From Dusk Till Dawn

  • Directors: Robert Rodriguez
  • Producers: Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino, Lawrence Bender
  • Writers: Story, Robert Kurtzman, Screenplay, Quentin Tarantino
  • Genres: Action, Horror, Thriller
  • Actors: George Clooney, Harvey Keitel, Quentin Tarantino, Juliette Lewis, Ernest Liu, Fred Williamson, Tom Savini, Cheech Marin, Salma Hayek

Fugitive bank robbers and brothers Seth (George Clooney) and Richie Gecko (Quentin Tarantino) are fleeing the F.B.I. and Texas police. During the first few minutes of the film, they hold up and then destroy a liquor store and kill the clerk, a cop and a witness. They then take a hostage, whom Richie later rapes and murders (offscreen).

The Fuller family — Jacob (Harvey Keitel), the father and a pastor who is experiencing a crisis of faith; his son Scott (Ernest Liu); and daughter Kate (Juliette Lewis) — are on a vacation in their RV. They stop at a motel and are promptly kidnapped by the Geckos, who force the Fullers to smuggle them past the Mexican border. Seth and Jacob make an uneasy truce: if the Geckos can make it past the border, Jacob and his family will come out of the ordeal unharmed. They succeed and arrive at the “Titty Twister”, a strip club in the middle of a desolate part of Mexico, where the Geckos will be met by their contact Carlos (Cheech Marin) at dawn. The Geckos demand that the Fullers have a drink with them before leaving, despite Kate’s obvious discomfort.

Soon after entering the club, chaos ensues as the employees and strippers are all revealed to be vampires. Most of the patrons are quickly killed, and Richie is bitten by the star stripper, Santanico Pandemonium (Salma Hayek), and bleeds to death. Only Seth, Jacob, Kate, Scott, a biker named Sex Machine (Tom Savini) and Frost (Fred Williamson), a Vietnam War veteran, survive the attack. The slain patrons — including Richie — then come back to life as vampires, forcing Seth to kill his own brother.

Kate asks Seth if she can go with him, but he rebuffs her. She (in the RV) and Seth (with Carlos) go their separate ways after Seth gives Kate some cash. As they leave, the camera pans back to reveal that the “Titty Twister” was actually the top of a buried ancient Aztec temple, presumably the home of vampires for centuries, and that hundreds of trucks and bikes have been toppled down the side of the cliff.

Red Dragon

  • Directors: Brett Ratner
  • Producers: Dino De Laurentiis
  • Writers: Screenplay, Ted Tally, Novel, Thomas Harris
  • Genres: Drama, Thriller
  • Actors: Edward Norton, Anthony Hopkins, Ralph Fiennes, Harvey Keitel, Emily Watson, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Mary Louise Parker, Anthony Heald, Frankie Faison

In his Baltimore townhouse, famous local psychiatrist Dr. Hannibal Lecter hosts a dinner party. The main subject of conversation over dinner is the disappearance of a local musician who was criticized for playing several wrong notes at a concert that Lecter attended. He then serves what the guests see as a delicious meal.

After dinner, Lecter is visited by Will Graham, a young gifted FBI agent, with whom he has been working on a psychological profile of a local serial killer. Edible body parts of the victims, such as the kidneys and liver were removed from the bodies after being killed, and Graham is convinced that the killer is actually a cannibal. During the consultation and brainstorming session, Graham discovers evidence implicating Dr. Lecter in the murders, shortly before Lecter returns and attacks Graham, wounding and nearly killing him before Graham resists and subdues him.

Lecter is subsequently sentenced to life imprisonment in an institution for the criminally insane while Graham, severely traumatized by the experience, retires from the FBI.

Years later, another serial killer appears. Nicknamed the Tooth Fairy, he stalks and murders seemingly random families during sequential full moons. Hoping to speed things up and capture the killer before his next attack, Special Agent Jack Crawford seeks out Graham and pleads for his assistance. Graham, believing the death of another family to be an unbearable burden on his conscience, reluctantly agrees. After checking over the crime scenes, with only minimal insight, he comes to the realization that most of his previous successes were achieved due to the insightful collaborations of Dr. Lecter, and concludes that he must once again visit Lecter and seek his help in capturing the Tooth Fairy.

It is learned in Hannibal that Lecter chose his victims based on his belief that they were rude in some manner. In the film, it is mentioned that he had attended the concert in which the missing musician had played the wrong notes, ruining the piece. This falls directly into Lecter’s definition of someone being rude. Since Red Dragon was written before Hannibal, this was also not mentioned in the book.

