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Super Seventies RockSite! presents

 Seventies-Related Movies (1980-present)

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ere's a list of movies released after 1979 that are set in -- or otherwise with a strong connection to -- the 1970s.


ALIVE
Action/Adventure/Drama, 1993, US, R, * * *
Ethan Hawke, Vincent Spano, Josh Hamilton, Bruce Ramsay, John Haymes Newton, David Kriegel, Nando Parrado, Antonio Balbi, Roberto Canessa, Carlitos Paez, Tintin, Gustavo Zerbino. Directed by Frank Marshall. 127 min.

videos bullet iconQueasy movie about the rugby team that survived 72 days in the Andes Mountains in 1972 when their plane crashed on its way from Uruguay to Chile. A half-good movie encumbered by clunky dialogue (or its delivery) -- but physically impressive beyond the astonishing particulars of its story (which involves cannibalism). Unquestionably the most chilling portrayal of a plane crash in movie history. Scripted by John Patrick Stanley, from the book by Piers Paul Read. John Malkovich appears unbilled. Same story previously filmed as Survive!, a 1976 Mexican-produced movie that was dubbed into English and shown on American TV in 1977. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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ALMOST FAMOUS
Comedy/Drama, 2000, US, R, * * * 1/2
Billy Crudup, Frances McDormand, Kate Hudson, Jason Lee, Patrick Fugit, Anna Paquin, Fairuza Balk, Noah Taylor, Zooey Deschanel, Bijou Phillips, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Peter Frampton, Jimmy Fallon. Directed by Cameron Crowe. 122 min.

videos bullet iconCrowe won an Oscar for writing this appealing autobiographical story about a guileless 15-year-old boy who wants to write about rock music and goes on the road with a band for Rolling Stone magazine in the 1970s. Newcomer Fugit is perfect as the boy, McDormand a delight as his overprotective mother, Hudson adorable as the band follower who wins him over, and Crudup right on target as a charismatic musician. Layered with telling details; this one's from the heart. An alternate version (the so-called "bootleg cut") runs 159 min. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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AMERICAN GANGSTER
Drama, 2007, US, R, * * *
Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Idris Elba, Ruby Dee, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Josh Brolin, RZA, John Ortiz, John Hawkes, Ted Levine, Yul Vazquez, Armand Assante. Directed by Ridley Scott. 157 min.

videos bullet iconTwo parallel stories begin in the late 1960s. Washington is Frank Lucas, who figures the way to rule Harlem is to import heroin directly from Southeast Asia. But scrupulously honest cop Crowe can't bring down the man who's spreading pure heroin around the streets until he can identify him. Not the visceral gangland movie you might expect, but a methodical saga of two determined men who use their brains -- and know when to bend the rules. Screenplay by Steven Zaillian, based on Mark Jacobson's article "The Return of Superfly." Clarence Williams III appears untitled. Unrated version runs 176 min. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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AMERICAN HUSTLE
Drama, 2013, US, R, * * * *
Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Jeremy Renner. Directed by David O. Russell. 138 min.

videos bullet iconDavid O. Russell's gonzo tale of '70s-era tricksters is a swirling amphetamine high of a movie. Brilliant con man Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale), who along with his equally cunning and seductive British partner Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams) is forced to work for a wild FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper). DiMaso pushes them into a world of Jersey powerbrokers and mafia that's as dangerous as it is enchanting. Jeremy Renner is Carmine Polito, the passionate, volatile, New Jersey political operator caught between the con-artists and Feds. Irving's unpredictable wife Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence) could be the one to pull the thread that brings the entire world crashing down. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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AN AMERICAN SUMMER
Comedy/Drama, 1991, US, PG-13, * * 1/2
Michael Landes, Brian Austin Green, Joanna Kerns, Brian Krause. Directed by James Slocum. 100 min.

videos bullet iconTransplanted midwestern teen Tom (Landes) and his friend Fin (Green) find adventure, danger, and the hottest babes on the beaches of L.A. in a coming-of-age story set in the late '70s and inspired by Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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ANCHORMAN: THE LEGEND OF RON BURGUNDY
Comedy, 2004, US, PG-13, * *
Will Ferrell, Christina Applegate, Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, David Koechner, Fred Willard, Danny Trejo, Missi Pyle, Holmse Osborne, Fred Armisen, Seth Rogen, Laura Kightlinger, Chris Parnell. Directed by Adam McKay. 95 min.

videos bullet iconIn the 1970s, TV news anchor Ron Burgundy (Ferrell) "owns" San Diego, until an attracive and ambitious female reporter arrives on the scene. A sketch comedy inflated to feature length, with occasional laughs and a number of gag appearances that try to camouflage a threadbare, one-note script. Ferrell and Director McKay co-scripted. Unrated version runs 103 min. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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APOLLO 13
Drama, 1995, US, PG, * * * 1/2
Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, Kevin Bacon, Gary Sinise, Ed Harris, Kathleen Quinlan, Mike Hughes, David Andrews, Chris Ellis, Joe Spano, Xander Berkeley, Marc McClure, Tracy Reiner, Brent Cullen; opening narration by Walter Cronkite. Directed by Ron Howard. 139 min.

videos bullet iconExhilarating story of the ill-fated Apollo 13 moon mission, and how the heroic work of astronaut Jim Lovell and his crew, combined with the dogged persistence of the NASA team in Houston, averted tragedy. A rare instance where special effects actually serve the story and help make it completely credible; perfect 1970s detail is another asset. Screenplay by William Broyles, Jr., and Al Reinert, from the book Lost Moon by Lovell and Jeffrey Kluger. Director Howard's brother Clint has a good role as one of the Houston eggheads; his father, Rance, plays a priest; and his mother, Jean, is a treat as Jim Lovell's mom. The real Lovell appears as an officer on the aircraft carrier in the final sequence. Winner of Oscars for Film Editing and Sound. Edited to 116 min. for its 2002 release in IMAX. Super 35. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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THE ASSASSINATION OF RICHARD NIXON
Drama, 2004, US-Mexican, R, * * *
Sean Penn, Don Cheadle, Jack Thompson, Mykelti Williamson, Naomi Watts, Nick Searcy, Brad Henke. Directed by Niels Mueller. 95 min.

videos bullet iconPenn is brilliant as Sam Bicke (in real life Byck), who channeled his mounting frustrations with society into a doomed attempt to assassinate the President in 1974. The saga of a loser, made interesting by observational detail in the script (by Mueller and Kevin Kennedy) and Penn's incisive performance. Thompson is terrific as his bear of a boss; Watts is excellent in a low-key turn as Penn's estranged wife. Coproduced by Alfonso Cuarón, and partly filmed in Mexico. Executive producers include Alexander Payne and Leonardo DiCaprio. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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AT CLOSE RANGE
Drama, 1986, US, R, * * 1/2
Sean Penn, Christopher Walken, Christopher Penn, Mary Stuart Masterson, Millie Perkins, Eileen Ryan, Alan Autry, Candy Clark, Tracey Walter, David Strathairn, Crispin Glover, Kiefer Sutherland. Directed by James Foley. 115 min.

videos bullet iconBrooding, but curiously unmoving, story about two teenage half-brothers who first get to know their no-account father, and come to realize what a dangerous person he is. Downbeat drama is marked by good acting, thoughtful filmmaking, but emotional impact is muted. Based on a true incident. Super 35. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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AUSTIN POWERS IN GOLDMEMBER
Comedy, 2002, US, PG-13, * *
Mike Myers, Beyoncé Knowles, Michael Caine, Seth Green, Michael York, Robert Wagner, Midny Sterling, Verne Troyer, Fred Savage. Directed by Jay Roach. 94 min.

videos bullet iconThird outing for the shagadelic spy opens with such a hilarious, surprising sequence than nothing can top it -- and nothing does. No real story follows, as Austin travels to 1975 and hooks up with Foxxy Cleopatra (pop singer Knowles). The novelty of seeing Dr. Evil and Mini-Me is gone, Myers' new Goldmember character (sporting a Dutch accent) is more odd than funny; what's left are a lot of really crude jokes and missed opportunities. Worst of all, Caine is wasted as Austin's dad. Lots of stars appear in cameos. Super 35. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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AUTO FOCUS
Drama, 2002, US, R, * * *
Greg Kinnear, Willem Dafoe, Rita Wilson, Maria Bello, Ron Leibman, Kurt Fuller, Ed Begley, Jr., Michael Rodgers, Michael McKean. Directed by Paul Schrader. 104 min.

videos bullet iconKinnear gives an excellent performance as clean-cut radio-host-turned-1960s-TV-star Bob Crane (1928-1978), of Hogan's Heroes fame, whose life, career, and happy marriage fall apart as he becomes literally addicted to sex. His pimp/partner in these escapades (Dafoe) also contributes to his decline by gettng him hooked on the new technology of home video, which only fuels his obsession. A well-told story of one man's ruination, although it's not clear what the moral (if any) may be. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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THE BANK JOB
Action/Adventure, 2008, British, R, * * 1/2
Jason Statham, Saffron Burrows, Richard Lintern, Stephen Campbell Moore, Daniel Mays, Peter Bowles, Keeley Hawes, Colin Salmon, Peter De Jersey, James Faulkner, David Suchet. Directed by Roger Donaldson. 111 min.

