Tropic Thunder

  • Directors: Ben Stiller
  • Producers: Stuart Cornfeld, Eric McLeod, Ben Stiller
  • Writers: Ben Stiller, Justin Theroux, Etan Cohen
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Comedy, War
  • Actors: Ben Stiller, Robert Downey Jr, Jack Black, Brandon T Jackson, Jay Baruchel

During the filming of hook-handed Vietnam veteran John “Four Leaf” Tayback’s memoir, Tropic Thunder, the actors—fading action hero Tugg Speedman, five-time Academy Award-winning Australian method actor Kirk Lazarus, rapper Alpa Chino, and drug-addicted comedian Jeff Portnoy—behave unreasonably (with the exception of newcomer supporting actor Kevin Sandusky). Rookie director Damien Cockburn is unable to control the actors during the filming of a large war scene, and just five days into shooting the production is reported to be a month behind schedule. Cockburn is ordered by studio executive Les Grossman to get filming back on track.

Acting on Tayback’s advice, Cockburn drops the actors into the middle of the jungle, where he has installed hidden cameras and special-effect explosions rigged so he can film “guerrilla-style”. The actors have guns that fire blanks, along with a map and scene listing that will guide them to a helicopter waiting at the end of the jungle route. Unbeknownst to the actors and the production, the group have been dropped in the middle of the Golden Triangle, the home of the heroin-producing Flaming Dragon gang. Shortly after the group set off, the five actors are stunned to see Cockburn blown up by a land mine. Speedman, believing Cockburn faked his death, persuades Chino, Portnoy, and Sandusky that Cockburn is alive and that they are still shooting the film. Lazarus is unconvinced that Cockburn is alive, but joins the other actors in their trek through the jungle.

The four actors locate Tayback, Underwood, and Speedman and cross a bridge rigged to explode to get to Underwood’s helicopter. Speedman asks to remain behind with the gang which he considers his “family”, but quickly returns with Flaming Dragon in pursuit. Tayback detonates the bridge, allowing Speedman to reach safety, but as the helicopter takes off, the gang fires a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) at the machine. Peck unexpectedly stumbles out of the jungle carrying a TiVo box and throws it in the path of the RPG, saving them all. The actors and crew return to Hollywood, where footage from the hidden cameras is compiled into a feature film, Tropic Blunder, which becomes a major critical and box office hit.

King Kong

  • Directors: Peter Jackson
  • Producers: Jan Blenkin, Carolynne Cunningham, Fran Walsh, Peter Jackson
  • Writers: Screenplay, Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Story, Merian C Cooper, Edgar Wallace
  • Genres: Adventure, Romance
  • Actors: Andy Serkis, Naomi Watts, Jack Black, Adrien Brody

The film opens in New York City, 1933, at the height of the Great Depression. Having lost her job as a vaudeville actress, Ann Darrow is hired by troubled filmmaker Carl Denham to be an actress in his new motion picture against the famous and popular actor Bruce Baxter. With time running out, Ann signs on when she learns her favorite playwright Jack Driscoll is the screenwriter. As the SS Venture sails across the ocean, they slowly fall in love. As for Carl, a warrant is out for his arrest and Captain Englehorn begins to have second thoughts, following the fears of his crew over the legend of Skull Island. Despite his attempt to turn around, the ship is sucked up into fog and crashes into one of the encircling rocks.

Carl and his crew explore a seemingly deserted village against a wall. As they explore, Carl spots a native girl and offers her chocolate but she attacks, and Carl and the crew realize the village isn’t deserted. Then, a member of Carl’s film crew gets impaled by a spear, Ann notices and screams, a roar beyond the wall responds and the crew are attacked by the natives. The matriarch vows to sacrifice Ann to “Kong”. Just as Carl is about to be killed, Englehorn and the sailors break up the attack and return to the damaged ship. They finally lighten the load on the ship to sail away, until Jack discovers Ann has been kidnapped. On the island in a sacrificing ceremony, Ann is tied to a wooden drawbridge by the natives and lowered to the other side of the wall across a moat-like ditch in the ground. The crew arrived armed, and started killing all the natives. But are too late as Kong appears to claim Ann, and glares back at Carl, and then disappears with Ann into the jungle as Carl watches from the opposite side of the wall. A rescue party is organized, and Captain Englehorn gives them 24 hours to find her. In the meantime as Kong holding Ann moves quickly through the jungle and shakes her around, Ann discovers the remains of the previous sacrifices, and stabs Kong’s hand with her ceremonial necklace, much to Kong’s surprise. Hearing the rescue party approaching, Kong grabs Ann as she tries to run from him and takes her deeper into the jungle.