Sister Act

  • Directors: Emile Ardolino
  • Producers: Scott Rudin, Teri Schwartz
  • Writers: Joseph Howard
  • Genres: Comedy, Crime, Music
  • Actors: Whoopi Goldberg, Maggie Smith, Harvey Keitel, Bill Nunn, Kathy Najimy, Wendy Makkena

The movie opens at a Catholic elementary school in 1968. A young girl, revealed to be the film’s main character, is warned against heading down the wrong path due to her behavior in class.

The girl is Deloris Van Cartier (played by Whoopi Goldberg), a struggling lounge singer in Reno, Nevada, dating a married mobster, Vince LaRocca (Harvey Keitel), and she is oblivious to his criminal activities. But the relationship sours after an argument, and later Deloris witnesses him shoot his limo driver, who had been supposedly giving information to the police. Deloris manages to escape to the police and informs them that she is willing to testify against Vince; Lt. Eddie Souther (Bill Nunn) is put in charge of keeping her safe.

Deloris reluctantly goes into hiding as a nun in a Catholic convent in San Francisco, California, where she wears a habit and is given the name “Sister Mary Clarence”. Reverend Mother (Maggie Smith), who takes an instant dislike to Deloris, is only pacified by promises of funds for the neglected church, while Deloris herself chafes at the austere lifestyle of the convent and grates on the nerves of the Abbess, who puts her in the convent’s (lackluster and off-key) choir to keep her out of trouble; but this is where she shines, taking over the choir and putting a new touch on old songs. She has the choir swinging and singing to gospel renditions of hymns (“Hail Holy Queen”), and soul music adapted to have religious themes (for example, Mary Wells’ “My Guy” changed into “My God”). Despite Reverend Mother’s protests, she brings new vigor into the convent and leads it in cleaning up the surrounding neighborhood. Her efforts draw a lot of attention, even from the Pope himself. Meanwhile, Deloris is finding peace and purpose.

The scheme is uncovered by Vince and Deloris is kidnapped by Vince’s goons, to Eddie’s dismay; but after explaining the situation to the other nuns, they agree to help. Meanwhile, Vince orders Deloris killed; she remains calm, making Vince and company rattled, and subsequently escapes. The group of nuns survive the final conflict with Vince and he is arrested. The victorious nuns return to San Francisco for the Pope’s concert. Deloris eventually returns to her successful singing career.

National Treasure

  • Directors: Jon Turteltaub
  • Producers: Jerry Bruckheimer, John Turteltaub
  • Writers: Story by, Jim Kouf, Oren Aviv, Charles Segars, Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio, Screenplay by, Marianne Cormac Wibberley
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Thriller
  • Actors: Nicholas Cage, Diane Kruger, Justin Bartha, Sean Bean, Jon Voight, Harvey Keitel, Christopher Plummer, Yves Michel Beneche, Jason Earles

The story centers on Benjamin Franklin Gates (Cage), an amateur cryptologist with a mechanical engineering degree from MIT and an American history degree from Georgetown who comes from a long line of treasure hunters that believe in the legend of a fantastic treasure trove of artifacts and gold, hidden by the Founding Fathers of the United States, and forgotten to all but a few. The first clue was given to Ben’s great-great-great-great grandfather Thomas Gates (Jason Earles) by Charles Carroll, the last living signer of the Declaration of Independence, saying simply, “The secret lies with Charlotte”.

Using sophisticated computer arctic weather models, Ben, with his friend Riley Poole (Bartha) and financier Ian Howe (Bean), finds the wreckage of a Colonial ship, the Charlotte, containing a meerschaum pipe engraved with a riddle. After examining the riddle, Ben deduces that the next clue is on the back of the Declaration of Independence. While Ben sees gaining access to such a highly guarded artifact as an obstacle, Ian finds no problem in stealing it. In the standoff, Ian escapes and the Charlotte explodes with Ben and Riley inside, nearly killing them.

They attempt to warn the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, and Dr. Abigail Chase (Kruger) at the National Archives, but no one takes them seriously, believing it to be too heavily guarded to be under any threat. Ben thinks otherwise, however, and decides to steal it to keep it from Ian. Ben and Riley manage to steal the Declaration during a 70th anniversary-gala, just before Ian arrives. Dr. Chase, who is holding a replica, is kidnapped by Ian who thinks she has the real one, and Ben has to engage in a car chase to rescue her. As she will not leave without the Declaration, and Ben will not let her leave with it, she is forced to go along with them.

When they leave through the second exit and the FBI arrives, Ben discovers that the chief investigator, Special agent Peter Sadusky (Keitel), is a Freemason. Ben proposes to give the treasure to various museums around the world, with credit being given to the entire Gates family and Riley, with Dr. Chase not being penalized for the theft of the Declaration. However, Sadusky says that someone has to go to prison for the theft of the Declaration, so they fly to Boston, where Ian and his men are breaking the lock to gain entry to the Old North Church. FBI agents emerge from hiding and arrest them under charges of “kidnapping, attempted murder, and trespassing on government property.” The U.S. government offers Ben and his friends 10% of the treasure, but Ben only takes 1% and splits it with Riley. With his share, Ben and Abigail buy a mansion once owned by a man who knew Charles Carroll, and Riley buys a red Ferrari 360 Spider. The film ends with Abigail giving Ben a map and when he curiously asks what it leads to she just smiles a suggestive grin.

