HARDCORE
1979, Sony Repertory, 109 min, USA, Dir: Paul Schrader

This underrated drama from writer-director Paul Schrader is anchored by one of George C. Scott’s greatest performances. He plays Jake Van Dorn, a conservative Midwestern businessman whose daughter disappears during a church-sponsored trip to California. Horrified to learn she may now be working in the L.A. porn industry, Van Dorn enlists a sleazy private investigator (Peter Boyle) and a wary streetwalker (Season Hubley) to find the girl.


BRINGING OUT THE DEAD
1999, Paramount, 121 min, USA, Dir: Martin Scorsese

TAXI DRIVER director Martin Scorsese and writer Paul Schrader return to the gritty streets of Manhattan - in an ambulance. This time Nicolas Cage (in one of his best performances) takes the wheel as burnt-out paramedic Frank Pierce, bedeviled by a heroin epidemic that’s gripped the city and haunted by the patients he couldn’t save. His partners on the graveyard shift deal with the chaos of the job in varying ways: Ving Rhames appeals to God, while the brutal Tom Sizemore puts his trust in a baseball bat. An underrated meditation on how tenuous the ties to life and to sanity can become.


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