HARD TIMES
1975, Sony Repertory, 93 min, USA, Dir: Walter Hill

Walter Hill’s debut feature as director is this no-holds-barred tale of a bare-knuckle boxer (Charles Bronson) in Depression-era New Orleans and the fast-talking promoter (James Coburn) who parlays Bronson’s talents as a pugilist into quick money. “There's the temptation, with material like this, to fashion parables and give the characters portentous speeches about the meaning of it all. But HARD TIMES never steps back from itself, never lectures us. Its theme is buried in its material, and it's a hard-edged action film all the way.” – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times.


HARRY AND THE HENDERSONS
1987, Universal, 110 min, USA, Dir: William Dear

For decades, people have scoured the Pacific Northwest in search of Bigfoot and come up empty-handed…until George Henderson (John Lithgow) accidentally hits one of the creatures with his car. Discovering that “Harry” is a gentle giant, George tries to return him to the wilderness before a hunter (David Suchet) can get to him. An Oscar winner for Rick Baker’s makeup work, this amusing family fantasy spun off a syndicated TV sitcom. With Melinda Dillon, Don Ameche and M. Emmet Walsh.


RETURN TO OZ
1985, Disney, 113 min, USA, Dir: Walter Murch

Legendary film editor and sound designer Walter Murch directs this pleasantly subtle and delightfully bizarre sequel to THE WIZARD OF OZ. After a disturbing stint in a mental hospital, a cherubic Dorothy (Fairuza Balk) gets washed away to Oz, only to find it a changed place. Menacing Wheelers swivel around a broke-down Emerald City, vain witch Mombi covets her walk-in chamber of human heads, and a nefarious Nome King has wreaked terror on the land. With the help of new friends (the adorable Tik Tok and hapless, affable Jack Pumpkinhead), Dorothy sets out once again to save Oz from seemingly insurmountable villains.


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