Training Day

  • Directors: Antoine Fuqua
  • Producers: Bruce Berman and Davis Guggenheim
  • Writers: David Ayer
  • Genres: Crime, Drama, Thriller
  • Actors: Denzel Washington, Ethan Hawke

The film follows a single day in the life of a young LAPD cop Jake Hoyt (Hawke) as he is subject to an evaluation by Detective Alonzo Harris (Washington), a highly decorated LAPD narcotics officer who could put him on the path for rapid career advancement.

After meeting in a diner, Jake rides with Alonzo in his car, a black 1979 Chevrolet Monte Carlo lowrider, during the day. From the first few moments of their interaction, it becomes quickly apparent that Jake’s belief in the system is in stark contrast to Alonzo’s philosophy of blending in with “the real world” without regard for the rules. They first detain some college students buying marijuana from a dealer, but instead of arresting them they confiscate the drugs. Alonzo offers Jake a hit from the marijuana which Jake initially refuses. Alonzo threatens him and states that a drug dealer would have killed him for refusing. Jake stands fast, but Alonzo puts a gun to his head and threatens to throw him out of the car. Jake relents and takes the hit, but quickly discovers that the marijuana was laced with PCP.

Alonzo then takes Jake to the home of a man named Roger (Scott Glenn) for an apparent social call. After leaving Roger’s, Jake notices a female high school student being attacked by two men in a side alley. He demands Alonzo to pull over as he jumps out to save her. Alonzo watches, but doesn’t intervene. Jake wants to process the men and the girl, but Alonzo dismisses her and leaves the two men out on the street, saying the girl’s cousin (a gang member) will take care of her attackers. Jake denounces this as street justice, but Alonzo tells him that as a narcotics detective he is focused on shutting down major drug operations, not stopping individual crimes. Jake discovers the girl’s wallet and takes it with him.

In his desperate escape to LAX, Alonzo is surrounded at a quiet intersection by a crew of Russian hitmen who spray his car with machine gun fire. The final scene has Jake pulling into his driveway and going home to his wife, Lisa (Charlotte Ayanna), and daughter, while a radio broadcast reports Alonzo’s death — describing it as occurring honorably ‘in the line of duty.’

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 Book of Eli

  • Directors: Albert Hughes, Allen Hughes
  • Producers: Joel Silver, Susan Downey, Denzel Washington, Andrew Kosove, Broderick Johnson, David Valdes
  • Writers: Gary Whitta
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Drama
  • Actors: Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman, Mila Kunis, Ray Stevenson, Jennifer Beals, Frances de la Tour, and Michael Gambon

In a post-apocalyptic world, a lone hero, Eli (Denzel Washington), guards the Book of Eli, which provides knowledge that could redeem society. The despot (Gary Oldman) of a small, makeshift town plans to take possession of the book.[1]

Philadelphia

  • Directors: Jonathan Demme
  • Producers: Jonathan Demme, Edward Saxon
  • Writers: Ron Nyswaner
  • Genres: Drama
  • Actors: Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington

The film tells the story of Andrew Beckett (Hanks), a senior associate at the largest corporate law firm in Philadelphia. Although he lives with his partner Miguel Álvarez (Banderas), Beckett hides his homosexuality and the fact he has AIDS from the other members of the law firm. On the day he is assigned the firm’s newest and most important case, one of the firm’s partners notices a small lesion on Beckett’s forehead. Shortly thereafter, Beckett stays home from work for several days to try to find a way to hide his lesions. While at home, he finishes the paperwork for the case he has been assigned and then brings it to his office, leaving instructions for his assistants to file the paperwork on the following day, which marks the end of the statute of limitations for the case. Later that morning, he receives a frantic call asking for the paperwork, as the paper copy cannot be found and there are no copies on the computer’s hard drive. However, the paperwork is finally discovered and is filed with the court at the last possible moment. The following day, Beckett is dismissed by the firm’s partners, who had previously referred to him as their “friend.”

Beckett collapses in court shortly after finishing cross-examination. During his hospitalization, the jury votes in his favour, awarding him back pay, damages for pain and suffering, and punitive damages. Miller visits Beckett in hospital after the verdict and overcomes his fear enough to touch Beckett’s face. After Beckett’s family leaves the room, he tells Miguel that he is ready to die. A short scene immediately afterwards shows Miller getting the word that Beckett has died. The movie ends with a reception at Beckett’s home following the funeral, where many mourners, including the Millers, view home movies of Beckett as a healthy child.

