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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.

2014, Focus Features, 100 min, USA, Dir: Rian Johnson

This debut feature from writer-director Rian Johnson takes the cinematic traditions of hard-boiled film noir and wittily immerses them in fresh territory - a modern-day Southern California high school. Fiercely intelligent student Brendan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) prefers to stay an outsider, but when his ex-girlfriend reaches out to him unexpectedly and then vanishes, he enlists the aid of his only true peer, The Brain (Matt O’Leary), to get to the bottom of things. Brendan’s single-minded unearthing of students’ secrets thrusts him up against colliding school cliques and, most ominously, non-student criminal The Pin (Lukas Haas).

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