Maverick

  • Directors: Richard Donner
  • Producers: Bruce Davey, Richard Donner, Jim Van Wyck, Alexander B Collett
  • Writers: Roy Huggins, William Goldman
  • Genres: Adventure, Comedy, Western
  • Actors: Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, James Garner

The story, set in the American Old West, is a first-person account by a wisecracking gambler Bret Maverick (Mel Gibson), of his misadventures on the way to a major five-card draw poker tournament. Besides wanting to win the poker championship for the money, he also wants to prove, once and for all, that he is “the best”. However, complications keep getting in the way.

Maverick rides into the fictional town of Crystal River intending to collect money owed to him, as he is $3,000 short of the poker tournament entry fee of $25,000. His efforts to make up this $3,000 provide some plot motivation, as well as diversions caused by, and in the company of, three people he encounters at Crystal River: an antagonist named Angel (Alfred Molina), a young con-artist calling herself Mrs Annabelle Bransford (Jodie Foster), and legendary lawman Marshal Zane Cooper (James Garner, who played Bret Maverick in the original TV series). The first two are also rival poker players.

Maverick, Bransford and Cooper share a stagecoach (the driver of which dies at the reins at full gallop), agree to help a wagon train of migrant evangelist settlers who have been waylaid by ruffians (for a fee which Maverick in the end is too big-hearted to accept) and are headed-off by a troop of Indians led by Joseph (Graham Greene). Unknown to his companions, Joseph and Maverick are good friends, and Maverick allows himself to be “captured.” Joseph is another one of his unreliable debtors, and in and around his tribal grounds they collaborate on a scheme to swindle a Russian Grand Duke.

Later, Maverick is relaxing in a bath-house when Cooper finds him, and drops the facade to reveal (to the audience) that he is in fact Maverick’s father and that the real conspiracy was between the two of them. However, Bransford enters the bath-house and robs Cooper and Maverick (whose relationship she had surmised from their similar mannerisms). However, she only gets away with half of the money, as Maverick had hidden the rest in his boots. Maverick smiles and comments that it will be a lot of fun getting the rest of the money back from her.

Flightplan

  • Directors: Robert Schwentke
  • Producers: Robert DeNozzi, Charles J D Schlissel, Brian Grazer
  • Writers: Peter A Dowling, Billy Ray
  • Genres: Action, Mystery, Thriller
  • Actors: Jodie Foster, Peter Sarsgaard, Sean Bean, Erika Christensen

Kyle Pratt (Jodie Foster) is a propulsion engineer based out of Berlin, Germany. Her husband David died from falling off the roof of an avionic manufacturing building, and now Kyle and her six year-old daughter Julia (Marlene Lawston) are flying home to Long Island to bury him and stay with Kyle’s parents. They fly aboard a fictional Elgin E-474,[1] which Kyle helped design. After falling asleep for a few hours, Kyle wakes to find that Julia is missing. After trying to remain calm at first, she begins to panic, and Captain Marcus Rich (Sean Bean) is forced to conduct a search. Kyle walks the aisles, questioning people, but none of her fellow passengers remembers having seen her daughter either. Shockingly, one of the flight attendants calls in to the airport they just departed from, and the gate attendant says that they have no record of Julia boarding the flight. In addition, according to the passenger manifest, Julia’s seat is registered empty. When Kyle checks for Julia’s boarding pass, it is missing.

Marcus refuses to allow the cargo hold to be searched because he is afraid that the searchers could be hurt if the plane shifted due to turbulence. Both Marcus and the other crew members suspect that Kyle has become unhinged by her husband’s recent death, and has imagined bringing her daughter aboard. Faced with the crew’s increasing skepticism regarding her daughter’s existence, Kyle becomes more and more desperate. Because of her increasingly erratic, panicked behavior, air marshal Gene Carson (Peter Sarsgaard) is ordered by Marcus to guard her.

Kyle, carrying Julia, exits via a cargo door. Everyone watches in shock and amazement as Kyle carries her daughter out onto the tarmac. In the passenger waiting section of the airport, Marcus apologizes to Kyle and leads her to a van which has come to take them the rest of their way. Julia wakes up and sleepily asks “Are we there yet?” The two get in the van and drive away.

Panic Room

  • Directors: David Fincher
  • Producers: Judy Hofflund, David Koepp, Gavin Polone
  • Writers: David Koepp
  • Genres: Crime, Mystery, Thriller
  • Actors: Jodie Foster, Kristen Stewart, Forest Whitaker, Dwight Yoakam, Jared Leto

Meg Altman (Jodie Foster), recently divorced from the owner of a pharmaceutical giant, and her 12-year-old daughter Sarah (Stewart), who has diabetes, are staying in a four-story townhouse that was previously owned by a disabled, reclusive millionaire. It has a panic room, an isolated room used to protect the owner from an intruder that is protected by a four-inch-thick steel door and an impressive security system, and features a separate phone line.

