August Rush

  • Directors: Kirsten Sheridan
  • Producers: Richard Barton Lewis
  • Writers: Nick Castle, James V Hart, Paul Castro
  • Genres: Drama, Music, Romance
  • Actors: Freddie Highmore, Keri Russell, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Robin Williams, Terrence Howard, William Sadler, Marian Seldes, Alex O Loughlin

A boy named Evan Taylor (Freddie Highmore) lives in an orphanage, all the while believing that his parents are alive. He believes the music that he hears all around him is his parents communicating with him.

He meets a counselor, Richard Jeffries (Terrence Howard), of the New York Child Services Department. Evan tells him he does not want to be adopted, because he believes his parents are still alive and will come to collect him eventually.

Through a series of flashbacks, his parents are revealed to be named Lyla Novacek, (Keri Russell), a famous concert cellist, and Louis Connelly (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), an Irish guitarist and lead singer of a rock band, who spent one romantic night together and never saw each other again. Lyla became pregnant, which her father did not approve of, instead wanting Lyla to have a successful career without the obstacle of a child. After an argument with her father, Lyla ran out of a restaurant and was hit by a car. While in hospital, she gave birth to a son. Afterwards, she was told by her father that her child had died, unaware that he had actually been delivered successfully and then been sent to an orphanage by her father. Louis has never forgotten Lyla and does not know about Evan. Both have since given up music careers.

The night of the concert, Evan finally chooses to run from Wizard in favor of performing at his concert. In the meantime, Louis races to the park when he sees Evan’s pseudonym along with Lyla’s name on a sign billing the concert. Evan conducts his piece, and at its conclusion, when he turns around to see Lyla and Louis standing hand in hand, he knows that his mother and father heard his music.

Dracula

  • Directors: Francis Ford Coppola
  • Producers: Francis Ford Coppola, Fred Fuchs, Charles Mulvehill
  • Writers: Novel, Bram Stoker, Screenplay, James V Hart
  • Genres: Horror, Romance
  • Actors: Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, Anthony Hopkins, Keanu Reeves, Richard E Grant, Cary Elwes, Billy Campbell, Sadie Frost, Tom Waits

The film begins in a prologue, where Vlad III the Impaler (Oldman) fights for Romania as a knight in the Order of the Dragon. He defeats an overwhelming Turkish invasion in 1462. Upon returning home, he finds his beloved wife Elisabeta (Ryder) dead, having committed suicide upon hearing the false reports of his death in battle. Enraged at the notion of his wife being eternally damned as a suicide, of which he is informed by a priest (Hopkins), Dracula desecrates his chapel and renounces God, declaring that he will rise from the grave to avenge Elisabeta with all the powers of darkness.

Over four centuries later in 1897, Jonathan Harker (Reeves), a law firm clerk, travels to Transylvania to arrange the transfer of Carfax Abbey in London, Count Dracula’s newest real estate acquisition. At the castle, full of bizarre, unnatural features and shadows that move by themselves, Harker meets Dracula, a wrinkled, pale old man in brilliant red robes. During the final signing of the real estate papers, the Count caresses a picture of Harker’s fiancée Mina Murray (Ryder), the reincarnation of his long dead wife, Elisabeta. Dracula then sets sail on the ship Demeter to England, leaving Harker captive by Dracula’s insatiable and bloodthirsty Brides (Monica Bellucci, Michaela Bercu and Florina Kendrick), who systematically drink his blood and have intercourse with him, leaving him too weak to escape.

In the castle, in the very chapel where he renounced God, Dracula lies dying. His body ravaged by age, he rebuffs Mina’s attempts to pull the knife from his heart. They share a last kiss, as the candles adorning the chapel miraculously light, and the desecrations he committed on the altar are repaired. As he asks Mina to give him peace, she shoves the knife through his heart and decapitates him. Mina then looks hopefully up at the vast ceiling, where a painting of Vlad and Elisabeta is shown of them rising, together, up to heaven.

Contact

  • Directors: Robert Zemeckis
  • Producers: Robert Zemeckis, Steve Starkey
  • Writers: Novel, Carl Sagan, Screen story, Carl Sagan, Ann Druyan, Screenplay, James V Hart, Michael Goldenberg
  • Genres: Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi, Thriller
  • Actors: Jodie Foster, Matthew McConaughey, James Woods, Tom Skerritt, William Fichtner, John Hurt, Angela Bassett, David Morse

Dr. Arroway is a scientist for the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) program at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. She and her colleagues listen to radio transmissions in hopes of finding signals sent by extraterrestrial life. Government scientist David Drumlin eventually pulls the funding from SETI. After eighteen months of searching, Ellie is able to gain funding from reclusive billionaire industrialist S.R. Hadden, which allows her to continue her studies at the Very Large Array in New Mexico.

