Tuesday, August 30, 2016


I  had quite a few movies from the 90's left on my 1001 list that I had NEVER seen before that I decided to watch the this month.

Reversal of Fortune
Reversal of Fortune is the story of Klaus and Sony Von Bulow, the rich couple of whom there was much speculation at the time that Klaus knocked off Sonny for her inheritance. This was a huge story back in the day, but I never got around to seeing this movie based on lawyer Ron Dershowtiz’s book about the case until now. It is interesting in that it does present different scenarios to what may have happened and is punctuated by the lead performances by Glenn Close as Sonny,  Ron Silver as Dershowitz and best of all, Jeremy Irons (you’ve no idea…) as Klaus.

Strange Days
The James Cameron/Kathryn Bigelow Sci-Fi  film Strange Days was a bit of a bomb when it was first released at the box office. It’s hard to see why…the film certainly has the pedigree of a hit, with a good cast led by Ralph Fiennes and Angela Basset, a gritty story that keeps you guessing, loads of action, but not too over the top….So why wasn’t this a bigger hit again? I guess William Goldman was right-nobody knows anything when it comes to what movie is going to be a hit. The movie did get mixed reviews (63% on Rotten Tomatoes). The movie gets the consolation prize of making one of the editions of the 1001 movies book.

Boyz in the Hood
John Singleton’s Boyz in the Hood is the rough story of three kids and their family, friends and enemies over time living in the mean streets of Los Angeles. A penetrating, sobering  and tragic look at life in the hood. Often compared to Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing, though my preference is for Boyz between the two films. Fine performances, especially Laurence Fishburne as the political philosopher father.

Three Kings
Three Kings is the story of Gulf War soldiers on a hunt for treasure in Iraq, who through a series of chaotic events eventually find their humanity and change the course of their actions and try to do the right thing. Three Kings works as a war film, an action film and as a human drama.

Trainspotting is one of those films that gets away with more with me because of its Scottish pedigree. What I mean is that the story of malcontent heroin addicts has the potential to be a real downer (which Trainspotting is much of the time anyway), but does have a quirky sense of Scottish humor, as well as occasional glimpses of hope in the mire of sadness and lives wasted.

Lone Star

I really liked John Sayles' Lone Star, a Texas story of a current discovery that dredges up the skeletons of the past in a small Texas border town in more ways than one.  Well presented  blends of interracial conflicts along the Texas border, and the flashback scenes feature an uncharacteristically evil turn from Kris Kristofferson. Chris Cooper and Elizabeth Pena make a memorable couple in the modern story.  Forget the Alamo, indeed.


Richard Linklater’s low-budget early film Slacker is an interesting experiment. Our minds are used to following a central character around, but in this film the central character interacts with another character and the next character leaves the central character and they become the main character! It took me a little while to get my mind around these multiple artsy Austin, Texas people at first, but had to admit I really began to like this film more and more as it progressed. Could be dismissed as gimmicky, but it works for me.

The Last Seduction
The Last Seduction… What movie does this film-noirish story of a sexually dominating and manipulative woman with more than a few sociopathic tendencies remind me of? Basic Instinct?…A little…Fatal Attraction?…Yes, a bit….Body Heat? Yes, that’s the one. It held my interest, but wouldn't quite make my book.
The King of New York
Since Christopher Walken has become associated with a lot of silly (but mostly funny) things in recent years, it's interesting to see him in a straight crime boss role that makes you forget about cowbell skits and Country Bears movies at least for the time being. He is the best reason to watch The King of New York, a gangster movie that may not be at the top of the crime movie classic list, but is still a good watch for fans of the genre. And it did make the 1001 list, so there you have it.

After watching the early Todd Haynes indie movie Safe, about a woman played by Julianne Moore who seems to be allergic to just about everything modern, I had the following conversation about it with my wife.

Wife: So what was the point of that?

Me: What do you mean?

Wife: I mean were her phobias mental or physical?

Me: I think it's supposed to be both, but it is intentionally unclear.

Wife: What about that community she goes to? Is the guy running it a sincere guru or a charlatan?

Me: You could interpret it either way, but I think it's intentionally unclear.

Wife: Okay. What about her family? Are we supposed to sympathize with her husband or is he part of her problem?

Me: Good question. I think it's supposed to be...

Wife: Intentionally unclear, I know!  I'll just look at the extras.

(After watching the extras)

Wife: Looks like a lot of what was going on was supposed to be intentionally unclear.

Me: I think you're right.


I still have a lot of NON-English language films left to see from the 90's. I will take a look at some of those next month.