To Catch a Thief

  • Directors: Alfred Hitchcock
  • Producers: Alfred Hitchcock
  • Writers: John Michael Hayes, David F Dodge
  • Genres: Crime, Mystery, Romance, Thriller
  • Actors: Cary Grant, Grace Kelly, Jessie Royce Landis, John Williams, Charles Vanel, Brigitte Auber

John Robie (Cary Grant) is a notorious but retired jewel thief or “cat burglar,” nicknamed “The Cat,” who now tends to his vineyards in the French Riviera. A series of robberies that closely resemble his in style leads the police to believe that the Cat is up to his old tricks again. They come to arrest him, and he adeptly gives them the slip.

He immediately seeks refuge with his old gang from his days in the French Resistance, a group of ex-cons whose patriotic work led to grants of parole that depend on them keeping their noses clean. Bertani, Foussard, and the others are all under a cloud while the Cat is at large, and they blame Robie. Still, when the police arrive at Bertani’s restaurant, Foussard’s daughter Danielle (Brigitte Auber) spirits her old flame to safety.

Robie enlists the aid of an insurance man of Bertani’s acquaintance, H. H. Hughson (John Williams), in order to prove his innocence. Robie’s plan is to catch the new cat burglar in the act. To do this, he obtains a list of the most expensive jewels on the Riviera from the reluctant Hughson. The first names on the list are Jessie Stevens (Jessie Royce Landis) and her daughter Francie (Grace Kelly). Robie strikes up acquaintance with them — something met with delight by Jessie, a pretense of modesty with Francie, and claws-baring jealousy from Danielle.

Robie speeds back to his vineyard and Francie races after to convince him that he does need her in his life. He agrees, but seems less than thrilled about including her mother.

Spellbound

  • Directors: Alfred Hitchcock
  • Producers: David O Selznick
  • Writers: Story, Hilary Saint George Saunders, John Palmer, Screenplay, Angus MacPhail, Ben Hecht
  • Genres: Mystery, Romance, Thriller
  • Actors: Ingrid Bergman, Gregory Peck, Michael Chekhov, Leo G Carroll, Rhonda Fleming

But in Ourselves…

The film opens with Shakespeare’s proverb, and words on the screen announcing that its purpose is to highlight the virtues of psychoanalysis in banishing mental illness and restoring reason.

Dr. Constance Peterson (Ingrid Bergman) is a psychoanalyst at Green Manors, a mental hospital in Vermont, and is perceived by the other (male) doctors as detached and emotionless. The director of the hospital, Dr. Murchison (Leo G. Carroll), is being forced into retirement, shortly after returning from an absence due to nervous exhaustion. His replacement is the much younger Dr. Anthony Edwardes (Gregory Peck).

Dr. Peterson notices that there is something strange about Dr. Edwardes. He has a peculiar phobia about seeing sets of parallel lines against a white background, first displayed in an inappropriate reaction to seeing a diagram drawn with the tines of a fork on a tablecloth.

Dr. Peterson soon realizes, by comparing handwriting, that this man is an impostor and not the real Dr. Edwardes. He confides to her that he killed Dr. Edwardes and took his place. He suffers from massive amnesia and does not know who he is. Dr. Peterson believes that he is innocent and suffering from a guilt complex.

‘Dr. Edwardes’ disappears during the night, having left a note for Dr. Peterson that he is going to New York City.

A heartbroken Dr. Peterson returns to her position at the hospital, where Dr. Murchison is once again the director. After reconsidering her notes from the dream, she realizes that the ‘wheel’ was a revolver and that the man hiding behind the chimney and dropping the wheel was Dr. Murchison hiding behind a tree, shooting Dr. Edwardes and dropping the gun. She confronts Murchison with this and he confesses, but says that he didn’t drop the gun; he still has it. He pulls it out of his desk and threatens to shoot her. She walks away, the gun still pointed at her, and explains that while the first murder carried extenuating circumstances of his own mental state, murdering her as well surely would result in the electric chair. He allows her to leave and turns the gun on himself. Dr. Peterson is then reunited with Ballantyne.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I

  • Directors: David Yates
  • Producers: David Heyman, David Barron
  • Writers: Screenplay, Steve Kloves, Novel, J K Rowling
  • Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Mystery
  • Actors: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Ralph Fiennes

