Cold Mountain

  • Directors: Anthony Minghella
  • Producers: Albert Berger, William Horberg, Sydney Pollack, Ron Yerxa
  • Writers: Anthony Minghella, Charles Frazier
  • Genres: Drama, Romance, War
  • Actors: Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, Eileen Atkins, Kathy Baker, Brendan Gleeson, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Charlie Hunnam, Natalie Portman, Giovanni Ribisi, Donald Sutherland, James Gammon, Jack White, Ethan Suplee

At the film’s inception Jude Law plays a young man named W. P. Inman at a provincial North Carolina town. He meets Ada (Nicole Kidman) and is at the fledgling stages of a relationship with her when he marches off to war as a Confederate soldier.

The film opens early in the morning of July 30, 1864. Confederate troops are entrenched outside Petersburg during its siege. The teenaged Oakley (Lucas Black) is handing out clothes from a wheelbarrow while Inman reads letters from Ada. The soldiers are tired and bored. Most are seasoned veterans who have been fighting for over three years. But meanwhile Union engineers are filling a mine under the Confederate trenches with gunpowder barrels while above, hundreds Union troops are waiting to attack. Suddenly back at the Confederate siege works, a rabbit hops into the trench. Just as one of the men is about to capture it the ground rises from under him and there is a huge explosion. The Union lit the barrels and most of the trench exploded. As Inman and Oakley get up dazed from the blast they see Union troops charging at them. As the Union charge they run right into the crater where the trench used to be and are trapped in a kill zone. The Confederates fire down at them but the fighting becomes hand to hand and Oakley is pulled down in by a Union soldier and Inman goes after him. Before Inman can reach him Oakley is bayoneted but survives. Inman shoots the Union soldier with a LeMat revolver he finds and pulls Oakley out of the chaos. The battle ends with a huge Union defeat. As the Confederates are cleaning up after the battle, Inman comforts Oakley as he is pulled to the hospital on a cart. Later that day Oakley dies in the hospital with Inman and Stobrod Thewes (Brendan Gleeson) beside him.

The film ends several years later with Ada, Ruby and their families celebrating Easter. Ruby has married Georgia, and the two have an infant child. Her father Stobrod is revealed to have survived, and it is revealed that Ada’s night with Inman had given her a child, Grace Inman.

Nine

  • Directors: Rob Marshall
  • Producers: Rob Marshall, John DeLuca, Ryan Kavanaugh, Marc Platt, Harvey Weinstein
  • Writers: Anthony Minghella with Michael Tolkin
  • Genres: Musical, Romance
  • Actors: Daniel Day Lewis, Marion Cotillard, Nicole Kidman, Sophia Loren, Penelope Cruz, Judi Dench, Moses Federer, Kate Hudson, Stacy Ferguson

Having reached the age of forty, director Guido Contini (Daniel Day-Lewis) is facing a midlife crisis that is stifling his creativity and leading him into a variety of complicated romantic involvements. As he struggles to complete his latest film, he is forced to balance the numerous formative women in his life, including his wife Luisa (Marion Cotillard), his mistress Carla (Penélope Cruz), his muse and protégé Claudia (Nicole Kidman), his producer, confidant and costume designer Liliane (Judi Dench), an American fashion journalist (Kate Hudson), the whore from his youth (Stacy “Fergie” Ferguson) and his mother (Sophia Loren).

Eyes Wide Shut

  • Directors: Stanley Kubrick
  • Producers: Stanley Kubrick
  • Writers: Novella, Arthur Schnitzler, Screenplay, Stanley Kubrick, Frederic Raphael
  • Genres: Mystery, Thriller
  • Actors: Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman

The film begins in the apartment of a wealthy, married couple, Dr. Bill Harford (Tom Cruise) and Alice Harford (Nicole Kidman), who are preparing for a Christmas party at the home of Victor Ziegler (Sydney Pollack), a friend and patient of Bill’s. During the party, a Hungarian man (Sky du Mont) tries to seduce Alice, while two younger models try to seduce Bill. Alice and Bill both resist temptations. During the party, Bill is summoned by Ziegler to his bathroom where he finds a naked woman, Mandy (Julienne Davis), over-dosed from a speedball. Bill helps her regain consciousness and promises Victor he will not speak of the event. Bill also meets an old friend, Nick Nightingale (Todd Field), a former fellow student who dropped out of medical school and is now a pianist at the party. Nick informs Bill that he is playing at the Sonata Café.

