ERIN BROCKOVICH
2000, Universal, 131 min, USA, Dir: Steven Soderbergh

Oscar winner Julia Roberts is at her very best in the title role of this environmentally conscious biopic. Erin Brockovich was working as a clerk at a Southern California law firm when she discovered that residents of Hinkley, California, were being poisoned by chromium in their water supply. The subsequent class-action lawsuit spearheaded by the single mom against utility Pacific Gas & Electric resulted in a record-breaking settlement. Albert Finney co-stars as Brockovich’s boss, a seasoned attorney initially skeptical about the David vs. Goliath fight. “What's pretty original about the picture is that it focuses an investigative drama based on a true story around a comic performance.” - Amy Taubin, The Village Voice


CORPSE BRIDE
2005, Warner Bros., 77 min, USA, Dir: Tim Burton, Mike Johnson

Inspired by a Jewish folktale, this gothic animated fantasy stars Johnny Depp as Victor Van Dort, a shy young man engaged to Victoria Everglot (Emily Watson). After flubbing his lines at the wedding rehearsal, he goes to the forest to practice them - and accidentally marries a woman buried there (Helena Bonham Carter). Tim Burton’s third stop-motion feature and first as a director also features the voices of Tracey Ullman, Albert Finney and Christopher Lee, and the music of Danny Elfman (who plays Bonejangles in the film).


MILLER’S CROSSING
1990, 20th Century Fox, 115 min, USA, Dir: Joel and Ethan Coen

Joel and Ethan Coen’s brilliant, atmospheric tribute to 1930s gangster melodramas is full to the brim with venomous one-liners and a catalog of characters worthy of any pre-WWII James Cagney/Warner Bros. picture. Bitter Gabriel Byrne is adviser to sentimental but tough gang boss Albert Finney in a small Northeastern town. But their complacently corrupt burg is about to erupt in violence when nouveau-riche newcomer Jon Polito and his merciless, grim reaper of an enforcer (J.E. Freeman) make a play for the big time. The supporting cast - including Marcia Gay Harden and John Turturro - is superb, all getting to voice some of the most vitriolic dialogue this side of 1957’s SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS. “The Coens are artists too, and their cool dazzler is an elegy to a day when Hollywood could locate moral gravity in a genre film for grownups.” - Richard Corliss, Time


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