Eat Pray Love

  • Directors: Ryan Murphy
  • Producers: Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Julia Roberts, Stan Wlodkowski, Tabrez Noorani
  • Writers: Elizabeth Gilbert, Ryan Murphy, Jennifer Salt
  • Genres: Drama
  • Actors: Julia Roberts, Billy Crudup, James Franco, Javier Bardem, Viola Davis, Richard Jenkins

After trying and failing to become pregnant, a woman realizes she is not getting what she wants out of life, and, after a painful divorce, sets on a journey across the world.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona

  • Directors: Woody Allen
  • Producers: Letty Aronson, Jaume Roures, Stephen Tenenbaum, Gareth Wiley
  • Writers: Woody Allen
  • Genres: Drama, Romance
  • Actors: Javier Bardem, Rebecca Hall, Scarlett Johansson

Vicky (Rebecca Hall) and Cristina (Scarlett Johansson) visit Barcelona for the summer, staying with Vicky’s distant relative Judy (Patricia Clarkson) and her husband, Mark Nash (Kevin Dunn). A narrator (voice of Christopher Evan Welch), present throughout the film, describes the two friends: Vicky is practical and traditional in her approach to love and commitment, and is engaged to the reliable but unromantic Doug (Chris Messina). She is in Barcelona getting her masters in “Catalan identity”. Cristina, on the other hand, is a nonconformist, spontaneous but unsure of what she wants from life or love.

At an art exhibition, they notice the artist Juan Antonio (Javier Bardem). Cristina is impressed with him at first sight, and grows intrigued when Judy and Mark tell the girls that the artist has suffered a publicly violent relationship with his ex-wife. Later that night, the girls notice him across the room in a restaurant. He approaches their table and quickly invites them to join him for the weekend in the city of Oviedo, in the small plane he flies himself, for sight-seeing, drinking wine, and (Juan Antonio hopes) making love. Cristina accepts the brazen offer almost at once, but Vicky refuses, strongly resenting his assumption that the two of them would agree to go to bed with him after less than five minutes’ acquaintance. She eventually decides to accompany her friend anyway, mainly as she says “to protect Cristina from making a big mistake”.

When Cristina returns from France, Vicky confesses the entire story to her. Cristina says she never knew that Vicky felt that way about Juan Antonio, and she (Cristina) wishes she could have helped her. Doug never learns the true version of events. As the three Americans return to the USA, Vicky goes back to her married life and Cristina remains where she started, not knowing what she wants, but knowing what she doesn’t. Since Vicky chooses to live her rigidly planned (a “perfect”) life, and Cristina chooses to live without making predetermined plans, they end where they began.

Collateral

  • Directors: Michael Mann
  • Producers: Michael Mann, Julie Richardson
  • Writers: Stuart Beattie, Michael Mann, Frank Darabont
  • Genres: Crime, Drama, Thriller
  • Actors: Tom Cruise, Jamie Foxx, Mark Ruffalo, Jada Pinkett Smith, Javier Bardem

Cab driver Max Durocher (Jamie Foxx) drives U.S. Justice Department prosecutor Annie Farrell (Jada Pinkett Smith) to work. During the drive, she tells him about an upcoming case she’s prosecuting and he tells her about his dream of owning his own limousine service. When they arrive at the Justice Department building, Annie leaves him her business card. Moments later, Max picks up a man named Vincent (Tom Cruise), who was seen earlier exchanging a briefcase with a stranger played by Jason Statham at Los Angeles International Airport.

Vincent directs him to a tenement building, and impressed with Max’s efficiency, asks him to be his personal chauffeur for his remaining stops. Max reluctantly agrees when Vincent offers to pay him double his normal nightly profit. Vincent instructs him to park in an adjacent alley while he enters the building. Minutes later, a body drops onto the cab, cracking the windshield and propelling Max out of the cab. He realizes Vincent killed the man. Unable to escape, he is forced to help Vincent put the body in the trunk of the cab.

Vincent reveals that he is a hitman, and that he is in Los Angeles to murder five people before departing in the morning. Originally hoping to keep his occupation a secret, Vincent forces Max to drive him to his other destinations. Upon reaching the second target, Vincent ties Max to the steering wheel of the cab in order to make sure he doesn’t run away while Vincent makes the second kill. While alone, Max tries to arouse the attention of passers by in order to free him, but the people that walk up to the cab turn out to be street thugs, and steal Max’s wallet and Vincent’s briefcase. As they walk away, Vincent appears and asks for the briefcase back. The thugs refuse, and then attempt to rob Vincent, who knocks one thug’s gun and performs the Mozambique Drill, shooting both thugs twice in the chest and once in the head.

Spotting the handgun Vincent left behind, Max overpowers the policeman and cuffs him to the flipped cab before running toward Annie’s office building, where he discovers the building security guard is dead and his handgun is missing. He reaches Annie on a stolen cell phone and warns her about Vincent’s approach. Max enters the building and stops the assassination attempt by shooting at Vincent, grazing his face; he then flees with Annie to the Metrorail station under the building. With the guard’s handgun, an angry Vincent follows and corners them in an empty rail car. Vincent and Max fire at each other through a closed door, with Max escaping injury by stepping to the side as the rail car’s lights flicked off, and shooting through the glass, fatally wounding Vincent who had used his routine manner of killing and attempted to perform the Mozambique drill on Max through the door, missing. Dropping his gun and collapsing into a seat, Vincent waits for death as Max and Annie silently look on. Vincent sardonically asks Max if anybody will notice he has died, echoing an earlier story of Vincent’s about a man who died on the MTA and sat undiscovered by LA commuters for hours. Max and Annie get off the train at the next station while the train continues toward Long Beach with dawn breaking, and with a now dead Vincent sitting slumped in his seat.

No Country for Old Men

  • Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
  • Producers: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, Scott Rudin
  • Writers: Novel, Cormac McCarthy, Screenplay, Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
  • Genres: Crime, Drama, Thriller, Western
  • Actors: Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, Woody Harrelson, Kelly Macdonald

West Texas in June 1980 is desolate, wide-open country, and Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones) laments the increasing violence in a region where he, like his late father before him, has risen to the office of sheriff.

Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem) strangles a sheriff’s deputy with his own handcuffs, steals his patrol car, pulls over another vehicle and murders the driver with a cattle gun.

Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin), hunting near the Rio Grande, discovers a group of corpses, vehicles and a lone dying Mexican, the aftermath of a heroin deal gone awry. He also finds two million dollars in a satchel not far from the massacre and drives home. Moss cannot sleep and returns with water for the dying man, but he’s set upon by a pair in a jeep who chase him into the river. Moss barely escapes, his boots lost and his truck abandoned.

Chigurh tours the crime scene with a pair of well-dressed gangsters. He grabs Moss’s truck’s registration plate, receives their transponder, and kills them.

Moss fears the money’s owners will trace his truck in the morning and insists that his wife Carla Jean (Kelly Macdonald) stay with her mother in Odessa, Texas. Chigurh arrives as predicted and breaks into the Moss trailer using his cattle gun, finding nothing of use but a bottle of milk and the latest phone bill.

Now retired, Bell shares with his wife Loretta (Tess Harper) two disquieting dreams. In the first, he lost “some money” that his late father had given him; in the second, his father rode past him on a snowy mountain pass, going ahead to make a fire in the surrounding cold darkness. Whenever Bell got there, he knew his father would be waiting.