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THE GRIFTERS
1990, Miramax, 110 min, USA, Dir: Stephen Frears

After a small-time scam backfires, Roy Dillon (John Cusack) is hospitalized, bringing his estranged mother Lilly (Anjelica Huston) back into his life. When she tries to turn him away from girlfriend Myra (Annette Bening), Roy finds himself caught between con artists whose talent for deception far outstrips his own. Adapted from the Jim Thompson novel, this suspenseful neo-noir earned Oscar nominations for Frears, Huston, Bening and screenwriter Donald E. Westlake.


BIG JAKE
1971, National General, 110 min, USA, Dir: George Sherman

John Wayne is Jacob McCandles, a former gunfighter summoned by his estranged family when his grandson (played by Wayne’s son Ethan) is kidnapped. Ruthless outlaw Richard Boone holds the boy hostage in Mexico, demanding a fortune in ransom; Big Jake rides in for a shootout rather than a pay-off. With music by Elmer Bernstein and plenty of bloody action (writers Harry and Rita Fink also penned DIRTY HARRY), this is one of the Duke’s best latter-day Westerns. Co-starring Maureen O'Hara.


DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS
1995, Sony Repertory, 102 min, USA, Dir: Carl Franklin

Adapted from the first of Walter Mosley’s popular Easy Rawlins novels, this neo-noir stars Denzel Washington as the private investigator plying his trade in South Central Los Angeles after WWII. When DeWitt Albright (a memorably shifty Tom Sizemore) asks Easy to find a missing woman (Jennifer Beals) involved with a mayoral candidate, the detective soon has several murders to solve. With Don Cheadle. “It's the film's glowing visual qualities, a striking performance by Denzel Washington and the elegant control Carl Franklin has over it all that create the most exotic crime entertainment of the season.” - Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times.


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