review: This is Spielberg at the height of his powers, telling a story that speaks for itself in terms of significance, but also subverts a lot of expectations by casting its hero as anything but a superhero. Liam Neeson has never again had a role like this. Ralph Fiennes, meanwhile, is good enough to have parlayed his bad guy into a very good career in which he's rarely played the bad guy again. Except, y'know, as Voldemort.
review: For a generation, embodied the concept of the repeating day narrative, and easily served up Bill Murray's most endearing performance.
Grumpy Old Men
review: I've never understood why critics tend to be so grumpy about this one. It's classic comedy at its finest, improbably reuniting a classic comedy pairing (Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau, the original Odd Couple) for the best comedy of their careers.
review: In the rush to capitalize on Quentin Tarantino's sensational debut, Hollywood turned to...Quentin Tarantino for some help. His script helped make this arguably better than Tarantino's own Reservoir Dogs. It's a preview, at the very least, for the kind of filmmaker Tarantino would become.
Heaven and Earth
review: Oliver Stone returns to Vietnam to explore the native experience in this little-known drama.
review: Tom Hanks' first great drama is also the one that netted him his first Best Actor Oscar.
Much Ado About Nothing
review: Guaranteed to make anyone leery to embrace Shakespeare to in fact love the Bard.
Robin Hood: Men in Tights
review: Mel Brooks directly parodies Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, and despite what history tends to say, ends up with another classic.
review: Colm Meaney, the Irish actor who for years plied his trade in Star Trek TV shows, had a series of movies in which he got to stretch a little, and this was his first direct spotlight in them.
review: Robin Williams finds all but the perfect role post-Aladdin, and most of it works perfectly, until you look back at it in hindsight. Jim Carrey made this kind of movie better in Liar, Liar.
review: Classic retelling of a cult TV series features Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones in one of their signature movies, but spends so much time in the chase that neither one, upon further examination, has too much to do, as made all too clear in how each of them followed it up. Jones made the quasi-sequel U.S. Marshalls, which made it all too clear how little his character really had to work with, and Ford made more action movies with more clearly-defined roles. But it's still a milestone.
review: This is the movie Juliette Lewis made before Natural Born Killers and is every bit its spiritual predecessor. The problem is, it's not as good. It's a Hollywood version of Quentin Tarantino without Quentin Tarantino. This time it just doesn't work. But the good news is that it's also got Brad Pitt, so it's worth watching anyway.
The Thing Called Love
review: In the eternal search to discover what kind of actor the mature River Phoenix would have been, fans will always examine what he left behind to find out. This otherwise standard drama also has a young Sandra Bullock going for it, so it's not a bad place to start.
review: In many ways, as full of romanticism as Gone with the Wind.
Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story
review: It's sad that the greatest martial artist ever to appear in the movies didn't live long enough to be in a movie truly worthy of his talents. This is close enough.
The Man Without a Face
review: In the wake of Mel Gibson's sensational The Passion of the Christ, well-meaning but horribly misinformed fans thought this was some kind of biopic. It's a good movie, but it's...definitely not Gibson's life story.
review: Is Kevin Kline really the president? No. Is this still a fun movie? Yes! Of course, it's also just the tip of the iceberg in the emerging Hollywood obsession with presidential movies, which still sees no end in sight.
Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas
review: I can think of fewer movies that have impacted the culture more with less memory with what actually happened in the movie. Less a holiday classic and more Burton's, perhaps, ideal movie.
review: A whole cultural phenomenon in its own right (and last year spawned a sequel that again rehashed a plot that really has nowhere to go), part of the dinosaur obsession of that time, that helped define the '90s blockbuster.
review: Russell Crowe's breakout film is probably not what you'd expect. His subsequent Hollywood career really doesn't reflect it at all, which is kind of weird.
review: Robert Rodriguez's breakout film is more recognizable, meanwhile, because it was basically remade, better, as Desperado.
It's All True
review: Fascinating attempt to reconstruct, as a documentary about a documentary, a lost Orson Welles film, which curiously falls apart when it unwisely presents an extended sequence that for its lack of completeness, fails miserably to provide the coda that would have sealed the deal. More successful is the credits music featuring Welles boisterously detailing his observations on Brazilian music as we listen to it.
review: An odd mix of a comedy attempting to simultaneously provide a feel-good message.
review: I continue to contend that it's outclassed in every regard by Wyatt Earp.
review: Odd comedy that attempts to make witches sympathetic by making them as pathetic as possible.
review: The most famous example of that era's push to make people care about whales as an endangered species.