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HANNAH AND HER SISTERS
1986, Park Circus/MGM, 103 min, USA, Dir: Woody Allen

Woody Allen’s brilliant romantic comedy set in New York City over a Thanksgiving holiday follows well-adjusted Hannah (Mia Farrow) and her slightly lost siblings Lee (Barbara Hershey) and Holly (Dianne Wiest), all playing virtual musical chairs with a gang of lovers (including Allen, Michael Caine, Max Von Sydow and Sam Waterston). With Lloyd Nolan and Margaret Sullivan (Mia’s real-life mom) as the women’s nostalgically careening parents, and Carrie Fisher as Holly’s poisonous best friend April. Winner of three Academy Awards, two for Best Supporting performances (Caine and Weist) and Best Screenplay for Allen.


THE DARK KNIGHT
2008, Warner Bros., 152 min, USA, Dir: Christopher Nolan

Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) must protect Gotham City from the Joker (Heath Ledger, in an Oscar-winning performance), whose path of destruction turns Batman’s potential successor, district attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart), into the disfigured villain Two-Face. The all-star cast includes Maggie Gyllenhaal, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine. While the bravura action sequences come fast and furious, Nolan’s exploration of the characters’ psyches - and the issue of vigilantism - is equally skilled.


BATMAN BEGINS
2005, Warner Bros., 140 min, USA, Dir: Christopher Nolan

MEMENTO director Christopher Nolan and BLADE scribe David S. Goyer reinvent the BATMAN franchise, with the help of the best cast ever assembled for a comic book film. Christian Bale infuses the Caped Crusader with emotional gravity, an approach that’s underscored by Nolan’s effectively realistic approach to the material. Michael Caine, Tom Wilkinson and many other noteworthy character actors provide solid support in this adventure film that’s as smart as it is rousing.


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