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1001 films you must see before you die Part XV: 1995-1999

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1001 films you must see before you die Part XV: 1995-1999

Mensaje  JM el Mar Dic 22, 2009 1:50 pm

1001 films you must see before you die
Part XV: 1995-1999



886
Badkonake sefid (The white balloon- Jafar Panahi, 1995)




The White Balloon (Persian: بادکنک سفيد , Badkonake sefid, 1995) is the debut feature film of Iranian director Jafar Panahi, with a screenplay by Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami. The movie received many strong critical reviews and won numerous awards in the international film fairs around the world including the Prix de la Camera d'Or at the 1995 Cannes Film Festival.
It is the eve of the Iranian New Year. The film opens in a Teheran market where seven year old Razieh (Aida Mohammadkhani) and her mother are shopping. Razieh sees a goldfish in a shop and begins to nag her harried mother to buy it for the festivities instead of the skinny ones in her family's pond at home. Almost all of the film's major characters are briefly seen in this market scene, though the they won't be introduced to the viewer until later. On their way home mother and daughter pass a courtyard where a crowd of men has gathered to watch two snake charmers. Razieh wants to see what is happening but her mother pulls her daughter away, telling her that it is not good for her to watch these things.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die Part XV: 1995-1999

Mensaje  JM el Mar Dic 22, 2009 1:55 pm

887
Seven (David Fincher, 1995)




The most viscerally frightening and disturbing homicidal maniac picture since The Silence of the Lambs, Seven is based on an idea that's both gruesome and ingenious. A serial killer forces each of his victims to die by acting out one of the seven deadly sins. The murder scene is then artfully arranged into a grotesque tableau, a graphic illustration of each mortal vice. From the jittery opening credits to the horrifying (and seemingly inescapable) concluding twist, director David Fincher immerses us in a murky urban twilight where everything seems to be rotting, rusting, or molding; the air is cold and heavy with dread. Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt are the detectives who skillfully track down the killer--all the while unaware that he has been closing in on them, as well. Gwyneth Paltrow and Kevin Spacey are also featured, but it is director Fincher and the ominous, overwhelmingly oppressive atmosphere of doom that he creates that are the real stars of the film. It's a terrific date movie--for vampires.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die Part XV: 1995-1999

Mensaje  JM el Mar Dic 22, 2009 2:00 pm

888
Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge
(The Big Hearted Will Take the Bride- Aditya Chopra, 1995)




The phenomenally popular Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (it played in Indian theaters for five years straight) is, in many ways, a perfect introduction to Bollywood. With a perfectly executed classic Hollywood boy-meets-girl plot, charismatic stars and great songs, it overflows with the specific kind of joy that only great Bollywood movies can produce. The film is dominated by Shah Rukh Khan, who careens through it like a hyperactive Cary Grant, charming everyone in his path and generally showing why he's been one of the most popular bollywood stars of the past decade. Khan can be hard to take seriously in dramatic efforts like Dil Se and Asoka, but he excels at comedy. His interactions with Amrish Puri as Simran's stern, glowering father, are particularly hilarious. Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge is also a very picturesque film.Its beauty doesn't end when the action moves to Punjab for the second half, where several scenes take place in a gorgeous field of yellow flowers stretching to the horizon. An immensely likeable movie, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge performs the rarely-achieved feat of stretching a predictable plot over three hours and making every minute enjoyable.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die Part XV: 1995-1999

