CITY HALL
1996, Warner Bros. , 111 min, Dir: Harold Becker

Academy Award winner Al Pacino stars as New York City mayor John Pappas, a populist leader who harbors ambitions for the presidency. Brilliant young strategist Kevin Calhoun (John Cusack) serves as the mayor's idealistic deputy – but their office comes under fire after a shootout between a hero cop and a Mafia-connected drug dealer leaves a small child dead. Also starring Academy Award winner Martin Landau, Bridget Fonda and Danny Aiello, this taut political thriller reveals the dirty little secrets of democracy and the pursuit of power at any price.


PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE
1974, 20th Century Fox, 92 min, USA, Dir: Brian De Palma

Director Brian De Palma’s vivid reimagining of The Phantom of the Opera is at once camp, surreal, dazzling and heartbreaking. Cutthroat record producer Swann (Paul Williams, who also wrote the fine score) steals both the music and the girl from composer Winslow Leech (William Finely). Horribly disfigured in an attempt to reclaim his artistic credit, Leech becomes the Phantom at Swan’s new rock palace, the Paradise. Jessica Harper, contributing her creamy alto, plays Leech’s love interest, and Gerrit Graham is hysterical as glitter-rock star "Beef." De Palma turns what could have been a lightweight indulgence into clever pop-culture commentary.


REVERSAL OF FORTUNE
1990, Warner Bros., 120 min, USA/Japan/UK, Dir: Barbet Schroeder

Jeremy Irons won a well-deserved Academy Award for Best Actor for his wonderfully sly performance as aristocrat Claus von Bülow, accused of attempted murder of his rich wife, Sunny (Glenn Close). Costarring Ron Silver as Alan Dershowitz.


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