The Crying Game (1992) - Drama | Thriller
The film opens as a psychological thriller - IRA foot soldier Fergus and a unit of other IRA fighters, including a woman named Jude, kidnap Jody, a black British soldier. The IRA demands the release of other jailed IRA members, threatening to execute Jody in three days if their demands are not met. While the amiable Fergus guards Jody, they develop a bond - much to the chagrin of the other IRA men.
It soon becomes clear that Jody will be killed, and Jody begs Fergus to meet his girlfriend, Dil, after he is dead and make sure she is all right. Although Jody makes a break for it and Fergus finds himself unable to shoot him in the back, Jody is accidentally hit by an army van and dies anyway.
When it seems that the other IRA members have been killed by the British army, Fergus makes good on his promise and finds Dil in a hair salon in London. But some things are not as they seem, and when Fergus develops feelings for Dil, things get complicated.
Fergus also finds that escaping his violent past isn’t as easy as he’d hoped.
This movie is filled with touching scenes of love and compassion as well as gripping suspense and philosophic observations.
IRA - Irish Republican Army
Kidnap – take a person against their will
Execute – kill
Amiable – friendly, good-natured
Bond – attachment, understanding, friendship
Chagrin – annoyance, irritation
Make a break for it – try to escape
Gripping – attention-grabbing, fascinating
Cabaret (1972) - Drama | Music | Musical
Straight-laced Cambridge University student Brian Roberts arrives in Berlin in 1931 to complete his German studies. Without much money, he plans on making a living teaching English while living in an inexpensive rooming house, where he befriends another of the tenants, American Sally Bowles (played by Liza Minelli). She is outwardly a flamboyant, perpetually happy person who works as a singer at the decadent Kit Kat Klub, a cabaret styled venue.
After Sally’s unsuccessful attempt to seduce Brian, the two embark on an unlikely friendship. Numerous amusing singing dancing numbers in the cabaret provide a stark contrast to the Nazi movement that is unfolding around them. In the beginning they are considered little more than a group of ruffians, and a means of getting rid of the communists, but as the film continues, violence and bloodshed begin to put a sobering tone on events.
The film follows Sally and Brian on numerous adventures involving a hilarious singing dancing emcee, a rich playboy baron, a beautiful Jewish heiress, a poor German student who wants to be a gigolo, and a group of violent Nazis who beat Brian senseless.
Funny, sad, heartwarming, though-provoking – this musical is a classic for good reason.
Straight-laced – sensible, prim
Flamboyant – flashy, colorful
Perpetually – always
Decadent – indulgent, marked my unrestrained gratification
Cabaret - a nightclub serving liquor with entertainment, always involving singing and dancing
Ruffian – hooligan, thug, low-level gangster
Emcee – MC – master of ceremonies
Baron – a nobleman in Europe
Heiress – a woman who inherits great wealth
Gigolo – a man who is paid to accompany women
To beat senseless – to inflict severe violence upon someone
The Breakfast Club (1985) - Comedy | Drama
It’s 7am Saturday morning in the fictional Chicago suburb or Shermer, Illinois, and five very different teenaged stereotypes are reporting to school for detention. Meet…
Claire – the princess
Allison – the kook
Andrew – the jock
John – the criminal
Brian – the brain
They have nothing in common and nothing to say to each other, and it looks like they’re going to be in for a long, boring day. The antagonistic vice principal orders them to sit silently and write a 1000 word essay about who they think they are, but then leaves them mostly unsupervised to argue and hate each other. John instantly starts mocking the others, Claire is hostile and superior, and Allison is oddly quiet except for occasional random outbursts.
The group start opening up, and before long they’re sharing their innermost fears, secrets, emotions and problems. They discover that they have more in common than they’d imagined, and in the course of the day, shatter their preconceptions of each other.
Equal parts funny, smart and sincere, it's a movie that goes deep into the teenage psyche, exploring the difficulties and common problems of young people in high school.
