Lara Croft Tomb Raider

  • Directors: Simon West
  • Producers: Lawrence Gordon, Lloyd Levin, Colin Wilson
  • Writers: Screenplay, Patrick Massett, John Zinman, Story, Sara B Cooper, Mike Werb, Michael Colleary, Simon West
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
  • Actors: Angelina Jolie, Jon Voight, Iain Glen, Noah Taylor, Daniel Craig

The film opens with Croft in an Egyptian tomb, seeking a diamond at one end of a chamber. As she approaches she is attacked by a large robot. After an intense chase and battle, she disables it by ripping out its motivational circuits. She takes the diamond, which is revealed to be a memory card labeled ‘Lara’s Party Mix,’ and inserts it into a laptop computer inside the robot, whereupon it plays music. Now it is revealed that the scene took place in a practice arena in Croft’s home, and that her assistant, Bryce, programmed the robot, to challenge her in combat.

It is the day of the first phase of a planetary alignment, culminating in a solar eclipse on the Earth, which happens once every 5,000 years. In Venice, the Illuminati search for a key to rejoin halves of “the triangle,” which must be done by the final phase of the alignment. Mr. Powell, an Illuminati member, assures that they are almost ready, but in reality he has no idea where to find the key.

Croft’s butler, Hillary, tries to interest her in several projects, but she ignores them. 15 May, as Hillary is aware, is the day that Croft’s father disappeared many years earlier. She has not recovered from his loss.

At the mansion, Hillary and Bryce are shocked to see Croft wearing a dress. She goes into the garden to her father’s memorial, then returns inside, where Bryce has a reprogrammed SIMON, ready to challenge Croft once again. Hillary reveals a silver tray holding Croft’s pistols, which she takes with a smile.

Shine

  • Directors: Scott Hicks
  • Producers: Jane Scott
  • Writers: Jan Sardi, Scott Hicks
  • Genres: Biography, Drama, Music, Romance
  • Actors: Geoffrey Rush, Noah Taylor, Armin Mueller Stahl

Shine begins as we see an apparently lost man finding his way into a restaurant. The man has some sort of mental disability and we find out his name is David Helfgott, played by Geoffrey Rush. The movie then cuts back to his childhood, where the viewer sees David perform in a music competition. Helfgott’s father, Peter (played by Armin Mueller-Stahl) watches as David loses the competition. David’s father seems to be a cruel and harsh man.

The movie then shows David as a teenager (played by Noah Taylor). David wins the state musical championship and is invited to study in America but is forbidden by his father to leave. David’s talent grows until he is offered a scholarship to the Royal College of Music in London, England. David’s father again forbids him to go but David leaves and as a consequence his father disowns him.

In London, David enters a Concerto competition choosing to play Rachmaninoff’s 3rd Concerto. As David practices, he increasingly becomes manic in his behaviour. During one of David’s performance he suffers a mental breakdown and is admitted to a psychiatric hospital where he receives electric shock therapy.

After David’s initial institutionalization he tries to return home, but his father still rejects him. David is admitted again to a mental institution where he spends a considerable amount of time. Eventually we see David as an adult taken home by one of the workers at the mental institution. This worker remembers him from before he suffered his breakdown. The worker recognizes that David needs more care than they can offer and David finds himself in a hostel, wandering the streets. At this point we enter where the movie began.

At the restaurant they are astounded by his ability to play the piano and one of the owners befriends David and looks after him. In return David plays at the restaurant. It’s through the owner that David is introduced to Gillian (played by Lynn Redgrave). David and Gillian fall in love and marry. Through Gillian’s help David readies himself for a comeback concert at which he is given a standing ovation.

Almost Famous

  • Directors: Cameron Crowe
  • Producers: Cameron Crowe, Lisa Stewart, Ian Bryce
  • Writers: Cameron Crowe
  • Genres: Drama, Music
  • Actors: Billy Crudup, Frances McDormand, Kate Hudson, Jason Lee, Patrick Fugit, Anna Paquin, Fairuza Balk, Noah Taylor, Phillip Seymour Hoffman

In 1973, William Miller (Patrick Fugit) is a 15-year-old boy aspiring to be a rock-and-roll journalist, despite the desires of his eccentric, overprotective mother, Elaine (Frances McDormand), who wants him to go into law. Shunned by his classmates (most of whom are two or three years older than he is), he writes for underground papers in his hometown, San Diego.

He goes one morning to watch as a local radio station interviews pioneering rock journalist Lester Bangs (Philip Seymour Hoffman). The two hit it off, and Bangs gives William a $35 assignment to write up a Black Sabbath concert. William, without credentials or a ticket, cannot get into the arena. He meets up with some semi-groupies who call themselves “Band-Aides,” named Estrella Starr (Bijou Phillips), Polexia Aphrodisia (Anna Paquin), and Sapphire (Fairuza Balk), as well as their leader, Penny Lane (Kate Hudson). Then he runs into the opening band on the card, Stillwater, who was running late. At first they dismiss him as a journalist, “the enemy”, but when he calls them by their names and praises their most recent work in detail, they realize that he is a genuine fan and allow him backstage.

The final scenes are a picture of the cover of the Rolling Stone issue that will feature William’s story with Russell’s picture on the front with the rest of the band behind him. We then see images of Penny leaving on her dream trip to Morocco, William at home with his sister and mother, and of Doris, which will take the band (without William) on its 1974 tour (with the marquee “NO MORE AIRPLANES TOUR 1974”). Though, as Bangs suggested, rock ‘n’ roll may be changing from an art form to a profit center, it is implied that at least Stillwater will be immune from this.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

  • Directors: Tim Burton
  • Producers: Brad Grey, Richard D Zanuck
  • Writers: Novel, Roald Dahl, Screenplay, John August
  • Genres: Adventure, Comedy, Family, Fantasy
  • Actors: Freddie Highmore, Johnny Depp, David Kelly, Helena Bonham Carter, Noah Taylor, Missi Pyle, James Fox, Jordan Fry, Deep Roy, Christopher Lee, AnnaSophia Robb, Liz Smith, David Morris, Eileen Essell

In a chocolate factory, a purple-gloved hand (Willy Wonka) places five Golden Tickets randomly among hundreds of thousands of Wonka Bars on a conveyor belt, which are then boxed and shipped across the world. Near the factory, Charlie Bucket lives in a small, dilapidated house with his parents and four grandparents. Mr. Bucket provides the only family income by screwing caps on toothpaste tubes at a nearby plant, and family meals consist only of watered-down cabbage soup.

Charlie has long been enthralled with Wonka and his chocolate, so much that he has built a scale replica of his factory entirely out of defective toothpaste caps sneaked home by Mr. Bucket. Grandpa Joe tells Charlie about the time he worked for Wonka, and how Wonka was commissioned by an Indian prince named Prince Pondicherry to build a palace entirely out of chocolate, which promptly melted in the boiling sun after he ignored Wonka’s advice to eat it. Plans to rebuild it were curtailed, however, due to problems concerning spies amid Wonka’s staff, who stole his secret recipes and sold them to other candy makers. As a result, Wonka made all his workers redundant and shut down the factory, which later inexplicably reopened despite no new workers being hired.

As his family is the most important thing in his life, Charlie refuses Wonka’s offer. His family is living contently a while later, as his father gets a new job at the factory maintaining the machine that had originally replaced him. However, Wonka is too depressed to make candy the way he used to, and turns to Charlie for advice. Charlie decides to help Wonka confront and reconcile with his estranged father; Wonka finally realizes the value of family, while his father learns to accept his son for who he is, and not what he does. In the end, Charlie has the chocolate factory, and Wonka has patched up with his family.