videos bullet iconTired of just getting by on a series of dodgy schemes, Statham agrees to participate in a daring bank heist engineered by beautiful Burrows -- but doesn't know she's acting on behalf of British Intelligence, which needs the contents of a particular safe-deposit box. Well-plotted caper inspired by a real-life 1971 incident known in London as the "Walkie-Talkie Robbery," but as it grows dark and violent it ceases to be fun. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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BLOW
Drama, 2001, US, R, * *
Johnny Depp, Penélope Cruz, Franka Potente, Paul Reubens, Ray Liotta, Rachel Griffiths, Jordi Molla, Max Perlich, Cliff Curtis, Ethan Suplee, Emma Roberts, Noah Emmerich, Bobcat Goldthwait. Directed by Ted Demme. 124 min.

videos bullet iconEpisodic flashback saga of a working-class kid who, having seen his father struggle and his mother nag, vows never to be poor. When he moves to Southern California in the swingin' '60s, he quickly learns that selling drugs is an easy way to make money, and rapidly becomes America's leading cocaine dealer -- in between prison terms. Well-acted film based on a real-life figure, only problem is finding a reason to care about him. Panavision. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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BOOGIE NIGHTS
Drama, 1997, US, R, * * * 1/2
Mark Wahlberg, Burt Reynolds, Julianne Moore, John C. Reilly, Don Cheadle, Heather Graham, Luis Guzman, Philip Seymour Hoffman, William H. Macy, Alfred Molina, Philip Baker Hall, Robert Ridgely, Ricky Jay, Jack Riley, Joanna Gleason. Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. 152 min.

videos bullet iconExtraordinary, intense reecreation of life among a "family" of pornographers in the San Fernando Valley, from the late 1970s through mid 1980s. Wahlberg plays a disaffected 17-year-old with no brains but a formidable sex organ who becomes a porn-movie sensation. Reynolds is perfect as the director/paterfamilias who makes him a star. Writer-director Anderson doesn't judge his characters, but makes them -- and their actions -- seem utterly real. Tough going at times, but gripping and funny as well. Panavision. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY
Drama/War, 1989, US, R, * * * 1/2
Tom Cruise, Willem Dafoe, Raymond J. Barry, Caroline Kava, Kyra Sedgwick, Bryan Larkin, Jerry Levine, Josh Evans, Frank Whaley, Stephen Baldwin, John Getz, Lili Taylor, Tom Berenger, Abbie Hoffman, Jason Gedrick, Ed Lauter, Michael Wincott, Tom Sizemore, Mike Starr, James Le Gros, John C. McGinley, Wayne Knight, Bob Bunton, Vivica A. Fox. Directed by Oliver Stone. 144 min.

videos bullet iconRelentlessy realistic and powerful saga of real-life Vietnam vet Ron Kovic, who joined the Marines as a gung-ho recruit in the 1960s and came home paralyzed from the chest down -- only to endure an even greater ordeal of physical and mental rehabilitiation before emerging as an antiwar activist. Stone cowrote the screenplay with Kovic, and spares us nothing in recreating some of America's most painful years. Stone's finest film to date. Cruise delivers a top-notch performance; enhanced by a great John Williams score. Kovic can be seen in the opening parade scene; Stone plays a TV reporter. Oscar-winner for Best Director and Film Editing. Panavision. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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THE BRADY BUNCH MOVIE
Comedy, 1995, US, PG-13, * * 1/2
Shelly Long, Gary Cole, Michael McKean, Jean Smart, Henriette Mantel, Christopher Daniel Barnes, Christine Taylor, Paul Sutera, Jennifer Elise Cox, Jesse Lee, Olivia Hack. Directed by Betty Thomas. 152 min.

videos bullet iconDead-on parody of the enduringly popular 1969-1974 sitcom, with America's favorite white-bread family unaware that values and mores have changed all around them. Long and Cole are a hoot as the parents, but if you're not a serious devotee, many of the gags and story references will have no meaning whatsoever. Predictably, there are cameos by veterans of the original show. Followed the next year by A Very Brady Sequel. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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THE BURNING BED
Drama, 1984, US (TV), * * 1/2
Farrah Fawcett, Paul LeMat, Richard Masur, Grace Zabriskie, Jame Callahan. Directed by Robert Greenwald. 96 min.

videos bullet iconFarrah Fawcett won acclaim for her strong, deglamorized portrayal of Francine Hughes, a housewife who endures fifteen years of battering and finally ends it by setting her sleeping husband's bed afire, in this powerful but predictable TV movie. Robert Greenwald directs the scenes of abuse in compelling close-up, and Fawcett gives a low-key, wary performance that never degenerates into hysteria; it's not her fault that Paul LeMat steals the show as the helplessly monstrous husband. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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CARLITO'S WAY
Drama, 1993, US, R, * * *
Al Pacino, Sean Penn, Penelope Ann Miller, John Leguizamo, Ingrid Rogers. Directed by Brian De Palma. 145 min.

videos bullet iconStreet-wise Puerto Rican Pacino winds up a five-year jail term in the 1970s and tries to go straight, but loyalty to his sleazy lawyer (Penn), and his inability to accept the fact that "the street" has changed, seal his doom. Flawed but still compellling; based on two Edwin Torres novels about a man with an outmoded code of honor. Pacino is arresting as always; so is an almost unrecognizable Penn. Director Paul Mazurksy has a terrific cameo as a judge at the beginning story. Followed by a direct-to-video "pre-sequel" in 2005. Panavision. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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CARNY
Drama, 1980, US, R, * * *
Gary Busey, Jodie Foster, Robbie Robertson, Meg Foster, Kenneth McMillan, Elisha Cook, Jr. Directed by Robert Kaylor. 105 min.

videos bullet iconThis offbeat story of two carnival pros (Gary Busey and Robbie Robertson) involved with teenage runaway Jodie Foster slides from one formula to another: domestic thriller, buddy picture, even a sort of circusy Camille, with Busey coughing his way through Greta Garbo's part. But director Robert Kaylor has style and flash, and you get caught up in the film's rotting moral ambience. Foster gives an amazingly sexy performance. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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CASINO
Drama, 1995, US, R, * *
Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone, Joe Pesci, James Woods, Don Rickles, Alan King, Kevin Pollack, L.Q. Jones, Dick Smothers, Frank Vincent, Melissa Prophet, John Bloom. 182 min.

videos bullet iconLong, tedious tale of a numbers-obsessed gambler sent to Las Vegas by the mob to run a casino in the 1970s. Problem is, neither he nor his loose-cannon pal, who follows him, nor the hustler he decides to marry has any idea how to hold on to what they've got. Disappointing reteaming of Scorsese and writer Nichola Pileggi, who scored big with Goodfellas; this time, their story is overlong, repetitive, and aloof. Stone makes her mark amidst a heavyweight cast with a full-blown dramatic performance. Super 35. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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CONEHEADS
Comedy, 1993, US, PG, * * *
Dan Aykroyd, Jane Curtin, Michelle Burke, Michael McKean, Jason Alexander, Lisa Jane Persky, Chris Farley, David Spade, Phil Hartman, Dave Thomas, Sinbad, Jan Hooks, Michael Richards, Jon Lovitz, Kevin Nealon, Adam Sandler, Garrett Morris, Laraine Newman, Tim Meadows, Julia Sweeney, Ellen DeGeneres. Directed by Steve Barron. 88 min.

videos bullet iconUnexpectedly benign (and good-natured) comedy based on the 1970s Saturday Night Live skits. The Coneheads (from the planet Remulak) land on earth in a botched mission and, to their own surprise, adapt rather thoroughly to middle-class suburban life. A most enjoyable family film that combines silliness with some sly and unexpected gags. Amusing cameos by a gaggle of past and present "SNL" cast members. Aykroyd also cowrote the film. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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CROOKLYN
Drama/Comedy, 1994, US, PG-13, * *
Alfre Woodard, Delroy Lindo, David Patrick Kelly, Zelda Harris, Carlton Williams, Sharif Rashed, Tse-Mach Washington, Christopher Knowings, Jose Zuniga, Frances Foster, Norman Matlock, Joie Susannah Lee, Vondie Curtis-Hall, Spike Lee. Directed by Spike Lee. 132 min.

videos bullet iconAt times abrasive, at times embracing comedy-drama about a family's life and times in 1970s Brooklyn, focusing on young Troy (Harris), who has a special relationship with her fiery mother and warmhearted father -- and little use for her four raucous brothers. Vivid, semi-autobiographical film, written by Lee with his brother and sister, has strong performances and many fine moments, but it seems aimless at first and goes on for quite some time. One long sequence is shot in a deliberately distorted format. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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CROSSING THE BRIDGE
Drama, 1992, US, R, * * 1/2
Josh Charles, Jason Gedrick, Stephen Baldwin, Cheryl Pollak, Rita Taggart. Directed by Mike Binder. 103 min.

