Five Minutes of Heaven

  • Directors: Oliver Hirschbiegel
  • Producers: Eoin O Callaghan, Stephen Wright
  • Writers: Guy Hibbert
  • Genres: Crime, Drama, Thriller
  • Actors: Liam Neeson, James Nesbitt, Anamaria Marinca

Lurgan Northern Ireland, 1975. A low level civil war has been underway, with the Irish Republican Army targeting British loyalists and the loyalist Ulster Volunteer Force exacting revenge on Catholics they claim are militant republicans. Alistair Little, 16 is the leader of a UVF cell, eager to be blooded. He and his gang are given the go ahead to kill a young Catholic man, James Griffin, as a reprisal and a warning to others. When the hit is carried out, Joe Griffin – the 11-year old little brother of the target – watches in horror his brother is shot in the head. Thirty years later Joe Griffin and Alistair are to meet, on camera, with a view to reconciliation. Alistair has served his sentence, and peace may have been agreed to in N. Ireland, but Joe Griffin is not coming on the program for a handshake. Unbeknownst to the production team, he intends to stick a knife in his brother’s killer – live and on the air.

The first act depicts a reconstruction of the murder of 19-year-old Jim Griffin by 17-year-old Alistair Little (Mark Davison) on 29 October 1975. Jim’s 11-year-old brother Joe witnesses the killing. Little goes to prison for 12 years.

Little is speaking metaphorically, and means for Griffin to kill Little off in his head, in so doing they can both move on. Griffin very shakily lights up a cigarette as Little pulls himself up against a wall and limps down the road. The following day, Griffin attends a group sharing. He shares to the group that he wants to be a good father for his daughters and he cries. In the end, he calls Little to tell him, “We’re finished.”

The A Team

  • Directors: Joe Carnahan
  • Producers: Ridley Scott, Tony Scott, Jules Daly, Stephen J Cannell 1
  • Writers: Skip Woods, Michael Brandt, Derek Haas
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Comedy
  • Actors: Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Quinton Jackson, Sharlto Copley, Jessica Biel, Patrick Wilson

Like the original series, the story follows the adventures of three United States soldiers who were arrested for a crime they did not commit. After managing to escape from military prison, the three join forces with Captain H.M. Murdock, their reconnaissance pilot, as a team of soldiers of fortune.

Clash of the Titans

  • Directors: Louis Leterrier
  • Producers: Basil Iwanyk, Kevin De La Noy
  • Writers: Travis Beacham, Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi
  • Genres: Action, Drama, Fantasy
  • Actors: Sam Worthington, Gemma Arterton, Mads Mikkelsen, Alexa Davalos, Ralph Fiennes, Liam Neeson

In this film, the ultimate struggle for power pits men against kings and kings against gods. But the war between the gods themselves could destroy the world. Born of a god but raised as a man, Perseus (Worthington) is helpless to save his family from Hades (Fiennes), vengeful god of the underworld.[4] With nothing left to lose, Perseus volunteers to lead a dangerous mission to defeat Hades before he can seize power from Zeus (Neeson) and unleash hell on Earth.[5] Leading a daring band of warriors, Perseus sets off on a perilous journey deep into forbidden worlds. Battling unholy demons and fearsome beasts, he will only survive if he can accept his power as a god, defy his fate and create his own destiny.[5]

Love Actually

  • Directors: Richard Curtis
  • Producers: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Duncan Kenworthy
  • Writers: Richard Curtis
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance
  • Actors: Alan Rickman, Bill Nighy, Colin Firth, Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Keira Knightley, Rowan Atkinson, Laura Linney, Martine McCutcheon

The film begins with a voiceover from David (Hugh Grant) commenting that whenever he gets gloomy with the state of the world he thinks about the arrivals terminal at Heathrow Airport, and the pure uncomplicated love felt as friends and families welcome their arriving loved ones. David’s voiceover also relates that all the known messages left by the people who died on the 9/11 planes were messages of love and not hate. The film then tells the ‘love stories’ of many people, culminating in a final scene at the airport enacted to the tune of The Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows” that closes their stories. The film ends with a montage of anonymous persons greeting their arriving loved ones that slowly enlarges and fills the screen, eventually forming the shape of a heart.

