PROMISED LAND
2012, Focus Features, 106 min, USA, Dir: Gus Van Sant

Matt Damon and “The Office”’s John Krasinski penned the screenplay (based on a story by Dave Eggers) and star as two men on opposite sides of a hot button issue when big business comes to a small town. Damon and Frances McDormand represent a natural gas company and see their offer for drilling rights as an economic lifeline to a rural community in decline, but locals Krasinski, Hal Holbrook and Rosemarie DeWitt object to the plan. While the topic of “fracking” gives PROMISED LAND an up-to-the-minute urgency, the drama of people whose best intentions nonetheless put them at odds is timeless.


BLOOD SIMPLE
1984, Janus Films, 99 min, USA, Dir: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

Hangdog Texas bar owner Marty (Dan Hedaya) hires a corrupt and corpulent detective (M. Emmet Walsh) to kill Abby, his unfaithful wife (Frances McDormand), and her lover (John Getz). What follows from this simple, familiar crime premise is one of the most assured moviemaking debuts of the 1980s. Full of intuitively stylish bite, poisonous one-liners and goosebump-inducing setpieces, this neo-noir put Joel and Ethan Coen on the map of filmmakers to watch.


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