Friday, February 26, 2016

1992 Capsule Reviews

Malcolm X
rating: *****
review: Spike Lee's masterpiece, a biopic of the '60s black leader not named Martin Luther King, Jr.  Denzel Washington has his first great starring role as the eponymous icon.

Reservoir Dogs
rating: ****
review: Quentin Tarantino's explosive debut features a complete revision of the hoodlum genre and career-making performances for every member of the cast.

rating: ****
review: Disney's third exceptional animated film in as many efforts brings the quality level back down to earth, although finds a real phenomenon in giving Robin Williams perhaps his greatest role as the Genie.

A Few Good Men
rating: ****
review: The only thing wrong with this movie is that Jack Nicholson ultimately steals the show right from under lead Tom Cruise, who proves overmatched on this occasion.

The Cutting Edge
rating: ****
review: For a nation that was at that time obsessed with figure skating, it's good that someone made a really good movie out of it at the same time.

Sister Act
rating: ****
review: Whoopi Goldberg's greatest role fires on all cylinders except in the plot that is kind of shoehorned in to make it happen in the first place.  But it's nice to see Maggie Smith and Harvey Keitel try to redeem thankless roles around her.

Batman Returns
rating: ****
review: Tim Burton's second dance with the Dark Knight takes all of its notes from the Burton playbook, and succeeds as everything, basically, except a Batman movie.  Which is just weird.

A River Runs Through It
rating: ****
review: Robert Redford delivers one of the two ridiculously earnest movies Brad Pitt made in this period (along with Legends of the Fall).  You can swap the term "earnest" with "elegiac," depending on how much you go along with it.  This was like a movie version of The Waltons

A League of Their Own
rating: ****
review: This was an era in which supporting performances could very easily upstage the main event.  Hence why I still love quoting Tom Hanks' immortal: "There's no crying in baseball!"

Bram Stoker's Dracula
rating: ****
review: This sensational revision of the character back to its roots is perfectly in-line with the rest of Hollywood in this era.

rating: ****
review: Robert Downey, Jr. matures as an actor in this portrait of an early Hollywood favorite.

Wayne's World
rating: ***
review: Like Bill and Ted, Wayne and Garth are two comedy icons from this period that kind of became period specific.

Noises Off
rating: ***
review: A fine adaptation of classic live theater farce.

Brain Donors
rating: ***
review: An attempt to revive classic Hollywood farce.  (Previously I pointed out how Hollywood seemed to so eagerly try and bury this period.  I think it's because it tried so hard to reinvent the wheel.)

rating: ***
review: Almost like an update of The Shootist, John Wayne's classic final film, Clint Eastwood introduces the new normal of the Hollywood Western, in which something big (an aging cowboy played by an iconic actor returning to form) is necessary for anyone to care again about the genre.

Scent of a Woman
rating: ***
review: Ironically, another emerging actor (this time Chris O'Donnell) unwittingly duplicates Tom Cruise's experience in A Few Good Men, this time with Al Pacino, and far too early in his career.

The Muppet Christmas Carol
rating: ***
review: The Muppets concede that they need to do something drastic to be relevant again, and turn to adapting classic novels.  My dad swears by this version.  Doesn't hurt to feature Michael Caine.

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
rating: **
review: Exactly like the first one, only not as fresh.

The Mighty Ducks
rating: **
review: Kicked off the young actors craze.  Ended up inspiring a real NHL team.  About what you'd expect, otherwise, from a sports film.

Honey, I Blew Up the Kids
rating: **
review: Yeah, somehow this happened.  No doubt fun to watch, but...

rating: **
review: Not bad, Robin Williams, but also a waste of your potential.

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