Mensaje  JM el Mar Dic 22, 2009 2:05 pm

889
Podzemlje (Underground- Emir Kusturica, 1995)




This sprawling, exhausting, deeply moving Palme d'Or winner represents the pinnacle of Serbian director Emir Kusturica's considerable abilities, and what is easily one of the best cinematic achievements of the 1990s. It encapsulates 50 turbulent years of Yugoslavian history, from the outbreak of World War II in the 1940s to the destruction of this once-great nation in the 1990s.
When we first meet Marko (Miki Manojlovic) and Blacky (Lazar Ristovski), it's hard to take these jokers seriously. All they want to do is party their lives away. But the Nazi shelling of Belgrade changes everything, and the resourceful duo comes up with an ingenious plan--one will stay aboveground while the other goes underground. The arrangement represents an ideal opportunity for all concerned: Blacky, his wife, and the rest of their friends and neighbors will be protected from the chaos going on above, while Marko and the lovely Natalija (Mira Sorvino look-alike Mirjana Jokovic) will sell the weapons they're making down below. Everyone will share in the profits.
But Marko commits the ultimate act of betrayal--against Blacky and the rest of his subterranean comrades. This sort of deception can only lead to tragedy, and Kusturica doesn't spare us the details. In fact, it's his eye for detail that makes Underground such a memorable experience--the perfect note his cast strikes between the extremes of physical comedy, passionate romance, and mortal pain, the insidiously infectious brass-heavy score and the strikingly colorful images.
Underground is basically a parable, and doesn't always adhere to the laws of physics. It isn't for the literal-minded, the impatient, or the partisan. It's loud, it's long, and it isn't for the easily offended. It may just also be one of the saddest movies ever made and stands as a fitting tribute to a country that exists only in the hearts and minds of its former residents.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die Part XV: 1995-1999

Mensaje  JM el Mar Dic 22, 2009 2:09 pm

890
Xich Lo (Cyclo- Tran Ahn Hung, 1995)




The city was once named Saigon; it is now called Ho Chi Minh City, and in this powerful second feature by Vietnamese director Tran Anh Hung (The Scent of Green Papaya) it looks like a lost circle of hell.
Cyclo is a survey of a society in decay, in which conventional plotting gives way to a series of enigmatic episodes and haunting observations. There are two main characters: Cyclo (Le Van Loc) is a poor urban teenager who scratches out a living operating a bicycle taxi in the murderous city traffic; the Poet (Hong Kong star Tony Leung) is the son of an upper-class family who has depressively drifted into pimping and fencing--wartime rackets still thriving in the new Vietnam.
Images of appalling violence are played against backgrounds of banal, everyday bustle--a buzzing flow of meaningless, insectlike activity. Hung's vision may be dispiritingly bleak, but his filmmaking is vivid and inventive. Each shot is distinguished by a particular quality of lighting, framing, or texture that lifts it out of the ordinary and into the realm of the strange, ravishing, and insinuating.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die Part XV: 1995-1999

Mensaje  JM el Mar Dic 22, 2009 2:13 pm

891
The usual suspects (Bryan Singer, 1995)




Ever since this convoluted thriller dazzled audiences and critics in 1995 and won an Oscar for Christopher McQuarrie's twisting screenplay, The Usual Suspects has continued to divide movie lovers into opposite camps. While a lot of people take great pleasure from the movie's now-famous central mystery (namely, "Who is Keyser Söze?"), others aren't so easily impressed by a movie that's too enamored of its own cleverness to make much sense. After all, what are we to make of a final scene that renders the entire movie obsolete? Half the fun of The Usual Suspects is the debate it provokes and the sheer pleasure of watching its dynamic cast in action, led (or should we say, misled) by Oscar winner Kevin Spacey as the club-footed con man who recounts the saga of enigmatic Hungarian mobster Keyser Söze. Spacey's in a band of thieves that includes Gabriel Byrne, Stephen Baldwin, Kevin Pollak, and Benicio Del Toro, all gathered in a plot to steal a large shipment of cocaine. The story is told in flashback as a twisted plot being described by Spacey's character to an investigating detective (Chazz Palmintieri), and The Usual Suspects is enjoyable for the way it keeps the viewer guessing right up to its surprise ending. Whether that ending will enhance or extinguish the pleasure is up to each viewer to decide. Even if it ultimately makes little or no sense at all, this is a funny and fiendish thriller, guaranteed to entertain even its vocal detractors.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die Part XV: 1995-1999

Mensaje  JM el Mar Dic 22, 2009 2:17 pm

892
Dead Man (Jim Jarmusch, 1995)




This disappointment from Jim Jarmusch stars Johnny Depp in a mystery-Western about a 19th-century accountant named William Blake, who spends nearly all his money getting to a hellish mud town in the old West and ends up penniless and doomstruck in the wilderness. A benevolent if goofy Native American (Gary Farmer) takes an interest in guiding Blake on a quest for identity in his earthly journey, but the film is really just a string of endless shtick about inbred woodsmen, dumb lawmen, and a trio of irritable killers. With Robert Mitchum, Iggy Pop, Gabriel Byrne, Alfred Molina, and a noodling soundtrack by Neil Young.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die Part XV: 1995-1999

