THE NICKEL RIDE
1974, 20th Century Fox, 99 min, USA, Dir: Robert Mulligan

A superb neo-noir with Jason Miller (THE EXORCIST) as the can-do man who holds keys to stolen-goods depots in downtown Los Angeles. Charged by his syndicate boss, urbane John Hillerman, with buying up an unused block of warehouses for more storage, Miller starts to encounter problems. Like an unraveling ball of yarn, trivial difficulties snowball out of control, threatening not only his career but his life. Beautifully realized, from the low-key performances to the evocation of a dying-on-the-vine downtown - whole blocks of which have not changed much since the making of this film. The gradual building of suspense and the aura of impending doom - a feeling so borderline we're not sure if Miller’s just being paranoid - is intensely disturbing. Bo Hopkins is the friendly good ol’ boy apprentice Miller gets saddled with and Linda Haynes is Miller’s understanding girl. Screenplay by Eric Roth (THE INSIDER, MUNICH, FORREST GUMP).


THE WILD BUNCH
1969, Warner Bros., 145 min, USA, Dir: Sam Peckinpah

Saddle up for director Sam Peckinpah’s magnificent, ultra-violent Western, starring William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Warren Oates and Jaime Sanchez as a band of doomed outlaws trying to outrun history. A film that forever changed the way violence was depicted and perceived in the movies. Co-starring Robert Ryan, Edmond O’Brien, L.Q. Jones, Bo Hopkins and Strother Martin. “The movie was photographed by Lucien Ballard, in dusty reds and golds and browns and shadows. The editing, by Lou Lombardo, uses slow motion to draw the violent scenes out into meditations on themselves. Every actor was perfectly cast to play exactly what he could play; even the small roles need no explanation. Peckinpah possibly identified with the wild bunch. Like them, he was an obsolete, violent, hard-drinking misfit with his own code, and did not fit easily into the new world of automobiles, and Hollywood studios.” - Roger Ebert


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