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AVALON

Barry Levinson’s Baltimore-centric immigrant epic returns to the big screen as part of the run-up to the Maryland Film Festival’s upcoming celebration of his seminal

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Diner

.

HAPPY FEET TWO

More CGI dancing penguins from the man who brought you

The Road Warrior

(that’d be director George Miller).

Opens Nov. 18.

PLATINUM BLONDE

Frank Capra’s 1931 romantic-comedy classic starring Jean Harlow and Robert Williams.

THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN PART 1

More sparkly vampires from the man who brought you

Kinsey

(that’d be director Bill Condon).

Opens Nov. 18.

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THE TAKING OF PELHAM ONE TWO THREE

A 1974 cult classic that influenced many later crime/action flicks but retains its own original kick,

The Taking of Pelham One Two Three

proves what great casting can do to lift an already exciting little thriller into orbit. Robert Shaw plays a shrewd and fierce professional killer who leads three disgruntled mad-as-hell-and-not-going-to-take-it-anymore types (Martin Balsam, Hector Elizondo, and Earl Hindman) in a harrowing plot to get a million bucks for hostages held on board a New York subway car. Facing down Shaw and his colorful bunch is transit-police Lt. Garber (Walter Matthau in one of his best roles), a quintessentially tough, cynical New York cop trying to juggle the crooks underground and the crooked politicians aboveground as he manages the tense negotiations for money and lives. Director Joseph Sargent lets the action unfold in real time, packing more wallop into the story’s built-in suspense, but it’s the potent cast that really gives Pelham its zip. (Luisa F. Ribeiro)

TAXI DRIVER

Sure, sure, you’ve done the mirror scene at parties. But Martin Scorsese’s

Taxi Driver

is more than an annoying catch phrase. Released in 1976, it’s still perhaps the best distillation of the loneliness of American cities in the age of high crime, fluid sexual mores, and television (courtesy of Paul Schrader’s brave script). And it’s a testament to Scorsese’s touch with actors—he gets solid work out of everyone from Peter Boyle to Albert Brooks to Cybill Shepherd to Harvey Keitel, and master-class turns from 12-year-old Jodie Foster as a world-weary preteen hooker and Robert DeNiro as a socially retarded cabbie. Yes, he’s talkin’ to you. (Heather Joslyn)

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