On December 24, 2009 (2009-12-24), Warner Bros. released a short synopsis of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I:

The final chapter of the Harry Potter film series begins as Harry, Ron, and Hermione leave Hogwarts behind and set out to find and destroy the Horcruxes, the secret to Voldemort’s power and immortality.[8]

Se7en

  • Directors: David Fincher
  • Producers: Arnold Kopelson, Phyllis Carlyle
  • Writers: Andrew Kevin Walker
  • Genres: Crime, Mystery, Thriller
  • Actors: Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kevin Spacey, R Lee Ermey

In an unidentified city of near-constant rain and urban decay, the soon-to-be retiring Detective William R. Somerset (Freeman) is partnered with short-tempered Detective David Mills (Pitt) who recently transferred to the department. Somerset is eventually invited over to meet Mills’ wife, Tracy (Paltrow); when Somerset learns that she is pregnant but has not told her husband, he confides in her his fear that the city is no place to start a family, reiterating his own losses of his fiancée and unborn child years ago. Somerset advises her not to tell Mills just yet of their child.

Somerset and Mills investigate a series of crimes relating to the seven deadly sins, such as a man who was forced to feed himself to death to represent Gluttony. They find clues at the scene of the murders that connect to the other deaths, and believe they are chasing a serial killer. A set of fingerprints found at where the Greed murder occurred leads them to the apartment of a man, near death, who has been strapped to a bed for a year, representing Sloth. Though unable to learn anything from the delirious victim, the detectives agree that the serial murderer has been planning these killings for more than a year.

Doe directs the two detectives to a remote desert area far from the city, with Doe believing that his actions have helped to show the people what the world actually is and to punish the wicked, riling Mills further. After arriving at the location, a delivery van approaches; the scared driver tells the detectives he was paid to deliver a package precisely at this time and location, and is told to leave after handing it over. While Mills holds Doe at gunpoint, Somerset opens the package and recoils in horror at the sight of the contents. He races back, warning Mills not to listen to Doe, but Doe reveals to Mills that the box contains Tracy’s head. Mills, distraught, demands an explanation from Doe; Doe simply replies that he himself represents the sin of Envy, jealous of Mills’ wife, and then reveals her pregnancy to Mills. Somerset is unable to contain Mills as he unloads his gun into Doe, becoming the embodiment of Wrath and proving out Doe’s plan. After a catatonic Mills is taken away, Somerset is asked where he will be and responds, “around”, suggesting he will not go through with his retirement. The film ends with the sun setting over the desert, with Somerset quoting Ernest Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls:

Sleuth

  • Directors: Joseph L Mankiewicz
  • Producers: Morton Gottlieb
  • Writers: Anthony Shaffer
  • Genres: Mystery, Thriller
  • Actors: Laurence Olivier, Michael Caine

Andrew Wyke is a wealthy, unhappily married country squire and writer of detective novels who delights in playing elaborate games. Aware that Milo Tindle, the struggling owner of two hair salons, is having an affair with his wife, Marguerite, Wyke invites him to his country manor house in Wiltshire. Wyke is also having an affair with a girl named Teija and is quite happy to divorce his wife. His main concern is that Tindle, a struggling businessman, will be unable to maintain Marguerite in the lifestyle to which she has become accustomed, and that she’ll leave him and return to Wyke.

Wyke suggests that Tindle steal some valuable jewelry and sell it in order to live happily with Marguerite, while Wyke will claim the insurance in order to live happily with Teija. When Tindle agrees, Wyke offers him a disguise in case of unexpected visitors and, dressed up as a clown and under Wyke’s supervision, Tindle breaks into Wyke’s manor house, blows open the safe and obtains the jewels.

Wyke then reveals that he has lured Tindle into a trap whereupon he can legally shoot him as an intruder. Wyke’s real grievance is that his wife has been having an affair with a working-class boy made good rather than a member of the upper classes like himself (Tindle’s Italian origins make him even worse in Wyke’s eyes). He looks upon Tindle as nothing more than a gigolo, “a jumped-up pantry boy who doesn’t know his place”. While Tindle begs for mercy, Wyke fires the gun and he falls to the floor.

