The Dark Knight
Release Date: July 2008
Director: Christopher Nolan
Writer: David S. Goyer and Jonathan Nolan
Cast: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman, Cillian Murphy, Michael Caine, Aaron Eckhart
watchout: Christopher Nolans follow-up to the highly acclaimed Batman Begins raises the stakes in his war on crime with the help of Lieutenant Jim Gordon (Oldman) and District Attorney Harvey Dent (Eckhart). Batman sets out to dismantle the remaining criminal organisations that plague the city streets. The partnership proves to be effective, but they soon find themselves prey to a reign of chaos unleashed by a rising criminal mastermind known to the terrified citizens of Gotham as The Joker (Ledger).
Trivia: To prepare for his role as the sinister Joker, Heath Ledger lived alone in a hotel room for a month, formulating the characters psychology, posture and voice. He started a diary, in which he wrote the Jokers thoughts and feelings to guide himself during his performance.
Release Date: April 2007
Director: Robert Rodriguez & Quentin Tarantino
Writer: Robert Rodriguez
Cast: Danny Trejo, Cheech Marin, Rose McGowan, Freddy Rodríguez, Josh Brolin, Bruce Willis
watchout: A double-bill of thrillers. Grindhouse is presented as one full-length feature comprised of two individual films helmed separately by each director. Death Proof is a rip-roaring slasher movie where the killer pursues his victims with a car rather than a knife, while Planet Terror shows us a world in the middle of a zombie outbreak. The films are joined together by clever faux trailers that recall the 50s exploitation drive-in classics.
Trivia: Because Grindhouse is a homage to the old low-budget films of the 70s and 80s, there are many deliberate errors by the film-makers — missing reels(!) — to give an authentic Grindhouse feel.
Orfanato, El/ The Orphanage
Release Date: August 2008
Director: Juan Antonio Bayona
Writer: Sergio G. Sánchez
Cast: BeléRueda, Fernando Cayo, Roger Príncep, Mabel Rivera, Montserrat Carulla, Andrés Gertrúdix
watchout: The Orphanage centres on Laura (BeléRueda) who buys her beloved childhood orphanage with dreams of restoring and reopening the long abandoned facility as a home for disabled children. Once there, Laura discovers that the new environment awakens her sons imagination, but the ongoing fantasy games he plays with an invisible friend quickly turn into something more disturbing. After her son disappears, Laura becomes obsessed with locating him — dead or alive.
Trivia: Spains official submission in the Best Foreign Language Film category at the 80th Annual Academy Awards (2008). One of the orphaned children Laura identifies in the photo she is shown, she calls Guillermo, an obvious nod to the producer of the film. You also see his name during the scene where the window behind Laura smashes and she reveals the names of the old orphans and the dolls.
Release Date: June 2007
Director: Mikael Hafstrom
Writer: Stephen King (story)
Cast: John Cusack, Samuel L. Jackson
Watchout: A supernatural writer Mike Enslin (John Cusack), is an author of two successful books on supernatural phenomena. As research for his latest book, he is determined to check out the notorious room 1408 in a New York City hotel by personally staying as a guest in the fabled room. But the hotel manager has strong objections. What Mike Enslin experiences is no myth, as 1408 truly is a room where the guests dont check out by noon.
Trivia: There are many references to the number 13 throughout the movie. The room number 1408 adds up to 13, even the key lock has 6214 etched into it, which adds up to 13. The room is on the 14th floor, and the hotel skips the 13th floor, so the room is technically on the 13th floor. The first death was in the year 1912, which again adds to 13. And the hotel is at 2254 Lexington Street in New York City and it adds up to 13. At one point in the movie Mike wears a hat that says Paranoia is total awareness. This is a nod to one of Stephen Kings favourite quotes, Perfect paranoia is perfect awareness.
Release Date: June 2008
Writer/Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Zooey Deschanel, John Leguizamo
Watchout: A paranoid thriller about a family on the run from a natural crisis that presents a large-scale threat to humanity. The film begins with people repeating their words, standing still and sometimes walking backwards. A woman reading on a bench takes her silver chopstick-style hair pin out of her hair and stabs herself in the neck with it. Meanwhile on a building site workers fall off the roof. Many are seen running off the edge, apparently by their own will, looking completely calm and sure of their actions...
Trivia: The Happening was released purposely on Friday the 13th. The film took 44 days to shoot, which began on August 6, 2007. This is exactly eight years to the day since the start of production of The Sixth Sense (1999), Shyamalans breakthrough movie.