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PAPER MOON (1973). A popular filmmaker in the early 70s until a string of expensive flops posthumously killed off his career, director Peter Bogdanovich had one of his biggest hits with this delightful adaptation (by Alvin Sargent) of Joe David Brown's novel Addie Pray. Despite being in practically every scene, 10-year-old Tatum O'Neal won a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for her performance (she remains the youngest person ever to win an Oscar), playing an orphan who teams up with a slick con man (played by dad Ryan O'Neal) and immediately establishes herself as the brains of the outfit. Tatum's angry glares at the idiotic adults surrounding her character alone warranted the Oscar, though fellow nominee Madeline Kahn has some choice moments as gold digger Trixie Delight. DVD extras include audio commentary by Bogdanovich and a trio of retrospective documentaries. Movie: 1/2 / Extras:

TARGETS (1968). Peter Bogdanovich again, this time helming the movie that marked his directorial debut (under the auspices of the legendary Roger Corman). A sure-footed achievement for a first-timer, this tense drama and long-time cult favorite stars Boris Karloff as an aging horror film star who wants to retire from the business because he feels that his movies can no longer compete with the terrors of everyday life. To prove his point, the picture tackles a second storyline that finds a clean-cut, all-American youth (Tim O'Kelly, whom Matt Damon eerily resembles) casually going on a shooting spree that leaves a number of innocent people dead. The film's focus on gun control (or lack thereof) makes the movie as timely today as it was 35 years ago -- the sniper gets his hands on a whole arsenal of weapons about as easily as you or I can snag a pack of Dentyne -- yet for movie buffs, Targets' primary power derives from seeing Karloff in his last great role (he passed away the following year). DVD extras include audio commentary by Bogdanovich and a 15-minute interview in which he discusses the entertaining manner in which the film came together. Movie: / Extras:

THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD (1951). Christian Nyby may be credited as director, but it's long been established that Howard Hawks (billed here as producer) was the one calling most of the shots on this sci-fi favorite. Certainly, the film fits right into his compendium of classics: Like Rio Bravo, The Big Sleep and oh-so-many-others, it features crackling dialogue, deliciously subversive humor, confident and competent heroes, and a healthy air of sexual playfulness between its romantic leads. Featuring James Arness (before Gunsmoke) as the deadly e.t. who makes life difficult for a group of soldiers and scientists huddled together at a North Pole research facility, this has endured largely because of all the top talent Hawks corralled for the project: ace cinematographer Russell Harlan (the sequence in which the men use fire to fight the alien is a standout of lighting and composition), top composer Dimitri Tiomkin (employing the theremin to great effect in his score) and revered screenwriter Charles Lederer (with an uncredited assist by Ben Hecht). Unfortunately, the only extra to be found on this DVD is the original theatrical trailer. Movie: 1/2 / Extras:

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