Little Dorrit

  • Directors: Adam Smith, Dearbhla Walsh, Diarmuid Lawrence
  • Producers:
  • Writers: Andrew Davies, Based on the novel by Charles Dickens
  • Genres: Drama
  • Actors: Matthew Macfadyen, Claire Foy, Tom Courtenay, Judy Parfitt

Since her birth, Amy Dorrit has lived in the Marshalsea Prison for Debt, where she cares for her father William, who is held in great esteem by the other inmates. To help financially assist her family, she works as a seamstress for Mrs. Clennam, a semi-invalid who is confined to her crumbling home with her servants, the sinister Jeremiah Flintwinch and his bumbling wife Affery.

Arthur Clennam returns from China with his father’s pocket watch and delivers it to Mrs. Clennam, as Mr. Clennam’s dying wish was for the watch to go to Arthur’s mother. Arthur becomes reacquainted with his former sweetheart, the now overweight widow Flora Finching, who hopes to rekindle the affection the couple shared before they were separated by their disapproving parents. However, he is enamored with Pet Meagles, who favors ne’er-do-well aspiring artist Henry Gowan, much to the distress of her parents. Meanwhile, in Marseille, murderer Rigaud and his timid cell-mate Jean-Baptiste Cavaletto separately are released from jail, and Cavaletto makes plans to journey to England.

Arthur befriends Amy, whose affection for him grows as John Chivery, who oversees the Marshalsea entrance with his father, watches in dismay, as he is in love with the girl.

When their father’s will is read, the Dorrit children learn they are penniless, since William had invested all his money with Mr. Merdle. Daniel Doyce returns from Russia, where he patented his inventions and made a fortune, and he insists on sharing his wealth with his business partner. Arthur and Amy declare their love for each other and finally, they are united together; some time later, Arthur and Amy are married in front of their family and friends.

A Charlie Brown Christmas

  • Directors:
  • Producers:
  • Writers:
  • Genres: Animation, Short, Comedy, Family
  • Actors:

On their way to join the rest of the Peanuts gang all skating on a frozen pond, Charlie Brown confides in Linus that even though Christmas is approaching he still feels depressed despite all the presents and cards and tree decorating. His depression and aggravation only get exacerbated by the goings-on in the neighborhood. Though his mailbox is empty of Christmas cards, he tries sarcastically to thank Violet for the card she “sent” him, though Violet says she did not send him a card.

Ultimately, Charlie Brown visits Lucy in her psychiatric booth. On her advice, he gets involved in directing a school play about the Nativity. She also sympathizes with Charlie Brown about holiday depression, always getting “a lot of stupid toys” instead of what she really wants: real estate.

On the way to the auditorium, Charlie Brown is drawn to Snoopy, who is frantically and gleefully busy decorating his doghouse. After Charlie Brown demands an explanation, Snoopy hands him a flyer about a neighborhood lights and display contest.

Charlie Brown walks away in frustration at his own dog being bitten by the commercial bug. He then gets accosted by Sally, who wants Charlie Brown to take dictation for a letter to Santa, in which she ultimately asks him (Santa) to “just send money”, particularly tens and twenties, causing Charlie Brown to run away in exasperation of even his sister’s commercial corruption.

The story touches on the over-commercialization and secularism of Christmas, and serves to remind viewers of the true meaning of Christmas: the birth of Jesus Christ, continuing a theme explored by satirists such as Stan Freberg and Tom Lehrer during the 1950s.

The Missing

  • Directors: Ron Howard
  • Producers: Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Daniel Ostroff
  • Writers: Thomas Eidson, Ken Kaufman
  • Genres: Adventure, Thriller, Western
  • Actors: Tommy Lee Jones, Cate Blanchett, Eric Schweig, Evan Rachel Wood, Jenna Boyd, Ray McKinnon, Val Kilmer, and Aaron Eckhart

Set in the late 19th-century New Mexico, Samuel Jones (Jones) reappears hoping to reconcile with his adult daughter Maggie Gilkeson (Blanchett). She is unable to forgive him for abandoning the family and leaving her mother to a hard life and early death. This situation changes when an Apache medicine man (Eric Schweig) and a dozen of his followers who have left the reservation pass through the area, ritualistically killing settlers and taking their daughters to be sold into prostitution south of the American border. Among those captured is the elder daughter of the family, Lily.

