1997, dir. Kasi Lemmons. The Louisiana Bayou comes to life in this haunting, sensuous, beautiful tale of a prosperous but troubled Creole family. Samuel L. Jackson plays Louis Batiste, the highly respected town doctor known for fixing all kinds of illnesses, particularly those of the women in town. Louis is married to the gorgeous Roz, a regal Southern woman, who loves her family intensely and tries to come to terms with the problems in her marriage. Debbie Morgan plays Aunt Mozell, a troubled beauty with a gift for the supernatural and a curse that causes her much sadness. The cast also includes superb performances by Diahann Carroll as the town's voodoo practitioner, Meagan Good as Cisely, the oldest Batiste daughter, Vondie Curtis Hall, Branford Marsalis and Lisa Nicole Carson. The story is told through the eyes of an irrepressible ten year old girl named Eve (Jurnee Smollett) and explores themes of family, fidelity, magic and coming of age during an unforgettable summer full of family secrets. Cinematography is from Amy Vincent and a haunting soundtrack includes new music from Erykah Badu.
1997, dir. Francis Coppola. Rudy Baylor (Matt Damon) is an idealistic young law school graduate who aspires to be a "rainmaker," a bright star with a golden touch who will lavish cash-rich clients and billable hours on the firm that is fortunate enough to hire him. He finds employment doing grunt work and chasing ambulances for a sleazy character named Bruiser Stone (Mickey Rourke), a lawyer with connections in the Memphis underworld and investments in topless bars. As Baylor forages through the seedier enclaves of the legal hierarchy, he learns more and more about how things work in a corrupt system. In the process of making his way in this Kafkaesque world of torts and tarts, Rudy latches onto a case that will shake the system to its foundation, exposing a multimillion-dollar insurance scam by taking on a powerful and corrupt company that has systematically made fortunes off the backs of poor and working-class people.
1953, dir. Fritz Lang. Homicide sergeant Dave Bannion (Glenn Ford) is squarely in the tradition of the crusading detective: honest, tough, and unbuyable. But he lives in a city where not only does crime pay, but morality has a very low return. Bannion is investigating the sudden suicide of a police officer named Duncan when he is asked to "lay off the case." But Bannion is compelled to pursue the forbidden investigation when the suicide's girlfriend is tortured and killed. Bannion's heroic vendetta is intended to bring down the "big heat" on the citywide criminal syndicate but it comes at a considerable cost. Also stars Gloria Grahame as the moll of sadistic gangster Vince Stone.
1948, director, producer, and screenplay, Orson Welles. From the novel BEFORE I DIE by Sherwood King. Michael O'Hara (Orson Welles) comes to the aid of a mysterious and beautiful woman (Rita Hayworth) who is being mugged. She disappears into the night, only to reappear later as the wife of the brilliant trial lawyer Arthur Bannister (Everett Sloane). Michael has been hired on their yacht as a crew member, but soon discovers that he was wanted aboard ship in order to participate in a bizarre and constantly changing program of murder and fraud. The famous final showdown is played out in a hall of mirrors. Though the chaotic and obtuse plot and femme fatale are typical of noir films, THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI lacks the hard-boiled quality of Hammett and Chandler. It has an unsually exotic visual style, full of shifting imagery, manifesting the confounding and unsettling plot.
1970, dir. Bob Rafelson, starring Jack Nicholson and Karen Black. Robert Eroica Dupeau, a talented musician, has rejected his well-to-do family in the Northwest's Puget Sound area and given up his promising career as a concert pianist. He is now working in oil fields and living with Rayette, a waitress in a diner. But he still doesn't feel settled in the lifestyle of a hot-tempered, California blue-collar, redneck oil rigger, who drinks beer, bowls, listens to country music, and chases easy women. When Robert hears from his sister that his father isn't well, he drives up to Washington to see him, taking Rayette with him. Considered a classic of 70s American cinema.
1979, dir. Lewis John Carlino, based on the novel by Pat Conroy. The four Meechum kids and their mother move from Marine post to Marine post, following their father, a pilot, in the peaceful years before the Vietnam war. Bull Meechum (Robert Duvall), the self-described "great Santini," is the epitome of the Marine officer as tough a disciplinarian at home as at the base. Rebellion, or even difference of opinion, is not tolerated. In Beauford, South Carolina, Bull is assigned to whip into shape a squadron of pilots, and his oldest son Ben makes friends with Toomer, a slow-talking Black youth. Racial and family tensions explode in violence, and Ben must find a way to make peace with his father.
SANS SOLEIL (Chris Marker)
SHOOT THE PIANO PLAYER
IN THE SOUP