The planet Krypton faces imminent destruction due to its unstable core; the result of depleting Krypton's natural resources. The ruling council is deposed by the planet's military commander, General Zod, and his followers during a coup d'état. Knowing that artificial population control and isolationism have ruined their civilization, scientist Jor-El and his wife Lara launch their newborn son, Kal-El, the first naturally born Kryptonian child in centuries, on a spacecraft to Earth after infusing his cells with a genetic codex of the entire Kryptonian race. After Zod kills Jor-El, he and his followers are captured and exiled to the Phantom Zone. However, they are indirectly freed after Krypton explodes, rendering the Kryptonian race extinct apart from Zod and his forces.
Superman (Brandon Routh) has been missing for five years, since traveling to the location where astronomers believed they had discovered the remains of Krypton. During his absence, Superman's nemesis, mad scientist Lex Luthor (Kevin Spacey), was released from prison (due to Superman's failure to appear at Lex's trial) and married an old rich widow (Noel Neill) to obtain her fortune upon her death. Having failed in his quest to find surviving Kryptonians, Superman returns to Earth and, as Clark Kent, resumes his job at the Daily Planet in Metropolis. He subsequently learns that Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth) has won a Pulitzer Prize for her article "Why the World Doesn't Need Superman". Meanwhile, Lex travels to the Fortress of Solitude and steals Kryptonian crystals to use for an experiment that causes a mass power outage on the East Coast. The power loss interferes with the flight test of a space shuttle to be launched into space from its piggy-back mounting on an airliner, occupied by Lois Lane, who is covering the story. Clark flies into action as Superman and stops the plane from crashing onto a baseball stadium.
The day of his fifth wedding anniversary, Nick Dunne returns home to find that his wife Amy is missing. Her disappearance receives heavy press coverage, as Amy was the inspiration for her parents' popular "Amazing Amy" children's books. Detective Rhonda Boney does a walkthrough of their house and finds poorly concealed evidence of a struggle. The police conduct a forensic analysis and uncover the remnants of cleaned blood stains, leading to the conclusion that Amy was murdered. Suspicions arise that Nick is responsible, and his awkward behavior is interpreted by the media as characteristic of a sociopath.
A retired rock star, Johnny Boz, is stabbed to death with an ice pick during sex by a mysterious blonde woman at his apartment. Homicide detective Nick Curran investigates, and the only suspect is Catherine Tramell, Boz's bisexual girlfriend and a crime novelist who has written a novel that mirrors the crime. It is concluded that Catherine herself did it or someone who is trying to frame her out of spite. Tramell is uncooperative and taunting in the investigation, smoking in the interrogation room and exposing her bare genitalia in front of the officers. She presents alibis and passes a lie detector test. Nick discovers that Catherine has a habit of befriending murderers, including her girlfriend Roxy, who is later shown to have murdered several young boys on impulse, and Hazel Dobkins, who murdered her family.
MI6 sends James Bond, agent 007, into the field to spy on a terrorist arms bazaar on the Russian border. Via television, MI6 and the Royal Navy identify several wanted men, including the American "techno-terrorist" Henry Gupta, who is buying a GPS encoder made by the US military. Despite M's insistence to let 007 finish his reconnaissance, British Admiral Roebuck launches a missile attack on the arms bazaar. Bond then discovers two Soviet nuclear torpedoes mounted on an L-39 Albatros, and as the missile is too far along to be aborted, 007 hijacks the L-39 and flies away seconds before the bazaar is struck. Amidst the confusion, Gupta escapes with the encoder.
Andrea "Andy" Sachs (Anne Hathaway) is an aspiring journalist fresh out of Northwestern University. Despite her ridicule for the shallowness of the fashion industry, she lands a job "a million girls would kill for," junior personal assistant to Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep), the icy editor-in-chief of Runway fashion magazine. Andy plans to put up with Miranda's bizarre and humiliating treatment for one year in hopes of getting a job as a reporter or writer somewhere else.
Melvin Udall is a misanthrope who works at home as a best-selling novelist in New York City. He suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder which, paired with his misanthropy, alienates nearly everyone with whom he interacts. He avoids stepping on sidewalk cracks while walking through the city due to a superstition of bad luck, and eats breakfast at the same table in the same restaurant every day using disposable plastic utensils he brings with him due to his pathological mysophobia. He takes an interest in his waitress, Carol Connelly, the only server at the restaurant who can tolerate his behavior.
