appeal for a wide audience, but at the same time, it has the potential for real artistic accomplishment. It is a fantastic mixture.”
The theme of redemption, so central to this story, is one of Oplev’s favorites. “The story of Victor and Beatrice is very much about getting another shot at life,” he explains. “They meet in the heart of darkness. All the crazy things that happen from there bring them to a point where they are granted a second chance.”
Once Oplev agreed to direct, the film became an even hotter property, attracting the attention of Stuart Ford, CEO of IM Global, who became an executive producer of the film and provided the financing. “It is a smart, sophisticated thriller with real intelligence and an emotional pulse,” he says. “Audiences got to see a lot more of this kind of movie in the ’70s, which I think was the heyday of this genre.
“The great action sequences, great villains and macho characters provide commercial appeal for the male action audience,” says Ford. “But it also has unexpected emotional appeal, which will bring in the more upscale audiences that loved Niels’ previous movies.”
Oplev has a gift for creating suspense, observes Ford. “But he also has real sophistication as a filmmaker and a storyteller. He is able to interweave a fairly complicated plot into a really satisfying feature film. He is very skilled at telling emotional stories, but with a lack of sentimentality. His unique visual style was another advantage. All of those qualities were fantastic ingredients to bring to the Dead Man Down mix.”
Dead Man Down
Directed by: Niels Arden Oplev
Starring: Colin Farrell, Noomi Rapace, Terrence Howard, Dominic Cooper, Isabelle Huppert
Screenplay by: .H. Wyman
Production Design by: Niels Sejer
Cinematography by: Paul Cameron
Film Editing by: Timothy A. Good, Frédéric Thoraval
Costume Design by: Renee Ehrlich Kalfus
Set Decoration by: Chryss Hionis
Art Direction by: Jesse Rosenthal
Music by: Jacob Groth
MPAA Rating: R for violence, language throughout and a scene of sexuality.
Studio: Film District
Relaase Date: March 8, 2013
Taglines: When our flag fall, our nation will rise.
A small group of heavily armed, meticulously trained extremists launch a daring daylight ambush on the White House, overrunning the building and taking President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart) and his staff hostage inside an impenetrable underground presidential bunker. As a pitched battle rages on the White House lawn, former presidential security officer Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) joins the fray, and finds his way into the besieged building to do the job he has trained for all his life: to protect the president — at all costs.
Banning uses his extensive training and detailed knowledge of the presidential residence to become the eyes and ears of Acting President Allan Trumbull (Morgan Freeman) and his key advisors. With tension rising, the radicals begin executing hostages and threaten to kill more unless their outrageous demands are met, our national security team must relay on Banning to locate the president’s young son, who is being sought as the ultimate test of the president’s loyalty to his country, and rescue the president before the terrorists can unleash their ultimate, terrifying plan.
“We Don’t Negotiate with Terrorists”
“When executive producer Avi Lerner brought me the script, I knew immediately it was a great piece of material with unlimited potential,” says Fuqua, a director known for his unflinching treatment of gritty urban stories like Training Day, which earned Denzel Washington an Oscar® for Best Actor. ). “It is classic hero’s journey, right out of Joseph Campbell.”
“What struck me about the material was that it was something that I felt that could happen “The title put me in the mind of the Roman Empire and the idea of the myth. Mount Olympus is the traditional home of the Greek and Roman gods. It’s a symbol of limitless power. In our film the White House crumbles in an unthinkable manner. It had so much resonance for me. Rome, the great empire, becomes America, and its greatest monument collapses.”
As producer, Butler was just as eager to sign Fuqua to the project. “When we got this script, I immediately thought of Antoine,” he says. “Of all the great directors working today, I thought he was the one who would absolutely kill it. I love his movies from Training Day, which I think is one of the best movies ever made, to Tears of the Sun and Brooklyn’s Finest. He does gritty action and realism like nobody else.”
Butler’s character, Secret Service Agent Mike Banning, becomes the only option for resolve after a group of North Korean commandoes takes control of the White House. Trapped without backup in the decimated building, Banning engages the terrorists in a game of cat-and-mouse with impossibly high stakes.
Taglines: To get away clean, you have to play dirty.
Parker is a thief who has an unusual code. He doesn’t steal from the poor and hurt innocent people. He is asked to join 4 other guys on a job. They pull it off flawlessly. They tell Parker that what they got can help them set up another job which will net them much more. But Parker doesn’t want to join them and asks for his share. But they need it all so they try to kill him. They dispose of his body but someone finds him and he is still alive and takes him to the hospital.
