Category: Crime and Mystery Movies
Taglines: Being a teenager can be murder.
A pair of abused and neglected teenage girls almost get away with murder: Sisters Sandra and Beth learned early in life that they had no one to depend on but each other. But when their addict mother Linda makes plans to move the girls in with her abusive lover, the girls’ situation becomes unbearable. Seeing no other way out, Sandra and Beth recruit their classmates to help them plan their mother’s murder.
When the girls’ guilt spins out of control and they compulsively confess their involvement to friends, rumors that they are cold-blooded killers reach the ears of the authorities. The film is a harrowing and heartbreaking look at the teen subculture that nurtured the girls’ murderous fantasies and covered up for them after they committed an unthinkable crime in an effort to create a normal life for themselves.
Perfect Sisters is a 2014 Canadian crime drama film directed by Stanley M. Brooks. The film stars Abigail Breslin and Georgie Henley. The film was released on April 11, 2014. The film was based on the novel The Class Project: How to Kill a Mother, which itself was based on the real-life murder of Linda Andersen.
Film Review: Perfect Sisters
Ineffectual and cartoonish, “Perfect Sisters” dramatizes a case that shocked Canada a decade ago, when two teenage girls killed their alcoholic mother in order to be free of the chaos wrought by her perpetual irresponsibility — a well-planned crime that several of their classmates knew about before it happened.
TV producer Stan Brooks’ first directorial feature provides scant psychological depth, drawing its characters and staging their incidents in crude fashion, despite superficial production gloss. A limited U.S. theatrical launch April 11 is unlikely to significantly heighten visibility for a pic already available on demand and destined primarily for smallscreen sales.
Based on Toronto Star reporter Bob Mitchell’s true-crime tome (which is purportedly far less sympathetic toward the protags), Fabrizio Filippo and Adam Till’s script introduces us to high schoolers Sandra (Abigail Breslin) and Beth (Georgie Henley of “The Chronicles of Narnia” films) as they, along with a little brother, suffer yet another move to new digs.
The cause is, once again, their divorced mom Linda (Mira Sorvino) and her penchant for the bottle, which inevitably causes her to lose jobs and get them evicted. When she acquires a new boyfriend (James Russo) to pay the bills, his abuse and general creepiness hardly improve the family’s lot beyond the realm of rent.
Figuring they might actually be better off without Mom — but with an insurance settlement — the sisters hash out potential matricidal scenarios with best friends Justin (Jeffrey Ballard) and Ashley (Zoe Belkin), though whispers quickly spread beyond that close circle. Nonetheless, the real-life figures (whose names aren’t used here, since they were still minors when convicted) managed to pass the deed off as an accidental death for a time. They remain controversial figures in Canada, since they were incarcerated for only a few years each and subsequently attended universities on scholarship.
The unimaginative telepic tenor is varied — but not improved — by broad bits in which Sorvino plays various caricatured “ideal” mother figures. Mixing the heroines’ puerile fantasies with their much-less-than-ideal reality is a potentially interesting idea, but “Perfect Sisters” is no “Heavenly Creatures,” to say the least. Nor does the cliched dialogue or just-OK cast (in which Henley comes closest to creating a rounded character) help ground disturbing events in a credible everyday milieu a la “Razor’s Edge” and other fact-inspired tales of teen homicide. Still, the pic somewhat improves in its last third, when the deed is done and the girls prove very poorly equipped to keep their secret.
Shot in Winnipeg (the actual events took place in Mississauga, Ontario), the pic is competent but rather flavorless in all tech/design departments.
Directed by: Stanley M. Brooks
Starring: Abigail Breslin, Georgie Henley, Mira Sorvino, James Russo, Rusty Schwimmer, Zoë Belkin, Jeffrey Ballard, Sarah Constible
Screenplay by: Fab Filippo
Production Design by: Gordon Wilding
Cinematography by: Stéphanie Anne, Weber Biron
Film Editing by: Robin Katz
Costume Design by: Noreen Landry
Art Direction by: Scott Rossell
Music by: Carmen Rizzo
MPAA Rating: None.
Studio: Gravitas Ventures
Release Date: April 11, 2014
Taglines: Life can change at the turn of a page.
Michael (Liam Neeson) is a Pulitzer Prize-winning fiction author who has recently left his wife, Elaine (Kim Basinger), and is having a tempestuous affair with Anna (Olivia Wilde), an ambitious young journalist who wants to write and publish fiction.
At the same time, Scott (Adrien Brody), a shady American businessman, is in Italy to steal designs from fashion houses. He meets Monika (Moran Atias), a beautiful Roma woman, who is about to be reunited with her young daughter. When the money she has saved to pay her daughter’s smuggler is stolen, Scott feels compelled to help. They take off together for a dangerous town in Southern Italy, where Scott starts to suspect that he is the patsy in an elaborate con game.
