The Conjuring (2013)

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The Conjuring is a 2013 American supernatural horror film directed by James Wan and written by Chad Hayes and Carey Hayes. The film is the first installment in The Conjuring film series.

Plot: In 1971, Roger and Carolyn Perron move into a dilapidated farmhouse in Harrisville, Rhode Island with their five children Andrea, Nancy, Christine, Cindy, and April. Their dog Sadie refuses to enter the house and one of the children while playing a game of ‘hide and clap’ finds a boarded-up entrance to a cellar.

Paranormal events occur within the first few nights: all of the clocks stop at exactly 3:07 AM and Sadie is found dead in the backyard. One night in bed, Christine feels a tugging on her leg, which is a spirit only she can see. She screams and says that the spirit wants the family dead. Another night, Carolyn hears clapping in the hallway. When she goes to investigate, following the noises, she gets trapped in the basement by the spirit. At the same moment, Andrea and Cindy are attacked by a spirit on top of the wardrobe.

Carolyn decides to contact noted demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren, who agree to take on the case. The Warrens conduct an initial investigation and conclude that the house may require an exorcism, but they need authorization from the Catholic Church and further evidence before they can proceed.

Ed and Lorraine discover that the house once belonged to an accused witch, Bathsheba (a relative of Mary Towne Eastey), who sacrificed her week-old child to the devil and killed herself in 1863 after cursing all who would take her land. They find reports of numerous murders and suicides in houses that had since been built on the property.

To gather evidence, Ed and Lorraine place cameras and bells around the house. They see Cindy sleepwalking into Andrea’s room, and from the EVPs coming from the radio, they hear a spirit luring Cindy into the wardrobe, where she reveals a secret passage inside. Lorraine enters the passage and falls through the floorboards to the cellar, where she sees the spirit of a woman whom Bathsheba had long ago possessed and used to kill her child.

The Perron family decides to take refuge at a hotel while Ed and Lorraine take their evidence to the Church. The Warrens’ daughter Judy is attacked in their own home by Bathsheba, though Ed arrives in time to save her.

Carolyn, now possessed by Bathsheba, takes Christine and April back to the house. Ed and Lorraine find Carolyn in the cellar trying to stab Christine. After tying Carolyn to a chair, Ed decides that an exorcism needs to be performed on Carolyn. However realizing that it will be too late by the time priest would reach their for performing exorcism, Ed decides to perform the exorcism himself. In the process Bathsheba tries to kill Ed by making a shelf fall and shooting through a gun. Though Carolyn escapes and attempts to kill April, Lorraine is able to distract Carolyn from killing her daughter by reminding her of a special memory she shared with her family, allowing Ed to complete the exorcism, saving Carolyn and April and lifting Bathsheba’s curse forever.

Returning home, Lorraine tells Ed that they had been left a message saying that they had gained approval from the Catholic Church to perform the exorcism. They also have another case to investigate on Long Island. Ed places the music box on the shelf and leaves; it inexplicably opens and plays music as the screen cuts to black.

9/10

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)

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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a 2011 Swedish-American psychological thriller film based on the novel of the same name by Stieg Larsson. This film adaptation was directed by David Fincher and written by Steven Zaillian. Starring Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara.

Plot: In Stockholm, Sweden, journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig), co-owner of Millennium magazine, has lost a libel case brought against him by businessman Hans-Erik Wennerström (Ulf Friberg). Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara), a brilliant but troubled investigator and hacker, compiles an extensive background check on Blomkvist for business magnate Henrik Vanger (Christopher Plummer), who has a special task for him. In exchange for the promise of damning information about Wennerström, Blomkvist agrees to investigate the disappearance and assumed murder of Henrik’s grandniece, Harriet, 40 years ago. After moving to the Vanger family’s compound, Blomkvist uncovers a notebook containing a list of names and numbers that no one has been able to decipher.