Detention – a period of being forced to stay inside, usually as punishment in schools
Antagonistic – aggressive, hostile
To mock – ridicule, tease, laugh at
Open up – reveal your feelings
Psyche – mind, self, personality
Crazy, Stupid, Love. (2011) - Comedy | Drama | Romance
Cal Weaver (Steve Carell) is living the dream — he's got a good job, nice house, and great kids. However, he gets the surprise of his life when he learns his wife Emily (Julianne Moore) has been cheating on him with a coworker, David Lindhagen (Kevin Bacon), and wants a divorce. After moving into his own apartment, Cal begins grieving at a bar night after night talking to himself about his situation where he meets a young man named Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling) – a womanizer who successfully sleeps with different women every night.
Not wanting to watch Cal keep drowning his sorrows night after night, Jacob agrees to teach him his tricks so that he can have the confidence to earn Emily back. Because Emily is the only woman Cal has ever been with, Cal doesn't have much experience, so Jacob gives Cal a makeover and has him watch his tricks at the bar.
With a new haircut, an expensive wardrobe, and a collection of pick-up lines, Cal hits the town to try out his seduction techniques. But can he really find happiness through multiple partners, and is it possible to meet ‘the one’ in a bar? And how will he manage his relationship with his children with his new lifestyle?
This movie is romantic, sweet, touching, a little risqué and screwball, yet reassuringly down-to-earth.
cheating – romantically seeing someone outside of your marriage
grieving – being sad for something you’ve lost
drown your sorrows – get drunk to forget your pain
womanizer – a man who sleeps with many different women
makeover – a big change to someone’s appearance
pick-up lines – things said to seduce another person
risqué – naughty, improper, sexy
screwball – whimsical, eccentric, crazy
down-to-earth – realistic, sensible
30 Minutes or Less (2011) - Action | Adventure | Comedy
Nick (Jesse Eisenberg) is a small town pizza delivery guy who has trouble completing the “30 minutes or less” policy of his employers.
Dwayne and Travis are two delinquents who need $100,000 to have Dwayne’s domineering father killed, so they can collect the inheritance. Dwayne’s father has won the lottery, but is squandering his winnings, and the boys want to get their hands on it before he spends it all.
Instead of robbing a bank themselves, they decide to kidnap a stranger and force him to do their dirty work by strapping a bomb to his chest (Travis being skilled with explosives). After seeing an advertisement for the pizzeria where Nick works, they order a pizza and set the trap.
When he wakes up with an explosive vest strapped to his torso, Nick has ten hours to pull off the impossible task. Failure to comply will detonate the bomb. Going to the police will detonate the bomb. Trying to deactivate or remove it will detonate the bomb. It looks like his only choice is to actually rob the bank, not that he’s sure he can do that successfully anyway…
Nick enlists the help of his ex-best friend, Chet, and as the clock ticks, the two must deal with the police, hired assassins, flamethrowers, and their own tumultuous relationship.
Delinquent – criminal, offender
Domineering – controlling, bossy
Inheritance – money that you get when someone dies
Squander – waste
Dirty work – disagreeable tasks
Pull off – complete successfully
Comply – do what you’re told
Detonate – cause to explode
Assassin – someone who kills for a job
Tumultuous – chaotic, troublesome
The Smurfs (2011) - Animation | Comedy | Family
In faraway land, there is a village filled with mysterious creatures who have lived happily for hundreds of years. Until today. Now they’ll have to escape to a world they’ve never imagined.
When the evil wizard Gargamel chases the tiny blue Smurfs out of their village, they tumble from their magical world and into ours. Papa Smurf, Clumsy, Smurfette, Grouchy, Brainy and Gutsy are sucked into a giant vortex, leading them to New York, where they befriend Patrick and Grace, a married and expectant couple who befriend them and allow them to stay in their apartment.
It seems the only way back is for Papa Smurf to figure out the magic spell required, but simple as this may seem, the evil Gargamel and his cat Azrael will do everything in their power to stop them. And when Papa Smurf is abducted, everyone will need to help out in order to save him.
Full of smurfy adventures and cute jokes, this family movie is full of action and wholesome messages for the kiddies about friendship and heroism. Complete with a star-studded cast including Katy Perry as Smurfette, Hank Azaria as Gargamel, and Neil Patrick Harris as Patrick.