Julia (Mila Kunis), an ex-soap opera actress, is caught in a custody battle for her 6 year-old son with her ex-husband Rick (James Franco), a famous New York artist. With her support cut off and her legal costs ruinous, Julia is reduced to working as a maid in the same upscale boutique hotel where she was once a frequent guest. Julia’s lawyer Theresa (Maria Bello) has secured Julia one final chance to change the court’s mind and be reunited with the child she loves. Rick’s current girlfriend Sam (Loan Chabanol) is a compassionate onlooker.
At its heart, Third Person is much more than a collection of love stories —it is a mystery, a puzzle in which truth is revealed in glimpses, and clues are caught by the corner of the eye — and nothing is truly what it seems.
Third Person is a romantic thriller film directed and written by Paul Haggis and co-starring Liam Neeson, Mila Kunis, Adrien Brody, Olivia Wilde, James Franco, Moran Atias, Kim Basinger, and Maria Bello. The film premiered at the 2013 Toronto Film Festival.
Review for Third Person
aul Haggis’s new movie, “Third Person,” Anna (Olivia Wilde), a go-getting New York journalist, is having an affair with Michael (Liam Neeson), a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist in a funk. In a darkened room in a posh Paris hotel, he tries, with diminishing confidence, to finish writing a book. He flies Anna over, and they taunt each other, make love, play complicated erotic games. They’ve been carrying on this way for two years—fighting keeps the affair alive. Neeson, now sixty-two, is recognizably stalwart—tough-tender and imposing—and it’s a pleasure to see him acting with a woman after so many fantasy characters and man-alone genre movies. The revelation is Wilde.
A slender beauty with high cheekbones, she makes Anna a full-fledged neurotic, candid and demanding and changeable, shifting abruptly from snuggling happiness to angry defiance. At one point, after Michael locks a naked Anna out of his hotel room, she races down the hallway to her own room and falls into bed laughing. Wilde’s Anna seems to have no center, but that’s the point. She’s harboring guilty secrets, as is Michael, and Haggis’s insight in this movie is that guilt doesn’t make people sodden or reclusive. On the contrary, it makes them frantically alive, seeking to grab something they’ve missed.
There are six main characters in “Third Person,” all of whom are just as surprising as Anna and just as messed up. Haggis tells three stories, set in Paris, Rome, and New York, about different kinds of love, and his unifying theme is that a “third person”—a child, an old lover—lingers in the background of every serious relationship. He intercuts the stories, as he did in “Crash” (2004), but this time the characters don’t impinge on one another—at least, not until the end, when he changes our relation to everything we’ve seen.
As we discover, four of the six have failed as parents, sometimes with disastrous results, but “Third Person” is hardly an accusation. Haggis shapes the stories as complicated adventures undertaken by damaged people whose unhappiness compels them to take risks. Much of the dialogue is prickly and intimate—so intimate that, at times, one has the impression that Haggis is unloading personal obsessions into his narratives, as Bergman and Fellini did.
Adrien Brody, whom I have found languid and uninteresting in the past, provides a second revelation. He uses his hollow bemusement and hangdog recessiveness to create an effective portrait of a man in a rut: Scott, a self-disgusted businessman who steals designs from Italian fashion houses in order to make cheap knockoffs in sweatshops. Scott wanders into an American bar in Rome and, in a lengthy scene, which Haggis builds slowly, becomes enthralled by a beautiful and comically hot-tempered woman from Romania, Monika (Moran Atias), who seems to have escaped from a Rome Opera production of “Carmen.” She is carrying five thousand euros in cash to redeem her daughter from smugglers who are holding the girl in a boat.
The story doesn’t quite make sense, especially as Monika rushes out of the bar, leaving the money behind. But Scott is roused from his self-absorption by the woman’s crazy vivacity, and he tries to help her out. Is he being conned? He doesn’t much care: Monika is funny and street-smart in ways that he could never be. Brody, energized now, enters into Scott’s passion with the mixed fascination and fear of a man who may be throwing his life away but is happy to be doing something decisive at last.
The tale dominated by Mila Kunis, as Julia, a rattled New Yorker, lacks the exuberant spirit of the other two. Julia is one of those infuriating people who can’t pull themselves together, no matter how high the stakes. Broke, disorganized, always late, she has lost custody of her little boy, whom she longs for; a year earlier, she may have hurt the child. Her ex-husband, a famous artist (James Franco, uncharacteristically fierce), has had her cut off financially and her visitation rights blocked. Kunis, scrambling through the city, gives the ultimate in desperate, bottom-dog performances—those saucer eyes never stop pleading. Haggis treats this screwup with great sympathy, recounting her cascading dilemmas in sorrowful detail. Life in the world Haggis creates is marked by bizarre coincidences, missed opportunities, and terrible luck. Living it isn’t easy for anyone.
