TRADING PLACES
1983, Paramount, 118 min, USA, Dir: John Landis

Eddie Murphy proved that his debut performance in 48 HOURS was no fluke with this follow-up, a flat-out comic masterpiece that ranks with the best of Preston Sturges and Billy Wilder. Murphy plays a street hustler, and Landis regular Dan Aykroyd is a stockbroker; both men's lives are turned upside down when wealthy brothers Don Ameche and Ralph Bellamy decide to figure out whether nature matters more than nurture and manipulate the opposites into exchanging lives. Filled with quotable dialogue and expertly crafted by John Landis, it includes a plethora of winning supporting performances from Jamie Lee Curtis, Denholm Elliott, Paul Gleason and Jim Belushi (as, in a nod to Landis' debut film SCHLOCK, a guy in a gorilla suit!).


FAR FROM HEAVEN
2002, Focus Features, 107 min, USA/France, Dir: Todd Haynes

Two relationships challenge convention in a 1950s Connecticut town in this insightful drama that recalls the best work of Douglas Sirk. After Cathy (Julianne Moore) discovers her husband (Dennis Quaid) in the arms of another man, she grows closer to the couple’s black gardener (Dennis Haysbert). Winner of five Independent Spirit Awards, including Best Feature and Director.


THE AGE OF INNOCENCE
1993, Sony Repertory, 139 min, USA, Dir: Martin Scorsese

Director Martin Scorsese visits New York City’s Gilded Age in this rich adaptation of the Edith Wharton novel. Upper class lawyer Newland Archer (Daniel Day-Lewis) is engaged to marry May Welland (Winona Ryder) when May’s cousin, the Countess Ellen Olenska (Michelle Pfeiffer), arrives from Europe. While the Countess’ desire to leave her husband invites gossip, Archer’s growing attraction to this free-thinking woman could prove even more ruinous. Meticulously crafted in every regard, from Joanne Woodward’s narration to Gabriella Pescucci’s Oscar-winning costume design, this is among Scorsese’s most underrated films.


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