Director Billy Bob Thornton explores coming of age in this Western based on Cormac McCarthy's prize-winning novel of the same name. John Grady Cole (Matt Damon) and Lacey Rawlins (Henry Thomas) are young Texan men who seek a more fulfilling life as cowboys in the slowly fading Old West, circa 1949. One night, the duo head for Mexico in hope of finding some adventure and employment, and along the way run into Blevins (Lucas Black), an even younger drifter who has supposedly stolen a horse from private property. Begrudgingly, Cole and Rawlins take him under their wing before they eventually find themselves in Mexico, working for a wealthy landowner (Ruben Blades). His stalwart and beautiful daughter Alejandra (Penelope Cruz) develops a romantic interest in Cole, which threatens the friendship between him and Rawlins, not to mention their living quarters, where Alejandra's watchful aunt (Miriam Colon) warns Cole that she has professed allegiance to her. Cole and Rawlins' thrill-seeking adventures with Blevins and the stolen horse catch up to them, however, and they are held prisoners in a brutal penitentiary, where their cowboy instincts are put to the ultimate test. Cole, meanwhile, wants nothing more than to get back to Alejandra and resume their love affair. The film also features Bruce Dern in a small role as a judge who eventually gives much-desired guidance to Cole.
Set against a sweeping canvas of rural England and Europe during the First World War, “War Horse” begins with the remarkable friendship between a horse named Joey and a young man called Albert, who tames and trains him. When they are forcefully parted, the film follows the extraordinary journey of the horse as he moves through the war, changing and inspiring the lives of all those he meets.
Actor Viggo Mortensen made his first starring appearance in a film after his breakthrough performance in the Lord of the Rings trilogy with this period adventure. Frank T. Hopkins (Mortensen) is a U.S. Cavalry officer who earned a reputation as one of the fastest and most daring riders in the West; however, after taking part in the bloody massacre at Wounded Knee, Hopkins becomes disenchanted with the Cavalry, and once his hitch is up, he takes a job as a rider with a seedy touring Wild West show. During an engagement in New York, Hopkins meets Aziz (Adam Alexi-Malle), an associate of wealthy Bedouin Sheikh Riyadh (Omar Sharif), who knows of Hopkins' talents and wants him to take part in "The Ocean of Fire," an annual 3,000-mile desert horse race running from Arabia to Iraq. Hopkins accepts the invitation and sails to the Middle East with his trusty mustang Hidalgo without knowing just what he's getting himself into. Once he arrives, Hopkins learns that the punishing race course claims the lives of nearly half its contestants, and that most of his competitors ride pure-bred Arabian stallions and do not regard Hidalgo and his master as worthy adversaries. Temporarily exiled to a land where freedom eludes the multitudes and class and wealth define one's fate, Hopkins finds himself riding for both honor and principle, with the support of Riyadh and his beautiful, headstrong daughter, Jazira (Zuleikha Robinson), though the Sheikh's nephew Katib (Silas Carson) is equally determined to see Hopkins go down in defeat. Hidalgo was directed by Joe Johnston, who previously worked with animals on the run in Jumanji and Jurassic Park III.
The story of how Walt Disney courted P.L. Travers into letting him option the rights to Mary Poppins is brought to the screen in this non-fiction drama starring Tom Hanks, Emma Thompson, and Colin Farrell. A doting father, Walt Disney (Hanks) promises his adoring daughters that he will bring their favorite fictional nanny Mary Poppins to the big screen. Little does Walt realize that surly author P.L. Travers has no intention of seeing her most famous creation bastardized on the big screen, a fact that makes keeping his promise a difficult endeavor. Years later, however, when Travers' book sales begin to slow, dwindling finances drive her to schedule a meeting with Disney to discuss the film rights to the beloved story. For two weeks in 1961, a determined Disney does his absolute best to convince Travers that the film version of Mary Poppins will be a wondrous and respectful adaptation, meanwhile the author only grows more convinced that she has made the right move in preventing the proposed film adaptation. Later, just when it begins to appear that the rights to Mary Poppins have slipped through his fingers, the ingenious Disney reflects back on his childhood, and realizes that a sensitive chapter from Travers' youth could be the key to clinching the deal. Bradley Whitford, Paul Giamatti, and Jason Schwartzman co-star.
