Battlefield Earth A Saga of the Year 3000

  • Directors: Roger Christian
  • Producers: Jonathan Krane, Elie Samaha, John Travolta
  • Writers: Screenplay, Corey Mandell, J D Shapiro, Novel, L Ron Hubbard
  • Genres: Action, Sci-Fi
  • Actors: John Travolta, Barry Pepper, Forest Whitaker

In the year 3000, Earth has been ruled for 1,000 years by the Psychlos, a brutal race of giant humanoid aliens. The remnants of humanity are either enslaved by the Psychlos and used for manual labor or survive in primitive tribes living in remote areas outside Psychlo control. Jonnie Goodboy Tyler (Barry Pepper), a member of one such tribe, leaves his home in the Rocky Mountains on a journey of exploration. He joins forces with Carlo (Kim Coates), a hunter, but both men are captured by a Psychlo raiding party and transported to a slave camp at the Psychlos’ main base on Earth, a giant dome built over the ruins of Denver, Colorado.

Terl (John Travolta), the Psychlo security chief on Earth, has been condemned by his superiors to remain indefinitely at his post on Earth as punishment for an unclear incident involving “the Senator’s daughter.” Aided by his deputy, Ker (Forest Whitaker), Terl devises a plan to buy his way off the planet by making a fortune using human slaves to mine gold in radioactive areas. Psychlos are unable to visit such areas due to the explosive interaction of the gas that they breathe with radionuclide particles. Terl selects Jonnie as his “foreman” for the project and gives him a Psychlo education using a rapid-learning machine. Terl gives Jonnie a party of slaves and a Psychlo flying shuttle and orders him to go out and find gold.

After a week of training, the rebels launch a mass uprising against the Psychlos using Harrier jump-jets and other weapons. Carlo sacrifices himself to destroy the dome over Denver, and the Psychlos inside suffocate in Earth’s atmosphere, which they are unable to breathe. Jonnie captures a Psychlo teleportation device and uses it to teleport an atomic bomb to the Psychlo home world. The ensuing detonation causes the entire Psychlo atmosphere to explode, wiping out the planet. Ker and Terl survive on Earth but face different fates: Ker sides with the victorious humans, while Terl is imprisoned as a hostage within a vault in Fort Knox. The film ends with the humans in control of Earth but facing an uncertain future.

Flags of Our Fathers

  • Directors: Clint Eastwood
  • Producers: Clint Eastwood, Robert Lorenz, Steven Spielberg
  • Writers: James Bradley, Ron Powers, William Broyles Jr, Paul Haggis
  • Genres: Action, Drama, History, War
  • Actors: Ryan Phillippe, Adam Beach, Jesse Bradford, Neal McDonough, Barry Pepper, Robert Patrick, Paul Walker, Jamie Bell, John Benjamin Hickey, John Slattery

The story focuses on seven US Marines of the 28th Marine Regiment, 5th Marine Division, Sgt. Mike Strank, Pfc. Rene Gagnon, Pfc. Ira Hayes, Cpl. Harlon Block, Pfc. Franklin Sousley, Sgt. Hank Hansen, and Pfc. Ralph Ignatowski, as well as their Navy Corpsman, PhM2. John “Doc” Bradley.

In December 1944, U.S. Marines train at Camp Tarawa, Hawaii. They train by climbing a large mountain and getting in Higgins boats. The Marines then set sail across the Pacific, and it is revealed that they are headed to the small island of Iwo Jima, located less than 700 miles from the Japanese mainland. As Captain Severance puts it, they will be fighting on Japanese soil, and will expect tough resistance. A few days later, the armada arrives off the coast of Iwo Jima and the ships of the US Navy open fire on suspected Japanese positions. On the night before the landings, Mike is put in charge of second platoon.

The next day, February 19, 1945, the Marines hit the beach in landing craft and meet no resistance. Ralph, aka “Iggy”, suspects that the Navy killed all the Japanese defenders, as do most of the Marines. After several tense minutes the Marines advance forward and the Japanese open fire. The battle is extremely intense, and the Marines take heavy casualties. Japanese heavy artillery opens fire upon the Marines on shore, as well as the Navy ships. After several attempts, Second Platoon takes out a Japanese pillbox which was pinning them down. They advance forward, as do many other Marines. The battle begins to calm down and the beachheads are secure. Two days later the Marines attack Mount Suribachi under a rain of Japanese artillery and machine gun fire, as the Navy bombards the mountain. It is here that Doc saves the lives of several Marines under fire which later earns him the Navy Cross. Finally, the mountain is secure. For the next four nights, the Marines take cover in foxholes as Japanese soldiers charge through the mist.

