The Last Kiss

  • Directors: Tony Goldwyn
  • Producers: Gary Lucchesi, Tom Rosenberg, Marcus Viscidi, Andre Lamal
  • Writers: Paul Haggis Zach Braff, Gabriele Muccino
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance
  • Actors: Zach Braff, Jacinda Barrett, Rachel Bilson, Casey Affleck, Blythe Danner, Tom Wilkinson

Michael and his live-in girlfriend Jenna appear to be enjoying the perfect relationship: Jenna is pregnant prior to the opening of the film and her parents are pressuring the pair to get married. Jenna claims that Michael’s work pressures and her own dissertation rendered it an inopportune time for marriage. The real reason, unbeknownst to anyone, is that Michael feels trapped and scared. Although he considers Jenna an ideal companion, Michael is harboring second thoughts.

Upon a chance encounter at a wedding, Michael meets Kim, whom he confides in about his relationship. Kim guesses he is about to break up with Jenna and becomes flirtatious. While Michael becomes intrigued by Kim’s youthfulness, openness, and spirit, he does not succumb to temptation. The two part ways with Kim telling Michael where she attends school and where she usually hangs out.

Michael eventually seeks her out at the Memorial Union but tells Kim he was in the area only because of a client meeting. Kim senses his interest and, while Michael drives her home, invites him to a party. Michael accepts. Back in the office, Michael constructs an excuse to be away from Jenna on the night of the party. He asks Chris, his friend and co-worker, to cover for him in case Jenna calls. Chris suspects Michael has met another woman and wishes to avoid becoming involved, as Chris himself has just left his wife; he knows first hand how painful a breakup can be. Michael denies the existence of another woman and merely says he will ‘be with an old college friend.’

Michael follows her back and finds himself locked out. He stakes out on the front porch until Jenna agrees to talk. Both day and night, wet and dry, Michael remains at the front door with many neighbors taking notice and some even providing beverages to him. Stephen even proceeds to drive by in his car and notices Michael, who sees him. A proud smile develops on his face as he drives off, indicating that Michael has taken his advice seriously. Slowly but surely, she begins to relent, first tossing out a blanket during a cold evening, then dropping off a sandwich the next day. During the evening of what would have been his third night on the porch, Jenna breaks her silence and speaks to Michael through the closed door. She laments about mourning the loss of the relationship like the loss of someone’s life. Later that evening, Jenna opens the door and Michael goes inside.

Valkyrie

  • Directors: Bryan Singer
  • Producers: Christopher McQuarrie, Bryan Singer, Gilbert Adler, Chris Lee
  • Writers: Christopher McQuarrie, Nathan Alexander
  • Genres: History, Thriller, War
  • Actors: Tom Cruise, Kenneth Branagh, Bill Nighy, Carice van Houten, Eddie Izzard, Terence Stamp, Tom Wilkinson

During World War II, Wehrmacht Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg (Cruise) is severely wounded in Tunisia, and is evacuated home to Nazi Germany. Meanwhile, Major General Henning von Tresckow (Branagh) attempts to assassinate Adolf Hitler by smuggling a bomb aboard the Führer’s private airplane. The bomb, however, fails to detonate and Tresckow safely retrieves it to conceal his intentions. After learning that the Gestapo has arrested Major Hans Oster, he orders General Olbricht (Nighy) to find a replacement. After recruiting von Stauffenberg into the German Resistance, Olbricht delivers von Stauffenberg to a meeting of the secret committee which has coordinated previous attempts on Hitler’s life. The members include General Ludwig Beck (Stamp), Dr. Carl Goerdeler (McNally), and Erwin von Witzleben (Schofield). The Colonel is stunned to learn that no plans exist for after Hitler’s assassination.

After a bombing raid on Berlin, he lights upon using the plan Operation Valkyrie, which involves the deployment of the Reserve Army to maintain order in the event of a national emergency. The plotters carefully redraft the plan so that they can dismantle the Nazi regime after assassinating Hitler, by overthrowing the SS and imprisoning Hitler’s closest advisors. Realizing that only General Fromm (Wilkinson), the head of the Reserve Army, can initiate Valkyrie, they offer him a position as head of the Wehrmacht in a Post-Nazi Germany and recruit him into the fold: however, Fromm initially refuses. With the rewritten plan needing to be signed off by Hitler (Bamber) himself, von Stauffenberg visits the Führer at his Berghof estate in Bavaria. In the presence of his inner circle, Hitler praises von Stauffenberg’s heroism in North Africa and signs off on the plan without fully examining the modifications.