With the help of his longtime manager Joe (Gregor Fisher), aging rock and roll legend Billy Mack (Bill Nighy) records a Christmas variation of The Troggs’ classic hit “Love Is All Around.” Despite his honest admission that it is a “festering turd of a record,” the singer promotes the release in the hope it will become the Christmas number one single. During his publicity tour, Billy repeatedly causes Joe grief by pulling stunts such as defacing a poster of rival musicians Blue with a speech bubble reading, “We’ve got little pricks.” He also promises to perform his song naked on television should it hit the top spot. Mack keeps his word—albeit while wearing boots and holding a strategically placed guitar. After briefly celebrating his victory at a party hosted by Sir Elton John, Billy unexpectedly arrives at Joe’s flat and explains that Christmas is a time to be with the people you love, and that he had just realized that “the people I love… is you”, despite simultaneously hitting Joe with insulting comments about his weight. He reminds Joe that “We have had a wonderful ride” touring around the world together over the years. He suggests that the two celebrate Christmas by getting drunk and watching porn. Billy and Joe’s story is the only one exploring platonic love, and the two characters are unrelated to any of the other characters in film, although a few of the other characters are shown watching Billy Mack on their TVs or listening to his song on the radio.

Rufus is a minor but significant character played by Rowan Atkinson. He is the Selfridges jewellery salesman whose obsessive attention to gift-wrapping nearly gets Harry caught buying Mia’s necklace, and later at the airport, his distraction of an attendant allows Sam to sneak through security and see Joanna before she goes back to America. In the original script, the character was revealed to be an angel, and the airport scene showed him disappearing as he walked through the crowd, but this aspect of the character was removed, although he does give Daniel a wink indicating he knows he is giving Sam cover to slip through. Richard Curtis says that with all the storylines already complicating the movie, “the idea of introducing another layer of supernatural beings” seemed over-the-top.[1]

Gangs of New York

  • Directors: Martin Scorsese
  • Producers: Alberto Grimaldi, Harvey Weinstein
  • Writers: Jay Cocks, Steven Zaillian, Kenneth Lonergan
  • Genres: Crime, Drama
  • Actors: Leonardo DiCaprio, Daniel Day Lewis, Cameron Diaz, John C Reilly, Henry Thomas, Jim Broadbent, Liam Neeson, Brendan Gleeson, Barbara Bouchet

In 1846, in Lower Manhattan’s “Five Points” district, a territorial war raging for years between the “Natives” (comprising those born in the United States) and recently arrived Irish Catholic immigrants, is about to come to a head in Paradise Square. The Natives are led by William “Bill the Butcher” Cutting (Daniel Day-Lewis), a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant with an open hatred of recent immigrants. The leader of the immigrant Irish, the “Dead Rabbits,” is Priest Vallon (Liam Neeson), who has a young son, Amsterdam (played as a child by Cian McCormack). Cutting and Vallon meet with their respective gangs in a horrific and bloody battle, concluding when Bill kills Priest Vallon, which Amsterdam witnesses. Cutting declares the Dead Rabbits outlawed and orders Vallon’s body be buried with honor. Amsterdam seizes the knife that kills his father, races off and buries it. He is found and taken to the orphanage at Hellgate.