The U.S. Cavalry refuses to help retrieve the captive women as its resources are tied up conducting forced relocation of captive Native Americans. This leaves Maggie, her father, and the younger daughter alone in tracking the attackers. The group meets up with Kayitah, a Chiricahua, and an old friend of Jones, who also happens to be tracking the attackers with his son Honesco, because among the captives is a young Chiricahua woman who is engaged to Honesco. After the two agree to join the group, and Maggie treats Honesco’s injuries, Kayitah informs Maggie that Jones had been a member of their Chiricahua band where he gained the name Chaa-duu-ba-its-iidan (translates as “shit for luck”) during his wanderings.

It is finally with the combined efforts of the two families that they are able to free the women at the cost of Kayitah’s life and immediately flee to the mountains with the kidnappers behind them. Knowing they have no other choice but to stand their ground, the group fights off the remaining kidnappers and during the battle, Jones fights El Brujo, the one responsible for kidnapping his granddaughter, Lily. When Brujo attempts to kill Maggie, Jones sacrifices his life to save his daughter as both he and Brujo fall to their deaths. Maggie realizes her father’s love for her and finally forgives him at his death.

The New World

  • Directors: Terrence Malick
  • Producers: Sarah Green, Terrence Malick
  • Writers: Terrence Malick
  • Genres: Adventure, Biography, Drama, History, Romance
  • Actors: Colin Farrell, Q Orianka Kilcher, Christopher Plummer, Christian Bale

The film begins with a young Native American woman offering a prayer to Mother Earth. While never referred to by name, she is understood to be Pocahontas. The woman and others from her tribe witness the arrival of three ships. It is Virginia, the year 1607, and the ships are part of the Jamestown Expedition, sent by English royal charter to found a colony in the “New World.” Aboard one of the ships we see a man, later identified as Captain John Smith, below decks, in chains. While initially sentenced to death by hanging for his mutinous remarks, once ashore, Smith is pardoned by Captain Christopher Newport, the leader of the expedition.

While the prospects for the settlement are initially bright, disease, poor discipline, supply shortages, and tensions with the local Native Americans (who Newport calls “the naturals” rather than “the savages” used by Radcliffe in the 1995 Disney film) place the expedition in jeopardy. Smith is given the opportunity to restore his reputation by taking a small group of men up river to seek trade while Newport returns to England for supplies. While on this mission, Smith is captured by a group of Native Americans and brought before their chief. After being questioned, the captain is nearly executed but is spared when one of the chief’s daughters (the same young woman from the beginning of the film) throws herself across his body, saving his life.

Embracing her husband, Pocahontas and Rolfe make arrangements to return to Virginia. However, on the outward passage, she falls ill and suddenly dies. The film ends with images of Pocahontas and her young son playing in the gardens of their English estate as Rolfe, in a voice over, reads a letter, addressed to their son about his deceased mother. In the film’s closing moments, Pocahontas says “Mother, now I know where you live”, having found peace through her strength to grow past her wounds, the film ends with images of nature.

The Wrestler

  • Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
  • Producers: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
  • Writers: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
  • Genres: Drama, Sport
  • Actors: John Turturro, John Goodman, Michael Lerner, Judy Davis, John Mahoney

At the start of the movie, Barton Fink is enjoying the success of his first play, Bare Ruined Choirs. His agent informs him that Capitol Pictures in Hollywood has offered a thousand dollars per week to write movie scripts. Barton hesitates, worried that moving to California would separate him from “the common man”, his focus as a writer. He accepts the offer, however, and checks into the Hotel Earle, a large and unusually deserted building. His room is sparse and draped in subdued colors; its only decoration is a small painting of a woman on the beach, arm raised to block the sun.

In his first meeting with Capitol Pictures boss Jack Lipnick (Michael Lerner), Barton explains that he chose the Earle because he wants lodging that is (as Lipnick says) “less Hollywood”.[2] Lipnick promises that his only concern is Barton’s writing ability, and assigns his new employee to a wrestling movie. Back in his room, however, Barton is unable to write. He is distracted by sounds coming from the room next door, and he phones the front desk to complain. His neighbor, Charlie Meadows (the source of the noise) visits Barton to apologize, and insists on sharing some alcohol from a hip flask to make amends. As they talk, Barton proclaims his affection for “the common man”, and Charlie describes his life as an insurance salesman.