videos bullet iconModest memory movie, set in the 1970s, about Detroit teens tempted to cross the bridge into Windsor, Canada to transport hashish back into the States. Nothing special, but certainly nothing disgraceful, either. Stephen Baldwin gets a good showcase here. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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CRY FREEDOM
Drama, 1987, US, PG, * * *
Kevin Kline, Penelope Wilson, Denzel Washington, Kevin McNally, John Thaw, Timothy West, Jaunita Waterman, John Hargreaves, Alec McCowen, Zakes Mokae, Ian Richardson. Directed by Richard Attenborough. 157 min.

videos bullet iconSweeping and compassionate film about South African activist Steve Biko (well played by Washington) and his friendship with crusading newspaper editor Donald Woods (Kline). Unfortunately the second half of the film, minus the Biko character, loses momentum as it spends too much time on Kline and his family's escape from South Africa, but cannily injects flashbacks of Biko to steer it back on course. Screenplay by John Briley. Super 35. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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DAZED AND CONFUSED
Comedy/Drama, 1993, US, R, * * *
Jason London, Wiley Wiggins, Sasha Jenson, Rory Cochrane, Milla Jovovich, Marissa Ribisi, Adam Goldberg, Anthoney Rapp, Matthew McConaughey, Ben Affleck, Parker Posey, Joey Lauren Adams. Directed by Richard Linklater. 102 min.

videos bullet iconDiverting, refreshingly unsentimental mid-1970s time capsule from director-screenwriter Linklater (Slacker), following a varied group of suburban Texas teens on the last day of school in 1976. Characterization outweighs narrative here: Linklater accurately captures teen lifestyles and attitudes at a specific moment in time. Great soundtrack includes carefully selected period music. Look fast for Renée Zellweger. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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DETROIT ROCK CITY
Comedy, 1999, US, R, * * 1/2
Edward Furlong, Giuseppe Andrews, James De Bello, Sam Huntington, Lin Shaye, Natasha Lyonne, Shannon Tweed, Joe Flaherty, KISS. Directed by Adam Rifkin. 94 min.

videos bullet iconUltra-dopey teen flick about four teenagers trying to scam tickets for a KISS concert, circa 1978. Lots of crude physical comedy and head-banging metal anthems, but that's the point. Playes like a cross between I Wanna Hold Your Hand and an episode of That '70s Show. Shaye's a hoot as a bewigged mom on a crusade to stop rock 'n' roll. The original tongue-wagging glam rockers appear only briefly at the end. Super 35. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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DICK
Comedy, 1999, US, PG-13, * * *
Kirsten Dunst, Michelle Williams, Dan Hedaya, Dave Foley, Saul Rubinek, Harry Shearer, Jim Breuer, Will Ferrell, Teri Garr, Bruce McCulloch, Ted McGinley, G.D. Spradlin, Ana Gasteyer, Ryan Reynolds. Directed by Andrew Fleming. 95 min.

videos bullet iconClever cross of Clueless and All the President's Men has two likeable teenage airheads (delightfully played by Dunst and Williams) stumbling into all the key players in the Watergate scandal -- up to and including President Richard Nixon himself (Hedaya) -- but never having an inkling of what is going on. Funny script by Fleming and Sheryl Longin is even more enjoyable if you remember the real-life events of the 1970s. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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DONNIE BRASCO
Drama, 1997, US, R, * * * 1/2
Al Pacino, Johnny Depp, Michael Masden, Bruno Kirby, James Russo, Anne Heche, Zeljko Ivanek, Gerry Becker, Zach Grenier, Brian Tarantina, Val Avery, Gretchen Moi, Tim Blake Nelson, Paul Giamatto. Directed by Mike Newell. 127 min.

videos bullet iconFresh, original take on life among the "wiseguys" in N.Y.C.'s Italian crime families, with rich characterizations on Pacino (as a low-level hood in the Mob food chain) and Depp (as an FBI undercover agent who becomes his protégé). Depp's assignment forces him to virtually abandon his wife and children, as he becomes more and more a part of his adoptive Mob family. Rings true from start to finish; based on Joseph Pistone's memoir, scripted by Paul Attanasio. Also available in unrated 147 min. version. Super 35. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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THE DOORS
Drama, 1991, US, R, * * 1/2
Val Kilmer, Frank Whaley, Kevin Dillon, Meg Ryan, Kyle MacLachlan, Billy Idol, Dennis Burkley, Josh Evans, Michael Masden, Michael Wincott, Kathleen Quinlan, John Densmore, Will Jordan, Mimi Rogers, Paul Williams, Crispin Glover, Bill Graham, Billy Vera, Bill Kunstler, Wes Studi, Costas Mandylor. Directed by Oliver Stone. 135 min.

videos bullet iconVivid impression of famed rocker Jim Morrison's rise to fame, and eventual undoing. Stone masterfully recreates the late '60s/early '70s rock and drug scene, and Kilmer is perfect in the lead... but when it's all over you don't know very much more about Morrison than when the film began. The film's excesses also tend to parallel Morrison's. Stone appears briefly as a UCLA film professor. Panavision. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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DRUGSTORE COWBOY
Drama, 1989, US, PG-13, * * *
Matt Dillon, Kelly Lynch, James Remar, James Le Gros, Heather Graham, Beah Richards, Grace Zabriskie, Max Perlich, William S. Burroughs. Directed by Gus Van Sant. 100 min.

videos bullet iconFascinating, completely credible look at the world of a junkie and his "family," who rob drugstores to support their habit. No preaching or moralizing here, which is precisely what gives the film its impact. Standout performances, particularly from Dillon and Lynch. Based on prison inmate James Fogle's unpublished autobiographical novel of the 1970s. Screenplay by Van Sant and Daniel Yost. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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A DRY WHITE SEASON
Drama, 1989, US, PG-13, * * *
Donald Sutherland, Janet Suzman, Zakes Mokae, Jčrgen Prochnow, Susan Sarandon, Marlon Brando. Directed by Euzhan Palcy. 97 min.

videos bullet iconDisappointing film about South African apartheid, set in 1976, with Sutherland as a schoolteacher who slowly awakens to the appalling reality of how blacks are treated in his country. Crucially important subject matter is unfortunately presented in the context of a story that's contrived and dramatically hollow. Marlon Brando is magnetic (if somewhat asker) in a showing supporting role as an outspoken barrister. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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THE FALCON AND THE SNOWMAN
Drama, 1985, US, R, * * 1/2
Timothy Hutton, Sean Penn, David Suchet, Lori Singer, Pat Hingle, Dorian Harewood, Mady Kaplan, Rishard Dysart, Chris Makepeace, Micheal Ironside. Directed by John Schlesinger. 131 min.

videos bullet iconTrue story, based on Robert Lindsay's book about two young men from affluent families who decide to sell government secrets to the Russians. Much food for thought, but we never get to share Hutton's feelings, and that keeps this well-made film somewhat aloof. Standout: Penn's performance as a desperate, drugged-out kid. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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FATAL VISION
Drama, 1984, US (TV) * * * 1/2
Gary Cole, Karl Malden, Eva Marie Saint, Barry Newman, Andy Griffith. Directed by David Greene. 202 min.

videos bullet iconSuperior TV movie based on the true story of Capt. Jeffrey McDonald (Cole), a renowned and ambitious army surgeon, who was accused of murdering his pregnant wife Collette and their two daughters in 1970. McDonald, who claims a gang of drugged "hippies" raided the house and attacked the family, eventually becomes the main suspect when a massive search yields no leads and is eventually tried and convicted for the murders. Karl Malden plays Freddy Kassab, Collette's father, with his usual skill, while Eva Marie Saint plays his wife Mildred. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS
Comedy/Drama, 1998, US, R, *
Johnny Depp, Benicio Del Toro, Tobey Maguire, Craig Bierko, Katherine Helmond, Mark Harmon, Tim Thomerson, Penn Jillette, Cameron Diaz, Lyle Lovett, Flea, Gary Busey, Christina Ricci, Michael Jeter, Harry Dean Stanton, Ellen Barkin. Directed by Terry Gilliam. 119 min.

videos bullet iconExcruciating adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson's 1971 book, which defined the counterculture of its day. The film, however, is simply one monotonous, painfully long drug trip -- replete with close-ups of vomit and swooping camera movements at any and every opportunity. Perhaps Thompson diehards will find some value here; others beware. Super 35. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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54
Drama, 1998, US, R, * *
Ryan Phillippe, Salma Hayek, Neve Campbell, Mike Myers, Sela Ward, Breckin Meyer, Sherry Stringfield, Ellen Albertini Dow, Heather Matarazzo, Lauren Hutton, Michael York, Daniel Lapaine, Mark Ruffalo, Ron Jeremy. Directed by Mark Christopher. 93 min.