The Pick up Artist

  • Directors: James Toback
  • Producers:
  • Writers: James Toback
  • Genres: Comedy, Romance
  • Actors: Robert Downey Jr, Molly Ringwald, Dennis Hopper, Danny Aiello, Harvey Keitel, Mildred Dunnock, Polly Draper

Randy Jensen (Ringwald) is a smart, independent tour guide who beats womanizer Jack Jericho (Downey) at his own game. Her indifference, of course, only causes him to become smitten with her. Randy is too busy trying to keep her alcoholic gambler father, Flash Jensen (Dennis Hopper), out of harm’s way to get into a serious relationship. But Jack’s persistence soon pays off when he offers to help rescue Randy’s dad from the mob.

Reservoir Dogs

  • Directors: Quentin Tarantino
  • Producers: Lawrence Bender
  • Writers: Quentin Tarantino
  • Genres: Crime, Drama, Thriller
  • Actors: Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Steve Buscemi, Chris Penn, Michael Madsen, Lawrence Tierney

The film opens to eight men eating breakfast at a diner: Mr. Blonde (Michael Madsen), Mr. Blue (Eddie Bunker), Mr. Brown (Quentin Tarantino), Mr. Orange (Tim Roth), Mr. Pink (Steve Buscemi), Mr. White (Harvey Keitel), Joe Cabot (Lawrence Tierney), and his son, “Nice Guy” Eddie (Chris Penn). Mr. Brown discusses his comparative analysis on Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” and Mr. Pink explains his anti-tipping policy until Joe forces him to leave a tip.

After the credits, the action cuts quickly to the interior of a speeding car. Mr. White, driving with one hand, is trying to comfort a hysterical Mr. Orange, who has been shot in the abdomen and is bleeding profusely. They arrive at an abandoned warehouse, later revealed to be the rendezvous point for the armed robbery they have just committed. Mr. White leaves Mr. Orange on the warehouse floor. Mr. Pink appears and angrily suggests that the jewelry heist was a setup. Mr. Brown has been killed by the police and the whereabouts of Mr. Blonde and Mr. Blue are unknown to Mr. White and Mr. Pink.

Mr. White and Mr. Pink are enraged at Mr. Blonde, who shot and killed several civilians after the alarm went off. They argue about whether or not to take the unconscious Mr. Orange to a hospital. The argument turns violent when Mr. White reveals that he told Mr. Orange his real first name. They point their loaded pistols at each other. At that point, Mr. Blonde, who has been watching the action from the shadows, steps forward and tells them not to leave the warehouse because Nice Guy Eddie is on his way there. Mr. Blonde takes them outside to his car and opens the trunk to reveal Marvin Nash (Kirk Baltz), a police officer he has captured.

The remainder of the heist group return to the warehouse to find a dead Mr. Blonde. Mr. Orange claims that Mr. Blonde was going to kill the officer, Mr. Orange and the rest of the gang so that he could take the diamonds for himself. Eddie doesn’t believe the story and, furious with Mr. Orange, shoots Marvin dead. Joe walks in and tells everyone that Mr. Blue was killed, and confidently accuses Mr. Orange of being an informant, forcing Mr. White to defend Mr. Orange. Joe points a gun at Mr. Orange as Mr. White points his gun at Joe. Eddie then points his gun at Mr. White, posing a Mexican standoff. After a brief attempt at reasoning with each other, Joe shoots Mr. Orange and is then shot dead by Mr. White; Eddie shoots Mr. White, who shoots and kills Eddie. Mr. Pink, who stayed out of the shootout, takes the diamonds and flees. There is some ambiguity as to his fate; faint sound effects of a car trying to start, police sirens and gunshots suggests he was either captured or killed by the police. Mr. White cradles Mr. Orange in his arms and Mr. Orange reveals that he is in fact a cop, devastating his friend. Mr. White puts his gun to Mr. Orange’s head just as the police enter. He pulls the trigger, and the police blow him away as well. The film ends with an abrupt cut to black.

Taxi Driver

  • Directors: Martin Scorsese
  • Producers: Julia Phillips, Michael Phillips
  • Writers: Paul Schrader
  • Genres: Drama, Thriller
  • Actors: Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, Albert Brooks, Harvey Keitel, Leonard Harris, Peter Boyle, Cybill Shepherd

Travis Bickle (De Niro), who claims to be an honorably discharged Marine – it is implied that he is a Vietnam veteran – is a lonely and depressed young man of 26. His origins are unknown. He sends his parents cards, lying about his life and saying he works with the Secret Service. He settles in Manhattan, where he becomes a night time taxi driver due to chronic insomnia.[1] Bickle spends his restless days in seedy porn theaters and works 12 or 14 hour shifts during the evening and night time hours carrying passengers among all five boroughs of New York City.

