Did You Hear About the Morgans

  • Directors: Marc Lawrence
  • Producers: Martin Shafer, Liz Glotzer
  • Writers: Marc Lawrence
  • Genres: Comedy, Romance
  • Actors: Hugh Grant, Sarah Jessica Parker, Sam Elliott, Mary Steenburgen, Elisabeth Moss, Michael Kelly, Wilford Brimley, Jesse Liebman

Did You Hear About the Morgans? follows a highly successful Manhattan couple, Meryl and Paul Morgan (Sarah Jessica Parker and Hugh Grant), whose almost-perfect lives have only one notable failure – their dissolving marriage. But the turmoil of their romantic lives is nothing compared to what they are about to experience: they witness a murder and become targets of a contract killer. The Feds, protecting their witnesses, whisk away the Morgans from their beloved New York to a tiny town in Wyoming, and a relationship that was on the rocks threatens to end completely in the Rockies … unless, in their new BlackBerry-free lives, the Morgans can slow down the pace and rekindle the passion. Once in Ray, Wyoming, the Morgan’s are introduced to the Wheelers, who will be protecting them secretly under the names of Meryl and Paul Foster, who are visiting their cousins, the Wheelers. While adjusting to Ray, Paul tries rekindling their marriage. Meanwhile, in New York, the killer is still after them and has found a way to know where they are through Meryl’s assistant. When Paul hurts his shoulder shooting cans for fun, he is taken to the only doctor in town, whose number the murderer achieves and plans to go down to Wyoming. Meryl makes a phone call to alert an adoption agent she won’t be needing her services, greatly endangering both her and Paul when she calls herself Meryl Morgan over the phone. Still trying to help the romance, Paul takes Meryl on a date. Afterwards, they get lost on the way home, and share a kiss after remembering their wedding day with Meryl repeating you may kiss the bride as a hint. With everything in order, Meryl begins to question whether she should or should not tell Paul she had an infidelity during their separation. Asking the Wheelers for help, they say she should be truthful but gentle. When she is, Paul becomes standoffish. The next day, with the killer in town, the Morgans anticipate leaving Ray for a new, bigger city. The Wheelers invite them to a rodeo, which the Morgans decline due to their budding argument. Leaving the Morgans without any form of security, the killer breaks in, but not before the Morgans are able to sneak out. Going to the Rodeo, they hide in a bull suit and accidentally frighten a live bull into head-butting them. Meryl, unable to walk, stays hidden from the killer while Paul, realizing he has no time to get the Wheelers, takes matters into his own hands. Accidentally spraying himself with pepper spray instead of the killer, he is about to be shot when Mrs. Wheeler approaches with a gun. Soon after, Mr. Wheeler does the same, and friends the Morgans have made gather around proclaiming themselves witnesses. Mr. Wheeler hits the murderer over the head with a horseshoe, knocking him unconscienous and thus leaving police to arrest him. Meryl and Paul realize that when they almost thought one another would die, they had no worse feeling in their lives, and make up for good. Six months later, they come home from China with a baby girl they have adopted. Moving into their new apartment, they decide to name the baby Rae. Admiring the view from their balcony, the happy new family admires that Meryl is pregnant with a biological child as well, with Paul remarking, Wouldn’t if be funny if this one was Chinese too?

We Were Soldiers

  • Directors: Randall Wallace
  • Producers: Arne L Schmidt, Jim Lemley, Randall Wallace
  • Writers: Hal Moore, Joseph L Galloway, Randall Wallace
  • Genres: Action, History, War
  • Actors: Mel Gibson, Sam Elliott, Madeleine Stowe, Greg Kinnear, Don Duong, Chris Klein, Jon Hamm, Keri Russell, Barry Pepper, Dylan Walsh

A French Army unit in Vietnam in July 1954 during the First Indochina War is ambushed by soldiers of the Viet Minh. The French fiercly resist and kill many Viet Minh, but most French soldiers are killed and the unit eventually overrun by the Viet Minh. The Viet Minh Senior Lieutenant Nguyễn Hữu An (Don Duong), believing that France will eventually stop sending troops if there are many casualties, orders the execution of all surviving French soldiers.

