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    The Set-Up (1949)

    Director Robert Wise had as good a beginning as anyone, editing Orson Welles' first two projects at RKO (Citizen Kane and The Magnificent Ambersons), then becoming a director for that studio's genius "B"-unit producer Val Lewton, helming Curse of the Cat People, Mademoiselle Fifi and The Body Snatcher. read more...
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      The Set-Up (1949)

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      • With: Robert Ryan, Audrey Totter, George Tobias, Alan Baxter, Wallace Ford
      • Written by: Art Cohn, from the epic poem by Joseph Moncure March
      • Directed by: Robert Wise
      • MPAA Rating: NR
      • Running Time: 72 minutes
      • Release Date: 03/28/1949
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      Kill the Messenger (2014)

      Michael Cuesta's Kill the Messenger takes on dense material, and for the most part makes it feel important without feeling heavy or overstuffed. First, it provides a biographical portrait of reporter Gary Webb (Jeremy Renner), who wrote for the San Jose Mercury News and committed suicide in 2004. Second, it chronicles Webb's biggest story, published in 1996, asserting that, in the 1980s, the CIA used profits from crack cocaine sold on the streets of Los Angeles to back the Contras in the war in Nicaragua. Third, it follows Webb's downfall, not at the hands of the CIA, but at the hands of other journalists. read more...
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        Kill the Messenger (2014)

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        • With: Jeremy Renner, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Rosemarie DeWitt, Oliver Platt, Robert Patrick, Paz Vega, Barry Pepper, Tim Blake Nelson, Andy Garcia, Michael Sheen, Gil Bellows, Richard Schiff, Ray Liotta
        • Written by: Peter Landesman, based on a book by Gary Webb, and on a book by Nick Schou
        • Directed by: Michael Cuesta
        • MPAA Rating: R for language and drug content
        • Running Time: 112 minutes
        • Release Date: 10/09/2014
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        While the City Sleeps (1956)

        Fritz Lang's While the City Sleeps is one of his final American films, made more or less at the same time as the final one, Beyond a Reasonable Doubt. It was long unavailable on video until Warner Archive released it on DVD in 2011, and I finally caught up with it. It uses a wider screen than Lang was used to, and it has a brighter, flatter look than some of his moodier films noir, but I think it may be my favorite Lang. read more...
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          • Innocence ▶ Seasoned, Savvy, Streetwise
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        While the City Sleeps (1956)

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        • With: Dana Andrews, Rhonda Fleming, George Sanders, Howard Duff, Thomas Mitchell, Vincent Price, Sally Forrest, John Drew Barrymore, James Craig, Ida Lupino, Robert Warwick, Mae Marsh, Ralph Peters, Sandra White, Larry J. Blake
        • Written by: Casey Robinson, based on a novel by Charles Einstein
        • Directed by: Fritz Lang
        • MPAA Rating: NR
        • Running Time: 100 minutes
        • Release Date: 05/29/1956
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        W. (2008)

        As with his previous film World Trade Center, Oliver Stone avoids anything paranoid or loony with his new George W. Bush biopic, but the result is still appealing and informative. read more...
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          W. (2008)

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          • With: Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Banks, Thandie Newton, Richard Dreyfuss, Ioan Gruffudd, James Cromwell, Ellen Burstyn, Scott Glenn, Toby Jones, Stacy Keach, Marley Shelton, Jeffrey Wright, Noah Wyle, Dennis Boutsikaris, Bruce McGill
          • Written by: Stanley Weiser
          • Directed by: Oliver Stone
          • MPAA Rating: PG-13 for language including sexual references, some alcohol abuse, smoking and brief disturbing war images
          • Running Time: 131 minutes
          • Release Date: 05/16/2008
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          To Live and Die in L.A. (1985)

          William Friedkin's 1985 film To Live and Die in L.A. may be one of his very best, though it did not reach the level of acclaim and support of his earlier films The French Connection and The Exorcist. read more...
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            To Live and Die in L.A. (1985)

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            • With: William Petersen, Willem Dafoe, John Pankow, Debra Feuer, John Turturro, Darlanne Fluegel, Dean Stockwell, Steve James, Robert Downey Sr., Michael Greene, Christopher Allport, Jack Hoar, Valentin de Vargas
            • Written by: William Friedkin, Gerald Petievich, based on a novel by Gerald Petievich
            • Directed by: William Friedkin
            • MPAA Rating: R
            • Running Time: 114 minutes
            • Release Date: 10/31/1985
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