Mensaje  JM el Mar Dic 22, 2009 2:20 pm

893
Smoke (Wayne Wang & Paul Auster, 1995)




It's refreshing to see a film in which the writer receives equal credit with the director, showing that the dialogue actually means something. So it is with Smoke, a film about a New York quilt of contemporary characters who cross paths in a corner smoke shop, told in straightforward way by a talented acting group. Author Paul Auster and director Wayne Wang (The Joy Luck Club) worked on the story for years before it reached the screen. Their characters include Paul (William Hurt, in a good role again), a grief-stricken novelist; Auggie (Harvey Keitel), the shop's owner with a secret passion; Ruby (Stockard Channing), Auggie's long-ago girlfriend; and Rashid (Harold Perrineau Jr.), a teenager who is befriended by Paul and seeks his estranged father (Forest Whitaker). All the characters are great storytellers, whether it be out of loneliness, necessity, or just nature. Like Auster's The Music of Chance, the movie has accomplished an amazing feat: it makes us feel as if we are reading a serious novel, not watching a movie.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die Part XV: 1995-1999

Mensaje  JM el Mar Dic 22, 2009 2:25 pm

894
Clueless (Amy Heckerling, 1995)




Alicia Silverstone won everyone over with her portrayal of a Beverly Hills teen, Cher, whose penchant for helping others with their relationships and self-esteem is a cover for her own loneliness. Director Amy Heckerling (Fast Times at Ridgemont High) made a smart, funny variation on Jane Austen's novel Emma, sweetly romantic and gently satirical of 90210 social manners. The cast is unbeatable: Dan Hedaya as Cher's rock-solid dad, Wallace Shawn as a geeky teacher, Paul Rudd as the boy who has always been Cher's surrogate brother--and the true holder of her most secret wishes.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die Part XV: 1995-1999

Mensaje  JM el Mar Dic 22, 2009 2:28 pm

895
Kjærlighetens kjøtere (Zero Kelvin- Hans Petter Moland, 1995)




Visually stunning and psychologically intense, Sero Kelvin is a one-of-a-kind achievement, an existential thriller played out against the bleakly beautiful landscapes of Greenland. The ensemble cast includes some of Scandinavia's top stars and a tour-de-force performance by the great Stellan Skarsgard (Good Will Hunting, The Hunt for Red October, Breaking the Waves and Amistad). Henrik Larsen (Gard B. Eidsvold) is a young writer living in Oslo, Norway, who looks to broaden his horizons with travel and adventure. He leaves behind his girlfriend (Camilla Martens) and joins a fur-trapping expedition that includes himself and two enigmatic men: the sailor Randbaek (Skarsgard) and the scientist Holm (Bjorn Sundquist). The cunning, vulgar Randbaek soon becomes Larsen's nemesis and he must use all his strength and wit to survive in a physical and psychological wilderness. Cut off from civilization, the men face the elements and each other with increasing difficulty, leading to a violent and harrowing climax. A psychological thriller set in the context of a tense story of survival, Hans Petter Moland's Zero Kelvin is the rare exception to the genre-a thinking person's adventure film.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die Part XV: 1995-1999

Mensaje  JM el Mar Dic 22, 2009 2:32 pm

896
Babe (George Miller, 1995)




The surprise hit of 1995, this splendidly entertaining family film was nominated for six Academy Awards, including best picture, director, and screenplay, and deservedly won the Oscar for its subtly ingenious visual effects. Babe is all about the title character, a heroic little pig who's been taken in by the friendly farmer Hoggett (Oscar nominee James Cromwell), who senses that he and the pig share "a common destiny." Babe, a popular mischief-maker the Australian farm, is adopted by the resident border collie and raised as a puppy, befriended by Ferdinand the duck (who thinks he's a rooster), and saves the day as a champion "sheep-pig." Filled with a supporting cast of talking barnyard animals and a chorus of singing mice (courtesy of computer enhancements and clever animatronics), this frequently hilarious, visually imaginative movie has already taken its place as a family classic with timeless appeal.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die Part XV: 1995-1999