Four years later, with Drumlin applying pressure to close SETI, Arroway finds a strong signal repeating a sequence of prime numbers, apparently emitting from the Vega star. This announcement causes both Drumlin and the National Security Council, led by National Security Advisor Michael Kitz, to attempt to take control of the facility. As Arroway, Drumlin and Kitz argue, the team at the VLA discover a video source buried in the signal: Adolf Hitler’s welcoming address at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin. Arroway and her team postulate that this would have been the first significantly-strong television signal to leave Earth’s atmosphere, which was then transmitted back from Vega 26 light years away.

The project is brought under tight security and its progress is followed fervently worldwide. President Bill Clinton and Drumlin give a television address to downplay the impact of the Hitler image, while Arroway learns that a third set of data was found in the signal; over 60,000 “pages” of what appear to be technical drawings. Government specialists are unsuccessful in attempting to decode the drawings, which is eventually decoded by Hadden. He explains that the pages are meant to be interpreted in three dimensions, which reveals a complex machine that which allows for one human occupant inside a pod to be dropped into three rapidly spinning rings.

Ellie considers these answers and falls unconscious, finding herself on the floor of the pod where she is being repeatedly called by the machine’s control team. She learns that from all external vantage points, she and the pod merely dropped straight through the Machine. Ellie insists that she was gone for approximately 18 hours, but her recording devices only show static. Kitz resigns as National Security Advisor to lead a Congressional committee to determine if the Machine was a fraud by Hadden, who had the resources to set up an elaborate hoax, but has since died. Ellie is accused of collaborating with Hadden; she asks them to accept her testimony on faith. Kitz and White House Chief of Staff Rachel Constantine together reflect on the fact that Ellie’s recording devices contained 18 hours of static. Ellie is given continued grant money for the SETI program at the Very Large Array.

Hook

  • Directors: Steven Spielberg
  • Producers: Frank Marshall, Kathleen Kennedy, Gerald R Molen, James V Hart, Malia Scotch Marmo, Bruce Cohen
  • Writers: Screenplay, James V Hart, Malia Scotch Marmo, Screen Story, James V Hart, Nick Castle, Characters, J M Barrie
  • Genres: Adventure, Family, Fantasy
  • Actors: Robin Williams, Dustin Hoffman, Julia Roberts, Bob Hoskins, Charlie Korsmo, Amber Scott

Years ago, Peter Pan left Neverland and married Wendy Darling’s granddaughter Moira. As corporate lawyer Peter Banning, he has entirely forgotten his childhood as Peter Pan. He’s successful, but never has time for his wife Moira and children, Jack and Maggie. The family travels to London to visit Wendy, now very old and being honored for her work caring for orphans. Jack and Maggie are kidnapped by Captain Hook, who survived his run-in with the crocodile. Wendy tries to tell Peter of his past, but he does not believe her.

Tinker Bell visits Peter that night, taking him to Neverland. He wakes up among the pirates; then, observing Hook boasting of kidnapping Peter’s children to use as bait, Peter reveals himself. Hook is disgusted at his nemesis’ ineffectual condition. Hook’s henchman Smee concludes that being away from Neverland for so long has wiped his memory clean of the past. Hook is ready to have Peter and his children killed, but Tinker Bell convinces him into giving Peter three days to train for a duel. She takes Peter to the Lost Boys, led by Rufio, who initially do not believe he’s Peter Pan. Tinker Bell convinces them that he is Pan, and they re-train him. Peter is hampered by his inability to remember being a boy or how to fly. At the same time Hook decides to “teach” Peter’s children to love him as a means of demoralizing Peter when the day comes. Although Maggie does not fall for the ploy, the often-overlooked Jack listens, and with Hook cheering him on at a pirate baseball game (as his father had failed to do), he comes to accept Hook as a father figure.

With the help of Tinker Bell becoming human-sized and kissing him, Peter manages to find his flight-enabling “happy thought”: his love for Moira and becoming a father, the reasons he left Neverland. Peter leads the Lost Boys into battle with the pirates. Rufio takes on Hook while Peter rescues his son and daughter. Rufio dies, his last words telling Peter that he wishes he had a father like him. Jack is finally convinced that his father cares for him, and pleads to go home. Realizing that Hook will not stop and that he will return to threaten his family time and again, Peter resumes the duel. It ends when the giant crocodile falls down from his framework and swallows Hook. Peter passes on his sword and leadership to the biggest of the Lost Boys, Thud Butt, and flies back to London with his children. He awakens in his regular clothes at the famous statue of Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, and sees Tinker Bell one last time. He assures her that he still believes in fairies, and she leaves. He returns to his family, finally remembering who he is, and appreciating them all as he should.