Todd Robinson writes and directs this 2006 neo-noir film based on the story of the “Lonely Hearts Killers”, Martha Beck and Raymond Fernandez. Jared Leto stars as Fernandez, opposite Salma Hayek as Beck, to portray the couple who terrorized the country on a crime spree murdering over a dozen women in the 1940s. While the couple was ultimately convicted of only one murder, they were suspected of being responsible for 20 victims during the spree between 1947 and 1949.
Unfortunately, the movie made less than $3 million dollars at the box office, not too much more than one of the star’s salary alone. John Travolta also appeared in the film playing one of the detectives who is hot on the couple’s heels.
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Leonardo DiCaprio, who also helped to produce the movie, stars in this 2013 production as stockbroker, Jordan Belfort. The film follows along to tell the tale of the banker turned criminal, who got wrapped up in fraud and corruption on Wall Street, leading him down a dark path that ended behind bars. The real Belfort was involved in some outlandish scenarios that are eerily close to the way they are depicted in the film.
Margot Robbie plays the conman’s wife, and Jonah Hill costars as his partner and friend. It grossed nearly $117 million at the box office, and was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and Best Director for Martin Scorsese’s work on the film.
The Imitation Game (2014)
This historical drama stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing, a cryptanalyst who worked for the British government decrypting German intelligence messages during WWII. The film follows his endeavors in trying to crack a Nazi code that is regarded to be uncrackable. The renowned code-breaking war hero, essentially pioneered considered computer science and artificial intelligence. As a homosexual, he was also criminally convicted and faced terrible treatment under U.K.'s homophobic law.
Instead of jail time, he opted for hormone therapy and chemical castration. As the final screen on the film reveals, however, after a year of therapy, he committed suicide at 41-years old.
This 2003 American sports film is based on the 1995 best-selling book by the same name written by Laura Hillenbrand. The movie is directed (and written) by Gary Ross, and centers around a champion racehorse named Seabiscuit, during the Great Depression. The legendary horse was overlooked and completely underestimated and never considered an adequate racehorse. After his unexpected success, he became a symbol of hope and strength during the Great Depression.
The film stars Tobey Maguire Jeff Bridges and Chris Cooper, and features Elizabeth Banks. It was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including the award for Best Picture, and Best Writing. The film's cinematography received plenty of its own accolades, including an Oscar nomination, and a win from the American Society of Cinematographers.
This 2006 film was made with a budget of just $4.3 million, $1.3 million of which went to star, Jet Li’s, salary. The film is directed by Ronnie Yu, and features Li as a master martial artist, and co-founder of the Chin Woo Athletic Association in Shanghai, Huo Yuanjia. The martial arts expert became a hero in China for defeating foreign fighters in highly publicized competitions during a time when Chinese independence was under threat by foreign imperialism.
Critics and audiences for the most part regard the film as a success, and it holds a 73% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The descendants of Huo Yuanjia weren’t happy with the way it made their ancestors seem violent, however. In fact, they were so unhappy that they decided to sue filmmakers.