A Love Song for Latasha

She died for $1.79.

Shot from three feet away, in the back of the head, while holding two dollars to pay for her orange juice, Latasha Harlins was just 15-years-old when her violent murder at the hands of a quickie-mart owner helped spark the 1992 L.A. riots.

But for all the hate the crime generated, this short film, an Oscar favorite this season, instead embraces the bright promise the young woman held in her heart.

Remembered in the words of her cousin and best friend, Latasha comes alive again, and it’s heartbreaking.

She should be here to tell the world her own story.

Heavenly Creatures

Peter Jackson’s best film.

I’m not a big fan of the never-ending slog that is the Lord of the Rings six-pack, much preferring his work as a director in his earlier, braver films.

Like this dandy about a pair of girls swept away by obsession, creating a magical fantasy world to which they can retreat.

Things get progressively darker as the duo, loosely based on real-life ’50s Kiwi teen killers, plot the murder of one of the girl’s mothers.

Beautifully-acted and gorgeous to look at, this is like a half-remembered dream.

Jackson should get back to this kind of filmmaking.

Rear Window

He likes to watch.

Confined to a wheelchair as he rehabs a broken leg, amiable Jimmy Stewart starts peeking at the neighbors with his trusty binoculars, only to stumble across murder most foul.

Maybe.

Our long ‘n lanky hero sees right through sweaty Raymond Burr, down there disposing of his “recently-departed” wife, but convincing anyone else of his suspicions may not be as easy as hoped.

One of Alfred Hitchcock’s best films, it earned the legendary director the fourth of his five Oscar noms as Best Director.

That he never won the award? The biggest crime of all.

The Goalie’s Anxiety at the Penalty Kick

Loneliness and despair. Redemption and hope.

Varied emotional states, they all come together in this early film from director Wim Wenders.

The German filmmaker has given us gems like Wings of Desire, Buena Vista Social Club, and Paris, Texas, but this melancholy tale of unexpected murder and depression remains one of his best.

It follows a soccer netminder who, after an argument on the field, is ejected, and then, dejected, goes on a walkabout.

Out of the stadium and onto the road he heads, in search of meaning and escape.

But can he escape his own twisted nature?