Directed by: Paul Haggis
Starring: Olivia Wilde, Caroline Goodall, James Franco, Maria Bello, Moran Atias, Mila Kunis, Adam Brody, David Harewood, Liam Neeson, Kim Basinger
Screenplay by: Paul Haggis
Cinematography by: Gianfilippo Corticelli
Film Editing by: Jo Francis
Costume Design by: Sonoo Mishra
Set Decoration by: Raffaella Giovannetti
Art Direction by: Dimitri Capuani, Luca Tranchino
Music by: Dario Marianelli
MPAA Rating: R for language and some sexuality / nudity.
Studio: Sony Pictures Classics
Release Date: June 20, 2014
Inherent Vice is the seventh feature from Paul Thomas Anderson and the first ever film adaption of a Thomas Pynchon novel. When private eye Doc Sportello’s ex-old lady suddenly out of nowhere shows up with a story about her current billionaire land developer boyfriend whom she just happens to be in love with, and a plot by his wife and her boyfriend to kidnap that billionaire and throw him in a looney bin…well, easy for her to say.
It’s the tail end of the psychedelic `60s and paranoia is running the day and Doc knows that “love” is another of those words going around at the moment, like “trip” or “groovy,” that’s being way too overused – except this one usually leads to trouble.
Inherent Vice is an American stoner crime comedy film. The seventh feature film directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, Inherent Vice was adapted by Anderson from the novel of the same name by Thomas Pynchon, and stars an ensemble cast including Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson, Katherine Waterston, Reese Witherspoon, Benicio del Toro, Jena Malone, Joanna Newsom, Jeannie Berlin, Maya Rudolph, Michael K. Williams and Martin Short. As with its source material, the storyline revolves around Larry “Doc” Sportello, a stoner hippie and PI in 1970, as he becomes embroiled in the Los Angeles criminal underworld whilst investigating three cases interrelated by the disappearance of his ex-girlfriend and her wealthy boyfriend.
About the Story
In 1970, Shasta Fay Hepworth visits the rickety beach house of her ex-boyfriend Larry “Doc” Sportello, a private investigator and hippie/dope head in Gordita Beach, a fictional town in Los Angeles County. Shasta tells him about her new lover, Michael Z. “Mickey” Wolfmann, a wealthy real estate developer. She asks Doc to help prevent Mickey’s wife and her lover from having Mickey abducted and committed to an insane asylum.
At his office, Doc meets with Tariq Khalil, a member of the Black Guerrilla Family. Khalil hires Doc to find Glen Charlock, a member of the Aryan Brotherhood he met in jail, who now owes him money and is one of Wolfmann’s bodyguards.
Doc visits Mickey’s Channel View Estates project and enters the only business in the developing strip mall, a brothel/massage parlor, where he meets an employee, Jade. Doc searches the premises for Charlock, but he is knocked on the head with a baseball bat and collapses. He awakens outside, lying next to Charlock’s dead body and surrounded by policemen. Doc is brought to the police station and interrogated by Det. Christian F. “Bigfoot” Bjornsen of the LAPD. Here, Doc learns that Wolfmann has disappeared without a trace. He is helped by his attorney, Sauncho Smilax, who arranges for his release by the LAPD.
Doc then takes on his third “case” of the film. He is hired by former heroin addict, Hope Harlingen, who is looking for her missing husband, Coy. She was told that Coy was dead; but she believes he is alive because, shortly after his supposed death, there was a large deposit to her bank account. Coy seeks out Doc and says he is hiding at a house in Topanga Canyon. In a second meeting, he reveals he is a police informant and fears for his life, only wanting to return to his wife and daughter.
At his office Doc finds a message from Jade who apologizes for setting him up with the police and tells him to “beware of the Golden Fang”. He meets her in an alley, where she explains that the Golden Fang is an international drug smuggling operation. Doc talks to Sauncho, who gives him some information on a suspicious boat called the Golden Fang and tells him that, the last time the ship sailed, it was with Shasta on board. Thanks to a postcard from her, Doc finds a large building shaped suspiciously like a golden fang and meets with the dentist Dr. Rudy Blatnoyd.
Directed by: Paul Thomas Anderson
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson, Katherine Waterston, Reese Witherspoon, Benicio del Toro, Jena Malone, Maya Rudolph, Martin Short, Erica Sullivan
Screenplay by: Paul Thomas Anderson
Production Design by: David Crank
Cinematography by: Robert Elswit
Film Editing by: Leslie Jones
Costume Design by: Mark Bridges
Set Decoration by: Amy Wells
Art Direction by: Ruth De Jong
Music by: Jonny Greenwood
MPAA Rating: R for drug use throughout, sexual content, graphic nudity, language and some violence.
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures
Release Date: December 12, 2014
Taglines: Check Mate!