Mensaje  JM el Mar Dic 22, 2009 2:46 pm

897
Deseret (James Benning, 1995)




"James Benning marks the centennial of Utah's statehood with his excellent experimental documentary, DESERET. As befits its structuralist maker, the film examines the imposition of human design, both physical and conceptual, on nature. A chain of beautiful, static shots frame details of Utah's landscapes, from windswept waters, to snowy pines, to immobile oil derricks and silent government buildings. Meanwhile, texts from the New York Times describing the state's social history, 1852 to the present, are read in voice over. Just as the terrain is contained within human constructs - Indian paints mark rocks, graffiti mark the Indian paintings, the graffiti are enclosed in the filmmaker's frame - the state's human inhabitants are circumscribed by the stringent codes of Brigham Young and his burgeoning Mormon sect - fascinatingly described in the Times pieces - and that group's resistance to outside control and interference. (DESERET was the people's original choice, rejected by Washington, for the state's name.) Benning imposes his own strictly defined filmic formula, and it's that intriguing complicity that gives DESERET the authority to transcend mere prettiness.

JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die Part XV: 1995-1999

Mensaje  JM el Mar Dic 22, 2009 2:56 pm

898
Braveheart (Mel Gibson, 1995)




Mel Gibson's Oscar-winning 1995 Braveheart is an impassioned epic about William Wallace, the 13th-century Scottish leader of a popular revolt against England's tyrannical Edward I (Patrick McGoohan). Gibson cannily plays Wallace as a man trying to stay out of history's way until events force his hand, an attribute that instantly resonates with several of the actor's best-known roles, especially Mad Max. The subsequent camaraderie and courage Wallace shares in the field with fellow warriors is pure enough and inspiring enough to bring envy to a viewer, and even as things go wrong for Wallace in the second half, the film does not easily cave in to a somber tone. One of the most impressive elements is the originality with which Gibson films battle scenes, featuring hundreds of extras wielding medieval weapons. After Eisenstein's Alexander Nevsky, Orson Welles's Chimes at Midnight, and even Kenneth Branagh's Henry V, you might think there is little new that could be done in creating scenes of ancient combat; yet Gibson does it.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die Part XV: 1995-1999

Mensaje  JM el Mar Dic 22, 2009 3:05 pm

899
Safe (Todd Haynes, 1995)




Carol White (Julianne Moore) is a mousy housewife living the affluent life in the San Fernando Valley when, over the span of a few months, she begins to develop debilitating sensitivities to her environment. A permanent at the hair salon makes her nose bleed and her skin go bad, exhaust from a truck causes her to cough violently, she's allergic to the new couch, goes into seizures at the dry cleaner's. No one understands or credits her condition, least of all her husband or family physician. But the symptoms worsen, and Carol eventually discovers others who suffer from similar environmental illnesses. She checks into a desert spa that caters to those in her predicament, and the staff regales her with touchy-feely, infomercial-style affirmations. All of this could have been broad satire, but director Todd Haynes (Velvet Goldmine) opts for a filming style that captures the empty elegance of Carol's passive lifestyle and looks on with clinical dispassion, so that you can hear the oppressive quiet surrounding her. It's positively eerie, so you know you're not watching just a worthy cause picture or movie of the week. Haynes has more ambition than that, even going so far as to insert a slight buzzing sound in the soundtrack to accentuate the unease. Fluorescent lights? Power lines? Who knows? Maybe it's safe to call it the ominous rumblings beneath the surface of Carol's life, from antiseptic affluence to septic isolation in the spa environment. A model of sustained tone, boasting one of the most remarkable performances by Julianne Moore, from a whole career of remarkable performances.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die Part XV: 1995-1999

Mensaje  JM el Mar Dic 22, 2009 3:09 pm

900
Casino (Martin Scorsese, 1995)




Director Martin Scorsese reunites with members of his GoodFellas gang (writer Nicholas Pileggi; actors Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Frank Vincent) for a three-hour epic about the rise and fall of mobster Sam "Ace" Rothstein (De Niro), a character based on real-life gangster Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal. (It's modeled after on Wiseguy and GoodFellas and Pileggi's true crime book Casino: Love and Honor in Las Vegas.) Through Rothstein, the picture tells the story of how the Mafia seized, and finally lost control of, Las Vegas gambling. The first hour plays like a fascinating documentary, intricately detailing the inner workings of Vegas casinos. Sharon Stone is the stand out among the actors; she nabbed an Oscar nomination for her role as the voracious Ginger, the glitzy call girl who becomes Rothstein's wife. The film is not as fast paced or gripping as Scorsese's earlier gangster pictures (Mean Streets and GoodFellas), but it's still absorbing. And, hey--it's Scorsese!