Sixteen years later, Amsterdam returns to New York a grown man (Leonardo DiCaprio). Arriving in Five Points, he reunites with an old friend, Johnny Sirocco (Henry Thomas). Johnny, now a member of a clan of pickpockets and thieves, introduces Amsterdam to Bill the Butcher, for whom the group steals. Amsterdam finds many of his father’s old loyalists are now under Bill’s control, including Happy Jack Mulraney (John C. Reilly), now a corrupt city constable and in Bill’s pocket, and McGloin (Gary Lewis), now one of Bill’s lieutenants. Amsterdam soon works his way into the Butcher’s inner circle. Amsterdam learns that each year, on the anniversary of the Five Points battle (February 16), Bill leads the city in saluting the victory over the Dead Rabbits, and he makes plans to kill the Butcher during this ceremony, in front of the entire Five Points community, in order to exact public revenge.

The dead are collected for burial. Bill’s body is buried in Brooklyn, in view of the Manhattan skyline, adjacent to the grave of Priest Vallon. Jenny and Amsterdam visit as Amsterdam buries his father’s razor. Amsterdam narrates New York would be rebuilt, but they are no longer remembered, as if “we were never here”. The scene then shifts over the next hundred years, giving us a view as the modern New York begins building up from the Brooklyn Bridge all the way to the World Trade Center, and the graves of Bill and Priest Vallon gradually become covered in bushes and weeds.

Kingdom of Heaven

  • Directors: Ridley Scott
  • Producers: Ridley Scott
  • Writers: William Monahan
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, History
  • Actors: Orlando Bloom, Eva Green, Jeremy Irons, David Thewlis, Edward Norton, Marton Csokas, Liam Neeson, Ghassan Massoud

(This summary refers to the Director’s Cut)

In a remote village in France, Balian, a blacksmith, is haunted by his wife’s recent suicide, following the stillbirth of their child. A group of Crusaders arrive at the small village and one of them approaches Balian, introducing himself as his out-of-wedlock father, Baron Godfrey of Ibelin. Godfrey, having learned of Balian’s recent losses, attempts to persuade Balian to join him as they travel to Jerusalem, in the hope he will eventually take his place as Godfrey’s heir. Balian quickly refuses, and, after resupplying and resting, the Crusaders ride on. Shortly afterwards, the corrupt town priest (Balian’s half-brother) reveals that his wife’s body was beheaded before burial (a customary practice in those times for people who committed suicide, to ensure the soul cannot enter heaven) and he has taken the crucifix she wore. Enraged at these insults, Balian slays the priest with the sword he is working on and takes the crucifix necklace his dead wife once wore. Balian quickly decides to follow his father after all, in the hope of gaining redemption and forgiveness for both his wife and himself. Shortly after he catches up to his father, soldiers from the village arrive to arrest Balian (the leader is Godfrey’s nephew). Godfrey refuses to hand him over and, though they win the ensuing fight, most of Godfrey’s band are killed. Godfrey himself is wounded by an arrow and, though he is not killed outright, it becomes clear as their journey continues that he will soon die.

After visiting the grave of Balian’s first wife, he and Sibylla ride into the sunset. An explanation is given that King Richard failed in his Crusade, negotiated a shaky truce with Saladin after three years of war, and that “nearly a thousand years later, peace in the Kingdom of Heaven remains elusive.”

Schindler s List

  • Directors: Steven Spielberg
  • Producers: Steven Spielberg, Kathleen Kennedy, Branko Lustig, Gerald R Molen, Lew Rywin, Irving Glovin, Robert Raymond
  • Writers: Thomas Keneally, Steven Zaillian
  • Genres: Biography, Drama, History, War
  • Actors: Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley, Ralph Fiennes, Caroline Goodall, Embeth Davidtz

