Monday, August 28, 2006

Top 100 Films of The 1990s

Over at DVDVR we're counting down the top 275 films of the '90s. Here's my ballot, posted for posterity.

1-The Shawshank Redemption [1994; Frank Darabont]
2-Schindler’s List [1993; Steven Spielberg]
3-L.A. Confidential [1997; Curtis Hanson]
4-Goodfellas [1990; Martin Scorsese]
5-Heat [1995; Michael Mann]
6-Ed Wood [1994; Tim Burton]
7-Pulp Fiction [1994; Quentin Tarantino]
8-Saving Private Ryan [1998; Steven Spielberg]
9-Jerry Maguire [1996; Cameron Crowe]
10-Being John Malkovich [1999; Spike Jonze]
11-Before Sunrise [1995; Richard Linklater]
12-Dazed and Confused [1993; Richard Linklater]
13-The Insider [1999; Michael Mann]
14-Unforgiven [1992; Clint Eastwood]
15-American Beauty [1999; Sam Mendes]
16-The Truman Show [1998; Peter Weir]
17-Fight Club [1999; David Fincher]
18-Wag the Dog [1997; Barry Levinson]
19-Hamlet [1996; Kenneth Branaugh]
20-Clerks [1994; Kevin Smith]
21-Election [1999; Alexander Payne]
22-Rushmore [1998; Wes Anderson]
23-Chasing Amy [1994; Kevin Smith]
24-Good Will Hunting [1997; Gus Van Sant]
25-As Good As It Gets [1997; James L. Brooks] (179)
26-Apollo 13 [1995; Ron Howard]
27-The Usual Suspects [1995; Bryan Singer]
28-Fargo [1996; Joel Coen]
29-Glengarry Glen Ross [1992; James Foley]
30-Seven [1995; David Fincher]
31-Malcolm X [1992; Spike Lee]
32-Jackie Brown [1997; Quentin Tarantino]
33-The Cider House Rules [1999; Lasse Hallstrom] (247)
34-The Green Mile [1999; Frank Darabont]
35-Man on the Moon [1999; Milos Forman]
36-Philadelphia [1993; Jonathan Demme]
37-American History X [1998; Tony Kaye]
38-Reservoir Dogs [1992; Quentin Tarantino]
39-The Hurricane [1999; Norman Jewison] (237)
40-The Big Lebowski [1998; Joel Coen]
41-Gattaca [1997; Andrew Niccol]
42-Rounders [1998; John Dahl]
43-The Crucible [1996; Nicholas Hytner]
44-Aladdin [1992; Ron Clements & John Musker]
45-Toy Story [1995; John Lasseter]
46-Boogie Nights [1997; Paul Thomas Anderson]
47-Leaving Las Vegas [1995; Mike Figgis]
48-A Simple Plan [1998; Sam Raimi]
49-The Sweet Hereafter [1997; Atom Egoyan]
50-Forrest Gump [1994; Robert Zemeckis]
51-Sling Blade [1996; Billy Bob Thornton]
52-The Matrix [1999; Andy & Larry Wachowski]
53-The Ice Storm [1997; Ang Lee]
54-JFK [1991; Oliver Stone]
55-Titanic [1997; James Cameron]
56-The Thin Red Line [1998; Terrance Malick]
57-A League of Their Own [1992; Penny Marshall]
58-Magnolia [1999; Paul Thomas Anderson]
59-The Lion King [1994; Roger Allers & Rob Minkoff]
60-Speed [1994; Jan de Bont]
61-Dogma [1999; Kevin Smith]
62-Army of Darkness [1992; Sam Raimi]
63-Pleasantville [1998; Gary Ross]
64-Shakespeare in Love [1998; John Madden]
65-The People vs. Larry Flynt [1996; Milos Forman]
66-Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels [1998; Guy Ritchie] (193)
67-Office Space [1996; Mike Judge]
68-South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (1999; Trey Parker)
69-Groundhog Day [1993; Harold Ramis]
70-The Hudsucker Proxy [1994; Joel Coen]
71-Rudy [1993; David Anspaugh]
72-When We Were Kings [1996; Leon Gast] (187)
73-Primal Fear [1996; Gregory Hoblit]
74-Grosse Point Blank [1997; George Armitage]
75-Desperado [1995; Robert Rodriguez]
76-Clay Pigeons [1998; David Dobkin] (261)
77-Beyond the Mat [1999; Barry Blaustein]
78-Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas [1998; Terry Gilliam]
79-A Few Good Men [1992; Rob Reiner]
80-The Sixth Sense [1999; M. Night Shyamalan]
81-Jurassic Park [1993; Steven Spielberg]
82-Welcome to Sarajevo [1997; Michael Winterbottom]
83-The Virgin Suicides [1999; Sofia Coppola] (228)
84-Bullets Over Broadway [1994; Woody Allen] (184)
85-From Dusk Till Dawn [1996; Robert Rodriguez]
86-Very Bad Things [1998; Peter Berg]
87-El Mariachi [1992; Robert Rodriguez]
88-The Birdcage [1996; Mike Nichols]
89-The Nightmare Before Christmas [1993; Henry Selick]
90-Eyes Wide Shut [1999; Stanley Kubrick]
91-Exotica [1994; Atom Egoyan] (257)
92-That Thing You Do! [1996; Tom Hanks]
93-Empire Records [1995; Allan Moyle]
94-Twister [1996; Jan de Bont]
95-Go [1999; Doug Limon] (195)
96-The Quick & The Dead [1995; Sam Raimi]
97-Mrs. Doubtfire [1993; Chris Columbus]
98-Tomorrow Never Dies [1997; Roger Spottiswoode]
99-Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country [1991; Nicholas Meyer]
100-Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace [1999; George Lucas]

