The Kingdom

  • Directors: Peter Berg
  • Producers:
  • Writers: Matthew Michael Carnahan
  • Genres: Action, Drama, Thriller
  • Actors: Jamie Foxx, Ashraf Barhom, Chris Cooper, Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman, Kyle Chandler, Richard Jenkins, Jeremy Piven, Ali Suliman

The opening scene of the movie explains the origins of U.S.-Saudi diplomatic relations and how energy exploitation has transformed the Middle East through a timeline sequence. It portrays the conflicts that have risen since the late 1940s for the rightful ownership of the oil industry. This includes the Gulf War in Iraq and al-Qaeda’s growing network of terrorism. Eventually, it explains the 9/11 terrorist attacks and how the majority of the hijackers were Saudis. This raises serious questions on the relationship between Saudi Arabia and the United States. The plot begins with the current struggle of Saudi Arabia and the kingdom’s efforts to stand control of their country against terrorist extremists.

During a softball game at an American oil company housing compound in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, al-Qaeda terrorists set off a bomb, killing many Americans and Saudis in the process. The terrorists impersonate members of the Saudi State Police. While one team hijacks a car and shoots up residents of the area, another runs out onto the softball diamond, pretending to aid the Americans, but then reveals that he is a suicide bomber and blows himself up, killing everyone near him. Sergeant Haytham (Ali Suliman) of the Saudi state police, disables the stolen Saudi Police vehicle and kills the terrorists. A short time later, the FBI Legal Attache in Saudi Arabia, Special Agent Francis Manner (Kyle Chandler), calls up his colleague Special Agent Ronald Fleury (Jamie Foxx) to tell him about the attack. Shortly afterwards, a second bomb explodes in the compound killing Manner and more people.

At Al-Ghazi’s house, Fleury and Haytham meet his family. Fleury tells his son that al-Ghazi was his good friend, mirroring a similar scene earlier in the movie where he comforted Special Agent Manner’s son. Fleury and his team return to the U.S., where they are commended by FBI Director James Grace (Richard Jenkins) for their outstanding work. Afterwards, Leavitt asks Fleury what he had whispered to Mayes (earlier in the film) to calm her down. The scene cuts to Abu Hamza’s daughter asking her son what his grandfather whispered to him as he was dying. Fleury recalls saying, “We’re gonna kill them all,” while the grandson tells his mother, “Don’t fear them, my child. We are going to kill them all.”

Couples Retreat

  • Directors: Peter Billingsley
  • Producers: Scott Stuber
  • Writers: Jon Favreau
  • Genres: Comedy
  • Actors: Vince Vaughn, Jason Bateman, Jon Favreau, Kristen Bell, Malin Akerman, Kristin Davis, Peter Serafinowicz

A comedy centered around four couples who go on a vacation to a tropical-island resort. While one of the couples is there to work on the marriage, the others fail to realize that participation in the resort’s therapy sessions is not optional.[2]

Extract

  • Directors: Mike Judge
  • Producers: Mike Judge, John Altschuler, Mike Rotenberg, Glenn Lucas
  • Writers: Mike Judge
  • Genres: Comedy
  • Actors: Jason Bateman, Ben Affleck, Mila Kunis, Kristen Wiig, Clifton Collins Jr

A comedy about an extract factory owner dealing with workplace problems and a streak of bad luck.[1]

Hancock

  • Directors: Peter Berg
  • Producers: Akiva Goldsman, James Lassiter, Michael Mann, Will Smith
  • Writers: Vince Gilligan, Vincent Ngo
  • Genres: Action, Comedy, Crime, Fantasy, Thriller
  • Actors: Will Smith, Charlize Theron, Jason Bateman

John Hancock (Will Smith) is a drunkard with superhuman powers, including supersonic flight, invulnerability, immortality, and super-strength. Although he uses his powers to rescue people and stop criminals, his activities inadvertently cause millions of dollars in property damage due to his constant intoxication and cynical attitude. As a result, he is routinely jeered by the public and is considered a nuisance by the LAPD. Hancock frequently ignores court subpoenas and lawsuits from the city of Los Angeles to address the property damage he has caused.

When public relations spokesperson Ray Embrey (Jason Bateman) departs from an unsuccessful meeting pitching his All-Heart logo for corporations that want to be seen as charitable, he becomes trapped on railroad tracks facing collision with an oncoming freight train. Hancock saves Ray’s life at the cost of derailing the train and damaging other cars. Hancock is jeered by other drivers for causing more destruction, but Ray steps in and thanks Hancock for saving his life. Ray offers to improve Hancock’s public image, and Hancock grudgingly accepts. Ray convinces Hancock to turn himself in for his outstanding subpoenas so they can show Los Angeles how much the city really needs Hancock when they miss him fighting crime and saving lives. When the crime rate does rise following his incarceration, Hancock is contacted by the Chief of Police to help stop a violent bank robbery. With a new costume from Ray, Hancock is released from jail and makes a triumphant return by rescuing a wounded police officer, and foiling the robbers lead by Red Parker (Eddie Marsan).

Hancock meets Ray and Mary back at their house. Mary explains that Hancock is technically her husband, explaining that they were built in twos, and that they are drawn to each other over time and great distances. When later intervening in a liquor store robbery, Hancock is shot and wounded. Visiting him at the Hospital, Mary explains that when a pair of immortals get close to each other physically, they begin to lose their powers. She also tells him that she and Hancock have been attacked as a couple many times throughout history, most recently being in an alley in Miami 80 years ago. His skull was fractured during the attack, causing amnesia. To save his life at the time, Mary deserted him, allowing him to recover from his injuries. After her explanation, the hospital is raided by the bank robber Red Parker and two other criminals that Hancock had encountered when imprisoned. Mary is shot trying to defend Hancock as he is able to stop the two men, but is further wounded in the process. When Red attempts to finish Hancock off, Ray comes to the rescue and stops the bank robber with a fire axe. With Mary dying, Hancock uses the last of his strength to flee from the hospital so that their parting would allow them both to heal with their powers. Hancock is now living in New York City, working as a superhero there. As gratitude to Ray, Hancock paints Ray’s All-Heart logo on the moon, giving worldwide advertisement to his cause.