Eleven years later, Lieutenant Colonel Hal Moore (Mel Gibson), a dedicated United States Army officer, is deeply committed to training his troops, who are preparing to be sent to Vietnam. The night before their departure, the unit’s officers hold a party to celebrate. Moore learns from a superior officer that his unit will be known as the 1st Battalion / 7th Cavalry regiment.

He is disquieted because the 7th Cavalry regiment was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer, who were slaughtered at the 1876 Battle of the Little Bighorn. Moore is also dismayed because President Lyndon B. Johnson has decreed that the war would be fought “on the cheap,” without declaring it a national emergency. As a result, Moore believes he will be deprived of his oldest, best-trained soldiers (a formal declaration of war would have meant mobilization and extension of the terms of enlistment for volunteer soldiers) – about 25% of his battalion – just prior to shipping out for Vietnam. Before leaving for Vietnam, Moore delivers a poignant speech to his unit:

At the end of the movie it is revealed that Moore (having been promoted to Colonel) returned home safely after 235 more days of fighting.

Tombstone

  • Directors: George P Cosmatos, Kurt Russell 1
  • Producers: Michael Sloan, James Jacks
  • Writers: Kevin Jarre
  • Genres: Action, Drama, Romance, Western
  • Actors: Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer, Sam Elliott, Bill Paxton

Wyatt Earp (Kurt Russell), a retired peace officer with a legendary reputation, re-unites with his brothers Virgil (Sam Elliott) and Morgan (Bill Paxton) in Tucson, Arizona, where they venture on towards Tombstone, a small but growing mining town, to settle down. There they encounter Wyatt’s longtime friend Doc Holliday (Val Kilmer), a southern gambler, expert gunslinger, and shady character who seeks relief from his tuberculosis in Arizona’s drier environment.

All is not perfect, however. Wyatt’s wife, Mattie Blaylock (Dana Wheeler-Nicholson), is slowly becoming dependent on laudanum (opium). Just as Wyatt and his brothers begin to benefit from a stake in a gambling emporium and saloon, they have their first encounter with the Cowboys, a band of ruthless outlaws. Led by “Curly Bill” Brocious (Powers Boothe), the Cowboy members are identifiable by the red sashes worn around their waist. Conflict is narrowly avoided upon Wyatt’s insistence that he is retired and no longer interested in pursuing a career in enforcing the law. This is also first face-to-face meeting for Doc Holliday and the psychopathic Johnny Ringo (Michael Biehn), widely known to be one of the fastest guns in the West. They take an immediate dislike to one another.

Doc is later admitted to a sanatorium in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. After a visit from Wyatt, Doc looks at his feet and the condition of the bed in which he is lying: realizing he is about to die with his boots off (as opposed to “dying with your boots on”, i.e. in a gunfight), he passes away muttering “I’ll be damned. Oh, this is funny”. At Doc’s urging, Wyatt pursues Josephine and the movie ends with an account of their long marriage together, as narrated by veteran actor Robert Mitchum.

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.

Ghost Rider

  • Directors: Mark Steven Johnson
  • Producers: Avi Arad, Stan Lee, David S Goyer
  • Writers: Mark Steven Johnson
  • Genres: Action, Fantasy, Thriller
  • Actors: Nicolas Cage, Eva Mendes, Wes Bentley, Sam Elliott, Donal Logue, Matt Long, Peter Fonda, Brett Cullen, Raquel Alessi

In the American Old West, Mephistopheles (Peter Fonda) sends his bounty hunter of the damned, the Ghost Rider, to retrieve a contract for a thousand corrupt souls from the town of San Venganza. Because such a large amount of souls would cause Hell on Earth, the Rider refuses to give the contract and escapes Mephistopheles, later to hide the contract and himself.

A century and a half later, Mephistopheles reaches out to seventeen-year-old stunt motorcycle rider Johnny Blaze (Matt Long/Nicolas Cage), offering to cure his father’s lung cancer in exchange for Johnny’s soul. Johnny inadvertently signs the contract when a drop of his blood lands on it. His father’s cancer is cured, but he dies that same day in a horrific bike crash. Johnny accuses Mephistopheles of causing his father’s death, but Mephistopheles considers their contract fulfilled. Years later, Johnny has become a stunt rider famous for surviving disastrous feats.