In September the war ends and Doc, Rene and Ira go home. Ira tries to move on but is never able to escape his unwanted fame. One day in 1952 after being released from jail, he hitchhikes over 1,300 miles to Texas to see Harlon Block’s family. He tells Ed Block, Harlon’s father that Harlon was indeed at the base of the flag in the famous photograph. In 1954, the USMC War Memorial is dedicated and the three flag raisers see each one last time. In 1955 Ira dies of exposure after a night of drinking. That same year Doc drove to a town where Iggy’s mom lived and told her how Iggy died, though it is implied that he lied. Rene has little success as the business offers he received on the bond drive are no longer offered to him. He spends the rest of his life as a high school janitor, dying in 1979. Doc is the only successful one. He buys the funeral home he worked at before the war and runs it for the rest of his life. In 1995, as he is on his death bed, he tells his son James how after the flag raising Captain Severance took the men swimming. He then dies peacefully. In a final flashback to 1945, the men swim in the ocean after raising the flags.

We Were Soldiers

  • Directors: Randall Wallace
  • Producers: Arne L Schmidt, Jim Lemley, Randall Wallace
  • Writers: Hal Moore, Joseph L Galloway, Randall Wallace
  • Genres: Action, History, War
  • Actors: Mel Gibson, Sam Elliott, Madeleine Stowe, Greg Kinnear, Don Duong, Chris Klein, Jon Hamm, Keri Russell, Barry Pepper, Dylan Walsh

A French Army unit in Vietnam in July 1954 during the First Indochina War is ambushed by soldiers of the Viet Minh. The French fiercly resist and kill many Viet Minh, but most French soldiers are killed and the unit eventually overrun by the Viet Minh. The Viet Minh Senior Lieutenant Nguyễn Hữu An (Don Duong), believing that France will eventually stop sending troops if there are many casualties, orders the execution of all surviving French soldiers.

Eleven years later, Lieutenant Colonel Hal Moore (Mel Gibson), a dedicated United States Army officer, is deeply committed to training his troops, who are preparing to be sent to Vietnam. The night before their departure, the unit’s officers hold a party to celebrate. Moore learns from a superior officer that his unit will be known as the 1st Battalion / 7th Cavalry regiment.

He is disquieted because the 7th Cavalry regiment was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer, who were slaughtered at the 1876 Battle of the Little Bighorn. Moore is also dismayed because President Lyndon B. Johnson has decreed that the war would be fought “on the cheap,” without declaring it a national emergency. As a result, Moore believes he will be deprived of his oldest, best-trained soldiers (a formal declaration of war would have meant mobilization and extension of the terms of enlistment for volunteer soldiers) – about 25% of his battalion – just prior to shipping out for Vietnam. Before leaving for Vietnam, Moore delivers a poignant speech to his unit:

At the end of the movie it is revealed that Moore (having been promoted to Colonel) returned home safely after 235 more days of fighting.

Seven Pounds

  • Directors: Gabriele Muccino
  • Producers: Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal, James Lassiter, Will Smith, Steve Tisch
  • Writers: Grant Nieporte
  • Genres: Drama
  • Actors: Will Smith, Rosario Dawson, Woody Harrelson, Michael Ealy, Barry Pepper

Two years ago Tim Thomas (Will Smith) was in a car crash, which was caused by him using his mobile phone; seven people died: six strangers and his fiancée, Sarah Jenson (Robinne Lee).

A year after the crash, and having quit his job as an aeronautical engineer, Tim donates a lung lobe to his brother, Ben (Michael Ealy), an IRS employee. Six months later he donates part of his liver to a child services worker named Holly (Judyann Elder). After that he begins searching for more candidates to receive donations. He finds George (Bill Smitrovich), a junior hockey coach, and donates a kidney to him, and then donates bone marrow to a young boy named Nicholas (Quintin Kelley).

Two weeks before he dies he contacts Holly and asks if she knows anyone who deserves help. She suggests Connie Tepos (Elpidia Carrillo), who lives with an abusive boyfriend. Tim moves out of his house and into a local motel taking with him his pet box jellyfish. One night, after being beaten, Connie contacts Tim and he gives her the keys and deed to his beach house. She takes her two children and moves in to their new home.

Having stolen his brother’s credentials, and making himself known by his brother’s name Ben, he checks out candidates for his two final donations. The first is Ezra Turner (Woody Harrelson), a blind meat salesman who plays the piano. Tim calls Ezra Turner and harasses him at work to check if he is quick to anger. Ezra remains calm and Tim decides he is worthy.