Kong eventually stops Jack’s taxi, knocking Jack unconscious, he then sees Ann down the street, which calms him down before he can kill Jack. They share a quiet moment on a frozen lake in Central Park then are interrupted by the military. Kong heads to the Empire State Building and climbs to the top. While observing the dawning day, Kong repeats the sign for “beautiful” Ann had used in his lair, causing a shocked Ann to realize his intelligence. Before Ann is able to attempt further communication, they are again attacked by the military. Kong makes his last stand against the Curtiss Helldivers,[3] on the summit of the observation spire, downing three of them. Ultimately, Kong is hit by several bursts of gunfire from the surviving planes, and gazes at a distraught Ann for the last time before falling off the building to his death. Jack finally reaches Ann and comforts her. In the aftermath, hundreds of people and reporters run to Kong’s lifeless body and look in amazement. A man tells Carl that the airplanes got him. But Carl says, “It wasn’t the airplanes. It was Beauty killed the Beast.”

Shark Tale

  • Directors: Rob Letterman, Vicky Jenson, Bibo Bergeron
  • Producers: Jeffrey Katzenberg
  • Writers: Rob Letterman
  • Genres: Animation, Comedy, Family
  • Actors: Will Smith, Jack Black, Robert De Niro, Angelina Jolie, Martin Scorsese, Ziggy Marley, Doug E Doug, Lenny Venito

The story begins with an underachieving fish named Oscar (Will Smith), who is fantasizing about being rich and famous… while making his way to work as a tongue scrubber at the local Whale Wash. Soon after arriving he is called to the office of his boss, Sykes (Martin Scorsese), to discuss the fact that he owes “five thousand clams” and has to pay it back by the next day. After explaining this to his best friend Angie (Renée Zellweger), she offers him a chance to pay back the money by pawning an heirloom pink pearl. Oscar brings the money to the race track to meet Sykes, but becomes distracted by his wishes of grandeur and places it all on a long-shot bet. Such a large bet is noticed nearby by a beautiful fish named Lola (Angelina Jolie), who flagrantly flirts with Oscar until quickly discovering the truth. Sykes is furious that Oscar bet the money but nonetheless agrees to see how the race turns out. Moments before their “horse” crosses the finish line he trips and falls. The race is lost and Oscar is set to be surreptitiously killed.

Meanwhile, on another side of the ocean, a family of criminally-inclined sharks has a problem with one of their sons, Lenny (Jack Black). Lenny refuses to act the part of a killer and wishes to not have to live up to those expectations. Finally his father, Don Lino (Robert De Niro), loses patience and orders Lenny’s more savage brother, Frankie (Michael Imperioli) to show Lenny the ropes. As the two sharks set out to go in accordance with their father’s wishes, Frankie spots the scene where Oscar is being electrocuted by Ernie and Bernie (Doug E. Doug & Ziggy Marley), Sykes’ two Jamaican jellyfish thugs, and sends Lenny off to attack. The jellyfish spot Lenny and swim off, leaving Oscar alone with him. Lenny frees Oscar but fails to trick Frankie, who becomes annoyed and charges at Oscar until an unknown anchor falls and kills him. Lenny flees, overcome with grief and guilt. As no one saw the deed done and Oscar was seen near the body, everyone thinks he did it, and Oscar sees this as the chance to both redeem himself and receive his fame.

