Heat

  • Directors: Michael Mann
  • Producers: Michael Mann, Art Linson
  • Writers: Michael Mann
  • Genres: Action, Crime, Drama, Thriller
  • Actors: Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Val Kilmer, Tom Sizemore, Diane Venora, Amy Brenneman, Ashley Judd, Mykelti Williamson, Wes Studi, Ted Levine, Dennis Haysbert, William Fichtner, Natalie Portman, Tom Noonan, Kevin Gage, Hank Azaria, Danny Trejo, and Jon Voight

Career thief Neil McCauley (Robert De Niro) leads a team of criminals, including longtime friends Chris Shiherlis (Val Kilmer), Michael Cheritto (Tom Sizemore), and Trejo (Danny Trejo), who carry out a carefully planned armored car heist, stealing US$1.6 million in bearer bonds from Malibu Equity Investments, a shell company run by Roger Van Zant (William Fichtner) that launders drug money through offshore bank accounts. The robbery is complicated by new member Waingro (Kevin Gage) impulsively murdering a guard, forcing the team to execute the remaining guards—potential witnesses—and escape. After the robbery, McCauley meets with his fence, Nate (Jon Voight), who suggests selling the bonds back to Van Zant for 60% of their value instead of laundering them at 60% cost; since the bonds were insured for 100% of their value, Van Zant would make 40% of 1.6 million above his bond insurance while McCauley and his team would gain an additional 20% on top of their expected take.

Later, McCauley and his crew meet at a diner to discuss dividing the money from the robbery. Enraged about the robbery, escalated to capital murder by Waingro, McCauley and his crew attempt to kill Waingro, but when a passing police car distracts them, Waingro escapes. Meanwhile, Van Zant agrees to buy the bonds back, but instructs his men to ambush McCauley at the meeting and take the bonds back. With help from his crew, McCauley escapes the ambush and vows revenge.

McCauley returns to Eady and breaks his longstanding creed, compelling her to flee with him to New Zealand. As he finalizes his plans, Nate reveals Waingro’s whereabouts to McCauley. Confident with his escape plan, McCauley impulsively takes the bait and infiltrates the hotel, activating the fire alarm to vacate the hotel. With the hotel security and police distracted, McCauley barges in and murders Waingro before beginning his escape. Moments later, Hanna arrives at the hotel and from a distance observes Eady waiting in McCauley’s car. As he approaches, McCauley emerges from the building and noticing Hanna, hesitantly defaults to his “thirty seconds” rule and abandons Eady, disappearing into the crowd with Hanna in pursuit. Following a tense cat-and-mouse chase in the darkness of the LAX freight terminal, McCauley nearly gets the drop on Hanna, but Hanna manages to shoot McCauley first, leaving him clinging to life in the fields of the adjoining runways. Hanna holds McCauley’s hand as a mark of mutual respect. Together, the two share a final, quiet moment of reflection and understanding as McCauley dies.

Wild Wild West

  • Directors: Barry Sonnenfeld
  • Producers: Jon Peters, Barry Sonnenfeld
  • Writers: Story, Jim Thomas, John Thomas, Screenplay, S S Wilson, Brent Maddock, Jeffrey Price, Peter S Seaman
  • Genres: Action, Western, Comedy, Sci-Fi
  • Actors: Will Smith, Kevin Kline, Kenneth Branagh, Salma Hayek, M Emmet Walsh, Ted Levine, Musetta Vander, Bai Ling

The film is set in 1869 during the Reconstruction Era and presidency of Ulysses S. Grant. The film opens in a Louisiana forest, where a man, later revealed to be Thaddeus J. Morton, is running away from a lethal flying disk. Morton keeps running until it catches him and decapitates him. Soon after, a man stands over his head with the disk, says, “And they say you scientists are supposed to be smart” and takes the disk out of the ground.

After the opening credits, viewer go to a railroad water station in Morgan, West Virginia. Trigger-happy Captain James West (Will Smith), one of the main protagonists, is hiding in the water tower, spying on the actions of a group of ex-Confederate soldiers working under General “Bloodbath” McGrath, a personal rival of West’s. Following a runaway ride on a wagon filled with bottles of nitroglycerin, West arrives at a saloon where General McGrath (Ted Levine) and his rag-tag band of rebel soldiers are enjoying a raucous party. McGrath, whose head is fitted with a small swiveling trumpet to replace a missing ear, is seduced by an unlikely prostitute who, having seen McGrath’s men carrying a man out of the building, attempts to hypnotize the general and learn his plans for the kidnapped man.

After the second ceremony at Promontory, Grant promotes Gordon and West to the first two agents of his newly-formed U.S. Secret Service, then leaves aboard The Wanderer. Gordon and West meet Rita again, both of them planning to propose marriage to her, but she crushes both their hopes by announcing that Professor Guillermo Escobar (another character) was, in fact, her husband and not her father, leaving Gordon and West stuck with one another. The film ends with a typically clichéd scene of Western films; it shows Gordon and West seemingly riding through a typical Western landscape on horseback, but the camera pulls back to reveal that they are actually piloting the immense steam-spider into the sunset.

