Cold Mountain

  • Directors: Anthony Minghella
  • Producers: Albert Berger, William Horberg, Sydney Pollack, Ron Yerxa
  • Writers: Anthony Minghella, Charles Frazier
  • Genres: Drama, Romance, War
  • Actors: Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, Eileen Atkins, Kathy Baker, Brendan Gleeson, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Charlie Hunnam, Natalie Portman, Giovanni Ribisi, Donald Sutherland, James Gammon, Jack White, Ethan Suplee

At the film’s inception Jude Law plays a young man named W. P. Inman at a provincial North Carolina town. He meets Ada (Nicole Kidman) and is at the fledgling stages of a relationship with her when he marches off to war as a Confederate soldier.

The film opens early in the morning of July 30, 1864. Confederate troops are entrenched outside Petersburg during its siege. The teenaged Oakley (Lucas Black) is handing out clothes from a wheelbarrow while Inman reads letters from Ada. The soldiers are tired and bored. Most are seasoned veterans who have been fighting for over three years. But meanwhile Union engineers are filling a mine under the Confederate trenches with gunpowder barrels while above, hundreds Union troops are waiting to attack. Suddenly back at the Confederate siege works, a rabbit hops into the trench. Just as one of the men is about to capture it the ground rises from under him and there is a huge explosion. The Union lit the barrels and most of the trench exploded. As Inman and Oakley get up dazed from the blast they see Union troops charging at them. As the Union charge they run right into the crater where the trench used to be and are trapped in a kill zone. The Confederates fire down at them but the fighting becomes hand to hand and Oakley is pulled down in by a Union soldier and Inman goes after him. Before Inman can reach him Oakley is bayoneted but survives. Inman shoots the Union soldier with a LeMat revolver he finds and pulls Oakley out of the chaos. The battle ends with a huge Union defeat. As the Confederates are cleaning up after the battle, Inman comforts Oakley as he is pulled to the hospital on a cart. Later that day Oakley dies in the hospital with Inman and Stobrod Thewes (Brendan Gleeson) beside him.

The film ends several years later with Ada, Ruby and their families celebrating Easter. Ruby has married Georgia, and the two have an infant child. Her father Stobrod is revealed to have survived, and it is revealed that Ada’s night with Inman had given her a child, Grace Inman.

Midnight Express

  • Directors: Alan Parker
  • Producers: Alan Marshall, David Puttnam
  • Writers: Billy Hayes, William Hoffer, Oliver Stone
  • Genres: Biography, Crime, Drama, Thriller
  • Actors: Brad Davis, Randy Quaid, John Hurt, Paul L Smith, Irene Miracle

On October 6, 1970, after a stay in Istanbul, a US citizen named Billy Hayes is arrested by Turkish police, on high alert due to fear of terrorist attacks, as he is about to fly out of the country with his girlfriend. After being found with several bricks of hashish taped to his body – about two kilograms in total – he is arrested. After a while, a shadowy American arrives. He translates for Billy. The police ask where Billy bought the hash. Billy tells them that he bought it from a cab driver and offers to help the police track him down in exchange for his release. He goes with the police to a local market and points the cab driver out but while the police go to arrest the cabbie, Billy makes a run for it. He gets cornered in a building and is recaptured by the mysterious American. Billy is sentenced to four years and two months’ imprisonment on the charge of drug possession. He is sent to SaÄŸmalcılar prison (closed in 2008) to serve out his sentence. In the remand centre, he meets and befriends other Western prisoners. In 1974, after a prosecution appeal (who originally wished to have Hayes found guilty of smuggling and not possession), his original sentence is overturned by the Turkish High Court in Ankara and he is ordered to serve a 30-year term for his crime. His stay becomes a living hell: terrifying and unbearable scenes of physical and mental torture follow one another, where bribery, violence and insanity rule the prison.

In 1975, Susan comes to see Billy and is devastated at what the guards have done to him. After being committed to the prison’s insane asylum, Billy again tries to escape, this time by attempting to bribe the head guard, who then takes him to the sanitarium, intending to rape him. Billy ends up killing the guard. He then puts on an officer’s uniform and manages his escape by walking out of the front door. From the epilogue, it is explained that on the night of October 4, 1975 he successfully crossed the border to Greece, and arrived home three weeks later.