As von Stauffenberg flies back to Berlin, Olbricht refuses to mobilize the Reserve Army until he knows without a doubt that Hitler is dead. Behind Olbricht’s back, Mertz forges his signature and issues the orders anyway. With Operation Valkyrie underway, von Stauffenberg and his fellow plotters order the arrest of Nazi party leaders and SS officers and begin to take control of Berlin’s government quarter, which will allow them to command the entire Reich. Rumors reach Berlin that Hitler survived the blast, but von Stauffenberg dismisses them as SS propaganda. Meanwhile, Fromm learns from Field Marshal Keitel that Hitler is still alive. The General refuses to join the plotters, resulting in his arrest. When Hitler reaches the Reserve Army by telephone, the SS officers are released and the plotters in turn are besieged inside the Bendlerblock. The headquarters staff flees, but the ringleaders are arrested. Most are eventually tried and executed, while some commit suicide. Von Stauffenberg shouts “Long live sacred Germany!” before being executed by a firing squad.

The Full Monty

  • Directors: Peter Cattaneo
  • Producers: Uberto Pasolini
  • Writers: Simon Beaufoy
  • Genres: Comedy, Music
  • Actors: Robert Carlyle, Mark Addy, William Snape, Steve Huison, Tom Wilkinson, Paul Barber, Hugo Speer

The year is 1972, and the place is “Sheffield… the beating heart of Britain’s industrial north”, as described by the narrator in a short film visualising the city’s economic prosperity, borne out of Sheffield’s highly successful steel industry. The film shows busy steel mills, producing everything from kitchen cutlery to tensile girders, along with the run-off from the mills… successful retail establishments, nightclubs, and attractive housing. The film concludes with “thanks to steel, Sheffield really is a city on the move!”

Fast forward to a quarter century later to the same city but in a far different light than that of the early-1970s. The once-successful steel mills of then have grown brown with rust, rolling equipment has been removed, and the lines are silent. Gary “Gaz” Schofield (Robert Carlyle) and Dave Horsefall (Mark Addy), desperate to make some money, are inside their former workplace trying to get a steel beam out of the mill with the intent of selling it. They attempt to get the beam out of the mill by securing it to the roof of a car, which promptly sinks. Undaunted, they try to salvage the beam, but their attempts prove futile.

Gaz is later informed by his ex-wife that she intends to take court action against him for the child support payments that he’s failed to make since losing his job. Compromising the situation further is Gaz’s son, Nathan (William Snape), who reluctantly spends time with Gaz. He grows tired of his father’s seeming lack of motivation to do something with his life and get his act together.

With not much left to lose, and a sold-out show, the men decide to go for it for one night (including Gerald, who has got the job from the interview he thought he’d failed). Dave, having re-gained his confidence with help from his wife, joins the rest of the group literally minutes before they go on stage. The film ends with the group on stage in front of a packed house, stripping to Tom Jones’ version of You Can Leave Your Hat On (their hats being the final item removed).

The Patriot

  • Directors: Roland Emmerich
  • Producers: Dean Devlin, Mark Gordon, Gary Levinsohn
  • Writers: Robert Rodat
  • Genres: Action, Drama, War
  • Actors: Mel Gibson, Heath Ledger, Jason Isaacs, Joely Richardson, Chris Cooper, Tom Wilkinson

At the beginning of the American Revolution, Benjamin Martin (Gibson) is a South Carolina veteran of the French and Indian War and a widower raising his seven children on his farm. Gabriel (Ledger), the eldest, is anxious to join the American forces fighting the British in the Revolutionary War. Knowing war from personal experience, Ben tries to discourage his son’s ambitions, but his son enlists anyway.

Gabriel returns home two years later, stumbling wounded into the family home and carrying military dispatches. The next day, a military skirmish have the Martins caring for the wounded from both sides. British soldiers – the ruthless Green Dragoons cavalry – arrive and kill the Colonial wounded, burn down the Martin house and arrest Gabriel as a spy, intending to hang him. Ben’s next eldest son Thomas (Smith) is shot and killed by the leader of the Green Dragoons, Colonel William Tavington (Isaacs).