Salander, who is under state legal guardianship due to diagnosed mental incompetency, is appointed a new guardian, lawyer Nils Bjurman (Yorick van Wageningen), after her previous guardian Holger Palmgren suffers a stroke. Bjurman abuses his authority to extort sexual favors from Salander and violently rapes her, not realizing she has a hidden video camera on her bag. At their next meeting she stuns him with a stun gun, rapes him with a dildo, and marks him as a rapist with a tattoo on his chest and stomach. Threatening to disclose the video recording, she blackmails him into writing a glowing progress report and granting her full control of her money.

Blomkvist’s daughter Pernilla (Josefin Asplund) visits him and notes that the numbers from the notebook are Bible references. Blomkvist tells Vanger’s lawyer, Dirch Frode (Steven Berkoff), that he needs help with his research, and Frode recommends Salander based on the work she did researching Blomkvist himself. Blomkvist hires Salander to investigate the notebook’s content. She uncovers a connection to a series of murders of young women from 1947 through 1967, with the women either being Jewish or having Biblical names; many of the Vangers are known antisemites. During the investigation, Salander and Blomkvist become lovers. Henrik’s openly national socialist brother Harald identifies Martin (Stellan Skarsgård), Harriet’s brother and operational head of the Vanger empire, and Blomkvist marks Martin as a possible suspect. Salander’s research uncovers evidence that Martin and his deceased father, Gottfried, committed the murders.

Blomkvist breaks into Martin’s house to look for more clues, but Martin catches him and prepares to kill him. While torturing Blomkvist, Martin brags of having killed women for decades but denies killing Harriet. Salander arrives, subdues Martin and saves Blomkvist. While Salander tends to Blomkvist, Martin flees. Salander, on her motorcycle, pursues Martin in his SUV. He loses control of his vehicle on an icy road and dies when it catches fire. Salander nurses Blomkvist back to health and tells him that she tried to kill her father when she was 12. Blomkvist deduces that Harriet is still alive and her cousin Anita (Joely Richardson) likely knows where she is. He and Salander monitor Anita, waiting for her to contact Harriet. When nothing happens, Blomkvist confronts her, deducing that the woman posing as Anita is Harriet herself. She explains that her father and brother had sexually abused her for years, and that Martin saw her kill their father in self-defense. Her cousin Anita smuggled her out of the island and let her live under her identity. Finally free of her brother, she returns to Sweden and tearfully reunites with Henrik.

As promised, Henrik gives Blomkvist the information on Wennerström, but it proves worthless. Salander hacks into Wennerström’s computer and presents Blomkvist with evidence of Wennerström’s crimes. Blomkvist publishes an article that ruins Wennerström, who flees the country. Salander hacks into Wennerström’s bank accounts and, travelling to Switzerland in disguise, transfers two billion euros to various accounts. Wennerström is found murdered. Salander reveals to her former guardian Holger Palmgren that she is in love with Blomkvist. On her way to give Blomkvist a Christmas present, Salander sees him with his longtime lover and business partner Erika Berger (Robin Wright). Heartbroken, she discards the gift and rides away.

9/10

Easy A (2010)

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Easy A (stylized as easy A) is a 2010 American teen comedy film written by Bert V. Royal, directed by Will Gluck, and starring Emma Stone, with Stanley Tucci, Patricia Clarkson, Thomas Haden Church, Dan Byrd, Amanda Bynes, Penn Badgley, Cam Gigandet, Lisa Kudrow and Aly Michalka playing key supporting roles. The screenplay was partially inspired by the novel The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Shot at Screen Gems studios and in Ojai, California, the film was released on September 17, 2010 to positive reviews. (Wikipedia)

Plot: Olive Penderghast, a 17-year-old girl living in Ojai, California lies to her best friend Rhiannon Abernathy about going on a date in order to get out of camping with Rhiannon’s hippie parents. Instead, she hangs around the house all weekend listening to Natasha Bedingfield’s “Pocketful of Sunshine”, which is played by a greeting card she was sent. The following Monday, pressed by Rhiannon, Olive lies about losing her virginity to a college guy. Marianne Bryant, a prissy and strictly religious Christian at their school, overhears her telling the lie and soon it spreads like wildfire. The school’s conservative church group run by Marianne decides Olive will be their next project. Olive confides the truth to her friend Brandon, and he explains how others bully him because of his homosexuality. He later asks Olive to pretend to sleep with him so that he will be accepted by everyone as a ‘straight stud’.