videos bullet iconDreary drama attempts to capture the spirit of the hedonistic nightclub Studio 54, which flourished in the 1970s and attracted naive young people like Phillippe, who thought entry meant a stepping-stone to success and self-esteem. Clichéd story takes the focus off the most interesting person onscreen -- Myers, in a canny performance as Steve Rubell, the ringmaster of this nightly drug-and-sex party. Various celebrities appear as themselves. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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FROST/NIXON
Drama, 2008, US, R, * * * *
Frank Langella, Michael Sheen, Kevin Bacon, Rebecca Hall, Toby Jones, Matthew Macfayden, Oliver Platt, Sam Rockwell, Patty McCormack, Joe Spano, Clint Howard, Andy Milder. Directed by Ron Howard. 122 min.

videos bullet iconEbullient TV host David Frost, in a career lull, persuades disgraced former President Richard Nixon to agree to a series of television interviews. His backup team hopes to elicit a public apology for his misdeeds, while Nixon's loyalists intend to restore his tarnished reputation. Incredibly gripping drama conceived by Peter Morgan, who wrote The Queen, and so effectively reinvented as a movie -- by Morgan and director Howard -- that you'd never know it originated on the stage. Langella and Sheen are superb and utterly believable, even if you remember the real-life figures they portray. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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THE GODFATHER PART III
Drama, 1990, US, R, * * *
Al Pacino, Diane Keaton, Talia Shire, Andy Garcia, Eli Wallach, Joe Montegna, George Hamilton, Bridget Fonda, Sofia Coppola, Raf Vallone, Franc D'Ambrosio. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola. 161 min.

videos bullet iconOnly a filmmaker like Coppola (teamed with writer Mario Puzo) could extend this history-making Mafioso saga and make it work so well. Absorbing story of Pacino's attempt to remove himself from the world of crime, and how fate and circumstance draw him back in, with his trigger-happy nephew (Garcia) and the rest of his family in tow. Longish, but masterfuly told, with one almost-fatal flaw: the casting of Coppola's daughter Sofia (an amateur) in the pivotal role of Pacino's daughter. Video release is so-called "final director's cut," 9 minutes longer than the theatrical version. Super 35. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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GOODBYE PORK PIE
Comedy, 1981, New Zealand, R, * * *
Kelly Johnson, Tony Barry, Claire Oberman, Bruno Lawrence, John Beach, Frances Edmond. Directed by Geoff Murphy. 105 min.

videos bullet iconAmiable comedy/road movie abut a pair of alienated men, one (Johnson) in his teens and the other (Barry) about twice his age, who trek across New Zealand in a stolen car, the police on their trail. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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GOODFELLAS
Drama, 1990, US, R, * * * 1/2
Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci, Lorraine Bracco, Paul Sorvino, Frank Sivero, Tony Darrow, Mike Starr, Frank Vincent, Chuck Low, Frank DiLeo, Christopher Serrone, Samuel L. Jackson, Henny Youngman, Jerry Vale, Debi Mazar, Kevin Corrigan, Michael Imperioli, Illeana Douglas. Directed by Martin Scorsese. 146 min.

videos bullet iconA boy grows up in an Italian-American neighborhood of Brooklyn and dreams of becoming part of the Mob. Fascinating look at the allure -- and the reality -- of day-to-day life in a Mafia family, based on experiences of Henry Hill (Liotta), who wound up in the Federal witness protection program. The violence is (necessarily) harsh and off-putting, like the film itself at times, but it's brilliantly realized by Scorsese and cinematographer Michael Balhaus. Major criticism: It goes on too long. Bracco and Oscar winner Pesci stand out in an exceptional cast; that's Scorsese's mother as Pesci's mom. Screenplay by the director and Nicholas Pileggi, based on the latter's book Wiseguy. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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GUYANA TRAGEDY: THE STORY OF JIM JONES
Drama, 1980, US (TV), * * * 1/2
Powers Boothe, James Earl Jones, Colleen Dewhurst, Ned Beatty, Irene Cara, Veronica Cartwright, Brad Dourif, Rosalind Cash, LeVar Burton, Randy Quaid, Diane Ladd, Meg Foster. Directed by William A. Graham. 206 min.

videos bullet iconThis is the best of several films made in the wake of the 1978 mass suicides in Guyana. The TV movie sticks close to the facts and has the guts to tell a relentlessly downbeat story with a madman as its protagonist. Powers Boothe won an Emmy for his astounding portrayal of Jim Jones as an evil visionary. He and a superb cast hold your attention all the way. It's a fine, tough film that takes its label of tragedy seriously and resists exploitative depiction even in its final, sickening scenes. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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THE HOAX
Drama, 2007, US, R, * * *
Richard Gere, Alfred Molina, Hope Davis, Marcia Gay Harden, Stanley Tucci, Julie Delphy, Eli Wallach, Zeljko Ivanek, John Bedford Lloyd, Mamie Gunner. Directed by Lase Hallström. 146 min.

videos bullet iconAn entertaining look at one of the greatest frauds of the 20th century, when, in 1971, failed author Clifford Irving convinced a major publisher that he was the conduit to an autobiography of eccentric, elusive billionaire Howard Hughes. Gere brilliantly captures Irving's bravado, and his anxieties; Molina is funny as his hapless partner in crime. Hallström and screenwriter William Wheeler's treatment of the material is unexpectedly complex and challenging, presenting a mental puzzle in cinematic form. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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THE HURRICANE
Drama, 1999, US, R, * * 1/2
Denzel Washington, Vicellous Reon Shannon, Deborah Kara Unger, Liev Schreiber, John Hannah, Debbi Morgan, Dan Hedaya, Clancy Brown, Harris Yulin, David Paymer, Rod Steiger. Directed by Norman Jewison. 146 min.

videos bullet iconWashington's powerful performance as wrongly imprisoned prizefighter Rubin "Hurricane" Carter makes this otherwise conventional drama worth seeing. Shannon plays a ghetto teenager who reads Carter's autobiography and determines a way to set him free. The boy's Canadian guardians are ill-defined characters and weaken the story, along with heavy-handed portrayals of Carter's victimizers. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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THE ICE STORM
Drama, 1997, US, PG-13, * * 1/2
Kevin Kline, Joan Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Christina Ricci, Elijah Wood, Henry Czerny, Adam Hann-Byrd, Tobey Maguire, Jamey Sheridan, Kate Burton, Larry Pine, Katie Holmes, Allison Janney. Directed by Ang Lee. 113 min.

videos bullet iconIcy adaptation of Rick Moody's much-praised novel about a real-life ice storm in 1973 and how it parallels activities in upscale New Canaan, Connecticut. A sober and absorbing chronicle of sexuality -- repressed and unleashed -- in '70s suburbia (love those clothes!), but also somewhat clinical and off-putting, until the heartrending finale. A film one can admire without acutally enjoying. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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IMAGINE: JOHN LENNON
Documentary, 1988, US, R, * * 1/2
John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr. Narrated by John Lennon. Directed by Andrew Solt. 103 min.

videos bullet icon Unusual documentary, produced by Solt and David L. Wolper, assembled from 240 hours of footage from Yoko Ono's personal archives. Not exactly a puff job, but a bit discomforting given the obvious calculation that went into the project. Not to be missed are Lennon's confrontations with Al Capp and journalist Gloria Emerson. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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INCIDENT AT OGLALA
Drama, 1992, US, PG, * * *
Norman Zigrossi, Robert Sikma, Darelle 'Dino' Butler, Bob Robideau. Narrated by Robert Redford. Directed by Michael Apted. 89 min.

videos bullet iconIncisive documentary detailing the alleged framing of Leonard Peltier, a Native American who was jailed in the wake of a 1975 "incident" at South Dakota's Pine Ridge Reservation that resulted in the deaths of two FBI agents. Must viewing in tandem with the thematically related Thunderheart, also directed by Apted. Redford is also executive producer. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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IN THE BEST OF FAMILIES: MARRIAGE, PRIDE & MADNESS
Drama, 1994, US, * * *
Kelly McGillis, Keith Carradine, Jayne Brook, Elizabeth Wilson, Marian Seldes, Harry Hamlin, Holland Taylor, Ken Jenkins, Louise Latham. Directed by Jeff Bleckner. 200 min.

videos bullet icon1970s Southern belle unravels and goes on a murderous spree against her own parents and those of her loving ex-husband with the help of her volatile survivalist cousin. Well-turned adaptation by Robert L. Freedman of Jerry Bledsoe's true-crime bestseller. Originally shown in two parts. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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JACK THE BEAR
Comedy/Drama, 1993, US, PG-13, * * 1/2
Danny DeVito, Robert J. Steinmiller Jr., Miko Hughes, Gary Sinise, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Reese Witherspoon, Bert Remsen, Andrea Marcovicci, Art LaFleur. Directed by Marshall Herskovitz. 99 min.

videos bullet iconSporadically affecting, but mostly muddled comedy-drama about the emotional unraveling of a widowed TV horror-movie host whose neighbor is a pro-Nazi psycho who poses a threat to children. Kept on track at least some of the time by Steinmiller's exceptional performance as DeVito's older son (age 12). Set in 1972; based on Dan McCall's novel. Super 35. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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THE KAREN CARPENTER STORY
Drama, 1989, US (TV), * * *
Cynthia Gibb, Mitchell Anderson, Peter Michael Goetz, Michael McGuire, Lise Hilboldt, Kip Gilman, Richard Minchenberg, Scott Burkholder, Louise Fletcher, John Patrick Reger, Doug MacHugh, William Tucker, Henry Crowell Jr., Josh Cruze, Carrie Mitchum. Directed by Joseph Sargent and Richard Carpenter (uncredited). 120 min.

videos bullet iconStory of the meteoric rise and sudden fall of Karen Carpenter, who became a famous singer before battling anorexia and bulemia. The tunes are the best aspect of this television film which has admittedly better-than-average production values, but very surface and slightly altered biography. Mitchell Anderson is in fine form as the creative and take-charge Richard, and Louise Fletcher makes her mark as the loving but overbearing mom Agnes.