Soon afterwards, Barton is visited by two police detectives, who inform him that Charlie’s real name is in fact Karl Mundt â€“ “Madman Mundt”.[4] He is a serial killer wanted for several murders; after shooting his victims, they explain, he decapitates them and keeps the heads. Stunned, Barton returns to his room and examines the box. Placing it on his desk without opening it, he begins writing and produces the entire script in one sitting. After a night of celebratory dancing, Barton returns to find the detectives in his room, who then reveal Mayhew’s murder. Charlie appears, and the hotel is engulfed in flames. Running through the hallway, screaming, Charlie shoots the policemen with a shotgun. As the hallway burns, Charlie speaks with Barton about their lives and the hotel, then retires to his own room. Barton leaves the hotel, carrying the box and his script. In a final meeting, a disappointed and betrayed Lipnick, who has been drafted into the Pacific Theatre of World War II with the rank of Colonel, angrily chastises Barton for writing “a fruity movie about suffering”,[5] then informs him that he is to remain in Los Angeles, and that â€“ although he will remain under contract â€“ Capitol Pictures will not produce anything he writes so he can be ridiculed as a loser around the studio while Lipnick is in the war. Dazed, Barton wanders onto a beach, still carrying the package. He meets a woman who looks just like the one in the picture on his wall at the Earle, and she asks about the box. He tells her that he knows neither what it contains nor to whom it belongs. She assumes the pose from the picture, and the film ends.

Splendor in the Grass

  • Directors: Elia Kazan
  • Producers: Elia Kazan
  • Writers: William Inge
  • Genres: Drama, Romance
  • Actors: Natalie Wood, Warren Beatty, Pat Hingle, Audrey Christie, Barbara Loden, Zohra Lampert

Deanie Loomis (played by Natalie Wood), a teen-aged girl living in a small town in Kansas in 1928, follows her mother’s advice to resist her desire for sex with her boyfriend, Bud Stamper (Warren Beatty), the scion of the most prosperous family in town. In his turn, Bud reluctantly follows the advice of his father (Pat Hingle), who suggests that he find another kind of girl with whom to satisfy his sexual desires.

Bud’s parents are disappointed by, and ashamed of, his older sister Ginny—she is sexually promiscuous, smokes, drinks, and has had an abortion—and accordingly “pin all their hopes” on Bud, pressuring him to attend Yale University.

Bud does find a girl who is willing to become sexually involved with him, and when Deanie finds out, she is driven close to madness and institutionalized. Bud’s family loses its fortune in the Great Depression, which leads to the father’s suicide; and Bud takes up ranching, which he had postponed because of his father’s aspirations for him.

In the final scene, Deanie, home from the asylum after two and a half years, goes to meet Bud. He is now married to Angelina, the daughter of Italian immigrants; he and his wife, whom he met while complying with his father’s desire that he attend Yale, have an infant child and are expecting another one. After their brief reunion, Deanie and Bud see that they must continue their lives separately.

Grand Hotel

  • Directors: Edmund Goulding
  • Producers: Irving Thalberg
  • Writers: William A Drake, Based on the play by Drake and a novel by Vicki Baum
  • Genres: Drama, Romance
  • Actors: Greta Garbo, John Barrymore, Joan Crawford, Wallace Beery, Lionel Barrymore, Lewis Stone, Jean Hersholt

Doctor Otternschlag (Lewis Stone), a disfigured veteran of World War I and a permanent resident of the Grand Hotel in Berlin, wryly observes, “People come and go. Nothing ever happens,” after which a great deal transpires. Baron Felix von Geigern (John Barrymore), who squandered his fortune and supports himself as a card player and occasional jewel thief, befriends Otto Kringelein (Lionel Barrymore), a meek accountant who, having discovered he is dying, has decided to spend his remaining days in the lap of luxury. Kringelein’s former employer, industrialist General Director Preysing (Wallace Beery), is at the hotel to close an important deal, and he hires stenographer Flaemmchen (Joan Crawford) to assist him. She aspires to be an actress and shows Preysing some magazine photos for which she posed, implying she is willing to offer him more than typing if he is willing to help advance her career.