Oscar buys some Valentine’s Day gifts for Angie, but before he can present them to her, he finds that Don Lino has abducted Angie in order to force a meeting. Lenny comes along, now disguised as a dolphin named Sebastian. They arrive at the meeting to find Lola next to Don Lino, while Angie is bound and gagged and presented to Don Lino on a plate, who prepares to eat her if Oscar doesn’t comply. Oscar just laughs and “Sebastian” lunges forward to scoop Angie into his mouth, giving Oscar dominance over the sharks. However, he spends too much time threatening the sharks and doesn’t realize how much pain Lenny is in, and Angie is regurgitated onto the table. Don Lino suddenly realizes it’s Lenny and proceeds to chase Oscar through the reef, but Oscar heads for the whale wash and ends up trapping both sharks. Given an ovation by the other fish, Oscar confesses that he is not a “Sharkslayer” and that it was an anchor that had killed Frankie. He then strongly urges Don Lino not to prejudge people before he knows them properly and to not make the mistake he made in prejudging his wealth, so Don Lino and Lenny reconcile. Oscar forsakes all the wealth he has acquired, makes peace with the sharks, becomes manager of the Whale Wash (now frequented by sharks), and begins dating Angie.

The School of Rock

  • Directors: Richard Linklater
  • Producers: Scott Aversano, Steve Nicolaides, Scott Rudin
  • Writers: Mike White
  • Genres: Comedy, Family, Music
  • Actors: Jack Black, Joan Cusack, Mike White, Sarah Silverman, Miranda Cosgrove

Dewey Finn (Jack Black), a hard rock singer and guitarist, is unanimously voted out of his band No Vacancy by the rest of the members for his arrogance and frequent hyperactive stage antics. His submissive roommate and lifelong friend Ned Schneebly (writer Mike White), a substitute teacher, threatens Dewey with eviction under heavy pressure from his girlfriend Patty Di Marco (Sarah Silverman) unless Dewey “gets a real job” and pays off his growing rent debt. Dewey feels forced to give up his passion until he receives a phone call intended for Ned from Rosaline Mullins (Joan Cusack), principal of Horace Green, a prestigious prep school, asking Ned to fill in for a teacher who would be out for several weeks. Desperate for income to avoid getting evicted, Dewey impersonates Ned and takes the job as a substitute teacher for the fifth-grade class.

Dewey has no real idea how to carry out his role as a teacher, and instead simply gives his students constant free time. However, when he overhears his pupils playing in music class he realizes that some of the children in the class have musical talent. He decides to turn his temporary job into what he tells them is a special class project, but is actually a personal one: to turn a classroom full of kids into a rock band and crew, complete with a ten-year-old manager, a girl called Summer (Miranda Cosgrove), which will serve as a vehicle to stardom, ultimately to win the upcoming Battle of the Bands, where he is out to avenge his eviction from his old band and win the $20,000 prize.

As the credits go up, Summer is seen arguing a deal over the cell phone as she enters the School of Rock, a newly opened after-school program where Dewey continues to coach the band and Ned teaches the younger ones, and the credits roll as the band sings “The movie is over, but we’re still on screen” breaking the fourth wall.

The Jackal

  • Directors: Michael Caton Jones
  • Producers: Michael Caton Jones, Sean Daniel, James Jacks, Kevin Jarre
  • Writers: Chuck Pfarrer
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Crime, Thriller
  • Actors: Bruce Willis, Richard Gere, Sidney Poitier, Diane Venora, Mathilda May, Jack Black

A joint mission of the American FBI and the Russian MVD leads to the death of the younger brother of a Russian mobster. In retaliation, the mobster hires an enigmatic assassin known only by the pseudonym “The Jackal” (Bruce Willis) to carry out the killing of an unknown-to-the-viewer target. The Jackal’s price is $70 million, with half paid up front and the other half payable upon completion of the job. If word of the operation gets out, the Jackal has the option whether or not to continue; either way the initial payment is his to keep. The Jackal advises the mobster to find a place to hide out until after the operation is complete.

Whilst he is hiding out the Russian MVD capture one of the mobster’s henchman in Finland; during the interrogation he reveals information about the Jackal. This coupled with the documents recovered from the henchman’s briefcase lead the FBI and MVD to assume the target for the retaliatory hit is FBI Director Donald Brown.

