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1991, Sony Repertory, 129 min, USA, Dir: John Sayles

Director John Sayles demonstrates both his talent for characterization and his insightful approach to social issues with this ambitious ensemble piece. Vincent Spano plays the son of a contractor involved in a bitter property dispute that threatens to tear apart the New Jersey city where he lives, while Joe Morton plays an idealistic city councilman struggling to build a constituency. Their stories extend into the lives of dozens of supporting characters across race and class lines, all of whom are fully developed and painfully real. A thoughtful and moving portrait of early 1990s American life that is unfortunately even more relevant today in its vision of urban corruption and political maneuvering.

1973, 20th Century Fox, 103 min, USA, Dir: Philip D’Antoni

Roy Scheider stars as Buddy Manucci, a maverick cop who goes to war against kidnapper Vito Lucia (Tony Lo Bianco) in this New York action classic. Director D’Antoni, a producer on BULLITT and THE FRENCH CONNECTION, adds another classic car chase to his resume with a riveting midpoint action sequence in which Scheider flies through the streets of Manhattan and New Jersey in his 1973 Pontiac Ventura. Adapted from a story by Sonny Grosso, the real cop Scheider played in THE FRENCH CONNECTION.

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