The Wrestler

  • Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
  • Producers: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
  • Writers: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
  • Genres: Drama, Sport
  • Actors: John Turturro, John Goodman, Michael Lerner, Judy Davis, John Mahoney

At the start of the movie, Barton Fink is enjoying the success of his first play, Bare Ruined Choirs. His agent informs him that Capitol Pictures in Hollywood has offered a thousand dollars per week to write movie scripts. Barton hesitates, worried that moving to California would separate him from “the common man”, his focus as a writer. He accepts the offer, however, and checks into the Hotel Earle, a large and unusually deserted building. His room is sparse and draped in subdued colors; its only decoration is a small painting of a woman on the beach, arm raised to block the sun.

In his first meeting with Capitol Pictures boss Jack Lipnick (Michael Lerner), Barton explains that he chose the Earle because he wants lodging that is (as Lipnick says) “less Hollywood”.[2] Lipnick promises that his only concern is Barton’s writing ability, and assigns his new employee to a wrestling movie. Back in his room, however, Barton is unable to write. He is distracted by sounds coming from the room next door, and he phones the front desk to complain. His neighbor, Charlie Meadows (the source of the noise) visits Barton to apologize, and insists on sharing some alcohol from a hip flask to make amends. As they talk, Barton proclaims his affection for “the common man”, and Charlie describes his life as an insurance salesman.

Soon afterwards, Barton is visited by two police detectives, who inform him that Charlie’s real name is in fact Karl Mundt â€“ “Madman Mundt”.[4] He is a serial killer wanted for several murders; after shooting his victims, they explain, he decapitates them and keeps the heads. Stunned, Barton returns to his room and examines the box. Placing it on his desk without opening it, he begins writing and produces the entire script in one sitting. After a night of celebratory dancing, Barton returns to find the detectives in his room, who then reveal Mayhew’s murder. Charlie appears, and the hotel is engulfed in flames. Running through the hallway, screaming, Charlie shoots the policemen with a shotgun. As the hallway burns, Charlie speaks with Barton about their lives and the hotel, then retires to his own room. Barton leaves the hotel, carrying the box and his script. In a final meeting, a disappointed and betrayed Lipnick, who has been drafted into the Pacific Theatre of World War II with the rank of Colonel, angrily chastises Barton for writing “a fruity movie about suffering”,[5] then informs him that he is to remain in Los Angeles, and that â€“ although he will remain under contract â€“ Capitol Pictures will not produce anything he writes so he can be ridiculed as a loser around the studio while Lipnick is in the war. Dazed, Barton wanders onto a beach, still carrying the package. He meets a woman who looks just like the one in the picture on his wall at the Earle, and she asks about the box. He tells her that he knows neither what it contains nor to whom it belongs. She assumes the pose from the picture, and the film ends.

Transformers

  • Directors: Michael Bay
  • Producers: Steven Spielberg, Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Ian Bryce, Tom DeSanto, Don Murphy
  • Writers: Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, John Rogers
  • Genres: Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller
  • Actors: Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, John Turturro, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, Jon Voight, Anthony Anderson, Rachael Taylor, Peter Cullen, Hugo Weaving, Mark Ryan, Jess Harnell, Robert Foxworth, Charles Adler, Reno Wilson, Darius McCrary

The film opens with Optimus Prime, heroic leader of the benevolent Autobots, describing in a voice-over the shut down of the Transformers’ home world, Cybertron. It was destroyed by the malevolent Decepticon leader Megatron in his quest to get hold of the All Spark. The Autobots want to find the All Spark so they can use it to rebuild Cybertron and end the war between the Autobots and the Decepticons, while the Decepticons want to use it to obliterate the Autobots and take over the universe. Megatron had managed to locate the All Spark on Earth, but crash-landed in the Arctic Circle and froze in the ice. After stumbling upon his frozen body in 1897, explorer Captain Archibald Witwicky accidentally activated Megatron’s navigational system and his eye glasses were imprinted with the coordinates of the All Spark’s location, an incident that left him blind and mentally unstable. Sector 7, a secret government organization created by President Herbert Hoover, discovered the All Spark in the Colorado River and built the Hoover Dam around it to mask its energy emissions. The still-frozen Megatron was moved into this facility and was used to advance human technology through reverse engineering.

During the credits, Starscream—the only surviving Decepticon besides Scorponok—escapes into space.

O Brother Where Art Thou

  • Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
  • Producers: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
  • Writers: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
  • Genres: Comedy, Adventure, Crime, Music
  • Actors: George Clooney, John Turturro, Tim Blake Nelson

Ulysses Everett McGill, known as Everett (George Clooney), Pete (John Turturro), and Delmar O’Donnell (Tim Blake Nelson) escape from a chain gang and set out to retrieve the $1.2 million in treasure that Everett claims to have stolen from an armored car and buried before his incarceration. They have only four days to find it before the valley in which it is hidden will be flooded to create Arkabutla Lake as part of a new hydroelectric project. Early on in their escape, they encounter a blind man traveling on a manual railroad car. They hitch a ride, and he foretells their futures, similar to the oracle of Homer’s Odyssey.

The group sets out for the treasure, and when they pass a congregation on the banks of a river, Pete and Delmar are enticed by the idea of baptism. As the journey continues, they travel briefly with a young guitarist named Tommy Johnson (a character with similarities to blues guitarists Robert Johnson and Tommy Johnson, played by real-life blues musician Chris Thomas King). When asked why he was at a crossroad in the middle of nowhere, he reveals that he sold his soul to the devil in exchange for the ability to play the guitar. Tommy describes the devil as being “White, white as you folks… with empty eyes and a big hollow voice. He loves to travel around with a mean old hound.” This description happens to match the policeman who is pursuing the trio.

