MATEWAN
1987, Park Circus/MGM, 132 min, USA, Dir: John Sayles

Based on a true incident in the impoverished but coal-rich hills of West Virginia in the 1920s, writer-director John Sayles’ masterpiece is an unforgettable portrait of a community struggling to assert itself under the crushing dominance of capitalist greed. Chris Cooper (ADAPTATION) turns in his finest performance as labor organizer Joe Kenehan, with tremendous support from a cast that includes James Earl Jones, Mary McDonnell, David Strathairn and Sayles himself. The cinematography by Haskell Wexler (WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF?, ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST, and winner of the 1992 ASC Lifetime Achievement Award) perfectly captures the haunted, bone-weary desperation of the miners and their families.


THE SANDLOT
1993, 20th Century Fox, 101 min, USA, Dir: David Mickey Evans

Like THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION and A CHRISTMAS STORY, this is a great film, largely ignored upon release, that found life on television and DVD. Here’s your chance to see it on the big screen the way it was meant to be seen. David Mickey Evans (RADIO FLYER) directs his first feature film and knocks it out of the park. It’s sandlot baseball set in the summer of 1962, with Babe Ruth-autographed baseballs, best buddies and giant demon dogs named the Beast that live beyond the rickety home run fence. Geeky kid Scotty Smalls (Tom Guiry) moves to the San Fernando Valley with his parents and is unable to make friends until sandlot baseball hero Benny Rodriguez adds him to the team. Made up of all the magic little moments of childhood, when scary things really were over the fence and crazy drawn-in-the-dirt battle plans actually worked. Patrick Renna ("Ham") stands out in one of the best kid casts since THE BAD NEWS BEARS. "You're killing me, Smalls!" has become a catch phrase to many since. Also stars James Earl Jones.


THE AMBULANCE
1990, Park Circus/MGM, 91 min, USA, Dir: Larry Cohen

When a medical crisis strikes and paramedics show up, they’re usually there to help, but this taut (and sometimes hilarious) thriller from writer-director Larry Cohen turns that notion on its head. Comic book artist Eric Roberts is chatting up Janine Turner on the streets of New York when she collapses and is whisked off in an ambulance - but she never makes it to any of the local hospitals. As Roberts tries to unravel the mystery, snappy reporter Red Buttons and cynical cop James Earl Jones help and hinder him, respectively.


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