  • Directors: Barry Levinson
  • Producers: Barry Levinson, Steve Golin
  • Writers: Screenplay, Barry Levinson, Novel, Lorenzo Carcaterra
  • Genres: Crime, Drama, Thriller
  • Actors: Kevin Bacon, Billy Crudup, Robert De Niro, Minnie Driver, Ron Eldard, Dustin Hoffman, Jason Patric, and Brad Pitt

Lorenzo “Shakes” Carcaterra, Thomas “Tommy” Marcano, Michael Sullivan, and John Reilly are four childhood friends (Joseph Perrino, Jonathan Tucker, Brad Renfro, and Geoffrey Wigdor respectively) who grow up in Hell’s Kitchen, New York City in the mid-1960s. During this time, the local priest, Father Bobby (Robert De Niro), plays a very important part in their lives and keeps an eye on them. However, early on they start running small errands for a local gangster, King Benny (Vittorio Gassman).

On a summer day in 1967, their lives take a sharp turn when they almost kill a man after pulling a prank on a hot dog vendor. As a punishment they are all four sentenced to serve time at the Wilkinson Home for Boys in upstate New York. There, the boys are systematically beaten, abused, and raped by guards Sean Nokes, Henry Addison, Adam Styler, and Ralph Ferguson (Kevin Bacon, Jeffrey Donovan, Lennie Loftin, and Terry Kinney respectively). These traumatic events change the boys and their friendship forever.

Fourteen years later, John and Tommy (Ron Eldard and Billy Crudup), now gangsters, come across Sean Nokes in a pub in Hell’s Kitchen. After making sure that Nokes knows who they are, they both shoot him. Mike (Brad Pitt), now an assistant District Attorney, arranges to be assigned to the case, secretly intending to lose it as a means of getting revenge. Moreover, he and Shakes (Jason Patric), begin to forge a plan to get their revenge on all the responsible guards. Together with many of their lifelong friends, especially Carol (Minnie Driver), a social worker, and King Benny, they manage to collect information on all the Wilkinson guards.

However, to clinch the case they need a key witness who can give John and Tommy an alibi. After a long talk with Father Bobby, including telling him about the awful events at Wilkinson, he agrees to lie on the stand about where John and Tommy were on the night of the shooting; the priest swears under oath that they were with him at Madison Square Garden at a Knicks basketball game. As a result, they are acquited.

Match Point

  • Directors: Woody Allen
  • Producers: Letty Aronson, Gareth Wiley, Lucy Darwin
  • Writers: Woody Allen
  • Genres: Crime, Drama, Romance, Sport, Thriller
  • Actors: Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Scarlett Johansson, Emily Mortimer, Matthew Goode, Brian Cox, Penelope Wilton, Ewen Bremner, James Nesbitt, Rupert Penry Jones

When former tennis pro Chris Wilton begins a relationship with shy heiress Chloe Hewett after befriending her brother Tom, he finds his social and financial status vastly improved. However, once he has an affair with Tom’s ex-lover, American actress Nola Rice, he realizes that his new, luxurious lifestyle may be threatened.

Jean de Florette

  • Directors: Claude Berri
  • Producers: Pierre Grunstein
  • Writers: Claude Berri, Marcel Pagnol
  • Genres: Drama
  • Actors: Yves Montand, Daniel Auteuil

The story takes place in a small village in Provence, France, shortly after the First World War. Ugolin Soubeyran (Auteuil) returns early in the morning from his military service, and wakes up his uncle César– known as ‘Le Papet’ (Montand). Ugolin stays only briefly to talk, as he is eager to get to his own place further up in the mountains. Here he throws himself into a project that– at first– he keeps secret from Papet. He eventually reveals that the project consists of growing carnations. Papet is at first skeptical, but he is convinced when the flowers get a high price at the local market. They decide the project is worthy of expansion, and together they go to see the local farmer Pique-Bouffigue, to buy his land. The land in question is apparently “dry”, but Papet knows of a source of water, a spring, that can solve that problem. The neighbour does not want to sell, and an altercation breaks out when he insults the Soubeyran family. In the fight Pique-Bouffigue is killed, but rather than feeling remorse Papet sees this as an opportunity. After the funeral, they dig out the rubble that is blocking the spring, plug the hole and cover it with cement and then earth. Unknown to them, they are seen blocking the spring by a poacher inside the house.

Aimee and Manon are now forced to leave the farm, and Papet offers to buy them out. As the mother and daughter are packing their belongings, Papet and Ugolin make their way to where they blocked the spring, to pull out the plug. Manon follows them, and when she sees what the two are doing, understands, and gives out a shriek. The men hear it, but quickly dismiss the sound as that of a buzzard making a kill. As Papet performs a mock baptism of his nephew in the cold water of the spring, the movie ends with the caption “end of part one”.