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THE KILLING OF RANDY WEBSTER
Drama (made-for-TV), 1981, US, * * 1/2
Hal Holbrook, Dixie Carter, Jennifer Jason Leigh, James Whitmore, Sean Penn, Gary McCleery. Directed by Sam Wanamaker. 104 min.

videos bullet iconAnother true-life tale of cover-up -- the perfect material for a TV movie. A rebellious teen (McCleery) steals a van, is pursued by the police, and is then gunned down. Later, the cops try to absolve themselves of responsibility as the boy's parents doggedly pursue the matter until the facts are revealed. One's responsiveness to this is apt to be complicated by the fact that the unfortunate boy did commit the crime of theft, initially. If he were just a young innocent, the film would seem too slanted; this way there's just enough uncomfortable reality to make this carry the ring of truth. Penn and Leigh would team together again the following year for the theatrical hit, Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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THE KILLING FIELDS
Drama, 1984, R, Great Britain, * * * *
Sam Waterson, Dr. Haing S. Ngor, John Malkovich, Craig T. Nelson, Athol Fugard, Spalding Gray, Bill Paterson. Directed by Roland Joffé. 141 min.

videos bullet iconHighly charged drama based on the memoirs of N.Y. Times reporter Sidney Schanberg, who remained in Cambodia after American evacuation -- putting his native translator and assistant Dith Pran in great jeopardy. A frighteningly realistic depiction of a country torn apart by war and terrorism; an emotional powerhouse. Long but worthwhile. An impressive feature debut for Malkovich and documentary director Joffé; Ngor (who lived through Cambodian turmoil in real life) won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his acting debut. Oscars also went to cinematographer Chris Menges and editor Jim Clark. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND
Drama, 2006, R, British-German, * * *
Forest Whitaker, James McAvoy, Kerry Wasington, Gillian Anderson, Simon McBurney, David Oyelowo, Stephen Rwangyezi. Directed by Kevin Macdonald. 121 min.

videos bullet iconAn aimless young Scottish doctor (McAvoy) travels to Uganda and, through odd circumstances, finds himself the personal physician to General Idi Amin (Whitaker). He lives the high life until the dictator's brutal nature is revealed. The provacative story goes exactly where you expect it to but is powered by Whitaker's mesmerizing, Oscar-winning performance, which captures all of Amin's charm and danger. Peter Morgan and Jeremy Brock adapted Giles Foden's novel. Fiction feature debut for documentary filmmaker Macdonald. Super 35. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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MILK
Drama, 2008, US, PG-13, * * * 1/2
Sean Penn, Emile Hirsch, James Franco, Alison Pill, Diego Luna, Alison Pill, Victor Garber, Denis O'Hare, Joseph Cross, Stephen Spinella. Directed by Gus Van Sant. 128 min.

videos bullet iconExcellent biopic about Harvey Milk, America's pioneering openly gay elected official, who changed both laws and perceptions as a San Francisco city supervisor in the 1970s. Penn disappears into the character of the sweet but forceful man who never gave up, despite repeated setbacks -- and the knowledge that he might be cut down in his prime. Dustin Lance Black's expansive screenplay covers a lot of territory, both personal and public, while Van Sant's seamless interweaving of vintage news footage and re-creations transports us back in time to the '60s and '70s. Milk's crusade, and the vitriolic response to it, has uncanny modern-day resonance. Oscar winner for Best Actor (Penn) and Best Original Screenplay. See also: The Times of Harvey Milk. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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MISSING
Drama/War, 1982, US, PG, * * * 1/2
Jack Lemmon, Sissy Spacek, Melanie Mayron, John Shea, Charles Cioffi, David Clennon. Directed by Constantin Costa-Gavras. 122 min.

videos bullet iconA carefully manipulated drama that works, because of Costa-Gavras' convincing direction and Lennon's emphatatic performance as a stiff-backed father who comes to a politically volatile Latin American country (not named, but obviously intended to be Chile) in search of his missing son who disappeared in the early 1970s -- unable and unwilling to believe that American representatives there might not be willing to tell him the truth. Based on the true experiences of Ed Horman; Costa-Gavras and Donald Stewart earned Oscars for their screenplay adaptation. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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MAMMA MIA! THE MOVIE
Musical, 2008, US, PG-13, * * *
Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgård, Julie Walters, Dominic Cooper, Amanda Seyfried, Christine Baranski. Directed by Phyllida Lloyd. 108 min.

videos bullet iconA cheerful adaptation of the internationally successful stage show based on the enduring songs of the Swedish pop group ABBA. Seyfried has been raised by her mom (Streep) on a Greek island; now that she's going to be married, she sends wedding invitations to the three men who might be her father. The thin story strings together a parade of songs by an attractive cast (though Streep's pipes outshine her costars'), with beautiful Greek scenery as the backdrop. The creators of the show also put together this feel-good film, which seemingly has four or five finales... but they're all fun. Panavision. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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MAN ON THE MOON
Comedy, 1999, US, R, * *
Jim Carrey, Danny DeVito, Courtney Love, Paul Giamatti, Vincent Schiavelli, Peter Bonerz, Gerry Becker, Leslie Lyles. Directed by Milos Forman. 118 min.

videos bullet iconThe writers of Ed Wood and The People Vs. Larry Flynt, reteamed with Flynt director Forman, strike out with this bio of the late zany comedy performer and Taxi star Andy Kaufman (1949-1984). Carrey perfectly embodies his subject, but it's impossible to get inside Kaufman's head and understand what made him so very, very strange, on-stage and off...if indeed it's even worth the effort. Some of Kaufman's real-life acting colleagues appear as themselves. Panavision. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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MASK
Drama, 1985, US, PG-13, * * * 1/2
Cher, Eric Stoltz, Sam Elliott, Richard Dysart, Harry Carey, Jr. Directed by Peter Bogdanovich. 120 min.

videos bullet iconThe true story of Rocky Dennis, a teenage boy afflicted with a form of giantitis, which caused his head and skull to swell into a grotesque, misshapen appearance. The film, set in 1979-1980, doesn't so much dwell on the disease (he had it since boyhood) but on his reactions to life with those around him, especially his roustabout mother (Cher) and her biker boyfriends. Mask generally avoids pathos except in a few irresistibly tear-jerking scenes. And although Rocky is shown as an essentially strong young man who has already learned to deal with a lot of problems, there are just enough peeks beneath the veneer to establish a real human being instead of a saint. Quibbles arise mostly from a slight problem with tone -- a few more downbeat aspects would have helped round it out -- and background. (For instance, how do Rocky and his mom manage to live in more than reasonable comfort with no visible sign of income)? The film, however, is superbly performed by Cher and Eric Stoltz, and very good for the family despite the MPAA rating, which is entirely due to a few mild profanities. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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MUNICH
Drama, 2005, US, R, * *
Eric Bana, Daniel Craig, Ciarán Hinds, Mathieu Kassovitz, Hanns Zischler, Ayelet Zurer, Geoffrey Rush, Michael Lonsdale, Gial Almagor, Mathieu Almaric, Lynn Cohen, Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi, Yvan Attal. Directed by Steven Spielberg. 164 min.

videos bullet iconIn the wake of the 1972 massacre of the Israeli Olympic team, the government of Israel hires a low-level operative (Bana) to head a secret squad. Its mission: to murder the terrorists responsible for the attack. Bana and his cohorts immerse themselves in the cloak-and-dagger world, but before long begin to question their own motives -- and the toll the job may be taking on their humanity. Despite a script by Tony Kushner and Eric Roth (based on George Jonas' book Vengeance, which inspired the 1986 movie Sword of Gideon), there is less here than meets the eye. A seeming lack of focus, and a feeling of treading familiar ground, dissipates the impact of key suspense scenes. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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NIGHT CROSSING
Drama, 1982, British, PG, * * 1/2
John Hurt, Jane Alexander, Glynnis O'Connor, Doug McKeon, Beau Bridges, Ian Bannen, Klaus Lowitsch, Kay Walsh. Directed by Delbert Mann. 106 min.

videos bullet iconUnexceptional though well-cast and not unexciting tale of two families' escape from East Germany via hot-air balloon in 1979. A Walt Disney production, based on a true story. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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1969
Drama, 1988, US, R, * *
Robert Downey, Jr., Keifer Sutherland, Bruce Dern, Mariette Hartley, Joanna Cassidy, Winona Ryder. Directed by Ernest Thompson. 93 min.

