ROMEO + JULIET (1996)
1996, 20th Century Fox, 120 min, USA, Dir: Baz Luhrmann

Writer-director-producer Baz Luhrmann re-envisions the bard’s star-crossed lovers as Gen X gangsters, played by Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes. The film’s retro-futuristic look, with guns standing in for swords and Veracruz for the mythical Verona Beach, earned an Oscar nomination for production designers Catherine Martin and Brigitte Boch. Co-written by Craig Pearce, co-starring John Leguizamo, Paul Sorvino and Brian Dennehy, with original music by Radiohead and others.


CRUISING
1980, Warner Bros., 106 min, USA, Dir: William Friedkin

A bleakly chilling emotional travelogue of desperation, loneliness and spiritual hunger, CRUISING stars Al Pacino as a naïve undercover cop who descends into the leather-bar underworld of New York’s gay S&M scene. Widely condemned and misinterpreted on its release, CRUISING emerges today as one of Friedkin’s major works - it succeeds as a police procedural, horror film (there are scenes every bit as terrifying as THE EXORCIST), and saga of one seemingly "decent" man’s inability to face the truth about himself. Featuring a terrific score by composer Jack Nitzsche, with songs by The Germs.


GOODFELLAS
1990, Warner Bros., 146 min, USA, Dir: Martin Scorsese

Irwin Winkler produced this quintessential mob epic, directed by Martin Scorsese and based on Nicholas Pileggi’s Wiseguy. Ray Liotta stars as Henry Hill, a real-life mobster, whose captivating narration rivals that of previous Scorsese antihero Travis Bickle. Joe Pesci won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor as charismatic sociopath Tommy DeVito, and Robert De Niro shines as the brutal Jimmy Conway. Filled with memorable characters, a wealth of atmosphere, beautiful tracking shots by cinematographer Michael Ballhaus and, as always in Scorsese films, an amazing soundtrack. The all-star cast also includes Lorraine Bracco, Paul Sorvino, Frank Vincent and even a young Michael Imperioli ("The Sopranos") in the small but memorable role of Spider.


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