BLACK RAIN
1989, Paramount, 126 min, USA, Dir: Ridley Scott

Tough NYC cop Michael Douglas inadvertently loses extradited hood Yusaku Matsuda upon arrival in Japan, then plummets head-first down the neon rabbit hole into a nightmarish yakuza underworld. Violent, gut-wrenching pyrotechnics abound, depicted in the diamond-hard brilliance of Jan de Bont’s cinematography and top-notch performances from an excellent cast that includes Ken Takakura, Andy Garcia, Kate Capshaw and Tomisaburo Wakayama.


1492: CONQUEST OF PARADISE
1992, Paramount, 154 min, USA, Dir: Ridley Scott

Released on the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ voyage to the New World, this epic adventure stars Gérard Depardieu as the famed explorer and Sigourney Weaver as Queen Isabella. While his initial landing on San Salvador made history, Columbus’ later voyages were increasingly costly - both to him and to the native inhabitants, who were brutally subjugated by the Spanish colonizers. Unjustly neglected at the time of release, the film features a stirring score by Vangelis as well as strong supporting performances from Armand Assante, Fernando Rey and Frank Langella.


ALIEN
1979, 20th Century Fox, 117 min, USA, Dir: Ridley Scott

From its cool, sinister textures to its stomach-churning special effects, director Ridley Scott’s ALIEN reinvented the monster-from-space movie as something mesmerizing, inescapable and strangely beautiful. It also introduced the American action heroine, in Sigourney Weaver’s tough-as-nails Ripley, and the H.R. Giger-designed Alien.


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