Wizard – a man who practices magic
Tumble – fall without meaning to
Vortex – a spinning, magical doorway
Expectant – about to have a baby
The Help (2011) - Drama
In Mississippi during the 1960s, racism and segregation is in full swing. This movie takes a look at what happens when a southern town's unspoken code of rules and behavior is shattered by three very different, extraordinary women who strike up an unlikely friendship.
Aibileen Clark (Viola Davis) is a middle-aged African-American maid who has spent her life raising white children and has recently lost her only son.
Minny Jackson (Octavia Spencer) is an African-American maid whose outspokenness has gotten her fired many times, but she makes up for this with her baking skills.
Eugenia "Skeeter" Phelan (Emma Stone) is a young independent white woman who has recently moved back home after graduating from the University of Mississippi to find that her beloved childhood maid has mysteriously disappeared. Although Skeeter’s friends are all getting married and having children, her only desire is to become a respected writer.
When Skeeter’s childhood friend Hilly comes up with the "Home Help Sanitation Initiative", a proposed bill to provide outdoor bathrooms for black help, she resolves to write a book exposing the ill treatment of coloured maids in white homes.
Despite the risks, the maids are gradually convinced to come forward with their stories, and a remarkable sisterhood emerges, instilling each woman with courage to transcend the lines that define them, and perhaps even bring about some major changes in society.
Deeply touching, appalling, and entertaining. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll be inspired.
Segregation – separation of white and coloured people
Outspoken – says more than one should
Proposed bill – a potential law
Resolve – to decide in a determined way
Remarkable – amazing, outside of the ordinary
Instill – to implant, introduce with consistent effort
Transcend – go beyond
Touching – moving emotionally
Appalling – horrific, terrible
Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) - Action | Drama | Sci-Fi
This film is set in present day San Francisco, where man's own experiments with genetic engineering lead to the development of intelligence in apes and the onset of a war for supremacy.
Will Rodman is a San Francisco scientist who has been trying to develop a cure for Alzheimer's disease by testing a genetically engineeredretrovirus on chimpanzees. The virus mutates the chimpanzees, giving them a human level of intelligence. When one of his test subjects goes on a rampage, Will’s boss gives orders to have the chimpanzees put down, but Will keeps one of the babies and raises him under the name of Caesar.
Will’s father, an Alzheimer sufferer, tries a sample of the cure and his condition improves. However five years later his dementia returns, and in the confusion, the highly intelligent Caesar attacks a neighbour, and ends up in a cruel primate facility. When Caesar escapes and gains dominance over the other apes, all hell breaks loose. The other apes are exposed to a new powerful strain of the drug and the result is an enormous, angry army of highly intelligent and seriously pissed off primates.
And their plan appears to be world domination!
The action scenes are creatively spectacular, the story is evocative and engaging, and the movie is crafted with astonishingly effective motion CGI technology.
Genetic engineering – changing genetic material in a living thing
Onset – beginning
Supremacy – superiority, domination
Retrovirus – a virus that allows the genetic material of the host to be changed.
Mutate – change
Go on a rampage – to go crazy, in this case causing violence
Put down – killed
Dementia – loss of mental ability
Primate – monkes, apes, chimpanzees, baboons etc
All hell breaks loose – things become crazy and uncontrollable
CGI – Computer Generated Imagery
Life in a Day (2011) - Documentary
This extraordinary documentary film by Ridley Scott is a compilation of Youtube videos filmed on the same day in various locations around the world, by various people.
Youtube users sent in videos of themselves on July 24, 2010, and then Ridley Scott produced the film and edited the videos into a film, consisting of footage from some of the contributors. The completed film is 94 minutes 57 seconds long and includes scenes from 4,500 hours of footage in 80,000 submissions from 140 nations
Life in a Day is a historic cinematic experiment that attempts to capture what life looks like on one day, July 24th, 2010, around the entirety of the world. Thousands of hours of video were captured and then compiled to give a glimpse into what constitutes an average day amongst humanity.