Director Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity stars Sandra Bullock as Dr. Ryan Stone, a scientist on a space shuttle mission headed by astronaut Matt Kowalsky (George Clooney), a talkative, charismatic leader full of colorful stories that he shares with his crewmates as well as mission control. As the two are on a space walk, debris hits the area where they are working, and soon the pair finds themselves detached from their ship and stranded in space. While figuring out what steps they can take to save themselves, Stone grapples with a painful past that makes her consider giving up altogether. Gravity screened at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.
Academy Award-nominated writer/director J.C. Chandor (Margin Call) takes the helm for this tense adventure drama about a man (Robert Redford) who must fight for survival after being shipwrecked at sea. We first meet the unnamed protagonist -- a sailor floating on the ocean waves, sans hope, minutes from death. On the soundtrack, our hero reads a final missive to the world; he expresses remorse to his loved ones for hurting them, and prepares to enter a watery grave. The picture then jumps back in time by eight days, and an intertitle places us in the Indian Ocean, 1700 nautical miles from the Sunda Straits. The boatsman, lying asleep below deck on his schooner, is suddenly jostled to consciousness by a horrifying crash. He discovers that a steel crate, floating in mid-ocean, has torn a gaping hole into the side of his vessel. From that ominous beginning, the crises mount, including flooding, a ruined ham radio, and blinding thunderstorms. Though the sailor tries everything he can think of to save himself, external challenges ultimately coalesce and threaten to damn him.
Light and laugh-filled, Send Me No Flowers is typical Rock Hudson and Doris Day fare. George (Hudson) is a hypochondriac married to Judy (Day) in this marital comedy. When George goes to visit the doctor, he overhears two doctors talking about a diagnosis of a terminally ill patient. George believes they are talking about him and that he is doomed to die. He recruits his friend Arnold (Tony Randall) to find a new husband for Judy. Judy thinks George is covering up for an illicit affair and throws him out of the house. George locates Judy's old college flame Bert (Clint Walker), now a Texas oil millionaire. Excellent performances by Edward Andrews as Dr. Morrissey and Paul Lynde as the aggressive cemetery-plot salesman help this feature along. Although not as solid as the Day/Hudson pairing in Pillow Talk or Lover Come Back, Send Me No Flowers is still a good romantic comedy.
Although not as well known as Pillow Talk (1959), this romantic-comedy pairing of stars Rock Hudson and Doris Day earned an Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay. Hudson stars as Jerry Webster, a Madison Avenue advertising executive who has achieved success not through hard work or intelligence but by wining and dining his big-shot clients, even setting them up on dates with attractive girls. Jerry's equal at a rival agency is Carol Templeton (Day). Although she has never met him, Carol is disgusted by Jerry's unethical antics and reports him to the Ad Council. Jerry avoids trouble with his usual aplomb, sending a comely chorus girl, Rebel Davis (Edie Adams), to seduce the council members. When Jerry subsequently makes Rebel the star of television commercials for a nonexistent product called VIP, the spots are accidentally aired by perplexed company president Pete Ramsey (Tony Randall). Carol becomes determined to win the VIP account away from Jerry, but after she discovers the truth, she again reports him to the Ad Council. Jerry skirts out of trouble a second time by producing VIP, an intoxicating candy quickly whipped up by company research scientist Linus Tyler (Jack Kruschen). VIP's extreme effects lead to a one-night stand between bitter rivals Jerry and Carol, with unexpected consequences.
The fabulously successful Pillow Talk was essentially Shop Around the Corner for the 1950s. Playboy composer Rock Hudson and interior-decorator Doris Day are obliged to share a telephone party line. Naturally, their calls overlap at the least opportune times, and just as naturally, this leads to Hudson and Day despising each other without ever having met in person. In a cute but convenient coincidence, Doris' boy friend is Tony Randall, who also happens to be Hudson's best pal. Thus Hudson gets a glimpse at Day, and it's love at first sight. To avoid revealing that he's her telephone rival, Hudson poses as a wealthy Texan and turns the charm on Day. But when he starts pitching woo, Day instantly recognizes all the "make-out" lines Hudson has used on the phone with his other conquests. She gets even by decorating Hudson's apartment in a hideous manner. But Hudson loves her all the same; he "kidnaps" her, carrying her through the streets in her nightgown in full view of everyone, including a laughing cop who refuses to intervene. He praises her horrifying interior decoration job effusively, and at this point Day can't help but give in to his marriage proposal. A bit too arch and cute for modern tastes at times, Pillow Talk is still one of the best of the frothy Doris Day-Rock Hudson vehicles; it made a fortune at the box office and garnered five Oscar nominations