Collateral

  • Directors: Michael Mann
  • Producers: Michael Mann, Julie Richardson
  • Writers: Stuart Beattie, Michael Mann, Frank Darabont
  • Genres: Crime, Drama, Thriller
  • Actors: Tom Cruise, Jamie Foxx, Mark Ruffalo, Jada Pinkett Smith, Javier Bardem

Cab driver Max Durocher (Jamie Foxx) drives U.S. Justice Department prosecutor Annie Farrell (Jada Pinkett Smith) to work. During the drive, she tells him about an upcoming case she’s prosecuting and he tells her about his dream of owning his own limousine service. When they arrive at the Justice Department building, Annie leaves him her business card. Moments later, Max picks up a man named Vincent (Tom Cruise), who was seen earlier exchanging a briefcase with a stranger played by Jason Statham at Los Angeles International Airport.

Vincent directs him to a tenement building, and impressed with Max’s efficiency, asks him to be his personal chauffeur for his remaining stops. Max reluctantly agrees when Vincent offers to pay him double his normal nightly profit. Vincent instructs him to park in an adjacent alley while he enters the building. Minutes later, a body drops onto the cab, cracking the windshield and propelling Max out of the cab. He realizes Vincent killed the man. Unable to escape, he is forced to help Vincent put the body in the trunk of the cab.

Vincent reveals that he is a hitman, and that he is in Los Angeles to murder five people before departing in the morning. Originally hoping to keep his occupation a secret, Vincent forces Max to drive him to his other destinations. Upon reaching the second target, Vincent ties Max to the steering wheel of the cab in order to make sure he doesn’t run away while Vincent makes the second kill. While alone, Max tries to arouse the attention of passers by in order to free him, but the people that walk up to the cab turn out to be street thugs, and steal Max’s wallet and Vincent’s briefcase. As they walk away, Vincent appears and asks for the briefcase back. The thugs refuse, and then attempt to rob Vincent, who knocks one thug’s gun and performs the Mozambique Drill, shooting both thugs twice in the chest and once in the head.

Spotting the handgun Vincent left behind, Max overpowers the policeman and cuffs him to the flipped cab before running toward Annie’s office building, where he discovers the building security guard is dead and his handgun is missing. He reaches Annie on a stolen cell phone and warns her about Vincent’s approach. Max enters the building and stops the assassination attempt by shooting at Vincent, grazing his face; he then flees with Annie to the Metrorail station under the building. With the guard’s handgun, an angry Vincent follows and corners them in an empty rail car. Vincent and Max fire at each other through a closed door, with Max escaping injury by stepping to the side as the rail car’s lights flicked off, and shooting through the glass, fatally wounding Vincent who had used his routine manner of killing and attempted to perform the Mozambique drill on Max through the door, missing. Dropping his gun and collapsing into a seat, Vincent waits for death as Max and Annie silently look on. Vincent sardonically asks Max if anybody will notice he has died, echoing an earlier story of Vincent’s about a man who died on the MTA and sat undiscovered by LA commuters for hours. Max and Annie get off the train at the next station while the train continues toward Long Beach with dawn breaking, and with a now dead Vincent sitting slumped in his seat.

The Mist

  • Directors: Frank Darabont
  • Producers: Frank Darabont, Martin Shafer, Liz Glotzer
  • Writers: Screenplay, Frank Darabont, Novella, Stephen King
  • Genres: Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller
  • Actors: Thomas Jane, Laurie Holden, Nathan Gamble, Toby Jones, Marcia Gay Harden, Frances Sternhagen, Andre Braugher

The morning after a violent thunderstorm, commercial artist David Drayton (Thomas Jane) and his wife Stephanie (Kelly Collins Lintz) witness an unusual mist moving towards their lakeside home. More immediately concerned with cleaning up in the aftermath of the storm, David and neighbor Brent Norton (Andre Braugher), along with David’s five-year-old son Billy (Nathan Gamble), go to the local grocery store, which, like the rest of the community, was left without power. While at the store, an increasing amount of police activity in the streets draws the attention of the patrons, culminating with Dan Miller (Jeffrey DeMunn) running to the store with a bloody nose warning of something dangerous in the oncoming mist. Seeing the mist roll over the parking lot and hearing the scream of a man who ventures outside, the store patrons heed Miller’s advice and seal themselves within the store, which is soon shaken by violent tremors. With visibility reduced to near-zero outside and uncertainty surrounding the fate of the man heard screaming before, a siege mentality takes hold. Unable to convince anyone to escort her back home to her children whom she left alone, a mother of two (Melissa McBride) departs into the mist by herself.