His brother tracks him down to Emily’s house. Ben then demands that Tim return his IRS ID to him. Tim leaves and returns to the motel. He fills the bathtub with ice water to preserve his vital organs, climbs in, and then commits suicide by pulling his box jellyfish into the water with him. His friend Dan (Barry Pepper) acts as executor to ensure that his organs are donated to Emily and Ezra. Ezra Turner receives his corneas and Emily receives his heart. Afterwards, Emily meets Ezra at a concert and they begin to talk.

Saving Private Ryan

  • Directors: Steven Spielberg
  • Producers: Steven Spielberg, Ian Bryce, Mark Gordon, Gary Levinsohn
  • Writers: Robert Rodat
  • Genres: Action, Drama, War
  • Actors: Tom Hanks, Tom Sizemore, Matt Damon, Edward Burns, Jeremy Davies, Barry Pepper, Giovanni Ribisi, Vin Diesel, Adam Goldberg, Dennis Farina

The film begins with an elderly World War II veteran (Harrison Young) and his family visiting the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in Normandy, France. The veteran collapses to his knees in front of a gravestone, overwhelmed by emotion. The scene then changes to the beginning of the Normandy invasion, with American soldiers landing on Omaha Beach and struggling against dug-in German Army infantry, machine gun nests and artillery fire. One of the officers who survives the initial landing, Captain John H. Miller (Tom Hanks), commanding officer of C Company, 2nd Ranger Battalion, assembles a group of soldiers and slowly penetrates the German defenses, leading to a breakout from the beach.

Meanwhile, in the United States, General George C. Marshall discovers that three of the four brothers of the Ryan family have all died within days of each other and that their mother will receive all three notices on the same day. He learns that the fourth son, Private First Class James Francis Ryan (Matt Damon) of Baker Company, 1st Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment is missing in action somewhere in Normandy. The drop target for Ryan’s unit was Neuville-au-Plain, Manche. After reading to his staff Abraham Lincoln’s Letter to Mrs. Bixby, Marshall orders that Ryan be found and sent home immediately.

Back in the present, the elderly veteran is revealed to be Ryan at Miller’s grave. Ryan asks his wife to confirm that he has led a good life and that he is a “good man”, and thus worthy of Miller’s and the others’ sacrifice. He then salutes Miller’s grave as the camera pans down the gravestones to the American flag and fades out.

The Green Mile

  • Directors: Frank Darabont
  • Producers: Frank Darabont, David Valdes
  • Writers: Novel, Stephen King, Screenplay, Frank Darabont
  • Genres: Crime, Drama, Fantasy
  • Actors: Tom Hanks, David Morse, Bonnie Hunt, Michael Clarke Duncan, James Cromwell, Michael Jeter, Graham Greene, Doug Hutchison, Sam Rockwell, Barry Pepper, Jeffrey DeMunn, Patricia Clarkson, Harry Dean Stanton

The Green Mile is a story told in flashback by an elderly Paul Edgecomb (Dabbs Greer, later by Tom Hanks in the younger version of the character) in a nursing home who is talking to his lady friend Elaine about the summer of 1935 when he was a corrections officer in charge of Death Row inmates in Louisiana’s Cold Mountain Penitentiary. His domain was called the “Green Mile” because the condemned prisoners walking to their execution are said to be walking “the last mile”; here it is on a stretch of green linoleum to the electric chair.

One day, a new inmate arrives, John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan), a 7-foot-tall black male convicted of raping and killing two young white girls. Upon being escorted to his cell, he immediately demonstrates “gentle giant” character traits: keeping to himself, fearing darkness, and being moved to tears on occasion. Soon enough, Coffey reveals extraordinary healing powers by healing Edgecomb’s urinary tract infection and resurrecting a mouse. Later, he would heal the terminally ill wife of Warden Hal Moores (James Cromwell), who suffered from a large brain tumor. When Coffey is asked to explain his power, he merely says that he “took it back.”

In the present, Edgecomb’s friend questions his statement that he had a fully-grown son in 1935. He explains that he was 44 years old at the time of Coffey’s execution and that he is now 108 and still in excellent health. This is apparently a side effect of the life-giving power of Coffey’s touch: a significantly lengthened lifespan. Mr. Jingles, Del’s mouse resurrected by Coffey, is also still alive — but Edgecomb believes his outliving all of his relatives and friends to be a punishment from God for having Coffey executed. Edgecomb explains he has deep thoughts about how “we each owe a death; there are no exceptions; but, Oh God, sometimes the Green Mile seems so long.”