Within a few moments, a police car, with lights flashing, reaches Wyke’s front door, and someone begins to knock. Wyke tries to retreat away from the window to avoid being seen, while Tindle, bleeding profusely and barely able to crawl, grabs the switch wired to the entirety of Wyke’s large collection of mechanical toys, which come violently to life and attract the attention of the police. As the screen fades out, Wyke realizes that he is ruined, and the dying Tindle laughs and says mockingly, “Andrew… be sure and tell them… it was only a bloody game.”

Hollywoodland

  • Directors: Allen Coulter
  • Producers: Glenn Williamson
  • Writers: Paul Bernbaum
  • Genres: Biography, Crime, Drama, History, Mystery, Thriller
  • Actors: Adrien Brody, Diane Lane, Ben Affleck, Bob Hoskins, Molly Parker, Robin Tunney, Caroline Dhavernas

The movie begins in Beverly Hills on June 16, 1959, at the home of TV star George Reeves with a police investigation underway and Reeves’ lifeless body on his bed. The police rule the death a suicide. The focus of the film then shifts to Louis Simo, a private investigator more interested in generating an income than in devotion to his clients. A man named Chester Sinclair is paying Simo to spy on his wife under the impression that she is cheating on him. Simo simply accepts his money and takes pictures outside of a building where she goes to from time to time. On a visit to see his son, Simo reacts to the boy’s lackluster demeanor and asks his ex-wife Laurie what is wrong. She tells him it’s because the actor who plays Superman has shot himself. Simo learns from a former colleague on the police force that the Reeves suicide has aspects that the cops don’t want to touch. Simo, sensing the potential for making a name for himself, begins investigating the case and notes several apparent conflicts with the official version of Reeves’ death. Simultaneously Simo bickers with Laurie over his failures as a father, particularly now when his son seems so troubled.

The story of Reeves’ quest for fame and success and Simo’s realization of how that quest is paralleled in his own existence causes the detective to reevaluate his life. Simo watches another home movie, this one of himself and Laurie and their son in happier days. The film ends with Simo coming to Laurie’s house wearing a suit and tie, and greeting his son hopefully.

The Wicker Man

  • Directors: Robin Hardy
  • Producers: Peter Snell
  • Writers: Anthony Shaffer
  • Genres: Drama, Horror, Mystery, Thriller
  • Actors: Edward Woodward, Christopher Lee, Diane Cilento, Ingrid Pitt, Britt Ekland

Police Sergeant Neil Howie is sent an anonymous letter recommending that he investigate the disappearance of a young girl, Rowan Morrison, on the remote Hebridean island of Summerisle (a fictional island apparently inspired by the real-life Summer Isles of the Inner Hebrides).

He flies to the island and during his investigations discovers that the entire population participates in a Celtic neo-pagan cult, believing in re-incarnation, worshipping the sun and engaging in fertility rituals and sexual magic in order to appease immanent natural forces.

Howie, a celibate devout Christian, becomes increasingly disturbed by the islanders’ behaviour. In the original uncut version of the film, he witnesses couples copulating in the churchyard, in addition to finding a naked woman sobbing on a grave. He angrily threatens to involve the authorities after discovering the school mistress (Diane Cilento) is teaching young girls about the phallic importance of the maypole. Amulets such as the hag stone, toad stone, and snail stone, and the supposed cure of the whooping cough by placing a toad in a child’s mouth, closely resemble descriptions found in the book Animal Simples.[2]

Howie finds himself strongly attracted to Willow, the sexually liberated daughter of the landlord. In the restored director’s cut of the film, Lord Summerisle refers to Willow as Aphrodite when presenting her with a young male adolescent to seduce. Howie cannot help but overhear their passionate lovemaking. To compound matters, Willow tries to seduce him the following night, dancing naked and beating upon his bedroom wall, but Howie resists the torment because he does not believe in sex outside marriage.

The policeman is dragged screaming into the belly of a large hollow wicker statue of a man which is then set afire. In the final scene of the film, the islanders surround the burning wicker man and sing the Middle English folk-song “Sumer Is Icumen In” while Howie shouts out Psalm 23, then beseeches God to accept his soul into heaven. The film ends with the Wicker Man engulfed in flames, and collapsing in front of the setting sun.