I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang

  • Directors: Mervyn LeRoy
  • Producers: Hal B Wallis
  • Writers: Brown Holmes, Howard J Green
  • Genres: Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
  • Actors: Paul Muni, Glenda Farrell, Helen Vinson, Noel Francis

Sergeant James Allen (Paul Muni) returns to civilian life after World War I but has a hard time finding work. He accidentally becomes caught up in a robbery and is sentenced to ten years on a brutal Southern chain gang.

He escapes and makes his way to Chicago, where he becomes a success in the construction business. He becomes involved with the proprietor of his boardinghouse, Marie Woods (Glenda Farrell), who discovers his secret and blackmails him into an unhappy marriage. He then meets and falls in love with Helen (Helen Vinson). When he asks his wife for a divorce, she betrays him to the authorities. He is offered a pardon if he will turn himself in; Allen accepts, only to find that it was just a ruse. He escapes once again.

In the end, Allen visits Helen in the shadows on the street and tells her he is leaving forever. She asks, “Can’t you tell me where you’re going? Will you write? Do you need any money?” James repeats “no” as his answer as he backs away. Finally Helen says, “But you must, Jim. How do you live?” In the film’s final line and shot James replies chillingly, “I steal”, and disappears into the dark. The composition and lighting of the final scene, considered to be one of the best in film history, was reportedly accidental. The lights on the set supposedly either failed or were turned off earlier than intended. The studio liked what it saw and kept the ending.[2]

Stick It

  • Directors: Jessica Bendinger
  • Producers: Gail Lyon
  • Writers: Jessica Bendinger
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama, Sport
  • Actors: Jeff Bridges, Missy Peregrym

Haley Graham (Missy Peregrym) is a rebellious 17-year-old who is forced to return to the regimented world of gymnastics after a run-in with the law. A judge sentences Haley to her ultimate nightmare, attending an elite gymnastics academy run by legendary coach Burt Vickerman (Jeff Bridges).

Haley was once considered one of the most talented gymnasts in the US. She made it to the World Championships, but she walked out of competition in the middle of the finals, costing the American team the gold medal and leaving many people hurt and crushed making her one of the most hated people in gymnastics

Haley has a talk with Coach Vickerman, who convinces her to take up the sport once again—at least until she can enter an upcoming invitational competition. Vickerman convinces her that she can use the prize money from the competition to repay some property damage debts she still owes and leave gymnastics once and for all. Disliking the sport’s rigid rules and intense training schedule, Haley is reluctant to come out of retirement. Her attitude toward her fellow gymnasts—as well as her past—causes conflicts. After getting the cold shoulder the first day at the gym, Haley realizes what she is up against.

What started out as a gymnastics competition turns into a small revolution for the rules and Haley. Her talents are recognized once more and her future seems to be set with numerous colleges offering her athletic scholarships to compete in NCAA gymnastics.

True Grit

  • Directors: Henry Hathaway
  • Producers: Hal B Wallis
  • Writers: Marguerite Roberts, Charles Portis
  • Genres: Adventure, Western, Drama
  • Actors: John Wayne, Glen Campbell, Kim Darby

After her father is killed, Mattie Ross (Kim Darby) arrives in Fort Smith, Arkansas looking for a marshal or deputy marshal who will help her search for Chaney. She soon learns about a deputy marshal called Reuben J. “Rooster” Cogburn, and upon hearing about Cogburn’s legendary grit, Ross decides that he may be the man to help her. Unable to meet with Cogburn straight away she goes to the Monarch boardinghouse, where she meets Texas Ranger Le Boeuf.

Le Boeuf has recently come from Mattie’s home in Dardanelle, Arkansas, in Yell County, and advises Mattie that he too is searching for Chaney who killed a Texas Senator on his porch some time past. Mattie refuses Le Boeuf’s assistance.

The following day she meets Cogburn and his roommates; a tiny Chinese man, Chen Lee (H.W. Gim), and the ginger-colored cat, General Sterling Price. Agreeing to a price of $100, Ross and Cogburn set out to capture and return Chaney, who has taken up with a known criminal “Lucky” Ned Pepper (Robert Duvall) (whom Rooster shot in the lip in a gunfight) and his gang. Ross goes to see a local horse dealer (Strother Martin), from whom her father had bought four ponies, uncollected at the time of his death.