The day after the party, Alice and Bill smoke marijuana and talk about encounters at the party. Alice confesses her feelings concerning a naval officer she saw while in Cape Cod. Because of Bill’s self-assurance, out of spite she admits she was willing to abandon her future for one night with the officer. Shocked, Bill suddenly receives a telephone call summoning him to a deceased patient’s home. Bill goes to the patient and the daughter, Marion (Marie Richardson), says she wants to give up her life to be with Bill. Bill resists and departs once Marion’s boyfriend Carl (Thomas Gibson) arrives.

Bill returns home to Alice and finds the mask he wore to the party on the pillow next to her. He breaks down crying, waking Alice before confessing about his journey. While Christmas shopping later that morning, Alice shows she has come to terms with Bill’s actions by accepting that one night does not reflect his entire persona.

The Others

  • Directors:
  • Producers: Fernando Bovaira, StudioCanal
  • Writers:
  • Genres: Horror, Mystery, Thriller
  • Actors: Nicole Kidman, Alakina Mann, Christopher Eccleston, Fionnula Flanagan, Elaine Cassidy, James Bentley

The scene is set in the British Crown Dependency of Jersey, in the immediate aftermath of World War II. Grace Stewart is a Catholic mother, who lives with her two small children in a remote country house. The children, Anne and Nicholas, have an uncommon disease characterized by photosensitivity (a special feature on the DVD indicates the disease is xeroderma pigmentosum), so their lives are structured around a series of complex rules designed to protect them from inadvertent exposure to sunlight.

The new arrival of three servants at the house (an aging nanny and servant named Mrs. Bertha Mills, an elderly gardener named Mr. Edmund Tuttle, and a young mute girl named Lydia) coincides with a number of odd events, and Grace begins to fear that they are not alone. Anne draws pictures of four people — a man, a woman, a boy called Victor and a scary old woman whom she says she has seen in the house. A piano is heard from inside a locked room when no one is inside. Every time Grace enters and exits the room the door closes, but while she tries to figure out why, the door slams on her face knocking her to the floor. Grace tries hunting down the “intruders” with a shotgun but cannot find them. She scolds her daughter for nonsense about ghosts until she hears them herself. Eventually convincing herself that something unholy is in the house, she runs out in the fog to get the local priest to bless the house. Meanwhile, the servants, led by Mrs. Mills, are clearly up to something of their own. The gardener buries three gravestones under autumn leaves, and Mrs. Mills listens faithfully to Anne’s allegations against her mother.

The truth is finally clear to Grace and the audience: She breaks down with the children and remembers what happened just before the arrival of their new servants; yearning for the company of her missing husband and increasingly frustrated by her children, she went insane, smothered them both with a pillow and then, realizing what she had done, shot herself. When she awoke, she assumed that God had granted her family a miracle. Grace and the children realize that Charles is also dead, but he was not aware of this fact. Mrs. Mills appears and informs Grace that they will learn to get along, and sometimes they won’t even notice the living people who inhabit their house. Outside, Victor’s family — less than happy with their haunted house — pack up and move out. From the window, Grace and her children watch as they drive away. Despite her earlier loathing of the house, referring to it as a prison, Grace ends the film with the line; “No one can make us leave this house.” and disappears with her children in her arms.

