Liar Liar

  • Directors: Tom Shadyac
  • Producers: Brian Grazer
  • Writers: Paul Guay, Stephen Mazur
  • Genres: Comedy, Fantasy
  • Actors: Jim Carrey, Maura Tierney, Justin Cooper, Jennifer Tilly, Anne Haney, Swoosie Kurtz, Cary Elwes, Amanda Donohoe

Fletcher Reede (Jim Carrey) is a particularly career-focused lawyer and divorced father. He has a habit of giving precedence to his job, breaking promises to his young son Max, and then lying to both Max (Justin Cooper) and his ex-wife Audrey (Maura Tierney) about the real reason for having done so. Ultimately, Fletcher misses his son’s birthday party because he is having sex with his partner Miranda (Amanda Donohoe), and Max wishes while blowing out his cake candles that his father couldn’t tell a lie for an entire day, a wish that immediately becomes true.

Fletcher soon discovers, through a series of embarrassing incidents—such as when he tells Miranda that he has “had better” just after having sex with her—that he is unable to lie or even withhold a true answer. These incidents are inconvenient, as he is fighting a divorce case in court which, should he win, could be a huge boost to his career. His client is Samantha Cole (Jennifer Tilly). His main witness is willing to commit perjury to win, but Fletcher discovers that he cannot even ask a question if he knows the answer will be a lie; during the case he even objects to himself when he tries to lie to get the desired information. Meanwhile, Audrey is threatening to move to Boston with her new boyfriend Jerry (Cary Elwes) and to take Max with them.

The premise of Liar Liar, that of a protagonist who must tell the truth for the next 24 hours, can also be found in the Bob Hope movie Nothing But the Truth (1941 film).

Twister

  • Directors: Jan de Bont
  • Producers: Ian Bryce, Michael Crichton, Kathleen Kennedy
  • Writers: Michael Crichton, Anne Marie Martin
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Drama, Thriller
  • Actors: Helen Hunt, Bill Paxton, Jami Gertz, Cary Elwes, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Alan Ruck, Zach Grenier

In June 1969, a young Jo watches her father get sucked into a tornado after trying to hold a storm cellar door shut to keep his family safe. Decades later, meteorologists at the National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) are discussing a building storm system over Oklahoma which could produce a record outbreak of tornadoes. Meanwhile, retired storm chaser Bill Harding (Bill Paxton) and his fiancée Dr. Melissa Reeves (Jami Gertz) are heading out to meet Bill’s former storm-chasing team to get the final divorce papers from Bill’s ex-wife, Dr. Jo Harding (Helen Hunt), who, since the day her father died, has sworn to hunt down as many tornadoes as possible, not wanting the same fate to happen to someone else. Besides Jo, the team consists of the eccentric Dusty Davis (Philip Seymour Hoffman), Robert “Rabbit” Nurick (Alan Ruck) navigator, Laurence (Jeremy Davies) photographer, Joey (Joey Slotnick), Alan Sanders (Sean Whalen) Rabbit’s driver, Tim “Beltzer” Lewis (Todd Field), Haynes (Wendle Jospeher) who rides with Beltzer, and Jason “Preacher” Rowe (Scott Thomson).

Jo, who is still in love with Bill, tries to stall because she does not want the marriage to end. Jo then tells Bill she wanted him out on the field because his idea for a tornado-analyzing device has been built. Called Dorothy, they will put it in the path of a tornado to measure it from inside. Four of the so-called “Dorothy” weather machines have been built. Haynes tells them of storm activity, and they head out. Bill’s rival team shows up, led by Dr. Jonas Miller (Cary Elwes) with his assistant Eddie (Zach Grenier). According to Bill, Jonas is in the storm-chasing business “for the money, not the science.” While Jonas’s team is passing Bill’s team on the road, one of Jonas’s team members runs Bill off the road. They head to a tire shop to get Bill’s flat tire fixed, and Bill sees Jonas giving an interview to some local reporters. Bill finds out that Jonas has stolen his idea for the Dorothy weather machine. Bill accuses him of stealing his idea, but Jonas says it was an “unrealized idea.” Everyone gets drinks at a local diner next door to the garage while Bill stays outside. Inside the diner, Melissa confronts Jo about her trying to keep together her failed marriage to Bill. Outside, Bill notices the sky is turning green, the sign of an approaching violent storm.

Haynes receives readings from Dorothy’s sensors that indicate the tornado will shift its track again. Bill and Jo, now without radios, are at first unaware, and start running towards a nearby farm as the F5 heads right at them. They first take cover in a barn, but it is filled with sharp metal tools. They run out the other side to find the tornado bearing down. It destroys the barn, and they dodge debris as they run to take cover in a small outbuilding. They find metal pipes inside this shelter, and tie themselves to the pipes with leather belts. The tornado destroys the structure, and they are pulled upside while anchored to the pipes. They manage to see the inside of the F5 tornado as it passes over them. It is filled with lighting and a smaller tornado in the core. Seconds later, the entire storm dissipates, and the family from the farm comes out of their underground storm shelter. Bill and Jo debate who will run the lab and who will analyze the new data while the rest of the team arrives.