This film is ultimately about connection; the connection of humans to one another and all of the mundane, regular, everyday things that we share despite our differences in culture, location, and upbringing. The fact that we all sleep. We all wake up in the morning. We all eat breakfast. We brush our teeth. We walk around. We smile. We love. We fear. We breathe. This film is an affirmation of the simple joys and sorrows that we experience merely as a result of living on this earth and being human. It is an affirmation of life at its rawest, truest, grittiest, and loveliest.
Birth, death, war, love, rejection, poverty, religion, family – all important topics are covered, compared, and contrasted in this unprecedented film.
Extraordinary – unusual, surprising, special
Compilation – collection, something made up of many parts
Footage – video, recording
Historic – historically important
Glimpse – a quick look
Unprecedented – first time, never been done before
Police Academy (1984) - Comedy | Crime
As a crime wave sweeps through a city that doesn't have enough police officers, the mayor decides that part of the problem may stem from overly restrictive qualifications for police officers, so she opens the door of the city's Police Academy to anyone who wants to join. Chief Henry Hurst does not agree with the mayor's decision.
Soon, the academy is overrun with misfits, including parking lot attendant Carey Mahoney, who has been arrested before. Captain Reed, a longtime friend of Mahoney's father, gives Mahoney the choice of taking the 14 week course and joining the force, or going to jail. Mahoney chooses the academy.
Karen Thompson is an attractive cadet whom Mahoney has his eyes on. Florist Moses Hightower is a mountain of a man who likes to tend flowers. And Larvell Jones has the ability to imitate the sound of virtually anything. Also in the academy are guy-magnet Debbie Callahan, squeaky voiced Laverne Hooks, gun loving Eugene Tackleberry, and Leslie Barbara, a cadet who has been picked on one too many times.
Befuddled Commandant Eric Lassard and his lackey, Lieutenant Thaddeus Harris, are not exactly thrilled with the new recruits. As Lassard and Harris try to wash their hands of them, Mahoney and his classmates become all the more determined to make good, even when one of the recruits accidentally starts a chain reaction of fights that lead to a riot in the city.
The result of this combination of unusual people is, of course, hilarious mayhem. This film proved so popular, it spawned 6 sequels!
Crime wave – a lot of crime at the same time
Sweep through the city – occur in many places
Overrun – with a lot
Misfits – people who are different or unusual
Tend – take care of, look after
Squeaky – high pitched, like a mouse or bird
Befuddled – perplexed, confused
Lackey – assistant, messenger
Chain reaction – when one thing leads to another, which leads to another, etc
Mayhem – chaos, craziness
To spawn – to cause, to give birth to
Clerks. (1994) - Independent Comedy
Dante has had a crummy job at an small convenience store in New Jersey since graduating from high school three years ago. On Saturday morning, April 15 1994, he gets called in on his day off. Once there, he must deal with multiple problems.
The shutters outside won't open.
His ex-girlfriend Caitlin, whom he is still in love with, is getting married.
His long-suffering girlfriend Veronica, who bugs him constantly about starting college, has revealed certain, uh...stuff about her past.
His boss hasn't come in to take his place.
He has a hockey game at 2 o'clock.
Another ex has died, and today's the last day he can go to her wake.
His friend, Randal, a clerk at the video store next door, is even less dedicated to his job than Dante, and is always bothering Dante's customers.
Jay and Silent Bob, two dead-beats who pass their days smoking outside the store, are trying to shoplift the merchandise.
And the biggest problem of them all: HE'S NOT EVEN SUPPOSED TO BE THERE TODAY!!
Dante is left with no choice but to bend the rules a little with work, customers, and most of all his love life. Can he get away with it all?
This is an amusing, off-beat, low-budget and utterly authentic independent film. And if you like it, there’s a whole range of spin-offs you can follow it up with!
