Tropic Thunder

  • Directors: Ben Stiller
  • Producers: Stuart Cornfeld, Eric McLeod, Ben Stiller
  • Writers: Ben Stiller, Justin Theroux, Etan Cohen
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Comedy, War
  • Actors: Ben Stiller, Robert Downey Jr, Jack Black, Brandon T Jackson, Jay Baruchel

During the filming of hook-handed Vietnam veteran John “Four Leaf” Tayback’s memoir, Tropic Thunder, the actors—fading action hero Tugg Speedman, five-time Academy Award-winning Australian method actor Kirk Lazarus, rapper Alpa Chino, and drug-addicted comedian Jeff Portnoy—behave unreasonably (with the exception of newcomer supporting actor Kevin Sandusky). Rookie director Damien Cockburn is unable to control the actors during the filming of a large war scene, and just five days into shooting the production is reported to be a month behind schedule. Cockburn is ordered by studio executive Les Grossman to get filming back on track.

Acting on Tayback’s advice, Cockburn drops the actors into the middle of the jungle, where he has installed hidden cameras and special-effect explosions rigged so he can film “guerrilla-style”. The actors have guns that fire blanks, along with a map and scene listing that will guide them to a helicopter waiting at the end of the jungle route. Unbeknownst to the actors and the production, the group have been dropped in the middle of the Golden Triangle, the home of the heroin-producing Flaming Dragon gang. Shortly after the group set off, the five actors are stunned to see Cockburn blown up by a land mine. Speedman, believing Cockburn faked his death, persuades Chino, Portnoy, and Sandusky that Cockburn is alive and that they are still shooting the film. Lazarus is unconvinced that Cockburn is alive, but joins the other actors in their trek through the jungle.

The four actors locate Tayback, Underwood, and Speedman and cross a bridge rigged to explode to get to Underwood’s helicopter. Speedman asks to remain behind with the gang which he considers his “family”, but quickly returns with Flaming Dragon in pursuit. Tayback detonates the bridge, allowing Speedman to reach safety, but as the helicopter takes off, the gang fires a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) at the machine. Peck unexpectedly stumbles out of the jungle carrying a TiVo box and throws it in the path of the RPG, saving them all. The actors and crew return to Hollywood, where footage from the hidden cameras is compiled into a feature film, Tropic Blunder, which becomes a major critical and box office hit.

Iron Man 2

  • Directors: Jon Favreau
  • Producers: Kevin Feige
  • Writers: Screenplay, Justin Theroux, Story, Jon Favreau, Robert Downey Jr, Character, Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Don Heck, Jack Kirby
  • Genres: Action
  • Actors: Robert Downey Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Mickey Rourke, Sam Rockwell, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L Jackson

In an interview with USA Today, Jon Favreau revealed that the sequel is set 6 months after the events of Iron Man, and he also stated that Stark’s revealing of his identity is taking its toll on him. Favreau revealed their version of Iron Man’s comic book nemesis the Mandarin “allows us to incorporate the whole pantheon of villains”, while S.H.I.E.L.D. will continue to have a major role.[1]

During development, Favreau said the film would explore Stark’s alcoholism, but it would not be “the Leaving Las Vegas version”.[1] Downey said, while promoting the first film, that Stark would probably develop a drinking problem as he is unable to cope with his age and Pepper getting a boyfriend.[2] Before filming began, Downey revealed that while the film was not an adaptation of Demon in a Bottle, it was more about the “interim space” between the origin and the Demon story arc.[3]

Sherlock Holmes

  • Directors: Guy Ritchie
  • Producers: Joel Silver, Lionel Wigram, Susan Downey
  • Writers: Guy Ritchie, Anthony Peckham, Michael Johnson
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Crime, Drama, Mystery, Thriller
  • Actors: Robert Downey Jr, Jude Law, Rachel McAdams

Set in 1891, the film revolves around Holmes and Watson stopping a conspiracy to destroy Britain.[3] The film opens with Holmes apprehending the murderous cult leader Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong), who promises he will return from the dead and exact his revenge as he is being led to the gallows.[4]

Zodiac

  • Directors: David Fincher
  • Producers: Mike Medavoy, Brad Fischer, Arnold Messer, James Vanderbilt
  • Writers: Book, Robert Graysmith, Screenplay, James Vanderbilt
  • Genres: Biography, Crime, Drama, Thriller
  • Actors: Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Jr, Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Edwards, Brian Cox

The film starts in July 1969 with the Zodiac killer’s second attack, the shooting of Darlene Ferrin and Mike Mageau at a lovers’ lane in Vallejo. Mageau survives while Ferrin dies from her injuries. A letter written by the Zodiac arrives at the San Francisco Chronicle in August of that same year.

Paul Avery (Robert Downey Jr.) is a Chronicle crime reporter. Robert Graysmith (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a political cartoonist there. The newspaper receives encrypted letters that the killer sends, taunting the police. Because of Graysmith’s status as a cartoonist, he is not taken seriously by Avery and the editors and is excluded from the initial details about the killings despite his interest in the case. In particular, he is drawn to the encrypted code that is included with the letters and is given access to one. When he is able to crack one of the codes and makes several correct guesses about the killer’s actions, Avery begins sharing information with him.