Jim Bennett is a risk taker. Both an English professor and a high-stakes gambler, Bennett bets it all when he borrows from a gangster and offers his own life as collateral. Always one step ahead, Bennett pits his creditor against the operator of a gambling ring and leaves his dysfunctional relationship with his wealthy mother in his wake. He plays both sides, immersing himself in an illicit, underground world while garnering the attention of Frank, a loan shark with a paternal interest in Bennett’s future. As his relationship with a student deepens, Bennett must take the ultimate risk for a second chance…
The Gambler is an American crime drama film directed by Rupert Wyatt. The screenplay by William Monahan is based on the 1974 film, written by James Toback. The remake, starring Mark Wahlberg as the titular character, premiered on November 10, 2014 at the AFI Fest, and was theatrically released in the United States on December 25, 2014.
About the Story
Jim Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) is a literature professor with a severe gambling addiction caused by his view of the world as either having it all or having nothing. He ends up owing $240,000 to Lee (Alvin Ing), the proprietor of an underground gambling ring, and another $50,000 to Neville Baraka (Michael K. Williams), a loan shark. Lee gives Bennett seven days to pay off his debts or be murdered. During one of his classes, he identifies student Amy Phillips (Brie Larson) as a potential writing prodigy, points out Dexter (Emory Cohen) as a genius tennis star, and confronts Lamar Allen (Anthony Kelley), a student who does not pay attention in class and intends to become an NBA basketball player.
Bennett considers borrowing money from Frank (John Goodman), another loan shark, to consolidate his debts and buy himself some time, but refuses to do so after Frank demands he admit that he is not a man. Bennett convinces his mother Roberta (Jessica Lange) to give him enough money to pay off his debts, but during a night out with Amy he gambles it all away. Baraka kidnaps and confronts Bennett, forcing him into an ultimatum—if he does not convince Lamar to win one of his college basketball games by a margin of 7 points or less, he will murder Amy.
Bennett goes to Frank, who advises him to adopt a “fuck you” attitude towards life by getting enough money to be completely free, and lends him $260,000 to pay his debt to Lee. Bennett convinces Lee to stake him $150,000, as the only way he can pay his full $410,000 debt to Lee and also pay back the money he borrowed from Frank is to gamble and win. He uses the money from Lee to bribe Lamar into keeping the point spread to under 8 in the basketball game.
Bennett sends Dexter to Vegas to bet on the game with the $260,000 he got from Frank. Lamar succeeds in the scheme, and Bennett uses his winnings to pay his debt to Baraka, denying he knows anything about the large bet made in Vegas. He then convinces Lee and Frank to meet him in a neutral gambling den and wagers enough money to pay both Lee and Frank off—if he wins—on a roulette spin. Successful, he walks out, stating he was playing for Frank and Lee.
Directed by: Rupert Wyatt
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Brie Larson, John Goodman, Michael K. Williams, Jessica Lange, Sonya Walger, Caitlin O’Connor, Erika Jordan, Anne McDaniels, Anita Liao
Screenplay by: William Monahan
Production Design by: Keith P. Cunningham
Cinematography by: Greig Fraser
Film Editing by: Pete Beaudreau
Costume Design by: Jacqueline West
Set Decoration by: Maggie Martin
Art Direction by: Dawn Swiderski
Music by: Jon Brion, Theo Green
R for language throughout, and for some sexuality / nudity
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Release Date: December 19, 2014
Taglines: Nick wanted to be a made man until he found a reason to get out.
Ben Barnes plays Nick, an ambitious young man running with the Boston crime syndicate. Once on the inside he realizes that the glory days of the Mafia are long gone. Behind his boss’s (Harvey Keitel) back he decides to strike out on his own and expand the business. Seemingly on top of the world with more money than he could have dreamed of and a great girl (Leighton Meester), Nick soon realizes that by making his own rules he’s put himself and everyone he loves in grave danger.
By the Gun is an American crime drama film directed by James Mottern and written by Emilio Mauro. The film stars Ben Barnes, Leighton Meester, Harvey Keitel, Kenny Wormald, Toby Jones, Paul Ben-Victor and Ritchie Coster.
By the Gun
Directed by: James Mottern
Starring: Leighton Meester, Ben Barnes, Toby Jones, Harvey Keitel, Kenny Wormald, Julie Ann Dawson, Ritchie Coster, Stacey Queripel
Screenplay by: Emilio Mauro
Production Design by: Jennifer Gerbino
Cinematography by: Jimmy Lindsey
Film Editing by: Banner Gwin
Costume Design by: Honah Lee Milne
Set Decoration by: Kevin C. Lang, Dara Smith
Music by: Nathan Whitehead
MPAA Rating: R for strong violence, sexual content, nudity, language throughout and some drug use.
Studio: Millennium Entertainment
Release Date: December 5, 2014
Oscar-nominated writer – director Nacho Vigalondo (The ABCs of Death, Timecrimes, V/H/S Viral) creates an action-packed world of voyeurism and suspense in his thriller Open Windows.
