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8 Movies Where Documents Run the Story

movies documents - A still of the spinning top from the movie Inception.
Think About It

You never realize how much trouble documents can get you into until you watch these eight movies where documents changed the course of the plot. Presidents, mafias, government agencies, and big corporations like to keep certain information secret but the protagonists in most of these movies try to make the information public. If you haven’t seen any of these films, grab some popcorn and watch, you will love them.

Inception - 2010

This is one of those mind-bending movies from Christopher Nolan you can watch and it involves documents on so many dream levels that involves stealing, forging, and more. There’s a possibility that even those who claim to “get” it, probably don’t. You could start a big argument simply by bringing up Inception in a conversation. The basics that everyone can agree on though are that Leonardo DiCaprio plays a thief who can enter people’s dreams and steal their thoughts and important documents. (That thought makes me very suspicious of anyone in my dream!)

Anyway, Dom, (DiCaprio) is offered a chance to redeem himself if he can carry out an impossible mission. He has to implant a thought into the mind of a rich man’s son (played by Cillian Murphy as Robert Fischer) so he can dissolve the father’s company. This is where it gets confusing as Dom and his team are in and out of dreams. It’s one of those movies you watch more than once and every time, you see something new.

The Will (document) locked up in a safe along with the pinwheel in Fischer’s dying father’s room (a key part of the plot) is actually a thought implanted in his sub-conscious level!

National Treasure – 2007

There are two kinds of people in this world, those that love National Treasure and those that don’t know what a great movie it is even if it grossed $11 million on its opening day. What is there not to love about a movie starring Nicolas Cage with his infectious enthusiasm? Also, it was a relief to see one movie where Sean Bean doesn’t die spectacularly. Although the plot is extremely fictitious (I mean, really how can someone steal the Declaration of Independence?) it is captivating with a few good lines to remember like:

Both the first movie and its sequel involve documents that pretty much determine the direction of the movie. The first document was the Declaration of Independence and the second one was a book of secrets.

Mission Impossible – 1996

Agent Hunt has been thrilling audiences since 1996 with daredevil stunts. In the first installment, he had to retrieve a top-secret file from a building more guarded than the pentagon, and that made for one of the best if not the best scenes of Mission Impossible. Of course, there must be hackers out there wondering why he had to go through all that trouble when he could have asked one of them to hack into the system? Well, it was 1996 and we still used floppy disks to store data so Ethan Hunt had to be suspended on a wire and lowered from the roof into the building with a floor that would set off an alarm if anything touched it. The audience is kept on the edge of their seats when he is lowered too fast and stops just inches off the floor and just when you think the crisis is averted, a drop of sweat runs down his face and heads for the floor but less than a second before it lands on the floor, he catches it.

Phew! So he finally retrieves the file and becomes a target and many people die because of that document. The document was a file containing names of secret agents working for the “bad guys.”

The Post - 2017

This is a Steven Spielberg movie, so no doubt it is captivating. It is described as the bravest film of our time. The Post is about the Washington Post’s daring move to release incriminating documents that prove the US government is lying to the citizens about the war in Vietnam. The Washington Post dares to defy the president who has already shut down the New York Times effort to get this secret document published. Despite a clear order from President Nixon not to publish the document, the publication takes a brave stand and shows the world they report the news not read about it. Tom Hanks Plays Editor Bradlee, a decisive unstoppable idealist who risks jail time or worse to ensure the nation gets to know the truth. The documents here included are the top-secret Pentagon Papers and transcripts that implicate the president.

The Firm - 1993

Can you imagine going against the FBI and the Mafia and beating both of them at their own games? Mitch McDeere, played by Tom Cruise is a young lawyer employed by a big firm that seems to take extra care of their employees. Mitch gets sucked into the lavish lifestyle the firm offers until he finds out no-one joins the firm and leaves it alive, he also discovers his bosses are the kind of people you do not want to cross. Yet, he crosses them and doesn’t stop at that, he crosses the FBI who are putting him on the pressure to violate lawyer, client privilege. You can never guess what to expect will happen and the movie keeps you on the edge of your seat right to the very end. The documents in this movie are various files with important information and Mitch had to piece them together.

