Top 5 Movies of 1996

Number 5.  –  Romeo + Juliet

This Remake to the 1968 Romeo and Juliet is very weird i liked where it was going in the beginning until i saw the the costumes at the party where Romeo first led eyes on Juliet. The costumes where okay but one was just so stupid it killed the film and it was the black guy dressing up as a woman. Other then that this a great hip modernized version of the 1968 classic Romeo and Juliet film but not as good. It’s well acted as well. By the entire cast especially our two main actors at their young age. Leonardo Decaprio as senior Romeo and our Juliet played by Claire Danes. This is a truly great remake that will only be remembered for only it’s actors. This film is good to me but i’d prefer the 1968 version, as for this it’s just great not a masterpiece. But if there is another thing i must say about this movie it’s is action scenes. Now it may be modernized but i’d prefer the sword fights instead of gun fights, only for the reason there to common nowadays and id like to see more epic sword fighting nowadays not to mention the shootout wasn’t even that cool. of a shootout scene and so well that was actually very disappointing. Although they have like this car crashing each other scene that was really good for a fight car crash scene that i can see in a video game but that was a good payback and well served, just like this film.

Number 4.  –  Hunchback of Notre Dame

In hindsight, it’s hard to see how it even got through the Disney machinery at all, and surely, it’s only the commercial confidence the firm had at the point it was greenlit that allowed it through. The first thing to note about The Hunchback Of Notre Dame, then, is that it’s dark. Often really very dark, both visually and in tone, and this is right from the off. The Disney of the early 80s would have struggled with this, too, and the Disney of the 90s sometimes offsets this darkness a little too much (the A Guy Like You sequence seems ill-fitting, for instance, as do most attempts to lighten the mood). But it gets far more right than wrong. The visuals in the song Hellfire and Belles of Notre Dame also help show how powerful these songs are and how well they move the story along and they look just amazing. Also the characters, aside from a few characters *coughgargoylescough* The characters are all well developed and very likable. Frollo being one of Disney’s best villains of all time, just how tormented he is and how fantastically he is pulled off by British actor Tony Jay. Jay captures the power that this character has and what he will do to get it and it just is one of Disney’s most well written villains ever. Quasimodo is also a very likable villain and with the help of Tom Hulce’s voice it helps make him such a likable and innocent character along with his singing voice giving him some of the best songs in Disney history. Hands down the best thing about this movie aside from the characters is the music. This film has hands down my favorite soundtrack from any animated movie and it just makes all the epic parts of the movie sound even more epic when viewing.

Number 3.  –  Star Trek: First Contact

Supposedly this is the best TNG-era film, and, while I can’t confirm or disconfirm that personally (yet), I can say that this is a damn fine film on it’s own, and in Trek overall. Frakes provides strong direction with great pacing, lots of action, some decent comedy (although it is the film only real weak point), amazing special effects, and excellent characters and character development. The film’s plot isn’t very original and the debt it owes to films such as Alien, Close Encounters, Moby Dick, and others is noted, but it doesn’t fully rip all those off, either. Instead it combines bits and pieces from all of them and stitches them together with a story involving the Borg, who, I feel are some of the best Star Trek villains, and some of the most interesting sci-fi characters in general. Another cool thing about all of this is how fairly balanced it all is. There’s a lot going on here: sci-fi yarn, time travel nuttiness, zombie space horror, etc, and it fits. This is a hard thing to pull off.  First Contact revolves around Captain Jean Luc Picard of the U.S.S. Enterprise having constant flashbacks to his time when he was Locutus, his Borg Persona. While these flashbacks are happening, the Borg are starting to strike back and go for the ultimate blow, they go back in time to stop man having first contact with the Vulcan Race, so its up to Picard and his team from the series to go back in time to fight his old enemy, the Borg. It was amazing to finally see the Borg queen and how they had to finish her off and the whole borg race because they are every Trekkie’s favorite villainous army! I say this, watch First Contact because resistance is futile.