Driving through the mist, David returns home to find his wife has fallen victim to the spider-like creatures. Heartbroken, he drives the group south, witnessing the destruction left in the wake of the mist and encountering a tentacled beast towering hundreds of feet high. Eventually, they run out of gas without finding any other survivors. While Billy is sleeping, the four adults accept their fate, deciding that there is no point in going any further. With four bullets left in the gun and five people in the car, David shoots Amanda, Dan, Irene, and his son, Billy, to spare them a more violent death by the creatures. Sobbing, he attempts to shoot himself with the now-empty gun before exiting the vehicle to let the creatures in the mist take him. He hears what sounds like a creature moving toward him, but it is soon revealed as a Howitzer self-propelled gun, followed by a large contingent of soldiers equipped with NBC suits and flamethrowers. As the mist parts, several trucks filled with survivors pass David; among them the mother whom nobody from the store would escort and her two children. Realizing that the killings were needless and that he had been driving away from help the entire time, David falls to his knees screaming while two soldiers watch him in confusion.

The Shawshank Redemption

  • Directors: Frank Darabont
  • Producers: Niki Marvin
  • Writers: Novella, Stephen King, Screenplay, Frank Darabont
  • Genres: Drama
  • Actors: Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, Bob Gunton, William Sadler, Clancy Brown, Gil Bellows, James Whitmore

In 1947, a banker named Andrew “Andy” Dufresne[1] is convicted of murdering his wife and her lover based on strong circumstantial evidence and is sentenced to two consecutive life sentences at Shawshank State Penitentiary in Maine. At the prison, inmate Ellis Boyd “Red” Redding is rejected for parole after having served twenty years of his life sentence shortly before Andy’s arrival. Andy gradually becomes acquainted with Red’s circle of friends, and Red himself, who is known for cleverly smuggling in contraband. After a month of adjusting to his new life, Andy approaches Red and asks him to get a rock hammer, intending to pursue a hobby of rock collecting. Red supplies the hammer for ten dollars, and later fills Andy’s request for a poster of Rita Hayworth.

One day in 1949, while tarring the roof of Shawshank’s license plate factory, Andy overhears the captain of the prison guards, Captain Hadley, bitterly complaining about the taxes he will have to pay on a forthcoming inheritance. Andy approaches Hadley with a solution that will allow him to keep the entire inheritance tax-free; though Hadley nearly throws Andy off the roof initially, Andy’s willingness to set up the transaction for the cost of beer for the tarring crew wins Hadley’s respect. Prior to this, Andy had frequently been beaten and sexually assaulted by a gang called “The Sisters”, led by inmates Bogs and Rooster. After a particularly vicious beating at the hands of the Sisters lands Andy in the infirmary, Bogs returns to his cell from a week in solitary confinement to find Captain Hadley there. Hadley inflicts a brutal nightstick beating on Bogs, which leaves him paralyzed. Bogs is sent away to a state hospital, and the message to the Sisters is clear; Andy is never bothered again.

The next year, 1967, Red is finally released on parole after serving 40 years at Shawshank. Red is afraid of “the outside”, dreading living in fear, worried that he would end up committing suicide once outside of the prison’s strict regime, as fellow prisoner Brooks Hatlen had done. Ironically, he’s given the same room and the same job Hatlen had. But instead of committing suicide, Red recalls his promise to Andy and heads to the field in Buxton that Andy told him about. He finds a small metal box containing money and instructions from Andy. He violates his parole and travels to Mexico, eventually reuniting with Andy in Zihuatanejo on the Pacific coast. Both of them are elated and hug each other when they meet at the coast.

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.”