The group sets out to retrieve the ring, which is at a cabin in the valley that Everett originally claimed to have hidden the treasure in. When they arrive, the police order their arrest and hanging. Everett protests that they had been pardoned on the radio, but the leader of the police force tells them that it is of no consequence, since the law is only a human institution, plus they have no radio. The guys begin to despair while Everett improvises a prayer to be saved. Suddenly, the valley is flooded and they are saved from hanging. Tommy finds the ring in a desk that he is floating on in the new lake, and they return to town. However, when Everett presents the ring to Penny, she tells him it is the wrong one and demands that he get her ring back. As Everett protests the futility of trying to find it at the bottom of the lake, the blind prophet the trio met earlier rolls by on his railway handcar, ending the film.

You Don t Mess with the Zohan

  • Directors: Dennis Dugan
  • Producers: Adam Sandler, Jack Giarraputo
  • Writers: Adam Sandler, Robert Smigel, Judd Apatow
  • Genres: Action, Comedy, Drama
  • Actors: Adam Sandler, John Turturro, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Nick Swardson, Lainie Kazan, Rob Schneider

Zohan Dvir, an Israeli Special Forces soldier, leaves his vacation at Tel Aviv beach, agreeing to complete yet another mission of recapturing a key Palestinian terrorist, the “Phantom”, who had been freed by the Israeli government in a prisoner exchange. Later, as Zohan expresses his desire to leave Israel and become a hairdresser in New York City, his wishes are met with derision by his mother and father.

The disgruntled Zohan fakes his own death during the pursuit of the Phantom, who is tricked into believing he had killed Zohan. Zohan smuggles himself into a flight to New York City in a pet crate. Changing his hairstyle into a 1987 Paul Mitchell’s Avalon style, shaving his beard into a goatee and taking “Scrappy Coco” (Scrappy and Coco being the names of two dogs he befriended during the flight) as a new alias, he sets out to pursue his dreams in New York City.

Initially unsuccessful in getting hired at several salons, Zohan’s military expertise earns him a new friend, Michael, who gives him a place to stay. Zohan’s passion for disco (Discothèques) runs him into a fellow Israeli named Oori, a Zohan fan who is aware of Scrappy Coco’s true identity but agrees to keep it a secret. Oori introduces him to a block in lower Manhattan filled with Middle Eastern Americans, who are split between a Palestinian side and an Israeli side of the street.

Zohan arrives and calms the Israelis and Palestinians, who each blame the other for the violence and fires. The Phantom then appears and confronts Zohan, but he refuses to fight and eventually convinces the Phantom to cooperate with him against the arsonists. As Zohan and Phantom work to save the block, Dalia appears, revealing that she is the Phantom’s sister. Zohan’s personal dossier technology allows him to discover the arsonists’ true identities as white racist rednecks hired by Walbridge to instigate an inter-ethnic riot between the Israelis and Palestinians and hopefully allow him to take over their stores more easily. Zohan and Phantom lead the united Israelis and Palestinians of the block to save their shops, defeating the rednecks, thwarting Walbridge’s plans, but damaging all of the shops on the block including Dalia’s salon. With the Israelis and the Palestinians united, the block is transformed into a collectively-owned mall called the Peace and Brotherhood Fire Insurance Mall, in which Phantom opens a shoe store and Zohan and Dalia open a joint beauty parlor.

Transformers Revenge of the Fallen

  • Directors: Michael Bay
  • Producers: Steven Spielberg, Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Ian Bryce, Tom DeSanto, Don Murphy
  • Writers: Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, Ehren Kruger
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
  • Actors: Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, John Turturro, Voices only, Peter Cullen, Hugo Weaving, Mark Ryan, Charlie Adler, Robert Foxworth, Jess Harnell

Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) discovers something about the origins of the Transformers and their history on Earth. The evil Decepticons need to capture him for information.[2] The climactic battle takes place at the Giza pyramid complex,[3] where a temple is located within.[2] Lorenzo di Bonaventura explained the film will show the Transformers who visited Egypt before the pyramids were built, and “all our heroes end up here because of the Decepticons’ master plan.” Furthermore, Egyptian hieroglyphs resembling helicopters and other present day vehicles in real life will be explained in the film as being depictions of those Ancient Cybertronians who visited Earth.[4]

Bay explained the Transformers did not blow their disguise by battling in Mission City in the first film. “Everybody has gone ahead. It’s realistic. Two weeks after the tsunami nobody talked about it anymore. It’s very weird. We decided to do the same with the Transformers. The government talks about a military thing, says all is false, that it’s a joke, and people don’t know what they really saw.”[5] The human soldiers have joined the Autobots’ ranks in a team called NEST (Networked Elements: Supporters and Transformers).[6] A government front called McClaren Robotics covers up the robot sightings, and the Allspark shard is kept by them in storage.[7]

The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3

  • Directors: Tony Scott
  • Producers: Tony Scott, Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal, Steve Tisch
  • Writers: Brian Helgeland David Koepp
  • Genres: Thriller
  • Actors: Denzel Washington, John Travolta, James Gandolfini, Luis Guzman, John Turturro, Gbenga Akinnagbe

A group of hijackers, led by Ryder (John Travolta), take a New York City subway train and its passengers, threatening to kill them if their ransom of one million dollars per hostage is not paid in one hour. Zachary Garber (Denzel Washington) tries to negotiate with the hijackers in delivering the ransom money while saving the hostages. When Garber realizes that time is running out, he voluntarily offers his surrender to Ryder and the hijackers in exchange for freeing the hostages aboard the train.[2]