As the Jackal begins his preparations for the assassination, he obtains fakes ID’s, purchases a Polish KPV from an on-line arms dealer and arranges it to be shipped to Montreal under one of his assumed names. The FBI learns of one person who can identify the Jackal. FBI Deputy Director Carter Preston (Sidney Poitier) and Russian Police Major Valentina Koslova (Diane Venora) turn to a former Irish Republican Army sniper named Declan Joseph Mulqueen (Richard Gere), who had a relationship with a Basque woman named Isabella Zanconia (Mathilda May), whom they believe can identify The Jackal. However, Mulqueen refuses to tell them the whereabouts of Zanconia, saying instead he will take them to her. The FBI declines the offer; as they are leaving he claims to have met the Jackal. The price of his help is his release from prison and a pardon so he can return to Ireland. The FBI cannot grant his request but Mulqueen settles for their best efforts to get him freed.

A few days later, Preston and Mulqueen stand as the only witnesses to the Jackal’s burial in an unmarked grave. Preston, recognized as a hero for saving the First Lady’s life, tells Mulqueen he knows that someone in his “line of work” would have money and papers to start a new life if he went on the run. He then tells Mulqueen he’s going to get some coffee and won’t be back for 30 minutes, leading the IRA man to smile as Preston sincerely thanks him. They head off in separate directions.

Nacho Libre

  • Directors: Jared Hess
  • Producers: Jack Black, David Klawans, Julia Pistor, Mike White, Ricardo Del Rio
  • Writers: Jared Hess, Jerusha Hess, Mike White
  • Genres: Comedy, Family, Sport
  • Actors: Jack Black

Ignacio (Jack Black) is an overweight luchador with a tag-team partner. His mother was a Lutheran missionary from Scandinavia and his father was a deacon from Mexico. They tried to convert each other but instead got married, then died while Ignacio was young. Having grown up as an orphan in a Mexican monastery, he is now a grown man and the monastery’s cook, but he is looked down upon by the other friars. All his life, Ignacio has dreamed of becoming a luchador (lucha libre performer); but because wrestling was forbidden by the monastery, his dream remains unfulfilled. Ignacio cares deeply for the orphans, having grown up in the orphanage himself, but his food is terrible due to a lack of funds with which to obtain quality ingredients.

After being robbed in an alley of the orphans’ tortilla chips, he decides that he must hatch a plan to make money to buy better food. During the same few days, he reveals that he additionally desires to be respected and admired, as the luchadores are; that he is particularly hostile to one friar, who behaves in a sanctimonious way toward him; and that he harbors loving feelings for the newly arrived tutor, Sister Encarnación (Ana de la Reguera) with whom he finds he has much in common. It is partly to impress Sister Encarnación with the idea that he is a good man that Ignacio calculates his later actions.

Ignacio uses the prize money to buy a bus for field trips for the children. The film closes on one such trip, wherein Ignacio, Steven, and Sister Encarnación take the children to see an ancient city, Monte Albán, built by the Zapotec civilization. Ignacio, by now, has earned Encarnación’s favor, as demonstrated by her signs of encouragement and his somewhat awkward acknowledgment thereof.

High Fidelity

  • Directors: Stephen Frears
  • Producers: Tim Bevan, Rudd Simmons
  • Writers: Nick Hornby, D V DeVincentis, Steve Pink, John Cusack, Scott Rosenberg
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama, Music, Romance
  • Actors: John Cusack, Iben Hjejle, Jack Black, Todd Louiso, Joan Cusack, Tim Robbins, Catherine Zeta Jones, Lisa Bonet, Joelle Carter, Sara Gilbert, Lili Taylor, Natasha Gregson Wagner

The plot of High Fidelity centers on Rob Gordon (John Cusack), a self-confessed audiophile whose flair for understanding women is less than par for the course. After getting dumped by his current girlfriend, Laura (Iben Hjejle), he decides to look up some of his old flames in an attempt to figure out what he keeps doing wrong in his relationships.

