The Friends of Eddie Coyle

Directed by Peter Yates, The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973) is a subdued crime drama. Set in and around the Boston area, the interior locations look well trodden; the bling factor doesn't sashay much beyond a nice leather jacket and a muscle car. Based on the novel by George V. Higgins, the movie abounds with earthbound personalities, workaday criminals who don't toot their prowess or commandeer social spots, but simply want to maneuver through the day without getting nabbed. In the title role is Robert Mitchum, who plays a middle-aged family man who makes his living doing itty-bitty jobs for dodgy acquaintances. Faced with an impending prison sentence in New Hampshire, Coyle haplessly decides to turn informant because he doesn't want his kids to grow up without him. From the editing to the dialogue to the climax -- nothing about this movie hankers to razzle-dazzle, which is a good thing considering the genre's bias towards sensationalism. If anything, The Friends of Eddie Coyle strives to pinpoint the anxiety that underlies the criminal life that is epitomized by the saucer-deep level of trust among confreres. In that respect, the movie's take-home wisdom is dispensed by a gun smuggler -- trivia buffs take note -- named Jackie Brown (Steven Keats) who schools a new connection by stating, "This life's hard, man. But it's harder if you're stupid."

April 23: " 'A job,' the woman repeated again, smiling, as if I hadn't heard her. 'Would you like one?' "

Kenneth Calhoun (Black Moon) and Lysley Tenorio (Monstress) of the Discover Great New Writers program on B-movies, heritage, and finales.

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The People's Platform

Once touted as the foundation for tomorrow's digital democracy, the Internet is increasingly ruled by a few corporate giants, while millions of contributors till its fields for free. Astra Taylor looks at why the web has failed to deliver a communitarian cyberscape, and offers a compelling case for restoring its original vision.

A Private Venus

Dubbed "the Italian Simenon," Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911-1969) began his crime-writing career with books set in the USA, but quickly shifted scene closer to home, the city of Milan.  In this adventure, appearing in English for the first time, his underdog hero Dr. Duca Lamberti finds himself in the middle of a seedy, scantily clad criminal racket, where the presence of an outsider could result in death.