Glory

  • Directors: Edward Zwick
  • Producers: Freddie Fields
  • Writers: Kevin Jarre
  • Genres: Drama, History, War
  • Actors: Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington, Cary Elwes, Morgan Freeman, Andre Braugher

Captain Robert Gould Shaw (Matthew Broderick) leads his company of the 2nd Massachusetts Infantry Regiment in an attack on Confederates posted along the Hagerstown Pike at the Battle of Antietam, on September 17, 1862. The regiment’s Lieutenant Colonel (Dwight Wilder) is killed immediately in front of him, and the attack is beaten back with heavy losses. Shaw is wounded slightly in the neck, falls between two dead soldiers, and passes out. He is awakened by a black gravedigger named John Rawlins (Morgan Freeman). Later, while on leave in Boston, Shaw (whose father was a wealthy and socially prominent abolitionist) is offered command of the first all black regiment authorized to be raised as a result of the Emancipation Proclamation, the 54th Massachusetts. After some hesitation, he agrees, and asks his childhood friend, Cabot Forbes (Cary Elwes), to be his second in command. Their first volunteer is another one of Shaw’s friends, an educated, free black man named Thomas Searles (Andre Braugher).

They soon have hundreds of men joining the regiment, including John Rawlins the gravedigger, a proud escaped slave named Trip (Denzel Washington), and a shy, stuttering, free black man named Jupiter Sharts (Jihmi Kennedy). While traveling to the camp, Sharts asks Thomas to teach him how to read. Once at camp, Thomas, Rawlins, Trip, and Sharts all share one tent along with a mute drummer boy. Immediately, Thomas’s and Trip’s relationship gets off to a bad start as they disagree over sleeping space in the tent. Trip ridicules Thomas’s educated and refined manner and, subsequently, Thomas mistakenly patronizes Trip, setting off a pattern of animosity between the two.

The final credits roll against the background of Saint-Gaudens’s memorial to Shaw and his men that stands today on Boston Common.

The Princess Bride

  • Directors: Rob Reiner
  • Producers: Rob Reiner, Andrew Scheinman, Norman Lear for Act III Communications
  • Writers: William Goldman
  • Genres: Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, Romance
  • Actors: Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin, Chris Sarandon, Christopher Guest, Peter Falk, Fred Savage, Wallace Shawn, Billy Crystal, Carol Kane

The narrative of the movie is framed by a scene featuring a boy sick in bed (Fred Savage) and his grandfather (Peter Falk). The plot of the movie is the enactment of the story as it is being read, which is occasionally interrupted by comments from the grandson and grandfather.

A beautiful young woman named Buttercup (Robin Wright) lives on a farm in the fictional country of Florin. She delights in ordering the farm hand Westley (Cary Elwes) to perform chores for her. Westley’s only answer is “As you wish.” Eventually Buttercup realizes he really means “I love you”, and she admits her love for him. Westley soon leaves to seek his fortune so that they can marry. She receives word that Westley’s ship was attacked by the Dread Pirate Roberts, who is notorious for leaving no victim alive. Five years later, believing Westley to be dead, Buttercup reluctantly gets engaged to Prince Humperdinck (Chris Sarandon), heir to the throne of Florin.

Before the wedding, Buttercup is kidnapped by a trio of outlaws: a Sicilian criminal genius named Vizzini (Wallace Shawn), a Spanish fencing master named Inigo Montoya (Mandy Patinkin), and a gigantic Turkish wrestler named Fezzik (André the Giant). They are pursued by two parties: one consists of Prince Humperdinck and a number of soldiers; the other, a single masked man in black. The man in black outpaces the royal rescue party and almost catches the outlaws at the Cliffs of Insanity.

Upon finishing the story, the grandfather gets up to leave. The grandson—having grown more interested throughout—asks his grandfather to read it to him again the following day. The grandfather replies, “As you wish.”

Saw

  • Directors: James Wan
  • Producers: Gregg Hoffman, Oren Koules, Mark Burg
  • Writers: James Wan, Leigh Whannell
  • Genres: Horror, Mystery, Thriller
  • Actors: Leigh Whannell, Cary Elwes, Danny Glover, Monica Potter, Michael Emerson, Shawnee Smith, Tobin Bell, Dina Meyer

Photographer Adam Faulkner (Leigh Whannell) awakens in a bathtub full of water, at one end of a grimy and disused bathroom. At the other end is Dr. Lawrence Gordon (Cary Elwes); both men are chained by the ankle to the plumbing pipes. A corpse holding a revolver and a microcassette recorder lies on the floor between them. Lawrence and Adam each discover tapes in their pockets labeled “Play Me”. From these tapes, Adam is told that he must escape the bathroom, while Lawrence is told that he must kill Adam before six o’clock, or else his wife and daughter will be killed and he will be left to die where he sits. They find hacksaws, though neither is sharp enough to cut through the chains. Adam breaks his and throws it away in frustration. Lawrence realizes that the saws are not meant for the chains, but instead for their feet.