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die Part XV: 1995-1999

Mensaje  JM el Mar Dic 22, 2009 3:13 pm

901
Toy Story (John Lasseter. 1995)




There is greatness in film that can be discussed, dissected, and talked about late into the night. Then there is genius that is right in front of our faces--we smile at the spell it puts us into and are refreshed, and nary a word needs to be spoken. This kind of entertainment is what they used to call "movie magic," and there is loads of it in this irresistible computer animation feature. Just a picture of these bright toys reawaken the kid in us. Filmmaker John Lasseter thinks of himself as a storyteller first and an animator second, much like another film innovator, Walt Disney.
Lasseter's story is universal and magical: what do toys do when they're not played with? Cowboy Woody (voiced by Tom Hanks), Andy's favorite bedroom toy, tries to calm the other toys (some original, some classic) during a wrenching time of year--the birthday party, when newer toys may replace them. Sure enough, Space Ranger Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) is the new toy that takes over the throne. Buzz has a crucial flaw, though--he believes he's the real Buzz Lightyear, not a toy. Lasseter further scores with perfect voice casting, including Don Rickles as Mr. Potato Head and Wallace Shawn as a meek dinosaur. The director-animator won a special Oscar for "the development and inspired application of techniques that have made possible the first feature-length computer-animated film." In other words, the movie is great.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die Part XV: 1995-1999

Mensaje  JM el Mar Dic 22, 2009 3:19 pm

902
Heat (Michael Mann, 1995)




Having developed his skill as a master of contemporary crime drama, writer-director Michael Mann displayed every aspect of that mastery in this intelligent, character-driven thriller from 1995, which also marked the first onscreen pairing of Robert De Niro and Al Pacino. The two great actors had played father and son in the separate time periods of The Godfather, Part II, but this was the first film in which the pair appeared together, and although their only scene together is brief, it's the riveting fulcrum of this high-tech cops-and-robbers scenario. De Niro plays a master thief with highly skilled partners (Val Kilmer and Tom Sizemore) whose latest heist draws the attention of Pacino, playing a seasoned Los Angeles detective whose investigation reveals that cop and criminal lead similar lives. Both are so devoted to their professions that their personal lives are a disaster. Pacino's with a wife (Diane Venora) who cheats to avoid the reality of their desolate marriage; De Niro pays the price for a life with no outside connections; and Kilmer's wife (Ashley Judd) has all but given up hope that her husband will quit his criminal career. These are men obsessed, and as De Niro and Pacino know, they'll both do whatever's necessary to bring the other down. Mann's brilliant screenplay explores these personal obsessions and sacrifices with absorbing insight, and the tension mounts with some of the most riveting action sequences ever filmed--most notably a daylight siege that turns downtown Los Angeles into a virtual war zone of automatic gunfire. At nearly three hours, the film qualifies as a kind of intimate epic, certain to leave some viewers impatiently waiting for more action, but it's all part of Mann's compelling strategy. Heat is a true rarity: a crime thriller with equal measures of intense excitement and dramatic depth, giving De Niro and Pacino a prime showcase for their finely matched talents.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die Part XV: 1995-1999

