Girl Interrupted

  • Directors: James Mangold
  • Producers: Douglas Wick, Winona Ryder
  • Writers: James Mangold, Lisa Loomer, Anna Hamilton Phelan
  • Genres: Biography, Drama
  • Actors: Winona Ryder, Angelina Jolie, Clea DuVall, Brittany Murphy, Jared Leto, Elisabeth Moss, Travis Fine, Vanessa Redgrave, Whoopi Goldberg

Susanna Kaysen (Ryder), 18 years old in April 1967, “voluntarily” (her parents essentially force her to go there, and she is not free to leave until the staff approves her release) checks herself into the fictitious Claymoore Hospital (based on McLean Hospital, the actual institution featured in the memoir), after an overdose of aspirin and her stay extends for over a year.

She befriends fellow patients Polly “Torch” Clark (Elisabeth Moss), a burn victim; Georgina Tuskin (Clea DuVall), a pathological liar; Daisy Randone (Brittany Murphy), a sexually abused girl with an eating disorder and who cuts herself; Janet Webber (Angela Bettis), an anorexic; Cynthia Crowley (Jillian Armenante), whose only disorder seems to be a proclivity to dress like men and is there because her parents don’t want to see her; and others, and forms a small troupe of troubled women in her ward. Susanna is enchanted in particular by Lisa Rowe (Angelina Jolie), who has been diagnosed as a sociopath (as in the book, it is left to interpretation whether she actually is one). Lisa is a force to be reckoned with: she is magnetic, rebellious, won’t take her medication and verbally abuses the other patients. Lisa befriends Susanna and together they start causing trouble. Lisa encourages Susanna to stop taking her medications and/or trade them with others, and generally resist the influences of therapy (referred to by the patients as “ther-rape-me”).

At the end of the film, Susanna states that by the 1970s, most of her friends were released and some she saw and some never again. But there wasn’t a day “her heart doesn’t find them.”

Jarhead

  • Directors: Sam Mendes
  • Producers: Douglas Wick, Lucy Fisher
  • Writers: Timothy Lam, Anthony Swofford
  • Genres: Biography, Drama, War
  • Actors: Jake Gyllenhaal, Peter Sarsgaard, Lucas Black, Jamie Foxx, Chris Cooper

The film begins with voice-over narration on a black screen, as Anthony Swofford (Jake Gyllenhaal), waxes philosophically about a soldier whose hands forever remember the grip of a rifle, whatever else they do in life. Swofford is then shown in a U.S. Marine Corps boot camp, being brutalized by a drill instructor in a scene reminiscent of Full Metal Jacket. After finishing boot, “Swoff” is dispatched to Camp Pendleton in 1989, where he is subjected to a cruel joke played on him by the senior Marines. This involves branding onto him the initials of the United States Marine Corps, USMC, with a hot iron. This is a popular tattoo amongst Marines. He faints upon sight of the iron. After regaining consciousness, he is greeted coolly by Troy (Peter Sarsgaard), who says to him, “Welcome to the Suck.”

Swofford comes across the charismatic Staff Sergeant Sykes (Jamie Foxx), a Marine “lifer” who invites Swofford to his Scout Sniper (formally the Surveillance and Target Acquisition) course. After arduous training sessions that claim the life of one recruit, he becomes a sniper and is paired with Troy as his spotter. Shortly after, Kuwait is invaded by Iraq and Swofford’s unit is dispatched to the Persian Gulf as a part of Operation Desert Shield. Although the Marines are very eager to see some combat action, they are forced to hydrate, wait, patrol the nearby area and orient themselves to the arid environment. When some field reporters appear, Sykes forces his unit to demonstrate their NBC suits in a game of American football, even under the 112 degree heat. While the cameras roll, the game develops into a rowdy dogpile, with some Marines playfully miming sex acts. Sykes, embarrassed by his platoon’s rude manners and poor discipline, removes the cameras and crew from the area; the Marines are later punished by being forced to build and take down a massive pyramid of sandbags in a rainy night.

On returning home the troops parade through the towns in a jovial celebration of victory. The mood is disturbed when a disheveled Vietnam veteran, possibly suffering from the memories of the conflict, jumps into their bus, and congratulates them all. Soon after their return home, Swofford and his comrades are discharged and go on with their separate lives. Swofford returns home to his girlfriend, but discovers her with a new boyfriend. Fowler (Evan Jones) is seen to be spending time with a girl at a bar, very likely[citation needed] a prostitute, Kruger (Lucas Black) is seen in a corporate boardroom, Escobar (Laz Alonso) as a supermarket employee, Cortez (Jacob Vargas) as a father of three kids, and Sykes continuing his service as a Master Sergeant in Operation Iraqi Freedom. An unspecified amount of time later, Swofford learns of Troy’s death during a surprise visit from Fergus. He attends the funeral, meets some of his old friends, and afterwards he reminisces about the effects of the war.