Erin Brockovich - 2000

Another legal drama with a simple nobody going against the big corporations and beating them. The difference here is that it is based on a true story. It's hard not to associate Julia Roberts with romantic comedy and in the beginning, you would think that is what it would be as we are introduced to a foul-mouthed Erin and her wardrobe and he romance with the boy next door. However as the movie develops, you are sucked in by the storyline. It is hard to find a movie based on a true story that can be described as a feel-good movie, but this one is. First, when she discovers the document about chromium poisoning which was being kept a secret and you see the people whose lives have been affected, you are angered and wish you could do something to help Erin Brockovich who seems to be getting frustrated all through. It’s a movie about personal struggle and fighting for what is right and in the end, there is a warm feeling you get when things work out. The document in this movie that changed the plot was a file containing evidence that the corporations knew about the poisoning all along.

Snowden – 2016

How many people can hear NSA mentioned and not feel like they are being watched? After watching this movie about whistleblower Edward Snowden, you may become even more paranoid but with good reason. It is based on the life of Snowden who leaked documents to the media proving that the NSA is spying on all of us including diplomats and possibly world leaders. Snowden risks his life to do what he believes is right and now he has to live in exile since what he did is considered worse than what the NSA is doing. Many movie reviewers say they changed their passwords after watching this movie. The plot altering document here was more than just one, it was a combination of transcripts leaked by Snowden in an email.

Official Secrets – 2019

In life, we may be moved to believe that people within powerful institutions of government are monsters guarding deep dark secrets. Wait, that’s what this 2019 movie proves, but it also shows that not all of them are like that. Official Secrets is the story of yet another Whistleblower blowing the lead on NSA activities. Katherine Gun is the British General Communications employee who leaked an email containing a document (memo) that exposes the craftiness of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, American President George Bush, and both country’s agencies NSA and GCH in the run-up to the Iraq Invasion. This movie fills you with inspiration and hope yet at the same time demoralizes and enrages you. It is a crime drama that will leave you asking so many questions in the end.

Tags Start & End

Tags Can Start & End Anywhere

Appendix B

.NET code for multi-page image output

Appendix A

Java code for multi-page image output

Data Bin Search

The Data Bin can now be searched to find a table, column, node or other piece of data without scrolling through it all.

Shrink to Fit

This will shrink the contents of a cell until it fits the defined cell size.

Time Zone Conversion

A new Windward macro has been added to help with converting dates and times from UTC time to the local time zone.

Image Output Format

New image output formats added.

PostScript Output Format

PostScript, commonly used with printers and printing companies, has been added as an additional output format.

New and Improved Datasets (Designer, Java Engine, .NET Engine)

Datasets have been re-written from scratch to be more powerful and easier to use.

Stored Procedure Wizard (Designer)

This works for all tag types that are connected to a SQL-based data source (Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, MySQL, or DB2).

Boolean Conditional Wizard (Designer)

Before, conditional statements could only be written manually. Now they can also be built using our intuitive Wizard interface.

Reorganized Ribbon

The ribbon menus have been re-organized and consolidated to improve the report design workflow.

XPath 2.0 as Data Source

Adds various capabilities such as inequalities,descending sort, joins, and other functions.

SQL Select Debugger

SQL Select  Debugger

  • The look and feel was improved
  • Stored Procedure Wizard
  • Improved Exceptions pane

Tag Editor/Tag Selector

Added a Query tab as a field for typing or pasting in a select statement

  • Color Coding of Keywords
  • TypeAhead
  • Evaluate is now "Preview"

Rename a Datasource

All tags using that Data source will be automatically updated with that name.

Connecting to a Data Source

New single interface to replace 2 separate dialog boxes

Tag Tree

Displays of all the tags in the template, structured as they are placed in the template. This provides a simple & intuitive way to see the structure of your template. Also provides the capability to go to any tag and/or see the properties of any tag.

