HOWARD THE DUCK
1986, Universal, 110 min, USA, Dir: Willard Huyck

The titular sarcastic, cigar-chomping, 27-year-old hero of this ahead-of-its-time fan favorite hails from the planet Duckworld, from which he’s suddenly beamed away via an Earth-based scientific experiment gone awry. Landing in Cleveland, Howard must contend with this new and strange place, and, of course, prevent the very destruction of the universe by a villain who also gets accidentally beamed down to Earth. Visually inventive and engaging, HOWARD THE DUCK is an amazing oddity: a comic book film squarely aimed at adults with humor way above the heads of the young audience it drew.


THE RUNNING MAN
1987, Paramount, 101 min, USA, Dir: Paul Michael Glaser

Adapted from a Stephen King novel, this ’80s sci-fi favorite is set in 2019, two years after economic collapse has plunged the United States into totalitarianism. Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as a police helicopter pilot framed for a massacre and forced to appear in the popular reality TV show “The Running Man,” in which convicts are pursued by heavily armed hunters. As the show’s host, Richard Dawson (of “Family Feud” fame) is at his smarmy best; María Conchita Alonso, rocker Mick Fleetwood and wrestler Jesse Ventura help round out the cast.


DEATH WATCH
1980, Westchester Films, 117 min, United States, Dir: Bertrand Tavernier

Shot in Glasgow, Scotland, this unsettling drama takes place in a future where fatal illness is as rare as voyeurism is rampant. Besieged by reporters after she has been diagnosed with an incurable disease, Romy Schneider takes off with acquaintance Harvey Keitel - unaware that a camera has been implanted in his eye to film her final days for a reality show. With Harry Dean Stanton (as a ratings-hungry TV exec) and Max von Sydow.


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