When my palms sweat, I know that I'm really hooked on a movie. For this week's videos, especially the first two, I had to keep a towel nearby.
Does the end justify the means? The authorities in "Jagged Edge" and "To Live and Die in L.A." think so. They break the rules at every turn. But the bad guys they are fighting play some real hardball. Sometimes, I guess, it's necessary to fight fire with fire. However, in "Diva" the head authority isn't troubled by the same dilemma: He's an outright criminal masquerading as the chief of homicide.
JAGGED EDGE (RCA/Columbia, 1985) A former prosecutor (Glenn Close) defends a publisher (Jeff Bridges) accused of the ritual slaying of his wife and maid. Thank goodness foul-mouthed, pragmatic Robert Loggia (Oscar nominee) is around to keep things in perspective. An engrossing whodunit that keeps you guessing to the end. The sparks fly between Close and Bridges, and Peter Coyote is delightfully wicked as the calculating district attorney. "Jagged" will keep you on edge.
TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. (Vestron, 1985) A savvy secret service agent (William Peterson) stalks a skillful counterfeiter (Willem Dafoe) who killed the agent's partner. Peterson and Dafoe may not be household names, but each projects raw energy and star quality. Director William Friedkin ("The Exorcist," "The French Connection") has molded a vulgar, sizzling, hypnotic feature. One of the car chase scenes is brilliant, one of the best you'll see. In fact, there seem to be more stunt players employed than actors. A riveting film, full of seedy characters and tense action, it's not for the meek: "To Live and Die in L.A." is full of depravity and violence.
DIVA (MGM/UA, 1981) A delivery boy (Frederic Andrei) is tailed by two factions, one seeking his pirate recording of a diva's live performance and another who's after a cassette that contains information on an international drug and slavery ring. A French film with English subtitles, "Diva" -- starring Wilhelmenia Wiggins Fernandez as the opera singer -- has been elevated to cult status and deservedly so. It takes many unusual turns and can be a bit confusing if you don't pay attention. The entire film is wonderfully shot and acted. Don't be a prima donna. See "Diva."
Wilhelminia Wiggins Fernandez as a world famous opera singer in the French thriller "Diva."