V for Vendetta. When is a terrorist not a terrorist? According to this movie, when said terrorist is fighting against a corrupt and brutal government. Based on Allan Moore's graphic novel, V for Vendetta is set in futuristic and fascist England, where a masked figure known as V fights against the oppressive government and is eventually joined by Evey, the young heroine played by Natalie Portman (with shaven head). Although the novel was written as a critique of Margaret Thatcher's England, the use of fear tactics to persuade citizens to surrender their individual freedoms and rights bears some resemblance to our current political climate. Hugo Weaving plays V in a role challenging because throughout the entire movie, his face is covered by a Guy Fawkes mask. Unlike a Batman mask, this mask covers the entire face, so it's sort of weird to hear him talk without seeing the lips move. James Purefoy was originally cast as V, but he quit because he hated wearing the mask so much. Overall, I really liked the movie- the characters were compelling and the story interesting. Some of the special effects during action scenes seemed a little silly, like they were just thrown in to please the Matrix fanboys in the audience.
A History of Violence. Viggo Mortensen (hot) plays Tom Stall, an upstanding family man who runs a diner in a small Indiana town. When the diner is held up by violent criminals, he jumps to the defense and ends up killing both men. After the news coverage, mobsters from Philadelphia show up on the scene, claiming that Tom is actually a former gangster who disappeared. Is it true? And if it is, does his family really want to know? In order to avoid spoilers, I'll just say that I enjoyed this movie. It's intense. The wife is the one put in the worst predicament by the situation, and Maria Bello does a great job in the role. Ashton Holmes also excels as the teenage son.