videos bullet iconSutherland is terrific as a sensitive antiwar youth, and Hartley fine as his understanding mother, in this story of troubled times and troubled lives. But playwright Thompson's earnest directorial debut is disconnected and ultimately disappointing. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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NIXON
Drama, 1995, US, R, * * *
Anthony Hopkins, Joan Allen, Powers Boothe, Ed Harris, Bob Hoskins, E.G. Marshall, David Paymer, David Hyde Pierce, Paul Sorvino, Mary Steenburgen, J.T. Walsh, James Woods, Brian Bedford, Kevin Dunn, Fyvush Finkel, Annabeth Gish, Larry Hagman. Directed by Oliver Stone. 190 min.

videos bullet iconControversial, fragmented portrait of the U.S. politician and president, presented as a driven man beset by deep-rooted insecurities. Younger viewers might have a hard time keeping track of the players, and may fall prey to director-cowriter Stone's expected, and outrageous, historical inventions. Overlong, to be sure, but still compelling, with Hopkins' persuasive lead performance, and an array of fine supporting players, especially Allen as Pat Nixon. Extended director's cut has 28 min. added. Panavision. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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OFF THE MAP
Drama, 2004, US, PG-13, * * * 1/2
Joan Allen, Sam Elliott, Valentina de Angelis, J.K. Simmons, Jim True-Frost, Amy Brenneman. Directed by Campbell Scott. 111 min.

videos bullet iconBeautifully realized story, set in the 1970s, about an individualistic, self-reliant New Mexico family dealing with a precocious adolescent daughter, a father who's fallen into a stupor of depression, and the arrival of an agent from the Internal Revenue Service. Never simplistic or superficial, filled with interesting characters, telling visual and verbal detail, and wonderful performances, including young de Angelis in her film debut. Slowly paced film rewards the viewer for being patient. Joan Ackermann adapted her stage play. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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PATTY HEARST
Drama, 1988, US, R, * 1/2
Natasha Richardson, William Forsythe, Ving Rhames, Dana Delany, Frances Fisher, Jodi Long, Olivia Barash. Directed by Paul Schrader. 108 min.

videos bullet iconStillborn dramatization of the newspaper heiress's kidnapping and subsequent brainwashing by the Symbionese Liberation Army. The film never recovers from a deadly opening half hour that attempts to convey, from the victim's point of view, the effects of highly orchestrated psychological torture. Richardson makes a strong impression, despite having almost nothing to work with. Screenplay by Nicholas Kazan. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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THE PEOPLE VS. LARRY FLYNT
Drama, 1996, US, R, * * * 1/2
Woody Harrelson, Donna Hanover, James Cromwell, Crispin Glover, Vincent Shiavelli, James Carville, Richard Paul, Oliver Reed, Miles Chapin. Directed by Milos Forman. 127 min.

videos bullet iconEngrossing saga of an unlikely American "hero": controversial, self-proclaimed smut peddler Larry Flynt, who starts Hustler magazine in the 1970s and quickly discovers that he must fight for freedom of speech in order to keep it on the newsstands. Harrelson is perfect as the mercurial, unpredictable publisher, Love is just right as his loyal but unconventional wife, and Norton is excellent as his long-suffering lawyer. Climactic showdown at the Supreme Court is a dramatic powerhouse. Screenplay by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski. The real Flynt appears as a Cincinnati judge. Panavision. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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PINK FLOYD - THE WALL
Musical, 1982, Great Britain, R, * * 1/2
Bob Geldof, Christine Hargreaves, James Laurenson, Bob Hoskins, Eleanor David. Directed by Alan Parker. 99 min.

videos bullet iconRoger Waters, Pink Floyd's bassist and the writer-conceptualist of the best-selling album upon which this film is based, has seldom made any effort to hide his contempt for a large part of his audience. Like the album, this film both panders to and looks down on the audience, and in order to really enjoy it you have to be either too dumb to realize you're being sneered at or arrogant enough to consider yourself "in" on the whole thing. Bob Geldof, in his pre-"St. Bob" days, is featured as a rock star on the verge of a nervous implosion, but the real protagonist here is the nightmarish imagery created by director Alan Parker and animator Gerald Scarfe. It's an ugly, bleak, and depressing film, but it is also undeniably fascinating. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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A PLACE TO CALL HOME
Drama, 1987, US (TV), * * *
Linda Lavin, Lane Smith, Lori Loughlin. Directed by Russ Mayberry. 96 min.

videos bullet iconA Texan named Samuel Gavin (Smith), concerned over the "destructive influences" of modern American society in the 1970s, decides to relocate his wife (Lavin) and their eleven children to a sheep station in Australia. But he fails to join them due to business obligations and winds up abandoning them in this unfamiliar territory. The mother and children decide to make a go of it in their new surroundings nonetheless.

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PRINCE OF THE CITY
Drama, 1981, US, R, * * * *
Treat Williams, Jerry Orbach, Richard Foronjy, Paul Roebling, Don Billett, Lindsay Crouse, Kenny Marino, Bob Balaban, Carmne Caridi, Michael Beckett. Directed by Sidney Lumet. 167 min.

videos bullet iconDirector Sidney Lumet and actor Treat Williams share the credit for this enthralling police melodrama about honest, loyalty, corruption, and victimization. Williams gives an engaging, multi-faceted performance playing a character modeled after Robert Leuci, the young detective who, in the Knapp Commission hearings, blew the whistle on New York's illustrious Special Investigation Unit (the men who cracked the "French Connection," among other cases). Lumet's precise direction tells the story not as a clear-cut tale of a virtuous hero exposing venal crooks, but as a complex series of confrontations that slowly draws an ordinary cop into spying on, and turning in, his friends and partners. The movie consists mostly of long interviews and meetings, and viewers who are easily bored, or even slightly inattentive, will become lost somewhere in the movie's 167 minutes. But for the involved audience, the film has many rewards. Lumet has a great feel for New York City (Dog Day Afternoon and Serpico), and he captures it in grim, muted tones of gray and brown. The script is by Jay Presson Allen, and includes dialogue from the original tapes of Leuci. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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THE RESTING PLACE
Drama, 1986, US, PG-13, * * *
John Lithgow, Morgan Freeman, G.D. Spradlin, M. Emmet Walsh, Richard Bradford, C.C.H. Pounder, Frances Sternhagen. Directed by John Korty. 100 min.

videos bullet iconArmy officer encounters racial tension while trying to secure the burial of a black Vietnam War hero in an all-white Georgia cemetery in the 1970s. Beautiful script by Walter Halsey Davis, well performed by all. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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THE RETURN OF THE SIX-MILLION DOLLAR MAN AND THE BIONIC WOMAN
Action/Adventure (made-for-TV), 1987, US, * *
Lee Majors, Lindsay Wagner, Richard Anderson, Martin Landau, Gary Lockwood, Tom Schanley, Lee Majors, II. Directed by Ray Austin. 100 min.

videos bullet iconReunion show for the characters of two hit series of the 1970s (The Six-Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman) finds the bionically rebuilt son of Steve Austin (Majors) following in his dad's footsteps with the help of the Bionic Woman. Schanley plays Majors' son, while Majors' real-life son is the brash new assistant of Oscar Goldman (Anderson). Pilot for a "new" series which never materialized though they tried again with Bionic Showdown: The Six-Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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RUDY
Sports, 1993, US, PG, * * *
Sean Astin, Jon Favreau, Ned Beatty, Charles S. Dutton, Jason Miller, Robert Prosky, Lili Taylor, Jon Favreau, Vincent (Vince) Vaughn. Directed by David Anspaugh. 120 min.

videos bullet iconRock-solid, immensely entertaining based-on-fact account of Rudy Ruetinger (Astin), a working-class boy intent on realizing his dream of playing football at old Notre Dame in the mid-1970s -- despite his uninspiring academic record and unimposing athletic ability. Few surprises, but it's well acted (with special kudos to Dutton), and a real crowd-pleaser. Director Anspaugh and screenwriter Angelo Pizzo previously worked together on Hoosiers. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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THE RUNAWAYS
Drama, 2010, US, R, * * *
Dakota Fanning, Kristen Stewart, Michael Shannon, Tatum O'Neal, Stella Maeve, Scout Taylor-Compton, Johnny Lewis, Alia Shawkat, Keir O'Donnell. Directed by Floria Sigismondi. 106 min.

videos bullet iconMusical bio about the pioneering 1970s all-girl rock band of the same name depicting its formation in 1975 under the stewardship of Sunset Strip impresario Kim Fowley (Shannon) and focusing on the relationship between 15-year-old lead vocalist Cherie Currie (Fanning) and rhythm guitarist/vocalist Joan Jett (Stewart) until Currie's departure from the band. Adapted from Currie's book Neon Angel: A Memoir of a Runaway. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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RUSH
Drama, 1991, US, R, * *
Jason Patric, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Sam Elliott, Max Perlich, Gregg Allman, Tony Frank, William Sadler. Directed by Lili Fini Zanuck. 120 min.