Juno

  • Directors: Jason Reitman
  • Producers: John Malkovich, Lianne Halfon, Mason Novick, Russell Smith
  • Writers: Diablo Cody
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama
  • Actors: Ellen Page, Michael Cera, Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman, Allison Janney, J K Simmons, Olivia Thirlby

Sixteen-year-old Minnesotan high-schooler Juno MacGuff (Ellen Page) discovers she is pregnant with a child fathered by her friend and longtime admirer, Paulie Bleeker (Michael Cera). While at first she intends to have an abortion, she changes her mind and decides to make a plan for the child’s adoption. With the help of her friend Leah (Olivia Thirlby), Juno searches the ads in the Pennysaver and finds a couple she feels will provide a suitable home. Along with her father, Mac (J. K. Simmons), Juno meets the couple, Mark and Vanessa Loring (Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner), in their expensive home and expresses a desire for a closed adoption.

Vanessa is extremely anxious around Juno and their initial interactions are uneasy. However, Juno and Leah happen to see Vanessa in a shopping mall being completely at ease with a child, and Juno encourages Vanessa to talk to her baby in the womb, where it obligingly kicks for her. On the other hand, Juno more easily forms a friendship with Mark, with whom she shares tastes in punk rock and horror films. Mark, who has set aside his rock band youth (now confined to memorabilia displayed in the one room of the house allowed him by Vanessa), works at home composing commercial jingles. Juno hangs out with Mark a few times, ignoring a warning from her stepmother Bren (Allison Janney) that she should not spend time alone with a married man.

After a heartfelt discussion with Mac, Juno accepts that she loves Paulie. Juno then tells Paulie that she loves him, and Paulie’s actions make it clear that her feelings are reciprocated. At his track meet, when Paulie notices Juno is not in the stands and realizes she must be in labor, he rushes to the hospital to be with her (she had not told him because she did not want him to miss the meet). He arrives to find Juno has given birth to their son, and comforts Juno as she cries. Vanessa comes to the hospital where she joyfully claims the newborn boy as a single adoptive mother. On the wall in the baby’s new nursery, Vanessa has framed Juno’s note—addressed only to her—which reads “Vanessa: If you’re still in, I’m still in. —Juno.” The film ends in the summertime with Juno and Paulie playing guitar and singing together, followed by a kiss.

Dodgeball A True Underdog Story

  • Directors: Rawson Marshall Thurber
  • Producers: Stuart Cornfeld, Ben Stiller
  • Writers: Rawson Marshall Thurber
  • Genres: Comedy, Sport
  • Actors: Vince Vaughn, Ben Stiller, Christine Taylor, Justin Long, Jason Bateman, and Rip Torn

Peter LaFleur (Vaughn) is the laid-back, down-to-earth owner of Average Joe’s, a failing, decaying gym with a handful of loyal, but eccentric, members, including Steve the Pirate (Alan Tudyk), Justin (Justin Long), Gordon (Stephen Root), and employees Dwight (Chris Williams) and Owen (Joel Moore). His rival, White Goodman (Stiller), owner of the glamorous Globo-Gym located across the street, has purchased Average Joe’s defaulted mortgage. Therefore, Peter must raise $50,000 in 30 days in order to redeem the equity of redemption on the about-to-be-foreclosed mortgage, or else Goodman will successfully foreclose upon Average Joe’s Gym and demolish it for a parking garage. Working on this transaction is attorney Kate Veatch (Taylor), whom White attempts and fails to charm on multiple different occasions. However, Veatch and Peter develop a friendship despite her role in his business troubles. After various half-hearted attempts at money-raising fail, Gordon declares that they can win the money needed to pay the redemption costs by winning a dodgeball competition in Las Vegas, and begin to train to enter the tournament. The team watches a 1950s-style training film featuring legendary dodgeball star Patches O’Houlihan (played by Rip Torn) to learn about dodgeball.

The Average Joes become a success, Justin’s girlfriend Amber becomes pregnant, and White drowns his sorrows in junk food, becoming obese again as a result. After the end credits White is seen on the on his couch listening to the song Milkshake while rubbing his nipples together

State of Play

  • Directors: Kevin Macdonald
  • Producers: Andrew Hauptman, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner
  • Writers: Matthew Michael Carnahan, Tony Gilroy, Peter Morgan, Billy Ray, Paul Abbott
  • Genres: Crime, Drama, Thriller
  • Actors: Russell Crowe, Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, Helen Mirren, Jason Bateman

The plot is similar to that of the original 6-part program, retaining several main characters, but condensing and changing certain aspects to fit the two-hour format. The film is set in Washington, D.C. and tells of Stephen Collins (Affleck), a fast-rising United States Congressman with ambitions to become his party’s presidential candidate. This goal is threatened after his mistress (Maria Thayer), a former research assistant, is found dead in suspicious circumstances, while right-wing opponents to Collins’ campaign for social reform attempt to use the scandal to kill his political career. During a probe into a series of seemingly unrelated murders, Cal McCaffrey (Crowe), an investigative journalist and Collins’ former campaign manager, finds himself tasked with solving the case, becoming romantically involved with the Congressman’s estranged wife (Wright Penn) in the process.[2][3][4][5]