The Zodiac killer stabs Bryan Hartnell and Cecelia Shepard (Pell James) at Lake Berryessa in Napa County. Shepard dies as a result of the attack. Soon afterwards, cab driver Paul Stine is shot and killed in Presidio Heights. San Francisco police detectives Dave Toschi (Mark Ruffalo) and his partner Bill Armstrong (Anthony Edwards) are assigned to the case, liaising with other detectives such as Jack Mulanax (Elias Koteas) in Vallejo and Ken Narlow (Donal Logue) in Napa. The killer, or someone posing as him, continues to toy with authorities by speaking on the phone with celebrity lawyer Melvin Belli (Brian Cox) when he makes an appearance on a television talk show. Avery and Graysmith form an alliance, delving deeper into the case.

Final title cards, however, inform the audience that Allen’s DNA did not match samples gathered from the Zodiac letters.

Iron Man

  • Directors: Jon Favreau
  • Producers: Avi Arad, Kevin Feige
  • Writers: Screenplay, John August, Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby, Arthur Marcum, Matthew Hollaway, Comic Book, Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Don Heck, Jack Kirby
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Crime, Sci-Fi, Thriller
  • Actors: Robert Downey Jr, Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges, Gwyneth Paltrow, Leslie Bibb, Shaun Toub

Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) gambles at a Las Vegas casino, leaving his deceased father’s friend and business partner, Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges), to accept a prestigious award for him. As Stark leaves the casino with his entourage, he is approached by reporter Christine Everhart (Leslie Bibb), whom he charms into a one-night stand at his Malibu house. When she awakens the next morning, Stark is gone and she is coldly greeted by Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), his personal assistant.

Stark flies off to war-torn Afghanistan with his friend and company military liaison, Lieutenant Colonel James Rhodes (Terrence Howard), for a demonstration of Stark Industries’ new weapon, the “Jericho” cluster missile. On the way back, however, his military convoy is attacked. In the firefight, his escort is wiped out and Stark himself is knocked unconscious by one of his own company’s bombs.

Waking up in an Afghan cave, he discovers an electromagnet embedded in his chest, placed there by fellow captive Dr. Yinsen (Shaun Toub). Powered by a car battery, it keeps shrapnel from working its way to his heart and killing him. Stark has been captured by a terrorist group known as the Ten Rings, whose leader orders him to build a Jericho missile for him.

In a post-credits scene, Stark is visited by S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) who notes that Stark is not “the only superhero in the world” and states he wants to discuss the “Avenger Initiative”.

The Pick up Artist

  • Directors: James Toback
  • Producers:
  • Writers: James Toback
  • Genres: Comedy, Romance
  • Actors: Robert Downey Jr, Molly Ringwald, Dennis Hopper, Danny Aiello, Harvey Keitel, Mildred Dunnock, Polly Draper

Randy Jensen (Ringwald) is a smart, independent tour guide who beats womanizer Jack Jericho (Downey) at his own game. Her indifference, of course, only causes him to become smitten with her. Randy is too busy trying to keep her alcoholic gambler father, Flash Jensen (Dennis Hopper), out of harm’s way to get into a serious relationship. But Jack’s persistence soon pays off when he offers to help rescue Randy’s dad from the mob.

A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints

  • Directors: Dito Montiel
  • Producers: Clara Markowicz, Charlie Corwin, Trudie Styler, Travis Swords, Robert Downey Jr, Sting
  • Writers: Screenplay Novel, Dito Montiel
  • Genres: Crime, Drama
  • Actors: Robert Downey Jr, Shia LaBeouf, Rosario Dawson, Melonie Diaz, Chazz Palminteri, Dianne Wiest, Channing Tatum

Dito (Downey) is a successful writer in Los Angeles. One day, after being urged by his mother and his friend Nerf, Dito visits his childhood home, Astoria, New York because his father has suddenly become very ill. The film switches back and forth between the present and flashbacks with Dito’s memories in the summer of 1986.

Dito meets Nerf (Peter Anthony Tambakis), and talks with him in a parked car, where they can talk undisturbed, which would not have been possible at Nerf’s house.

Dito then visits Laurie (Rosario Dawson), his childhood sweetheart, who is now a mother. They only talk through the open window; she does not let him in.

Dito finally visits his parents. His father used to ignore Dito’s feelings, and he didn’t want Dito to travel. He is angry at Dito for leaving, and for not returning sooner to visit; he then sends Dito away. Dito does leave but returns later, to insist that he take his father to the hospital.

Dito remembers Giuseppe (Adam Scarimbolo), reckless, destructive, and possibly insane: In the 1980s Giuseppe stood on the subway track; in spite of urgent warnings from his brother Antonio (Channing Tatum) and from Nerf that a train was coming, he failed to get back on the platform and was killed.

One interpretation of the title is that Dito begins to believe that he has been saved from his friends’ fate by his saints. Alternatively, he comes to realize that his saints were his friends and family – Antonio, Laurie, Mike, his mother, and even his estranged father.

The Soloist

  • Directors: Joe Wright
  • Producers: Gary Foster, Russ Krasnoff
  • Writers: Susannah Grant
  • Genres: Drama, Biography, Music
  • Actors: Jamie Foxx, Robert Downey Jr, Catherine Keener

The Soloist is based on the true story of Nathaniel Ayers (Jamie Foxx), a musical prodigy who developed schizophrenia during his second year at Juilliard School. Ayers becomes homeless in the streets of downtown Los Angeles, playing the violin and the cello.[2]