American Gangster

  • Directors: Ridley Scott
  • Producers: Ridley Scott, Brian Grazer, James Whitaker, Steven Zaillian, Nicholas Pileggi
  • Writers: Mark Jacobson, Steven Zaillian
  • Genres: Crime, Drama
  • Actors: Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Josh Brolin, Lymari Nadal, Ted Levine, John Hawkes, RZA, Carla Gugino, with, Armand Assante, Cuba Gooding Jr, and Ruby Dee montrell prince

Ellsworth “Bumpy” Johnson, a disciplined and intelligent gangster, runs much of Harlem and imparts his wisdom onto his former driver turned right-hand man, Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington). Johnson dies of a heart attack in 1968, at an electronics store. Frank dislikes the new, flashy gangsters and decides to take control. To gain money and power, he travels to Bangkok, Thailand, and with the help of his “cousin” who is an Army Staff NCO, strikes a deal with a Chinese nationalist general in the Golden Triangle of Southeast Asia, who supplies him with pure heroin. Starting with a first shipment of 100 kilograms, Frank has the drugs transported back to America via military service planes. His final shipment comprises two tons hidden in the coffins of seven dead U.S. soldiers from the Vietnam War.

Meanwhile, Newark Police Department detective Richie Roberts (Russell Crowe) is juggling a failing marriage, late-night law school classes, and his police career. When Richie and his partner, Javier Rivera, discover nearly $1 million in unmarked bills in a car, Richie resists temptation and turns the money in. His rare honesty makes him a hated member of his precinct, causing his partner to be exiled from the force, while Richie’s rampant womanizing behavior and undercover double life leads his wife to seek a divorce and custody of their son. After his exiled partner dies from overdosing on “Blue Magic”, a relatively new and powerful type of heroin being sold for less money than its competition, Richie’s honesty catches him a break when his superior Captain Lou Toback (Ted Levine) puts him in charge of a newly created task force to stop major drug trafficking in Essex County, New Jersey by going after the actual supplier, rather than the middle-men. Richie handpicks honest cops and gets to work on finding who is supplying Blue Magic.

With no other options, Frank decides to provide names of numerous other criminals, including his and Richie’s common enemies: corrupt NYC detectives. Numerous corrupt cops are arrested, and a distraught Trupo kills himself to avoid arrest. Richie, having passed the bar exam, prosecutes Frank. Some time after the Lucas trial, he eventually leaves the prosecutor’s office, and becomes a defense attorney. The first client he takes is Frank. Because of his cooperation, Frank receives a relatively light sentence of 15 years rather than the original 70. He is arrested in 1975. At the film’s end, he steps out of jail in 1991 significantly older and out of place, but with Richie waiting to pick him up.

The Silence of the Lambs

  • Directors: Jonathan Demme
  • Producers: Kenneth Utt, Edward Saxon, Ron Bozman
  • Writers: Ted Tally
  • Genres: Crime, Thriller
  • Actors: Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Scott Glenn, Ted Levine, Anthony Heald, Brooke Smith, Frankie Faison, Harry Northup

Promising student Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) is pulled from her training at the FBI Academy at Quantico, Virginia by Jack Crawford (Glenn) of the Bureau’s Behavioral Science Unit. Crawford tasks her with interviewing the notorious Hannibal Lecter (Hopkins), the brilliant psychiatrist and incarcerated cannibalistic serial killer, believing Lecter’s insight might be useful in the pursuit of vicious serial killer Buffalo Bill. Starling travels to the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane, where she is led by Dr. Frederick Chilton (Heald) to Hannibal Lecter, the sophisticated, cultured man restrained behind thick glass panels and windowless stone walls.

Although initially pleasant and courteous, Lecter grows impatient with Starling’s attempts at “dissecting” him and viciously rebuffs her. As Starling departs, another patient flings fresh semen onto her face, enraging Lecter, who calls Starling back and suggests she consult one of his former patients. Starling interprets the patient’s name as a riddle. It leads her to a storage lot where she discovers a man’s severed head. She returns to Lecter, who tells her that the man is Benjamin Raspail, who is linked to Buffalo Bill. Though Lecter denies killing Raspail, he offers to profile Buffalo Bill if he is transferred away from the venomous, careerist Dr. Chilton.

Days later at the FBI Academy graduation party, Starling receives a phone call from Hannibal Lecter who is at an airport in Bimini. Lecter assures Starling he has no plans to pursue her and asks her to show him the same courtesy, which she says she will not do. He then excuses himself, remarking that he’s “having an old friend for dinner”. He hangs up the phone and casually follows Dr. Chilton through the village.