SIN CITY
2005, Dimension Films, 124 min, USA, Dir: Robert Rodriguez, Frank Miller

Director Robert Rodriguez - with a little help from Quentin Tarantino - turned graphic novelist/co-director Frank Miller’s neo-noir tales of dark doings in Basin City into one of the most visually striking films of recent years. An anthology of several short stories (“The Hard Goodbye,” “The Big Fat Kill,” “That Yellow Bastard” and “The Customer Is Always Right”), SIN CITY features an all-star ensemble cast including Bruce Willis, Jessica Alba, Josh Hartnett, Mickey Rourke, Clive Owen and Benicio Del Toro. The violent crime thriller was one of the first films shot on a digital backlot, with most of the sets (and color accents to the high-contrast B&W cinematography) added in post-production to create a look of glittering grime.


FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS
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.


SAVAGES
2012, Universal, 116 min, USA, Dir: Oliver Stone

Three-time Oscar-winning filmmaker Oliver Stone returns to the screen with the ferocious thriller SAVAGES, featuring the all-star ensemble cast of Taylor Kitsch, Blake Lively, Aaron Johnson, John Travolta, Benicio Del Toro, Salma Hayek, Emile Hirsch and Demian Bichir. The film is based on Don Winslow’s best-selling crime novel that was named one of The New York Times’ Top 10 Books of 2010. Laguna Beach entrepreneurs Ben (Johnson), a peaceful and charitable Buddhist, and his closest friend Chon (Kitsch), a former Navy SEAL and ex-mercenary, run a lucrative, homegrown industry - raising some of the best marijuana ever developed. They also share a one-of-a-kind love with the extraordinary beauty Ophelia (Lively). Life is idyllic in their Southern California town…until the Mexican Baja Cartel decides to move in and demands that the trio partners with them. When the merciless head of the BC, Elena (Hayek), and her brutal enforcer, Lado (Del Toro), underestimate the unbreakable bond among these three friends, Ben and Chon - with the reluctant, slippery assistance of a dirty DEA agent (Travolta) - wage a seemingly unwinnable war against the cartel. And so begins a series of increasingly vicious ploys and maneuvers in a high stakes, savage battle of wills.


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