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 Prestige

  • Directors: Christopher Nolan
  • Producers: Christopher Nolan, Emma Thomas
  • Writers: Novel, Christopher Priest, Screenplay, Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan
  • Genres: Drama, Fantasy, Mystery, Sci-Fi, Thriller
  • Actors: Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Scarlett Johansson, David Bowie, Piper Perabo, Andy Serkis, Rebecca Hall

Alfred Borden (Christian Bale) and Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman) are plants for Milton the Magician (Ricky Jay), with Cutter (Michael Caine) as his illusion engineer. Angier’s wife, Julia (Piper Perabo) drowns while performing a predicament escape from a Chinese water torture cell, and Angier suspects that Borden bound her wrists with a new knot that he had suggested to Cutter before—one harder for her to undo than his customary one. At the funeral, Borden enrages Angier by saying he does not know which knot he tied.

The two men begin separate careers as magicians; Borden becomes “The Professor” and hires an engineer named Fallon, while Angier performs as “The Great Danton” with Cutter and Olivia (Scarlett Johansson) as his assistants. During a parlor magic job, Borden meets Sarah (Rebecca Hall); they marry and have a daughter, Jess. Sarah feels uneasy about Borden and his apparent fickleness; she claims to know when he loves her and when he does not. During Borden’s performance of the bullet catch, a disguised Angier again demands to know which knot Borden used. Borden and Fallon quickly realize Angier is going to shoot at Borden with a loaded gun. At the last second, Fallon intervenes, and the bullet severs two of Borden’s fingers instead of killing him. A disguised Borden later sabotages Angier’s performance of the vanishing bird cage illusion, damaging Angier’s reputation.

Cutter accompanies Angier to the abandoned building where the water tanks are stored, and helps him store the teleportation machine. Cutter leaves in disgust, silently acknowledging the arrival of Borden, who shoots Angier. Borden reveals that he and “Fallon” were identical twins who lived as a single individual, alternating lives as needed: one twin loving Sarah and the other loving Olivia. For the original illusion, a twin acted as the double. They were so committed to the illusion that they amputated the other twin’s fingers to match his brother’s injury; they also suffered the loss of Sarah as a result of their dedication to the illusion. Similarly, flashbacks recount Angier’s method: that each time he disappeared during his illusion, the machine would create a duplicate, with one Angier falling through a trap door into a locked tank and drowning, and another Angier teleporting to the balcony. Each tank stores a drowned duplicate of Angier for each time that he has performed the trick. Before leaving, Borden looks back at the aisles of tanks containing the dead duplicates and then leaves the dead Angier as a fire begins to consume the building. Borden reunites with Jess.

Rescue Dawn

  • Directors: Werner Herzog
  • Producers: Elton Brand, Steve Marlton
  • Writers: Werner Herzog
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Biography, Drama, War
  • Actors: Christian Bale, Steve Zahn, Jeremy Davies

Dieter Dengler, a U.S. Navy pilot, is shot down in his A-1 Skyraider over Laos in 1965, while on a combat mission. He survives the crash only to be pursued, and ultimately captured, by a local militia of the Pathet Lao. Dieter is given the chance for leniency if he signs a document condemning America, but he refuses. He is tortured and taken to a prison camp. There he meets fellow American military members and Air America pilots, some of whom have been captive for years. Dieter begins planning an escape, much to the disbelief of his fellow captives, who have been downtrodden through physical and psychological torture from the camp guards.

Eventually, all the prisoners agree to escape, but they take separate routes through the jungle. Dieter and fellow captive Duane try to reach the Mekong River to cross over into Thailand. The pair are attacked and Duane is beheaded. Eventually, Dieter is rescued by an American helicopter but sequestered in a hospital due to the top secret nature of his mission. He is covertly taken back to his ship by his shipmates, where he is received as a hero by the entire crew.

3 10 to Yuma

  • Directors: James Mangold
  • Producers:
  • Writers: Screenplay, Halsted Welles, Michael Brandt, Derek Haas
  • Genres: Action, Crime, Drama, Western
  • Actors: Russell Crowe, Christian Bale, Logan Lerman, Peter Fonda, Ben Foster

Dan Evans (Christian Bale), an impoverished rancher and Civil War veteran, awakens to find his barn in flames, set ablaze by two men working for Glen Hollander, to whom Evans owes money. The next morning, as Evans and his two sons herd, they stumble upon outlaw Ben Wade (Russell Crowe) and his gang using Evans’ cattle as a road blockade to ambush an armored stagecoach. As he loots the stage, Wade discovers Evans and his two sons watching from the hills. Acknowledging that they pose no threat, Wade takes their horses telling Evans that he will leave them tied up on the road to Bisbee.