Added Javelin into the RESTful Engine

Support for Google Application Engine Integration

The ability to integrate the Windward Engine into Google’s cloud computing platform for developing and hosting web applications dubbed Google Applications Engine (GAE).

Additional Refinement for HTML Output

  • Improved indentation for ordered and unordered lists
  • Better handling of template header and footer images
  • Better handling for background images and colors

Redesigned PDF Output Support

This new  integration will allow for processing of complex scripts and bi-directional  text such as Arabic.  Your PDF output  will be much tighter and more closely match your template, and we’ll be able  to respond rapidly to PDF requests and fixes.

PowerPoint Support

Includes support for new ForEach and slide break handling, table header row repeat across slide breaks, and native Microsoft support for charts and images.

Tags are Color Coded

Tags are color coded in the template by type, making it easy to visually identify them.

Increased Performance

Version 13’s core code has been reworked and optimized to offer a reduced memory footprint, faster PDF generation and full documentation of supported features and limitations in the specifications for DOCX, XLSX and PPTX.

Advanced Image Properties

Documents can include advanced Word image properties such as shadows, borders, and styles.

Improved HTML Output

Windward has updated HTML output to reflect changing HTML standards.

Version 13 New Data Sources

Windward now works with a slew of new datasources: MongoDB, JSON, Cassandra, OData, Salesforce.com

Generate Code

The Generate Code tool in the designer allows you to open an existing template and, with a click of a button, automatically create a window with the code needed to run your current template with all data sources and variables. Simply copy this code and paste into your application's code in the appropriate place. You now have Windward integrated into your application.

You only need to do this once. You do not do this for each template. Instead, where it has explicit files for the template and output, change that to parameters you pass to this code. Same for the parameters passed to Windward. This example uses explicit values to show you what to substitute in where.

Pivot Tables Adjusted in Output

Any pivot tables in an XLSX template are carried over to the XLSX output. The ranges in the pivot ranges are adjusted to match the generated output. So your final XLSX will have pivot tables set as expected in the generated file.

This makes creating an XLSX workbook with pivot tables trivial.

Imported Template Can be Set to Match the Parent Styles

In an imported sub-template, if its properties for a style (ex. Normal) differ from the parent template's properties for the style, the use in the sub-template can be set to either use the properties in the sub-template, or the properties in the parent.

You set to retain when you don't want the child template's styling to change when imported. You set to use the parent when you want the styling of the imported template to match the styling in the parent.

Any explicit styling is always retained. This only impacts styling set by styles.

Tags can be Placed in Text Boxes

Tags can be placed in text boxes. Including linked text boxes. This gives you the ability to set the text in a textbox from your data.

Tags can be Placed in Shapes & Smart Art

Tags can be placed in shapes & smart art. This gives you the ability to set the text in a shape from your data.

HTML Output Supports Embedded Images

When generating HTML output, the engine can either write bitmaps as distinct files the generate HTML references, or it can embed the images in the HTML providing a single file for the output.

Footnotes & Endnotes can Have Tags

You can place tags in pretty much any part of a template, including in footnotes & endnotes.

Document Locking Supported in DOCX & XLSX

Any parts of a DOCX or XLSX (PowerPoint does not support this) file that are locked in the template, will be locked the same in the output.

Specify Font Substitution

If a font used in the template does not exist on the server generating a report, the font to substitute can be specified.
In addition, if a glyph to be rendered does not exist in the font specified, you can specify the replacement font. This can be set distinctly for European, Bi-Directional, and Far East fonts.

Process Multiple Datasources Simultaneously

If you need this - it's essential. And if you don't need it, it's irrelevant.

Windward enables you to build a document by applying multiple datasources to the template simultaneously. When Windward is merging the data into a template, it processes the template by handling each tag in order, and each tag pulls from different datasources. (As opposed to processing all of one datasource, then processing the next.)

This allows the select tag to use data from another datasource in its select. For example, if you are pulling customer information from one data source, you can then pull data from the sales datasource using the customer ID of the customer presently processing to pull the sales information for that customer. If you're interested in patching together your data from multiple datasources, read this post on our blog.

Genesis Abel

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Genesis Abel


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