Number 2.  –  Fargo

Sometimes, a lot of the time actually, I seem to forget how good of a movie Fargo truly is. I think a lot of movies that are deemed “Cult Classics” tend to warrant high expectations. When I first saw Fargo, I didn’t really know what it was that made people so nuts over it. I think a lot of what makes Fargo great is when you aren’t expecting something from it. It works a lot better as just a movie, not one with a ton of baggage. Much like The Usual Suspects, it was one of the most over-exposed movies of the 90s. Both movies have suffered over the years for being just too popular for their own good and for the wrong reasons a lot of the time. Now, I think enough time has passed that everyone can sit down and watch Fargo how it was meant to be seen.  Fargo essentially meshes crime, comedy, and drama all into one and makes a really unique effect with it. Most of the performances here are what makes it a comedy, the plot makes it indefinitely crime and the music sets a bizarre dramatic feeling that you don’t see coming. William H. Macy, Frances McDormand and the rest of the Minnesota based characters are all over-played caricatures, earning them really funny moments where there might not otherwise be any. Those accents are completely ridiculous, but somehow it just fits into the whole nutball series of events. The plot is really interesting in that the movie zigzags around it rather than the other way around. Instead of introducing us to all the principle characters first, it takes us almost forty minutes to get around to our principle character. I think that takes away any sort of predictability away from the story; what happens, happens. The Coen Brothers definitely take a very interesting approach to the music in this, it just really has an amazing effect on setting the mood and bring emotional weight to what is happening. Now this, like all of the Coen Brother’s movies, is extremely well shot and put together flawlessly. They are extremely talented writers/directors that seem to just get movies in a way that not many others do. You can tell they know film history like the backs of their hands and have the up most respect for the process. You can see how much time and effort is put into each of their movies and this is one of the prime examples of it. Everything you feel is meant to be felt and that is a kind of control that is hard to achieve.

Number 1.  –  From Dusk Till Dawn

Being that I am a big fan of cheesy movies, I really can’t describe how entertained I was watching this flick. We all all thought that this was going to be a qualitative crime thriller and then 2nd half of the film you get a vampire flick; my favorite part of the entire film. It’s one of the first collaborations between Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino, this is a film split between two different conceptual designs, one from Rodriguez and one from Tarantino. Though Tarantino only acted in the film, his mere presence ultimately set the tone for the entire film. It starts off as an action thriller, following the antics of Seth and Richie Gecko, brothers who are criminally insane; blowing up establishments, kidnapping families, and undergoing despicable acts for their own sick pleasure. Seth is the tough guy, portrayed by the always suave and yet socially acceptable Clooney, while Tarantino takes on a disturbed persona as a psychologically biased individual, a rapist, a man who takes inappropriate action at the most inopportune times. Their dynamic makes for an engrossing watch as they kidnap a family on their own morbid road trip. Harvey Keitel, Juliet Lewis, and Ernest Liu are very complex and introspective characters, who seem unorthodox compared to the traditional family on screen. While Keitel is slightly cliche as a preacher who has lost his faith, his relationship with his children and his often B-movie dialogue in reference to his dead wife is engrossing. Most of the characters seem placid to their obvious fate, which is why the shift in tone is so effective. Rodriguez rears in the storyline halfway through and changes the entire film from a crime thriller into a supernatural horror story. Rodriguez, who is well versed in the world of horror, uses varied examples of vampire mythos to illustrate goofy and often gorey creatures. Rodriguez definitely took inspiration from fifties B-movies, Mexican cinema, and his own childhood which rears its head in most of his films. This feels less like the grindhouse films he paid ode to in two separate films and more like the Mexican horror films of Guillermo del Toro with a dash of needless violence under Rodriguez’s own direction. It’s a beautiful representation of Mexican cinema while also being its own entity, an example of the genius that would make great strides in film in general

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