videos bullet iconGritty adaptation of Kim Wozencraft's novel about a young woman recruited to be an undercover narc in 1970s Texas, joining a man who's already a bit too strung out to be completely effective. First-time director Zanuck skillfully creates an oppressively seedy atmosphere, but can't compensate for the fact that the story -- if not the entire premise -- of the film is unconvincing. Patric's performance is a standout, ditto Eric Clapton's striking score. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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SARAFINA!
Musical/Drama, 1992, US/British/French, PG-13, * * 1/2
Whoopi Goldberg, Leleti Khumalo, Miriam Makeba, John Kani, Mbongeni Ngema, Dumisani Dlamini. Directed by Darrell Roodt. 117 min.

videos bullet iconWobbly film version of the anti-apartheid musical stage hit about a young South African black girl inspired by teacher Goldberg, who's courting trouble by deviating from the curriculum mandated by the white power structure in 1970s South Africa. Arguably the most violent musical ever (taking what was abstract on the stage and literalizing it), a key indication of the film's uncertain style. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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SHAFT
Drama, 2000, US, R, * * *
Samuel L. Jackson, Vanessa Williams, Jeffrey Wright, Christian Bale, Busta Rhymes, Dan Hedaya, Toni Collette, Richard Roundtree. Directed by John Singleton. 98 min.

videos bullet iconFiercely independent N.Y.C. detective (nephew of self-named John Shaft, played by Roundtree) allows personal feelings to affect his behavior in dealing with a smug, racist criminal (Bale) and a Domincan drug lord (Wright). Jackson cuts a dashing figure in Armani, Isaac Hayes's them song still resonates, but there's no sex in this slick update of the 1971 crime thriller. Gordon Parks, who made the original Shaft, has a cameo. Super 35. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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SID & NANCY
Drama, 1986, US, R, * * *
Gary Oldman, Chloe Webb, Drew Schofield, David Hayman, Debby Bishop, Tony London, Perry Benson, Gloria LeRoy. Directed by Alex Cox. 111 min.

videos bullet iconHarrowing look at the bizarre, self-destructive, and curiously compelling relationship between British punk rock singer Sid Vicious (of The Sex Pistols) and American groupie Nancy Spungen in the 1970s. Director Cox achieves a masterful level of docu-realism, then laces it with allegorical dream images, with striking results. At the core of the film are two remarkable performances, by Oldman and Webb, who don't seem to be performing at all: they are Sid and Nancy. A downer, to be sure, but fascinating. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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SILKWOOD
Drama, 1983, US, R, * * *
Meryl Streep, Kurt Russell, Cher, Craig T. Nelson, Diana Scarwid, Fred Ward, Ron Silver, Charles Hallahan, Josef Sommer, Sudie Bond, Henderson Forsythe, E. Katherine Kerr, Bruce McGill. Directed by Mike Nichols. 131 min.

videos bullet iconIn this dramatization of Karen Silkwood's one-woman battle against the Kerr-McGee nuclear fuel plant that employed her, director Mike Nichols and screenwriters Nora Ephron and Alice Arlen soft-pedal the melodrama to create a genuine modern horror story, a crawling two and a quarter hours in which the chemical, industrial, and political phobias of our age coalesce into a single all-consuming demon. Meryl Streep plays Karen Silkwood as the flirty busybody who puts her nosiness to work for the union not because she's a crusader but because she doesn't like being kept in the dark. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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STILL CRAZY
Comedy, 1988, US-British, R, * * *
Stephen Rea, Billy Connolly, Jimmy Nail, Timothy Spall, Bill Nighy, Juliet Aubrey, Helena Bergstrom, Bruce Robinson, Rachael Stirling. Directed by Brian Gibson. 97 min.

videos bullet iconAmiable film about the reunion of a 1970s rock band called Strange Fruit and its star-crossed musicians, whose resentments and peccadiloes are still fresh after 20 years. Built on a surefire foundation, the story has just enough twists to keep you guessing where it's going and a gallery of enjoyable performances. Bonus: the music is actually good. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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SUMMER OF SAM
Drama, 1999, US, R, * *
John Leguizamo, Adrien Brody, Mira Sorvino, Jennifer Esposito, Anthony LaPaglia, Ben Gazzara, Bebe Neuwirth, Patti LuPone, Mike Starr, Michael Rispolo, John Savage, Michael Badalucco, Jimmy Breslin, Spike Lee. Directed by Spike Lee. 142 min.

videos bullet iconMosaic of Italian-American characters living in the Bronx during the steamy summer of 1977, when the serial killer known as Son of Sam terrorized N.Y.C., firing both passions and paranoia. Interesting, mostly unpleasant slice of life/perio piece goes on much too long...and gets pretty sleazy. Cowriters Michael Imperioli and Victor Colicchio appear as Midnight and Chickie, respectively. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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THE THIN BLUE LIE
Drama, 2000, US (TV), * * * *
videos bullet iconRob Morrow, Randy Quaid, Paul Sorvino, Cynthia Preston, G.W. Bailey, Al Waxman, Beau Starr, Barry Wiggins, Chuck Shamata. Directed by Roger Young. 97 min.

videos bullet icon'70s era fact-based story about investigative reporter Jonathan Neumann (Morrow) who moves to Philadelphia in 1976 to work for the Enquirer and provide court coverage of a mentally handicapped young man who was found guilty of murder. The suspect's attorney contends that his client was railroaded by police and beaten into a confession, and eventually Neumann finds that the case leads to Philadelphia Mayor Frank Rizzo's office. A chilling tale that explains how easy it is for power to corrupt and how society likes to look the other way. Good performances by Morrow, Quaid, and Sorvino, and well edited and directed. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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THE THIN BLUE LINE
Documentary, 1988, US, * * * *
Randall Adams, David Harris, Gus Rose, Lucille Billingsley, Jackie Johnson. Directed by Errol Morris. 96 min.

videos bullet iconRemarkable, perhaps even landmark, documentary, as director Morris sets out to prove that a convicted hitchhiker did not kill a Dallas policeman in 1976 -- and that the lowlife who fingered him (and who wound up on Death Row for a subsequent murder) did. Very subjective but totally convincing, so much so that the case was ropened after the film's premiere, and the defendant was exonerated. Philip Glass' score adds to the hypnotic effect. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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THIS IS SPINAL TAP
Comedy, 1984, US, R, * * *
Michael McKean, Christopher Guest, Harry Shearer, Rob Reiner, Tony Hendra, June Chadwick, R.J. Parnell, David Kaff, Fran Drescher. Directed by Rob Reiner. 82 min.

videos bullet iconAdmirably precise parody of a rock documentary, with Reiner as director Marty Di Gergi, who chronicles the latest American tour of an aging British rock group that's a working definition of the term "loser." Collaborative effort improvised by Reiner and his cast of colleagues, cunning satire through and through, though not always terribly funny. One favorite bit: the amplifier that goes to "11." Many familiar faces appear in cameos. P.S.: In the '90s the "fictitious" group reunited for a series of concerts and a TV special. Rereleased in 1995 with many new scenes. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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THUNDERHEART
Drama, 1992, US, R, * * *
Val Kilmer, Sam Shepard, Graham Greene, Fred Ward, Fred Dalton Thompson, David Crosby, Sheila Tousey, Chief Ted Thin Elk, John Trudell, Dennis Banks. Directed by Michael Apted. 118 min.

videos bullet iconPart-Sioux FBI agent Kilmer is awakened to his heritage when he's assigned to investigate a murder on an Oglala Sioux reservation. Engrossing thriller is notable for its keen attention to detail regarding Sioux customs and spirituality, and its enlightened point of view. Based on events which occurred in the 1970s at Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, where the film was shot. Coproduced by Robert De Niro; before directing this, Apted made a documentary, Incident at Oglala, about Indian activist Leonard Peltier. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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THE TIMES OF HARVEY MILK
Documentary, 1984, US, * * * 1/2
Harvey Milk, Harvey Fierstein, Anne Kronenberg, Tory Hartmann, Tom Ammiano. Directed by Robert Epstein. 88 min.

videos bullet iconExtremely moving documentary about Harvey Milk, the first gay supervisor elected in San Francisco; mayer George Moscone; and clean-cut, respectable supervisor Dan White, who assassinated them both on Nov. 27, 1978. Eerie, fascinating, sad, funny; as dramatic and involving as the most carefully plotted fiction. This deservedly earned a Best Documentary Award. See also Milk (2008). Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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29TH STREET
Drama, 1991, US, R, * * 1/2
Danny Aiello, Anthony LaPaglia, Lannie Kazan, Frank Pesce, Donna Maghani, Rick Aiello, Vic Manni, Ron Karabatsos, Robert Forster, Pete Antico, Joe Franklin. Directed by George Gallo. 101 min.