Crummy – not very good, low quality
Day off – a day without work
Deal with – handle, control
Shutters – wooden window covers
To bug someone – to hassle, complain to
Dead-beats – worthless, jobless, useless people
Shoplift – steal goods from a store
Bend the rules – do something that is not really allowed – but only a little
Sleepless in Seattle (1993) - Comedy | Romance | Drama
After his wife Maggie passes away, Sam Baldwin (played by Tom Hanks) and his adolescent son Jonah relocate from Chicago to Seattle to escape the grief associated with Maggie's death. Eighteen months later, Sam is still grieving and can't sleep. Although Jonah misses his mother, he wants his father to get a new wife despite the fact that Sam hasn’t even contemplated dating again.
On Christmas Eve, Sam, on Jonah's initiative, ends up pouring his heart out on a national radio talk show about his magical and perfect marriage to Maggie, and how much he still misses her. Among the many women who hear Sam's story and fall in love with him because of it is Annie Reed (Meg Ryan), a Baltimore based newspaper writer.
Annie is already engaged, but her relationship with her straight-laced fiancé Walter is unlike her dream romance. She even writes to Sam proposing they meet atop the Empire State Building on Valentine's Day.
Back in Seattle, Sam has received hundreds of letters from women wanting to meet him. Jonah is excited by one letter in particular from Baltimore and will do whatever he needs to to get his father and Annie together. However, old fashioned Sam wants his future love life to be based on meeting a woman the traditional way, and he, in turn, becomes infatuated with an unknown woman he spots a few times in Seattle.
Will magic happen twice in Sam's life, and if so will it be with this unknown woman or Annie?
Adolescent – a child between puberty and maturity
Grief – deep sadness
Contemplate – think about
Initiative – proposal, plan, sceme
Straight-laced – proper, strict in conduct
Infatuated – feeling passion and attraction to someone
Loose Change 9/11: An American Coup (Video 2009) - Documentary | History | War
Loose Change is a series of films released between 2005 and 2009 which argue that the September 11 attacks were planned and conducted by elements within the United States government, and base the claims on perceived anomalies in the historical record of the attacks. These are some examples cited by the movie.
- There was a plan put forward during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 to create and utilize bogus terrorist attacks against the United States which were to be blamed on Cuba as a pretext for invasion of the country.
- The film alleges that the path of destruction does not match that which a 757 would leave, and that the size of the hole in the Pentagon and lack of debris and landscape damage is inconsistent with prior airliner crashes.
- Three cameras on nearby buildings that allegedly caught the entire incident at the Pentagon on film were confiscated by the government, who has refused to release them in full.
- There are eyewitness reports from people near the buildings who heard explosions consistent with bombs in the lower levels. There are also videotapes showing windows far below the burning floors blow out during the collapse.
- The video alleges that the fires inside the twin towers were not hot enough to bring the buildings down.
What’s your theory? Do you believe the September 11 attacks were an inside job? Watch this movie and see what you think.
Perceived – noticed, apparent
Anomalies – irregularities, things that aren’t quite right
Bogus – false, not real
Pretext – reason, excuse
Allege – say without concrete proof
Debris – mess, wreckage
Prior – something that came before
Confiscate – take away
Collapse – when things fall down
An inside job – performed by someone on the inside – not an outside enemy
The Last Boy Scout (1991) - Action | Comedy | Crime
During a rainy football game between two teams from Los Angeles and Cleveland, star player Billy Cole receives a threatening phone call during half time from someone named Milo warning him to win the game or lose his life. Cole takes a gun onto the field, and shoots three opposing players on a run to the end zone. As the police move in, he kneels down and announces "Ain't life a bitch?" before shooting himself in the head.
Bruce Willis stars as Joe Hallenbeck, who was once a top-of-the-line Secret Service agent but has since become an alcoholic private detective. While performing the chores of a two-bit shamus, he discovers his wife Sarah is having an affair with his best friend Mike. After finding the two in his house together, Mike leaves… and is blown up in his car when he turns the key in the ignition.
Joe is hired to protect Cory (played by Halle Berry), a stripper who has been getting death threats. However, her boyfriend – Jimmy Dix – believes he can protect her himself, and after taking her away in his car… she (not surprisingly) gets blown to smithereens.
