NIXON
1995, Buena Vista Pictures, 192 min, USA, Dir: Oliver Stone

This ambitious biopic of our 37th president earned four Oscar nominations, including nods for Anthony Hopkins’ performance in the title role and Joan Allen’s supporting work as wife Pat Nixon. A nuanced portrait of Richard Nixon from his days as a young boy to his downfall in the aftermath of the Watergate break-in, the film underlines how lonely and treacherous the halls of power can become. With James Woods, Ed Harris and Paul Sorvino.


THE ELEPHANT MAN
1980, Paramount, 124 min, Dir: David Lynch

Based on two books about the real-life Elephant Man, John Merrick, director David Lynch recounts this severely deformed man’s perilous life in Victorian England in breathtaking black-and-white. Sir Frederick Treves (Anthony Hopkins) rescues Merrick from a circus freak show where he is assumed to be retarded, takes him to a hospital for tests and discovers that Merrick, in fact, has great intellect and capacity for emotion. John Hurt’s ability to project Merrick’s humanity earned him a Best Actor Oscar nomination, along with the film’s seven other nominations including Best Picture and Best Director. Lynch’s use of costumes, makeup, Freddie Francis’ cinematography and John Morris’ score remain commendably understated, allowing the sadness of the film to avoid sentimentalism. With Anne Bancroft, John Gielgud, Wendy Hiller. "ELEPHANT MAN has the power and some of the dream logic of a silent film, yet there are also wrenching, pulsating sounds -the hissing steam and the pounding of the start of the industrial age. It's Dickensian London, with perhaps a glimpse of the process that gave rise to Cubism." - Pauline Kael.


DESPERATE HOURS
1990, Park Circus/MGM, 105 min, Dir: Michael Cimino

Bristling with energy, director Michael Cimino and producer Dino De Laurentiis’ remake of the 1955 crime drama stars Mickey Rourke as Michael Bosworth, a psychotic criminal who uses his lawyer to escape while on trial. With two associates, Bosworth invades the home of Tim and Nora Cornell (Anthony Hopkins and Mimi Rogers), holding them and their kids hostage while they hide out for a few hours. Rourke’s and Hopkins’ full-throttle performances are matched by that of Lindsay Crouse as the FBI agent in pursuit.


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