When Nick (Elijah Wood) discovers that he’s won a dinner date with his favorite star Jill Goddard (Sasha Grey), he’s incredibly excited to finally get the chance to meet her. That excitement deflates when Jill refuses to honor the contest and all of Nick’s hopes are dashed. He’s intrigued when Chord (Neil Maskell), a man claiming to be Jill’s campaign manager, offers him something he can’t quite refuse: Chord will give Nick the ability to constantly view Jill via computer. Nick is initially reluctant but Chord persuades him by saying that he should get at least some entertainment out of the actress. However, Nick is unaware that this decision will put himself and Jill at risk.
Open Windows is a Spanish thriller film directed and written by Nacho Vigalondo. The film had its world premiere on March 10, 2014 at South by Southwest, and stars Elijah Wood, Sasha Grey and Neil Maskell. The film is Vigalondo’s first film in the English language.
About the Story
Nick Chambers wins a contest to meet his favorite actress, Jill Goddard. Nick, the webmaster of a fansite dedicated to Jill, is crushed when Chord, Jill’s manager, informs him that she has not only failed to invite him to the film’s publicity but also canceled the contest. Chord remotely sends Nick a link to his laptop that opens a live stream. Chord explains that he has hacked into Jill’s cell phone and activated the microphone and camera without her knowledge. Although uneasy about invading her privacy, Nick goes along with Chord’s plans to spy on her. By eavesdropping on her phone conversations, they learn that she will secretly meet her agent, Tony, with whom she is having an affair, at the same hotel in which Nick is staying.
Chord directs Nick to use preexisting high end surveillance equipment to spy on Jill and Tony. As he watches them, Nick is briefly contacted by a trio of hackers who address him as Nevada. Jill leaves Tony’s room. When Nick’s lights spontaneously turn on and Tony can see the camera pointed at his room, Nick panics as Tony leaves his room to investigate. Chord orders Nick to use a Taser to incapacitate Tony. Feeling that he has no choice, Nick agrees. Nick initially refuses to tie up Tony but does so once Chord threatens to stop helping him. Suspicious of why all this equipment is available in his hotel room, Nick questions who Chord really is; Chord ignores him and guides him out of the hotel by hacking into its security system.
Chord blackmails Nick into further compliance by revealing that the entire contest was a hoax, and Chord now has video proof of Nick’s crimes. Chord forces Nick to follow Jill to her house, and he is contacted once again by the trio of hackers, who believe Nick to be a famous hacker. They offer to help him in his latest hack, and Nick recruits them to counteract Chord. Meanwhile, Chord hacks into Jill’s PC when she goes home. When Nick refuses to send her PC a file, Chord demonstrates that he is capable of sneaking into Jill’s house and killing her.
The file turns out to be a live feed of Tony’s torture by electric current. Horrified, Nick attempts to bargain with Chord for Tony’s release, but Chord only tortures Tony further. Chord forces Nick to give commands to Jill through her PC, and Nick demands that she reveal her naked breasts. Satisfied with the resulting video, Chord breaks the connection. Nick frantically attempts to warn Jill, but she is kidnapped by Chord. With the help of the hackers, Nick pursues Chord. However, once they realize that Chord is apparently the master hacker Nevada, their loyalties are torn. Although they continue to help him, they warn Nick that Nevada is the best in the world and a veteran of numerous anarchist operations, though none have resulted in physical harm to anyone.
Directed by: Nacho Vigalondo
Starring: Elijah Wood, Sasha Grey, Neill Maskell, Ivan Gonzalez, Rachel Arieff, Mike McCutchen
Screenplay by: Nacho Vigalondo
Production Design: Javier Alvariño, Soledad Sesena
Cinematography by: Jon D. Domínguez
Film Editing by: Bernat Vilaplana
Costume Design by: Cristina Sopeña
Studio: Antena 3 Films, Wild Bunch
Release Date: November 7, 2014
Taglines: The city shines brightest at night.
Lou Bloom, an ambitious young man desperate for work, discovers the world of L.A. crime journalism. When Lou learns of a group of freelance camera crews who film crashes, fires, murder and other mayhem, Lou muscles his way into the dangerous realm of night crawling, where a police siren wail means a possible windfall, and victims are converted into dollars and cents. Aided by Nina, a local TV news veteran, Lou blurs the line between observer and participant.
Nightcrawler is an American crime thriller film written and directed by Dan Gilroy. The film stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Riz Ahmed, and Bill Paxton. Marking Gilroy’s directorial debut, it tells the story of a driven young man who stumbles upon the underground world of Los Angeles freelance crime journalism.
About the Story
Caught stealing from a Los Angeles construction site, Louis Bloom is confronted by a security guard for trespassing. He attacks the security guard, steals his watch and leaves with the stolen material. After negotiating a price for the material at a scrap yard, Bloom asks for a job, but the foreman says he does not hire thieves.
