BLUE THUNDER
1983, Sony Repertory, 109 min, USA, Dir: John Badham

Déjà vu 1983! The government has unleashed its newest weapon: a heavily armed helicopter that can spy on civilians from 1,000 feet and incinerate entire city blocks. The only ones who can stop Big Brother (in the form of Malcolm McDowell’s fascist cop) from using it against us are Vietnam vet-turned-police chopper pilot Roy Scheider and his tech-savvy partner, Daniel Stern. Director John Badham's paranoid actioner flies high with stunning cinematography by John Alonzo and dazzling dogfights over downtown L.A.


ON DANGEROUS GROUND
1951, Warner Bros., 82 min, USA, Dir: Nicholas Ray

Violent, embittered metro cop Jim Wilson (Robert Ryan) gets sent upstate to cool off and investigate a small-town murder probe. The search leads him to a fateful confrontation with local blind woman Mary (Ida Lupino, magnificent) and his own black heart. Sterling contributions all around: writer A.I. Bezzerides’ savvy script, Ray’s vigorous direction and location shooting, Bernard Herrmann’s alternately brassy and soft score and Ryan’s ferocious performance make this one of the genre’s most affecting statements about anger and alienation in the big city.


THE UNTOUCHABLES
1987, Paramount, 119 min, USA, Dir: Brian De Palma

Director Brian De Palma and screenwriter David Mamet turn the raw material of 1960s television and American crime history into the stuff of glorious cinematic mythology in this literate, visually arresting gangster epic. Kevin Costner is treasury agent Eliot Ness, Robert De Niro is his nemesis Al Capone, and Sean Connery is the grizzled cop who does things "the Chicago way."


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