Moulin Rouge

  • Directors: Baz Luhrmann
  • Producers: Baz Luhrmann, Fred Baron
  • Writers: Baz Luhrmann, Craig Pearce
  • Genres: Drama, Musical, Romance
  • Actors: Ewan McGregor, Nicole Kidman, Jim Broadbent, Richard Roxburgh, John Leguizamo

In 1899, a young British writer, Christian (Ewan McGregor), moves to the Montmartre district of Paris with few possessions beyond his typewriter to try to establish himself in the Bohemian culture. By luck, he encounters a musical troupe led by Toulouse-Lautrec (John Leguizamo) that is attempting to present a new play for Harold Zidler (Jim Broadbent), the owner of the cabaret, the Moulin Rouge. Christian’s writing helps to finalize the show, entitled “Spectacular! Spectacular!”, and the troupe take Christian to the cabaret to present the work itself to its star courtesan, Satine (Nicole Kidman), in private to win her favour. However, the same night, Zidler has arranged for Satine to spend the night with the wealthy Duke (Richard Roxburgh) who is looking to buy the cabaret. Through miscommunication, Satine mistakes Christian for the Duke, and the two depart to her private chambers. She begins to seduce him despite his insistence he is only there to present his script, but the two slowly realize they have fallen in love with each other. The Duke returns, and discovers Christian and Satine in a compromising position. Satine quickly states that Christian is only there to present a play. With the help of the troupe, Satine, and Zidler, Christian quickly improvises a new plot to “Spectacular! Spectacular!” as a thinly-covered veil of their current situation, with an evil maharajah attempting to woo the love of an Indian courtesan who is actually in love with a poor sitar player. The Duke, unable to see through the show’s meaning,agrees to finance the show, but only if he is allowed to continue to see Satine. Unfortunately for the Duke, Satine and Christian continuously make up excuses as to why he can’t see her.

On the opening night of “Spectacular! Spectacular!”, Toulouse-Lautrec tries to remind Christian of the Bohemian way — truth, beauty, freedom, and love — and that he truly loves Satine as she does him, but Christian is too depressed to listen. As the show starts, Christian approaches Satine, trying to buy her love using money he made by selling his typewriter just as the Duke had done, but Satine tries to send him away, fearing that the Duke’s bodyguard will kill him. Suddenly, the two find themselves in the spotlight on stage, momentarily confusing the performers and audience. Zidler quickly improvises, stating that Christian is the sitar player in disguise and trying to make the show go on, but Christian walks off stage. As he leaves the theater, Toulouse-Lautrec shouts from the rafters “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.” Satine realizes what she has done and sings the “secret song,” showing Christian that she truly loves him. Christian rejoins her on stage and joins her in singing the song, angering the Duke. The Duke’s bodyguard attempts to kill Christian, but the courtesans and Bohemians stop him; the Duke then tries to finish the job himself, only to be stopped by Zidler, who disarms the Duke so true love can prevail. The lovers are able to finish their song without incident to a standing ovation; the Duke storms away from the Moulin Rouge. As the performers get ready for taking a bow, Satine finally succumbs to her illness, and dies in Christian’s arms. A year later, with the Moulin Rouge having closed down, Christian, still mournful over his loss, decides to write the story of the love shared between himself and Satine, which was her dying wish.

Australia

  • Directors: Baz Luhrmann
  • Producers: Baz Luhrmann, Catherine Knapman, G Mac Brown
  • Writers: Story, Baz Luhrmann, Screenplay, Baz Luhrmann, Ronald Harwood, Stuart Beattie, Richard Flanagan
  • Genres: Adventure, Drama, War, Western
  • Actors: Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman, David Wenham

In 1939, Lady Sarah Ashley (Nicole Kidman) travels from England to northern Australia to force her (in her opinion) philandering husband to sell his faltering Australian cattle station, Faraway Downs. Her husband sends an independent cattle drover (Hugh Jackman), called simply “Drover”, to Darwin to transport her to Faraway Downs. Lady Sarah’s husband, who has been working hard to sell 1500 head of cattle to the military, is murdered shortly before she arrives. Meanwhile, treacherous FD cattle station manager Neil Fletcher (David Wenham) is trying to gain control of Faraway Downs, so that neighboring Lesley ‘King’ Carney (Bryan Brown) can have a cattle monopoly in the Northern Territory, which will give him negotiating leverage with the Australian army. Fletcher also claims to Lady Sarah that the murderer of her husband is an Aboriginal elder with magical powers, “King George” (David Gulpilil).