Stuart Little 2

  • Directors: Rob Minkoff
  • Producers: Douglas Wick, Lucy Fisher
  • Writers: E B White, Bruce Joel Rubin
  • Genres: Comedy, Family, Fantasy, Adventure
  • Actors: Michael J Fox, Melanie Griffith, Nathan Lane, Hugh Laurie, Geena Davis, Jonathan Lipnicki, James Woods, Steve Zahn

Questioning his abillity after a grueling soccer match alongside George who kicked him with a soccer ball (Jonathan Lipnicki), Stuart (Michael J. Fox) gets even more downhearted after George’s airplane gets broken in an accident because of him. However, Stuart’s dad (Hugh Laurie) tells him that for every Little, there is a “silver lining”, or a solution to every problem.

On his way home from school, Stuart encounters a female yellow canary named Margalo (Melanie Griffith) that is pursued by a giant falcon (James Woods). He drives her to safety. In a matter of time, Margalo, the canary, and Stuart have become best friends. But, Margalo has a secret. The falcon pursuing her was a crime lord, and he soon catches up to her, reminding her that if she doesn’t find an object of wealth soon, the sanctuary he promised her will be called off. But Margalo can’t seem to concentrate on her assignment, as she begins to harbour tender feelings for Stuart.

The Falcon eventually comes back, this time threatening to kill Stuart if she doesn’t retrieve a wealthy object. Margalo sadly takes Stuart’s mom’s (Geena Davis) ring. When the family sees it is missing, Stuart thinks it has fallen down the sink. He offers to go get it, nearly succeeding. When he is in danger, Margalo saves him, and he thanks her, making her feel even more guilty, so she decides to leave. When Stuart can’t find her, he assumes she has been kidnapped. He leaves on a quest with Snowbell (Nathan Lane) the cat, but not before setting up a plan with George.

At the park square, Stuart is congratulated by his family and Margalo and Snowbell reunites with them as well. That evening, Margalo leaves with the other birds to migrate south, but not before saying goodbye to her friends, including Snowbell, who is at the point of tears. Stuart says the silver lining is that she’ll be back in the spring. Stuart’s baby sister says her first word, or words, “Bye bye, birdie.”

Stuart Little

  • Directors: Rob Minkoff
  • Producers: Douglas Wick
  • Writers: E B White, M Night Shyamalan, Greg Brooker
  • Genres: Adventure, Comedy, Family, Fantasy
  • Actors: Michael J Fox, Hugh Laurie, Geena Davis, Jonathan Lipnicki, Nathan Lane, Steve Zahn

The film opens with Mr. and Mrs. Little (played by Hugh Laurie and Geena Davis) and their son George (played by Jonathan Lipnicki) on the day of adoption. George wants to come with them, to the orphanage, but has to go to school. While George is at school, the parents go to the orphanage where they see many kids, but fall in love with a thoughtful, observant mouse named Stuart (voiced by Michael J. Fox), a mouse who knows almost everything about the other children due to having been at the orphanage for so much time. He only talks to them for a minute or so, but they knew he was right. “Then you’ll meet one of them, talk to them; somehow, you’ll just know,” is what he told them. Despite the warnings of Mrs. Keeper (the woman in charge), who said that humans shouldn’t be adopting mice, as it may not work out, the Littles decide to take Stuart and adopt him as their second son.

Immediately after getting home Stuart meets Snowbell (voiced by Nathan Lane) the family cat. Snowbell, thinking that he was doing the family a favour; grabbed Stuart in his mouth; the family weren’t happy and told Snowbell to ‘spit him out!’ Snowbell confused spat Stuart out. George [Jonathan Lipnicki] arrives home and is surprised when his parents show him a little mouse, that they say is his new ‘brother’, thinking its a joke George asks where his real new ‘brother’ was; his parents confirming that Stuart was his new brother, Stuart puts out his hand for George to shake; George just stares at his new brother. That night, Snowbell visits Stuart and requests that he keep a low profile, so as to avoid getting seen by the other cats and damaging Snowbell’s image (the alley cats would laugh forever if they heard that there was a mouse with a pet cat). Stuart brushes his teeth with his tooth brush, George throws him down the laundry chute with his pajamas, he ends up in the washing machine, Mrs. Little saves him from drowning.

Snowbell and Stuart walk home and Stuart shares a warm reunion with his family, telling them that Snowbell helped him home. The Littles bring Stuart and Snowbell inside, and close the windows, ready for bed.

