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The Hustler (1961)
Cast List : Paul Newman ... 'Fast' Eddie Felson / Jackie Gleason ... Minnesota Fats / Piper Laurie ... Sarah Packard / George C. Scott ... Bert Gordon / Myron McCormick ... Charlie Burns / Murray Hamilton ... James Findley / Michael Constantine ... Big John

Available At      Barnes&Noble

Paul Newman shines as cocky poolroom hustler "Fast" Eddie Felson in Robert Rossen's atmospheric adaptation of the Walter Tevis novel. Newman's Felson is a swaggering pool shark punk who takes on the king of the poolroom, Minnesota Fats (a cool, assured Jackie Gleason in his most understated performance). After losing big and crashing into a void of self-pity, Eddie meets down-and-out Sarah (Piper Laurie in a delicate performance), an alcoholic blue blood who's dropped into Eddie's world of dingy bars and seedy poolrooms. Eddie regains his confidence and attracts the attention of a shifty, calculating promoter, Bert Gordon (George C. Scott at his most heartless), who offers to bring Eddie into the big money--but at what cost? Rossen brings his film to life with the easy pace of a pool game, giving his actors room to explore their characters and develop into a razor-sharp ensemble. Eugen Schüfftan earned an Academy Award for his shadowing black-and-white cinematography, as did art directors Harry Horner and Gene Callahan for their deceivingly simple set designs. Even in the daylight this film seems to be smothered by night, lit by the dim glow of a bar lamp or the overhead glare of a pool-table light, an appropriate environment for this tale of one man's struggle with his soul and his self-esteem. Newman returned as an older, wiser, cagier Felson 25 years later in Martin Scorsese's Color of Money. --Sean Axmaker

DVD features: The DVD debut of this landmark drama is exceptional. Besides a luminous widescreen transfer and picture-in-picture deconstruction of the pool shots by billiards master Mike Massey, the commentary track is unique--and we hope starts a new trend. Film historian Jeff Young hosts an oral history of the film from a variety of sources including Paul Newman, legendary editor Dede Allen (who nearly steals the show), assistant director Ulu Grosbard, Time magazine critic Richard Schickel, and director Robert Rossen's daughter, Carol. The result is a free-following collection of memories created decades after the film wrapped (and many of the key players have died). Don't want the fine details? The new 25-minute documentary hits the major points with expertise. --Doug Thomas
-from website

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The Juror (1996)
Cast List : Demi Moore ... Annie Laird / Alec Baldwin ... Teacher / Joseph Gordon-Levitt ... Oliver Laird / Anne Heche ... Juliet / James Gandolfini ... Eddie / Lindsay Crouse ... Tallow / Tony Lo Bianco ... Louie Boffano / Michael Constantine ... Judge Weitzel /

Available At      Barnes&Noble

A woman serving on the jury of an anti-Mafia trial must protect herself and her young son from a psychopathic gangster in this thriller. Demi Moore stars as Annie Laird, a single mother and artist who readily agrees to do her civic duty on the jury in the trial of a major organized crime figure. She quickly comes to regret this decision when a mysterious and eccentric Mafia associate known as The Teacher (Alec Baldwin) threatens to kidnap her son and harm her friends unless she promises to vote not guilty. Fearing for their lives, she plays along, but unfortunately the Teacher shows no sign of backing away from his plans, having become personally obsessed with Annie. Unwilling to trust the authorities, Annie instead develops a plan to save her child by taking on the Teacher and the mob. Adapting a novel by George Dawes Green, the screenplay was written by Ted Tally (The Silence of the Lambs). Judd Blaise
-from website

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Prancer (1989)
Cast List : Sam Elliott ... John Riggs / Cloris Leachman ... Mrs. McFarland / Rutanya Alda ... Aunt Sarah / Abe Vigoda ... Orel Benton / Michael Constantine ... Mr. Stewart/Santa

Available At      Barnes&Noble

A reindeer doesn't have to fly to be magical to someone, and Prancer succeeds, in its unassuming and plainspoken way, to prove that point. This 1989 family film stars Rebecca Harrell as 9-year-old Jessica, a motherless schoolgirl raised (and largely ignored) by her bereaved and embittered father (Sam Elliot), an apple farmer. While Jessica's dad struggles to keep food on the family table, the little heroine worries over the fate of a wounded reindeer she meets and wistfully identifies as a member of Santa's sled crew. The story may sound overly precious, but the film is grittier and more realistic than that. Far more concerned with wobbly family relationships than gilded escapism, Prancer is a rare family film that can entertain without invoking fluffy enchantment. Followed 12 years later by a sequel, Prancer Returns. --Tom Keogh
-from website

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My Life (1993)
Cast List : Michael Keaton ... Bob Jones / Nicole Kidman ... Gail Jones / Bradley Whitford ... Paul Ivanovich / Queen Latifah ... Theresa / Michael Constantine ... Bill

Available At      Barnes&Noble

Screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin (author of the fanciful Ghost) made his directorial debut with this more serious confrontation with the realities of death. Michael Keaton plays an advertising executive who learns he is dying even as his wife (Nicole Kidman) is pregnant. The film beautifully focuses on his anger over everything: the unfinished business of his life and the probability he'll never meet his child. The late Dr. Haing S. Ngor (The Killing Fields) is terrific as a doctor who helps Keaton's character to recognize the corrosiveness of his rage and to let go. The film is a heartbreaker but truly cathartic for anyone who has felt the blunt pain of losing someone close. Keaton is outstanding. --Tom Keogh
-from website

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North Avenue Irregulars (1979)
Starring: Edward Herrmann

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The movie is about the North Avenue Presbyterian Church, when a church member bets the entire church sinking fund on a horse race and loses. This makes the rest of the church members go on a secret mission to tear up the underground gambling ring in their city. It is a very funny movie and worth the money to add to your collection.
-from website

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