The film begins with the relocation of Polish Jews from surrounding areas to the Krakow ghetto shortly after the beginning of World War II. Meanwhile, Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson), an unsuccessful businessman, arrives in the city from the Sudetenland in hopes of making his fortune as a war profiteer. Schindler, a member of the Nazi Party, lavishes bribes upon the Wehrmacht and SS officials in charge of procurement. Sponsored by the military, Schindler acquires a factory for the production of army mess kits. Not knowing much about how to properly run such an enterprise, he gains a close collaborator in Itzhak Stern (Ben Kingsley), an official of Krakow’s Judenrat (Jewish Council) who has contacts with the Jewish business community and the black marketers inside the Ghetto. They lend him the money for the factory in return for a small share of products produced. Opening the factory, Schindler pleases the Nazis and enjoys his new-found wealth and status as “Herr Direktor,” while Stern handles all administration. Stern suggests Schindler hire Jews instead of Poles because they cost less (the workers themselves get nothing; the wages are paid to the State). Workers in Schindler’s factory are allowed outside the ghetto though, and Stern falsifies documents to ensure that as many people as possible are deemed “essential” to the German war effort, which saves them from being transported to concentration camps, or even being killed.

The Schindler Jews, having slept outside the factory gates through the night, are awakened by sunlight the next morning. A Soviet dragoon arrives and announces to the Jews that they have been liberated by the Red Army. The Jews walk to a nearby town in search of food. As they walk abreast, the frame changes to another of the Schindler Jews in the present day at the grave of Oskar Schindler in Jerusalem. The film ends by showing a procession of now-elderly Jews who worked in Schindler’s factory, each of whom reverently sets a stone on his grave. The actors portraying the major characters walk hand-in-hand with the people they portrayed, and also place stones on Schindler’s grave as they pass. The audience learns that at the time of the film’s release, there are fewer than 4,000 Jews left alive in Poland, while there are more than 6,000 descendants of the Schindler Jews. In the final scene, Liam Neeson (though his face is not visible) places a pair of roses on the grave and stands contemplatively over it.

Taken

  • Directors: Pierre Morel
  • Producers: Luc Besson
  • Writers: Luc Besson, Robert Mark Kamen
  • Genres: Action, Crime, Drama, Thriller
  • Actors: Liam Neeson, Famke Janssen, Maggie Grace, Xander Berkeley, Holly Valance, Katie Cassidy

Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) is a retired CIA operative, called a “preventer”, from their elite Special Activities Division. He has retired to spend more time with his 17-year-old daughter Kim (Maggie Grace), who now lives with his ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen) and her new wealthy husband Stuart (Xander Berkeley). When pop diva Sheerah (Holly Valance) comes to town, Mills is hired for security. After the show, Sheerah is attacked, but Bryan disables the assailant and gets her safely out of danger. Thankful, Sheerah expresses some interest in Mills’ daughter after learning that Kim wants to be a singer herself. Sheerah passes along her contact information.

The next day, Mills discovers that Kim wants to take a holiday trip to Paris, with her friend Amanda (Katie Cassidy). Despite his initial concerns about the trip, Mills allows her to go, later discovering that their actual plan is to travel around Europe following the band U2. Arriving at the Paris airport, Kim and Amanda meet a Frenchman named Peter (Nicolas Giraud), who learns their address and reports it to an unseen associate.

In the house, Kim receives a phone call from her father, which she answers in the bathroom. From the bathroom window, she sees men entering the main room and abducting Amanda. Mills is able to gain critical information about the kidnappers in the final moments after Kim is kidnapped by telling her to shout out everything about them that she notices. Briefly, Mills talks to one of the kidnappers, warning him that unless Kim is released, he will pursue him and kill him, to which the kidnapper replies “good luck” before smashing her phone.

By impersonating Jean-Claude, Mills gains entry to the building where new girls are being sold, and secures entry to one of the buyers’ viewing booths. He sees his daughter as she is displayed on the auction block. However, he is captured before he can engineer an escape for himself and Kim. Mills manages to escape and find Saint-Clair, whom he kills after learning that his daughter is being taken by Qatari clients. Mills manages to follow the car Kim is being taken in, and sees her being transported away on a yacht. He jumps on to the ship from a bridge and kills everyone in his way, finally freeing his daughter. Back in the U.S., Kim is reunited with her mother, and Mills finally introduces her to Sheerah, having arranged an audition with her vocal coach.