Brandon convinces Olive to help him and they pretend to have sex at a party. After having a fight with Rhiannon over Olive’s new identity as a “dirty skank”, Olive decides to counteract the harassment by embracing her new image as the school tramp. She begins to wear more provocative clothing and stitches a red “A” to everything she wears. Boys who usually have had no luck with girls in the past beg Olive to say they have had sex with her in order to increase their own popularity, in exchange for gift cards to various stores, in turn increasing her reputation. Things get worse when Micah, Marianne’s 22-year-old boyfriend, contracts chlamydia from sleeping with Mrs. Griffith, the school guidance counsellor, and blames it all on Olive. Olive agrees to lie to cover up the affair so that the marriage of her favorite teacher, Mr. Griffith, would be spared.

Marianne’s religious clique, which now includes Rhiannon, begins harassing Olive in order to get her to leave school. After an ill-fated date with Anson, a boy who wants to pay her to actually sleep with him and not just pretend she did, Olive reconnects with Todd, her old crush, who is also the school’s mascot. Todd then tells her that he does not believe the rumors because he remembers when she lied for him when he was not ready for his first kiss years ago. Olive then begins to ask everyone she lied for to help her out by telling the truth, but Brandon and Micah have abruptly left town and everyone else is enjoying their newfound popularity and do not want the truth to get out. Mrs. Griffith also refuses to tell the truth and when Olive threatens to expose her, Mrs. Griffith rebuffs her, saying no one would believe her.

Olive, out of spite, then immediately tells Mr. Griffith, who believes her and separates from Mrs. Griffith. After a friendly talk with her eccentric, open-minded mother Rosemary, Olive comes up with a plan to get everything finally out in the open. She then does a song and dance number at a school pep rally to get people’s attention to watch her via web cam, where she confesses what she has done (the web cam is the framing device of the film). The various boys whose reputations Olive helped improve are also shown watching. Later, Olive texts Rhiannon, apologizing for lying to her. When she is finishing up her web cast, Todd comes by riding a lawnmower and tells her to come outside. She signs off by saying she may lose her virginity to Todd, and proudly declares it’s nobody’s business (much to Marianne’s disgrace). She goes outside to meet him, they kiss and the two are shown riding off on the lawnmower.

8/10

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The Hangover (2009)

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The Hangover is a 2009 American comedy film directed by Todd Phillips, co-produced with Daniel Goldberg and written by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore. The film stars Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Heather Graham, Justin Bartha, and Jeffrey Tambor.

Plot: To celebrate his upcoming marriage to Tracy Garner, Doug Billings travels to Las Vegas with his best friends Phil Wenneck and Stu Price, and Tracy’s brother Alan, in Doug’s future father-in-law’s vintage Mercedes-Benz. They spend the night at Caesars Palace, where they relax in the room before celebrating with a few drinks on the hotel rooftop. The next morning, Phil, Stu, and Alan awaken to find they have no memory of the previous night, and Doug is nowhere to be found. Stu is missing a tooth, their hotel suite is in a state of complete disarray, a tiger is in their bathroom, a chicken in their living room, and a baby is in the closet, whom they name “Carlos”. They find Doug’s mattress impaled on a statue outside of their hotel and when they ask for their Mercedes, the valet delivers an LVPD police cruiser.