That’s a lot of death…
Jimmy Dix was at one time a NFL football quarterback, but was thrown out of the game for gambling and drug addiction. Smelling something fishy, Joe and Jimmy begin investigations which uncover layers of corruption, dirty money, and murder.
Full of smart-arse quips, love and friendship, betrayal and bribery, The Last Boy Scout is a high action movie with enough laughs and mystery to keep anybody entertained.
End zone – the last part of the field where players make touchdowns in American football
Kneel – get down on your knees
‘Life’s a bitch’ – common phrase to complain about life’s difficulties
Two-bit – worth very little
Shamus – slang for private detective
To have an affair – to be romantically involved with someone outside of your relationship
To be blown to smithereens – to be shot and killed
To smell something fishy – to feel that something is wrong or suspicious
Quips – clever, witty remarks
Hot Fuzz (2007) - Action | Comedy | Mystery
Nicholas Angel (played by Simon Pegg) is the finest cop London has to offer, with an arrest record 400% higher than any other officer on the force. He’s honest, reliable, and dedicated to public duty. In fact, he's so good, he makes everyone else look bad. As a result, Angel's superiors send him to a place where his talents won't be quite so embarrassing - the sleepy and seemingly crime-free village of Sandford – statistically, the safest town in the country.
Once there, he is partnered with the well-meaning but overeager police officer Danny Butterman. The son of amiable Police Chief Frank Butterman, Danny is a huge action movie fan and believes his new big-city partner might just be a real-life "bad boy," and his chance to experience the life of gunfights and car chases he so longs for. (“Have you ever shot two guns while jumping through the air? Is it true that there’s a place in a man’s head, where if you shoot it, it will blow up?”)
Danny's puppy-like enthusiasm only adds to Angel's growing frustration. However, as a series of grisly “accidents” rocks the village, Angel is convinced that Sandford is not what it seems, and as the intrigue deepens, Danny's dreams of explosive, high-octane, car-chasing, gunfighting, all-out action seem more and more like a reality. It's time for these small-town cops to break out some big-city justice.
A highly amusing cop comedy which plays on all the stereotypes of police action movies and will make you laugh constantly if you appreciate British comedy!
Reliable – trust-worthy, doing what one says
Public duty – serving the people, as in police work
Sleepy – uneventful, not much happening
Well-meaning – trying to do the right thing
Overeager – trying too hard
Amiable – friendly, good-natured
Grisly – gruesome, horrible
Intrigue – mystery
Shaun of the Dead (2004) - Comedy | Horror
29 year old Shaun (Simon Pegg) is having some problems.
His long-time girlfriend Liz has dumped him due to his fierce loyalty to The Winchester (the local pub), his refusal to meet her mother, his total lack of romance and consideration, and his seeming inability to progress anywhere in life or remember their anniversary.
His temporary management job isn't going well at Foree Electronics, with his teenaged subordinates walking all over him and his actual promotion prospects minimal.
His flatmates, Pete and Ed, are at each others' throats – one being an arrogant jerk and the other a lazy drug-selling deadbeat who seems unable to get a job or lock the front door.
And, oh yeah, London is overrun with multitudes of zombies.
Now, Shaun must rise to the occasion – save himself, his ex, his mother, and his precious record collection. As one by one the people around him turn to zombies and London becomes overrun with the slow moving, flesh-eating undead, can Shaun save his loved ones, win back Liz’s love, put her snide friends in their places, and finish it all with a cold pint in the Winchester?
This is a hilarious and not particularly serious comedy full of fun characters, amusing retorts, and entertaining fight scenes. Good light watching when you’re not up for too much thinking!
Dump – leave someone (as in a romantic relationship)
Subordinate – someone who works beneath you
Walk all over sb – treat them badly, have no respect for them
To be at each other’s throats – always arguing, not getting along
Arrogant jerk – someone who is rude, selfish, conceited
Deadbeat – someone who is lazy and has achieved little
Overrun – covered with
Multitudes of – very many
Zombies – the walking undead
Snide – rude, snobbish
Pint – a large glass of beer
Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) - Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi