Holocaust

  • Directors: Marvin J Chomsky
  • Producers: Robert Berger
  • Writers: Gerald Green
  • Genres: Drama, History, Romance, War
  • Actors: Tom Bell, Joseph Bottoms, Tovah Feldshuh, Marius Goring, Rosemary Harris, Tony Haygarth, Ian Holm, Lee Montague, Michael Moriarty, Deborah Norton, George Rose, Robert Stephens, Meryl Streep, Sam Wanamaker, David Warner, Fritz Weaver, James Woods

Holocaust tells the story of the Holocaust from the perspective of the Weiss family of German Jews, and from the point of view of a rising member of the SS, who gradually becomes a merciless, bloodthirsty war criminal. Holocaust highlighted numerous important events which occurred up to and during World War II, such as Kristallnacht, the creation of Jewish ghettos and later, the use of gas chambers. The series ultimately attempted to portray the atrocity of this genocide to viewers.

Any Given Sunday

  • Directors: Oliver Stone
  • Producers: Richard Donner, Oliver Stone
  • Writers: Oliver Stone, Daniel Pyne, John Logan
  • Genres: Drama, Sport
  • Actors: Al Pacino, Dennis Quaid, Cameron Diaz, James Woods, Jamie Foxx, LL Cool J, Elizabeth Berkley, Charlton Heston

The film deals with the fictional Miami Sharks, a once-great team now in turmoil and struggling to make the playoffs. It examines many different aspects of American football, including the players, staff, front office, politicians, and press, and the pressures that they face.

In the final game shown on screen, Miami manages a come-from-behind win in the final seconds against the Dallas Knights, winning the first round of the playoffs. Off-screen, Miami beats Minnesota in conference championship, but loses to San Francisco in the Pantheon Cup Championship.

At D’Amato’s final press conference as head coach, all feuds have been resolved or at least put on hold and he leaves on a positive note, being thanked by owner Christina and the media for his contributions to the team. D’Amato then drops a bombshell and announces that he’s been hired as head coach and general manager of the expansion Albuquerque Aztecs. Then he says he just signed Willie Beamen as his starting quarterback and franchise player. Despite the initial hysteria among the media and owners, the general consensus that this is the best solution because D’Amato and Crozier (backed by Christina) cannot co-exist. As the scene ends, Christina and the other executives are angrily asking Crozier how he could have let Beamen finish the season without re-signing him to a longer contract for the Sharks.

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.”

Hercules

  • Directors: Ron Clements, John Musker
  • Producers: Ron Clements, John Musker
  • Writers: Ron Clements, John Musker, Barry Johnson
  • Genres: Animation, Adventure, Family, Fantasy, Musical
  • Actors: Tate Donovan, Danny DeVito, James Woods, Susan Egan, Rip Torn

The film begins in ancient Greece with a mock-epic spoken narration (Heston), but dissolves into the musical narration by the five Muses (consisting of Calliope (White), Clio (Thomas), Melpomene (Freeman), Terpsichore (LaChanze), and Thalia (Ryan)). The Muses tell the tale (“The Gospel Truth”) of how Zeus (Torn) came to power and prevented the monstrous Titans from ruling the world. This leads to the day Hercules is born to Zeus and Hera (Eggar), much to the pleasure of all the other gods except Hades (Woods), Zeus’ brother, who receives word from the Fates (consisting of Clotho (Plummer), Lachesis (Shelley), and Atropos (Edwards)) that though he will release the Titans in eighteen years, Hercules will one day rise to power and prevent him from taking control of the world. Hades sends his minions, Pain (Goldthwait) and Panic (Frewer), to kidnap Hercules and feed him a potion that will strip him of his immortality; however, they are interrupted and, while Hercules becomes mortal, he retains his god-like strength because he didn’t drink the last drop.

Hercules (Keaton) grows up to be a misfit, challenged by his incredible strength and inability to fit in with other people. His adoptive parents Amphitryon (Holbrook) and Alcmene (Barrie) finally tell him they found him with the symbol of the gods around his neck. Hercules believes the gods may have the answers behind his past and decides to go to the Temple of Zeus (“Go the Distance”). Zeus manifests as his statue and tells him that he is Hercules’ father, and that he must prove himself a true hero before he can rejoin the other gods on Mount Olympus. Hercules rides on Pegasus (Welker) and leaves the temple to seek out Philoctetes (“Phil” for short), an unhappy satyr and trainer of heroes. Phil (DeVito) has failed to train a true hero yet; but after some “persuasion” from Zeus, Phil decides to take on Hercules as his final attempt (“One Last Hope”).

Hercules and Pegasus get back to Phil and Meg too late and Hercules heads to the Underworld and demands for Meg to be revived, but Hades shows him that she is trapped in the River Styx. Hercules trades his soul for Meg’s, and Hades agrees on the condition that Hercules must get her soul out himself. Hercules jumps into the river, but given that one must be dead to enter the river, he ages rapidly as he swims toward Meg. The Fates try to cut Hercules’ lifeline, but they find that they couldn’t, for Hercules has become a true hero through his selfless actions, thereby restoring his godhood and immortality. As Hercules successfully returns Meg to the surface, Hades tries to talk his way out of the situation, but Hercules punches him, knocking him into the River Styx. The other souls grab Hades and pull him down into the river. Pain and Panic then worry about what Hades is going to do to them, until they realize they’re free from his wrath. Hercules revives Meg and returns to Olympus. Meg’s entrance is denied because she is mortal, but Hercules chooses to become mortal again and stay with her. Hercules is acclaimed a hero on Earth and Olympus alike. Zeus creates a constellation in his image, and Phil is remembered for being the one to train him. Hercules and his mortal friends and family are all shown happily together on earth, while Zeus and the other Olympians rejoice above. (“A Star is Born”)

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.

The General s Daughter

  • Directors: Simon West
  • Producers: Mace Neufeld
  • Writers: Christopher Bertolini, William Goldman, Nelson DeMille
  • Genres: Crime, Drama, Mystery, Thriller
  • Actors: John Travolta, Madeleine Stowe, James Cromwell, Timothy Hutton, James Woods, Leslie Stefanson

Chief Warrant Officer Four Paul Brenner (John Travolta) is in Georgia masquerading as First Sergeant Frank White at a local army base, to broker an illegal arms trade with a self-proclaimed freedom fighter. While on the base, his car gets a flat tire. Without a lug wrench, a pretty young officer arrives and helps him change the spare. The officer is Captain Elisabeth Campbell (Leslie Stefanson), the base commanding general’s daughter and army captain in psychological operations. The next evening, she is found murdered. Brenner and another warrant officer, Sara Sunhill (Madeleine Stowe) are brought in to investigate, as both are part of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command. They find Captain Campbell’s body staked down with tent poles, strangled, and presumably raped.

They search Elisabeth’s home off base and find it typical of a career Army officer, with one exception: through a false door in the basement, they find what appears to be a sexual dungeon of sorts, with handcuffs, harnesses, and a camera connected to a VCR. Sunhill goes to their car to make a call from her cell phone, and while Brenner gathers the tapes, he is attacked by a masked figure armed with a steel snow shovel. The culprit manages to disorient Brenner long enough to steal the videotapes. Brenner questions Elisabeth’s close confidante, Colonel Robert Moore (James Woods), who also works in psy ops. Though cordial and somewhat cooperative, Moore is evasive when questioned, and gives an alibi of being in bed asleep at the time of the murder. However, this proves false when Moore’s fingerprints are found on Elisabeth’s dog tags that were found in a plastic trash bag several yards from her body, along with her clothing. Brenner arrests Moore on charges of conduct unbecoming an officer and takes him to jail.

As the general steps toward the plane, one is given to see that it is his end, as well as his daughter’s, that he is approaching. The film ends with a montage of Elizabeth’s happy childhood and Brenner and Sunhill departing in opposite directions and an admiring glance by Sunhill at the departing Brenner.

Casino

  • Directors: Martin Scorsese
  • Producers: Barbara De Fina
  • Writers: Book, Nicholas Pileggi, Screenplay, Nicholas Pileggi, Martin Scorsese
  • Genres: Crime, Drama, Thriller
  • Actors: Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Sharon Stone, Frank Vincent, Don Rickles, Pasquale Cajano, James Woods, Kevin Pollak, Alan King

In the opening sequence, Sam “Ace” Rothstein’s (Robert De Niro) narration explains: “When you love someone, you’ve got to trust them, there’s no other way. You’ve got to give them the key to everything that’s yours. Otherwise what’s the point? And for a while I believed that’s the kind of love I had.” His car then explodes into a ball of fire. The story then cuts back in time, showing Sam to be a talented sports handicapper for the mob. Sam is entrusted by four Midwest mob bosses in Kansas City, Missouri to oversee the management of the Tangiers Hotel’s casino in Las Vegas while they illegally skim the casino profits (by taking a “cut” before the Tangiers’ income is reported to the authorities). Sam’s experience in gambling and “hands-on” management style allow him to quickly double the profits of the Tangiers. The bosses send his boyhood friend, Nicholas “Nicky” Santoro (Joe Pesci), who is famous for his violent temper, to “protect” Sam and their interests. Sam falls in love with an attractive hustler named Ginger McKenna (Sharon Stone). Although he is not sure if marriage is a good idea for the both of them, and she shows much reluctance, he finally decides that married life will cure her many addictions.

The final scene shows Sam being reduced to what he started from, making bets for the mob and watching sporting events on multiple televisions from his home in San Diego. The film slowly fades out as the audience see his aging face looking straight at the camera as he takes his glasses off. As he proclaims in the last line of the film, “And that’s that.”.

Once Upon a Time in America

  • Directors: Sergio Leone
  • Producers: Arnon Milchan
  • Writers: Harry Grey, Leonardo Benvenuti, Piero De Bernadi, Enrico Medioli, Franco Arcalli, Franco Ferrini, Sergio Leone, Stuart M Kaminsky, Ernesto Gastaldi
  • Genres: Crime, Drama
  • Actors: Robert De Niro, James Woods, Elizabeth McGovern, Burt Young, Tuesday Weld, Joe Pesci, Treat Williams

David “Noodles” Aaronson (Scott Tiler) struggles to survive as a poor street kid in the Jewish ghetto of Brooklyn in the early 1920s. His gang consists of Patrick “Patsy” Goldberg, Phillip “Cockeye” Stein, and little Dominic. They nominally work for local hood Bugsy, who runs the neighborhood. The scenes deal with Noodles and his gang as they first meet Max Bercovitz and become an independent operation under his and Noodles’ leadership, the establishment of the gang funds (a suitcase in a train station locker which becomes a crucial plot piece), and Noodles’ fruitless flirtation with Deborah Gelly, a local girl who aspires to be a dancer and actress. Their adventures ultimately end in tragedy as Bugsy attacks the group, shooting Dominic fatally. As Bugsy attempts to kill the members of the group who took cover, Noodles retaliates by stabbing Bugsy to death with a switchblade. Police officers intervene, and Noodles stabs one of them. He is sent to jail for twelve years. Max, in charge with Noodles’ absence, is left alone on the outside with the group.

Noodles (now played by De Niro) is released from jail in 1932 and becomes reacquainted with his old gang: Max (Woods), Patsy (Hayden) and Cockeye (Forsythe), who are major players in the bootlegging industry during Prohibition. After briefly reuniting with other acquaintances such as the beautiful teen Deborah (Elizabeth McGovern), Deborah’s brother Fat Moe (Rapp), who runs the speakeasy, and Peggy (Ryder), the gang is recruited by the Minaldi brothers to steal a shipment of diamonds from an insurance dealer and deliver them to Joe Minaldi.

The closing scene involves a flashback to young Noodles in an opium den in 1933, repressing horrible memories and the feeling of being alone – symbolised by a smile.