Driving home, Bloom sees a car crash and pulls over. Stringers—freelance cameramen—arrive and shoot the crash. Inspired, Bloom steals a racing bicycle and trades it for a camcorder and a radio scanner. That night, Bloom shoots the aftermath of a carjacking. When he moves closer to get a better shot of the victim, he and a rival stringer are kicked off the crime scene. Bloom eavesdrops on his rival’s phone conversation about selling his footage to a news station.
Bloom goes to the same station to sell his footage. He meets the morning news director of a local TV station, Nina Romina, who tells him the station is most interested in footage of violent incidents in affluent neighborhoods. Bloom hires an assistant, Rick, a young man desperate for money, and begins shooting incidents. To get better footage, Bloom tampers with crime scenes and in one case moves a body. Bloom’s rival Joe Loder has better equipment and beats Bloom to several important stories. As Bloom’s work gains traction, he buys better equipment and a sports car.
Bloom takes Nina to dinner and threatens to end his business with her unless she has sex with him, knowing her job depends on his footage. The next day he turns down a business offer from Loder, who beats him to an important plane crash story later that night. Nina explodes in anger at Bloom, demanding he get better footage and keep his end of their bargain. Bloom sabotages Loder’s van, causing him to suffer a severe injury in a car crash, which Bloom arrives on scene to film.
Directed by: Dan Gilroy
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Bill Paxton, Anne McDaniels, Ann Cusack, Riz Ahmed, Michael Hyatt
Screenplay by: Dan Gilroy
Production Design by: Kevin Kavanaugh
Cinematography by: Robert Elswit
Film Editing by: John Gilroy
Costume Design by: Amy Westcott
Set Decoration by: Meg Everist
Music by: James Newton Howard
MPAA Rating: R for violence including graphic images, and for language.
Studio: Open Road Films
Release Date: October 31, 2014
Taglines: Don’t trust anyone.
Due to a catastrophic accident in her mid-twenties, Christine, now a forty-seven-year-old writer, is incapable of forming and maintaining new memories for more than a day. Trapped in an existence in which she wakes every day believing herself to be single and with a whole lifetime of choice ahead of her she discovers instead that she lives with her husband, Ben, with most decisions already made.
Through her meetings with a doctor who is helping her to recover her memory, Christine’s story begins to emerge, setting in motion a series of events that trigger startling consequences for her and all who love her, leading her to question whether the truth is sometimes better left forgotten.
Before I Go to Sleep is a British mystery thriller film directed and written by Rowan Joffé, based on a 2011 novel, Before I Go to Sleep by S. J. Watson. The film stars Nicole Kidman, Mark Strong, Colin Firth and Anne-Marie Duff.
About the Story
Forty-year-old Christine Lucas wakes up in bed with a man she does not know, in an unfamiliar house. The man explains that he is her husband, Ben, and that she suffered brain damage from a car accident ten years ago. Christine wakes up every morning with no memory of her life from her early twenties onwards. Every morning, after she wakes up, Ben has to explain to her what has happened.
Christine receives treatment from Dr. Nasch, a neurologist at a local hospital. He gives her a camera for her to record her thoughts and progress at the end of each day, and calls her at home every morning to remind her to watch the video in the the camera. Dr. Nasch also instructs Christine to keep the camera hidden from Ben. Dr. Nasch reveals that Christine’s memory loss did not occur due to a car accident, but that Christine had been attacked and left for dead near an airport hotel. They surmise that Ben tells Christine it was a car accident to avoid upsetting her.
Over the course of treatment, Christine faintly remembers her friend, a red-haired woman named Claire. She asks Ben about Claire, and Ben tells her that Claire could not handle Christine’s condition, and ended contact from her. Later, Christine recalls that she had a son. She angrily confronts Ben over hiding their child, but Ben says their son had died of meningitis when he was eight years old. He avoided mentioning their dead son as it always upset her. Christine faintly remembers the name Mike, and believes it may be the name of her attacker.
Christine learns that, several years after her attack, Ben had placed her in an assisted care facility and divorced her. Ben states that it was due to the stress of dealing with her condition, coupled with their son’s death, but that he had had a change of heart and brought her home to live with him. Christine learns that Claire had been trying to contact her at the care facility, unaware that Ben had taken her away. Christine obtains Claire’s phone number and meets her. Claire reveals that Christine had embarked on an affair prior to her attack, while Ben and Claire had had a one-time sexual encounter, due to their shared grief at Christine’s memory loss. Feeling an obligation to keep Ben and Christine’s marriage intact, Claire chose to end contact.