Wade travels with his gang to the town of Bisbee, Arizona to enjoy a celebratory drink at the local saloon. Meanwhile, the railroad guards find Evans and his sons with Byron McElroy (Peter Fonda), a Pinkerton agent and lone survivor of the ambush. Evans reveals Bisbee as Wade’s likely destination, where the guards immediately return, joined by Evans and McElroy. While Doc Potter (Alan Tudyk), the local medic/veterinarian, treats McElroy, Evans tries negotiating with Hollander, who reveals his intentions to sell the land to the railroad rather than grant water rights to Evans. Enraged at the loss of his livelihood, Evans tries confronting Hollander in the nearby saloon where he finds Wade, whom he distracts long enough for the railroad guards to ambush and arrest him.

Wade’s gang set up positions around the station as the train approaches. William, observing the events, stampedes a herd of cattle (echoing a similar act performed by Wade earlier in the film) that provides cover for Evans to push Wade onto the train. As Wade boards, he congratulates Evans. At that moment, Prince steps up and shoots Evans four times, despite Wade’s shouted order to stop. Wade steps off the train and catches the gun belt Prince tosses him. After a tense moment of silence, Wade abruptly executes Prince and the rest of his gang. William appears and draws his gun on Wade but finds he can’t kill him, instead turning to his dying father. Wade boards the train politely and surrenders his weapon. As the train pulls away, he whistles for his horse, who perks up his ears and immediately canters after the running train into the distance.

I m Not There

  • Directors: Todd Haynes
  • Producers: Christine Vachon, Jeff Rosen
  • Writers: Todd Haynes, Oren Moverman
  • Genres: Biography, Drama, Music
  • Actors: Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Marcus Carl Franklin, Richard Gere, Heath Ledger, Ben Whishaw, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Julianne Moore, Peter Friedman

The film opens with Jude Quinn, played by Cate Blanchett (representing Dylan circa 1966)[3] walking on stage to perform at a concert, before cutting to him riding on a motorcycle and then crashing. The film then cuts to Quinn’s body on a mortuary slab and an autopsy begins. (This opening sequence refers to Bob Dylan’s motorcycle accident in July 1966).[4][5]

Woody Guthrie, an 11-year old African American boy played by Marcus Carl Franklin is seen carrying a guitar in a case labelled “This Machine Kills Fascists” as he travels the country, pursuing his dream of becoming a singer. (Folk singer Woody Guthrie had an identical label on his guitar.)[6] Woody befriends the African-American Arvin family, who give him food and hospitality and Woody in turn performs Bob Dylan’s 1965 song “Tombstone Blues”, accompanied by Richie Havens (as Old Man Arvin). At dinner, Mrs. Arvin advises Woody: “Live your own time, child, sing about your own time”.

Later that night, Woody leaves the Arvins’ home, leaving behind a note thanking them, and catches a ride on a train, where a group of thieves attempt to rob him. He jumps from the speeding train and dives into a river, where a white couple rescues him and takes him to a hospital before bringing him home. They receive a phone call from a juvenile correction center in Minnesota from which Woody had escaped. The phone call prompts Woody’s swift departure, and he takes a Greyhound bus to Greystone Park Hospital in New Jersey, where he visits the (real) Woody Guthrie. Woody leaves flowers at Guthrie’s bedside and plays his guitar. (Over the hospital sequence, Bob Dylan performs his song “Blind Willie McTell”).

The film ends with close-up footage of the real Bob Dylan playing his harmonica, a shot filmed by D. A. Pennebaker during Dylan’s 1966 World Tour.

Pocahontas

  • Directors: Mike Gabriel, Eric Goldberg
  • Producers: James Pentecost
  • Writers: Carl Binder, Susannah Grant, Philip LaZebnik
  • Genres: Animation, Drama, Family, History, Musical, Romance
  • Actors: Irene Bedard, Mel Gibson, David Ogden Stiers, John Kassir, Russell Means, Frank Welker, Christian Bale, Linda Hunt

In 1607, a ship carrying British settlers from the Virginia Company sails for North America in search of gold and other material riches. On board are Captain John Smith and Governor John Ratcliffe. A storm erupts, and Smith saves the life of a young settler named Thomas when he falls overboard, befriending him in the process.

