Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Others

R1 Canada


Spanish filmmaker Alejandro Amenabar's first English-language production is a creepy period ghost story that continues in the vein of his earlier art house hit Open Your Eyes (1997). Nicole Kidman stars as Grace, a devoutly religious mother of two ailing children who has moved with her family to a mansion on the English coast while awaiting her husband's return from World War II, though he has been declared missing. Their children, Anne (Alakina Mann) and Nicholas (James Bentley), both suffer from a rare photosensitivity disease that renders them extremely vulnerable to sunlight, prompting Grace's rule of having only one door open in the house at a time. When Anne begins claiming to see ghosts, Grace at first believes her newly arrived family of eccentric servants to be responsible, but chilling events and visions soon lead her to believe that something supernatural is indeed going on. The Others was released only a few months prior to Vanilla Sky (2001), the American remake of Alejandro's Open Your Eyes (1997), ironically starring Kidman's then-estranged husband Tom Cruise.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Return

R2 Portugal



A self-assured Midwestern girl finds her confidence gradually crumbling as a barrage of terrifying visions prompt her to investigate a brutal murder in a supernatural thriller directed by Asif Kapadia and starring Sarah Michelle Gellar. Joanna Mills (Gellar) is a successful sales representative for a local trucking company, and though her professional life is at an all-time high, her personal life couldn't be any more troubling at the moment. Estranged from her father (Sam Shepard) and menacingly stalked by an obsessive ex-boyfriend (Adam Scott), Joanna feels all alone in the world as her downward spiral rapidly begins to accelerate. When Joanna has a psychic experience in which she literally sees and feels the brutal murder of a female stranger, she soon begins to suspect that she has been targeted as the killer's next victim. Joanna isn't the type to go down without a fight, however, and as her increasingly vivid visions guide her ever closer to the victim's hometown, the secrets that will be revealed leave her wondering if the murder she is investigating may be her own.



Stay

R2 Portugal





A man struggling to save the life of another finds himself drawn into a strange netherworld he didn't know existed in this stylish thriller. Sam Foster (Ewan McGregor) is a psychiatrist living in New York City with his girlfriend, Lila Culpepper (Naomi Watts), who was once one of his patients. However, it's another one of his patients who becomes the focus of his obsessions when Henry Letham (Ryan Gosling), a disturbed young man whom Foster took over from a colleague, announces during a session that he intends to commit suicide in three days, on his 21st birthday. Sam takes the threat quite seriously and tries to track down Henry, who seems to have disappeared. Sam speaks to a number of Henry's friends and acquaintances -- his mother (Kate Burton), the man he claimed was his father, Dr. Leon Patterson (Bob Hoskins), a waitress who regularly served Henry at the coffee shop where she works (Elizabeth Reaser), and his former therapist Dr. Beth Levy (Janeane Garofalo). As Sam talks to people in Henry's circle, he finds he's learning more about himself than the man he's supposed to save, and he begins to drift into an emotional netherworld where the supposedly dead and the living cross paths. Stay was directed by Marc Forster, who had previously enjoyed breakthrough hits with two very different films, Monster's Ball and Finding Neverland.