Out of gratitude for his love and care, Christine decides to let Ben see the videos she has made on the digital camera. However, Ben angrily accuses Christine of having an affair with Dr. Nasch, strikes her in the face, and storms out. On the telephone, Claire tells Christine that Ben claims to not have seen Christine for several years. Claire asks Christine to describe the “Ben” she is living with, and they realize he is not Ben at all. Christine attempts to escape the house, but “Ben” renders her unconscious.
Before I Go to Sleep
Directed by: Rowan Joffe
Starring: Nicole Kidman, Mark Strong, Colin Firth, Anne-Marie Duff, Rosie MacPherson, Adam Levy, Jing Lusi
Screenplay by: Rowan Joffe
Production Design by: Kave Quinn
Cinematography by: Ben Davis
Film Editing by: Melanie Oliver
Costume Design by: Michele Clapton
Set Decoration by: Niamh Coulter
Music by: Ed Shearmur
MPAA Rating: R for some brutal violence and language.
Studio: BBC Films
Release Date: October 31, 2014
Taglines: Don’t set him off.
When a retired hit man is forced back into action by a brutal Russian mobster, he hunts down his adversaries with the ruthlessness that made him a crime underworld legend in John Wick, a stylish tale of revenge and redemption set in a brilliantly imagined New York City and starring World Stunt Award-winner Keanu Reeves.
After the sudden death of his beloved wife, John Wick (Reeves) receives one last gift from her, a beagle puppy named Daisy, and a note imploring him not to forget how to love. But John’s mourning is interrupted when his 1969 Boss Mustang catches the eye of sadistic thug Iosef Tarasov (Alfie Allen). When John refuses to sell the car, Iosef and his henchmen break into his house and steal it, beating John unconscious and leaving Daisy dead. Unwittingly, they have just reawakened one of the most brutal assassins the underworld has ever seen.
John’s search for his stolen vehicle takes him to a side of New York City that tourists never see, a hyper-real, super-secret criminal community, where John Wick was once the baddest guy of all. After learning that his attacker is the only son of a former associate, vicious Russian crime boss Viggo Tarasov (Michael Nyqvist), John turns his attention to vengeance. As word spreads that the legendary hit man is after his son, Viggo offers a generous bounty to anyone who can bring John down. With a veritable army on his trail, John once again becomes the remorseless killing machine the underworld once feared, launching a pitched battle against Viggo and his soldiers that could mean the end of them both.
About the Production
When producer Basil Iwanyk of Thunder Road Pictures first read Derek Kolstad’s original screenplay for John Wick, he found himself drawn to the contradictions and complications faced by its main character, a seemingly ordinary man who harbors an extraordinary secret.
“The tone of the script was subversive and really fun,” says Iwanyk. “It had a very clear emotional throughline and a great premise for an action movie. John Wick is the story of a man who loses his wife and has his home invaded, his car stolen and his dog killed. It’s a very human premise for a big action movie, something that could happen to anyone. To me, the holy grail of the action genre is to pair a very simple and very accessible premise like this with a hyper-real style, as we’ve done with this film.”
Kolstad found his inspiration in some of his favorite film-noir classics. “When I was a kid, I watched a lot of movies,” he explains. “My favorites always had a revenge motif. And I love the antihero. So I wanted to explore what would happen if the worst man in existence found salvation. Would it be true to his core? When the source of his salvation is ripped from him, what happens? Do the gates of Hades open?”
And so began the extraordinary journey of John Wick, the only man to ever walk away from a shadowy world of elite professional killers and survive, only to be sucked back in by fate. “John’s the kind of guy who walks into a room and has everything laid out in his mind like a chess game,” says Kolstad. “In the underworld, he’s a legend, and he’s been away long enough that the young up-and-comers have heard the name, but don’t necessarily believe all the stories.”
Given the character’s fabled career as an assassin, the filmmakers initially imagined an older actor in the role. “Instead, we decided to look for someone who is not literally older, but who has a seasoned history in the film world,” says Iwanyk. “Keanu Reeves is someone I’ve always wanted to work with.”
Reeves’ impeccable action pedigree, which includes the groundbreaking Matrix trilogy, two chapters of the blockbuster Speed franchise and the daredevil adventure Point Break, has justifiably earned him iconic status in the action world. But for the past five years, Reeves has been devoting most of his time to his directorial debut, Man of Tai Chi.
“So audiences haven’t seen much of him,” notes Iwanyk. “We thought that gave him a fresh and interesting edge. I think the audience will believe that this character has been retired for five years, because in some ways Keanu retired as an action star for a while.”
Reeves signed on to headline John Wick, working closely with the writer to refine the story. “Basil and Peter Lawson of Thunder Road brought the script to me with the idea that I would be a part of such a great collaboration,” the actor says. “We all agreed on the potential of the project. I love the role, but you want the whole story, the whole ensemble to come to life.”
Kolstad says there was no “star temperament” working with Reeves. “What I really like about Keanu is that he’s a normal, laidback guy,” he says. “He’s incredibly bright and such a hard worker. We spent as much time developing the other characters as we did his. He recognizes that the strength of the storyline lies in even the smallest details.”