Monday, December 05, 2005

I See Movies

I saw a couple more films yesterday. Here's what I've seen in theatres this year:

Good Night, And Good Luck [Awesome]
Batman Begins
The 40 Year-Old Virgin
Sin City
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
Broken Flowers [Awesome]
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
The Constant Gardener [Awesome]
Crash [Awesome]
Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire
In Good Company
Kingdom of Heaven
North Country [Awesome]
An Unfinished Life [Awesome]
Walk the Line [Awesome]
War of the Worlds
Cinderella Man [Awesome]
Dark Water
The Exorcism of Emily Rose
Fantastic Four
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Mr. & Mrs. Smith
Red Eye
Wedding Crashers
The Ring 2
White Noise

Saturday, November 13, 2004

2004 or "Holy Crap, I See A LOT of Movies!"

Movies I've Seen (So Far) In Theatres This Year:

13 Going On 30
50 First Dates
The Alamo
Alien vs. Predator
Along Came Polly
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (Twice)
Around the World in 80 Days
Before Sunset
The Bourne Supremacy
The Butterfly Effect
Big Fish*
Broken Lizard's Club Dread
The Chronicles of Riddick
A Cinderella Story
Dawn of the Dead
The Day After Tomorrow
Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights
Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Twice)
Fahrenheit 9/11 (Twice)
Friday Night Lights
Garden State (Twice)
The Girl Next Door
Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle
Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban
I Heart Huckabees
I, Robot
Jersey Girl
Kill Bill: Vol. 2
The Ladykillers
Little Black Book
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King*
Man On Fire
The Manchurian Candidate
Mean Girls
The Motorcycle Diaries
Napoleon Dynamite
The Passion of The Christ
The Punisher
Secret Window
Shrek 2
Spider-Man 2 (Twice)
Starsky & Hutch
The Stepford Wives
Taking Lives
Team America: World Police
The Terminal
Van Helsing (Twice)
The Village
Walking Tall

Films Playing NOW I'm Gonna See: The Incredibles & Sideways

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Movie Review: Garden State

FOX Searchlight Pictures presents a film written & directed by Zach Braff; Starring Zach Braff, Natalie Portman, Peter Sarsgaard and Ian Holm

Everyone's been mentioning to me that 2004 is shaping up like a weak year in film. Films that looked strong at first glamce like Troy have proven to be weaker than they should've been. I was a bit disappointed with the year thus far, but along came this little film from the star of NBC's Scrubs, Zach Braff. Garden State began as an idea Braff had, so he wrote a script and eventually decided to direct and star in it as well. The resulting film made like gangbusters at this year's Sundance Film Festival and got picked up for distribution by FOX Searchlight (20th Century Fox's semi-independent film branch).

I'd heard about Garden State in passing in film magazines. I've watched Scrubs since the very first episode, so I was curious as to what the film would be about. I sat down and was blown back by how professional the film was. Braff's first film is better than a lot of directors' fourth, fifth or even tenth outings behind the camera. He has an eye for detail, but allows scenes to develop without zooming in on wacky stuff and pointing it out. An example of this is a scene where Andrew Largeman (Zach Braff) is brought home by his newfound friend Sam (Natalie Portman). Sam's room has a lot of cool imagery around. A novice director could get away with spending time gawking at all of it as a roundabout way of developing Sam's character. Instead Braff lets the actors tell the story and develop the characters, and it works wonders.

The film's strongest asset is the script. Braff's able to concoct a variety of memorable characters without making them characatures. Braff's character comes home for the first time in 9 years after the death of his mother and encounters all the people he left behind when his father sent him away those years ago. The character interactions never seem forced, and the smaller moments between the characters emerge as the most resonent part of the film.

The casting is all perfect. Braff plays Andrew as a guy just waking up from a long sleep and getting used to the surroundings. Portman is great in this film. She takes her character and makes her instantly memorable with wonderful quirks. Peter Sarsgaard is laid back cool as Andrew's old high school friend who's now digging graves. Ian Holm is solid in a very small role as Andrew's father.

Very few independent films are this strong, especially with first-time directors at the helm. We're lucky that in such an uncharacteristically weak year from Hollywood, the independent community is picking up the slack with great films like this.