Bewitched

  • Directors: Nora Ephron
  • Producers: Nora Ephron, Douglas Wick, Penny Marshall
  • Writers: Sol Saks, Nora Ephron, Delia Ephron
  • Genres: Comedy, Fantasy, Romance
  • Actors: Nicole Kidman, Will Ferrell, Shirley MacLaine, Michael Caine

The film is not an adaptation of the television series, instead a bizarre Re-imagining. It is about a witch named Isabel Bigelow (Nicole Kidman) who wants to give up magic and have a normal life, despite her magic-loving father’s (Michael Caine) warnings that she cannot live without it. She meets a failing movie star named Jack Wyatt (Will Ferrell) who wants to find an unknown actress to play a witch — and his wife — in a TV show, a modern adaptation of the classic TV show Bewitched, a ploy whereby the egocentric actor can eclipse his co-star and claim the spotlight entirely. Part of this is perpetrated by his agent (Jason Schwartzman), who is just as obnoxious as Jack.

When she becomes more popular than he is and unintentionally takes the spotlight away, the pompous, self-centered Jack decides to downplay her role and make the show focus on Darrin (thus garnering the audience’s attention). Isabel becomes angry when she finds out (since he told her during her auditions that he “needed her”) and furiously tells him that he is a jerk. The harsh words, strangely enough, appeal to Jack who never had anyone speak their mind to him before, especially his ex-wife (who he claimed preferred to just lock him out of the house). He begins to give her a bigger role and the two begin to fall in love and enjoy filming their TV show.

Meanwhile the “spirits” of the old Bewitched television show work their own magic on Isabel and Jack by ensuring that the couple ends up in a happy union of witch to mortal like on the original series. The home in which Isabel and Jack finally settle in together is numbered “1164” as a nod to the house from the original TV series (at 1164 Morning Glory Circle); their new neighbors are also a nod to their TV counterparts.

Gladiator

  • Directors: Ridley Scott
  • Producers: Douglas Wick, David Franzoni, Branko Lustig
  • Writers: David Franzoni, John Logan, William Nicholson
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Drama, History
  • Actors: Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen, Oliver Reed, Richard Harris, Derek Jacobi, Djimon Hounsou, Ralf Moeller

General Maximus Decimus Meridius leads the Roman Army to victory against Germanic barbarians in the year A.D. 180, ending a prolonged war and earning the esteem of elderly Emperor Marcus Aurelius. Although the dying Aurelius has a son, Commodus, he decides to appoint temporary leadership to the morally-upstanding Maximus, with a desire to eventually return power to the Roman Senate. Aurelius informs Maximus and offers him time to consider before informing Commodus, who, in a bout of jealousy, murders his father. Declaring himself the emperor, Commodus asks Maximus for his loyalty, which Maximus, realizing Commodus’ involvement in the Emperor’s death, refuses. Commodus orders Maximus’ execution and dispatches Praetorian Guards to murder his wife and son. Maximus narrowly escapes his execution, but is injured in the process. He races home only to discover his family’s charred and crucified bodies in the smoldering ruins of his villa. After burying his wife and son, a grieving Maximus succumbs to exhaustion and blood loss as a result of his injuries and collapses on their graves.

Slave traders find Maximus and take him to Zucchabar, a rugged province in North Africa, where he is purchased by Proximo, the head of a local gladiator school (and a freed gladiator himself). Distraught and nihilistic over the death of his family and betrayal by his empire, Maximus initially refuses to fight, but as he defends himself in the arena his formidable combat skills lead to a rise in popularity with the audience. As he trains and fights further, Maximus befriends Hagen, a Germanic barbarian, and Juba, a Numidian hunter, the latter becoming a close friend and confidant to the grieving Maximus, the two speaking frequently of the afterlife and Maximus’ eventual reunification with his family.

Concluding that legends born in the Colosseum must die there, Commodus challenges Maximus to a duel in front of a roaring audience. Acknowledging that Maximus’ skill exceeds his own, Commodus deliberately stabs Maximus with a stiletto, puncturing his lung, and has the wound concealed beneath the gladiator’s armor. In the arena, the two exchange blows before Maximus rips the sword from Commodus’s hands. Commodus requests a sword from his guards, but they betray him and refuse to lend him their weapons. Maximus drops his own sword, but Commodus pulls a hidden stiletto and renews his attack. Maximus then beats Commodus into submission and kills him with his own stilletto, plunging it into his neck. As Commodus collapses in the now-silent Colosseum, a dying Maximus begins seeing his wife and son in the afterlife. He reaches for them, but is pulled back to reality by the Praetorian prefect Quintus, who asks for instructions. Maximus orders the release of Proximo’s gladiators and Senator Gracchus, whom he reinstates and instructs to return Rome to a Senate-based government. Maximus collapses, and Lucilla rushes to his aid. After being reassured that her son is safe and Commodus is dead, Maximus dies and wanders into the afterlife to his family in the distance. Senator Gracchus, Quintus, and Proximo’s gladiators carry his body out of the Colosseum. That night, a newly freed Juba buries Maximus’ two small statues of his wife and son in the Colosseum, and says that he too will eventually join them, but not yet.