In the “New World”, Pocahontas, Chief Powhatan’s daughter, learns that her father wants her to marry Kocoum, one of his finest warriors, but a bitter and serious man. Pocahontas does not want this marriage, and asks the advice from a talking tree spirit named Grandmother Willow. Grandmother Willow tells Pocahontas to listen to her heart.

The British settlers land in Virginia and dig for gold under Ratcliffe’s orders. John Smith explores the territory and encounters Pocahontas. The two spend time together, with Pocahontas teaching John to look at the world in a different way, and to not think of her people as “savages”. Back at the settlement, the Powhatan warriors and Englishmen have a skirmirsh, and one of the warriors is injured. The warriors retreat, and Powhatan declares that the white men are dangerous and that no one should go near them.

A few days later, John and Pocahontas meet again, during which John learns that there is no gold in the land. They agree to meet at Grandmother Willow’s glade again that night.

John is only wounded, but he must return to England for medical treatment if he is to survive. Pocahontas and her people arrive to see them off, and John and Pocahontas bid their goodbyes.

Public Enemies

  • Directors: Michael Mann
  • Producers: Michael Mann, Kevin Misher
  • Writers: Screenplay, Ronan Bennett, Ann Biderman, Michael Mann, Book, Bryan Burrough
  • Genres: Crime, Drama
  • Actors: Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, Marion Cotillard, Channing Tatum

FBI agent Melvin Purvis (Bale) sets his sights on American gangster John Dillinger (Depp) and others in an attempt to curb a rampant Chicago crime spree during the 1930s.

Terminator Salvation

  • Directors: McG
  • Producers: Derek Anderson, Victor Kubicek, Jeffrey Silver, Moritz Borman
  • Writers: Screenplay, John D Brancato, Michael Ferris, Uncredited, Jonathan Nolan, Anthony E Zuiker, Shawn Ryan, Paul Haggis, David C Wilson, Characters, James Cameron, Gale Anne Hurd
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi, Thriller
  • Actors: Christian Bale, Sam Worthington, Anton Yelchin, Moon Bloodgood, Bryce Dallas Howard, Common, Jane Alexander, Helena Bonham Carter

On May 23, 2008, Warner Bros. released the following plot summary for the film. The synopsis was modified on June 11, 2008:

Set in post-apocalyptic 2018, John Connor (Christian Bale), the man fated to be the leader of the human resistance against Skynet and its army of Terminators, and the future he was raised to believe in is altered in part by the appearance of Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington), a stranger whose last memory is of being on death row. John must decide whether Marcus has been sent from the future or rescued from the past. As Skynet prepares its final onslaught, John and Marcus both embark on an odyssey that takes them into the heart of Skynet’s operations, where they find out a terrible secret that may lead to the possible annihilation of mankind.[2]

At the beginning, John does not start off as leader of the human resistance, but will work his way through the ranks in the film. He is mistrusted by other soldiers due to his extensive knowledge of Skynet.[3] McG said that the film will reveal the development of the Model 101 Terminator as well:[4] scenes involve humans being captured and studied by Skynet in order to perfect their cybernetic organisms and John explaining “[i]f we let these things go online, the war is over”.[5] Skynet captures Kyle Reese because it is aware that Reese is John’s father, and uses him as a bait in an attempt to kill John.[6]

Batman Begins

  • Directors: Christopher Nolan
  • Producers: Emma Thomas, Larry J Franco, Charles Roven
  • Writers: Screenplay, Christopher Nolan, David S Goyer, Story, David S Goyer, Comic Book, Bob Kane, Bill Finger
  • Genres: Action, Crime, Thriller
  • Actors: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Liam Neeson, Katie Holmes, Gary Oldman, Cillian Murphy, Morgan Freeman, Tom Wilkinson, Rutger Hauer, Ken Watanabe

Eight-year-old Bruce Wayne falls into a well, where he encounters a swarm of bats. Later, he accompanies his parents to a production of Mefistofele, which features actors dressed as bats. Having developed a fear of bats, he urges his father to leave the opera. Outside the theater, Joe Chill mugs and kills Bruce’s parents. Although Chill is later arrested, Bruce blames himself for his parents’ murders.