After recovering he sets out to get back at the ones who tried to kill him, another one of his codes. Despite being told that they are working for a known mobster which he was not aware of, he still wants to go after them. He learns where they are and poses as a wealthy Texan looking to buy a house. So he hires a real estate agent, Leslie Rogers to show him around. He is actually trying to find out where they’re holed up. And when he finds it, he sets out on his plan to get them. But when they learn he is alive,
Primarily set in Palm Beach, Florida, the film revolves around professional thief Parker (Statham), who is double-crossed by his crew. He sets out for revenge on them, travelling to Palm Beach, where he enlists the help of Leslie (Lopez), who assists him in a quest to steal what his former crew, headed by a man named Melander (Michael Chiklis), rob in their jewelry auction heist. As the story develops, Leslie falls for Parker, who remains faithful to his girlfriend Claire (Emma Booth).
Parker marked a departure in Hackford’s career, as he had hoped to make it his first film noir. The film, produced on a “mid-30s” budget, was conceived following Westlake’s 2008 death, when producer Les Alexander secured the rights to it.
It premiered in Las Vegas, Nevada on January 24, 2013, and was released in the United States on January 25. Reviews were generally mixed, leaning towards the negative, with many film critics feeling that it was a poor adaptation of the book, and typical of Statham’s sub-par action films of the past few years. Others found Statham well-fitted for the role of Parker and praised Lopez for providing comedic relief. It grossed $46.2 million worldwide at the box office.
About the Story
Parker (Jason Statham) is a professional thief, specializing in planning big robberies. His mentor Hurley (Nick Nolte) asks him to do a job with a crew he doesn’t know, consisting of Melander (Michael Chiklis), Carlson (Wendell Pierce), Ross (Clifton Collins Jr.), and Hardwicke (Michah Hauptman). The job, taking the gate money from the Ohio State Fair, is successful, but a man is needlessly killed in a fire set as a distraction.
Parker, disgusted with the crew’s unprofessional standards, refuses to participate in another robbery that could net them millions. Needing his share of the loot to finance the bigger job, and fearing he might take revenge, the crew decides to shoot Parker and leave him to die alongside a road. Not as badly injured as they believed, he is found by a family of tomato farmers who take him to the hospital, where he subdues a male nurse, steals his uniform, and escapes. He then robs a check-cashing store, shooting one proprietor in the leg and stealing a woman’s car.
Parker tells Hurley that he wants to go after the double-crossing Melander, whom he discovers is in Palm Beach, Florida for another heist. On learning that Parker is alive, the crew uses their mob connections to hire a hitman named Kroll (Daniel Bernhardt). He tries to kidnap Parker’s girlfriend Claire (Emma Booth). She narrowly escapes and goes into hiding at a Fish Camp. Hurley, who is Claire’s father, is worried and suggests Parker run away with her, but he refuses, completely intent on revenge against Melander.
Parker poses in Palm Beach as a rich Texan named Daniel Parmitt, looking for a place to live. Leslie Rodgers (Jennifer Lopez) is a depressed, unsuccessful real-estate agent living with her mother (Patti LuPone), struggling financially after a divorce. She is thrilled when Parker (as Parmitt) appears to become interested in her properties because she is desperate for a commission.
Leslie soon becomes suspicious when Parker shows interest only in a house that a man named Rodrigo recently purchased and is remodelling. In reality, Rodrigo is Melander, staying in the house with the crew in anticipation of a $50 million jewelry auction they plan to rob. Leslie eventually finds out that Parker is using a fake identity. She offers her knowledge of the area in exchange for a commission. He considers it only after making her strip to show she isn’t wearing a wire. Together, they plan to steal the jewels from Melander after he robs them from the auction. Leslie makes a pass at Parker, but he remains distant, though obviously attracted to her.
Directed by: Taylor Hackford
Starring: Jason Statham, Jennifer Lopez, Nick Nolte, Michael Chiklis, Sala Baker, Emma Booth
Screenplay by: John McLaughlin, Donald E. Westlake
Production Design by: Missy Stewart
Cinematography by: James M. Muro
Film Editing by: Mark Warner
Costume Design by: Melissa Bruning
Set Decoration by: Maria Nay
Art Direction by: Mara LePere-Schloop
Music by: David Buckley
MPAA Rating: R for strong violence, language throughout and brief sexual content / nudity.
Release Date: January 25, 2013