SIDEWAYS
2004, Fox Searchlight Pictures, 123 min, USA, Dir: Alexander Payne

Writer-director Alexander Payne's fourth feature film (following CITIZEN RUTH, ELECTION and ABOUT SCHMIDT) starts with two old friends setting off on a wine-tasting road trip . . . only to veer dizzily SIDEWAYS into a wry, comedic exploration of the crazy vicissitudes of love and friendship, the damnable persistence of loneliness and dreams and the enduring war between Pinot and Cabernet. Thomas Haden Church plays Jack, a womanizer who is about to be married. Best friend/wine lover Miles (Paul Giamatti) takes his buddy on a tour of the wine country as a last hurrah before Jack ties the knot. The two buddies soon find themselves caught in a heady mix of wine and woman, with Jack's upcoming nuptials fast approaching.


BETTER WATCH OUT
2016, Well Go USA, 85 min, USA, Dir: Chris Peckover

A festival fave across the world, this subversive, violent and hilarious Christmas-set black comedy opens as Ashley (Olivia DeJonge) is gearing up for another night of babysitting 12-year-old Luke (Levi Miller) and his geeky best friend (Ed Oxenbould). But the planned evening of pizza, some games and a film soon takes a left turn in this brilliant inversion of the home-invasion formula, as Ashley faces dangers unheard of in order to keep herself and those in her charge alive. With Patrick Warburton and Virginia Madsen in small but unforgettable appearances as Luke’s parents.


CANDYMAN
1992, Sony Repertory, 99 min, USA, Dir: Bernard Rose

Perhaps the greatest horror film of the ’90s is this cerebral and chilling classic by director Bernard Rose, based on Clive Barker's short story “The Forbidden.” Virginia Madsen plays a grad student researching urban legends when she comes across the tale of Candyman, a frightening one-armed man who appears when you say his name into a mirror five times; he’s played brilliantly by Tony Todd. Score by Philip Glass.


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