In 1593 London, William Shakespeare is a sometime player in the Lord Chamberlain's Men and poor playwright for Philip Henslowe, owner of The Rose Theatre. Shakespeare is working on a new comedy, Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate's Daughter. Suffering from writer's block, he has barely begun the play, but starts auditioning players. Viola de Lesseps, the daughter of a wealthy merchant, who has seen Shakespeare's plays at court, disguises herself as "Thomas Kent" to audition, then runs away. Shakespeare pursues Kent to Viola's house and leaves a note with the nurse, asking Thomas Kent to begin rehearsals at the Rose. He sneaks into the house with the minstrels playing that night at the ball, where her parents are arranging her betrothal to Lord Wessex, an impoverished aristocrat. While dancing with Viola, Shakespeare is struck speechless, and after being forcibly ejected by Wessex, uses Thomas Kent as a go-between to woo her. Wessex also asks Will's name, to which he replies that he is Christopher Marlowe.
Two teenage girls named Katie Embry (Amber Tamblyn) and Becca Kotler (Rachael Bella) are bored at a sleepover and eventually, they discuss an urban legend that involves a cursed videotape that kills the viewer 7 days after watching it. Katie reveals that she had watched the cursed videotape with her boyfriend and a group of friends last week while staying in a cabin for a vacation.
On November 4, 1979, Iranian activists storm the United States embassy in Tehran in retaliation for President Jimmy Carter giving the Shah asylum in the U.S. during the Iranian Revolution. More than 50 of the embassy staff are taken as hostages, but six avoid capture and hide in the home of Canadian ambassador Ken Taylor. With the escapees' situation kept secret, the U.S. State Department begins to explore options for exfiltrating them from Iran. Tony Mendez, a U.S. Central Intelligence Agency exfiltration specialist, is brought in for consultation. He criticizes the proposals, but is at a loss when asked for an alternative. While on the phone with his son, he is inspired by watching Battle for the Planet of the Apes and begins plans for creating a cover story for the escapees: that they are Canadian filmmakers who happened to be in Iran scouting exotic locations for a similar science-fiction film.
In 1963 Jackson, Mississippi, Aibileen Clark (Viola Davis) is a black maid spending her life raising white children after the death of her only son from an industrial accident. She works for the Leefolt family, principally taking care of the children of Elizabeth Leefolt, a young woman gripped with postpartum depression who refuses to acknowledge her daughter except when disciplining her. Aibileen's best friend is Minny Jackson (Octavia Spencer), an outspoken black maid who has long worked for Hilly Holbrook's (Bryce Dallas Howard) mother, Mrs. Walters (Sissy Spacek), to the point that they are very comfortable with each other. Minny's stormy temper is tolerated due to respect for her great cooking skills. Eugenia "Skeeter" Phelan (Emma Stone) is an independent thinking young white woman returning to the family plantation after graduating from the University of Mississippi to find that her beloved childhood maid, Constantine (Cicely Tyson), has quit while she was away. She is perplexed as she believes Constantine would not have left without writing her, and she eventually learns that Constantine was fired by Skeeter's mother Charlotte (Allison Janney).
In the year 1900, a depressed British writer named Christian (Ewan McGregor) begins writing on his typewriter ("Nature Boy"). One year earlier, Christian moved to the Montmartre district of Paris to become a writer among members of the area's Bohemian movement. He soon encounters, living directly upstairs from him, a loose troupe of performers led by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (John Leguizamo). Toulouse-Lautrec and the others ask for Christian's help, and his writing skills allow them to finish their proposed show, "Spectacular Spectacular", that they wish to sell to the owner of the Moulin Rouge, Harold Zidler (Jim Broadbent). The group arrives at the Moulin Rouge as Zidler and his "Diamond Dog Dancers" perform for the audience ("Lady Marmalade/Zidler's Rap (Can Can)/Smells Like Teen Spirit"). Toulouse arranges for Christian to see Satine (Nicole Kidman), the star courtesan, in her private quarters to present the work, unaware that Zidler is promising Satine to the wealthy and unscrupulous Duke of Monroth (Richard Roxburgh), a potential investor in the cabaret ("Sparkling Diamonds" medley).
Andie Anderson (Kate Hudson) is a writer who works for a magazine called Composure as the "How to..." girl. She is bored and wishes she could write more about important things, such as politics, economics, religion, poverty; stuff she actually cares about. She soon finds herself writing an article called "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days". The idea comes about when Andie's friend, Michelle (Kathryn Hahn), experiences a minor breakdown after yet another break-up. Using her friend as inspiration, Andie reveals how she will actually start dating a guy and drive him away but "only using the classic mistakes women make".