COCOON
1985, 20th Century Fox, 117 min, USA, Dir: Ron Howard

Senior citizen troublemakers Art (Don Ameche), Ben (Wilford Brimley) and Joe (Hume Cronyn) have seemingly discovered the fountain of youth during one of their nightly excursions to an unattended swimming pool. After their swim, their ailments and fatigue dissipate and they begin to experience a renewed energy. Little do they know that the source of the pool’s power involves a pair of extraterrestrial visitors, who are eager to enlist the men’s help in an elaborate plot to return home. Featuring Brian Dennehy, Jack Gilford, Steve Guttenberg and Maureen Stapleton, this Ron Howard sci-fi classic won Oscars for Best Visual Effects and Best Supporting Actor (Ameche).


FIRST BLOOD
1982, Rialto, 93 min, Dir: Ted Kotcheff

“It wasn't my war! You asked me, I didn't ask you! And I did what I had to do to win!” Sylvester Stallone created another screen icon in John Rambo, a Vietnam vet driven to violence in this box office hit. His bravura performance is balanced by that of Brian Dennehy as the small-town sheriff who doesn’t know what he’s dealing with, and Richard Crenna as the Special Forces colonel who does. Though the film doesn’t skimp on action, Kotcheff’s equal emphasis on character makes FIRST BLOOD the best of the Rambo series.


ROMEO + JULIET (1996)
1996, 20th Century Fox, 120 min, USA, Dir: Baz Luhrmann

Writer-director-producer Baz Luhrmann re-envisions the bard’s star-crossed lovers as Gen X gangsters, played by Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes. The film’s retro-futuristic look, with guns standing in for swords and Veracruz for the mythical Verona Beach, earned an Oscar nomination for production designers Catherine Martin and Brigitte Boch. Co-written by Craig Pearce, co-starring John Leguizamo, Paul Sorvino and Brian Dennehy, with original music by Radiohead and others.


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