Retail dvd (mgm home entertainment, widescreen)

Married To The Mob

Two years before GoodFellas, Jonathan Demme nailed the comical backstage soap opera element of modern-day mobsters and their brassy womenfolk in this cheery 1988 farce. Michelle Pfeiffer is the blousy Mafia wife who wants out, while Matthew Modine plays the FBI agent on her trail. It feels a little too clean and lightweight today, but the roots of The Sopranos are buried in here somewhere.

Kes

Ken Loach's 1969 masterpiece (based on Barry Hines' novel and produced/co-written by Tony Garnett, later behind This Life and The Cops) remains the template for grim oop north dramas. Its honesty, spontaneity and spiky humour shame more recent dilutions such as the appalling, infuriatingly overrated Billy Elliot. When a young Yorkshire lad, ignored by his loutish mom and brother and beaten down by grumpy, bullying teachers, finds a baby kestrel on the moors, he discovers a purpose in life, vowing to train it to fly. Only one teacher (Colin Welland) is sympathetic.

Marty

Delbert Mann's earnest 1955 slice-of-life drama about an ordinary Bronx butcher (Ernest Borgnine) mustering the courage to find a girlfriend earned four Oscars—Best Picture plus one each for Borgnine, Mann and screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky, who later penned the far superior Network. It's decently acted and well-meaning but very slight, dated and a little condescending.
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