Dogma

  • Directors: Kevin Smith
  • Producers: Scott Mosier
  • Writers: Kevin Smith
  • Genres: Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, Mystery
  • Actors: Ben Affleck, George Carlin, Matt Damon, Linda Fiorentino, Salma Hayek, Jason Lee, Jason Mewes, Alan Rickman, Chris Rock

An old man looks at the ocean from a New Jersey boardwalk outside a skee ball arcade. He is beaten into a coma by three hockey stick-wielding teenagers, the Stygian Triplets.

Two fallen angels — Bartleby (Ben Affleck), a watcher, and Loki (Matt Damon), formerly the Angel of Death — were banished from Heaven after Bartleby convinced Loki to quit his position and find one that doesn’t involve mass slaughter. This culminates in Loki giving God the finger, and both angels being exiled to Wisconsin and permanently banned from Heaven. The two see their potential salvation when a church in Red Bank, New Jersey, celebrates its centennial anniversary with a plenary indulgence. By passing through the doors of the church, they can have their sins forgiven and upon death regain access to Heaven. They don’t realize by doing this they will overrule the word of God. Since the basis of existence is that God is infallible, proving God wrong would destroy existence.

Metatron (Alan Rickman), the seraph who acts as the Voice of God, appears to abortion clinic worker Bethany Sloane (Linda Fiorentino) and gives her the task of preventing Bartleby and Loki’s return. Bethany is initially against the mission as she has lost her faith in God due to her infertility and subsequent divorce. Bethany is attacked by the Stygian Triplets and saved by Jay and Silent Bob (Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith), two prophets whom Metatron said would appear. She is also aided by Rufus (Chris Rock), the thirteenth apostle, left out of the Bible because he is black, and Serendipity (Salma Hayek), a Muse with writer’s block turned stripper. Bethany learns that she is the Last Scion, the last descendant of Mary and Joseph, and the last relative of Jesus Christ.

Bethany removes the life support from God’s human body, allowing Him/Her to escape — and inadvertently killing Bethany. God (Alanis Morissette) manifests at the church before Bartleby, who apologizes for his acts. God kills Bartleby with the power of Her voice. Silent Bob shows up with Bethany’s bloodstained corpse. God resurrects Bethany and conceives an heir inside her. The heavenly beings return to Heaven through the church doors.

Smokin Aces 2 Assassins Ball

  • Directors: P J Pesce
  • Producers: Tom Abrams, Joe Carnahan
  • Writers: Olatunde Osunsanmi, Olumide Odebunmi, Tom Abrams, P J Pesce, Joe Carnahan
  • Genres: Action, Comedy, Crime, Mystery
  • Actors: Tom Berenger, Vinnie Jones, Tommy Flanagan, Michael Parks, Ernie Hudson

Walter Weed is an unassuming desk jockey at the FBI when the Bureau uncovers a plot to assassinate him. A team of degenerate, psychotic assassins dispatched by mystery man Hal Leuco to win a huge bounty includes a resourceful beauty who has a unique method of killing her prey, a power-tool wielding psychopath and a deadly master of disguise.

The Ghost Writer

  • Directors: Roman Polanski
  • Producers: Roman Polanski, Robert Benmussa, Alain Sarde, Patrick Wachsberger
  • Writers: Roman Polanski, Robert Harris
  • Genres: Drama, Mystery, Thriller
  • Actors: Pierce Brosnan, Ewan McGregor, Olivia Williams, Kim Cattrall

The plot of the film is based on the novel.[3]

When a successful British ghostwriter, The Ghost, agrees to complete the memoirs of former British Prime Minister Adam Lang, his agent assures him it’s the opportunity of a lifetime. But the project seems doomed from the start—not least because his predecessor on the project, Lang’s long-term aide, died in an unfortunate accident. The Ghost flies out to work on the project, in the middle of winter, to an oceanfront house on an island off the U.S. Eastern seaboard. But the day after he arrives, a former British cabinet minister accuses Lang of authorizing the illegal seizure of suspected terrorists and handing them over for torture by the CIA—a war crime. The controversy brings reporters and protesters swarming to the island mansion where Lang is staying with his wife, Ruth, and his personal assistant (and mistress), Amelia. As The Ghost works, he begins to uncover clues suggesting his predecessor may have stumbled on a dark secret linking Lang to the CIA—and that somehow this information is hidden in the manuscript he left behind.