Hollywoodland

  • Directors: Allen Coulter
  • Producers: Glenn Williamson
  • Writers: Paul Bernbaum
  • Genres: Biography, Crime, Drama, History, Mystery, Thriller
  • Actors: Adrien Brody, Diane Lane, Ben Affleck, Bob Hoskins, Molly Parker, Robin Tunney, Caroline Dhavernas

The movie begins in Beverly Hills on June 16, 1959, at the home of TV star George Reeves with a police investigation underway and Reeves’ lifeless body on his bed. The police rule the death a suicide. The focus of the film then shifts to Louis Simo, a private investigator more interested in generating an income than in devotion to his clients. A man named Chester Sinclair is paying Simo to spy on his wife under the impression that she is cheating on him. Simo simply accepts his money and takes pictures outside of a building where she goes to from time to time. On a visit to see his son, Simo reacts to the boy’s lackluster demeanor and asks his ex-wife Laurie what is wrong. She tells him it’s because the actor who plays Superman has shot himself. Simo learns from a former colleague on the police force that the Reeves suicide has aspects that the cops don’t want to touch. Simo, sensing the potential for making a name for himself, begins investigating the case and notes several apparent conflicts with the official version of Reeves’ death. Simultaneously Simo bickers with Laurie over his failures as a father, particularly now when his son seems so troubled.

The story of Reeves’ quest for fame and success and Simo’s realization of how that quest is paralleled in his own existence causes the detective to reevaluate his life. Simo watches another home movie, this one of himself and Laurie and their son in happier days. The film ends with Simo coming to Laurie’s house wearing a suit and tie, and greeting his son hopefully.

Vertical Limit

  • Directors: Martin Campbell
  • Producers: Martin Campbell, Robert King, Marcia Nasatir, Lloyd Phillips
  • Writers: Robert King, Robert King Terry Hayes
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Thriller
  • Actors: Chris O Donnell, Robin Tunney, Scott Glenn, Izabella Scorupco, Bill Paxton

Peter Garrett (O’Donnell) is a retired climber who a few years earlier caused his father to fall off a cliff face and plummet to his death in order to save his sister and his own lives (following his Dad’s orders). The film starts with this scene in which father, son and daughter are climbing together. Peter hasn’t been able to move on and has subsequently retired from climbing and is doing documentary work instead. Peter’s sister Annie (Tunney) has become a renowned mountain climber. Peter happens to show up at base camp as Annie attempts to climb K2 in Pakistan, the world’s second highest mountain, which is very dangerous to climb because of the tough conditions which await at the summit. The expedition is funded by wealthy industrialist Elliot Vaughn (Paxton) who is also going to climb, with the help of his friend Tom McLaren (Lea). There is a huge party the night before the climbers begin the trek. Elliot is introduced to Peter, who he asks to accompany them on the trip, but Peter instantly refuses.

The climb turns out to be a disaster as the windy conditions begin to wreak havoc among the travelers. Annie, Elliot and Tom fall through a patch of ice and become trapped in a cavern. Annie radios back to base using morse code and Peter learns of Annie’s plight. He assembles together a rescue mission with the base’s best climbers including brothers Cyril and Malcolm (Le Marquand and Mendelsohn), Monique Aubertine (Scorupco), Kareem Nazir (Siddig) and Skip Taylor (Taylor). However, the day before the rescue mission goes underway. Skip and Peter go visit Montgomery Wick (Glenn), reported to be the world’s best climber, and who has climbed K2 before. After an awkward conversation with Wick, he agrees to go and Peter sees Wick’s bare feet without toes. Skip informs him Wick lost his wife on the mountain and lost his toes to frostbite, and that Wick has searched for her every day since the accident. Skip is unable to go as Wick says he needs him on the ground directing the mission, instead of being with it.

Peter and Monique continue and they soon find the place where Annie and Elliot are imprisoned. They effectively use the nitroglycerin to destroy a huge chunk of the ice and creating a hole, enabling access to the survivors below. Wick arrives at this point, and along with Peter (with Monique towing the rope) they manage to pull Annie out of the hole. Wick then manages to buckle Elliot onto the rope and all seems well. Suddenly a tremor occurs and the collective weight of the all three men is too heavy for the girls to pull out. With Elliot below him, Wick decides to sacrifice himself, despite Elliot shrieking at him not to. He cuts the rope with a knife and both are lost below. Peter is saved and he, Monique and Annie then embrace. The film ends with Annie safely at a camp and reconciled with her brother who she had never forgiven for “killing” their father.

End of Days

  • Directors: Peter Hyams
  • Producers: Armyam Bernstein, Bill Borden, Thomas Bliss
  • Writers: Andrew W Marlowe
  • Genres: Action, Fantasy, Horror, Mystery, Thriller
  • Actors: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Gabriel Byrne, Robin Tunney, Kevin Pollak, Rod Steiger, Udo Kier, CCH Pounder

In 1979, a newborn girl named Christine York is identified by Satanists, including Christine’s doctor Dr. Abel (Udo Kier), and her guardian, Mabel (Miriam Margoyles), as the one chosen to bear Satan’s son during the last hour on New Year’s Eve, 1999, thanks to a symbol on her arm. As she is being born, a priest in the Vatican witnesses a comet, described as the “Eye of God”, heralding the birth of the one chosen to be the mother of Satan’s child. The priest is then sent on a mission by the Pope to protect the girl. However, a group of other priests insist that she must be sacrificed to prevent Satan’s plans.

Twenty years later, near the end of 1999, retired police officer Jericho Cane (Schwarzenegger), in a constant state of depression since his wife and daughter were murdered by a hitman, is assigned to protect a Wall Street banker (Gabriel Byrne). They are attacked by a priest named Thomas Aquinas (Derrick O’Connor; Thomas Aquinas is also the name of a 13th century Roman Catholic theologian), who is eventually captured and taken to a hospital. Unknown to Jericho, Aquinas somehow knew the real identity of the banker – he has been possessed by Satan and now wields great powers. Satan locates Aquinas and, after taunting the helpless priest, brutally murders him, crucifying him on the ceiling. Jericho and his friend Bobby Chicago see a name amongst many other things scratched into Aquinas’s skin, and after some guesswork, begin searching for Christine York.

Christine thanks the deceased Jericho for saving her life as New York celebrates the start of the year 2000.