2018, Fox Searchlight, 101 min, USA/Germany, Dir: Wes Anderson

This animated gem from writer-director Wes Anderson tells the story of Atari Kobayashi, 12-year-old ward to corrupt Mayor Kobayashi. When, by executive decree, all the canine pets of Megasaki City are exiled to a vast garbage dump, Atari sets off alone in a miniature Junior Turbo Prop and flies to Trash Island in search of his bodyguard-dog, Spots. There, with the assistance of a pack of newly found mongrel friends, he begins an epic journey that will decide the fate and future of the entire prefecture. The star-studded voice cast includes Frances McDormand, Scarlett Johansson, Greta Gerwig, Bryan Cranston, Bill Murray and Jeff Goldblum.

1996, Park Circus/MGM, 98 min, USA, UK, Dir: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

One of Joel and Ethan Coen’s most acclaimed films (they won Oscars for their screenplay and Frances McDormand got one for Best Actress). Cool, calm, collected (and pregnant!) policewoman Marge (McDormand) tracks the kidnappers of a used car salesman’s wife in North Dakota’s snow-covered wasteland. Salesman Jerry’s (William H. Macy) inept plot to get out of debt by staging the hoax unravels in gory fashion when his two bizarrely mismatched henchmen (Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare) have a falling-out. That hulking Stormare’s nonchalant, bloodcurdling use of a woodchipper at the climax emerges as both chilling and hilarious testifies to the Coens' complete mastery of tone in the filmmaking process. “…an illuminating amalgam of emotion and thought. It glimpses into the heart of man and unearths a blackly comic nature, hellishly mercurial and selfish, yet strangely innocent. If it weren't so funny, it would be unbearably disturbing.” – Arnold Wayne Jones, The Dallas Observer; “A crime gem that is darkly funny even when it's chilling -- and certain to become a classic.” – Peter Stack, The San Francisco Chronicle.

2000, Paramount, 122 min, USA, Dir: Cameron Crowe

Writer-director Cameron Crowe drew on his own memories as a teenage writer for Rolling Stone to create this incandescent coming-of-age tale (and earn a Best Original Screenplay Oscar). Despite worries from his mother (Frances McDormand), aspiring rock journalist William Miller (Patrick Fugit) lands a plum assignment covering the band Stillwater. On tour, he befriends groupie Penny Lane (Kate Hudson) and – against the advice of rock critic mentor Lester Bangs (Philip Seymour Hoffman) – Stillwater’s guitarist (Billy Crudup).

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