The Chronicles of Narnia Prince Caspian

  • Directors: Andrew Adamson
  • Producers: Andrew Adamson, Cary Granat, Mark Johnson, Perry Moore, Douglas Gresham, Philip Steuer
  • Writers: Novel, C S Lewis, Screenplay, Andrew Adamson, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Family, Fantasy
  • Actors: Ben Barnes, Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, William Moseley, Anna Popplewell, Sergio Castellitto, Eddie Izzard, Peter Dinklage, Liam Neeson

1,300 years after the Pevensie siblings leave Narnia, a Telmarine prince, Caspian, is awakened by his mentor Doctor Cornelius, informing him that his aunt has just given birth to a son and that his life is now in grave danger. Cornelius gives him Queen Susan’s ancient magical horn, instructing him to blow it if he needs help. Knowing that his uncle Miraz would kill him to steal the kingship, Caspian flees. Pursued into the woods, Caspian falls off his horse and is rescued by two Narnian dwarfs, Trumpkin and Nikabrik, and a talking badger named Trufflehunter. While Trumpkin acts as a decoy, Nikabrik saves Caspian from capture. Confused, Caspian blows the magical horn to summon help.

In England, one year has passed since the Pevensie children returned from Narnia. As their train to boarding school pulls in, the station collapses and the Pevensies are transported to Narnia. They discover the ruins of their castle, Cair Paravel, and realize it was attacked in their absence.

In the Telmarine castle, the lords of the council find out that Prince Caspian is gone. Lord Sopespian blames Miraz, but Miraz blames the Narnians and tell the lords to fight them to get Caspian back, though Miraz actually wants to kill Caspian.

Before the Pevensies depart Narnia, Peter and Susan declare that Aslan has told them they will never return to Narnia. Aslan explains that Susan and Peter have gained everything they could from their experiences in Narnia and are no longer needed there. Susan and Caspian share a kiss, knowing they will never meet again. The Pevensies then go back to England, leaving Caspian as King of Narnia.

The Chronicles of Narnia The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe

  • Directors: Andrew Adamson
  • Producers: Mark Johnson, Perry Moore, Philip Steuer, Douglas Gresham
  • Writers: Novel, C S Lewis, Screenplay, Ann Peacock, Andrew Adamson, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
  • Genres: Adventure, Family, Fantasy
  • Actors: Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, William Moseley, Anna Popplewell, Tilda Swinton, James McAvoy, Jim Broadbent, Ray Winstone, Dawn French, Rupert Everett, Liam Neeson

The film begins with the 1940 bombing of Finchley, London, during the Blitz. The Pevensie children, Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy, are in direct danger from the falling bombs – a scene which did not appear in the original C.S. Lewis book and which at the very start introduces the underlying tension and jealousy between Edmund and his siblings which would have a major role in the later plot.

Subsequently, the children are – as in the book – evacuated to the country home of Professor Kirke. One day while they are playing hide and seek, Lucy discovers a wardrobe and enters a wintery fantasy world called Narnia. She spends a few hours in the home of the faun, Mr. Tumnus, who explains that the White Witch cursed Narnia, and it has been winter for one hundred years. In accordance with her orders, if a human is ever encountered, a Narnian must bring them to her. However, Tumnus likes Lucy and can’t bring himself to kidnap her so he sends her home. When she returns, hardly any time has passed in the normal world, and when the other children check the Wardrobe, all they see is a normal wooden back – the portal is gone.

The Pevensies become Kings and Queens and stay in Narnia until they are older. When chasing a white stag to receive wishes, they find the lamppost and the wardrobe and go back to England, where they magically appear as children again. The Professor then tosses them the ball used to break the window and instructs them to tell him the story. Later, Lucy attempts to go back to Narnia, but the Professor tells her he has been trying for years, and they will probably get back to Narnia when least expected.