On the night the two move into the home, it is broken into by Junior (Leto), the grandson of the previous owner, and Burnham (Whitaker), an employee of the security company used by the residence. The two are after $3 million in bearer bonds, which is locked inside a floor safe in the panic room. Unknown to Burnham until after they’ve broken in, Junior has recruited Raoul (Yoakam), a bus driver who lives in Flatbush, to assist in the heist.

After discovering that the Altmans have moved into the home one week before they anticipated, the burglars decide to go on as planned with the heist. However, Meg wakes up and discovers the intruders from the CCTV monitors in the panic room when she wanted to switch off its glaring light. Before the three can stop her, she runs to Sarah, wakes her, and they escape to the panic room.

Following the trouble with the home invasion Meg and Sarah begin searching for a new house in the newspaper.

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.

Taxi Driver

  • Directors: Martin Scorsese
  • Producers: Julia Phillips, Michael Phillips
  • Writers: Paul Schrader
  • Genres: Drama, Thriller
  • Actors: Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, Albert Brooks, Harvey Keitel, Leonard Harris, Peter Boyle, Cybill Shepherd

Travis Bickle (De Niro), who claims to be an honorably discharged Marine – it is implied that he is a Vietnam veteran – is a lonely and depressed young man of 26. His origins are unknown. He sends his parents cards, lying about his life and saying he works with the Secret Service. He settles in Manhattan, where he becomes a night time taxi driver due to chronic insomnia.[1] Bickle spends his restless days in seedy porn theaters and works 12 or 14 hour shifts during the evening and night time hours carrying passengers among all five boroughs of New York City.

Bickle becomes interested in Betsy (Cybill Shepherd), a campaign volunteer for New York Senator Charles Palantine, who is running for the presidential nomination and is promising dramatic social change. She is initially intrigued by Bickle and agrees to a date with him after he flirts with her over coffee and sympathizes with her own apparent loneliness. She compares him to a character in the Kris Kristofferson song “The Pilgrim, Chapter 33”: “He’s a prophet and a pusher, partly truth, partly fiction – a walking contradiction.” On their date, however, Bickle is clueless about how to treat a woman and thinks it would be a good idea to take her to a Swedish sex education film (Language of Love). Offended, she leaves him and takes a taxi home alone. The next day he tries to reconcile with Betsy, phoning her and sending her flowers, but all of his attempts are in vain.[1]

A brief (and possibly imagined) epilogue shows Bickle recuperating from the incident. He has received a handwritten letter from Iris’s parents who thank him for saving their daughter, and the media hail him as a hero for saving her as well.[1] Bickle blithely returns to his job, where one night one of his fares happens to be Betsy. She comments about his saving of Iris and Bickle’s own media fame, yet Bickle denies being any sort of hero. He drops her off without charging her and continues driving into the night–though not before hearing a small, piercing noise which causes him to stare hesitantly at an unseen object in his taxi’s rearview mirror–possibly indicating a relapse of his past violent tendencies seen earlier in the film.

The Silence of the Lambs

  • Directors: Jonathan Demme
  • Producers: Kenneth Utt, Edward Saxon, Ron Bozman
  • Writers: Ted Tally
  • Genres: Crime, Thriller
  • Actors: Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Scott Glenn, Ted Levine, Anthony Heald, Brooke Smith, Frankie Faison, Harry Northup

Promising student Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) is pulled from her training at the FBI Academy at Quantico, Virginia by Jack Crawford (Glenn) of the Bureau’s Behavioral Science Unit. Crawford tasks her with interviewing the notorious Hannibal Lecter (Hopkins), the brilliant psychiatrist and incarcerated cannibalistic serial killer, believing Lecter’s insight might be useful in the pursuit of vicious serial killer Buffalo Bill. Starling travels to the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane, where she is led by Dr. Frederick Chilton (Heald) to Hannibal Lecter, the sophisticated, cultured man restrained behind thick glass panels and windowless stone walls.

Although initially pleasant and courteous, Lecter grows impatient with Starling’s attempts at “dissecting” him and viciously rebuffs her. As Starling departs, another patient flings fresh semen onto her face, enraging Lecter, who calls Starling back and suggests she consult one of his former patients. Starling interprets the patient’s name as a riddle. It leads her to a storage lot where she discovers a man’s severed head. She returns to Lecter, who tells her that the man is Benjamin Raspail, who is linked to Buffalo Bill. Though Lecter denies killing Raspail, he offers to profile Buffalo Bill if he is transferred away from the venomous, careerist Dr. Chilton.

Days later at the FBI Academy graduation party, Starling receives a phone call from Hannibal Lecter who is at an airport in Bimini. Lecter assures Starling he has no plans to pursue her and asks her to show him the same courtesy, which she says she will not do. He then excuses himself, remarking that he’s “having an old friend for dinner”. He hangs up the phone and casually follows Dr. Chilton through the village.