Top Gun

  • Directors: Tony Scott
  • Producers: Don Simpson, Jerry Bruckheimer
  • Writers: Ehud Yonay, Jim Cash, Jack Epps Jr
  • Genres: Action, Romance
  • Actors: Tom Cruise, Kelly McGillis, Tom Skerritt, Val Kilmer, Anthony Edwards, Tim Robbins, Meg Ryan, Michael Ironside, Rick Rossovich

The film starts with Maverick (Tom Cruise) and Goose (Anthony Edwards) along with Maverick’s wingman “Cougar” and his RIO, “Merlin” (Tim Robbins), both piloting F-14A Tomcats, in conflict over the Indian Ocean against what are said to be Soviets, flying (fictional) Mikoyan-Gurevich-made MiG-28s. Cougar is engaged by one of the hostile aircraft and afterwards is too shaken to land, despite his aircraft being low on fuel. Maverick assists Cougar in landing, at risk to his own aircraft – which is also low on fuel. Following the incident Cougar resigns from active duty, citing his newborn child which he has never seen. Despite his antipathy for Maverick and Goose, the CAG, “Stinger” (James Tolkan) is forced to send Maverick and Goose—now his top pilots—to attend the Top Gun school.

Maverick tests his instructors’ patience on the first day of training by flying recklessly (outflying instructor LCDR Rick “Jester” Heatherly (Michael Ironside), breaking two rules of engagement in the process), establishes a rivalry with top student Tom “Iceman” Kazansky (Val Kilmer), and becomes enamored with civilian instructor Charlotte “Charlie” Blackwood (Kelly McGillis). Maverick contradicts her briefing by regaling her with the story of the MiG encounter from the film’s opening, but playfully withholds specific details.

The film ends with Maverick in a pub at NAS Miramar, recalling the occasion when he first met Charlie. Charlie then enters the bar, having decided to remain at Miramar after hearing of Maverick’s assignment there, and she plays You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ on the jukebox, signaling to Maverick her intention to remain with the Top Gun school, and to let her romance with Maverick flourish.

Mystic River

  • Directors: Clint Eastwood
  • Producers: Clint Eastwood, Robert Lorenz, Judie G Hoyt
  • Writers: Novel, Dennis Lehane, Screenplay, Brian Helgeland
  • Genres: Crime, Drama, Mystery, Thriller
  • Actors: Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon, Laurence Fishburne, Marcia Gay Harden, Laura Linney

The film opens with three boys, Sean Devine, Jimmy Markum, and Dave Boyle, playing hockey in the street. While playing, the boys find a section of sidewalk concrete that is still drying. Jimmy impulsively writes his name in the cement and Sean follows. Dave begins to write his name in the cement, but a car pulls up and a man who pretends to be a plainclothes police officer gets out, scolds the three boys, and tells Dave to get in the car. After a second man in the front passenger seat (who appears to be a priest) turns and smiles at the boy, Dave looks out the back window to see Jimmy and Sean staring back at him as the car moves away. Hearing that Dave was taken away by a police officer, the parents of Jimmy and Sean agree that something is wrong and begin to look for him.

The film then cuts to Dave in the basement of the two child molesters who took him and then to Dave running away from the house through a forest.

Twenty-five years later, the boys are now grown and still living in Boston. Jimmy (Sean Penn) is an ex-con running a neighborhood store, while Dave (Tim Robbins) is a blue-collar worker, still haunted by his abduction. The two men are still neighbors and related by marriage. Jimmy’s 19 year old daughter Katie (Emmy Rossum) is secretly dating Brendan Harris (Thomas Guiry), a boy Jimmy despises. She and Brendan are planning on eloping to marry in Las Vegas.

The film ends with the camera zooming towards Mystic River and fades to black.

War of the Worlds

  • Directors: Steven Spielberg
  • Producers: Kathleen Kennedy, Colin Wilson
  • Writers: Novel, H G Wells, Screenplay, Josh Friedman, David Koepp
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi, Thriller
  • Actors: Tom Cruise, Dakota Fanning, Justin Chatwin, Miranda Otto, Tim Robbins

The story opens in Newark, New Jersey, with dock worker Ray Ferrier (Tom Cruise) finishing the third shift in the morning. His pregnant ex-wife Mary Anne (Miranda Otto) and her wealthy new husband Tim (David Alan Basche), drop off Ray’s 10-year-old daughter Rachel (Hannah Dakota Fanning) and teenage son Robbie (Justin Chatwin) at his house. They are staying with him in Bayonne, New Jersey, while Tim and Mary Anne visit her parents in Boston, Massachusetts for the weekend. Rachel suffers from a panic disorder, while Robbie harbors resentment and outright disrespect towards his father. Later that day, Ray wakes up from a nap and is told by Rachel that Robbie has stolen his car and left.

