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The Ghost Writer/Rogue Trader/Velvet Goldmine/The Impossible [DVD]

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Overview

Synopsis

The Impossible
Director Juan Antonio Bayona follows up his critically acclaimed feature debut The Orphanage with this drama set during the 2004 Thailand tsunami, detailing one family's incredible fight for survival. Inspired by actual events, The Impossible finds Henry (Ewan McGregor), his wife Maria (Naomi Watts), and their three sons lounging poolside at a scenic Thailand resort following an eventful Christmas. But just as the family begins to forget their troubles and settle in for a relaxing tropical getaway, one of the worst natural disasters in modern history changes their lives in the blink of an eye. Meanwhile, as shock gives way to abject horror, the devoted parents fight to protect their children, encountering scenes of heart-wrenching tragedy and experiencing acts of incredible compassion as the entire country is engulfed in chaos. Tom Hollander and Geraldine Chaplin co-star. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

Rogue Trader
Based on the tell-all autobiography by Nick Leeson, Rogue Trader tells the true story of how one man managed to bring down England's best respected merchant bank. Ewan McGregor plays Leeson, an ambitious young man from North London who is hired by the Barings Brothers Bank and sent to Indonesia to help untangle some problems with bearer bonds. Leeson does well enough to earn a transfer to Singapore, where he's put in charge of Barings' staff at the Singapore International Money Exchange. The Asian economy is booming and a variety of new financial strategies are changing the shape of the marketplace; while his superiors in London are a bit baffled by the range of possibilities, Leeson takes to the work like a duck to water, and he's soon trusted to do as he pleases. This eventually proves to be his downfall; without a separate team watching the accounts in the back office, Leeson is soon juggling figures to cover up for certain mistakes and gambling on the market with the bank's funds, not just their clients'. In 1995, Leeson's schemes finally collaped, leaving Barings bankrupt; Nick and his wife (another Barings employee) tried to flee the country to avoid arrest. Leeson was eventually sentenced to six-and-a-half years in a Singapore prison for his financial misdeeds; he was released after four years and four months, a week before Rogue Trader opened in British theaters. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Velvet Goldmine
At the 1998 Cannes Film Festival, American independent director Todd Haynes (Safe) received the "Artistic Achievement" award for this re-creation of the UK glam rock scene of the early '70s. Glam rock star Brian Slade (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), who does a character named Maxwell Demon, predicts his own death onstage. As per his prediction, this happens, but when the killing is exposed as a hoax, it marks the end of Slade's stardom. A decade later, in 1984, Brit reporter and former Slade fan Arthur Stuart (Christian Bale), who witnesses the hoax murder, gets the assignment to do a "Whatever Happened To..?" article, and the film's plot suddenly goes into a prismatic Citizen Kane mode, reflecting various angles on Slade's life and career. Arthur visits the wheelchair-bound Cecil (Michael Feast), who discovered Slade, and then tracks Slade through his early life and his initial encounter with outrageous, maniacal American singer Curt Wild (Ewan McGregor). Slade's rise begins as manager Jerry Divine (Brit comedian Eddie Izzard) moves in to take over the performer's career. Ex-wife Mandy Slade (Toni Collette), interviewed by Arthur in a dimly lit nightclub, has memories going back to their initial 1969 Sombrero Club encounter. Their marriage paralleled his Bowie-like ascent to fame as an innovative, bisexual rock star pushing the limits. Idolized by teens, Slade teamed up for a while with the drug-addicted Wild. Eventually, the marriage of Mandy and Slade comes to an end, and she hasn't seen him in seven years when she's interviewed by Arthur. The soundtrack features vintage music by Bryan Ferry, Lou Reed and Brian Eno, plus new tunes. Some background on the making of Velvet Goldmine is documented in producer Christine Vachon's book Shooting to Kill: How an Independent Producer Blasts Through the Barriers to Make Movies That Matter (Avon, 1998) by Vachon with Slate film critic David Edelstein. ~ Bhob Stewart, Rovi

The Ghost Writer
A ghostwriter stumbles onto a secret that places his life in danger as he takes down the life story of a former U.K. prime minister in this Roman Polanski-helmed adaptation of the Robert Harris novel. Convinced by his agent that he's been granted a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, talented British screenwriter "The Ghost" (Ewan McGregor) agrees to aid British prime minister Adam Lang (Pierce Brosnan) in completing his memoirs after the leader's former aide dies under mysterious circumstances. Almost immediately after The Ghost arrives at a remote mansion in the U.S. to begin working with the prime minister, Lang is accused of committing a war crime by a former British cabinet minister. Amidst a deluge of protestors and reporters, The Ghost delves into the unfinished manuscript and comes to the terrifying conclusion that his predecessor died because he discovered a link between Prime Minister Lang and the CIA. The more information The Ghost uncovers, the more convinced he becomes that his life could be in danger as well. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Naomi Watts
    Naomi Watts - Maria
  • Ewan McGregor
    Ewan McGregor - Henry
  • Samuel Joslin
    Samuel Joslin - Thomas
  • Oaklee Pendergast
    Oaklee Pendergast - Simon
  • Marta Etura
    Marta Etura - Simone
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