NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN
2007, Park Circus/Miramax, 122 min, USA, Dir: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen

A mesmerizing thriller from Academy Award-winning filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen, based on the acclaimed novel by Pulitzer Prize winning American master Cormac McCarthy. The time is our own, when rustlers have given way to drug-runners and small towns have become free-fire zones. When Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) finds a pickup truck surrounded by a sentry of dead men with a load of heroin and two million dollars in cash still in the back, a chain reaction of catastrophic violence begins that not even the law–in the person of aging, disillusioned Sheriff Bell (Tommy Lee Jones) – can contain. As Moss tries to evade his pursuers–in particular a mysterious mastermind who flips coins for human lives (Javier Bardem) – the film simultaneously strips down the American crime drama and broadens its concerns to encompass themes as ancient as the Bible and as bloodily contemporary as this morning’s headline.


INHERENT VICE
2014, Warner Bros., 148 min, USA, Dir: Paul Thomas Anderson

Writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson’s Oscar-nominated adaptation of the Thomas Pynchon neo-noir novel owes as much to Cheech & Chong as to THE BIG SLEEP. Stoner private eye Larry "Doc" Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix, in an industrial-strength mullet) winds his way through three interrelated cases in 1970 Los Angeles after an ex-girlfriend (Katherine Waterston) turns up at his door. Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson, Reese Witherspoon, Benicio del Toro, Jena Malone and Martin Short round out the amazing cast. “Anderson has superbly captured Pynchon’s laconic, gently surreal tone, which permeates the film as thoroughly as the hazy SoCal light of Robert Elswit’s gorgeous 35mm cinematography.” – Scott Foundas, Variety


MILK
2008, Focus Features, 128 min, USA, Dir: Gus Van Sant

Director Gus Van Sant’s acclaimed biopic of one of America’s first openly gay public officials, Harvey Milk, brings both the man and his 1970s San Francisco milieu back to life. Sean Penn is perfectly cast as Milk, whose fearlessness in the face of prejudice brought him from a Castro St. camera shop to City Hall - where he was assassinated in 1978, along with Mayor George Moscone, by former Supervisor Dan White (superbly played by Josh Brolin). MILK was nominated for eight Academy Awards, winning two of them for Penn’s lead performance and Dustin Lance Black’s original screenplay. With James Franco and Emile Hirsch.


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