videos bullet iconA richly seasoned look at N.Y.C. Italian-Americans through the eyes of Frank Pesce, who sees his life as blessed with luck, even though it presents itself in strange ways; the story is told in flashback on the night of New York State's first lottery drawing in 1976. Aiello and LaPaglia are dynamite as father and son, and that's the real Frank Pesce as older brother Vito; he also cowrote the story, based on his life. Directing debut for Midnight Run screenwriter Gallo. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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UNDERCOVER BROTHER
Comedy, 2002, US, PG-13, * *
Eddie Griffin,Chris Kattan, Denise Richards, Aunjanue Ellis, Dave Chappelle, Chi McBride, Neil Patrick Harris, Billy Dee Williams, Jack Noseworthy, James Brown, Robert Townsend. Directed by Malcolm D. Lee. 84 min.

videos bullet iconWhen an African-American general and potential presidential candidate (Williams) mysteriously announces that he's opening a fried chicken franchise, one man is chosen to find out why: a bro with a fro in the know (Griffin). Loopy comedy has some real laughs, but its gags fall flat far too often. Based on an Internet series. Not solid. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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VELVET GOLDMINE
Drama, 1998, US-British, R, * * 1/2
Ewan McGregor, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Toni Collette, Christian Bale, Eddie Izzard, Emily Woof, Michael Feast. Directed by Todd Haynes. 117 min.

videos bullet iconOpulent, glitter paean to early '70s glam rock (and youth culture head movies like Quadrophenia and Performance is such a triumph of style and excess that it's easy to overlook the film's clunky Citizen Kane narrative structure and emotionally aloof characters. Rhys Meyers is effectively snotty as a bisexual David Bowie-esque pop star, but Collette is a standout as his neglected party-girl wife. Sandy Powell's inventive, adrogynous costumes are great. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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A VERY BRADY SEQUEL
Comedy, 1996, US, PG-13, * * *
Shelley Long, Gary Cole, Tim Matheson, Christopher Daniel Barnes, Christine Taylor, Paul Sutera, Jennifer Elise Cox, Henrietta Mantel, Jesse Lee, Olivia Hack, John Hillerman. Directed by Arlene Sanford. 89 min.

videos bullet iconWith a better script than the first Brady movie, this silly/funny follow-up has the '70s time-warp family thrown asunder when a man claiming to be Carol's first husband shows up. Further problems arise when Greg and Marsha find themselves unsettlingly attracted to one another! Full of the same double-entendre sexual gags as the first film, plus wonderful musical moments and a handful of gag cameos. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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THE WAR
Drama, 1994, US, PG-13, * * 1/2
Elijah Wood, Kevin Costner, Mare Winningham, Lexi Randall, Christine Baranski, Gary Basaraba, Raynor Scheine, Latoya Chisholm, Charlette Julius. Directed by Jon Avnet. 125 min.

videos bullet iconGrowing up isn't easy for a brother and sister in 1970 Mississippi; their father means well, but hasn't been stable since returning from Vietnam, and his attempts to teach them tolerance and peaceful ways are hard to absorb when they're constantly bullied by a family of mean-spirited kids who live nearby. Well-intentioned message film for young people, diluted by overlength, a lack of focus, and an overabundance of dramatic climaxes. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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WE ARE MARSHALL
Drama, 2006, US, PG, * * *
Matthew McConaughey, Matthew Fox, David Strathairn, Anthony Mackie, Ian McShane, Kate Mara, January Jones, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Robert Patrick, Brian Geraghtry. Directed by McG. 124 min.

videos bullet iconThe true story of the tragic November 1970 airplane crash that took the lives of the Marshall University football team, their coaches, and key boosters as they were returning from a game. Dealing with the West Virginia town's devastation and reluctance to start over again, a new coach is recruited to do just that a year later. Highly dramatic telling that could have dissolved into sports movie clichés but wisely focuses on the human element and the inherent need to move on with life when it seems most challenging. McConaughey, as the new coach, Fox, as a guilt-plagued assistant coach who traded his seat on the fateful flight, and Strathairn, as the university president, are outstanding in this worthwhile film. 35 mm. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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WHAT'S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT
Drama, 1993, US, R, * * *
Angela Bassett, Laurence Fishburne, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Jenifer Lewis, Rae'ven Kelly, Phyllis Yvonne Stickney, Chi (Chi McBride), Khandi Alexander, Penny Johnson. Directed by Brian Gibson. 119 min.

videos bullet iconA highly charged musical bio of singer Tina Turner, who joined R&B musician Ike Turner as a naive teenager and went on to become a dynamic performer -- all the while suffering various forms of abuse at home. Vivid, immediate, and persuasive (though Tina's personality is never explored, and she's painted as something of a saint), but the real attraction here is the phenomenal performances of Bassett and Fishburne as Tina and Ike. Based on I, Tina by Turner and Kurt Loder. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAM
Comedy, 1980, US, PG-13, *
Peter Boyle, Bill Murray, Bruno Kirby, Rene Auberjonois, R.G. Armstrong, Rafael Campos, Leonard Frey, Mark Metcalf, Craig T. Nelson. Directed by Art Linson. 96 min.

videos bullet iconIntended celebration of notorious "Gonzo" journalist Hunter S. Thompson will baffle those unfamiliar with his work and insult those who are. Even Neil Young's music can't save this dreadful comedy. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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WILL: THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF G. GORDON LIDDY
Drama, 1982, USA (TV), * * 1/2
Robert Conrad, Katherine Cannon, Gary Bayer, Peter Ratray. Directed by Robert Lieberman. 100 min.

videos bullet iconThis biography of the life of Watergate mastermind G. Gordon Liddy is troublesome in that Conrad, whether deliberately or not, makes his an engrossing, almost likeable character. The script concentrates less on the Watergate affair than on Liddy's time in prison, during which he asserted his "natural superiority" to win over the other prisoners and deal with the prison authorities. Based on Liddy's best-selling autobiography. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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WILLIE AND PHIL
Comedy, 1980, US, R, * *
Michael Ontkean, Ray Sharkey, Margot Kidder, Jan Miner, Tom Brennan, Julie Bovasso. Directed by Paul Mazursky. 115 min.

videos bullet iconThe membory of François Truffaut's Jules and Jim hangs like a pall over Paul Mazursky's movie. He means the film to be an update of that work for the American 1970s, but he's precisely the wrong director to undertake such a task. Treating the era of EST and hot tubs almost without irony, Mazursky gives us characters who seem to stick together only because they've bought the same New Age slogans. Michael Ontkean and Ray Sharkey are the two pals, Margot Kidder the woman who unites and divides them. Mazursky's odd new propriety keeps him from digging very deeply into the 1970s; in other films, he would have poked fun at the encounter session dialogue the characters here toss around -- and there's even more of it in Mazursky's voice-over narration. The failure of vision evident here deteriorates to total artistic blindness in Mazursky's abominable Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1986). Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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WONDERLAND
Drama, 2003, US, R, * *
Val Kilmer, Kate Bosworth, Lisa Kudrow, Tim Blake Nelson, Dylan McDermott, Josh Lucas, Eric Bogosian, Christina Applegate, Natasha Gregson Wagner, Janeane Garafalo, Franky G., Carrie Fisher, Faizon Love, Ted Levine, Paris Hilton. Directed by James Cox. 104 min.

videos bullet iconTedious look at events leading up to the grisly 1981 murders on L.A.'s Wonderland Avenue involving former porn film star John C. Holmes (Kilmer) and assorted other lowlifes. Sordid, violent, and filled with characters it's impossible to care about. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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YEAR OF THE GUN
Drama, 1991, US, R, * *
Andrew McCarthy, Valeria Golino, Sharon Stone, John Pankow, Mattia Sbragia, George Murcell. Directed by John Frankenheimer. 111 min.

videos bullet iconConfused thriller about a young American novelist in 1978 Italy who stumbles onto the Red Brigade's plot to kidnap then-Premier Aldo Moro. Frankenheimer (who made such great political thrillers as Seven Days in May and The Manchurian Candidate) struggles to keep a wandering story in focus. McCarthy is somewhat blank in the lead role, but Stone is good as an aggressive photojournalist. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

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ZODIAC
Drama, 2007, US, R, * * * 1/2
Mark Ruffalo, Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey, Jr., Anthony Edwards, Brian Cox, Chlöe Sevigny, Charles Fleischer, Zach Grenier, Philip Baker Hall, Elias Koteas, Donal Logue, John Carroll Lynch, Dermot Mulroney, John Getz, Adam Goldberg, Candy Clark, James Le Gros, Clea Du Vall, Barry Livingston. Directed by David Fincher. 156 min.

videos bullet iconRiveting drama based on the case of the so-called Zodiac killer who terrorized San Francisco in the 1960s (and partly inspired Dirty Harry). Focuses more on the manhunt than the crimes and shows how this frustrating case consumed the lives of reporters and detectives alike, especially San Francisco Chronicle cartoonist Robert Graysmith (Gyllenhaal), who spends decades trying to crack the case. Superbly made on every level, with meticulous re-creations of the 1970s, when most of the story takes place. Screenplay by James Vanderbilt, based on the best-selling books written by Graysmith. Ione Skye appears unbilled. Director's cut runs 162 min. HD Widescreen. Buy the DVD/Blu-ray/VHS at Amazon.com.

- excerpted from Leonard Maltin's 2010 Movie Guide (New York: Plume, 2009).

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