THE ROCK
1996, Buena Vista, 136 min, USA, Dir: Michael Bay

FBI chemical weapons specialist Nicolas Cage and ex-convict Sean Connery (the only man to successfully escape from Alcatraz, aka "The Rock"), are enlisted to break into the former prison when a disgruntled U.S. general (Ed Harris) goes over the edge, seizing the island with his elite commandos and threatening to attack San Francisco if his demands aren’t met. Bruckheimer’s first film after splitting with partner Don Simpson, THE ROCK is a mega-octane action machine, delivered with characteristic skill and humor by director Michael Bay and acted by a superb cast including Cage, Connery, David Morse, Michael Biehn and William Forsythe.


RUMBLE FISH
1983, Universal, 94 min, USA, Dir: Francis Ford Coppola

Director Francis Ford Coppola again adapts an S.E. Hinton novel, reuniting with Matt Dillon. Shot in black-and-white with stylized use of color and professed to be among Coppola’s personal favorites, it’s grittier and more phantasmagorical than THE OUTSIDERS. Here, Dillon plays Rusty James, a young gangbanger who looks fondly back on the days of yesteryear when his loner brother, Motorcycle Boy (Mickey Rourke), held court as the king of the street toughs. With a young Diane Lane as Rusty’s sweetheart. Look out for Dennis Hopper as the boys’ ne’er-do-well father and William Smith as one of the meanest small-town cops in movie history. Costarring Chris Penn, Nicolas Cage and Tom Waits.


BRINGING OUT THE DEAD
1999, Paramount, 121 min, USA, Dir: Martin Scorsese

TAXI DRIVER director Martin Scorsese and writer Paul Schrader return to the gritty streets of Manhattan - in an ambulance. This time Nicolas Cage (in one of his best performances) takes the wheel as burnt-out paramedic Frank Pierce, bedeviled by a heroin epidemic that’s gripped the city and haunted by the patients he couldn’t save. His partners on the graveyard shift deal with the chaos of the job in varying ways: Ving Rhames appeals to God, while the brutal Tom Sizemore puts his trust in a baseball bat. An underrated meditation on how tenuous the ties to life and to sanity can become.


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