Making use of his knowledge of fighting in the wilds, Ben and his two younger sons, Nathan (Morgan) and Samuel (Chafin) set forth to ambush the British column in the woods. They manage to kill most of the soldiers in an ambush and free Gabriel. The boys are horrified at their first glimpse of their father’s ferocity. Gabriel rejoins the cause against his father’s will again, stating it is his duty as a soldier. Ben decides to join as well, leaving the rest of the children in the care of their aunt Charlotte (Joely Richardson), Ben’s sister-in-law.

Martin and his family return to their home to find the militia helping to rebuild it. Occam (Jones) tells Ben, “Gabriel said that if we won the war, we could build a whole new world. Just figured we’d get started right here, with your home.” Benjamin smiles.

Rush Hour

  • Directors: Brett Ratner
  • Producers: Roger Birnbaum, Jonathan Glickman, Athur M Sarkissian
  • Writers: Ross LaManna, Jim Kouf
  • Genres: Action, Comedy, Thriller, Crime
  • Actors: Jackie Chan, Chris Tucker, Tom Wilkinson, Philip Baker Hall, Mark Rolston, Tzi Ma, Rex Linn, Ken Leung, Chris Penn, Elizabeth Pena, Clifton Powell, Julia Hsu

On the last day of British rule in Hong Kong, Detective Inspector Lee (Jackie Chan) of the Hong Kong police leads a raid at the docks, hoping to arrest the mysterious crime lord Juntao. He finds only Sang (Ken Leung), Juntao’s right hand man, who manages to escape. However, Lee successfully recovers numerous Chinese cultural treasures stolen by Juntao, which he presents as a farewell victory to his departing superiors: Chinese consul Han (Tzi Ma) and British Commander Thomas Griffin (Tom Wilkinson).

Shortly after arriving in the United States to take up his new diplomatic post in Los Angeles, Han’s daughter, Soo-Yung, is kidnapped. Unwilling to trust the FBI, Han calls in Lee to assist in the case.

The FBI, knowing Lee’s incompetence, or success, will generate international embarrassment for them, pawn him off on LAPD Detective James Carter (Chris Tucker), a fast-talking and arrogant police officer with aspirations of joining the FBI. Carter has recently caused severe collateral damage arresting bomb-maker Clyde Cod (Chris Penn) and his superiors give him a choice: keep Lee away from the investigation or face two months suspension without pay. Carter agrees, secretly intending to solve the case himself.

Han and Soo-Yung are reunited. Han sends Carter and Lee on vacation together to Hong Kong. Before leaving, the FBI investigators show up and offer Carter a position on the FBI. Carter refuses, telling them to take the badge and shove it up their asses, and that he will always be loyal to the LAPD. On the plane, Carter realizes the flight will take 15 hours… and demands another seat as soon as Lee starts singing “War”

Batman Begins

  • Directors: Christopher Nolan
  • Producers: Emma Thomas, Larry J Franco, Charles Roven
  • Writers: Screenplay, Christopher Nolan, David S Goyer, Story, David S Goyer, Comic Book, Bob Kane, Bill Finger
  • Genres: Action, Crime, Thriller
  • Actors: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Liam Neeson, Katie Holmes, Gary Oldman, Cillian Murphy, Morgan Freeman, Tom Wilkinson, Rutger Hauer, Ken Watanabe

Eight-year-old Bruce Wayne falls into a well, where he encounters a swarm of bats. Later, he accompanies his parents to a production of Mefistofele, which features actors dressed as bats. Having developed a fear of bats, he urges his father to leave the opera. Outside the theater, Joe Chill mugs and kills Bruce’s parents. Although Chill is later arrested, Bruce blames himself for his parents’ murders.

Fourteen years later, Bruce returns to Gotham City from Princeton University, intent on killing Chill, whose prison sentence is being suspended in exchange for testifying against mobster Carmine Falcone. Before he can act, however, one of Falcone’s assassins kills Chill. Bruce tells his childhood friend Rachel Dawes about his plan; Appalled, Rachel tells him that his father would be ashamed of him. Bruce confronts Falcone, who tells him that he is ignorant of the nature of crime, so Bruce decides to travel the world to understand the criminal mind. He is detained for theft in a Bhutanese prison, where he meets Henri Ducard. Ducard invites Bruce to join an elite vigilante group, the League of Shadows, led by Ra’s al Ghul. Bruce is freed and travels to a mountaintop to begin his training with the League. Bruce overcomes his childhood fear of bats in the process. When he is ordered to execute a criminal and learns of Ra’s intention to destroy Gotham, he refuses and escapes by lighting the League’s temple on fire, killing Ra’s in the process. Bruce rescues an unconscious Ducard from the wreckage and leaves him at a village.

