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1998, Universal, 118 min, USA, Dir: Terry Gilliam

Director Terry Gilliam’s psychedelic kaleidoscope of bad vibes as seen through the twisted prism of writer Hunter S. Thompson (Johnny Depp) and walking pharmaceutical factory Dr. Gonzo (a scary Benicio Del Toro) as they sojourn in Las Vegas circa 1971. Consumer culture and the gaudy artifice of middle class gaming resorts are mercilessly skewered in Gilliam’s trenchant adaptation of Thompson’s notorious book. Tons of great bits from a potpourri of stars including Tobey McGuire, Christina Ricci, Harry Dean Stanton, Lyle Lovett, Cameron Diaz, Gary Busey, Mark Harmon, Ellen Barkin, Penn Jillette, Flea and more.

2004, Sony Pictures, 127 min, USA, Dir: Sam Raimi

The reluctant webslinger returns in this smash sequel! Two years on, the red-and-blue costume is weighing heavily on Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire). Along with other personal problems, the love of his life, Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst), is about to marry somebody else, and it seems that no issue of The Daily Bugle newspaper is complete without an attack on Spider-Man. But when a laboratory mishap transforms a scientist into the tentacled menace Doc Ock (Alfred Molina), will the danger be enough to pull Parker and his arachnid alter ego back into the game? This second installment in the Spider-Man film saga was an even bigger hit at the box office and with the critics, and earned a well-deserved Oscar for visual effects. With James Franco.

2002, Sony Pictures, 121 min, USA, Dir: Sam Raimi

Stan Lee’s conflicted young superhero swings from the pages of Marvel Comics to the big screen in spectacular fashion in this first installment of the Spider-Man franchise. Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) is just a kid with a crush on girl-next-door Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst) until a bite from a radioactive spider imbues him with super-strength, acute vision and the ability to climb walls and shoot webs from his wrists. These powers come in handy when Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe), the alter ego of an eccentric millionaire, arrives on the scene. Can Spidey save the city from this super villain, and will he get the girl of his dreams? Director Sam Raimi’s hyperkinetic action sequences pushed the boundaries of special effects and breathed new life into the superhero genre.

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