Mensaje  JM el Mar Dic 22, 2009 3:29 pm

903
The English patient (Anthony Minghella, 1996)




Written and directed by Anthony Minghella, from the novel by Michael Ondaatje, this long and searching movie tangles together a number of stories. First, there is an adulterous love affair between Almásy (Ralph Fiennes) and Katherine (Kristin Scott Thomas) which unfolds in the sands of North Africa before the outbreak of the Second World War. Then, as the war winds down, the badly burned Almásy is cared for in an abandoned Italian monastery by a French-Canadian nurse (Juliette Binoche), who has an affair with a Sikh soldier (Naveen Andrews). Among the other characters are the decent chaps who tried to befriend the frosty Almásy in the desert and the mysterious Caravaggio (Willem Dafoe), a scavenging thief who appears to know the secrets of Almásy's past. All these plot lines interweave and tauten right up to the unbearable romantic tension of the climax. The triumph of the film lies not just in the force and range of the performances-the crisp sweetness of Scott Thomas, say, versus the raw volatility of Binoche-but in Minghella's creation of an intimate epic: vast landscapes mingle with the minute details of desire, and the combination is transfixing.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die Part XV: 1995-1999

Mensaje  JM el Mar Dic 22, 2009 3:32 pm

904
Scream (Wes Craven, 1996)




With the smash hit Scream, novice screenwriter Kevin Williamson and veteran horror director Wes Craven (A Nightmare on Elm Street) revived the moldering corpse of the teen horror picture, both creatively and commercially, by playfully acknowledging the exhausted clichés and then turning them inside out. Scream is a postmodern slasher movie, a horror film that cleverly deconstructs horror films, then reassembles the dead tissue, and (like Frankenstein's monster) creates new life. When a serial killer starts hacking up their fellow teens, the media-savvy youngsters of Scream realize that the smartest way of sticking around for the sequel is to avoid the terminal behaviors that inevitably doom supporting players in the movies. They've seen all the movies, and the rules of the genre are like second nature to them. One of the scariest/funniest setups features a kid watching John Carpenter's seminal Halloween on video. As Jamie Lee Curtis is shadowed by Michael Meyers and the kid on the couch yells at her to turn around, Craven reverses his camera and we see that the kid should be taking his own advice. The fresh-faced young cast (including Drew Barrymore, Neve Campbell, Skeet Ulrich, Courtney Cox, and David Arquette) is fun to watch, and their tart dialogue is sprinkled with enough archly self-conscious pop-culture references to make Quentin Tarantino blush.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die Part XV: 1995-1999

Mensaje  JM el Mar Dic 22, 2009 3:36 pm

905
Trainspotting (Danny Boyle, 1996)




With its hallucinatory visions of crawling dead babies and a grungy plunge into the filthiest toilet in Scotland, you might not think Trainspotting could have been one of the best movies of 1996, but Danny Boyle's film about unrepentant heroin addicts in Edinburgh is all that and more. That doesn't make it everybody's cup of tea (so unsuspecting viewers beware), but the film's blend of hyperkinetic humor and real-life horror is constantly fascinating, and the entire cast (led by Ewan McGregor and Full Monty star Robert Carlyle) bursts off of the screen in a supernova of outrageous energy. Adapted by John Hodge from the acclaimed novel by Irving Welsh, the film was a phenomenal hit in England, Scotland, and (to a lesser extent) the U.S. For all of its comedic vitality and invigorating filmmaking, the movie is no ode to heroin, nor is it a straight-laced cautionary tale. Trainspotting is just a very honest and well-made film about the nature of addiction, and it doesn't pull any punches when it is time to show the alternating pleasure and pain of substance abuse.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die Part XV: 1995-1999

Mensaje  JM el Lun Ene 11, 2010 11:58 am

906
Lone Star (John Sayles, 1996)



This complex and rich film by John Sayles stars Chris Cooper as the contemporary sheriff of a Texas border town still under the sway of his late, legendary lawman father (Matthew McConaughey, seen in flashbacks). The discovery of a skeleton and crusted-over badge--buried some 40 years--initiates an investigation into an old crime no one wants to talk about but which will determine for Cooper's character, once and for all, various truths about his father's life. Sayles ingeniously sets this mystery against the backdrop of a developing, multicultural community losing its economic base while haggling over a history of racism. The overall effect is of a complicated American tragedy mitigated by the possibility of personal redemption. A terrific experience.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die Part XV: 1995-1999