Before a particularly dangerous new stunt, Johnny meets his childhood sweetheart Roxanne (Raquel Alessi/Eva Mendes), now a journalist, and holds a dinner date with her that evening. During the same time, Blackheart (Wes Bentley), Mephistopheles’ son, comes to Earth to find the lost contract and use its power to overcome his father. To ensure himself allies, he enlists the fallen angels known as the Hidden, a trio of demon spirits who represent three of the four elements — the water-demon Wallow (Daniel Frederiksen), the earth-demon Gressil (Laurence Breuls), and the air-demon Abigor (Mathew Wilkinson). In response, Mephistopheles makes Johnny the new Ghost Rider, offering Johnny his soul in return for defeating Blackheart. Therefore Johnny confronts Blackheart at a train station where the contract was once buried and kills Gressil while the others escape. On his way out of the station he uses his ‘Penance Stare’, an ability to sear the pain felt by all whom a person has harmed into the wrongdoer’s soul, on a mugger, leaving the man catatonic.

Mephistopheles appears and gives Johnny his soul, offering to terminate the burden of Ghost Rider. Johnny refuses, saying that he will use his power against Mephistopheles, and against all harm that comes to the innocent. Infuriated of being robbed of the power, Mephistopheles vows to make Johnny pay, to which Johnny in response recites his favorite saying: “You can’t live in fear”. Mephistopheles then disappears, taking Blackheart’s body with him. Johnny and Roxanne share words and a kiss at a tree marked to symbolize their relationship, whereupon Johnny rides into the sunset. Slade’s voice then acts as narrator to close the film.

Hulk

  • Directors: Ang Lee
  • Producers: Avi Arad, Larry J Franco, Gale Anne Hurd, Stan Lee, James Schamus, Kevin Feige
  • Writers: Screenplay, James Schamus, Michael France, John Turman, Story, James Schamus, Comic Book, Stan Lee, Jack Kirby
  • Genres: Action, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Thriller
  • Actors: Eric Bana, Jennifer Connelly, Sam Elliott, Nick Nolte, Josh Lucas

David Banner is a genetics researcher who experiments on himself, trying to improve human DNA. Once his wife gives birth to their son Bruce, David realizes his mutant DNA has been passed on and attempts to find a cure for his son’s condition. The government, represented by Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross, shuts down his research after learning of his dangerous experiments. David, in a fit of rage, causes a massive explosion of the facilities’ gamma reactor, and accidentally kills his wife. He is then put into a mental hospital, while 4-year-old Bruce is sent into foster care and adopted, taking on the last name of Krenzler, believing his biological parents are deceased. The events surrounding his mother’s death leave Bruce unable to recall details of his early childhood.

Years later, Bruce is a brilliant researcher freshly graduated at the University of California, Berkeley. The military-industrial complex, represented by the unscrupulous Major Talbot, becomes interested in the research to build regenerating soldiers. David reappears and begins infiltrating Bruce’s life, working as a janitor in the lab building. Ross, now an Army general, also begins to investigate. Ross, the estranged father of Bruce’s ex-girlfriend and co-researcher Betty Ross, becomes concerned both for his daughter’s safety around Bruce, but also because Bruce is working in the same field as the father he does not remember.

Talbot, seeing an opportunity to profit from the Hulk’s strength and regenerative capability, attacks and taunts Bruce, but fails. Talbot puts him in a sensory deprivation tank and induces a nightmare that triggers his repressed memories and transforms him into the Hulk, eventually leading to the death of Talbot. David confronts Betty and offers to turn himself in. In exchange, he asks to speak to Bruce “one last time.” The Hulk escapes the base in the process. He battles the army in the desert, defeating four tanks and two Comanche Helicopters, and leaps all the way to San Francisco to find Betty again. Betty contacts her father and convinces him to take her to meet the Hulk, believing that he needs “a chance to calm down.” Bruce’s love for her comes through the Hulk, and he transforms back into his human form. David is allowed to visit the base and talk to Bruce. David, having descended into megalomania, fails to convince Bruce to give him his power. David transforms into a powerful electrical being after biting into a wire and absorbing the energy. Bruce then transforms into the Hulk and battles his father. Both are presumed dead after Ross orders a Gamma Charge Bomb to end the fight, leaving no trace of them. A year later there have still been numerous sightings of the Hulk. Bruce finds exile in the Amazon Rainforest as a doctor in a medical camp.