The childless Lady Sarah is captivated by the young boy Nullah (Brandon Walters), who was born to an Aboriginal mother and an unknown white father. Nullah tells her that he has seen her cattle being driven onto Carney’s land — in other words, stolen from her. Because of this, Fletcher mistreats Nullah and threatens him and his mother, after which Lady Sarah fires Fletcher and decides to try and run the cattle station herself. When Nullah and his mother hide from the white authorities by entering a water tower, his mother drowns. Lady Sarah comforts Nullah by singing the song “Over the Rainbow” from the film The Wizard of Oz. Nullah tells her that “King George” is his grandfather, and that like “King George” he too is a “magic man”.

Drover, who had quarrelled with Lady Sarah and had gone droving apparently never to return, hears (mistakenly) that she has been killed in the bombing of Darwin. (It is later revealed that the dead woman thought to be Sarah is in fact Catherine Fletcher, who had volunteered to take Sarah’s shift at army radio headquarters so Sarah could go to Nullah earlier.) Drover finds out about Nullah’s abduction to Mission Island, and sets out with Magarri and Ivan (the hotelier) to rescue Nullah and the other children from the island using a sailboat. Magarri sacrifices himself to buy the others more time during the escape, and is shot by the Japanese. The others all make it safely back to Darwin. Meanwhile, Lady Sarah has sold Faraway Downs to Fletcher, and is leaving the Northern Territory that morning, since she believes there is nothing more to hold her there. But when Drover and the children sail back into port at Darwin, Nullah plays his harmonica with the tune of “Over the Rainbow”. Lady Sarah hears the music, abandons her trip, and the three are reunited. Fletcher, who knows Nullah is the one link to his disreputable past that can ruin him, and rails that the boy must have cursed him, attempts to shoot Nullah, but is speared by King George and falls dead. King George then states in his native language that Nullah is Fletcher’s son and his grandson. Lady Sarah, Drover, and Nullah return to the safety of remote Faraway Downs. On the way back to Faraway Downs, King George calls for Nullah, his grandson, to go walkabout. Lady Sarah embraces Nullah and then lets him go to his grandfather, who explains now they will return to his land, and then looking at Lady Sarah, says “our land”.

The Golden Compass

  • Directors: Chris Weitz
  • Producers:
  • Writers: Philip Pullman title Northern Lights novel, Chris Weitz
  • Genres: Adventure, Family, Fantasy
  • Actors: Dakota Blue Richards, Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig, Ian McKellen, Ian McShane, Sam Elliott, Eva Green

In a parallel universe a person’s soul resides outside the body in an animal-like form called a “dæmon”, Europe is controlled by an authoritarian organization called the Magisterium. In Oxford, orphaned Lyra Belacqua, a ward of Jordan College, tells tales of the “Gobblers”, whom she and her friends believe are responsible for several local children’s disappearance. Visiting the college is Lyra’s uncle, Lord Asriel, who, against official Magisterium doctrine, is presenting evidence that particles called “Dust” exist. After Lyra saves Asriel from an assassination attempt by a Magisterial representative, the college funds his expedition to the far north to investigate the Dust substance. He believes it originates in a parallel universe and enters a person’s body via their dæmon. Fearing the effects of Dust, the Magisterium has been experimenting on children to discover a way to inoculate others against it.

After Asriel departs, the college is visited by Mrs. Coulter, who offers to take Lyra north as her assistant. Before leaving, the college Master entrusts Lyra with an alethiometer (the film’s titular Golden Compass). This device is able to reveal the answer to any question asked by a trained user. It is the last one in existence since the Magisterium had them destroyed (except the one that the college saved). Though unable to operate it, Lyra accepts the gift, promising never to reveal she has it, and takes it with her to Mrs. Coulter’s home. When Mrs. Coulter arouses Lyra’s suspicions by delaying their journey, Lyra discovers that Mrs. Coulter is head of the General Oblation Board, the “Gobblers” who have been kidnapping local children. She also discovers that her best friend Roger and her Gyptian friend Billy Costa have been taken by the Gobblers to the north.