Using clues to retrace their steps, the trio travel to a hospital where they discover they were drugged with Rohypnol (“roofies”), causing their memory loss, and that they came to the hospital from a chapel. At the chapel, they learn that Stu married a stripper named Jade, despite being in a long-term relationship with his girlfriend Melissa. Outside the chapel, the trio is attacked by gangsters saying they are looking for someone. They flee and visit Jade, discovering that she is the baby’s mother, whose real name is Tyler. They are then arrested by the police for stealing the police cruiser. After being told that the Mercedes has been impounded, the trio is released when they unknowingly volunteer to be targets for a taser demonstration. While driving the Mercedes, they discover a naked Chinese man named Leslie Chow in the trunk. Chow jumps out of the trunk, beats the trio up with a crowbar and flees. Alan confesses that he drugged their drinks to ensure they had a good night, believing the drug to be ecstasy.

Returning to their villa, they find the boxer Mike Tyson, who orders the trio to return the tiger to his mansion immediately. Stu drugs the tiger with the remaining Rohypnol, and they drive towards Tyson’s home in the Mercedes. However, the tiger awakens and attacks them, clawing Phil on the neck and damaging the car’s interior. After pushing the car the rest of the way to the mansion, Tyson shows the trio footage of them at his house to help them locate Doug. While driving, their car is intentionally t-boned by another vehicle. The passengers are revealed to be the gangsters from the chapel, and their boss Chow (the naked man from the trunk). Chow accuses the trio of kidnapping him and stealing $80,000 that was in his purse. As the trio denies this, Chow tells them he has Doug, and threatens to kill him if his money is not returned. Unable to find Chow’s $80,000, Alan, with help from Stu and Jade, uses his knowledge of card counting to win $82,400 playing Blackjack.

They meet with Chow and exchange the money, only to find that “Doug” is the black drug dealer, who accidentally sold Alan the Roofies. With the wedding set to occur in 5 hours, Phil calls Tracy and tells her that they cannot find Doug. When “Black Doug” mentions that, “If you take Roofies, you’re more likely to end up on the floor than on the roof,” Stu realizes where Doug is. The trio travels back to their hotel where they find a delirious and badly sunburned Doug on the roof. Stu, Phil, and Alan moved him there on his mattress the night before as a practical joke, but forgot where they left him. Doug’s mattress had been thrown onto the statue by Doug, in an attempt to signal help. Before leaving, Stu makes arrangements to go on a date with Jade the following week. With less than four hours before the wedding and with no flights to L.A. available, the four race home. Along the way, Doug reveals he has possession of Chow’s original $80,000. Despite their late arrival, Doug and Tracy are married, and Stu angrily breaks up with Melissa, having grown tired of her controlling attitude. As the reception ends, Alan finds Stu’s digital camera containing photos of the events they cannot remember, and the four agree to look at the pictures together before deleting the evidence of their exploits.

All of them, with the exception of Alan, are deeply disturbed by the pictures, which are shown during the credits.

9/10

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Genova (2008)

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Genova (released in the US as A Summer in Genoa) is a film directed by Michael Winterbottom and starring Colin Firth,Catherine Keener, and Hope Davis
Plot: Following the death of his wife in a car accident, a college professor (Colin Firth) decides to teach English Literature at an Italian University in Genova. He is accompanied by his two daughters, aged 16 and 10. The trio occupies a flat in the crowded Genova streets and soon adapt to the local way of life, taking day trips to the beach and hiring an Italian tutor in musical composition.

The elder daughter begins dating a local Italian teenager, surreptitiously making dates with him behind her father’s back. The younger daughter remains close to her father, and still deals with painful memories of her mother’s death. A passenger in the car herself when her mother was killed, she was directly responsible for the accident and remains haunted by her image.

