2. Leaving Las Vegas. Nicolas Cage and Elisabeth Shue look like Oscar contenders for their work in Mike Figgis's bleak tragicomedy about a burned-out writer drinking himself to death--with no regrets--in the neon wilderness of the Strip.
3. Crumb. For sheer fright and creepiness, few horror flicks can match Terry Zwigoff's probing, prying documentary about underground-comics pioneer R. Crumb and his bizarre family.
5. Exotica. Canadian Atom Egoyan's challenging meditation on love, loss and reinvention is set, startlingly enough, in a postmodern Toronto strip club.
6. Get Shorty. The Travolta renewal continues in a sharp, witty take on Elmore Leonard's comic novel about crooks, Hollywood and the lure of celebrity. Is Gene Hackman any good as a third-rate director? Guess.
7. Kids. Photog Larry Clark scares complacent parents with an unblinking--if sometimes gratuitous--look at nihilistic teenagers in New York.