Looking to infuse the film with innovative action sequences that would set it apart from the pack, Reeves contacted the filmmaking team of Chad Stahelski and David Leitch, co-founders of 87Eleven, one of Hollywood’s most elite stunt groups. Reeves and Stahelski originally met on the set of The Matrix and Stahelski eventually became the actor’s stunt double. Together with longtime friend Leitch, Stahelski has worked on dozens of high-profile action films, and the pair are now two of the most in-demand second-unit directors in Hollywood.
Approached to design and film the blistering action scenes of John Wick, Stahelski surprised the producers by asking if he could pitch his ideas as director. After years at the top of his profession, he was ready to transition to the next level, with his longtime collaborator Leitch on hand to produce. When this screenplay landed on his desk, he knew it was time to grab the opportunity.
“It had gun fights, knife work, car chases and lots of hand-to-hand combat,” says Stahelski. “Dave and I talked about the potential to make a great graphic-novel-influenced action movie set in an almost mythical world. We pitched Keanu, Basil and the guys at Thunder Road the idea of John Wick as an urban legend, a thriller assassin movie with a realistic vibe and an otherworldly setting.”
Reeves was already confident the duo had the skill and creativity to stage John Wick’s groundbreaking action sequences better than anyone else. “Hearing Chad speak about the material and how he thought he could visually bring it to life was revelatory,”
Reeves says. “He and Dave were interested in making each character unforgettable. They had given thought to the themes of the movie, the double life, the hyper-reality. They’ve been closely following the film since day one and trying to bring out all the emotion that is in this piece.”
As a filmmaking team, Stahelski and Leitch were the ideal choice for John Wick, according to Reeves. “Chad and Dave are experts in terms of this genre,” the actor notes. “The dialogue is hard-boiled but it’s also got the humor of graphic novels, the kind of amazingly original imagery and framing that we’ve come to associate with them. It’s a unique vision. I thought it was exciting and really cool to see all of these influences and experience and craft come together.”
Iwanyk was immediately sold on Stahelski and Leitch’s approach to the film. “Their take for the movie and their visual presentation were so in line with what we were thinking the movie should be,” says the producer. “Everything from the color palette to the way in which the action should be staged and shot to the lookbook just felt right.”
Directed by: David Leitch, Chad Stahelski
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen, Adrianne Palicki, Willem Dafoe, Dean Winters, Bridget Moynahan
Screenplay by: Derek Kolstad
Production Design by: Dan Leigh
Cinematography by: Jonathan Sela
Film Editing by: Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir
Costume Design by: Luca Mosca
Set Decoration by: Susan Bode
Music by: Tyler Bates, Joel J. Richard
MPAA Rating: R for strong and bloody violence throughout, language and brief drug use.
Studio: Summit Entertainment, Lionsgate Films
Release Date: October 24, 2014
Taglines: Can you keep a national secret?
Two-time Academy Award nominee Jeremy Renner (“The Bourne Legacy”) leads an all-star cast in a dramatic thriller based on the remarkable true story of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Gary Webb. Webb stumbles onto a story which leads to the shady origins of the men who started the crack epidemic on the nation’s streets… and further alleges that the CIA was aware of major dealers who were smuggling cocaine into the U.S., and using the profits to arm rebels fighting in Nicaragua.
Despite warnings from drug kingpins and CIA operatives to stop his investigation, Webb keeps digging to uncover a conspiracy with explosive implications. His journey takes him from the prisons of California to the villages of Nicaragua to the highest corridors of power in Washington, D.C. – and draws the kind of attention that threatens not just his career, but his family and his life.
Kill the Messenger is an American drama thriller film directed by Michael Cuesta and written by Peter Landesman. It is based on the book of the same name by Nick Schou and the book Dark Alliance by Gary Webb. The film stars Jeremy Renner (in his first film as a producer), Michael Sheen, Andy Garcia, Ray Liotta, Barry Pepper, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Rosemarie DeWitt, Paz Vega, Oliver Platt, Richard Schiff, and Michael K. Williams. The film was released on October 10, 2014.
Kill the Messenger
Directed by: Michael Cuesta
Starring: Jeremy Renner, Ray Liotta, Barry Pepper, Michael Sheen, Andy Garcia, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Rosemarie DeWitt, Paz Vega, Oliver Platt, Richard Schiff, Michael K. Williams
Screenplay by: Peter Landesman
Production Design by: John Paino
Cinematography by: Sean Bobbitt
Film Editing by: Brian A. Kates
Costume Design by: Kimberly Adams-Galligan, Doug Hall
Set Decoration by: Nicole LeBlanc
Music by: Nathan Johnson
MPAA Rating: R for language and drug content.
Studio: Focus Features
Release Date: October 10, 2014