Lyra destroys the separation machinery, leading to a series of explosions which begin to tear down the facility. Lyra leads the other children outside, where Magisterial guards block their escape. A battle ensues when Iorek, the Gyptians, and a band of witches led by Serafina Pekkala arrive. The guards are defeated and the children are rescued. Rather than returning south with the Gyptians and the rescued children, Lyra and Roger instead travel north with Lee Scoresby, Iorek Byrnison and Serafina to find Lord Asriel. Serafina posits that the Magisterium does not just want to control their world, but “every world in every universe”; however, Lyra is certain that, once she delivers the alethiometer to her father, the two of them will be able to make things right.

Batman Forever

  • Directors: Joel Schumacher
  • Producers: Tim Burton, Peter Macgregor Scott
  • Writers: Screenplay, Lee Scott Batchler, Janet Scott Batchler, Akiva Goldsman, Story, Lee Scott Batchler, Janet Scott Batchler, Comic Book, Bill Finger, Bob Kane
  • Genres: Action, Crime, Thriller
  • Actors: Val Kilmer, Tommy Lee Jones, Jim Carrey, Nicole Kidman, Chris O Donnell

The film opens with Batman (Val Kilmer) stopping a hostage situation in a bank caused by Two-Face (Tommy Lee Jones), alter ego of physically/emotionally scarred former district attorney, Harvey Dent.Two-Face escapes. Edward Nygma (Jim Carrey), a researcher at Wayne Enterprises develops a device to beam television directly to a person’s brain. Bruce Wayne rejects the invention, noting that “it raised too many questions”, and Edward resigns from his position.

After meeting psychiatrist Dr. Chase Meridian (Nicole Kidman), Bruce invites her to a charity circus event. While there, Two-Face and his henchmen storm the event in an attempt to discover Batman’s secret identity, and in the process the acrobat family The Flying Graysons are murdered. The youngest member, Dick (Chris O’Donnell), survives and stops Two-Face’s bomb from exploding. Upon his return, he discovers that Two-Face killed his family and escaped the scene. Bruce assumes responsibility for Dick and allows him to stay at Wayne Manor. Dick declares his intention to kill Two-Face in revenge for his family’s murder, and when he discovers Bruce’s secret identity as Batman, he insists on becoming his sidekick, “Robin”.

Meanwhile, Edward has become psychologically obsessed with Bruce, leaving riddles for him. He decides to become a criminal known as “The Riddler” and allies with Two-Face. With his invention, Edward can read and control people’s minds, and steal their intelligence quotient. At a business party, Edward discovers Bruce’s secret identity, and Robin saves his life. Later, however, Two-Face and Riddler converge into the Batcave, destroy most of the equipment, and kidnap Chase. They also leave Bruce another riddle.

After solving the last riddle, Batman and Robin locate the Riddler’s lair, both are separated upon reaching the island, Robin encounters Two Face and manages to kick him off the ground where he clings on for life but Robin realizes he cannot kill him so he helps the villain back up, this allows Two Face to get the upper hand and capture him . Meanwhile Batman manages to make his way into the Riddler’s lair and meets the Riddler who reveales Robin and Chase as hostages, giving Batman the choice of only being able to save one of them. Batman finds a way to save both, destroying the brainwave-collecting device and warping the Riddler in the process. During the battle, Two Face falls to his death. The Riddler is committed to Arkham Asylum, and Chase is asked to consult on his case. Riddler offers to reveal the identity of Batman to her, but he thinks himself Batman. Chase then meets Bruce Wayne outside and tells him his secret is safe.