Another guest is Russian ballerina Grusinskaya (Greta Garbo), whose career is on the wane. She unexpectedly returns from the theatre while the Baron is stealing her jewelry, and when she discovers him in her room she tells him, “I want to be let alone.” Disregarding her, the Baron stays and engages her in conversation, and Grusinskaya finds herself attracted to him.

Grusinskaya departs for the train station, fully expecting to find the Baron waiting for her there. Meanwhile, Kringelein offers to take care of Flaemmchen, who suggests they go to Paris and seek a cure for his illness. As they leave the hotel, Doctor Otternschlag once again observes, “Grand Hotel. People come and go. Nothing ever happens,” although a great deal has.

Tasogare Seibei

  • Directors:
  • Producers:
  • Writers: Shuhei Fujisawa, Yoshitaka Asama
  • Genres: Drama, Romance
  • Actors: Hiroyuki Sanada, Rie Miyazawa

At the start of the film, the main character, Iguchi Seibei, becomes a widower when his wife succumbs to tuberculosis. His wife receives a grand funeral, more than what a lowest-ranking samurai such as Seibei could afford. Seibei works in the grain warehouse, accounting for stores inventory for the samurai clan. His samurai colleagues give him the condescending nickname “Tasogare Seibei” or “Twilight Seibei” — when evening approaches, Seibei rushes home to look after his senile elderly mother and two young daughters, Kayano and Ito, instead of bonding with his supervisor and other samurai colleagues over customary nights of dinner, geisha entertainment, and sake drinking. Even though he is of samurai class, Seibei continues to neglect his own appearance, failing to bathe and dressing shabbily. The well-being of his young daughters and medicine for his mother take priority over new clothes or covering the monthly bath fee.

Things change when Seibei’s childhood friend, Tomoe (sister of Iinuma Michinojo, one of his better, kinder samurai friends) returns to town. Recently divorced from an abusive alcoholic husband, Koda, a samurai captain), Tomoe finds comfort and solace with Seibei’s daughters. When her ex-husband Koda barges into the household of Michinojo in the middle of night in a drunken demand for Tomoe, Seibei accepts a duel with the captain, hoping to put a stop to the abuse. There seems little chance for him to beat the captain, but Seibei feels he must try. Dueling amongst clan members is strictly forbidden. The penalty is usually death for the winner as the loser is already dead. Seibei decides to use only a wooden stick whilst Koda brandishes a steel katana. Seibei overcomes Koda, sparing both their lives.

Ito disagrees: her father never had any ambition to become anything special; he loved his two daughters, and was loved by the beautiful Tomoe.

Ondskan

  • Directors:
  • Producers: Ingemar Leijonborg
  • Writers: Screenplay, Hans Gunnarsson, Novel, Jan Guillou
  • Genres: Drama, Sport
  • Actors: Andreas Wilson

Erik Ponti is a sixteen-year-old boy who faces a lot of violence in his life. At school, he and his gang lend money to other students at high interest, resulting in a beating if they don’t pay the money back in time; several teachers maltreat students that don’t behave (in the book; in the movie it is not explained so widely). At home he lives with his sadistic stepfather and his mother.

When Erik and his gang are caught stealing records from stores, Erik gets the entire blame because of the loose kind of loyalty in the gang, resulting in his expulsion from school (again, in the book; in the movie he’s just shown fighting with other students). But circumstances allow him to matriculate into a private boarding school, Stjärnsberg, where he gets a new chance to continue his studies. Erik decides to try and break away from his earlier violent lifestyle.

But Stjärnsberg isn’t as nice and friendly as it seems initially. Erik has to face new kinds of violence in this school; from upperclassmen and members of the school council instead of teachers. At the school, a system called “kamratuppfostran” (“schoolmate upbringing”) is in place; a codename for a violent kind of bullying directed especially at nonconforming students, ostensibly to keep discipline and order in school. Erik, being the kind of person who won’t accept injustices, quickly becomes the main target.

A Nightmare on Elm Street

  • Directors: Samuel Bayer
  • Producers: Michael Bay, Andrew Form, Brad Fuller
  • Writers: Screenplay, Wesley Strick, Eric Heisserer, Original Characters, Wes Craven
  • Genres: Fantasy, Horror, Thriller
  • Actors: Jackie Earle Haley, Rooney Mara

A group of suburban teenagers are being haunted in their dreams by a horribly disfigured killer known as Freddy Krueger.[6]