Deja Vu

  • Directors: Tony Scott
  • Producers: Jerry Bruckheimer
  • Writers: Bill Marsilii, Terry Rossio 1
  • Genres: Action, Romance, Sci-Fi, Thriller
  • Actors: Denzel Washington, Val Kilmer, Paula Patton, Bruce Greenwood, Adam Goldberg, Jim Caviezel

On Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras in New Orleans, a ferry (the “Sen. Alvin T. Stumpf”) is carrying several hundred U.S. Navy sailors and their families from the Algiers dock to a celebration, when it explodes and sinks into the river, killing at least 543 on board. Agent Doug Carlin (Denzel Washington) from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is sent to investigate the explosion and discovers evidence that the attack was by a domestic terrorist. He meets with the investigating police officers and FBI Agent Paul Pryzwarra (Val Kilmer), letting them know of his findings. Back at his office, Doug learns about a charred body pulled from the river, that of a Claire Kuchever (Paula Patton). However, unlike the other bodies found in the river, this one was discovered before the explosion.

After Pryzwarra is impressed with Doug’s detective expertise, he convinces him to join a newly formed government-funded detective unit whose first case is to investigate the explosion. With a team led by scientist Dr. Alexander Denny (Adam Goldberg), they investigate the events leading up to the explosion by using a new program called “Snow White”, which enables them to look into the past (4 days, 6 hours, 3 minutes, 45 seconds) in detail. The catch is, they can only see the events once – there is no fast forwarding or rewinding, although they can record what they see. Convinced that Claire is a vital link to the case, Doug persuades the team to focus on her. Sure enough, while investigating Claire’s past through “Snow White”, eventually the bomber calls her to try and purchase her car to use to blow up the ferry. Although he decides to not purchase her car, during the phone call, the “Snow White” team is able to discover an exact time and place where they know the terrorist will be.

After tending to a bullet wound at Claire’s house, Doug goes to the ferry where, with Claire’s help, he kills Carroll, but is unable to disarm the bomb. To save everyone on the ferry, Doug has Claire drive the SUV with the bomb off the ferry into the water just before it explodes. Claire is able to escape, but Doug is unable to get out before the bomb explodes and dies in the underwater explosion. As Claire mourns Doug’s death, she is approached by another Doug Carlin, the one from the present, who consoles her. As they drive off, the Beach Boys’ song, “Don’t Worry Baby”, which had played at the beginning of the film, plays on the radio.

The Pelican Brief

  • Directors: Alan J Pakula
  • Producers: Alan J Pakula, Pieter Jan Brugge
  • Writers: John Grisham, Alan J Pakula
  • Genres: Drama, Mystery, Romance, Thriller
  • Actors: Julia Roberts, Denzel Washington, Sam Shepard, John Heard, Tony Goldwyn, James B Sikking, William Atherton, Robert Culp, Stanley Tucci, Special Appearance by, Hume Cronyn, And John Lithgow

Two Supreme Court justices are assassinated. A terrorist named Khamel, who works as a hired assassin, shoots one of the justices as he lies in his sickbed. He strangles the other in a gay porn film theater. The two had been very different in their voting patterns and opinions in cases that had come before them. Tulane University Law School student Darby Shaw theorizes that there may be some similarity in their otherwise-different voting patterns that may provide a motive for their assassinations. She discovers that both were protective of the environment (the only subject the two agreed on) in their votes. Her research also reveals that the Fifth Circuit ruling, contrary to the interest of an oil company owned by Victor Mattiece, had ruled in favor of protecting an expanse of wetlands in Louisiana used by pelicans and other wildlife as a habitat.

The Supreme Court was expected to eventually hear the corporation’s appeal of that Fifth Circuit ruling; but now, two pro-environment justices who have been assassinated will not be able to take part in any Supreme Court vote on the appeal, and oil magnate Mattiece (a close friend of and political contributor to the President) hopes to have pro-oil justices named as their replacements.

In a dark, empty hangar, Darby and Grantham board a plane and fly to an undisclosed location. Upon arrival, they are given a copy of the day’s Herald with their story and many related articles on the front page. Darby hugs Grantham goodbye before getting into a van and vanishing. Finally, we see Darby in her new safehouse watching Grantham being interviewed by a television news station. She smiles as he deflects questions about her identity, and we are left with the impression that they may meet again.

