FIRESTARTER
1984, Park Circus, 114 min, USA, Dir: Mark L. Lester

After rocketing to fame in E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL, pre-teen Drew Barrymore was tapped for the lead in this Stephen King adaptation. She plays Charlene “Charlie” McGee, a girl with pyrokinetic powers that government agency “The Shop” is eager to harness; her father (David Keith) also has psychic abilities, which he uses to protect his daughter from Shop agents. Sharing the screen with fiery special effects is a top-notch cast - including George C. Scott, Martin Sheen, Louise Fletcher, Art Carney and Heather Locklear - and an electronic score by Tangerine Dream.


HARDCORE
1979, Sony Repertory, 109 min, USA, Dir: Paul Schrader

This underrated drama from writer-director Paul Schrader is anchored by one of George C. Scott’s greatest performances. He plays Jake Van Dorn, a conservative Midwestern businessman whose daughter disappears during a church-sponsored trip to California. Horrified to learn she may now be working in the L.A. porn industry, Van Dorn enlists a sleazy private investigator (Peter Boyle) and a wary streetwalker (Season Hubley) to find the girl.


ANATOMY OF A MURDER
1959, Sony Repertory, 160 min, USA, Dir: Otto Preminger

The finest courtroom drama ever made, a masterpiece of ambiguity in which the audience is the ultimate juror. James Stewart (in what is arguably his richest, certainly his most ambivalent performance) is a small-town lawyer who defends an arrogant soldier (Ben Gazzara) for the murder of his sexy wife’s supposed rapist. The characters often seem to behave inappropriately, in the process blurring the dividing line between guilt and innocence. Filmed on location in upper Michigan, in the actual locations where the real-life murder and trial took place. Superb performances from Eve Arden as Stewart’s rock-solid gal Friday, Arthur O’Connell as an alcoholic attorney, George C. Scott as a prosecutor who seems as aware as Stewart that the courtroom is a stage and that victory belongs to the best actor, and McCarthy silencer, real-life lawyer and non-actor Joseph N. Welch as a droll judge. Enhanced by a jazz score from Duke Ellington, who makes a surprise cameo appearance performing at the neighborhood juke joint.


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