The Professor, while enjoying life in Genova, has to deal with the demands of being a single parent while also balancing his re-emergent love life. One romantic interest is a colleague at the university (played by Catherine Keener) with whom he shared a brief romantic relationship back at Harvard when both were students. The colleague tries to get close to the family, helping with translation and their day-to-day needs in Genova, but crossing the thin line between good advice and intrusion in their private ways in the process. Another romantic interest is a young Italian student in the professor’s literature class. She is brash and idealistic and quickly makes her intentions known to the suddenly single professor.

Matters come to a head one day when the professor makes a lunch date with the Italian student, simultaneously spurning his much older colleague. The elder daughter gets into a fight with her Italian boyfriend and is forced to hitch a ride home from the beach. Meanwhile, the younger daughter is left to walk home alone due to the lateness of her older sister and instead follows an apparition of her late mother across a busy intersection, almost killing herself and causing yet another car crash, but luckily a minor one. The movie ends with the two daughters beginning their studies at a local Italian secondary school, eager to start a new chapter as a family, having already learned a great deal about family, love, and mourning, on the colourful streets of Genova.

7/10

Hi, how are you? (2010)

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Hi, how are you ?, presented in advertising with good title! What are you doing ?, is a Romanian film of 2010, directed by Alexandru Maftei. Main roles are played by actors Dana Voicu, Ionel Mihailescu, Diaconescu Paul and Mary Smith. As a genre, this film is a romantic comedy with elements of drama.

Plot; The relationship between spouses Gabriel (Ionel Mihailescu) and Gabriela (Dana Voicu) entered into routine after 20 years of marriage, both partners living being bored each other. He is a former pianist who suffered from an accident on the index finger could not sing and had to turn the pages of sheet music for other pianists, worse prepared professionally. She dropped out of college to him and raise their son currently works as head of a workshop dry clothes. Their son, Vladimir (Paul Diaconescu), is 17 years old and is a punk, with many girlfriends that sex wherever they (his room on the washing machine in the chemistry lab, etc.). He wants to become famous and participate unsuccessful audition for the selection of actors for a porno.

In one day, Gabriel goes on tour with the orchestra in Paşcani and is accommodated with Marcel (Ioan Andrei Ionescu). After the concert, wanting to be alone in the room with his wife, Luminita (Iulia Boros), Marcel leads his roommate at an Internet Cafe and teaches him to converse chatting with others. At the same time, it is taught by Toni Gabriela (Ana Popescu), hired her to use chat and the couple enter into discussions with each other, but without knowing it. They converse for hours, falling for each other. Vladimir noticed that his mother comes home later and later and blackmails to buy a computer to not say anything to his father.

Chat discussions between the two continues even after arriving home of Gabriel. Vladimir’s parents buy them a computer, intending to use and its device for conversations on the Internet. Meanwhile, both spouses observe their spouse with someone else and believes it is wrong. Gabriel is surprised ballerina Natalia (Antoaneta Cojocaru) and Gabriela seen a psychology professor (Adrian Păduraru) that made the yard. The couple continue their chat conversations during this period, without disclosing their identities and real. Finally, they set up an appointment, each dodging to give the empty apartment to a mate. The couple we meet on the way to the meeting and not knowing that they were actually meeting each other, decide to return home together.

Inexplicably attracted to a classmate named Miruna Jipescu (Sabrina Iaşchevici), a “nerd” who refused the advances, Vladimir proceeds to diligently teach physics to impress. He breaks relations with his former friends, he begins to consider themselves depraved, and begins courting a “nerd”. Vladimir participating in physical Olympics, reaching the national phase of the competition school. He kissed Miruna National Olympiad in Cluj and decide to make love by participating in the International Physics Olympiad in Venice.

Each convinced that the other deceives his parents Vladimir shall establish a new meeting chat. They meet in the park with each other and decide to divorce because they no longer love. Gabriel moved alone in a studio and began to join the orchestra as an interpreter at the Triangle and cymbals. Gabriela was enrolled in a private college psychology.

8/10

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