Remember the Titans

  • Directors: Boaz Yakin
  • Producers: Jerry Bruckheimer, Chad Oman
  • Writers: Gregory Allen Howard
  • Genres: Drama, Sport
  • Actors: Denzel Washington, Will Patton, Wood Harris, Ryan Hurst, Hayden Panettiere, Donald Faison, Ethan Suplee

The film, takes place in Alexandria, Virginia, in 1971, at the brand-new desegregated T.C. Williams High School. Herman Boone (Denzel Washington), also derogatorily known as Coach “Coon” by racist elements during the time period, due to his African-American background, is hired as head coach for the school’s football team, taking the place promised to former head coach Bill Yoast (Will Patton). Yoast at first refuses Boone’s offer as the assistant head coach, but then changes his mind. The black and white members of the football team clash in racially-motivated conflicts on a few occasions throughout their time at football camp, but after forceful coaxing and team building efforts by Coach Boone, the team manages to achieve some form of unity, as well as success. Boone makes the camp quite rigorous; when the bus is leaving for the camp at the beginning all members are instructed to wear a shirt and tie; anyone not doing so will watch the season and not compete. At the camp, anybody who displays any sort of misconduct at practice is instructed to run a mile. One time during camp, Coach Boone wakes up the players at 3:00 am to take a run through the woods to end up at a Civil War battleground where he delivers a stirring speech on ‘why that war was fought’ (‘…the same fight we are still having today’).

All-American player Gerry Bertier is paralyzed in an automobile accident while celebrating one of the team’s victories. Although Bertier is no longer able to play, the team goes on to win the championship, setting an example for the town in the process. The football team wins the AAA State championship game in Roanoke, and is first runner up in the national championship. Bertier later goes on to win a gold medal in the shotput event at the Paralympic Games. Ten years later, the team reunites at the end of the film to attend Bertier’s funeral.

American Gangster

  • Directors: Ridley Scott
  • Producers: Ridley Scott, Brian Grazer, James Whitaker, Steven Zaillian, Nicholas Pileggi
  • Writers: Mark Jacobson, Steven Zaillian
  • Genres: Crime, Drama
  • Actors: Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Josh Brolin, Lymari Nadal, Ted Levine, John Hawkes, RZA, Carla Gugino, with, Armand Assante, Cuba Gooding Jr, and Ruby Dee montrell prince

Ellsworth “Bumpy” Johnson, a disciplined and intelligent gangster, runs much of Harlem and imparts his wisdom onto his former driver turned right-hand man, Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington). Johnson dies of a heart attack in 1968, at an electronics store. Frank dislikes the new, flashy gangsters and decides to take control. To gain money and power, he travels to Bangkok, Thailand, and with the help of his “cousin” who is an Army Staff NCO, strikes a deal with a Chinese nationalist general in the Golden Triangle of Southeast Asia, who supplies him with pure heroin. Starting with a first shipment of 100 kilograms, Frank has the drugs transported back to America via military service planes. His final shipment comprises two tons hidden in the coffins of seven dead U.S. soldiers from the Vietnam War.

Meanwhile, Newark Police Department detective Richie Roberts (Russell Crowe) is juggling a failing marriage, late-night law school classes, and his police career. When Richie and his partner, Javier Rivera, discover nearly $1 million in unmarked bills in a car, Richie resists temptation and turns the money in. His rare honesty makes him a hated member of his precinct, causing his partner to be exiled from the force, while Richie’s rampant womanizing behavior and undercover double life leads his wife to seek a divorce and custody of their son. After his exiled partner dies from overdosing on “Blue Magic”, a relatively new and powerful type of heroin being sold for less money than its competition, Richie’s honesty catches him a break when his superior Captain Lou Toback (Ted Levine) puts him in charge of a newly created task force to stop major drug trafficking in Essex County, New Jersey by going after the actual supplier, rather than the middle-men. Richie handpicks honest cops and gets to work on finding who is supplying Blue Magic.

With no other options, Frank decides to provide names of numerous other criminals, including his and Richie’s common enemies: corrupt NYC detectives. Numerous corrupt cops are arrested, and a distraught Trupo kills himself to avoid arrest. Richie, having passed the bar exam, prosecutes Frank. Some time after the Lucas trial, he eventually leaves the prosecutor’s office, and becomes a defense attorney. The first client he takes is Frank. Because of his cooperation, Frank receives a relatively light sentence of 15 years rather than the original 70. He is arrested in 1975. At the film’s end, he steps out of jail in 1991 significantly older and out of place, but with Richie waiting to pick him up.

The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3

  • Directors: Tony Scott
  • Producers: Tony Scott, Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal, Steve Tisch
  • Writers: Brian Helgeland David Koepp
  • Genres: Thriller
  • Actors: Denzel Washington, John Travolta, James Gandolfini, Luis Guzman, John Turturro, Gbenga Akinnagbe

A group of hijackers, led by Ryder (John Travolta), take a New York City subway train and its passengers, threatening to kill them if their ransom of one million dollars per hostage is not paid in one hour. Zachary Garber (Denzel Washington) tries to negotiate with the hijackers in delivering the ransom money while saving the hostages. When Garber realizes that time is running out, he voluntarily offers his surrender to Ryder and the hijackers in exchange for freeing the hostages aboard the train.[2]