Lawrence determines that their captor is the Jigsaw Killer, so named due to his practice of cutting pieces of skin in the shape of a jigsaw puzzle piece from his victims. The name is a misnomer, says Lawrence, as he never directly murders anyone and his intentions are for his victims to survive with a better appreciation of life. In a series of flashbacks his previous victims are presented, including his only known survivor up to that point, a highly traumatized heroin addict named Amanda Young (Shawnee Smith). She believes that her experience in the test, in which she risked having her jaws ripped apart, has made her a better person.

Adam searches Zep’s body for a key, but finds another microcassette player instead. Adam learns that Zep was only a pawn in Jigsaw’s game, following rules laid down for him in order to get the antidote for a slow poison he had been given. The “corpse” in the middle of the floor slowly rises to its feet, peeling some bloody makeup from its face and revealing itself as John Kramer, the Jigsaw Killer. Adam reaches for Zep’s dropped pistol, but Jigsaw stuns him with an electrical shock from a hidden remote control. He tells Adam that the key for his chain was in the bath, which we saw Adam accidentally pull the plug out of with his foot at the beginning of the film. Jigsaw then flicks off the lights and shouts “Game over!” before slamming the door and sealing Adam in the bathroom.

A Christmas Carol

  • Directors: Robert Zemeckis
  • Producers: Jack Rapke, Steve Starkey, Robert Zemeckis
  • Writers: Screenplay, Robert Zemeckis, Story, Charles Dickens
  • Genres: Animation, Drama, Family, Fantasy
  • Actors: Jim Carrey, Gary Oldman, Cary Elwes, Colin Firth, Bob Hoskins, Robin Wright Penn

A Christmas Carol is a Victorian morality tale of an old and bitter miser, Ebenezer Scrooge, who undergoes a profound experience of redemption over the course of one night. Mr. Scrooge is a financier/money-changer who has devoted his life to the accumulation of wealth. He holds anything other than money in contempt, including friendship, love and the Christmas season. But an encounter with the ghostly figure of Jacob Marley sets the stage for a mysterious and magical encounter with three phantasmic beings to help him realize the true magic of Christmas itself.

Dracula

  • Directors: Francis Ford Coppola
  • Producers: Francis Ford Coppola, Fred Fuchs, Charles Mulvehill
  • Writers: Novel, Bram Stoker, Screenplay, James V Hart
  • Genres: Horror, Romance
  • Actors: Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, Anthony Hopkins, Keanu Reeves, Richard E Grant, Cary Elwes, Billy Campbell, Sadie Frost, Tom Waits

The film begins in a prologue, where Vlad III the Impaler (Oldman) fights for Romania as a knight in the Order of the Dragon. He defeats an overwhelming Turkish invasion in 1462. Upon returning home, he finds his beloved wife Elisabeta (Ryder) dead, having committed suicide upon hearing the false reports of his death in battle. Enraged at the notion of his wife being eternally damned as a suicide, of which he is informed by a priest (Hopkins), Dracula desecrates his chapel and renounces God, declaring that he will rise from the grave to avenge Elisabeta with all the powers of darkness.

Over four centuries later in 1897, Jonathan Harker (Reeves), a law firm clerk, travels to Transylvania to arrange the transfer of Carfax Abbey in London, Count Dracula’s newest real estate acquisition. At the castle, full of bizarre, unnatural features and shadows that move by themselves, Harker meets Dracula, a wrinkled, pale old man in brilliant red robes. During the final signing of the real estate papers, the Count caresses a picture of Harker’s fiancée Mina Murray (Ryder), the reincarnation of his long dead wife, Elisabeta. Dracula then sets sail on the ship Demeter to England, leaving Harker captive by Dracula’s insatiable and bloodthirsty Brides (Monica Bellucci, Michaela Bercu and Florina Kendrick), who systematically drink his blood and have intercourse with him, leaving him too weak to escape.

In the castle, in the very chapel where he renounced God, Dracula lies dying. His body ravaged by age, he rebuffs Mina’s attempts to pull the knife from his heart. They share a last kiss, as the candles adorning the chapel miraculously light, and the desecrations he committed on the altar are repaired. As he asks Mina to give him peace, she shoves the knife through his heart and decapitates him. Mina then looks hopefully up at the vast ceiling, where a painting of Vlad and Elisabeta is shown of them rising, together, up to heaven.