Number 5. – 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 4. – 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 3. – 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 2. – 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.
Number 1. – Alien 3
Lets face it, Alien 3 was a mess. After the success of Aliens, 20th Century Fox planned to move ahead with a third installment, but the project was plagued with problems from day one. From Sigourney Weavers reluctance to return to the role to all manner of screenwriters and directors coming onboard, doing some work, and then leaving, even down to a teaser trailer that indicated the movie would be set on Earth. The Internet is filled with legends and stories about the Alien 3 that never was, whether science fiction author William Gibsons two-part movie that involved Weyland-Yutani creating genetically-altered Alien warriors or Vincent Wards infamous wooden planet. What we ended up with, however, was David Finchers first feature film, a movie that was under such intense scrutiny from the studio that it made pretty much everyone on the set miserable. The final film was re-edited without Finchers involvement or consent and since then, its become almost universally despised by critics and fans alike. Fincher himself has disowned the film and refused to participate in the Alien Quadrilogy set that featured extended cuts of all four movies. So instead of a Fincher-observed Directors Cut of Alien 3, we got whats known as the Assembly Cut. It tries as best as possible to restore Finchers original workprint, before Fox began butchering it. The theatrical version is 115 minutes, whereas the Assembly Cut clocks in at 145, so theres a lot of extra stuff. Assembly Cut is far better than its given credit for, and actually provides a perfect end for the Alien series. As good as Aliens is, it is not a horror movie. Alien was very claustrophobic and the slow-burn tension and the limited sights of the alien were very effective at amping up the tension. Aliens, however, was much more action-oriented and although its a thrill ride, it never quite becomes a horror film. While its admirable of James Cameron to do something different as opposed to a traditional sequel, I do feel that the aliens became a bit less threatening by having so many of them. Religion plays a very important role in this movie. Like Clemens says, the inmates have adopted some sort of millenarian apocalyptic Christian fundamentalist brew. But its more than just an attempt to give some additional background to the prisoners, its also used as a very important aspect of the movie itself. When Ripley asks Dillon what theyre waiting for, he just laughs and says were waiting for God to return and raise his servants to redemption. So Ripley is both savior and destructor. She comes crashing down from the heavens and she brings with her the alien, the ultimate test of what Dillon and the brothers say they believe. Its one thing to say youre a man of faith when you have no temptations, but its another when those temptations are paraded right out in front of you. And there are men who falter, proving that religion is just a convenience for them more than a matter of faith, such as the two men who are discussing how theyd hit on Ripley if they saw her walking around without Clemens or Andrews. Or when the group of prisoners attempts to rape her. In that scene, Dillon makes it very obvious that his belief is sincere. I gotta re-educate some of the brothers. We gotta discuss some matters of the spirit. Golic also proves himself to be devoutly devoted to the apocalyptic vision, when he releases the alien from captivity and says to it, tell me what to do next. In fact, he just may be the most devout of anyone. He shows remorse when he has to kill someone and he willingly accepts the judgment hes waited all these years for. Ripleys own devotion to wiping out the alien becomes almost religious. Before, she would attempt to save as many people as she could. But this time, she willingly sacrifices the men shes become the inadvertent leader of. When theyre trying to trap the alien, its chasing one of the prisoners. He leads it into the room and Ripley closes the door once the alien goes in after him, not even giving him a chance to escape. And as he screams, she shows no remorse. Its also fitting that the alien is now red, the final scene takes place surrounded by molten lead, and the entire world of Fury-161 appears very much to look like hell. In the end, Ripley has brought these men of faith the very apocalypse theyve been praying for. We give you thanks, oh Lord. Your wrath has come and the time is near that we be judged. And to fulfill her role as savior, Ripley even sacrifices herself to the fires of hell in order to purge the beast and save the rest of mankind. A fitting end to a great trilogy, if you ask me.