He spends his days at his record store, Championship Vinyl, where he holds court over the customers that drift through. Helping Rob in his task of musical elitism are Dick (Todd Louiso) and Barry (Jack Black), the “musical moron twins,” as he refers to them. Armed with an encyclopedic knowledge of all things musical, they compile “top five” lists for every conceivable occasion, openly mock the ignorance of their customers, and, every so often, actually sell a few records. Also there are some teenagers, Vince (Chris Rehmann) and Justin (Ben Carr), who skate near his store. In one busy day at the store, the teenagers try to steal some records and he chases them down, making his dislike for them bigger, until one day, he listens to a recording that they did and offers them a record deal, starting his own label called “Top 5 Records”. During his off hours, he pines for the lost girlfriend Laura and does his best to win her back.

Enemy of the State

  • Directors: Tony Scott
  • Producers: Jerry Bruckheimer
  • Writers: David Marconi
  • Genres: Action, Drama, Thriller
  • Actors: Will Smith, Gene Hackman, Jon Voight, Lisa Bonet, Regina King, Jack Black

As the movie opens, the legislature is close to passing legislation to expand surveillance powers of law enforcement agencies. Republican Congressman Phil Hammersly (Jason Robards, uncredited) is trying to stop the bill because he believes it is an invasion of privacy, while Thomas Reynolds (Jon Voight) is trying to push the bill through to confront growing terrorist threats against the U.S.–and advance his own career. Hammersly, on making it clear he won’t reconsider, is then killed with a syringe to the neck near a lake by David Pratt (Barry Pepper), one of two rogue NSA agents loyal to Reynolds, who plant a bottle of heart medication near the body to make the death seem like a heart attack. However, a video camera set up by wildlife researcher Daniel Zavitz (Jason Lee) to monitor geese migration caught the entire incident.

When Zavitz views Hammersley’s murder, he realizes that the news reports of a sudden heart attack are false and sends word to a friend of his, an anti-war activist. Zavitz is unaware that another of Reynolds’ agents saw him retrieve the tape from the video camera, alerting them that Zavitz could have possibly videotaped the murder. He copies the tape onto a computer cartridge, and when NSA agents arrive, he hides the tape in a TurboExpress and escapes. Tracked by satellite and pursued by NSA agents, Zavitz bumps into an old friend from Georgetown University, labor lawyer Robert Clayton Dean (Will Smith) who is in a ladies undergarment store shopping for a gift for his wife.

Dean and Brill are among the few survivors. Reynolds, Pratt, nearly all of the rogue agents involved in the conspiracy, and most of the mobsters – including Pintero – are killed. The FBI sweeps in and the plot behind the legislation is soon exposed. The only two surviving conspirators, NSA technicians Fiedler (Jack Black) and Jamie (Jamie Kennedy) are taken into custody by the FBI, and the NSA’s involvement is covered up by the FBI, by implicating the late Pintero as the one who killed Rachel Banks. Sam Albert informs the media in an interview that the bill did not pass the legislature, and Dean is cleared of all charges and returns home with his wife, while Brill, who escapes to exile in a tropical location, sends a friendly message to Dean via his television set.

Ice Age

  • Directors: Chris Wedge, Carlos Saldanha
  • Producers: John C Donkin, Lori Forte
  • Writers: Michael J Wilson, Michael Berg
  • Genres: Adventure, Animation, Family, Comedy
  • Actors: Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Jack Black

The film begins with a squirrel known as Scrat, who is trying to find a location to store his prized acorn. Eventually, as he tries to hide it, he causes an avalanche. He barely escapes, but finds himself stepped on by a herd of prehistoric animals. The animals are trying to avoid the ice age by migrating south. Sid, a clumsy ground sloth left behind by his family, is attacked by two Brontops whom he angered. Sid is soon saved by Manfred (“Manny”), an agitated mammoth who fights them off. Not wanting to be alone and unprotected, Sid follows Manny. Meanwhile, Soto, the leader of a Smilodon pride wants revenge on a group of humans by eating the chief’s son, Roshan, alive. There is an attack on the human camp, causing Roshan’s mother to be separated from the rest. Soto’s lieutenant, Diego, is sent to find and bring the baby back. Sid and Manny spot Nadia near the lake having survived her trip over the waterfall. She has only enough strength to trust her baby to Manny before she disappears. After much persuasion by the sloth, they decide to return Roshan (nicknamed “Pinky”) but when they get to the human camp, the humans are gone. They meet up with Diego, who convinces the pair to let him help by tracking the humans. The four travel on, with Diego secretly leading them to an ambush. Soon they reach a cave where Sid and Diego learn about Manny’s past and his previous interactions with the humans, where his wife and son were killed, leaving Manny a cynical loner.