Fourteen years later, Bruce returns to Gotham City from Princeton University, intent on killing Chill, whose prison sentence is being suspended in exchange for testifying against mobster Carmine Falcone. Before he can act, however, one of Falcone’s assassins kills Chill. Bruce tells his childhood friend Rachel Dawes about his plan; Appalled, Rachel tells him that his father would be ashamed of him. Bruce confronts Falcone, who tells him that he is ignorant of the nature of crime, so Bruce decides to travel the world to understand the criminal mind. He is detained for theft in a Bhutanese prison, where he meets Henri Ducard. Ducard invites Bruce to join an elite vigilante group, the League of Shadows, led by Ra’s al Ghul. Bruce is freed and travels to a mountaintop to begin his training with the League. Bruce overcomes his childhood fear of bats in the process. When he is ordered to execute a criminal and learns of Ra’s intention to destroy Gotham, he refuses and escapes by lighting the League’s temple on fire, killing Ra’s in the process. Bruce rescues an unconscious Ducard from the wreckage and leaves him at a village.

Following the battle, Batman becomes a public hero. Bruce Wayne gains control of Wayne Enterprises and installs Fox as the new CEO. However, he is unable to hold onto Rachel, who cannot reconcile her love for Bruce with his dual life as Batman. Newly-promoted Lieutenant Gordon unveils a Bat-Signal for Batman. Gordon mentions that they will have their hands full finding all of the psychopaths released from Arkham by Ra’s, and in particular notes a criminal who also has “a taste for the theatrical” and leaves Joker playing cards at all of his crime scenes. Batman promises to investigate it, and disappears into the night.

The Dark Knight

  • Directors: Christopher Nolan
  • Producers: Christopher Nolan, Charles Roven, Emma Thomas
  • Writers: Screenplay, Christopher Nolan, Jonathan Nolan, Story, David S Goyer, Christopher Nolan, Comic Book, Bob Kane, Bill Finger
  • Genres: Action, Crime, Thriller
  • Actors: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Gary Oldman, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Morgan Freeman

In Gotham City, the Joker robs a mob bank with his accomplices, whom he tricks into killing one another, ultimately killing the last one himself. That night, Batman and Lieutenant James Gordon contemplate including new district attorney Harvey Dent in their plan to eradicate the mob. However, Batman wonders if Dent can be trusted. Bruce runs into Rachel Dawes and Dent, who are dating, and after talking to Dent, he realizes Dent’s sincerity and decides to host a fundraiser for him. Mob bosses Sal Maroni, Gambol, and the Chechen meet with other underworld gangsters to discuss both Batman and Dent, who have been cracking down on the mobster’s operations. Lau, a Chinese mafia accountant, informs them that he has hidden their money and fled to Hong Kong in an attempt to preempt Gordon’s plan to seize the mobsters’ funds and hide from Dent’s jurisdiction.

In Hong Kong, Batman captures Lau and delivers him to the Gotham City police, where Lau agrees to testify against the mob. In retaliation, the mobsters hire the Joker to kill Batman and Lau. The Joker issues an ultimatum to Gotham, stating that people will die each day until Batman reveals his identity. When Commissioner Gillian B. Loeb and Judge Surillo are murdered by corrupt police, the public blames Batman, prompting Bruce to decide to reveal his identity. Before Bruce can turn himself in, Dent announces at a press conference that he himself is Batman and is arrested as part of a plan to draw the Joker out of hiding. The Joker attempts to ambush the police convoy carrying Dent, but Batman and Gordon intervene and capture him. In recognition of his actions, Gordon is appointed the new police commissioner.

The Joker’s plan to destroy the ferries fails after the passengers on both decide not to destroy each other. Batman locates and subdues the Joker, preventing him from destroying both ferries. When Batman refuses to kill the Joker, the Joker acknowledges that Batman is truly incorruptible, but that Dent was not, and that he has unleashed Dent upon the city. Leaving the Joker for the SWAT team, Batman searches for Dent. At the remains of the building where Rachel died, Batman finds Dent holding Gordon and his family at gunpoint. Dent judges the innocence of Batman, himself, and Gordon’s son through three coin tosses. As the result of the first two flips, he shoots Batman in the abdomen and spares himself. Before Dent can determine the boy’s fate, Batman, who was wearing body armor, tackles him over the side of the building. Gordon’s son is saved, but Dent and Batman fall to the ground below resulting in Dent’s death.[5] Knowing that the citizens of Gotham will lose hope and all morale if Dent’s rampage becomes public news, Batman convinces Gordon to hold him responsible for the murders. Gordon smashes the Bat-Signal, and a manhunt for Batman begins.