Weeks later, Mattie and Cogburn are at Mattie’s home, and Mattie shows him her family plot. She tells Rooster that she wants him to be buried beside her in the family plot, which surprises him, but he accepts, so long as she doesn’t mind if he doesn’t “…try to move in too soon!”. He then rides away, jumping a four-rail fence as the film ends….

Che Part Two

  • Directors: Steven Soderbergh
  • Producers: Laura Bickford, Benicio del Toro
  • Writers: Peter Buchman, Benjamin A van der Veen
  • Genres: Biography, Drama, War
  • Actors: Benicio del Toro, Franka Potente, Catalina Sandino Moreno

In Havana 1964, Che Guevara is interviewed by Lisa Howard who asks him if reform throughout Latin America might not blunt the “message of the Cuban Revolution”. In 1955, at a gathering in Mexico City, Guevara first meets Fidel Castro. He listens to Castro’s plans and signs on as a member of the July 26th Movement. There is a return to 1964 for Guevara’s address before the United Nations General Assembly, where he makes an impassioned speech against American imperialism, and defends the executions his regime has committed declaring that “this is a battle to the death”.

March 1957, Guevara deals with debilitating bouts of asthma as his group of revolutionaries meet up with Castro’s group. Together, they attack an army barracks on May 28, 1957. On October 15, 1958, the guerrillas approach the town of Las Villas. The Battle of Santa Clara is depicted with Guevara demonstrating his tactical skill as the guerrillas engage in street-to-street fighting. Near the film’s end they are victorious. With the Cuban Revolution now over, Guevara heads to Havana, remarking “we won the war, the revolution starts now”.

The second part begins with Guevara arriving in Bolivia disguised as a middle-aged representative of the Organization of American States hailing from Uruguay, who subsequently drives into the mountains to meet his men. The film is organized by the days that he was in the country. On Day 26, there is solidarity among Guevara’s men despite his status as foreigner. By Day 67, Guevara has been set up for betrayal. He tries to recruit some peasants only to be mistaken for a cocaine smuggler. On Day 100, there is a shortage of food and Guevara exercises discipline to resolve conflicts between his Cuban and Bolivian followers.

Guevara grows sick and by Day 280 can barely breathe as a result of his acute asthma. On Day 302 Tania Bunke, Juan Acuña Ñunez, and several others in Che’s forces are massacred by the Bolivian Army as they attempt to cross the Vado del Yeso. By Day 340, Guevara is trapped by the Bolivian army and while wounded is surrounded and captured. The next day, a helicopter lands and a Cuban-American CIA agent Félix Rodríguez emerges. Guevara says, “I don’t talk to traitors.” Rodriguez responds, “You executed my uncle”. The Bolivian high command are then phoned and give approval for Guevara’s execution. He is killed on October 9, 1967, and his corpse lashed to the landing skids of a helicopter and flown out.

Saint Ralph

  • Directors: Michael McGowan
  • Producers: Teza Lawrence, Andrea Mann, Seaton McLean
  • Writers: Michael McGowan
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama, Sport
  • Actors: Adam Butcher, Campbell Scott

The story centers on Ralph Walker, a teenager attending a Catholic private school. His father was killed in World War II and his mother is hospitalized with an unidentified illness. Ralph is naturally prone to mischief and often finds himself an outcast among his classmates. He tries to emulate the conduct of grown ups, and is caught smoking cigarettes and masturbating by headmaster Father Fitzpatrick. Already labeled a troublemaker, Ralph is forced to join the school’s cross country team to relieve him of his excess energy.

When Ralph’s mother falls into a coma, he is told it will take a miracle for her to survive. When running coach Father Hibbert, a former world class marathoner who was forced to quit running when he injured his knee, claims it would be a miracle if a member of his team won the Boston Marathon, Ralph decides to train for it in the hope his victory would fulfill the miracle needed to save his mother’s life.

At first, Ralph cannot even keep up with his teammates in practice. He reads books to learn about running, uses the new techniques, and gradually improves. Father Hibbert decides to train him despite disapproval from Father Fitzpatrick. Ralph begins to win the respect of his classmates, and eventually wins the attention of the local media when he wins a prestigious regional race.

When Father Fitzpatrick learns Ralph intends to run the Boston Marathon, he threatens to expel him if he participates, as well as remove Father Hibbert from the priesthood should he try to interfere. Both Ralph and his mentor must then decide how deeply they believe in miracles, and what is possible when a person risks everything without promise of success.