Bickle becomes interested in Betsy (Cybill Shepherd), a campaign volunteer for New York Senator Charles Palantine, who is running for the presidential nomination and is promising dramatic social change. She is initially intrigued by Bickle and agrees to a date with him after he flirts with her over coffee and sympathizes with her own apparent loneliness. She compares him to a character in the Kris Kristofferson song “The Pilgrim, Chapter 33”: “He’s a prophet and a pusher, partly truth, partly fiction – a walking contradiction.” On their date, however, Bickle is clueless about how to treat a woman and thinks it would be a good idea to take her to a Swedish sex education film (Language of Love). Offended, she leaves him and takes a taxi home alone. The next day he tries to reconcile with Betsy, phoning her and sending her flowers, but all of his attempts are in vain.[1]

A brief (and possibly imagined) epilogue shows Bickle recuperating from the incident. He has received a handwritten letter from Iris’s parents who thank him for saving their daughter, and the media hail him as a hero for saving her as well.[1] Bickle blithely returns to his job, where one night one of his fares happens to be Betsy. She comments about his saving of Iris and Bickle’s own media fame, yet Bickle denies being any sort of hero. He drops her off without charging her and continues driving into the night–though not before hearing a small, piercing noise which causes him to stare hesitantly at an unseen object in his taxi’s rearview mirror–possibly indicating a relapse of his past violent tendencies seen earlier in the film.

Pulp Fiction

  • Directors: Quentin Tarantino
  • Producers: Lawrence Bender
  • Writers: Quentin Tarantino, Roger Avary
  • Genres: Crime, Drama, Thriller
  • Actors: John Travolta, Samuel L Jackson, Uma Thurman, Bruce Willis, Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Amanda Plummer, Maria de Medeiros, Ving Rhames, Eric Stoltz, Rosanna Arquette, Christopher Walken

“Pumpkin” (Tim Roth) and “Honey Bunny” (Amanda Plummer) are having breakfast in a diner. They decide to rob it after realizing they could make money off not just the business but the customers as well, as occurred during their previous heist. Moments after they initiate the hold-up, the scene breaks off and the title credits roll.

As Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson) drives, Vincent Vega (John Travolta) talks about his experiences in Europe, from where he has just returned—the hash bars in Amsterdam; the French McDonald’s and its “Royale with Cheese.” The dress-suited pair are on their way to retrieve a briefcase from Brett (Frank Whaley), who has transgressed against their boss, gangster Marsellus Wallace. Jules tells Vincent how Marsellus had someone thrown off a fourth-floor balcony for giving his wife a foot massage. Vincent says that Marsellus has asked him to escort his wife while Marsellus is out of town. They conclude their banter and “get into character,” which involves executing Brett in dramatic fashion after Jules recites a baleful “biblical” pronouncement.

In a virtually empty cocktail lounge, aging prizefighter Butch Coolidge (Bruce Willis) accepts a large sum of money from Marsellus (Ving Rhames), agreeing to take a dive in his upcoming match. Butch and Vincent briefly cross paths as Vincent and Jules—now inexplicably dressed in T-shirts and shorts—arrive to deliver the briefcase. The next day, Vincent drops by the house of Lance (Eric Stoltz) and Jody (Rosanna Arquette) to score some high-grade heroin. He shoots up before driving over to meet Mrs. Mia Wallace (Uma Thurman) and take her out. They head to Jack Rabbit Slim’s, a 1950s-themed restaurant staffed by lookalikes of the decade’s pop icons. Mia recounts her experience as an actress in a failed television pilot, “Fox Force Five.”

As Jules and Vincent eat breakfast in a Hawthorne coffee shop the discussion returns to Jules’s decision to retire. In a brief cutaway, we see “Pumpkin” and “Honey Bunny” shortly before they initiate the hold-up from the movie’s first scene. While Vincent is in the bathroom, the hold-up commences. “Pumpkin” demands all of the patrons’ valuables, including Jules’s mysterious case. Jules surprises “Pumpkin” (whom he calls “Ringo”), holding him at gunpoint. “Honey Bunny,” hysterical, trains her gun on Jules. Vincent emerges from the restroom with his gun trained on her, creating a Mexican standoff. Reprising his pseudo-biblical passage, Jules expresses his ambivalence about his life of crime. As his first act of redemption, he allows the two robbers to take the cash they have stolen and leave, pondering how they were spared and leaving the briefcase to be returned to Marsellus, finishing the hitman’s final job for his boss.