Happy Feet

  • Directors: George Miller
  • Producers: George Miller, Doug Mitchell, Bill Miller
  • Writers: Warren Coleman, John Collee, George Miller, Judy Morris
  • Genres: Animation, Adventure, Comedy, Family, Musical
  • Actors: Elijah Wood, Robin Williams, Brittany Murphy, Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman, Hugo Weaving, Anthony LaPaglia, Magda Szubanski, Steve Irwin

Set in an Antarctic emperor penguin colony, the movie established that every penguin must sing a unique song called a “Heartsong” to attract a soul mate who will know how to complete their heartsong. This is based in fact, since emperor couples court each other and recognize one another by their unique calls. One penguin, Norma Jean (Nicole Kidman), sings the song “Kiss”, whereupon a male penguin named Memphis (Hugh Jackman) sings “Heartbreak Hotel”. Norma Jean chooses him as her mate. They couple and Norma Jean lays an egg. The egg is left in Memphis’s care while Norma Jean and the other females leave to fish for several weeks. While the males are struggling through the harsh winter, Memphis drops the egg, briefly exposing it to the freezing Antarctic temperatures. The resulting chick – the film’s protagonist, Mumble (Elizabeth Daily, Elijah Wood) – has a terrible singing voice. However, Mumble had an astute talent for something that none of the penguins had ever seen before: tap dancing.

This ability is frowned upon by the colony’s elders, who don’t tolerate deviance of any kind. As a result, Mumble is ostracized throughout his childhood, with only his mother and his friend Gloria (Brittany Murphy) to turn to for help. Mumble then grows to an adult, still half-covered in fluffy down. Through a series of mishaps – mainly getting chased by a hungry leopard seal – the penguin finds himself far from his home and within the carefree colony of adelie penguins – penguins small in stature, but fiercely loyal to those they call friends. He quickly befriends a small group of bachelors who form a club of sorts called the Amigos: the leader, Ramon (Robin Williams), the brothers Raul (Lombardo Boyar) and Nestor (Carlos Alazraqui), and twin brothers Rinaldo (Jeff Garcia) and Lombardo (Johnny A. Sanchez). The Amigos quickly embrace Happy’s dance moves and assimilate him into their misfit group.

In the credits, the characters reunite to dance for the final number “Song of the Heart.” During the credits, it could be said that the characters appear and disappear based on the relationships between each other.

Bewitched

  • Directors: Nora Ephron
  • Producers: Nora Ephron, Douglas Wick, Penny Marshall
  • Writers: Sol Saks, Nora Ephron, Delia Ephron
  • Genres: Comedy, Fantasy, Romance
  • Actors: Nicole Kidman, Will Ferrell, Shirley MacLaine, Michael Caine

The film is not an adaptation of the television series, instead a bizarre Re-imagining. It is about a witch named Isabel Bigelow (Nicole Kidman) who wants to give up magic and have a normal life, despite her magic-loving father’s (Michael Caine) warnings that she cannot live without it. She meets a failing movie star named Jack Wyatt (Will Ferrell) who wants to find an unknown actress to play a witch — and his wife — in a TV show, a modern adaptation of the classic TV show Bewitched, a ploy whereby the egocentric actor can eclipse his co-star and claim the spotlight entirely. Part of this is perpetrated by his agent (Jason Schwartzman), who is just as obnoxious as Jack.

When she becomes more popular than he is and unintentionally takes the spotlight away, the pompous, self-centered Jack decides to downplay her role and make the show focus on Darrin (thus garnering the audience’s attention). Isabel becomes angry when she finds out (since he told her during her auditions that he “needed her”) and furiously tells him that he is a jerk. The harsh words, strangely enough, appeal to Jack who never had anyone speak their mind to him before, especially his ex-wife (who he claimed preferred to just lock him out of the house). He begins to give her a bigger role and the two begin to fall in love and enjoy filming their TV show.

Meanwhile the “spirits” of the old Bewitched television show work their own magic on Isabel and Jack by ensuring that the couple ends up in a happy union of witch to mortal like on the original series. The home in which Isabel and Jack finally settle in together is numbered “1164” as a nod to the house from the original TV series (at 1164 Morning Glory Circle); their new neighbors are also a nod to their TV counterparts.