Following the battle, Batman becomes a public hero. Bruce Wayne gains control of Wayne Enterprises and installs Fox as the new CEO. However, he is unable to hold onto Rachel, who cannot reconcile her love for Bruce with his dual life as Batman. Newly-promoted Lieutenant Gordon unveils a Bat-Signal for Batman. Gordon mentions that they will have their hands full finding all of the psychopaths released from Arkham by Ra’s, and in particular notes a criminal who also has “a taste for the theatrical” and leaves Joker playing cards at all of his crime scenes. Batman promises to investigate it, and disappears into the night.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

  • Directors: Michel Gondry
  • Producers: Anthony Bregman
  • Writers: Michel Gondry, Charlie Kaufman, Pierre Bismuth
  • Genres: Drama, Romance
  • Actors: Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst, Mark Ruffalo, Elijah Wood, Tom Wilkinson, Jane Adams, David Cross, Thomas Jay Ryan

Emotionally withdrawn Joel Barish (Jim Carrey) and dysfunctional free spirit Clementine Kruczynski (Kate Winslet) meet each other for the first time at a beach party in Montauk, New York, and subsequently become romantically involved. However, two years into their relationship, they fall out of love with each other. Clementine discovers the services of Lacuna, Inc., a firm led by Dr. Mierzwiak (Tom Wilkinson) that claims to be able to erase all specific memories from a person’s mind. Clementine opts to have Lacuna erase Joel from her mind, handing over all of her possessions relating to their romance. When Joel seeks out Clementine the next day to try to make up, he finds she is completely unaware of who he is and is being wooed by Patrick (Elijah Wood), a technician from Lacuna who became smitten with Clementine and is using her past memories and the items given to Clementine by Joel to seek her affection. Joel investigates further and discovers Lacuna, opting to have his mind wiped of Clementine, giving them all the items he believes came about from his relationship with her.

The Lacuna technicians, Patrick and Stan (Mark Ruffalo), arrive at Joel’s apartment to perform the mind wipe as he sleeps, an all-night process; Mary (Kirsten Dunst), Stan’s girlfriend who is also a Lacuna employee, shows up later. Patrick leaves the apartment to spend time with Clementine. Stan and Mary are left to mind the machine but instead have sex and get stoned. Inside Joel’s mind during a lucid dream, Joel discovers his memories of Clementine are being erased in reverse order, and as he experiences the earlier, happier times with her, he becomes aware that he wants to stop the procedure and keep the memories, and begins to fight the mind wipe by trying to hide Clementine in deep memories of his mind. Joel’s resistance causes the machine to fault, and Stan and Mary are forced to call Dr. Mierzwiak to help finalize the procedure. While Dr. Mierzwiak is able to restore the process to normal, his arrival brings about several awkward feelings between himself and the stoned Mary. Shortly later she learns that she had her mind wiped of her former affair with Dr. Mierzwiak. Joel finds he cannot stop the process, but before his last memory of Clementine at the Montauk beach house is erased, she tells him she loves him and to “meet me in Montauk.”

Joel wakes up the next day and decides to skip work, instead taking the Long Island Rail Road train to Montauk where he happens to meet Clementine. Neither aware of who the other is, they quickly bond and begin to form a new relationship. The same day, Mary quits her job and steals the client files from Lacuna and mails them back to their clients. After returning to the city, Joel drives Clementine to her home to get her toothbrush so she can spend the night at his place, but is met by Patrick, who is there to continue to woo Clementine and wonders why Joel is still seeing her. When Clementine returns, she finds her Lacuna file in the mail and plays the tape from it for her and Joel, causing Joel to think that she is toying with his feelings, after which he forces her to leave his car and drives off alone. Patrick attempts to cheer Clementine up but she verbally lashes out at him and breaks off their budding relationship. Clementine travels to Joel’s apartment to find Joel with his own Lacuna tape and holding a drawing from their former relationship that he missed when handing over his possessions. They both become aware of the truth of their former relationship. The two recognize that their relationship may have problems based on their past, but decide not to let those failings prevent them from seeing other, and the movie ends with them in a teasing snowball fight on the Montauk beach.