Ray immediately sets out to find him, but is distracted by a strange wall cloud formation near his neighbourhood. As he and Rachel view it from the garden, the clouds begin to unleash electromagnetic pulses, disabling all of the working electronic devices in the area, including cars. Ray finds an apologetic Robbie, and tells him to take care of Rachel in the house while he goes to look at a hole in the ground that Robbie mentioned. Traveling past, he advises a mechanic to replace the solenoid of a Plymouth Voyager he is repairing. Ray and many other people find the mysteriously cold hole in the intersection, from which a large Tripod machine emerges. It begins to vaporize all humans within its range, and starts to destroy all the buildings in its path. Ray however, manages to escape and returns to his house. After packing food, Ray and the kids abandon their home and steal the Plymouth Voyager, which, due to Ray’s advice of changing the solenoid, is the only operating vehicle in town.

Afterwards, the narrator reveals that the Tripods were breaking down because the invaders and their weeds were suffering from terrestrial diseases, for which they had no immunity.

High Fidelity

  • Directors: Stephen Frears
  • Producers: Tim Bevan, Rudd Simmons
  • Writers: Nick Hornby, D V DeVincentis, Steve Pink, John Cusack, Scott Rosenberg
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama, Music, Romance
  • Actors: John Cusack, Iben Hjejle, Jack Black, Todd Louiso, Joan Cusack, Tim Robbins, Catherine Zeta Jones, Lisa Bonet, Joelle Carter, Sara Gilbert, Lili Taylor, Natasha Gregson Wagner

The plot of High Fidelity centers on Rob Gordon (John Cusack), a self-confessed audiophile whose flair for understanding women is less than par for the course. After getting dumped by his current girlfriend, Laura (Iben Hjejle), he decides to look up some of his old flames in an attempt to figure out what he keeps doing wrong in his relationships.

He spends his days at his record store, Championship Vinyl, where he holds court over the customers that drift through. Helping Rob in his task of musical elitism are Dick (Todd Louiso) and Barry (Jack Black), the “musical moron twins,” as he refers to them. Armed with an encyclopedic knowledge of all things musical, they compile “top five” lists for every conceivable occasion, openly mock the ignorance of their customers, and, every so often, actually sell a few records. Also there are some teenagers, Vince (Chris Rehmann) and Justin (Ben Carr), who skate near his store. In one busy day at the store, the teenagers try to steal some records and he chases them down, making his dislike for them bigger, until one day, he listens to a recording that they did and offers them a record deal, starting his own label called “Top 5 Records”. During his off hours, he pines for the lost girlfriend Laura and does his best to win her back.

The Shawshank Redemption

  • Directors: Frank Darabont
  • Producers: Niki Marvin
  • Writers: Novella, Stephen King, Screenplay, Frank Darabont
  • Genres: Drama
  • Actors: Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, Bob Gunton, William Sadler, Clancy Brown, Gil Bellows, James Whitmore

In 1947, a banker named Andrew “Andy” Dufresne[1] is convicted of murdering his wife and her lover based on strong circumstantial evidence and is sentenced to two consecutive life sentences at Shawshank State Penitentiary in Maine. At the prison, inmate Ellis Boyd “Red” Redding is rejected for parole after having served twenty years of his life sentence shortly before Andy’s arrival. Andy gradually becomes acquainted with Red’s circle of friends, and Red himself, who is known for cleverly smuggling in contraband. After a month of adjusting to his new life, Andy approaches Red and asks him to get a rock hammer, intending to pursue a hobby of rock collecting. Red supplies the hammer for ten dollars, and later fills Andy’s request for a poster of Rita Hayworth.

One day in 1949, while tarring the roof of Shawshank’s license plate factory, Andy overhears the captain of the prison guards, Captain Hadley, bitterly complaining about the taxes he will have to pay on a forthcoming inheritance. Andy approaches Hadley with a solution that will allow him to keep the entire inheritance tax-free; though Hadley nearly throws Andy off the roof initially, Andy’s willingness to set up the transaction for the cost of beer for the tarring crew wins Hadley’s respect. Prior to this, Andy had frequently been beaten and sexually assaulted by a gang called “The Sisters”, led by inmates Bogs and Rooster. After a particularly vicious beating at the hands of the Sisters lands Andy in the infirmary, Bogs returns to his cell from a week in solitary confinement to find Captain Hadley there. Hadley inflicts a brutal nightstick beating on Bogs, which leaves him paralyzed. Bogs is sent away to a state hospital, and the message to the Sisters is clear; Andy is never bothered again.

The next year, 1967, Red is finally released on parole after serving 40 years at Shawshank. Red is afraid of “the outside”, dreading living in fear, worried that he would end up committing suicide once outside of the prison’s strict regime, as fellow prisoner Brooks Hatlen had done. Ironically, he’s given the same room and the same job Hatlen had. But instead of committing suicide, Red recalls his promise to Andy and heads to the field in Buxton that Andy told him about. He finds a small metal box containing money and instructions from Andy. He violates his parole and travels to Mexico, eventually reuniting with Andy in Zihuatanejo on the Pacific coast. Both of them are elated and hug each other when they meet at the coast.