There is also a subplot where an animal named Scrat makes many comical attempts to bury his beloved acorn. His misfortunes include getting chased by an enormous glacier, being struck by lightning, attempting to thaw out the acorn by a fire too long so that it accidentally took the form of a kernel of popcorn, and finally getting cyronically frozen in an ice cube along with his much sought after nut. 20,000 years into the future, the ice cube washes up on the shore of an island. The sun slowly melts the cube, thawing Scrat and the ice surrounding his acorn, which is barely out of reach, and ends up being removed from the ice cube by the tide. Scrat then explodes out of the ice cube in anger and hits his head repetitively on a tree, which drops a coconut. Believing it to be a giant acorn, Scrat’s anger immediately turns to glee at this new find. He tries to pack it into the ground as he did previously with his acorns, but in the process causes a volcanic eruption. Scrat is known to be similar to the Laotian rock rat. Scrat also got his own short film entitled Gone Nutty, where he loses his meticulously-organized collection of acorns in a catastrophic chain of events occurring after ramming his acorn into the hole in the exact middle of the collection. He remains with one which is reduced to an ashen crisp after it went crashing down on him with an impact like a missile, ultimately causing the tectonic shift.

Kung Fu Panda

  • Directors: Mark Osborne, John Stevenson
  • Producers: Melissa Cobb
  • Writers: Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger
  • Genres: Animation, Action, Comedy, Family
  • Actors: Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, Ian McShane, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu, Randall Duk Kim, David Cross

In an alternate China (populated entirely by anthropomorphic animals), the Valley of Peace is protected by the Furious Five – Tigress, Monkey, Mantis, Viper, and Crane – a quintet of warriors trained in kung fu by the tortoise Master Oogway and his protégé, the red panda Master Shifu. One day, Master Oogway has a premonition that Shifu’s former pupil and foster-son, the snow leopard Tai Lung, who was imprisoned after turning to evil, will escape from his high-security prison and attack the Valley. Oogway instructs Shifu and the others to hold a tournament in order to choose the legendary Dragon Warrior, worthy to receive the power of the Dragon Scroll, which is said to give nigh-supreme power to whomever reads it.

Po, a young giant panda and kung fu fanatic who works in his duck father’s noodle restaurant, is anxious to see the tournament, but is instead forced to take a noodle cart up the hill to the Jade Palace. When he arrives, the gates are closed and the tournament has already started. Desperate to see the tournament, Po tries several ways to get inside. In a final attempt, Po straps himself to a set of fireworks, by which he propels himself into the middle of the arena just as Oogway is about to point out the new Dragon Warrior, so that Oogway indicates Po as such. Unwilling to believe that a clumsy, fat panda can become the Dragon Warrior, Shifu attempts to berate and humiliate Po into quitting, subjecting him to a grueling series of matches with the Five, all of whom despise Po as an upstart, a failure, and a nobody. Po is dejected after his first day of training, but when he is given advice by Master Oogway, he refuses to give up. Soon, he endears himself to most of the Five (sans Tigress) with his impressive tenacity, culinary skill, and good humor, though he is still unable to grasp the basics of kung fu.

The Furious Five return with the village to find Po, dazed but victorious. Deeply impressed, Tigress leads the Furious Five in their acceptance of Po as a kung fu master. Po returns to Shifu and finds that he is barely conscious, but alive, and finally at peace now that Tai Lung has been defeated and peace restored. In a post-credits sequence, Po and Shifu are seen eating dumplings under Oogway’s favorite peach tree, where a peach seed Shifu planted earlier has begun to sprout into a seedling.