SMOOTH TALK
1985, Janus Films, 92 min, UK/USA, Dir: Joyce Chopra

Fifteen-year-old Connie (Laura Dern) spends the summer before her sophomore year fixating on getting male attention. While her mother, Katherine (Mary Kay Place), nags her about painting the house and favors her older sister, Connie spends her days going to the mall with her friends. One day, while the rest of her family is having a barbeque, Connie is confronted at home by a handsome, dangerous stranger (Treat Williams) who has been watching her.


RAMBLING ROSE
1991, Rialto Pictures, 112 min, USA, Dir: Martha Coolidge

Martha Coolidge’s compassionate Depression-era drama, adapted by Calder Willingham from his 1972 novel, stars Laura Dern in the title role as a young woman fleeing a disreputable past. She winds up at the doorstep of the Hillyers (Robert Duvall and Diane Ladd), who agree to take her in – but Rose’s flirtatious presence ultimately proves unsettling. Anchored by four outstanding performances (including Lukas Haas as smitten Buddy Hillyer), the film brought Oscar nominations to both Ladd and Dern, the first time a real-life mother and daughter had been so honored.


99 HOMES
2014, Broad Green Pictures, 112 min, USA, Dir: Ramin Bahrani

Anchored by outstanding central performances, this timely thriller is set in 2010, when Florida led the nation in foreclosures. One of the victims of that economic freefall is recently evicted single father Dennis Nash (Andrew Garfield). Desperate to provide for his mother (Laura Dern) and son (newcomer Noah Lomax), Nash makes a deal with the devil – predatory real estate magnate Rick Carver (Michael Shannon). Carver and his unethical practices had cost Nash his home, but the money to be made by gaming the system at Carver’s behest could prove impossible to resist.


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