Number 5. – Batman Returns
The film is much darker than the previous one, the atmosphere, darker, melancholic and at tad more serious than the first one. The film has a great cast to boot. . Danny Devito (who for me is pretty hit and miss) is terrific as the penguin. But for me the standout performance is Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman. Of all her work, I’d have to say that Batman Returns is one of her best films. I thought she was excellent as Catwoman. Another performance that delivers is that of Christopher Walken as Max Shreck, Walken as usual delivers a splendid performance. The tone that Burton gives us here is that of helplessness with a tense brooding atmosphere that simply makes the film more defined. Tim Burton took the best elements of the first and toned down the slight silliness of the film and made things with this sequel a lot more serious. What you have with this sequel is a film that doesn’t try to be pretty, it tries to be in your face and give you a viewing experience you won’t soon forget. Tim Burton crafted a solid follow up to Batman that is packed with terrific action and eccentric characters; it has everything you’d expect from a great Batman film. Only Christopher Nolan has crafted a more solid Batman film with his debut in the franchise by giving us Batman Begins. Up to this point, Batman Returns was the most serious of all the Batman films. Until in 2005 Christopher Nolan stepped in and gave us his now legendary trilogy. Aside from Nolan’s work, which is flawless, Tim Burton is the second director to really be able to craft a good Batman film that is worth watching. Batman Returns is well crafted entertainment, sometimes a bit silly, but a lot more serious than the first film. Nonetheless, Batman is still my personal favorite of the two Tim Burton directed films. If you loved the first one, you’re sure going to enjoy this one. After this one, the Batman film would fall apart, but it wasn’t until the second Joel Schumacher film, Batman & Robin that things were getting truly awful. Watch this film, and skip to the Christopher Nolan directed Batman films. At least for me, the Burton films and Nolan films are the far superior Batman films and the ones that really are worth watching.
Number 4. – Bram Stoker’s Dracula
In his rather extensive career, Francis Ford Coppola has given us some of the most iconic, famous, and history changing films from The Godfather Trilogy (yes, I do adore Part III. Get over it) to Apocalypse Now to The Outsiders. With every film he has made, he always makes them completely different from one another in terms of his style, direction, and power; constantly pushing the envelope on how to make a film. With Bram Stokerâ(TM)s Dracula, Coppola enter gothic territory with a film adaptation on the famous Gothic Horror novel that has spawned countless film adaptations, subgenres, and has been a benchmark in pop culture. With this adaptation, Coppola gives us something Dracula fans have been wanting: a serious, faithful, and gorgeous adaptation that does not copy the legendary 1931 Dracula nor goes to all of the stereotypes. Instead, we get something fresh, new, and original. This is really one of the best remakes and best horror movie and sadly the last great film by Coppola.
Number 3. – Unforgiven
When this film can out, it was fairly obvious that it was intended to be the western to end all westerns, the one to bring the genre to a close. That obviously didn’t happen, but it did do a fantastic job at demythologizing things, and showing the consequences of violence, guilt, closure. It’s a great film, but not without flaws. It’s a bit too long, and drags in places, some of the material is a bit unnecessary, and the stuff with English Bob could have been trimmed and reworked. Also, the prologue and epilogue, I think, could have been tweaked a little as well. All that aside, this is a wonderful character study. The cast are really good, and they give some tremendous performances. Pretty much everyone shines. I really liked Frances Fisher, though. Eastwood and Hackman have a great confrontation, and Freeman just finds the right notes with his character. The film is violent, but not in a ridiculous, WIld Bunch kind of way. The cinematic way the violence and showdowns are handled subvert expectations, and are handled in a startingly (yet artful) way. There’s a chilling aspect to the matter of fact callousness of things which really lend strength and credibility to the film’s themes and thesis.
Number 2. – Aladdin
Part of what makes going to the movies a fantastic time in the 1990’s is the Disney Renaissance, and my personal favorite growing up and still to this day is Aladdin! Aladdin is a good animated film that will please anyone of all ages. This is a fun, comedy filled adventure that will appeal to kids as much as adults. As a kid, I always imagine being like our main hero, but the quality of Disney films at the time took an extra mile with bigger budget to make better animation and special effects! Not to mention, that this has to be the best sing-along-songs that Disney has had since Little Mermaid. The movie also has all of the Disney cliches that I’m so love like a prince and princess falling for true love, an epic villain show down, catchy sing-alongs, and magical scenes that (in my opinion) remains the best of its kind! Not to mention that the film offered best vocal talent by Robin Williams as the Genies that always gets us up in spirit! It’s the standard boy meets princess love story but it was told at a very epic scale of pure and wholesome feeling that makes it worth coming back to. I really wish that there were more romantic movies out there that can be more embracing than what has been seen in animated films like this one. As magical as this movie is, it makes me sad to see that the quality in Disney films is never the same, and that’s because there’s no quality or effort in their films anymore. However, I’m still willing to keep doing a marathon of the Disney Renaissance and remember the good days of being a movie fan at a very young age.
Number 1. – Reservoir Dogs
Quentin Tarantino’s marvelous debut is not only a great heist film, it’s an incredibly satisfying low budget Indie that demonstrates Tarantino’s tremendous skill as a filmmaker. You never see the heist, but you don’t have to. The circling camera shot of eight men at a diner talking about everyday life before leaving for the job, followed by a post opening credit shot of Mr. Orange in the backseat of a car, screaming in pain from a gun shot wound, tells you all you need to know. This is a rich quality bank robber mystery movie that takes place after the robbery only guessing what happened behind that event and the rest of the robbers with flashbacks and puzzles that keeps the audience guessing. Reservoir Dogs is packed with suspense, brutal violence, & a plot that shifts through time with spectacular ingenuity.
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