Mensaje  JM el Lun Ene 11, 2010 12:01 pm

907
Gabbeh (Mohsen Makhmalbaf, 1996)



One of the most critically acclaimed films of the year, Gabbeh is an epic tale of the forbidden passion that shapes the legend of a magical carpet.
A folkloric carpet (Gabbeh), picturing a man and a woman riding away on horseback, is the prized possession of a nomadic elderly couple. When they sit to wash it on the bank of a creek, a beautiful young woman suddenly emerges from the carpet to join them. Once held hostage by the endless restraints of the family that fashioned the carpet, she reveals the secret of the carpet lies within the mysterious black-clad rider on the white horse. Month after month, season after season, he had followed her family from afar, always present, always waiting, howling to her songs of love – longing for her to run away with him.
Director Mohsen Makhmalbaf's masterpiece is a brilliantly colorful, profoundly romantic ode to beauty, nature, love and art.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die Part XV: 1995-1999

Mensaje  JM el Lun Ene 11, 2010 12:06 pm

908
Secrets and lies (Mike Leigh, 1996)



If a film fan had never heard of director Mike Leigh, one might explain him as a British Woody Allen. Not that Leigh's films are whimsical or neurotic; they are tough-love examinations of British life--funny, outlandish, and biting. His films share a real immediacy with Allen's work: they feel as if they are happening now. Leigh works with actors--real actors--on ideas and language. There is no script at the start (and sometimes not at the end). Secrets and Lies involves Hortense (Marianne Jean-Baptiste), an elegant black woman wanting to learn her birth mother's identity. She will find it's Cynthia (Brenda Blethyn), who is one of the saddest creatures we've seen in film. She's also one of the most real and, ultimately, one of the most lovable. Timothy Spall is Cynthia's brother, a giant man full of love who is being slowly defeated by his fastidious wife (Phyllis Logan).
There is a great exuberance of life in Secrets & Lies, winner of the Palme D'Or and best actress (Blethyn) at the 1996 Cannes Film Festival--not Zorba-type life but the little battles fought and won every day. Leigh's honest interpretation of daily life is usually found only on the stage. Secrets & Lies is more realistic than a stage production, however, especially when Leigh shows us uninterrupted scenes. Critic David Denby states that Leigh has "made an Ingmar Bergman film without an instant of heaviness or pretension." If that sounds like your cup of tea, see Secrets & Lies.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die Part XV: 1995-1999

Mensaje  JM el Lun Ene 11, 2010 12:09 pm

909
Independence Day (Roland Emmerich, 1996)



In Independence Day, a scientist played by Jeff Goldblum once actually had a fistfight with a man (Bill Pullman) who is now president of the United States. That same president, late in the film, personally flies a jet fighter to deliver a payload of missiles against an attack by extraterrestrials. Independence Day is the kind of movie so giddy with its own outrageousness that one doesn't even blink at such howlers in the plot. Directed by Roland Emmerich, Independence Day is a pastiche of conventions from flying-saucer movies from the 1940s and 1950s, replete with icky monsters and bizarre coincidences that create convenient shortcuts in the story. (Such as the way the girlfriend of one of the film's heroes--played by Will Smith--just happens to run across the president's injured wife, who are then both rescued by Smith's character who somehow runs across them in alien-ravaged Los Angeles County.) The movie is just sheer fun, aided by a cast that knows how to balance the retro requirements of the genre with a more contemporary feel.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die Part XV: 1995-1999

Mensaje  JM el Lun Ene 11, 2010 12:13 pm

910
Breaking the waves (Lars Von Trier, 1996)



Set in an unmercifully rugged, coastal village in Scotland in the 1970s, this extraordinary film by Lars von Trier stars British actress Emily Watson as a barely contained naive named Bess, who holds regular conversations with God and whose pure and intensely personal faith is hardly tolerated by the gruesome Calvinist elders of her church. Bess marries an oil-rig worker (Stellan Skarsgard) and comes to believe that erotic discovery is a part of God's grand plan. But after her spouse is hurt in an accident, she decides that divine instruction is leading her toward the life of a prostitute--with disastrous but somehow beautiful results. Von Trier (The Kingdom) has made a wonderful, entirely unexpected, and rigorous work of discovery in this film, with a formal visual design that recalls classic films by Carl Theodor Dreyer and Robert Bresson. Watson is a phenomenon, her wide-eyed wonder at the world as God's handiwork a breathtaking portrayal of conviction.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die Part XV: 1995-1999

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