SCROOGE
1970, Hollywood Classics, 113 min, Dir: Ronald Neame

SCROOGE, 1970, Hollywood Classics, 113 min. Albert Finney is a gleefully wicked Scrooge in this glorious musical adaptation by Leslie Bricusse of Dickens’ ode to brotherhood and the terrible power of karma. Director Ronald Neame was a longtime Dickens veteran, having produced David Lean’s GREAT EXPECTATIONS and OLIVER TWIST; here, he proved himself to be a wonderfully humorous and sympathetic filmmaker in his own right. Co-starring Alec Guinness, Edith Evans and Kenneth More.


BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU’RE DEAD
2007, 117 min, USA, Dir: Sidney Lumet

Director Sidney Lumet returns to the crime genre with a vengeance in this devastating portrait of a family destroyed from within. Philip Seymour Hoffman and Ethan Hawke play brothers whose severe financial problems lead them to attempt a jewelry store heist -- a heist that, when it goes wrong, has ruinous consequences for the siblings and everyone who has the misfortune to know them. Lumet's consummate craftsmanship and an air-tight script by Kelly Masterson make this a modern day film noir that invites and earns comparison with classics like DOUBLE INDEMNITY and OUT OF THE PAST. With Marisa Tomei.


ERIN BROCKOVICH
2000, Universal, 131 min, USA, Dir: Steven Soderbergh

Oscar winner Julia Roberts is at her very best in the title role of this environmentally conscious biopic. Erin Brockovich was working as a clerk at a Southern California law firm when she discovered that residents of Hinkley, California, were being poisoned by chromium in their water supply. The subsequent class-action lawsuit spearheaded by the single mom against utility Pacific Gas & Electric resulted in a record-breaking settlement. Albert Finney co-stars as Brockovich’s boss, a seasoned attorney initially skeptical about the David vs. Goliath fight. “What's pretty original about the picture is that it focuses an investigative drama based on a true story around a comic performance.” - Amy Taubin, The Village Voice


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